Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the expansion of the Fingal Beach Wheelchair initiative, which has been rolled out across beaches in the North County.
Specially adapted wheelchairs, which have wheels designed for sand, will be available at a number of popular beaches across Fingal this summer. The Beach Wheelchair Project will allow children and adult wheelchair users to get onto the sand and up to the water’s edge at their local beach.
Commenting on the announcement, Deputy O’Brien said, "It is excellent news that Fingal County Council has announced the expansion of its pilot beach wheelchair initiative, which was launched in Portmarnock last summer.
“I am delighted to see this scheme being extended by introducing access to a Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair in Balcarrick Beach in Donabate. Beach Wheelchairs are also now available at the lifeguard huts at South Strand beach, Skerries and also Velvert Strand, Portmarknock.
“These chairs which are specially designed for those with a disability or mobility restriction, to access and enjoy our beaches will provide wheelchairs users young and old with more independence in our area.
“Well done to Fingal County Council, local Councillor Adrian Henchy who sought support in expanding this project and the management and staff at The Waterside Hotel for their commitment to manage the scheme.
“I look forward to seeing wheelchair users on the beach before the summer is out,” concluded the Deputy.
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the appalling murder of a 56 year old local man, Mr. Dermot Byrne, which occurred in Swords during the early hours of Saturday night, was a heinous crime which has no place in the Fingal community.
He commented, “My thoughts and prayers remain with Dermot Byrne’s family and friends. Dermot was a well-respected man in our community whose life was taken in an act of pure violence.
“While details continue to emerge, let us make no mistake that this was a heinous and most vicious crime that has absolutely no place in our community. The perpetrator(s) must be brought to justice.
“Public order issues are becoming more and more prevalent as Swords continues to emerge as an attractive late night spot for socialising. As venues and late bars become popular with visitors travelling from all over the country, the number of people on the streets of Swords makes it more likely for incidents to occur.
“I have been warning for some time now that parts of Fingal including Swords have been rapidly increasing in population year-on-year. The latest CSO figures show that Swords and the surrounding hinterland have expanded to the size of a city; however, resources allocated to policing our area do reflect those changes.
He added, “Over the past 5 years Garda numbers have been cut in the Dublin Fingal area by 20%. Swords in particular lost 12 full-time Gardaí, even though it was transforming into the busiest district in the Capital during the same period.
“Our society depends on Gardaí to feel safe in their communities and to uphold the rule of law. The bottom line is that the Gardaí are stretched beyond their limit and they simply do not have the manpower to maintain a strong presence on our streets and engage in robust crime prevention measures.
“I’m hoping that we can see extra Garda patrols in the area, particularly at weekends to reassure the local community following this attack. The Government needs to ensure the Gardaí receive the resources they need to prevent and investigate these sorts of incidents.
“I urge anyone with information relating to the incident to get in contact with Swords Garda Station by calling 016664700,” concluded Deputy O’Brien
EU must move protect the rule of law in Poland
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the European Union must do all it can to protect the rule of law in Poland.
O’Brien made his comments following the Law and Justice party’s subjugation of the judicial system and its plans to consolidate its control by effectively politicising the judiciary.
“Last week the Polish parliament adopted a series of laws which in effect weaken the judiciary and undermine judicial independence.
“When enacted the laws will dismantle an independent body that nominates judges and give the Justice Minister the authority to dismiss and nominate presidents of regional and appeal courts.
“These developments put the judiciary under political control and are an attack on the rule of law.
“The rule of law is a defining element of each state’s membership of the European Union and therefore I believe that the Commission must act on this.
“This is a matter not just for the Polish people; what is occurring in Poland flagrantly undermines the values and principle upon which the union was founded.
“Poland is not acting in the spirit of the European Union and their actions cannot go unchallenged.
“Whilst Brexit continues to dominate much of the political commentary, recent developments in Poland and also Hungary underscore that Europe is facing other significant challenges.
“It is imperative therefore that all member states who are committed to the principles of the EU remain united in their protection of them, and that we send a strong message that actions which undermine freedom and democracy in any European member State will not be tolerated.”
Dublin Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that his thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the local man who was found injured, and who later died, on North Street, Swords last night.
“This is a very tragic incident, and while the full details of what happened aren’t yet known, we all need to look after our friends on nights out.
“Anyone with information relating to the incident should get in contact with Swords Garda Station by calling 016664700.
“I will be closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds and will remain in regular contact with the Gardaí in Swords and Coolock.”
Israeli policemen killed in latest attack carried out in the Old City
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said regardless of ones opinion of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence is never the solution to political disturbance or upheaval.
The Deputy was commenting following the barbaric and disgraceful killing of two Israeli policemen near a holy site in the city of Jerusalem earlier today.
“As we know from our own experience here in Ireland over the past 40 years, violence or brutality of any kind rarely achieves the desired political objective. It is achieved through dialogue, collaboration and discussion,” he said.
“The severity of this attack, which has left two policemen dead and a third injured is worrisome and every effort must be made by all sides to ensure that there is no further escalation of violence in the region.
“There must be a renewed impetus by the international community and a genuine commitment by both Palestinian and Israeli authorities to renew peace-talks aimed at forging a sustainable and long-lasting solution to this conflict.
"I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those savagely murdered and wish the injured policeman a full and speedy recovery” concluded the Deputy.
Govt concedes to FF pressure to ensure people are not being penalised by unscrupulous waste companies
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal Darragh O’Brien says his party will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that a waste regulator is established. Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion in the Dáil this week calling for an independent waste regulator.
The Government has confirmed that it would set up an interim watchdog to oversee the industry, until a regulator is established.
“We need to get serious about the way in which we dispose of our waste and measures must be taken to move away from landfill and towards recycling. I support the environmental aspects of this new payment structure as it should encourage more people to separate and reduce their waste”, said Deputy O’Brien.
“However, more needs to be done in order to increase competition and ensure that waste companies are not allowed to drive up costs for customers. Over the past year I have been in regular contact with Ministers Coveney and Naughten on this issue but the Government has failed to make any progress on the issue. This is not good enough.
“A promised public awareness campaign never transpired and people are genuinely concerned that their waste charges will increase as a result of any new pricing structure. These fears are being felt right across north County Dublin, where there is very little competition and bin companies are acting as if they can do what they want.
“Our motion argues for a waste regulator to ensure that the consumer is at the heart of the process. A regulator can ensure fair practice within the sector, and reward operators who behave in an efficient and consumer-friendly way. I welcome the fact that the Government has finally seen sense. However, in the unlikely event that the Government’s analysis does not provide for a regulator, we will introduce our own Bill on the matter.
“This issue of illegal dumping and fly-tipping must also be addressed. Over the past number of years we have seen an increase in illegal dumping in fields, forests and laneways, posing serious environmental problems. We need to establish whether there is a link between increasing waste charges and the rise in fly-tipping. This motion calls for additional resources for Local Authorities to properly investigate illegal dumping and to fine the perpetrators.
“Recycling rates have improved greatly over the last decade and we must continue to encourage initiatives which support waste reduction and recycling.
“We also want to ensure that consumers get value for money. A regulator will prevent sudden price gouging and promote competition, ensuring that both customers and the environment are protected”, concluded Deputy O’Brien.