6,800 on List: Housing Action Needed in Kildare

I am re-posting here the recent Housing Action Kildare statement, with thanks to the rest of the group;

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Housing Action Kildare: ‘Council Must Cease Rationing Emergency Accommodation’

“Housing Action Kildare delivered a list of demands to the Director of Housing in Kildare County Council on Thursday. In light of the escalating housing crisis and the desperate plight of so many families due to the chronic social housing list here in Kildare. We at Housing Action Kildare a community based support group, insist that these housing demands are implemented as a matter of urgency.

1. Do not refuse emergency accommodation on the grounds that KCC have no funding for it.
2. If tenants are forced onto the HAP system they should have immediate inclusion on a social housing transfer list that reflects their previous position and does not in any way disadvantage their standing on the housing list.
3. Use some vacant housing stock for families in emergency accommodation instead of hotel rooms so that they could at least have cooking facilities while they are waiting for permanent accommodation.
4. Increase the number of social houses that are to be built or directly provided by Kildare County Council.

We will continue to campaign on these issues until adequate housing provisions have been implemented by Kildare County Council.

Commenting on the case, Cllr Brendan Young said: “The fact that a homeless woman has taken Kildare Co Council to the High Court after she and her children were refused emergency accommodation is shocking but not surprising. The Council’s homeless team works on the basis that not everybody who presents as homeless will get emergency accommodation because, we have been told, the Council does not have enough of a homelessness budget. So staff are forced into rationing accommodation. No criteria are laid down for deciding who gets somewhere to stay, it effectively depends on whether staff think you deserve it – or not.

“Landlords need to start treating potential tenants equally and stop discriminating against those in receipt of rent supports, otherwise this housing crisis will continue to get worse” added Ind Cllr Joanne Pender. These issues affect so many people in County Kildare and the council needs to amend their housing policies and take action to assist 6866 people who are on the housing list in Kildare and in emergency accommodation for indefinite lengths of time. The numbers are rising each week with only a few families being housed.”

ENDS

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#ge16 Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay • Right2Water Protest Saturday 20/2 Parnell Sq Dublin 2pm

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• Scrap Water Charges!
• Right2Water National Protest Saturday 20/2 Parnell Sq Dublin 2pm

This Saturday sees the last national water charges protest before the election. Called by Right2Water Ireland, it takes place this Saturday February 20 on Parnell Square at 2pm. All are encouraged to come along and let government politicians in election-mode hear their voice.

According to Irish Water’s own figures, about half of people are refusing to pay these water charges. People are not being fooled by misinformation, nor bullied by their harassment. The government are sinking in the polls from their 2011 result along with their water charges and will struggle to be re-elected. If anti-water charges candidates who support the majority of working people who have decided to boycott get a strong vote – between that and the mass boycott these charges will be on their last legs. We’re close to a win on this – .

This is confirmed by the government’s indication in recent weeks that they will push the period of the capped rate out to beyond the life-time of the next government. This retreat is an admission that these charges are not enforceable and shows that “people power” works. That when we don’t like what a government attempts to do, then we can stop them if we organise to resist them together. We should apply this approach more generally, to reverse austerity and for a fundamental change of priorities for real equality.

People from across County Kildare have agreed a designated meeting point at the steps outside Hugh Lane Gallery, if you are thinking about coming in to the protest you are more than welcome to join with us there. So hold out on the bills, come to the protest this Saturday and vote water charges out on Feb 26. Can’t pay, won’t pay! Vote Young!

Facebook event page -> click here

#GE16: Sinn Fein and Social Democrats Must Rule Out Coalition with Austerity Parties

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Press Statement – February 2016 – Immediate Release

Cllr Brendan Young Launches Election Manifesto

Sinn Fein and Social Democrats Must Rule out Coalition with Austerity parties

Need for radical change in priorities

Today Cllr Brendan Young launched his election manifesto and called for radical change to end inequality and restore living standards for ordinary people. He also reiterated his call to boycott water charges.

Young said

“This election is an opportunity to reject the austerity agenda of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. The polls are clearly showing that people want a change of government and an end to inequality. I am the only candidate in North Kildare who has clearly stated that I will not support a government which includes these pro-austerity parties. Other candidates who claim to be offering real change, such as Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats, need to clearly state where they stand on this issue. Will a vote for them end up being a vote for a Fine Gael or Fianna Fail led government?”

Young continued

“ I am standing in this election to offer a real alternative. I stand for taxing those who have most and using these resources to provide the services in health, education, housing and childcare that people need. I support full equality for all. This means repealing the Eight Amendment. I support radical action to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. If people want to vote for a real alternative they should vote for me. My manifesto sets out proposals that would lead to a real change in priorities. ”

 

ENDS

Water Charges Latest: Boycott Forces Another Retreat, Protests #Jan23

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Press Statement – January 2016 – Immediate Release

Cllr. Brendan Young, Kildare North Independent candidate

Water: Government Retreat, Boycott Works

 

The reports that Fine Gael and Labour are now thinking of extending the cap on water charges from 2019 until 2021 – the lifetime of the next government – is an acknowledgement that they cannot enforce the charge in the face of up to 50% non-payment.

Kildare North Independent candidate Cllr. Brendan Young, who is urging people to boycott the charge, said:

This is a victory for the ordinary people who are refusing to pay this unfair charge. The government’s retreat proves that Irish Water are making bogus claims when they say 61% are paying. Kenny and Burton realize that 45% to 50% are not paying. Irish Water’s figures are not credible. Importantly, only 55% have claimed the €100 water grant. But some of these are not liable to pay the charge at all; and many others took the grant but have not paid the bills.

So with the boycott running near 50%, the government knows it cannot enforce the water charge. They know that Irish Water simply can’t take up to 700,000 non-payers individually through the courts in the spring of 2017 to enforce payment. Rather than risk uproar and outright defeat, Fine Gael and Labour are considering a softly-softly approach in the hope that extending the reduced charge will induce more people to pay and defuse the charge as an election issue.”

Cllr. Young went on:

My advice is don’t be fooled: keep up the boycott and force them to scrap it. €260 now for a multi-adult household will be €760 and more for four adults in 2021 if they induce people to pay. If you have paid some bills, stop now and don’t throw more of your money away. Vote for candidates who support a boycott of water charges – to defend the living standards of ordinary people.

Join the Right 2 Water protests on Jan 23. Assemble 10.30 at Castletown Gates, Celbridge.

Dublin protest assembles 14.00 at Christchurch for march to rally at GPO at 15.00.”

Ends

Statement: Numbers on Trolleys in Naas Continue to Rise – Fine Gael-Labour Preside Over Hospitals Crisis

Naas Gen_

Cllr Brendan Young

Statement – 12 January 2016 – immediate release

Health is Major Issue In Election as Fine Gael-Labour preside over crisis

Numbers on Trolleys in Naas continues to rise  Major Investment needed to end crisis

Treatment delays can be the difference between life and death.


In a statement today Cllr Brendan Young, an Independent anti-austerity candidate in Kildare North, promised to turn health care into a major issue in the election campaign.

He said

“On Monday January 11, according to INMO Trolleywatch, there were 20 people waiting on trolleys in Naas Hospital. On the same Monday last year there were 19”.

Between January and November 2014, there were 2612 people on trolleys. That rose to a staggering 3072 in 2015. This is completely unacceptable. It’s causing untold misery to many sick people, particularly older people. Indeed the situation is so bad that people are put off going to A&E.

Unless there is major increase in beds, and big pay increases to attract nurses to stay in the system, the HSE’s current escalation procedures will run into the bottleneck of insufficient capacity.

The 62 bed expansion of Naas Hospital, planned since 2007, is completely inadequate because the area’s population has increased by over 10,000 and critically ill people are now also being diverted from Portlaoise hospital. Last October there were 1,782 waiting for a Gastro-Intestinal Endoscopy at Naas – 300 had been waiting over a year. These delays can be the difference between life and death.

The crises in A&E cannot be solved without additional beds and additional staff – many of whom have increased workloads but no pay increase. Our hospitals have never recovered from the cuts of Haughey and Fianna Fail, who took 3000 beds out of the system.”

Cllr Young continued:

“The crisis of healthcare shows that this government is not concerned with the welfare of the majority of the people. When they were pumping money into banks to pay bondholders, the health budget was cut by €4b between 2008 and 2014. And this at a time when our population is aging and in greater need of services.

There was much talk from Labour and Fine Gael about universal access to healthcare but the fact remains that those without money cannot access health care when they need it.  Government TDs, particularly Emmet Stagg, need to explain their failure to deliver on this vital issue.

I have played a leading role in campaigning to reverse health cuts, including cuts to the local ambulance service. If elected I will continue make health care for all a priority; and I’ll support nurses in their campaign to reverse cuts and increase investment in health.”

Ends.

 

Thurs 11/9: Local Organising Meeting for a Campaign to Abolish Water Charges

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Cllr Brendan Young and the Community Solidarity group are hosting a meeting to discuss setting up a citizens campaign to unite all who want to abolish the water charge and ensure everybody can get water – as a human right and public good – irrespective of income. We are in discussion with Right2WaterIreland with a view to launching such a campaign nationwide.

The meeting will take place in the Rye Vale pub, Leixlip, on Thursday Sept 11 at 8pm. Individuals and representatives of groups welcome.

Our first concern is the ‘application pack’ being sent out by Irish Water. They have begun writing to householders, asking people to give personal identification details and to take liability to pay water charges.

But unlike the property tax, the water bill can’t be deducted from your income: it’s a bill – like electricity or gas. If you decide not to sign up, and you don’t pay, they can’t disconnect you. They can only threaten to reduce your pressure (at the meter) or deny your children a ‘free’ allowance.

But less than one third of all homes will have meters in October (when metering starts) and at least 300,000 will never be metered (and will always face an estimated charge) – so pressure can’t be reduced. So most people will get estimated bills next January. If lots of people don’t pay, Irish Water will find it very hard to force them – especially if people organise to oppose them.

There will be a General Election within the next 18 months. So now is the time to put it on the agenda and tell politicians: scrap the water charge. Non-cooperation with Irish Water is a strong message to them – and a first step to abolishing this unfair charge.

Emergency Gaza Debate by Kildare County Council Blocked By Fianna Fail and Fine Gael

Kildare County Council was yesterday denied to opportunity to vote on a motion calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and action to put pressure on Israel to end its brutal attack on the defenceless Palestinian population. The Fianna Fáil mayor ruled that because the motion was submitted after the deadline for motions, it came under the part of Standing Orders that says only motions ‘related to a function of the council’ can be taken as matters of urgent business. In this the mayor was advised and supported by Fine Gael. I was denied the right to argue why my emergency motion was a valid matter of urgent business; and the mayor ruled there would be no vote on whether the motion should be debated.

In my opinion the use of procedures to control debate is always political: if those in control wanted a debate, they could have had one.

FF and FG know that the Dept. of Defence, with headquarters in Newbridge, bought military radar from an Israeli company that supplies radar to the Israeli military for use on the illegal apartheid wall protecting Israeli settlers in the West Bank – and probably on the Gaza ‘fence’. The same company, Elbit Systems, makes drones that have been used in attacks on Gaza.

All of Kildare’s councillors know this because I sent them the information. Is it not a ‘function of the council’ to ask another institution of state, situated in County Kildare, to stop supporting a company that profits from the oppression and killing of defenseless people who have been dispossessed from their land and blockaded in a besieged enclave for seven years? We act as advocates for local people suffering because they can’t get services. Should we not also advocate that local institutions cease contributing to the suffering and killing of others? The use of ‘protocol’ to block debate stopped this question being put in public.

The mayor reported on an official visit she made to the Curragh Camp, commenting on its ‘strong links’ with County Kildare; she proposed a minutes’ silence for the dead in Gaza and the MH17 plane crash; she also made a statement (verbal) condemning the killing in Gaza. But debate on my motion proposing action in opposition to the Israeli invasion was blocked by procedural means.

It will be September 22 before another motion on Gaza can be tabled at KCC. In the meantime, I urge those who want to do something in opposition to the siege to step up the boycott of Israeli goods; and contact all and any councillors and TDs, calling on them to demand an end to trade with companies that supply the Israeli military with their instruments of oppression against Palestinians. Check out the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) at http://www.ipsc.ie or Trocaire for details.

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The other councillors were fully aware of what is going on in Gaza, the importance of acting and of Kildare County Council’s links with the apartheid regime as I had sent the following letter and information to all of them the previous weekend to help inform the debate.

For info: letter to KCC councillors.

Fellow Councillors,

I have submitted an emergency motion on the Gaza crisis (below) for debate by Kildare County Council at its meeting on Monday 28 July. It was submitted on the morning of Tuesday July 22nd, after the normal deadline of July 16th, because the intensification of the ground invasion of Gaza did not take place until the weekend of Friday 18th – Sunday 20th of July.

The motion has been sent to the Protocol Committee, which will decide on Monday morning whether or not to present the motion to the full Council for debate. I am confident that the Members of that Committee will decide to support a suspension of Standing Orders or other mechanism to ensure this motion is tabled for debate at the full Council meeting. Should the Protocol Committee decide to do that however, the other Members of the Council will not have much time to consider the motion in advance of making a decision upon it.

I am therefore taking the abnormal step of circulating this emergency motion to all Members of Kildare County Council in advance of the meeting of the Protocol Committee.

I am doing this because we are in an abnormal situation: 1.8 million Palestinians are under attack in Gaza, while trapped in a blockaded enclave with no means of escape and with vital infrastructure being destroyed.

The seven year siege and blockade of Gaza have already made life intolerable for the people of Gaza – and have been condemned as an illegal ‘collective punishment’ by Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Israeli officials are now talking of “expanding and intensifying” the assault on Gaza. Surely we must learn from the siege and killings in Srebrenice: we must not remain silent, or knowingly turn away, and not act while defenceless people are under direct attack – as is now happening in Gaza.

Secondly, there is a direct relationship between the people of Kildare, the institutions of state based in Kildare, and the breaches of international law and international human rights treaties carried out by the state of Israel in relation to the Palestinians.

Trocaire reports that the Department of Defence has contracts with an Israeli military equipment company, Elbit Systems, for the supply of ground surveillance radar: ten pieces of this equipment were bought by the Dept. of Defence between 2009 and 2014. In Israel this equipment is used on the Apartheid Wall, which the International Court of Justice has ruled is illegal and in breach of the human rights of Palestinians. Elbit also makes ‘drones’ which have been used in attacks on Gaza.

This radar equipment may be located in the Curragh Camp. The Dept. of Defence has significant operations based in Kildare from where the purchase of this equipment may have been organized. Whether or not this is the case the Dept. of Defence – which bought it – interacts directly and indirectly with the people of Kildare. We therefore have a responsibility to engage with the Dept. Of Defence on matters of human rights abuses to which the Dept. may be an indirect contributor through purchases that sustain Israeli military industries.

Trocaire – along with civil society organisations in Palestine and other international human rights organisations like War on Want – call for governments to cease trading with Israeli companies which are involved in activities in Palestine that breach international law and human rights treaties. I support this call. Elbit Systems is one such company.

In response to such calls the Gates Foundation (of Bill Gates) recently sold its $110 million stake in G4S – which provides security services for the imprisonment by Israel of over 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners.

As an elected political institution representing the people of Kildare, Kildare County Council has a responsibility to draw to the attention of other institutions of state located in Kildare – and to the population of Kildare at large – that the state is a party to contracts with companies that benefit from the oppression, suffering and denial of human rights to the people of Palestine – now and in the past.

We should not simply close our eyes and ears to the suffering of a whole people while contributing to the profits of companies that collude or participate in the oppression of that people – and pretend that it has nothing to do with us. It is our responsibility to reveal what is being done in secret elsewhere; and to act, when we are in a position to do so, to stop the suffering of others.

A public debate on the matter is therefore essential.

Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Galway County Councils have very recently passed motions calling for an end to the attacks on Gaza. I look forward to a full debate on this emergency motion at the meeting of Kildare County Council next Monday.

Regards
Brendan Young

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There will be a third All-Kildare Palestine Solidarity protest in a row next Tuesday August 3rd. Assemble at the Main Square in Maynooth. Thank you.

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STATEMENT: Kildare County Council Should Facilitate Emergency Motion on Gaza

Press statement – 27 July 2014 – immediate release

Kildare County Councillor, Brendan Young, calls for end to siege of Gaza.

On Monday July 28, a motion calling for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Gaza, an immediate Israeli military withdrawal and the lifting of the siege of Gaza will be presented for discussion at Kildare County Council by Councillor Brendan Young.

Commenting on the invasion of Gaza and his motion, Councillor Young said:

The current invasion of Gaza is a brutal attempt to reinforce the seven year Israeli military blockade by massive destruction and killing. Attacks from all sides, on an impoverished Palestinian population of 1.8 million trapped in a small enclave with 5 people per square meter and no escape, is the horrific human equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

Cut off by land, sea and air – denied the right to farm, to rebuild homes, maintain hospitals or import parts for water treatment – the people of Gaza have justifiably resisted this blockade. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2010, Micheal Martin accurately wrote that “the medieval siege conditions being imposed on the people of Gaza are unacceptable”.

In order to create the conditions for a lasting peace, this invasion must end and the blockade of Gaza must be lifted.

As public representatives, I think members of Kildare County Council should speak out and take action to oppose the atrocities being inflicted upon Palestinians today. As Desmond Tutu said: “To be neutral in a situation of injustice is to take the side of the oppressor”.

In County Kildare, which is home to significant Dept. of Defence activity, we should also call upon the Dept. of Defence to stop buying military equipment from Israeli military companies that profit from this invasion and the denial of human and civil rights to Palestinians.”

Councillor Young concluded:

I am confident that members of Kildare County Council will agree to discuss and support my emergency motion – and from there arrange to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to encourage the Irish government to take action to press for an Israeli withdrawal and the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.”

Ends.

TEXT OF MOTION

 

Emergency Motion on Gaza. Councillor Brendan Young.

 

In the light of the continued killing of Palestinians by Israeli armed forces in Gaza and the continued blockade and siege of Gaza, and in the interests of creating the conditions for a lasting peace, Kildare County Council:

 

  1. Condemns the Israeli attacks on populated areas, hospitals and essential infrastructure in Gaza;

 

  1. calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza and immediate Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza as a precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement;

 

  1. calls for an end to the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza;

 

  1. supports a boycott of Israeli goods – an action supported by Nelson Mandela in the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa – until such time as Israel comes into compliance with international law and international human rights treaties;

 

  1. calls for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement until such time as Israel comes into compliance with international law and international human rights treaties. Article 2 of the Agreement declares that the “provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement”;

 

  1. commits to send a delegation from Kildare County Council consisting of the Lord Mayor and other interested Councillors to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to encourage the Irish government to take concrete and immediate action in relation to the above.

 

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A second All-Kildare Palestine solidarity protest will also take place on Monday 28 July at Newbridge Town Hall at 7pm. Please attend with friends if you can. More information here.

All-Kildare Palestine Solidarity Protest in Naas 7/7/14

All-Kildare Palestine Solidarity Protest in Naas 7/7/14

Four Councillors Withdraw Support for Dublin City Council

“RTE NEWS: Four councillors withdraw support for Dublin City Alliance” CLICK FOR MORE INFO

A message from Brendan and the group:

“Congratulations to the group of councillors who have just pulled out of the pact between SF, Labour, Greens and some Independents on Dublin City Council. They have decided they are unwilling to go along with a deal that will in all likelihood involve supporting cuts budgets. Hopefully others will now realise this, and also pull out.

Myself and Joanne Pender refused the offer to go into a coalition on Kildare County Council that would have included Fine Gael, Labour and some Independents – because in doing so we would have been making a commitment to support any budget cuts that central government decided to impose.

I look forward to working with these and other genuine anti-austerity councillors.”

Brendan Young Elected in Celbridge-Leixlip Ward

In the early hours of Monday morning, it was confirmed that our independent Community Solidarity candidate Brendan Young had been elected to the 5th of 7 seats in the Celbridge-Leixlip ward to Kildare County Council.

A massive than you for any contribution – little or large – our supporters may have made in their own way over these first few years of the group. It is all remembered and appreciated. We are so grateful.

Together, we have really given the government a serious rattling and started something special. We’re not on Kildare County Council to sit around and do deals. We’re there to campaign and make an impact on the way things are done. And judging by our vote, that is clearly what people want too.

Congratulations again to the strong showing by principled anti-austerity candidates across the island. We are particularly delighted that our friend Joanne Pender has been elected in Kildare-Newbridge ward and delighted for Martin Grehan’s excellent showing in Maynooth ward.

Thank you and solidarity.