Local TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the substantial cuts imposed on the 15,000 Dublin airport pension scheme members is an example of the Minister's reluctance to fairly protect those who have made huge contributions to their pensions over time.
The Deputy was commenting on information received through a series of Parliamentary Questions which indicates that the Government continue to ignore the implications of the Government legislation on the pensions scheme and its 15,000 members nationwide.
Deputy O’Brien said, “Over the past number of years, the members of the IASS pension scheme have been subject to unjust and severe reductions to their pension benefits.
“Unfortunately, the Government has done nothing to reverse the unfair removal of people’s pension’s rights or to prevent the impact that these reductions have had on pension scheme members and their families.
"In fact, Government policy has facilitated and brought about severe reductions in members' benefits.
“I am at a complete loss as to why the Minster for Employment Affairs and Social Protection would introduce legislation to reduce the benefits in the IASS scheme and on the hand in the correspondence to me has said that she; “cannot intervene in the pension arrangements applying to a particular pension scheme.”
"The responses I have received from the Minister regarding the scheme are deeply disappointing and simply just not good enough. I cannot accept that this approach has been applied across the board.
“Having worked in the pensions sector for 15 years before entering politics, I intend to continue on this course of trying to protect workers' and push for a redress for people such as the airport workers who lost up to 60% of their pension benefits.
“In response to the continued neglect of IASS scheme members; I will be tabling amendments to the Social Welfare & Pensions Bill which will be before the Dáil in the coming weeks,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Just 10 Local Authorities have Migrant Integration Strategies
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that local authorities must be more proactive in their effort to supporting migrant integration in communities in Ireland.
O’Brien made his comments on foot of a Parliamentary Question he tabled on the issue and which revealed that just 10 of 31 Local Authorities confirmed that they have a published Migration Integration Strategy.
“Migrants and those of migrant origin make up close to 12% of Ireland’s population. The integration of migrants and new minorities is something that warrants our attention,” O‘Brien explained.
“The Migrant Integration Strategy which was published in February was designed to go some way towards developing a longer term strategy to enable immigrants to be better able to settle into their lives safely and successfully.
“Migrants have a considerable and hugely important contribution to make in Irish society. Sadly this week we learned through media of shocking details of racism and discrimination experienced by young migrants in Ireland.
“These cannot be tolerated.
“I am disappointed to learn that 19 local authorities do not have a published migrant integration strategy despite being mandated to. This distinct lack of initiative completely undermines a migrant’s chance of contributing to our culture and communities.
“My own constituency of Dublin Fingal is an example of how well a migrant population can become established in a community when a local authority has targeted advice and a strategy to assist.
“I recently met with the Immigrant Council of Ireland to discuss this complexities and obstacles faced by migrants trying to integrate into communities nationwide. The Communities Integration Fund for community-based organisations to promote the prospects of integration at local level is a part of the necessary response to counteract racially motivated attacks, verbal assaults and hate crimes.
“However, it is most imperative that every local authority is guided and encouraged by the national action plan to take a proactive approach to putting in place measures that will ensure social inclusion and social cohesion.
“Ireland has an opportunity to get this right, but every local authority, not just a handful must play a leading, meaningful and active role in this. The very first step is adopting a Migration Integration Strategy,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Test match between Ireland and Pakistan will take place in Fingal next summer
Local Fianna Fail TD, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the news that Cricket Ireland Cricket Ireland have confirmed that Malahide Cricket Club will host Ireland's first Test match against Pakistan from May 11th-15th.
Earlier this year, the national sports organisation received full test status following a review carried out by the International Cricket Council.
He commented, “There has been a long tradition of Cricket in Fingal and the sport is played by many and acquiring full test playing status was a game changer for the sport in our community.
“I have been delighted over the years to have assisted and supported the expansion and development of the facility in Malahide to become the only international size cricket ground in the country.
"We have previously hosted a number of sell-out 10,000 capacity matches in Malahide and they have been fantastic successes. This Test game will bring major business to the village and the surrounding area for hotels, restaurants and bars.
“It is great news for Fingal that Ireland will play their inaugural Test match against Pakistan next year at our local grounds and a brilliant acknowledgement of the hard work of all those involved with the club.
"The announcement of Malahide as the venue for Ireland's very first test match is a great honour for Malahide Cricket Club, the village itself and the wider Fingal area, particularly the large and vibrant cricket playing community and their supporters.
“The leadership of Cricket Ireland deserve our thanks and praise also for their ongoing work to secure this success today.
“I very much look forward to help in welcoming players and supporters visiting Fingal from Pakistan and nationwide. This is set to be a wonderful and historic occasion for all,” concluded O’Brien.
- Politicians passing responsibility to Garda Commissioner to make the decision -
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that he is beyond disappointed that, four months after Rush Garda Station was placed on a list for reopening, no progress has been made.
Deputy O’Brien was commenting after receiving a reply to a parliamentary question he submitted to the Minister for Justice and Equality seeking an update on the opening of Rush station.
“It’s clear from the Minister’s reply that the impetus to reopen Rush Garda Station from a political level has been lost, and it’s now being pushed back onto the Garda Commissioner to make a decision.
“The Minister, in his reply, states that “if a second station is to be reopened in Dublin, the report indicates that the Commissioner is likely, subject to further analysis, likely to recommend that the former station at Rush to be included in the pilot scheme.
“This is a statement full of multiple caveats that is designed to let the politicians off the hook, and it’s very disappointing to me, but more importantly to the people of Rush.
“Rush is a major urban area in North County Dublin. With a population of over 10,000, it needs a full time Garda station. Its population over the next number of years is only going to rise.
“It made no sense to me when the station was closed a number of years ago, and I opposed it from the get go.
“Crime is an issue in Rush. There can be no getting away from this fact. There have been a number of very serious incidents over the past number of months, and without a full time Garda station with additional Garda resources, the level of criminal activity will only grow.
“Those who used the potential reopening of Rush Garda Station’s to provide cover for Minister Ross’ political campaign to reopen his local station in Stepaside need to deliver on their commitments and ensure that the people of Rush get the Garda support they urgently need,” concluded O’Brien.
Promised development new secondary school in Malahide/Portmarnock delayed further
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the explanation provided by the Minister for Education as to why the proposed new post primary school in Malahide/Portmarnock is deferred is an insult to all those who have long campaigned for it's development.
In information received by the Deputy through a tabled Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Education has confirmed that the school which was scheduled to open this September in Malahide/Portmarnock will now not open until at earliest, September 2018.
Deputy O’Brien said, “The provision of a new secondary school for the Malahide/Portmarnock was originally announced over two years ago. Throughout this time,I have raised the urgent necessity for the provision of this secondary school and others including a post-primary school in Swords.
“The Government has flipped flopped on its explanation for yet again deferring the schools development by 15 months. The Minister previously confirmed to me that they would more likely open the school a full 12 months behind schedule due to a lack of suitable site but now it’s claimed that this decision to defer was reached by the patron body “in the best interests."
“This is simply not the case. From my engagement with those involved locally, the delay in fact lay the Department's inability to acquire a suitable site for this school. It seems the Minister is attempting to offload any responsibility for this unacceptable delay in development.
He added, “The surge in population in the North County in recent years has exacerbated the chronic shortage of school places. Given Fingal is a particularly young population combined with high birth rates, it can only be expected that the current lack of sufficient capacity in our schools will continue to worsen and come under significant pressure.
“If decisive action is not taken by the Department very soon, pupil enrollments in both primary and secondary schools across Fingal will be unable to meet demand in the next school year.
He concluded, “Parents are becoming increasingly fearful about whether there will be a school place for their children come September; this update of a further delay through no fault of those relentlessly campaigning for the development, will now add more stress.”
International community must do more to bring an end to on-going violence
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the upsurge in violence in the Myanmar’s Rakhine state against the Rohingya ethnic minority tell a tale of unspeakable horrors.
Since violence erupted between security forces and the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar on August 25th, thousands of people have been killed, more than 600,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh while hundreds of thousands more remain in the conflict zone.
Deputy O’Brien explained, “Over recent months reports have emerged of appalling crimes against humanity including extrajudicial killing and sexual violence against a population described as the “most persecuted minority” in the world.
This community have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.
“Despite global condemnation, the Rohingya people continue to suffer what is becoming widely known as a campaign of ethnic cleansing at the hands of military led clearance operations.
“The crime of genocide can be defined as the deliberate destruction of a community in whole or even in part and there is strong evidence consistent with this in Myanmar.
He added, “Expressing outrage is simply not enough and the European Union, the United Nations and the wider international community must use every legal, political and diplomatic mechanisms at their disposal to protect the Rohingya and bring about an end to this violence.
“When we consider historic events such as the atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia, we are reminded of what immorality can unfold when the international community fails in its duty to protect innocent civilians.
“One thing is clear; should the international community continue to stand complicit we will continue to fail the destitute and unarmed Rohingya men, women and children.