Speaking in Leinster House today, Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny TD, has said that the measures introduced by Minister Michael Creed on the National Reserve were welcome, but do not go far enough.
Deputy Kenny said:
“While I am glad that, at last, the Minister has done something to help young farmers and new entrants to farming for 2017, after leaving them in the lurch last year, these measures do not go far enough to resolve the situation.
“However, €5 million is not enough to deal with the backlog of young farmers who have completed or who are now trying to complete green cert training and who will be seeking entitlements soon.”
Sinn MEP Liadh Ní Riada was in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary on Friday to meet the River Shannon Protection Alliance group along with Cllr Séamie Morris. Liadh heard first hand from people who have been affected by the lowering water levels on Lough Derg among many other issues. Liadh agrees that Lough Derg is vital for the tourism prospects in the region for the future and as an economic asset for the Mid West region.
Irish Water’s preferred proposition at present is to use water from Lough Derg via a major pipe construction to supply Dublin and surrounding areas.
Irish Water have begun a public consultation process that will last until Feb 14th 2017. Councillor Morris is calling on people who feel strongly about this issue to contact him, get involved in local campaign groups, or lodge their own submission.
“We already have problems arising in the Irish mushroom sector, because of the significant weakening of Sterling against the Euro over recent weeks, with plants closing down, as a result of Brexit concerns.”
“Brexit is an all-island issue. So, I expect MEPs from all over Ireland to support the setting up of a Brexit working group for agriculture.
“In my opinion farming and food in Tipperary are the industries that have most to lose from Brexit.”
Liadh is also concerned about rural Tipperary, A European Commission report into the Cumulative Effects of Trade Agreements which was published today proved again that deals like CETA & TTIP will have devastating consequences for agriculture.
Now Irish MEPs (Fine Gael, in particular) have a choice to make in advance of the European Parliament vote on CETA, due to take place in December.
They can either support Irish farmers or they can support regressive trade deals such as CETA & TTIP, but they can’t support both.
2015-06-19: Cllr Séamie Morris (Sinn Féin), MEP Liadh Ní Riada (Sinn Féin) and Declan Collisson (Shannon Protection Alliance) outside The Lake Café.
Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has followed up his recent criticism of the depths to which the Irish Health Service has been allowed to fall, by questioning whether promises from Minister Alan Kelly can be counted upon at all. He was speaking after the release of a video in which he displayed a signed promise by Alan Kelly made when Kelly was a candidate in 2011.
Cllr Morris said: “Each candidate in 2011 made a promise – in writing – to save 24-hour emergency and intensive care services at Nenagh Hospital. Among those who signed was Alan Kelly.”
“This is particularly galling, as Kelly led a march of 5,000 people around Nenagh to protest against threats to services there. Yet, as soon as he was elected he made a massive U-turn. Both of those services were abandoned as soon as they were no longer convenient.”
“Minister Kelly has made much of being at the top-table, but that’s of no use if he doesn’t do what he said he’d do when he gets there. It worries me that people in the southern part of the county might not know about his track record. They shouldn’t be fooled. They need to know that he has already abandoned North Tipperary people, and is unlikely to do any different in the South.”
“As a warning to people in Clonmel they should know that during a radio interview last Friday Minister Kelly let slip that Labour has a two-tier approach to election promises. He said “the one promise we did make, a real promise we made, is that we would put the country into recovery” – which clearly means that there are ‘real’ promises, with presumably all the rest of the promises being unreal. I think even a child would describe that as lying. As Pat Rabbite once said of his promises, “isn’t that what you do during an election?”. Clearly, Kelly, Rabitte and Labour are on the one page about honesty at election time.”
“The most upsetting story I have heard of personally is of one woman who worked for years in Nenagh hospital and, now retired, found herself left on a trolley when she herself needed care. I met her son coming out from the hospital with tears in his eyes at the indignity that woman was subjected to after so many years of loyal service.”
“My canvass in the southern end of the county has also thrown up such stories. Too many of them. The health service has gone from bad to worse in the last number of years. This didn’t happen overnight.”
“Labour has traditionally been pointed out as the party that would care for the elderly and the weak, and as a counter-balance to the right-wing heartlessness of Fine Gael. They have failed in that role, as they have failed in so much else.”
“To the people in the south of our county I say you might be tempted to vote Labour when they promise to look after you. Don’t be fooled. The level of anger at Kelly that has been expressed in the north of our county is from people who know. Trust their judgement.”
“We need radical change in this country, through the ballot box, on the 26th. Please vote for change!”
Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has called on the public to realise that Sinn Féin’s progressive vision for society is the best option to achieve the ideals of the Republic. He was speaking after Taoiseach Enda Kenny dissolved the 31st Dáil this morning and announced Friday, February 26th as the date of the General Election.
Cllr Morris said: “This is a historic election for all of us, and we have to realise that the choices we make now will be reflected upon in 100 years time, by our children, and our children’s children.”
“We stand at a crossroads in time. We can either stick with the failed politics of Fine Gael and Labour, and the bankrupt morality of Fianna Fáil, or we can strike out anew for our ideal society. We have this one chance to do what’s best for Tipperary and right for ourselves.”
“Sinn Féin has a vision of a New Republic which doesn’t have the constant chaos and conflict that we see now. We can see in our failed health service that the existing policies don’t work. We can see in our housing crisis that the existing policies work against citizens. But only the voter on February 26th can choose which turn at this crossroads we will take.”
“We can choose a better education system – starting with more childcare – and moving to full equality of opportunity, or we can stick with the ways that brought our State to bankruptcy. We can choose fundamental change, or we can choose to continue down the road of Fine Gael and Labour which means more privatisation and poorer services.”
“Fine Gael and their pretend-left friends in Labour are hurtling down the road that brings us to chaotic American-style taxation with threadbare public services. That’s not vision, that’s just mimicking their governance by corporation. I have a vision of the Republic that matches the idealism of 1916, and the practical sense to see how to achieve it.”
“Across our county ordinary people have seen the work that Sinn Féin councillors do. From Carrick to Thurles citizens are realising that only Sinn Féin are on the ground all year round. They realise that our promise to scrap the toxic Uisce Éireann monster, and to abolish Property Tax is part of our commitment to a better Ireland.”
“When low earners are removed from the USC bracket, as they will be when Sinn Féin are lead party in government, those citizens will begin to understand the difference between big-business government and government by ordinary people like us.”
“But only registered voters get to choose their future. The supplementary register is open until February 12 so I ask anyone not registered get on it immediately.”
“Picking another establishment TD for Tipperary won’t do anything different for Tipperary than what it’s done in the past. And that has to stop.”
“It’s no longer enough to merely share our vision. Citizens are asked to take action, and vote for it. Register by the 12th, and vote on the 26th. Otherwise our shared dream of a New Republic may never be more than talk.”
Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has congratulated RTE and the RTE Investigation Unit for the broadcast of a program revealing corruption among elected officials. The program aired on RTE1 on 2015-12-07, and showed footage of county councillors seeking personal gain for their public work. He states this case reminds him of his own battle against a poor zoning decision which almost saw him in court.
Cllr. Morris said: “The program shown last Monday night was a shocking exposé of the culture of back-handers which still exists for some. An elected councillor has only one responsibility, that’s to look out for the best interests of the people who elected him.”
“It’s not possible to fulfil that responsibility honestly while seeking payment in money or services. I congratulate RTE on bringing such naked corruption to light.”
“Other than the three councillors shown in the program, I am aware that quite a number of other councillors are listed by RTE as having made incorrect declarations. I can understand – at a human level – how easy it is to make one mistake. But when you see two and three properties and other interests not being declared, that’s not a mistake. That’s a breach of ethics. Resignation from the Council should follow such blatant breaches of trust.”
“The public places great trust in us to defend the best interests of their neighbourhoods and localities. To make policy decisions in good faith requires disclosure if there is a potential conflict of interest.”
“Some time back I took part in a Prime Time debate on planning, and even then Councillors from other counties were making decisions in favour of zoning on flood-plains. That’s an example of poor decision making, which can’t ever be in the best interests of the people who will live there.”
“But to see the underhanded money-grabbing conduct on television on a Monday night is utterly shocking, even more so that reading about it in the paper.”
“For the others, who somehow forget to mention a whole farm, and multiple directorships, that’s too big of a mistake to be accidental.”
“I found myself on the receiving end of solicitors letters in 2008 when I referred a dubious planning decisions in Puckane to the Ethics Registrar. Even though it wasn’t in my district, I was the only councillor who stood his ground in support of the residents, and was almost in court because of it. Instead of 30 acres, a massive over-zoning of 105 acres took place in a village with a population of only 200 people. The land has since been de-zoned in keeping with residents wishes, proving the correctness of our position.”
“For the RTE councillors, resigning from their party isn’t sufficient. The only honourable next step for each of the councillors who have been caught out on this occasion, is to resign from their seats.”
Cllr Séamie Morris has welcomed the allocation of €200,000 in new funding for Nenagh AFC. He says he is pleased to see the project which he helped start come to fruition and to continue to prosper.
Cllr Morris said: “I welcome the announcement of €200,000 in new sports capital funding for Nenagh AFC in the latest round of allocations.”
He said: “I was the secretary of Nenagh AFC when they first set their sights on the 12 acre site on the Birr Road in Nenagh. We persuaded 75 people to become shareholders of the Brickfields site which raised the initial money for the purchase of what was then bog-land. Since then up to €2 million has been spent on the site transforming tit into a busy sports complex with many different sporting organisations benefiting from the facilities there.”
“When I originally set up the sports tourism grants I realised that there was a glaring deficit in our facilities in Tipperary for catering for Sports Tourism. There was no full All-weather pitch in Tipperary, so I set aside €50,000 in Nenagh Town Council. I protected that fund when Nenagh Town council was closed. And I transferred the money into Nenagh Municipal area’s first budgetary fund.”
“I then challenged clubs and organisations to provide an All-weather pitch for the area. At the announcement of the €200,000 grant last Saturday, Nenagh AFC’s Chairman Ciarán Scully said that his club took on that challenge.”
“That kick-started them into negotiations with the North Tipperary Schoolchildren’s League and the FAI. This has resulted in a partnership which will see the NTSL and the FAI turn the Brickfields into an FAI regional centre which. This will transform the provision of top class soccer for the region into the future.”
“I am glad to have played a part in helping us to get to this point, and now congratulate that new partnership for their vision, and for taking up the challenge. I wish to remind them that they are very welcome to continue to approach me for the help that they know from experience I am delighted to give.”
“I also congratulate the Tipperary Regional Development Officer James Scott on his new role as the Irish International Under-16 team manager. This is a great boost for James who has been to the forefront of the very impressive North Tipperary Development Programme. Their coaching staff have already seen 10 juvenile Irish internationals have come through the development squads, making it the most successful development programme outside Dublin.”
Cllr Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin has concluded another successful season of his Sports Tourism initiative, saying that both European and North American groups get great enjoyment from Sports Tourism, just as Tipperary gets great employment from Sports Tourism.
Cllr Morris said: “Only last week a German school group from Herzogenrath Gymnasium sampled the Premier Hurling experience in MacDonagh Park Nenagh. A few weeks back, they were preceded by another German group, from Villendorf Stuttgart, who experienced hurling for their first time.”
“Our tourists really enjoy the Premier Hurling Experience which starts with a short introduction to hurling and the skills involved. They then put what they see into practice, and are put through a number of hurling drills by Premier Hurling coaches.”
“Of course all the groups enjoy the Puc Fáda competition at the end. Sometimes that’s the best part for them as they enjoy competing. Girls, boys, teachers and parents take part. We’ve even had the bus drivers taking part in it! Some of the Canadian ladies rugby groups have been very competitive.”
“So far this year 16 groups from Canada, USA and Germany have visited Nenagh and experienced our native sport of hurling for the first time. The whole experience that they taste here is magnificent. Because of it’s popularity, I have had several groups that are already planning ahead for their next trip to Tipperary. They come from as far away as Kansas and Canada. Some are planning to come back to us for the third time.”
“There are also individual visits from people who have had Tipperary recommended to them by groups who came here for the sports initiative. I originally set this up to give Nenagh a signature tourism project to bring people to the area, and am delighted with it’s success. Now I’d like to develop a similar project on an all-county basis.”
“I am now planning a new initiative which will link all our Republican heritage, historic battle sites and memorials in a Republican heritage trail. This will see all of Tipperary take the forefront in historic commemorations from 1916 onwards, as Tipperary was to the forefront of Republican resistance in the War of Independence and Civil War.”
Cllr Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin has rejected the upbeat conclusions of the report on the merger of North and South Tipperary Councils released by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). He argues that the report fails to reflect the reality on the ground, or to account for the loss of services experienced by the public.
Cllr Morris said: “I was not one bit surprised to hear that the IPA report on the merger all but ignored the negative points of the recent Tipperary council merger. We are being fed stories, where the truth is spun 360 degrees and negatives are listed as positives.”
“I was one of the Tipperary councillors that met with the IPA after the merger, and no councillor in the room with me had a positive view of it. It has caused difficulties for the people of Tipperary.”
“When Tipperary lost all of its town and borough councils, a huge reduction in funding for Tipperary services followed. While €41 million was received in local government funding in 2011, that dropped to just €23 million in 2015. That’s the real story of the amalgamation. The reduction of almost €18 million for Tipperary means we now have a huge lack of funding for our local services.”
“Tipperary has lost local offices in Borrisokane, Cahir, Cashel, Newport, and Templemore. There is less service for the people in these areas because they are now isolated from access to council offices. The merger also means that because there are fewer councillors, some areas of Tipperary have no representation at all. The lack of councillors means there are even more chances for TDs to claim credit for what is achieved by the councillors who do remain.”
“Full council meetings have now become a joke, with some councillors not even taking off their coats, showing how interested they are in proceedings. Though it’s hard to blame them as councillors are expected to read and absorb huge reports, emailed to them barely a few days before meetings. That’s hardly conducive to a productive council meeting. I have also sought that every second meeting should be held in the afternoon, to no avail.”
“The first 6 to 9 months of the merger were the worst, with staff and councillors not knowing who was responsible for what. That meant that most councillors ignored the council switchboard and went back to contacting local staff directly.”
“Significantly, the merger has also destroyed the bottom up approach to democracy. Future elections will see fewer workers in full-time employment putting their name on the ballot paper. That’s because employers just won’t give permission for employees to attend up to 40 meetings a year, as needed now. Whole sections of society are now disenfranchised from local politics.”
“I am adamant that what has happened in Tipperary should not be used as a template for merging other councils, as it is a disaster for service users and for local democracy in the county.”
Cllr Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin has offered his highest praise for the organising committee of the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan. He commends them for their amazing feat in bringing the Munster Fleadh to Nenagh, and the manner in which they pulled off the successful running of the week-long event. The event finished on Friday and brought 15,000 people to the town.
Cllr Morris said: “As a councillor I have never doubted the capacity of Nenagh to hold such events. I have put my political lifeblood into encouraging sports and heritage tourism to the area. I set up the sports tourism grant initiative to do just that.”
“Now the Ormond branch of Comhaltas have raised the bar in Nenagh even further. Part of my thinking was to encourage a partnership approach between community, businesses and the council. I know that Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan could not have worked as well as it did without such a co-operative approach. Comhaltas and I have shown that co-operation benefits everyone.“
“This event took years of planning by the local Fleadh committee. Their many, many hours of planning meant a flawless week long event. Events were sold out and many thousands of people came to our town, many for the first time.”
“The Nenagh Tidy Towns committee made the town look spectacular, and the people and businesses of the town offered Nenagh’s famous welcome to spectators and participants alike. Our local schools played a huge role in making their halls available for the competitions, and local clubs provided volunteers to man car parks.”
“I am aware that some small things might have been done better, but the overall success of the Fleadh has put the name of Nenagh out there for future events. There will be repeat visits from participants and supporters. Nenagh has firmly been engrained on their minds as a safe and fun place to bring their families into the future.”
“I must also congratulate my fellow Nenagh councillor Cllr Hughie McGrath for his efforts, which also contribute to the St Patrick’s Day Parade and the upcoming Peoples Picnic.”
“Looking to the future, I am reminding townspeople that there is a committee being formed to maximise the benefits of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) AGM in Tipperary next year.
“That will be a week-long event. It’s coming to Tipperary in June 2016 thanks to my efforts and those of Cllr McGrath. Nenagh is very much open for business. So much so that if anyone has any ideas about organising sporting, musical or cultural events for the town please contact either myself or Cllr McGrath. Your two Nenagh councillors will be glad to assist.