Jobs for Tipp, not just water for Dublin!

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has voiced his continued resistance to the plan to commencing drain Lough Derg to feed the leaks in Dublin’s water supply. Speaking on Tipp FM he outlined his objections to the plan to lay pipes to divert water through industrial piping, from Lough Derg to Dublin.

Cllr Morris said: “First of all this is being carried out by a company, Irish Water PLC, that has absolutely no credibility with the Irish people. It’s a company to which any responsible government or Minister would immediately call a halt. It’s wastiing of taxpayer’s money is truly out of control.”

“Tipperary is an economically viable county, and the Midlands Region has one of only two European deep water ports, the port of Foynes. With sustained investment it can continue to facilitate the largest category of cargo ships. Along with Shannon Airport and the lack of traffic congestion, Tipperary and the Midlands could become a hub of economic activity and commerce.“

“All that is needed is sustained smart investment. Some vision from those Tipperary Ministers and TDs that are supposed to be fighting on Tipperary’s behalf is essential. Instead they toe the usual line of Dublin takes all, Dublin is the priority.”

2015-09-11 Councillor Séamie Morris pictured looking over Lough Derg.

“There is expected to be a mere 20 Tipperary jobs from this whole operation. International economists agree and the actions of international conglomerate banks and consortia prove that, ‘water will be to this century what oil was to the last, it will be the most fought over resource of the 21st century.’“

“When this pipeline begins operating, Tipperary will barely gain a pittance. The value of the asset being diverted from Tipperary will over time run into the billions. And what will Tipperary get then? Nothing.”

“There is actually no need to divert this water to Dublin. There are closer water resources to Dublin than Lough Derg. This is just the setting up of a long-term smash and grab operation of Tipperary resources. The real sinkener is that the water is diverted to a storage lake outside Dublin and then by the time it reaches Dublin the water will be privatised!”

“Should the Irish Water scam succeed, our entire ground water asset will be privatised. Lough Derg should be protected as a natural and Tourism asset. But if we can’t force the government to desist from this snake oil scheme then at least Tipperary should get something out of it.”

Sinn Féin Tipperary and I will continue to stand up for Tipperary and fight for a better deal for Tipperary. As your TD in the next Dáil I will be able to make an even bigger impact for Tipperary, it’s about time that they stopped forgetting us and started to invest in us instead!”

Sinn Féin Councillors reject Council budget



Sinn Féin councillors last Friday voted against the proposed council budget for Tipperary in 2016, saying that the budget did not provide enough detail, or reasons to support it. They also drew attention to the rates cut provided to big business at a time when the budget allocation was being reduced.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Martin Browne, who described the budget as “disappointing”, said: “We could not vote for a budget that fails to acknowledge a hole of over €400,000. This hole has developed as a result of the state granting a massive rate-break to highly profitable utility companies at the expense of ordinary Tipperary citizens. That rate-break isn’t a once-off, and will apply annually for the remaining years of this council.”

Voting for this budget would have been an endorsement of the policies of this government, which continue to prioritise the wealthy and minding big business. This affects the ability of the council to deliver vital services on which citizens depend.”

Cllr Davy Dunne said: “There are serious questions about the budgetary process. This rate-break was not included in the pre-budget discussions between Councillors and the Executive. There was insufficient information provided generally, and there was no clarification regarding the impact that the rates cut would have on services in the future.”

Though there was a pre-budget training and information workshop for councillors, which is to be welcomed, there were only a few words to describe some huge expenditure. For example, ‘Applications’ is allocated just under €1.2m. That’s €100,000 for each letter of tax-payers money. It shouldn’t be necessary to ask for clarifications. In the interests of transparency, more detailed explanations should be provided up front.”

There is a decrease of €2.8m in the overall funding available to the Council in 2016. There isn’t enough funding in some areas to adequately address issues that are constantly being raised by councillors from all parties. And even as we are faced with this budget, we learn that one of the big utility companies that is to benefit from a rates cut is cutting maintenance power to abandoned estates.”

This budget exposes the lie that we have a meaningful economic recovery. The recovery isn’t being felt in the funding and supports for local government. That any utility company would simultaneously hinder the work of the Council, while getting a rates-break windfall, just shows how these big corporations act with impunity.”

Fine Gael and Labour have used a series of budgets to starve local authorities of funding. This is part of the Government mission to undermine local government and centralise power. Big businesses act the way they do because the Government of the day creates the conditions to make that possible.”

Cllr Browne added: “The rates revaluation for big utilities is just another example of Coalition interference with local democracy. Their approach is centred on penalising local authorities, and stripping of them of their ability to deliver services.”

Morris expresses respect and admiration for strike action vote



Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has expressed his respect and admiration for the decision by SIPTU and TEEU unions to strike against further privatisation of the public water service.

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris and Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy pictured at the headquarters of the Communications Workers Union for the recent launch of a Sinn Féin policy document. Cllr Morris is a long-standing shop steward for the CWU.

Cllr Morris said: “As a union representative myself I know it’s never easy to contemplate industrial action. But the overwhelming response of unions to the Right2Water and Right2Change initiatives shows that there is a willingness to challenge the privatisation and Austerity agendas.”

Previously in North Tipperary Council we were asked to trust the Executive on a Service Level Agreement (SLA). No copy of the SLA was made available to us. That blind trust has brought us to the point where 1,500 workers are losing their jobs to further the Irish Water project. I led a walkout in protest at that expectation of trust, and now we see that I and my colleagues who supported me were in the right. Ireland should not be handing over essential water, drainage, and sewerage infrastructure to private business.”

Irish Water holds nothing positive for Tipperary, and even less so with the councils combined. Not only that, but the danger to the county from plans to drain Lough Derg to water Dublin’s lawns means that the county’s best single attraction is under threat from these privateers.”

We have two ministers in the constituency, one determined to sell our county to the highest bidder, and one determined to nod it all through. If they showed as much determination looking after the livelihoods of their neighbours, wouldn’t this be a much better place?”

The vote by the SIPTU and TEEU unions were overwhelmingly carried. I hope this is the start of a fight-back against the creeping privatisation of our essential services.”

I consider it my life’s work to halt the EU privatisation monster. That it should ever be considered acceptable to announce 1,500 job losses without first consulting the workforce or their unions is another example of the callousness of public policy that I wish to fight in Dáil Éireann.”

I’ll be before the electorate soon looking for the votes necessary to allow me to carry that fight to Leinster House, and I’ll certainly look to all members of the public-services unions to support me.”

A vote for Séamie Morris is a vote for keeping public services and public utilities in public ownership, and for the public good. I commend my fraternal colleagues in the TEEU and SIPTU on their willingness to stand up for themselves. They have my respect and admiration.”

Councillors welcome rates reduction



Sinn Féin Councillors for Cashel and Clonmel have welcomed the downwards adjustment that rates harmonisation across the county means for their towns.

File photo: Cllr Catherine Carey (right) with some of Clonmel Right2Water committee. Included, from left, Fionnuala Greene, Eoin O’Flaherty, Terry Hunt, Anne Wall.

Cllr Martin Browne of Cashel Sinn Féin said: “This is a small break for the hard-working traders in Cashel. The bleak period of Austerity imposed from outside has taken it’s toll on my town as much as any other.”

As such, I know that those in the town will welcome this change. In the future Sinn Féin will continue to push for greater transparency and better services to help improve the service that traders receive in return for those rates.”

It is very unfortunate that Tipperary Town on the other hand will endure a rates increase as part of the same process. It is all the more important that services improve to meet the needs of business there.”

File photo: Cllr Martin Browne (right) with partner Helen and Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

Cllr Carey of Clonmel Sinn Féin said: “Clonmel has suffered particularly badly under this coalition, as can be seen by the numbers of shops and businesses closed down. High levels of rates have contributed to that.”

The harmonisation of rates means a saving for Clonmel businesses, which I hope will contribute to keeping employment in the town centre. For any business that’s struggling, every help is welcome.”

Cllr Browne added: “Tipperary towns have endured a lot because of the policies adopted by this Government. Development and inward investment aren’t high enough, so employment has suffered.”

Sinn Féin has long recognised that only a balanced approach between business and the worker will allow us to thrive. This rates reduction is annual, so I expect this to yield a more positive outlook for both in the future.”

Surprise at unneeded rates gift to giant businesses



Councillor Davy Dunne of Sinn Féin has expressed his surprise that a rates devaluation is to come into effect across Ireland with 21 million being lost to local Government across the country. He says this comes at a time when businesses in Carrick-on-Suir are enduring an increase in rates.

Cllr Dunne said: “This came as surprise, because this wasn’t clearly flagged by central Government. It’s also surprising when we consider that the companies to benefit are very profitable communications and utility companies. They don’t need this cut.

About 21 million will not now be paid over in rates across the country. In Tipperary, that’s about 400,000 gone from our budget. That’s about the same as would be spent on bridge maintenance, or about as much as would be spent on Health & Safety in the council

Councillor Davy Dunne, left, prior to the marriage referendum.

Contrast this with how small businesses in Carrick-on-Suir are facing an increase in rates. Carrick-on-Suir has become an unemployment black-spot, and instead of a cut in rates to help boost business here, we have an increase because of rate harmonisation in the county.”

The profitable communications giants could retain their profitability if their rates were unchanged, or even increased. So why is there a reduction for them?

This coalition Government is too fond of their big business friends. The Fine Gaelers and their pretend-Left partners in Labour are systematically destroying local Government, while gifting whatever they can to the large operators. This boon to the big utilities is a loss to the county councils, a loss that will have to be carried by the ordinary citizen.

This latest cut to the funding of our Council will have to be made up by increases in rates or decreases in service. Neither is fair. This represents a wealth transfer from the ordinary home-owner through Local Property Tax to the multinationals.

Central Government have made another gift to their big business buddies, as they continue to look after the big guys without doing the same for the smaller business, or the ordinary citizen.


Labour has resurrected the era of rack-renting landlords



Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has called for the introduction of rent-controls to protect tenants, and has criticized Minister Alan Kelly for the delay in introducing this.

Cllr Morris said: “The choice is to control rents or to increase homelessness. That should be an easy choice for a socialist, but as the Minister’s pretend-left actions have previously shown, his priority isn’t the ordinary citizen.”

On so many different levels we cannot allow homelessness to continue increasing. But as long as rents are free to sky-rocket, so will levels of homelessness. Housing is a fundamental requirement of all citizens, and all young people. Kids shouldn’t have to grow up in a room in a hotel.”

This Government has singularly failed to tackle the housing issue. Alan Kelly has failed to tackle the issue. I hope that some Government Ministers being landlords isn’t a factor in the failure to deal with this problem sooner.”

How nice of Minister Alan Kelly to bring history back to life, and to recreate the horror of the time when unscrupulous landlords could do as they wished. Of course, he is a landlord himself, whether that’s a factor or not.

Ireland has had a history of rack-renting landlords, and it shows how far back our society has slid as a result of the policies of the establishment parties, that we’re talking about it again. We have regressed to a time we thought we had seen the end of, when ordinary people are evicted for inability to pay rent.”

The failure of recent governments to develop an adequate social-housing policy has caused this crisis. The only benefactors of this are the landlords, who are the natural electorate of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Is that a coincidence?”

Foreign property speculators have lobbied hard against providing rent certainty to tenants, which may also explain the failure to act for the interests of the ordinary Irish citizen by now.”

The sustained wealth-transfers which are necessary via the rent-supplement schemes represent poor value for money in the longer term, and are part of why the rents keep increasing. It’s sad that natural greed amongst the landlord classes favoured by Fine Gael cottoned on to being able to keep hiking the rents, quicker than Labour did when they failed to put tenants interests first.”

Rent controls aren’t the best solution, but this coalition Government has made it the only option to tackle profiteering via spiralling rents.”

It might be that Labour is pleased that they’ve left any political legacy, but for the rest of us we can only wait until Labour are gone before tackling the problem of rack-renting landlords they’ve left behind.”


Sinn Féin critical of political policing, at cost of peace process



Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Fein has hit out at recent news items in some main-stream media which focus solely on negative reports released about the North. He added that helping the peace process should be the priority, and not be cynically used as a political toy to attack Sinn Féin.

Cllr Browne said: “The main-stream parties, whose 100-year reign brought the country to bankruptcy, have chosen to focus only on the negative reports from the United Kingdom security forces. The mainstream media has feasted on their fun, instead of holding those parties to account for their destructive policies.”

“The report published around the same time by Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan painted a truer and less exciting story, so it hasn’t got the same traction. Bad news sells, especially when it’s hyped up by the establishment.”

Cllr Martin Browne, Sinn Féin, Cashel.

“The harmful report from the PSNI was based solely on the word of two informers, and treated as fact. This follows the murder of a man in Belfast in August, when IRA involvement was suspected. No such proof has been shown.”

“I wonder why Minister FitzGerald would ask for reports, and then ignore them, other than as political influence in policing? Instead of holding the Justice Minister to account, Fianna Fáil have instead jumped on the band-wagon and are ignoring that report also.”

Commissioner OSullivan assured the Minister that her report would be based on intelligence, facts and evidence. When those don’t suit the establishment, they just ignore them.

It seems that failure of the peace process would suit the main 3 parties in the South, because it would let them continue their assault on Sinn Féin. They are desperate to stop our growth in both the North & South, even at that cost.”

That the Garda Commissioner has been asked to appear before a Dáil committee is undermining her position, and is political policing in its plainest form. Making the peace process work should be the priority of these parties. If they are really interested in the well-being of the communities in the North they should be insisting that the United Kingdom implement the Good Friday Agreement in its totality.”


Disappointment at Spleodar Fireworks cancellation



Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has expressed his disappointment at the decision to cancel the fireworks element of the Spleodar Nenagh Community Arts Festival.

Cllr. Morris said: “This is a great disappointment to me. We worked very hard trying to resolve this issue, which centred on insurance at the Éire Óg field.”

An alternative venue couldn’t be found at the last minute, something that all involved tried to do. I have to compliment the Spleodar Committee for their efforts around this.”

In particular I am aware that a commitment was given to the citizens of Nenagh that if they gave up their bonfires, this form of entertainment would replace those. Everyone involved is unhappy with the outcome this year.”

I hope that we will be able to find a suitable venue for next year, when I will suggest that we use the Castle Field. This will mean closing roads and making the centre of Nenagh into a place where families can safely congregate and enjoy themselves in fancy-dress.”

The problem this year was insurance. I have to express my thanks to Éire Óg for all their help in the past. It is unfortunate that this year the insurance requirements of GAA nationally were unable to be met.”

Sometimes one has to realise that an obstacle is insurmountable, and to put one’s efforts into making things better the next time. That’s what the Spleodar festival committee will do, and I am delighted to help with that.”