Friday, February 19, 2010

"Tánaiste Coughlan has failed the people of SR Technics and remains indifferent to their plight"

Commenting on Government indifference to the former workers at SR Technics Balbriggan representative Fergus Byrne said:

“The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment needs to give an undertaking that she will immediately underwrite the applications from former SR Technic employees for third-level education courses while they await confirmation of the European Globalisation Fund to ensure that these people get access to courses before the close off date for funding under the Fund in October 2011.

“There needs to be an undertaking from the Minister that she will directly intervene in the decision by the Dublin Institute of Technology not to proceed with the proposed acceleration of the Engineering Systems Maintenance course for the former SR Technic employees, because of the failure by her Department to commit to, or underwrite funds for the course.”

“These former employees of SR Technics have been left in limbo. The application to the European Commission to draw down the European Globalisation Fund has been further delayed and in the meantime, these people are unable to take up the training and education courses that were promised to them eleven months on. All the minister has to do is to underwrite the funding of these courses but so far she has failed to do that, or to even give a commitment that she will.

“A proclaimed central plank of Government policy has been the development of the knowledge economy and the further training and upskilling of workers. However when I challenged the Minister today to underwrite funding for the course at DIT, she sat completely ignorant and indifferent to the plight of these workers.

“The Government and especially the Tánaiste have failed the people of SR Technics; failed to retain their jobs, failed to create alternative employment for them and now failed to guarantee them education, upskilling and training.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Byrne welcomes Agreement

Balbriggan Sinn Féin reopresentative Fergus Byrne has welcomed today's Agreement announced at Hillsborough Castle.

He said:

"The Agreement announced today is a very significant step forward for all the people of Ireland. I commend the Sinn Féin negotiators, the DUP negotiators and those of all parties and both Governments who contributed to this very welcome and positive development.

"Republicans throughout Ireland have been very patient not only over recent weeks but over recent years with regard to the vital issue of policing. A date has now finally been set for the long overdue transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast. That is a major achievement and it will also be a major challenge to ensure that policing services are delivered equitably and efficiently for all communities and that the justice system is independent and fully rights-based.

"I welcome especially the commitment to work on the outstanding issues from the St. Andrew's Agreement. That must include completion and full working of the all-Ireland structures, including the North-South Parliamentary Forum. Only yesterday in the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee in the Oireachtas we discussed the progress being made in all-Ireland co-operation on education and how so much more can yet be done. The same applies in areas like health, transport, employment creation, agriculture and so on.

"The real test of this Agreement will be how it delivers improvements in the daily life condition of ordinary people, not only in the Six Counties but across this island."

Government failing to deal with organised crime – Byrne

Balbriggan Sinn Féin reopresentative Fergus Byrne said the current rise in organised crime shows that serial legislative change by the government has failed to deliver.

Byrne said money obtained by the Criminal Assets Bureau should be re-directed into community development.

He said:

“The amendments to the motion by the government are disgraceful. They are self-congratulatory and are in denial of the real facts about the increase in crime.

“While Garda numbers have risen many still do not have access to basic tools to perform their job such as new technologies and even email in some cases.

“The civilianisation of Garda administrative functions has not reached targets due to poor organisation and planning.

“The government should ring-fence money obtained by the Criminal Assets Bureau into community development and targeting the causes of crime. Crime prevention must be properly resourced.

“The current crisis with regards to organised crime shows that serial legislative change by the government has failed to deliver.

“There is currently not enough provision for community policing. Increasing community policing would reduce crime and enable contact with the community and opportunities for information gathering that would far outweigh any costs involved.

“As part of any strategy to target organised crime we must increase regulation of cash for gold schemes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these often provide a ready made market for stolen goods and have led to a rise in aggravated burglaries and bogus callers.

“There has also been a complete failure to date at national and EU level to address legal drugs.

“Although it is important to implement a National Drugs Strategy for 2009-2016, the first period of the National Drugs Strategy made no dent in drug use, in fact drug use increased substantially.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What kind of country do we live in if we won't even give proper care to sick children?

“Continued closure of ward at Crumlin Children’s Hospital a disgrace” - Byrne SF

Balbriggan Sinn Féin representative Fergus Byrne has described as “a disgrace” the continued closure of a 25-bed ward at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Byrne said:

“Cuts at Crumlin Children’s Hospital last year received national attention as parents of very sick children were forced to protest and seek media coverage of their plight. The closure of the 25-bed St. Joseph’s Ward was supposed to be temporary, with the facility reopening this year. We now find that the ward is to remain closed, with the knock-on effect of continuing cancellations and unacceptably long waiting lists for operations and procedures, some of them life-saving.

“In a Dáil debate on the hospital last year Health Minister Mary Harney described Crumlin as ‘a centre of excellence, delivering outstanding care to the sick children of Ireland’ and ‘the tertiary hospital for the vast majority of children with a serious illness’. Such honeyed words are meaningless when the Minister presides over a situation where the hospital is struggling and sick children and their parents are being put through further unnecessary anguish.

“If Minister Harney diverted to Crumlin Children’s Hospital even some of the taxpayers money squandered in tax breaks for the developers of private hospitals then not only could the closed ward be reopened but services at Crumlin could be expanded further.”