Renewed call to disband dysfunctional Uisce Éireann

2015-12-27

Cllr. Martin Browne of Cashel Sinn Féin has again called for the disbandment of Uisce Éireann after company’s latest failure to do it’s job comes close to home.

Cllr Browne said: “We far too often hear of people calling on Irish Water to do the job they’re supposed to do, but to no avail. Now I’ve had a first-hand experience of their utter disregard for the citizens they want to fleece with their water tax.”

Early on Christmas Eve sewerage started to come up the waste pipes outside the back door of our Cashel home. I contacted the council emergency number for assistance, but was told that this now was under the remit of Uisce Éireann.”

So at two that day I made contact with them and was informed that the incident would be ‘put on the system’ and that contact would be made later. These calls continued at different times during the following days as there were five adults and two children in the house and the toilet could not be used.”

From stories we hear all over our county we know of the total disregard this company has for the general public. This is a failed quango that doesn’t take it’s duties to citizens seriously, and should be disbanded.”

Our family came close to having to leave our house, only for a good friend coming to our rescue at half ten that night. We are lucky to have such good neighbours, but we shouldn’t have to depend on them to help out where Irish Water has failed.”

Their utter lack of compassion makes me wonder how many others were also caught in similar circumstances. At time of writing which is four days after the initial contact there has still been no contact from the company.”

How many others around our county and country suffer in silence and don’t stand up to this behemoth and their uncaring systems? When this Government goes I hope they’ll take ‘Irish Water’ with them.”

Morris expects bumper employment year with Sports Tourism

2015-12-27

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has spoken of his continued confidence in his Sports Tourism initiative, and his expectation that 2016 will bring even more to the local economy with 5 groups already booked in from Canada and the US.

Cllr Morris said: “Since the start of this initiative over 900 American, Canadian, German, and UK sports tourists have come to Nenagh. They then used other tourism products from Upperchurch to Ballina and all over Tipperary. Some of the groups return again to the county.”

2011-03-18: The first visit: L-R Rob Gavin, Tim Kleumpers (former US international and STA Football coach), both from Kansas; then Mayor of Nenagh, Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin.
2011-03-18: The first visit: L-R Rob Gavin, Tim Kleumpers (former US international and STA Football coach), both from Kansas; then Mayor of Nenagh, Séamie Morris of Sinn Féin.

I have reason to be confident for 2016, as there are already significant bookings made. This is the latest success in the initiative which I started some years ago. At that time I recognised the potential of a signature Sports Tourism product to contribute to the economy of North Tipperary. I then started the Tipperary Sports Tourism Grant to help other sports organisations all over Tipperary to make us the premier centre of Sports Tourism in the State.”

Since then everything from international sailing events in Dromineer, to the Tom Semple Hurling and Camogie tournament in Thurles, have been helped by the funds drawn down from my Sports Tourism Grant Scheme.”

I quickly realised that I needed to set up a product which got the attention of the sports-tour operators who were already in the business of seeking out North American groups for visits to Ireland. While Mayor of Nenagh, on a trip to Boston I met up with a group from Kansas keen to come to Ireland on a rugby trip. I persuaded them to include Nenagh on their itinerary.”

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2015-03-19: Almost 4 years to the day and going strong: High School students from St Mary’s Bruce Grey college in Canada at Phil Burkes hurling work-shop in Nenagh.

This led to contact with Irish Rugby Tours, which is owned and run by George Hook Junior. He was delighted to include Nenagh and the Premier Hurling Experience on his itineraries.”

So far in 2016 we’re looking forward to welcoming Bev Facey Girls High School from Canada, and St Augustine Preparatory School, Old Salesainum School, Fenwick High School, and Neuman University Womens Rugby Team, from the US. Groups vary from 33 to 55 per group, all of whom need accommodation, entertainment, and food.”

They will all take part in the Premier Hurling Experience, which includes hurling skills, a puc fada competition, and the hurley-making experience with renowned Hurley maker Phil Burke.”

2015-09-28: There is potential in the scheme for non-peak business also. This photograph shows Junior High School students from Herzogenrath in Germany, after enjoying a puc fada competition in late September. Pictured on left is Jake Morris. Picture on right is Cllr Séamie Morris, Sports Tourism organiser.

As a local councillor I have been delighted to be able to provide a vehicle to attract international tourists to Tipperary. I will continue to come up with innovative ideas to put Tipperary on the map for international tourists, and I hope that as TD for the county that I will be able to expand these to become the basis for a jobs initiative. ”

We want groups in South Tipperary to get involved. There are benefits for all in this scheme. In addition I have also provided 50,000 from Nenagh Town Council for a full all-weather pitch, which the county as a whole does not presently have but certainly needs.”

Tipperary has so much to offer any international tourist, especially those willing to travel for their sport. With sports and history abounding in both North and South Tipperary, it is my hope to see a major increase in local employment arising from marketing Tipperary as a major tourism product if there is political will to do so. I have that will.”

 

Labour’s legacy is a ruined health system

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has highlighted the failings of the Labour Party in reforming the health system, urging Tánaiste Joan Burton to provide an adequate level of investment in the health service.

Deputy McDonald said: “Tánaiste, the single biggest failure of your government has been the failure to reform our health system. In 2011 your manifesto said that Labour in Government would deliver better more effective care for every patient.

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Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin

“The Fine Gael Labour Programme for Government described the coalition as the first in the history of the State that is committed to developing universal health care. Your Government promised to create a single-tier health service guaranteeing access to medical care based on need, not income.

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Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris speaking at a conference with Mary Lou McDonald.

“Five years on and the hope that you gave to hundreds of thousands of families has been cruelly dashed. Not only is the two tier health system still in place – you have made it worse. There are 4000 fewer nurses, 68,000 people waiting for inpatient treatments, 400,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments.

“And as if all of this were not enough, you are now imposing a service plan on the HSE that is €150m short of what they need.

“Tánaiste, will you admit that you have no plan and no vision for the health system? And will you commit to finally providing the level of funding and staffing that is urgently required to provide people with the health care they so urgently need?”

 

Morris expresses anger at threat to medical cards, healthcare salaries

PRESS RELEASE

2015-12-16

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has expressed his anger at reports that the Government is proposing further reductions in the numbers in receipt of medical cards, and at the HSE suggestion of withholding increments for up to 30,000 staff.

Cllr Morris said: “In the same week that nurses prepared for industrial action to get Government to pay attention to the problems in the Emergency Departments in hospitals, we also learn that there is also consideration of a reduction in those with medical cards, and that the HSE is considering withholding increments from up to 30,000 healthcare staff.”
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“It makes me angry that this same HSE had to be brought to the negotiating table by industrial action to recruit much-needed staff, while at the same time the HSE is considering reducing the entitlements for existing staff. Retention of good staff has to be a priority for any employer, and the HSE is no different. This sends the wrong signal entirely, and certainly won’t help staff morale, which is the key to staff productivity.”

“The Irish Times has also reported that there will be at least 50,000 less medical cards in 2016. Apparently this is expected because of increased numbers in employment. But we have seen that many of the newly-created jobs are low-paying. These are exactly the kind of workers who may end up in poverty-traps, as their income is often not enough to cover medical expenses, while their pay level exceeds the income threshold for a medical card.”

“It is precisely for such people that Sinn Féin has proposed creating a new category of ‘medical need’ medical card, rather than only sticking with the obviously unsuccessful income threshold model.”

“This Government has repeatedly shown itself to be incapable of imagination, preferring to resolve any issues with only the imagination of bookkeepers and accountants. They have shown that it’s far too easy for them to say ‘cut’ than to say ‘invest’, and these latest reports do nothing to change this perception.”

“Sinn Féin’s release yesterday of a pathway to universal healthcare shows imagination and concern for the end-user and the healthcare delivery worker. The plan seeks to use the fiscal space predicted by the Department of Finance to improve the lot of ordinary workers, and to pro-actively improve the health of the nation.”

“Minister Varadkar could do worse than take a look. The policy is very comprehensive, and prioritises the need of the patient rather than the accountant.”

ENDS

Morris welcomes publication of Sinn Féin health document

PRESS RELEASE

2015-12-15

Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has welcomed the launch of his party’s plan for universal health care by saying that the policy could bring an end to the inequitable, two-tier system.

Cllr. Morris said: “Today’s outline of a comprehensively researched and costed plan for universal health care in this state is to be welcomed. These proposals could radically change the delivery of health services by bringing an end to the inequitable two-t00-SeamieMorris-SocialMediaPhotograph-BlueSuit-lrier system.”

The current system is the one where patients spend days lying on hospital trolleys. It sees others waiting for up to 18 months for elective surgery.”

Sinn Féin’s document shows a pathway to a more equitable system. There will be a larger fiscal space opening up over the next few years, which will enable an increase of €3.3 billion in health expenditure during the course of a five year term of office. A model of universal GP care and prescription medications is attainable when Sinn Féin are in Government.”

There’s room for Sinn Féin to invest €15 million in the ambulance service by hiring 290 additional staff and funding more ambulances. In Government we would provide €238 million additional funding for acute hospitals and 3,800 more nursing home beds with a year on year increase of 10% in home help hours and home-care packages.”

This Government has embargoed, and cut, and driven medical staff out of the country, but failed to realise that it’s own addiction to privatisation is as serious an illness as any other. Our plan is for three million people to have free GP care and free prescriptions. Every seriously ill child should – and will – immediately receive a full medical card and there will be a secure medical card for people with disabilities.”

We are reminded by today’s narrowly averted strike that the healthcare system is in crisis. The INMO are to be applauded for their courage in taking their action.”

This Government could have worked to prevent the INMO from ever needing to go such lengths, but they chose not to before now. The review of emergency department staffing which has been conceded is long overdue. This Government hasn’t been able to deliver without help from the nurses and midwives. Which is ironic.”

Sinn Féin’s proposals are the opposite to what this Government has produced until now. These policies are about about delivering a world-class health care system to every citizen, based on need, free at the point of delivery, and funded through progressive taxation.”

I hope that the good people of Tipperary will send me to Dublin, to make sure that our county gets it’s fair allocation of resources, and to work to protect the interests and health of our county.”

ENDS

 

Morris congratulates RTE on corruption Exposé, remembers similar battle

PRESS RELEASE

2015-12-13

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.”

ENDS