Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Darragh O’Brien TD has called on Fine Gael to clarify its position on Fidesz, its sister party in the European People’s Party. O’Brien made his comments following the increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic actions of the Hungarian Prime Minister Vicktor Orbán and his Fidesz party.
Deputy O’Brien explained, “Fine Gael and Fidesz are fellow members of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, and there is an onus on Fine Gael to clarify its position on the actions of Orbán and whether or not it continues to support his party’s membership of the EPP.
“Orbán is undermining democracy in Hungary by silencing critical media, targeting NGOs, demonising refugees and introducing laws designed to curtail academic freedom and close down the Budapest based Central European University. His actions and his right wing agenda are most worrying.
“I believe that the EPP and by extension Fine Gael cannot and should not stand over or stay silent on the actions of Orbán and his party. It is hypocritical of the Fine Gael party to champion European principles and ideals while simultaneously supporting someone who is the antithesis of their values and has actively rallied against them.
“Fine Gael must clarify its position and I would hope by their words and actions that they will send a strong message that the lead party in Government in this country does not support the discourse and actions of those who seek undermine democracy and freedom”.
- Fatal protests against regime underline hypocrisy of Sinn Féin’s support for Maduro -
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has called on Sinn Féin to publicly withdraw its support for the Maduro regime in Venezuela following further fatal protests in the country.
Facing a global downturn in oil prices and an annualised inflation rate that is expected to exceed 1,000 percent in 2017, Venezuela’s economy is now one of the worst performing in the world.
While President Nicolás Maduro has maintained his grip on power by becoming increasingly autocratic and undermining the rule of law, the poverty rate has grown to 82%.
Despite the fact that just 25% of the Venezuelan population are able to maintain a regular diet, Sinn Féin has repeatedly expressed solidarity with the regime through Ard Fhéis motions and has actively worked to legitimise it through providing handpicked election observers.
Deputy O’Brien stated, “While Sinn Fein has gone quiet on its once vociferous support for SYRIZA in Greece, it has also expressed solidarity with and supported other political movements.
“The Maduro regime has overseen a dramatic collapse in the Venezuelan economy, plunging living standards, escalating crime levels and endemic corruption at all levels of the state. Perhaps hoping that it would escape any scrutiny, Sinn Fein has continually expressed support and solidarity with this disastrous autocratic regime through motions at its Ard Fhéis in 2014 and 2015. Both motions were initiated by its ruling Ard Chomhairle.
“The sheer hypocrisy of passing motions supporting a corrupt autocratic regime while making statements about human rights appears to have been lost on the party.
“The party’s elected representatives have also gone so far as to play the part of sham observers in elections which have been subject to overt manipulation by the regime and then ignored.
“The Maduro regime refused to allow international observers except those handpicked from favourable organisations such as Sinn Féin, who were more than happy to play along with this farce.
“While Sinn Féin is clearly comfortable with autocratic rule internally, no Irish political party should be allowed to support such corrupt practices internationally without robust challenge. It’s time for Sinn Féin to publicly withdraw its support and stand up for democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela,” Deputy O’Brien concluded.
-Minister must deliver later opening of Malahide Garda Station -
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said the early closure of Malahide Garda Station must be reviewed and that an extension to the hours of operation is crucial in providing for the safety and protection of the local community.
The Deputy’s comments follow his attendance at a meeting held by the Fingal Joint Policing Committee which includes Swords, Donabate/Portrane, Portmarnock, Kinsealy and Malahide.
“Last night’s well attended public meeting was an opportunity to join local Fingal County Councillors and party colleagues, Eoin O’Brien and Adrian Henchy to hear and discuss some of the many concerns regarding policing in our area,” added Deputy O’Brien.
“Dublin Fingal continues to be the fastest growing county in Ireland year on year and remains the busiest district in the capital, yet over the past five years Garda numbers have been cut in the Dublin Fingal area by 20%. Swords in particular have lost 12 full-time Gardaí in the same period.
“I have been campaigning for an increase in resources allocated to Gardaí across Fingal for some time now and I fully support the submission made by local Gardaí to the Minister for Justice to emphasise the critical need to extend the hours of operation at Malahide Garda Station.
“Providing the resources to open Malahide Garda Station later than 9pm would be a hugely beneficial move in deterring criminals in the area and I will be further raising the matter when Dáil Éireann resumes following the Oireachtas Easter recess.
“Cllr. Adrian Henchy and I recently met with the local Garda Superintendent and Inspector to discuss crime and policing issues in North Dublin, and I am very pleased that they acted on our suggestion to establish a local Garda clinic in the Donabate/Portrane area. The clinic plays a crucial role in assuring our public and providing much needed support in the locality.
“Our society depends on Gardaí to feel safe in their communities and to uphold the rule of law. Particularly in light of recent controversies rebuilding full public confidence and trust in An Garda Siochana is essential.
“The focus must therefore remain on providing measures targeted at crime-prevention across the south end of Fingal. This Government must do more to reassure our local community that proper resources are being allocated to tackle crime in the locality in order to rebuild public trust in the institution.
“Extending the hours of Malahide Garda Station will be one major step towards ensuring that those living in the locality can live in safety and without fear,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
- Drug will be made available from next month -
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the agreement reached in principle between the Department of Health and Virtex, the manufacturers of Orkambi, is welcome news for the hundreds of patients, and their families, who have long campaigned to get access to this ground-breaking drug.
“I first raised the need to introduce this drug in October 2015 and have since met with many of those who have campaigned heavily on this issue to do my absolute best in raising its importance,” added Deputy O’Brien.
“Cystic fibrosis is a hugely debilitating condition and Ireland has the highest prevalence of this disease in the world. Finally reaching an agreement on providing this drug means that many of those living with the condition will now extend and dramatically improve their quality of life.
“It may not work for every single patient living with CF but it will work for many and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland has been defiant in their belief that they deserve the chance to benefit from this drug.
“The announcement that this revolutionary drug will be made available is very important. We must be conscious also that many patients who have seen their health decline while waiting for this news must start treatment as soon as possible.
“Attention must now be brought to reducing the overall cost of similar, high tech drugs which may make a substantial difference to lives of other cohorts of patients,” concluded O’Brien.
- Failure to fulfil promises to improve growing urban centre in Rush -
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the community in Rush, North County Dublin has been continually neglected by this Government and more must be done to ensure that progress is finally achieved on the projects which have been promised to date.
The Deputy made his comments in light of the information he has received through a number of Parliamentary Questions which were tabled by him in Dáil Eireann earlier this month.
“Throughout recent years, there has been much focus placed on the difficulties experienced in rural Ireland and that towns and villages beyond the M50 have been ignored. However, this theory serves only to underpin the gross neglect of the urban centre in Rush too,” he said.
“It may appear as though increased commitments are being made to Dublin projects but the reality is that there has been no progress achieved beyond the PR announcements and spin.
“A perfect example of this is the promise of a new school building for Gaelscoil Ros Eo which is located in the town; commitment was been made to this project on four different occasions yet we are no closer to its construction. Furthermore, plans for new school builds at St Joseph’s Secondary School and Rush National School appear to have been put on the back burner by this Government.
“Rush is an expanding area with a surrounding hinterland that captures almost 10,000 people ,and the unjust closure of the local Garda Station in 2012 has left the people of Rush dangerously exposed. It is important to remember too that Labour presided over that closure and they therefore cannot pretend to advocate for its re-opening now.
"While we continue to deal with a poor transport network across Fingal and the failure to deliver Metro North, there has been major deterioration in the maintenance of roads throughout the area including the road to the local GAA club.
“The closure of the only bank in the town has made it difficult for older people especially who rely heavily on community banking and who may not have access to online banking. The post office lies at the heart of many communities yet this too, may be under threat,” he added.
“Growing urban centres like Rush need a strategic plan to enable the region to achieve its full potential, as much as every other rural town or village outside Dublin. This plan must focus on massive investment in infrastructure to bring services such as public transport up to a high international standard.
“At a time when more and more are becoming alienated by this governments failure to follow through on its promises, they must re-focus on delivering vital public services on the ground.
“It is high time now for more action, less spin,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD is seeking cross-party support for a motion being put forward by Fianna Fáil condemning the use of chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Dozens of people, including many children were killed after a toxic substance spread through the Northwestern province of Idlib following a bombing raid.
Deputy O’Brien commented, “My Party have put forward a motion, for which we are seeking cross-party support, outlining Ireland's absolute opposition to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“This attack is a clear violation of international law and the ongoing actions of the Assad regime, supported and facilitated by Russia, demonstrate a blatant disregard for human life. We believe that Dáil Éireann should speak with one voice on these atrocities and send a clear message of condemnation from this country.
“Ireland has a moral obligation to speak out against such crimes and I hope that those from all parties will support this motion to stand with the people of Syria. The collective focus of the international community must remain on what is actually happening in Syria and all nations must add their voice to the campaign for peace in the region,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.