Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal Darragh O’Brien TD has said he is eager for the Dáil to debate the Central Bank Variable Rate Mortgages Bill 2016 which is being introduced by the party in Dáil Eireann.
“High variable interest rates on mortgages are a prominent issue throughout Dublin. It has been clear for a number of years of now that banks are charging tens of thousands of mortgage customers exorbitant rates, considerably above the rates they are offering new customers and in excess of the bank’s costs.
“Many of these customers live in areas that saw a lot of development in recent decades, such as Swords, Donabate, Rush, Lusk and other areas. This Private Members motion offers the possibility of relief for many constituents struggling with these excessive costs.
“A mortgage is the single biggest financial outgoing for families across the state; many of my constituents have watched in frustration as their mortgage rates have steadily risen. These people have felt the least benefit from the current low interest rate environment in Europe and they’re being negatively impacted to the tune of hundreds of euro a month because of this situation.
“By enabling the Central Bank to put a cap on interest rates if banks are found objectively to be charging an unreasonable amount, we can go a long way to relieving this problem.
“Fianna Fáil will try to build a consensus on this issue in the Dáil, to pass our Bill and deal with the issue which is has blighted our mortgage market for a long time now. We must remember those struggling with unreasonable mortgage charges when working to build a fairer recovery,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal Darragh O’Brien TD says the new Government must move to address the serious health and safety concerns surrounding the youth detention centre at Oberstown, backing his colleague Fianna Fáil Children Spokesperson Robert Troy TD on the subject.
Deputy O’Brien made the comments after residential care workers and night supervising staff at the centre voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action due to safety concerns. The Oberstown centre is in Lusk, in Deputy O’Brien’s constituency.
“I am alarmed to see industrial action being undertaken by staff at Oberstown, but unfortunately this news will come as no shock to those that are familiar with the facility. Many of the staff in Oberstown live in my constituency and have regularly raised their concerns with the health and safety issues at the centre for months now. They feel that their concerns are being ignored by senior management,” said Deputy O’Brien.
“A new health and safety inspection has shown that the buildings in the complex are unsafe, and that the facility is not serving staff or residents adequately. Over 100 violent incidents took place at the centre last year and the staff have pointed out that the substandard nature of the accommodation creates the environment for these assaults to take place.
“The issue stems from the fact that a change in legislation took place under the last Government which resulted in residents aged from 16 to 18 being housed at the centre. Prior to this only those aged 16 and under were being accommodated at the facility. There should have been an overhaul of the health and safety practices at the centre when this change took place, but unfortunately this did not happen.
“The fact that 16 to 18 year olds were being housed at the centre should not have been a concern in itself; but young people of this particular age group have different needs to younger children that should have been addressed when this change to legislation was made. This Fingal centre needs to be adequately resourced and proper improvements need to be made to bring practises at the facility up to standard.
“I repeat the calls that the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone should take on board the concerns being raised by staff at the facility. Management need to act on the recommendations made following health and safety inspections and deliver new safety practices, procedures and equipment as recommended. We cannot have a situation where there is a below standard youth detention centre in north county Dublin. It’s in everybody’s interest to resolve this dispute and Fianna Fáil will not be found wanting in this regard,” said Deputy O’Brien.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Dublin, Darragh O’Brien TD has called for the Government to make clear its transport plans for the Capital following the appointment of Deputy Shane Ross to the position of Minister for Transport and the publication of the programme for government.
“The new programme for government is full of vague intentions and aspirational language about what the government would like to do. In the section of the document which deals with Transport there is a lack of detail and concrete commitments as to what the government will actually do.
“I welcome the continued promise to fund Metro North, complete the Luas Cross City and to increase the provision of wheelchair accessibility in the taxi fleet; but these had already been announced previously. The reality is that there were other large scale infrastructural public transport projects planned for Dublin that were scrapped by the previous Fine Gael-Labour coalition. Projects such as the DART interconnector need to be given consideration again.
“Capacity is a major issue in the city and is getting worse. The Dublin Bus fleet is already struggling at peak times. Minister Ross needs to devise a plan to increase the capacity, frequency and reliability of the Dublin Bus fleet.
“Much progress has been made increasing the numbers of cyclists in Dublin in recent years. The Dublin Bikes scheme has been a great success, but it should be extended to suburbs outside of the city centre, and into other local authority areas like Fingal and South Dublin CoCo.
“Over the weekend it was worrying to hear Minister Ross pitch himself in the role of commentator, rather than as the person responsible for the nation’s public transport infrastructure and strategy. Dublin needs a proactive attitude to public transport provision and not to embark on a hands-off, laissez-faire approach” concluded Deputy O’Brien.