Friday, October 23, 2009


Students will be forced to drop out of college due to grants chaos

Conor Kelly, Sinn Féin representative for the Swords area, has criticised the Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe for failing to intervene in the current students' grant crisis. This situation means that many third level students across the country will now have to wait until January to receive their student grant payment and these students are unregistered and are being left without access to many services in the colleges.

Conor Kelly spoke with Peter Mannion the Union of Students in Ireland president who confirmed that there are cases of students from Fingal who have still not received the maintanence grants that they are entitled to. This problem has been caused by the current economic crisis leading to an unprecedented rise in applications for third level maintenance grants. This has then combined with the block on public service recruitment and has led to understaffing in various VEC's and County Council's. As a result many of the students applying for these grants will now not receive them until January 2010. This is a ludicrous situation and one with massive consequences for students.

Peter Mannion pointed out that many students have been unable to register and as a consequence will be unable to sit their mid-term examinations starting next week. They will not have been issued a student number and will be unable to access many essential facilities in the college.

More worryingly is the fact the many students depend on this grant and without it have no alternative but to drop out of college altogether and join the rest of the country on the dole queues. This is causing real
distress to students and families across the county and will ultimately have a negative effect on the economy. It is no suprise therefore that students from UCD today have occuppied Wicklow Council and demanded they receive the grants that they are legally entitled to.

Conor Kelly emphasised that the facts are that the Higher Student Grant scheme has been dumped onto local Councils by the Department of Education without the resources required to deliver it. Furthermore, local authorities and student unions have repeatedly warned the Government and the Department of Education that they need to reform the grants system but these appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

The Government must take full responsibility for these delays and deploy emergency resources to ensure that no families or students miss out on their third level education.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A toxic dump in the middle of the best agricultural land in Ireland, no local Green Party TD would allow that, or would they?

Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative for the Balbriggan area, expressed his anger at An Bord Pleanála decision to give the green light for a controversial new landfill at Nevitt, Lusk, Co Dublin. He said, “This is yet another blow to the local community in North County Dublin and especially those trying to promote and develop the agricultural sector in the region. For years now The Nevitt Lusk Action Group have fought this plan and they have highlighted that Fingal County Council's own consultant’s have confirmed the Nevitt aquifer as a future water supply for the area. Given this fact I ask anybody to tell me how it can make sense to place a toxic dump right in the middle of such a water supply for an area that is famous throughout the country for producing food!”

We in Sinn Féin would like to put on record that we feel this decision simply does not make any sense what so ever. At this time all those involved in the agricultural sector are struggling to compete with cheap food imports and as a result jobs are under threat or being lost. However, one of the advantages that Irish farmers have is our country’s reputation for producing quality HEALTHY food products. This is a market advantage we must build on to grow this sector of the economy, increase exports and secure jobs. So what happens? Bord Pleanála decide to put a toxic dump in the middle of the best agricultural land in Ireland! This is clearly MADNESS!!!

Fergus Byrne further stated that local people should demand that Trevor Sargent take action now to stop this development. He said, “What is the point in having the Green Party in government, and an ex Green Party leader as our local TD, if he won’t do anything to protect the environment and agricultural jobs in our area. I would encourage everybody to contact Trevor ASAP and let him know that we demand he do something to prevent a toxic dump being located in the heartland of Irish agriculture. It is only by people putting pressure on now that this disastrous decision can be reversed.”

The contact details for Trevor Sargent are as follows. His office number 01 8900 360, or you can leave a comment on his website or go along to his clinic in Balbriggan, Friday evenings, 7.00-7.30pm: Hamilton Room, 2nd floor, Town Hall, Balbriggan, or Swords, Saturday mornings, 10.00-10.30am: Constituency office, 2 Glebeview, Rivermall (off Main St. - adjacent to Wise Owl Bookshop), Swords.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sinn Féin demands an end to self assessed performance related bonuses such as the €70,000 awarded to HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh called for legislation to bring an end to self assessed performance related bonuses such as the €70,000 awarded to HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm.

Speaking this afternoon after his Dáil engagement with the Tánaiste Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has given a commitment that no bonuses will be paid out for the period covering 2008 and 2009. This, quite simply, is not good enough. These types of grossly excessive and unwarranted payments must be consigned to the past with the rest of Fianna Fáil’s economic concepts.

“People in my constituency and throughout Ireland are disgusted to hear of the €70,000 payment to Brendan Drumm for his role in overseeing the destruction of our public hospital network.

“At Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin many children are waiting for urgent operations as the resources are not forthcoming to deal with demand. Yet this Government feels justified in paying Brendan Drumm, a public servant on a higher salary than the Taoiseach, €70,000 in a bonus payment.

“Brendan Drumm should be ashamed to look for a bonus when sick children are having urgent operations cancelled. It symbolizes everything that is rotten with this state.

“This money and the monies from other excessive bonus payments to health service managers should be put into frontline services. Suspending these payments is not good enough. Legislation must be amended to ensure that these grossly excessive payments are never again permitted.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Aer Lingus job losses - the government cannot and must not stand idly by!

Speaking to the Fingal Independent today the Sinn Féin representative for Swords Conor Kelly has expressed his concerns at the prospect of yet more massive jobs losses for the north county in the wake of cost-cutting plans announced at Aer Lingus.

Mr Kelly said: 'After the loss of 1,200 jobs at SR Techinics early in this year, we now face another 676 jobs to be lost at Aer Lingus.

'North Dublin has suffered greatly over the past year with the closure of SRT, while it must be said, the Government seemed happy to sit idly by and done nothing to save the company or the 1,200 jobs it provided.'

The local Sinn Féin representative said: ' We simply cannot afford a repeat of that Government inaction.

' The key to any recovery is not massive job losses, but rather to keep employment high. A concept that sadly seems to be lost on this Government.'

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Leas Cross Report "released under a smokescreen”

Sinn Féin’s Swords representative Conor Kelly has described as "cynical in the extreme" the decision of the Health Minister Mary Harney to publish the report on the Leas Cross nursing home on the same day as the publication of the 'Bord Snip' report.

Kelly said:

“Minister Harney chose to publish the Leas Cross report under the smokescreen of the publication of the Bord Snip report on the same day.

This is cynical in the extreme and does a disservice to the report itself and to the many nursing home residents and families across the country who had been awaiting the report and who are anxious to see the badly needed implementation of major improvements in monitoring and inspection of nursing homes.

“The report highlights the totally inadequate inspection system which
allowed the neglect of Swords people in Leas Cross to happen. It took a media
investigation to expose the facts that the HSE had failed to find or
chose to ignore. All the lessons of this report must be learned and

Kelly welcomes Swords drug seizure

Sinn Fein’s Swords Representative Conor Kelly has welcomed the seizure of a significant amount of drugs in Swords which included over €2.4m worth of cannabis. Kelly said the continued use of Cannabis in the Dublin drug scene is a major concern that needs to be tackled head on with all available resources.

Speaking today Kelly said, “Last night’s seizure of drugs in Swords is a welcome development and I congratulate those officers involved in the successful operation.

“Experience tells us that economic recessions are usually followed by a drugs crisis. It is therefore essential that the Government makes a significant investment in the fight against drugs, and it is economically prudent to do so. In fact we cannot afford not to.”

Kelly Challenges North Dublin TDs and Senators Print their Expenses in this paper in the coming weeks

Tom O’Higgins the chairman of the House Of The Oireachtas Audit Committee and former senior partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers a man who’s CV is full of impeccable international credentials is due to resign. He has been trying unsuccessfully to reform TDs and Senators expenses in his position but has been blocked continuously by the slimy greed that makes up the establishment.

His key demands are:
 Introduction of vouched expenses for TD’s and Senators.

 Annual Cap on the amount of expenses any TD or Senator can pocket.

Failure to implement even these reasonable demands shows the height of the problem we face. His continued attempts at reform have lacked support even though Finance Minister Brian Lenihan called for all TDs and Senators to lead by example in taking financial pain.

I feel that Tom O’Higgins failure to find support for these reform measures from our TD’s and Senators shows the amount of greed, corruption and wealth that is to be found in the corridors of power. This tempts me to ask the question what do these guys have to hide?

I personally think they have something to hide given the fact that three of the last four Taoisigh have ended up in front of the planning tribunals been accused of corrupt practices.

So I challenge our North Dublin TD’s to print their expenses in this Local news paper in the coming weeks and show us if they are implementing Tom O’Higgins key demands regarding expenses and whether or not they are playing their part just like the rest of us in these hard times.

Kelly Challenges North Dublin TD’s and Senators to take Average Industrial Wage of the People

Tom O’Higgins the former chairman of the House Of The Oreachtas Audit Committee and former senior partner at Pricewaterhouse Cooper a man who’s CV is full of impeccable international credentials is due to resign. He has been trying unsuccessfully to reform TD’s and Senators expenses in his position but has been blocked continuously by the slimy greed that makes up the establishment.

His key demands are:

 Introduction of vouched expenses for TD’s and Senators.

 Annual Cap on the amount of expenses any TD or Senator can pocket.

Failure to implement even these demands shows the height of the problem we face. His Continued attempts at reform have lacked support even though Finance Minister Brian Lenihan called for all TD’s and Senators to lead by example in taking financial pain.

I feel that Tom O’Higgins failure to find support for these reform measures with Our TD’s and Senators shows the Mountain of Greed and wealth that our Country’s leadership is made up of.

I challenge all our North Dublin TD’s and Senators to play there part in these economically hard times we find ourselves and take the average industrial wage of the people of North Dublin as there salary and give the rest of there wage to Fingal County Council to be put into a contingency fund to help those people effected by the down turn in the economy.

I firmly believe (and I wouldn’t do this job if I didn’t) that any person who is give the privilege of presenting the Irish people should be willing and thankful to accept the average industrial wage of the Irish people. As seen with my Sinn Fein Colleagues in Leinster House. They represent the people in return for the average industrial wage of the Irish people €32,000.

Kelly Calls on Fingal to Follow Waterford Eco Friendly Example

Swords Sinn Féin reprehensive Conor Kelly has called on Fingal County Council to follow Waterford County Councils example by introducing more eco friendly litter bins in Fingal.

During a resent fact finding trip to Waterford Conor observed a solar-powered litter bin in Waterford City Centre that holds up to six times more rubbish than others of it size.
It accomplishes the feat of being able to take, depending on its size, between four and six times the amount of refuse of other litter bins because it compresses the waste once the bin is full. The so-called Big Belly Bin is the first of it kind in this state.

Conor Stated “The Big Belly is one of two environmentally friendly waste bins being sold by Ellicro Environmental. The other is a recycling bin for drink cans and plastic bottles called the Reverse Vending Machine. Like the Big Belly, the Reverse Vending Machine can compact the cans and bottles it accumulates. It can also be programmed to shred them.”

Finishing Conor added “I’m calling of Fingal County Council to explore those new Eco options and report back to me”.

Kelly Calls for Swords Taxi Rank

Swords Sinn Féin reprehensive Conor Kelly has called on Fingal County Council to conduct a survey of Swords Main Street and access the possibility of building of a taxi rank on the main street.

While meeting local taxi drivers last week conor said “ you don’t have to be a genus to understand the need for a taxi rank on the main street, just take a walk down our main street, you will see numerous makeshift area’s used by taxi’s . This has to stop and Fingal County Council needs to address this issue

He also added “that not only will a taxi rank on swords main street improve the taxi service in the area it will also improve the flow of traffic because you will have taxi’s parked in one pacific place as apposed to all over the place as we see day in and day out”.

Finance Minister Refusal to stop Permanent TSB interest rate hike breathtakingly arrogant – Kelly

Sinn Féin’s Swords Representative Conor Kelly has described Finance
Minister Brian Lenihan’s comment that the increase reflects commercial
market realities as breathtakingly arrogant.

The Swords Representative said during a protest outside Permanent TSB in Swords today:

“Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has refused to intervene in Permanent
TSBs decision to hike up interest rates on mortgage holders thus
negating the recent ECB reductions. The Minister’s comment that the
increase reflects commercial market realities is breathtakingly arrogant
and illustrates magnificently in whose interests his decisions are made.

“This week Brian Lenihan muted a possible reduction in the minimum wage
and his government is actively considering reducing social welfare
payments as recommended by the McCarthy Report. At every turn this
government is attacking the low paid and the vulnerable and in the same
breath is doing whatever it takes and whatever it costs to protect the
profits on the banks.

“It is interesting to note that one of the Ministers appointees to the
Permanent TSB board is Ray McSharry, the former Minister for Finance who
appointed Colm McCarthy to the original An Bord Snip in 1987. It appears
its very much business as usual for Fianna Fáil Ministers old and new.

“The Minister’s refusal to stop the Permanent TSB increase must be
responded to. There can be no doubt that other lenders are now waiting
in the wings to follow Permanent TSB’s lead. The ECB’s interest rate
reductions that have been so instrumental in bringing down costs of
living will be negated if the government gives this signal to the
banking sector that it is ok to hike up rates. Taking money out of the
general economy and putting it into the coffers of financial
institutions profits is economically inept and socially reckless.

“In the 1980’s Geraldine Kennedy, then a Progressive Democrat TD was
challenged to live in Ballymum for a week existing only on social
welfare. She lasted 4 days. Well, all is quiet in the world of the
media, so I challenge Brian Lenihan on behalf of the people of Swords to provide for his family and pay off the average monthly mortgage relying only on a weekly social welfarepayment for the month of August. It would be great human interest story
and we would see if the Minister truly has the courage of his
convictions and the strength of character to see them through.”

Kelly Challenges Fine Gael to support SF effort to enshrine right to collective bargaining into constitution

Sinn Féin Swords Representative Conor Kelly has slammed Fine
Gael’s promise that if the Irish people vote yes to Lisbon and they are
returned to office, they will legislate for the right to collective
bargaining. Kelly described this promise as a bribe and challenged
Fine Gael to support a Sinn Féin effort to enshrine the right to
collective bargaining in the constitution.

Kelly said:

“Last year Sinn Féin introduced a Bill to enshrine the right to
collective bargaining in the constitution. We were joined by the Unite
trade union in launching the Bill. The unions have been demanding this
for years. Fine Gael have been entirely silent on this issue until now
and had ample opportunity to deal with it when they were previously in
power. They never bothered.

“The latest promise from Fine Gael shows the depths to which the Yes
side in the Lisbon campaign will sink. The continual blackmail over what
will or won’t happen depending on how people cast their vote has turned
democracy into a farce. First it was the Yes side threatening the
economy will implode if we vote no. Now they are offering bribes. The
right to collective bargaining is not something that should be dependent
on whether people support the Lisbon Treaty.

“The question must be asked if Fine Gael intends to legislate for the
right to collective bargaining in the event of the Irish people once
again rejecting the Lisbon Treaty.

“Fine Gael needs to be clear. If they are really interested in workers’
rights they need to commit to bringing forward a constitutional
referendum to enshrine to right to be represented by a trade union and
to bargain collectively into the constitution.”

Santry / Fingals Area’s Left Without Voice in Fingal County Council

Sinn Féin Fingal Representative Conor Kelly has called for answers from Fingal County Council after the aloud a situation to occur that Fingal residents from the Santry / Finglas area had to travel over 6 miles to get to a polling station to register there vote during this years local elections.

While chairing a public meeting on the issue Kelly Said "I would like to point out that there is no direct bus services to Morton Stadium from these area’s and that is took me 1 hour 30 minutes to walk from these estates to Morton Stadium polling station last week, this is comes close to gerrymandering. You only have to look around area to see the number of other premises that could have been used as a polling station, which would have resulted in this situation not occurring.

Finishing Kelly added " From looking at the turn out figures in the area’s you can clearly see there is a huge problem here, the average turn out in Fingal was 44% and the average turn out the the area’s affected which include boxes BT113, BT114, BT115, BT116, BT117 was 23%.

Lisbon Treaty & Fianna Fáil will both damage our economy – Kelly

Please note in launching this site we have uploaded past statements made by Sinn Féin in the Swords area. This post is one that was made prior to the second Lisbon referendum

Speaking in response to Minister for Foreign Affairs
Micheál Martin's claim that the Lisbon Treaty was good for workers and
the economy Sinn Féin Swords representative Conor Kelly said:

“The two single biggest threats to our economy are Fianna Fail in
government and the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

“Fianna Fail's mismanagement of the economy is directly responsible for
spiralling unemployment, the banking crisis, the public deficit and the
crisis in our public services. Neither Micheál Martin nor any other
member of this government are in a position to advise the electorate on
what is and is not in our economic interests. Indeed if the Minister was
truly interested in getting the Irish economy back on the road to
recovery he would advise his Fianna Fáil and Green Party colleagues to

“Micheal Martin’s claims that the Lisbon Treaty would assist economic
recovery and protect workers rights are equally spurious. Indeed in his
lengthy statement today he did not reference a single article in the
Treaty that would help create jobs or promote workers pay and

“In Sinn Fein's view ratifying the Lisbon Treaty will have the opposite
effect to that claimed by Micheál Martin. Article 16 gives the European
Commission new powers to subject services to the rules of competition
which will undermine vital public services such as health and education.
Article 188C gives the Commission increased powers for the negotiation
and conclusion of international trade agreements which will effectively
end the Irish government's veto over mixed international trade deals and
undermine the viability of many of the countries family farms. The
Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition mandates the EU to
remove all so called 'distortions' to competition, which will be used by
both the European Commission and European Court of Justice to further
undermine workers pay and conditions.

“These are just three of the sections of the Lisbon Treaty that are bad
for the Irish economy and for ordinary working people.

“The Lisbon Treaty was drafted by the very same right wing politicians
who led Ireland and the EU into recession. It contains many of the same
right wing policies that have underpinned the recession. The fact that
Fianna Fáil are calling for people to support Lisbon, at the very same
time as calling for support for NAMA and savage cutbacks to health and
education, should be reason enough to realise that it is a bad deal for
Ireland and Europe.

“On this basis the Lisbon Treaty should be rejected by the electorate on
October 2nd
Conor Kelly