Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sinn Féin Councillors Join ESB Protestor at Cork Event
Sinn Fein Councillors Thomas Gould and Chris O'Leary with ESB Protestor Seamus Sherlock and a member of the public. The councillors were supporting Seamus at a petition-signing calling on the ESB to cease disconnecting people who are genuinely making an effort to pay their bills, and end the disconnection charge. Seamus Sherlock came to public prominence two weeks ago when he travelled from Limerick to protest outside ESB headquarters in Dublin over its management’s refusal to accept his attempts to pay €50 a week off outstanding bills. The separated father-of-five had been left a €2,261 bill when he took over the household in June. He borrowed more than €1,100 from family and friends to pay off half the debt in a lump sum and then offered to use €50 a week from his €196 social welfare payment to cover the rest of the bill. There are currently 30 people being disconnected by the ESB every day
For further information contact Cllr Chris O'Leary @ 087-2794307
Administration of Back to School Allowance a Shambles
Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan O’Brien has slammed the failure of the HSE to ensure prompt processing of applications for the Back to School Clothing and footwear Allowance, citing numerous examples of constituents who have still not received the payment as schools re-open this week.
Cllr O’Brien stated:
“It is clear the HSE is struggling with the volume of applications for the Back To School Clothing and Footwear Allowance they have received. Some applications submitted in June have still not been paid.”
“As children return to school this week many parents are under extreme financial pressure – and the delay in payment of the Back to School Allowance is simply adding to their burden.”
“Sinn Féin has worked hard over a number of years to make people aware of this scheme which is one of the most under-claimed of all entitlements. We warned last year that the HSE did not have the resources to manage this scheme and unfortunately we have been proved right. It is scandalous that parents are being effectively denied this payment until after the school term starts, leaving many of them having to put themselves into debt in order to pay for school uniforms, books, trainers etc.”
“I am calling on the HSE to assign extra staff to the scheme to speed things up. The Health Services Executive needs to get its act together and clear the backlog of applications.”
For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @085-2133907.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
ESB Has a Social Obligation to its Customers
Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan O'Brien has expressed concern about the news that the ESB is disconnecting 900 customers per month.
Cllr O'Brien stated: "At a time when many people are experiencing financial hardship, it is not acceptable for a state company to withdraw electricity from customers who for genuine reasons are unable to pay."
"Customers who are disconnected are charged further fees as a result and this only compounds their situation." "Ireland has moved from having the cheapest electricity prices in Europe to the second highest, with a further increase of 5% two weeks ago, This is a consequence of the government policy of preparing the ESB for privatisation." "The ESB is a state company with a social obligation, and should remain so. It should not be in the business of disconnecting any customer who is making a genuine effort to reach an arrangement with the company." For further information or comment, phone Jonathan O'Brien @ 085-2133907.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Sinn Féin councillors and members today held a protest outside Bank of Ireland on Patrick Street, to highlight the contrast between the billions handed over to banks and the lack of assistance for ordinary householders.
Members of the public enthusiastically queued up to throw wet sponges at Ógra Shinn Fein's Donnacha O'Laoghaire, who was dressed as a banker for the day.
The protest was part of Cork Sinn Féin's ongoing housing campaign.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Jonathan O'Brien stated: "The government's indifference to the plight of ordinary homeowners struggling with mortgage arrears and negative equity, or the hundred thousand waiting for social housing, is in sharp contrast to the extraordinary commitment it has shown to bailing out the banks.
"Yet those same banks, which owe their continued existence to the support of the taxpayer, are trying to claw back losses which were due to their own recklessness through levying higher bank charges and interest rates on their customers, while threatening householders who cannot pay their mortgages with eviction."
"Sinn Féin believes the people who really deserve a bailout are those ordinary families who bought properties at inflated prices during the boom, convinced by the government's promise that it would never end, and now find themselves with mortgages worth more than their houses and, all too often, without jobs. Banks which have been bailed out should be obliged to write off a portion of the difference between the purchase price and the current market value of a family home for those average income households who bought their properties since 2004.
"We also want vacant properties taken over by NAMA to be handed over to local authorities to provide homes for some of the 100,000 people on the waiting list."
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Where is the NAMA for Homeowners? - Protest and Photocall at Bank of Ireland
Banks which have been bailed out by the state to the tune of €30 billion and counting continue to raise mortgage rates for homeowners and threaten those who cannot pay with eviction – while funding golf club memberships for their staff.
As part of its ongoing housing campaign, Cork Sinn Féin are to hold a protest outside Bank of Ireland on Patrick Street at 1pm Friday. The event will feature a photocall with members of Ógra Shinn Féin, the party’s youth wing, dressed up as bankers and being pelted with sponges by members of the public.
Sinn Féin Councillor Jonathan O’Brien stated: “As cutbacks to public services continue, this week saw yet more taxpayer’s money being poured into the black hole that is our banks. Anglo Irish – the property developers’ bank – has now cost €24 billion. Bank of Ireland and AIB have received €7 billion between them. Up to €50 billion more may be spent on NAMA.” “But where is the NAMA for vulnerable homeowners who are victims of the banks’ reckless lending? Instead of government assistance for those struggling to pay mortgages, we have rising interest rates which will push more mortgages into arrears. The past few weeks have seen both Bank of Ireland and AIB announcing increases in their mortgage rates. “It is not acceptable that banks which have received billions in taxpayers’ money should extract a further subsidy from ordinary householders through higher interest rates. Sinn Féin wants to see the banks taken into state ownership and a state bank created which would provide affordable loans for homeowners and businesses.
“We also believe that banks which have been bailed out should be obliged to write off a proportion of the difference between the purchase price and the current market value of a family home for those average income households who bought their properties since 2004. “And we want vacant properties taken over by NAMA to be passed on to local authorities to provide homes for some of the 100,000 people on the waiting list. It’s time to end the banks’ free ride – and lend a hand to ordinary homeowners.”
For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907
Friday, August 6, 2010
Create Jobs to Stop Emigration
As the jobless figure reached a record high, Cork Sinn Féin activists held an event at Cork Airport this morning to highlight the plight of young people forced to emigrate in search of work.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Jonathan O’Brien said the government must make job creation the number one national priority.
Cllr O’Brien stated: “Despite talk of recovery, the dole queues continue to lengthen. The recession is far from over for 450,000 unemployed. Young, educated workers who see no future in Ireland are leaving our shores every day, taking their skills and talent to build the economies of other countries. The government’s only response is to promise more cutbacks and throw good money after bad into the black hole that is Anglo-Irish Bank.” “Resolving the unemployment crisis must become a national priority. Sinn Féin has put forward a comprehensive set of proposals to retain and create jobs.These include- A €500 million youth jobs fund to create 20,000new jobs.Creating jobs through the construction of essential infrastructure – hospitals, schools, public transport networks and roll-out of broadband. ·
A new green technology body – Eolas Glás Éireann – for research, promotion and funding of green energy and environmental technologies.Introduce specific job-creation strategies in agri-food, tourism, digital media and IT.A €600 million job retention fund to subsidise workers in struggling small and medium businesses – with potential to save 96,000 jobs It is time to put a comprehensive job creation strategy in place and stop exporting our future. Our full job creation proposals can be accessed at www.sinnfein.ie.”
For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Stop Exporting Our Future!
In the wake of today’s figures showing a further 8,500 signing on the dole, Cork Sinn Féin will hold a photocall outside the main terminal at Cork Airport at 8.30am tomorrow to highlight the plight of young people forced to emigrate in search of work.
Speaking in advance of the event, Cllr Jonathan O’Brien said the country was in danger of slipping back to the 1980s, with a new “lost generation” of young people become victims of unemployment and emigration.
Cllr O’Brien stated:
“Our young, educated workforce is the strongest asset we have to rebuild this country’s economy. But young people who see no future in Ireland are leaving every day and taking their skills and talent to build the economies of other countries. A recent ERSI report predicted that 200,000 people could emigrate in the coming years if unemployment is not dealt with.”
“The Government is doing nothing about this. Like Fianna Fail governments of the past they are happy to see the ‘safety valve’ of emigration take the pressure off them.
“The prolonged Dáil break is an insult to the unemployed when urgent action is needed to create jobs. Our message to the government is simple – create jobs to stop emigration.
“Resolving the unemployment crisis must become a national priority. Sinn Féin has put forward a comprehensive set of proposals to retain and create jobs. These include
· A €500 million youth jobs fund to create 20,000 new jobs.
· Creating jobs through the construction of essential infrastructure – hospitals, schools, public transport networks and roll-out of broadband.
· A new green technology body – Eolas Glás Éireann – for research, promotion and funding of green energy and environmental technologies.
· Introduce specific job-creation strategies in agri-food, tourism, digital media and IT.
· A €600 million job retention fund to subsidise workers in struggling small and medium businesses – with potential to save 96,000 jobs
It is time to put a comprehensive job creation strategy in place and stop exporting our future. Our full job creation proposals can be accessed at http://www.sinnfein.ie.”
For further information contact Cllr Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907.