Deputy John Brady makes his contribution on the Sinn Fein motion on the Domiciliary Care Allowance. He mentions a Wicklow example of this ufair removal of medical cards.
John Brady TD asking the Tanaiste when the comprehensive strategy on employment of people with disabilities will be implemented.
John Brady TD questioning the minister for social protection Leo Veradkar on Labour Activation Schemes such as JobBridge and Pathways.
Deputy John Brady asking questions of the minister for social protection Leo Veradkar on the Back to school allowance.
Deputy Brady bringing up the protracted Industrial Relations dispute between Childminding Ireland in Kilcoole which receives substantial state funding and IMPACT Members to see if the Minister will step in.
John Brady TD making contribution during the Dail debate on the Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill
John Brady TD giving his contribution to the Dail on the Governments Irish Water Charges Suspension Bill.
Sinn Fein spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady speaking in the Social Protection debate. It should be said the behaviour of the Chairman Eugene Murphy and his Fianna Fail party mate Willie O’Dea was nothing short of disgraceful.
John Brady gives his Statement regarding the new government that would be formed between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
John Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
The grubby little deal cobbled together by what can only be described as parties that make up the new austerity alliance is an agreement which, ultimately, will see no real change and the crisis in housing continue.
As we sit here this evening, we have a situation in Wicklow where two homeless men who were turned away from all services are now locked up in a county council building in Bray. The authorities have effectively locked them in, turned up the heating and stopped any supply of water and food getting to those two men who had no alternative but to lock themselves in that premises. No emergency accommodation was provided for those two individuals.
I appeal to the new Minister for housing, who is not present in the Chamber, to intervene personally in this case. These men are but two of many thousands of homeless people throughout the State, but this shows clearly that people are desperate and will resort to desperate means. I conclude by saying to the Minister, in his absence, that his first port of call should be to pick up the phone, call the authorities in Wicklow and end this scandalous situation that has been ongoing for the past two nights.
John Brady speaking to the Dail Statements re EU Migration and Refugees Crisis
John Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
I will start by addressing some of the language being used by some of my colleagues across the Chamber. There is nothing wrong with being a migrant. Certainly, we, in Ireland, should know this, but we should also know that refugees are not migrants; it is a refugee crisis about which we are talking. There is nothing wrong with seeking a better life where one can find it, but refugees are simply seeking to live. As the poet Warsan Shire wrote in her poem “Home”:
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat,
unless the water is safer than the land,
no one burns their palms,
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck,
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled,
means something more than a journey.
As Warsan Shire put it, refugees only leave home because it is now the mouth of a shark.
This is not a migrant crisis and to claim that it is is to minimise and trivialise the issue. Were the men and women who made their way to Ellis Island from Ireland with nothing in their stomachs but a burning desire to keep going migrants? Surely we, as a people, know what refuge means and understand the plight of those who flee an inhospitable home.
Every country has its periods of political strife, but Syria was the victim of western intervention which turned the country upside down and unrest into all-out chaos. It is a proxy war in which we are complicit because of our subservience at Shannon Airport. The international community’s failure to challenge the countries which secretly and sometimes openly support the barbarism of ISIS has led us to this crisis. Still we shake the bloody hands of Saudi leaders and send condolences to their tyrannical dynasty, shamefully flying the Tricolour at half mast. We are partly responsible for the crisis and that calls for us to be clear about what it entails and to be generous in our response. So far, we have failed utterly to live up to promise to take in thousands of refugees from Syria.
Ours must be a strong voice against the EU-Turkey deal. It is a disgraceful move by the European Union which gives comfort to a nation which has done little to tackle ISIS and everything to exploit the war to wipe out the Kurds and their political movements within its borders. We must reject the deal and move towards a meaningful plan for the distribution of refugees throughout Europe. We should look on this as an opportunity to be a beacon to the world for decency, compassion and humanity. Instead, save for an honourable few, we have sat on our hands. I pay tribute to the brave crew of the LE Eithne who have saved countless lives in the Mediterranean. Their work should be an example, but we betray their dedication by supporting a plan which places these lives back in harm’s way in Turkey.
I also mention the long-running refugee crisis as a result of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. There are 5.1 million Palestinian refugees who span generations. These families include adults who have never known a life outside a refugee camp, a home or their homeland. They are situated almost entirely within the Middle East and, therefore, are at the mercy of often unstable political regimes. They are the victims of another crisis. Over 500,000 Palestinians are in camps in Syria. They are refugees from a country from which we buy arms. We must work harder to challenge the occupation of Palestine, the blockade of Gaza, the apartheid wall and all of the brutal measures used by Israel to make Palestine a place no Palestinian can truly call home. We must do this in order that they will be refugees no more and can have not just a right to return but also the ability and a reason to do so.
Ireland must be a voice and an ally for refugees in a way we were never able to be for our own.
John Brady speaking in the debate on the imposition of water charges
John Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
Only one good thing has stemmed from the introduction of water charges, namely, the awakening and politicisation of a generation of people. Hundreds of thousands of people have mobilised since Fine Gael and the Labour Party first implemented Fianna Fáil’s blueprint for water charges. We have seen a coming together of progressive forces and the formation of the Right2Change movement, which has organised some of the largest demonstrations in the history of the State, one of which took place the weekend before the general election. In February, the people decided to elect more than 90 Deputies with a mandate to scrap water charges and Irish Water. They do not have a mandate to reform Irish Water or water charges, as some in Fianna Fáil would lead us to believe.
It appears some little grubby deal has been done by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, pushing the issue down the road to allow Fianna Fáil to support Deputy Enda Kenny’s return as Taoiseach. Last week, 39 Deputies submitted a motion to end Irish Water and water charges. The fact that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael again colluded by preventing a vote on the motion to abolish the charges and Irish Water tells a tale. The House should have acted on the mandate it received and put the issue to bed here today, once and for all.
The State has forcefully pursued Irish Water’s agenda with gardaí and private security firms in tow. Last year, across the State, more than 188 ordinary citizens were arrested for opposing the installation of water meters, some of which were being installed by companies with friends in very high places. On 14 April, 14 people were arrested in Wicklow town for peacefully protesting against the roll-out of the water metering programme, which is costing more than €540 million. At the protest, not unlike many others, more than 15 gardaí were present, acting as a private security firm for a private company. Last year, in a similar protest in Wicklow town, a force of more than 30 gardaí arrested 17 people. The irony is that due to Garda cutbacks, Wicklow town has no community garda and yet resources are being squandered to protect Denis O’Brien. Would those resources not be better spent protecting communities from the crime gangs that are terrorising and murdering people in all our communities? Would it not be better to stop raiding the limited resources local authorities have in order to hand them over to Irish Water to install meters?
The evidence indicates that the establishment of Irish Water and the introduction of water charges was more about privatisation than conservation. Water meters and charges do not encourage conservation. Investing in the water sector, reducing the unacceptably high percentage of leaks and introducing water harvesting and dual flush systems as part of building regulations would guarantee conservation. Would it not make sense to invest in infrastructure and fix the leaks that are resulting in over 40% of water being lost, rather than installing water meters that will, ultimately, become redundant?
The electorate has spoken. People have said they do not want water charges or Irish Water. We do not need a commission of experts to be established to examine issues such as alternative charging systems. A panel of experts, namely, the Irish people, has already given its report. They will not be fooled by any grubby little deal which kicks the issue of water charges down the road in order to return Deputy Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. The mandate they gave to the majority of Deputies is to totally scrap water metering, Irish Water and water charges. I ask the Minister of State to stop criminalising entire communities by stopping the roll-out of the water metering programme immediately.
John Brady Dail Statement on the state of the Health Service
John Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
Nelson Mandela once stated, “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” The World Health Organization’s constitution enshrines “the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.” These are not aspirational achievements but the basic fundamentals for a fair society and the bedrock of a true republic. However, this State has failed its citizens and has failed to uphold their rights. The chaos in our health service is a direct consequence of the bad policies of the former Fine Gael-Labour Party Government and of Fianna Fáil before it.
Last year, 92,998 people were treated on trolleys in hospitals. This was the highest number since 2006, representing an increase of 21% in hospital overcrowding. Over 490,500 patients are awaiting treatment or assessment in the public hospital system. Since 2008, there are 8,982 fewer front-line staff working in the health service. It is no wonder there is a crisis.
My constituency, Wicklow, has been served appallingly by successive Governments in the context of the provision of vital health services. What limited health services we did have were eroded by successive Governments. The Fianna Fáil-Green Party Government closed down Wicklow district hospital in 2010, along with 20 beds. It also closed the Orchard welfare home in Bray, which had 39 beds, as well as St. Bridget’s ward in St. Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, with the loss of a further 23 beds. The previous Fine Gael-Labour Party Government closed the 24-hour accident and emergency department at the hospital, which served my constituents well for many years and the staff of which did fantastic work. The move to impose the 21,000 patients who used that accident and emergency department on the already overwhelmed St. Vincent’s University Hospital was bound to fail and, indeed, it did fail all our citizens. As we debate this issue, 21 patients are lying on trolleys in St. Vincent’s hospital. Across the State, 420 people are lying on trolleys. The acting Minister’s failures do not stop there. When it comes to the hospital that serves my constituency, 15,306 people are on outpatient waiting lists at St. Vincent’s, while nearly 900 patients have been waiting for treatment for over a year. The Minister stated it was his goal to ensure that by the end of the 2015 no patient would be waiting longer than 15 months for treatment. It is now clear he has failed to deliver on that aim.
The true extent of the health crisis does not stop there. Last week, it was reported St. Vincent’s University Hospital will stop accepting new patients with malignant melanomas for four months because it does not have enough consultants. Melanoma is the third most common cancer found in the 15 to 44 age bracket. Each year in this State, more than 700 new cases are diagnosed and, unfortunately, there are 100 melanoma-related deaths. As is the case with all cancers, early diagnosis is key to treatment. For patients to be turned away from any hospital for four months is totally unacceptable. Ultimately, this is a matter for which the Minister bears responsibility. He needs to take responsibility and ensure that the recruitment of a permanent consultant can take place immediately in order that patients can receive the necessary diagnoses and treatment.
We in Sinn Féin have argued that the only genuine way of solving the health crisis is to stop undermining the public health system and start investing in and properly resourcing our hospitals. In our alternative budget for 2016, we outlined how an investment of €383 million would begin to make serious inroads into tackling the crisis. This investment would provide 500 additional nurses, 250 midwives and 250 consultants, thereby helping to alleviate the strain on the delivery of front-line services. In the recent election, Fine Gael’s priority was to cut taxes. We all know that when Fine Gael cuts taxes, it prioritises the mega rich above those on low and average incomes. Unfortunately, Fine Gael’s type of nation is one judged by how it treats its highest citizens but not its lowest.
John Brady Speech on Housing Crisis
John Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
Homelessness is not just a blight on those left behind by society due to substance abuse, mental illness or tragic personal loss. For years legislators have failed these people, leaving the responsibility of care in the hands of hard-pressed volunteer organisations whose resources were cut in the fire storm of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour austerity.
Today homelessness affects thousands of children and their parents, many of whom are in full-time employment but have been forced onto the streets due to the spiralling uncontrolled rents and a catalogue of pitiful policy failures. One hundred years on from the Easter Rising of 1916, there are nearly 6,000 people in emergency accommodation of whom 1,830 of them are children. In my own constituency of Wicklow-East Carlow, 146 families, including 240 children, presented as homeless in 2015. This is certainly not the republic envisaged by the men and women of 1916.
In the Circuit Court in Wicklow, yesterday 68 families faced eviction from their homes by financial institutions that we bailed out to the tune of €64 million, and in some cases we actually own. They feel helpless in the hands of a system that treats them as no more than a statistic, a system which sees them as an inconvenience and an embarrassing reminder of the incompetence of a Government which put banks, financiers, developers and corporations ahead of the people they are sworn to represent. The situation in which these families and thousands more like them across the country find themselves is a direct and shocking consequence of Government ignorance, Government failure and Government indifference.
All of this has been described as a national emergency, a national crisis. This is true, but let nobody be under any illusion. It is a damn shame on this House and on all those who occupied the Government benches over the past ten years. Nero fiddled while Rome burned but the Minister and his colleagues in government have gone one step further by throwing petrol on the flames.
The implementation of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 is now facilitating the repossession of family homes forcing ever more families onto the streets. The priority of this caretaker Government and whatever new Government is put in place should be to protect the family home and stop more families becoming statistics. This can only be done by reforming the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013, as was proposed by Sinn Féin in 2014.