Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sinn Féin Sets Out It's Stall For New Council Term

Sinn Féin Sets Out its Stall for New Council Term

Sinn Féin’s group leader on Cork City Council, Jonathan O’Brien, today set out the party’s priorities for the new council term. He was speaking after himself and his colleagues Cllrs Chris O’Leary, Henry Cremin, Thomas Gould and Fiona Kerins held a meeting with the incoming City Manager at which they discussed a range of issues affecting the city.

Cllr Jonathan O’Brien stated: “Over the past year Sinn Féin has established itself as the opposition on Cork City Council. While other parties are content to divvy up places on committees and collect their expenses, want to change the system and make the council more responsive to the needs of the people it is meant to serve.” “In July we launched our housing campaign, “Let’s End the Wait”, demanding quality, affordable housing for all. As part of that campaign we published a policy document outlining a series of measures which the council could implement to cut social housing lists and improve the conditions of tenants.

These included introducing a transparent, points based housing list, providing a charter of rights for tenants, and allowing tenants carry out emergency maintenance and deduct the cost from their rent. We also called for properties in NAMA to be handed over to the council and given to those on the housing list or sold at an affordable price. That campaign continues through the autumn with a series of public meetings in all wards of the city, and we will keep up the pressure in the council chamber until housing policy is changed.”

“Protecting services is also a priority for Sinn Féin. The public refuse service and the city car parks are threatened with privatisation. This would result in less choice and higher prices for service users, as well as putting jobs at risk. We will stand against any attempt to privatise council services, as well as against the threatened imposition of water charges. This will inform our approach to the estimates. Ordinary workers and householders cannot be made pay for the disastrous mistakes of a few. While the council needs to cut costs, we should trim the fat of conference fees and junkets rather than targeting services that ordinary people depend on.” “The way the council works needs to change as well. In this day and age it is no longer tolerable for a cosy cartel to divvy up positions and take decisions behind closed doors. Council must be more open and transparent.

We want the estimates process to involve consultation with and a meaningful input from all the elected members. We want the public to be assured of the best possible service from the council. We want councillors to be able to divert their conference fees to useful projects in their wards, such as traffic-calming measures or community sports grants.”

“With five city councillors, Cork Sinn Féin goes into this council term stronger than ever before. We are determined to use that strength to make a difference – to reform housing policy, protect services and make local government more accountable.” For further information contact Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907.

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