Thursday, August 27, 2009

Local Community stops arcarde from opening at Castle Mill Shopping Centre

Last month Sinn Féin highlighted that a developer planned to open an amusement arcade in Castle Mill Shopping Centre.

The local community and local businesses were greatly opposed to such a plan and a campaign to lobby the council to reject this proposal was mounted. I am pleased to say that this campaign was successful and the planning application for a change of use of the premises concerned was rejected by Fingal County Council.

This case shows that when people are motivated and become involved in issues concerning their community, then positive things can happen.

Once again Balbriggan Sinn Féin wishes to congratulate all those involved with this campaign.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Boycott Thomas Cook Now!

Members of Sinn Féin in Balbriggan protested today at the Four Courts in Dublin at the disgraceful treatment of Thomas Cook workers. At 5.30 am this morning over 100 members of the Gardaí smashed their way into the Thomas Cook offices in Dublin and arrested over 20 members of staff. These offices had been occupied by the workers because the management of the company had arrived from England on 31st July and told the staff they were closing the store as soon as staff had left the building.

Understandably staff took the action to occupy the building as there had not been full negotiations on redundancy and neither was a reasonable period of notice given to the staff.

Fergus Byrne, Sinn Féin representative in Balbriggan, said that, "The treatment of the staff at Thomas Cook has been a disgrace. The company made over 400 million euro profit last year and the Managing Director received a 5 million euro bonus. Yet look how they treat their employees. Sinn Féin stands 100% behind the Thomas Cook employees and advises everybody to boycott Thomas Cook until such time as they show some respect for their Irish workforce."

Speaking today as workers employed by Thomas Cook were arrested for standing up for their rights Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the distorted priorities of the Irish judiciary and the Garda Siochana speak volumes for how this country has gotten into such deep recession.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: “Where was the judiciary when the Irish banks were shamelessly engaged in reckless lending practises, when loans were hidden, when creative accountancy hid the real state of the Irish financial sector from the taxpayer who is set to pick up the tab?
“White collar crime goes unpunished in this State; in fact it goes rewarded as we have seen with the release of the NAMA legislation last week, yet ordinary workers are being held to account in front of a High court Judge for trying to secure a fair and equitable redundancy deal for themselves.

“When more than 150 officers from Pearse Street Garda station broke down the door of the Thomas Cook premises on Grafton Street after 5am this morning, the failings of the Irish justice system could not have been any more obvious. Mr Justice Peart ordered their arrest when they failed to vacate the premises following a court order issued on Saturday. What crime did they commit? What injustice did these ordinary people bring upon the Irish state? Did they engage in reckless lending practises, using bank deposits to play in a global banking casino? No, these ordinary workers were standing up for their rights; their right to a decent redundancy package of 8 weeks per each year of service.

“The distorted priorities of the Irish judiciary and the Garda Siochana speak volumes for how this country has gotten into such deep recession; punish the ordinary worker to please the profiteers. Actions speak louder than words and the sight of a pregnant worker being led to a Garda van, after having tried to secure a sufficient remuneration for herself gives us an indication of the actions that ail our country.

“Despite the banking sectors legacy of reckless lending that has driven us into a recession, not a single government Minister or banking executive has been held to account. Yet we arrest a pregnant woman for defending her rights.”

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We save the banks and they turn around and screw us!

Would the 3 EEJITS please get off your backsides and do something about this!

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan has refused to intervene in Permanent TSB’s decision to hike up interest rates on mortgage holders, thus negating the recent European Central Bank 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.

Lenihan has mooted 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 doing whatever it takes to protect the profits on the banks.

It is interesting to note that one of the minister’s 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.

The European Central Bank’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.