Local Fianna Fáil TD has said that the two recent attacks on farmers in the county have exposed the severe deficits in Garda resources across Dublin Fingal.
The Deputy was commenting following last night’s meeting on Rural Crime in North Dublin held by the Irish Farmers Association in the Carnagie Court, Swords.
He said, “In the past number of months there have been two known violent aggravated burglaries on farmers locally. These thugs didn’t just attempt to trespass but they savagely attacked these two gentlemen on their own property.
“Deputy President of the Irish Farmers Association, Richard Kennedy detailed the extent to which criminality has taken hold in some rural communities across North County Dublin.
“It’s an incredibly shame that some brazen individuals set out to target vulnerable, law abiding and hardworking people for their own gain.
“The reality is that Fingal has had a 20% reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochana that equates to a loss of 1 in 5 Gardaí since Fine Gael has been in Government. Garristown Garda Station has just one Garda.
“The decision to re-open Rush Garda Station has been trumpeted by our local Government representatives and yet we have seen absolutely no progress. Just this week I received an update from the Minister for Justice which leaves us no more clued in as to when we can expect it operational.
“The Gardaí stationed to police our county are exceptionally dedicated to trying to ensure full public safety but it’s clear they are left without the necessary resources from Government.
“I will continue to do all I can in opposition to insist that the reductions in Gardaí in Fingal are reversed to stamp out crime in our area and that Rush Garda Station is finally re-opened once and for all,” he concluded.
Local Fianna Fáil TD and Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien has said the congestion and capacity issues caused by changes introduced to Irish Rail and DART timetables are causing major difficulties for daily commuters in North County Dublin.
The Deputy raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach in Dáil Éireann yesterday where he said, “The recent changes made to the Irish Rail timetable including DART services have become a major difficulty for those who rely on these services daily. Earlier this month, I met with Barry Kenny of Irish Rail to highlight the adverse impact that this new timetable is having on commuters in North County Dublin.
“The demand for services on the Northern Line is so rapidly increasing that it's creaking at the seams and it's clear from the Taoiseach's response yesterday that he's oblivious to the growing population of Dublin Fingal and certainly not interested in these concerns.
“In order to reduce the dangerous overcrowding being endured by passengers I have been advocating for improvements. Irish Rail, at my insistence, has agreed to restore two morning commuter services at 07.29 and 07.42 at Portmarnock.
“I have been assured that off-peak commuter services will be half-hourly from December while some trains have been restored to eight carriages. Cllr Adrian Henchy, Cllr Eoghan O'Brien and I are working to ensure all peak time services at will operate with eight carriages on journeys.
“This would include buying, leasing and refurbishing carriages, but they would not expect any new additions before 2020.
“Stopgap measures including improving signalling infrastructure at Connolly Station will help alleviate some of the worst consequences of this new timetable. But the reality is that our rail services in the North County have suffered from chronic under-investment over the past 7 years.
“This timetable has been presented as a technical fix for a congestion problem, but it has in fact resulted in a cut to services for North Dublin rail users.
“Regular, reliable, efficient public transport services are essential in our county. I will be continuing to push for improvements and for any adverse changes to be rectified,” he concluded.
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the measures announced as part of Budget 2019 to address the severe deficits in social housing across the country were fought for during the party’s Budget negotiations with Government.
He said, “Since Fianna Fáil entered into the Confidence & Supply arrangement we have forced the overall capital budget in housing to increase from €430m in 2016 to €1.34bn in Budget 2019. This is a €900m increase or over 300%.
“Social homes are desperately needed and a major programme of social housing building is the only means of bringing them quickly on stream to alleviate the crisis in demand.
“Local authorities were set very ambitious targets for building social housing but to do have been heavily impeded by sheer bureaucracy in Government. During Budget negotiations we sought to triple the Local Authority discretion to from €2m to €6m.
“By cutting through red tape, Fianna Fáil has facilitated Local Authorities to by-pass planning hoops in the Department of Housing. Councils will now be in the position to build up to 30 social units without going through the drawn out 59 week, four stage process.
“This will ultimately ensure that badly needed units are delivered at a faster, more sustained pace.
"We worked hard to influence this Budget process by pushing for greater capital to build social housing but the time for delivery is now. That onus is on the Housing Minister and his Government colleagues.
“The measures announced as part of Budget 2019 are not enough alone to solve this emergency but by applying even more pressure over the coming weeks this Government might finally begin to wake up,” he concluded.
Responding to today’s Budget 2019 announcement, Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien, the party Spokesperson on Housing has said, “The scale of the emergency in housing represents the most critical challenge facing our country.
"An immeasurable number of perspective homeowners are skimping and saving for a deposit, to be left renting at extortionate costs. It’s hardly the vision that any of us imagined for the generations to come. The true strength of a State rests on every citizen having a clear stake in it and owning your own home is the most direct way of bridging that link.
“Securing an affordable housing package over €300m, to be rolled out over the next three years, will provide approximately 6,000 new homes nationwide which will be made available by eligible first time buyers. Our party makes no apologies for fighting for the establishment of an Affordable Housing Scheme in today’s Budget.
“I am pleased that despite the Fine Gael’s failure to support our Dáil motion earlier this year, that today they have recognised the potential of a comprehensive Affordable Housing Scheme.
“Today marks a breakthrough in achieving An Ireland for All and will give hope to working people. The work towards restoring the dream of home ownership for an entire generation needs to begin immediately.”