Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Darragh O’Brien has expressed his and his party's condolences to the US Ambassador following yesterday’s atrocity in Orlando, Florida.
Deputy O’Brien commented, ”Like the rest of our country, I am deeply shocked and saddened by the appalling attack in Orlando. This atrocity, and the hate that inspired it, requires the unequivocal condemnation of every right thinking person.
“On behalf of the Fianna Fáil party, I have offered our sincere condolences and prayers to our friends in the United States. I have written to His Excellency Mr Kevin O’Malley, expressing our condolences to him and the American people. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed, and we wish a full recovery to all those injured. “
Dublin Fingal TD demands meeting with local authority
Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has requested an urgent meeting with Fingal County Council following sewage pollution at five local beaches.
Beaches in Rush, Balbriggan, Skerries, Loughshinny and Portmarnock have all been forced to restrict bathing due to water contamination by a suspected sewage discharge from the nearby waste water treatment plant.
Reacting to the news, Darragh O'Brien has said, "It is extremely disappointing that the only designated bathing beaches along north Dublin have all been affected. Sewage issues and pollution have been plaguing the north of Dublin for some time now.
"It is inexcusable that the local community are being forced to put up with bathing restrictions during the summer period and at a time when we are enjoying some fine weather.
"The Skerries Water Festival and the Rush Harbour Festival, which are due to take place later this summer, could be now affected and the impact on tourism and the local economy will be significant.“ said O'Brien.
He added, "The local community are deeply concerned and need assurances that there will not be any further pollution to the local environment. I am demanding that senior officials in the local authority provide an explanation and detail what contingency plans are being put in place to ensure that this incident is not repeated.
“The very least that the residents of Fingal deserve is a clean local environment, for public safety, for nearby households and for local amenities. Fixing this sewage problem must now be a priority and every effort must be made to avoid any similar occurrence in the future.
“I have, with local community groups, led the campaign against the ill-thought out proposal to build a giant sewage plant in Fingal, from the very outset.
“The latest restrictions reiterate how threatening the plant is to our locality and that smaller, localised treatment plants are the correct and appropriate way forward. I remain absolutely opposed to the development of a monster sewage plant in our community, as it is an entirely inappropriate location for a plant of this scale. I intend on further expressing these grave concerns when I meet with senior officials this coming Monday. "
Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the Sports Capital Programme 2016 is of great importance to local communities and provides essential amenities for young people in particular.
He was commenting amid confirmation from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport that ‘no decision has been made on the timing of any future rounds of the Sports Capital Programme.’
Deputy O’Brien said: “Investment in communities through the programme has been hugely successful and of great benefit to the greater Fingal area for many years.
“I know from working with groups locally that this funding is extremely important and helps improve sports clubs and other facilities which are of huge benefit to teenagers and clubs in the community.
“It is critical that this government builds on years of investment in communities, facilities and sports equipment for clubs and groups across Ireland.
“This Government must ensure that this funding is provided as a matter of urgency in order to recognise the positive impact that this much needed funding has had locally. It must not slip down the agenda.
“I will continue to stress the importance of publishing the 2016 Capital Sports Grants Scheme, in order to enable sports and community groups and associations to apply for much needed funding to assist them with maximising participation in physical education. ” concluded O’Brien.
Any interested group should register online now at www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie
FF Dáil motion set to tackle "enormous" motor insurance costs - O'Brien - Premiums have risen by 34% over the last year -
Fianna Fáil is tabling a motion during Dáil private members time later this evening to demand urgent action to halt soaring motor insurance costs.
Since January 2014 consumers have experienced a 60% increase in the cost of their motor insurance including a 34% hike in the past year alone. Commercial users have also seen similar rises, with insurers warning of further increases to come.
“Motorists are required to have a minimum of third party insurance cover, so the cost of motor insurance is a major issue for family finances. A rise of €200 - €300 is now typical for customers renewing their policy. Motorists are justifiably frustrated with these stark increases.” O'Brien explained.
“Prior to 2013 we experienced a period of falling motor insurance premiums. However the benefits that were achieved from concerted action to reduce costs are now sadly dissipating.
“Fianna Fáil believes that there is an obligation on the state to respond to these soaring premiums. In our view there is a need to re-establish the Motor Insurance Advisory Board to examine all relevant issues that affect insurance premiums.
Deputy O'Brien commented, “We need further details about the inner operations of the insurance sector. Customers are asked to accept the word of the industry to justify these enormous price hikes, but without any accurate information.
“My party and I support the establishment of a motor insurance database which would collect information from insurers relating to account premiums and claims settlements. This would lead to increased transparency within the industry and would further improve policy formulation without breaching commercial confidentiality.
"Additionally, action is needed in relation to false claims which are hiking up costs for all consumers. It is essential that people can be confident that those who make false or misleading claims will be prosecuted and face a real risk of jail time. In order to underline the seriousness with which the State regards false and exaggerated personal injury claims, an amendment to the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 may be required.
“Significant progress was made throughout the 2000's in the area of road safety - Measures such as the introduction of penalty points, random breath testing, rigorous enforcement activity by An Garda Síochána and numerous effective Road Safety Authority awareness campaigns all contributed to a dramatic increase in road safety and helped drive down insurance costs.
“It is crucial that An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority are adequately resourced to allow them to continue to enforce the rules of the road and promote road safety. To achieve this we must increase the strength of the Traffic Corps and equip the force with the necessary means to detect and prosecute reckless drivers,” concluded Deputy O'Brien.
Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O'Brien has responded to the government decision to reject funding for the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi.
Deputy O’Brien, who has been campaigning for the drug to be approved since October 2015 said, “I am bitterly disappointed to learn that the Minister for Health has rejected the introduction of the drug.
“This drug was approved by the EU Medicines Agency some time ago and has proven to be of major benefit for cystic fibrosis sufferers. Furthermore, it has been shown to extend life expectancy and significantly improve quality of life for those who suffer from the disease.
"More people are living with cystic fibrosis than ever before. About 500 people with CF have the potential to benefit from the implementation of Orkambi in Ireland.”
O’Brien is now calling on the Government to clarify if it will enter into further negotiations and has called on Vertex pharmaceuticals to significantly reduce the price of Orkambi as part of these negotiations.
“Cystic fibrosis is a very debilitating condition and anything that can be brought forward to improve people’s quality of life and extend life expectancy should be made available immediately. Ireland has the highest prevalence of CF in the world and therefore every effort must be made to have this drug put on shelves in pharmacies nationwide."
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Darragh O’Brien has expressed grave concern following reports that Ibrahim Halawa has witnessed torture and abuse whilst in prison in Egypt.
Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Brien said, “The events that Ibrahim is reported to have witnessed are appalling and most worrying. Ibrahim has been detained in prison without trial since 2013 and undoubtedly the events of the last number of years have taken their toll not only on him, but also on his family.
“Ibrahim’s trial has been postponed numerous times, with the next scheduled date set for June 29th. Last week I met with Ibrahim’s sister Somaia and she spoke of the awful conditions that Ibrahim is being kept in. It is imperative that the Irish Government does all it can to secure Ibrahim’s release and that the Government has a firm plan of action in place for the upcoming trial date.
“Ibrahim is an Irish citizen and as the next trial date is only a matter of weeks away it is important that his case is kept to the fore of the political agenda”.