Thursday 9 April 2009
Ballesty said, “The Fianna Fáil/Green Party government have failed those most in need, they have failed working families who are struggling to pay childcare - families will lose their early childcare supplement. They have targeted families struggling to pay their mortgage as mortgage interest relief will be discontinued for any mortgage over 7 years from 1 May. Those on the lowest of incomes will see their taxes double.
“The job seekers allowance for under 20s has been cut in half, The personal rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance and basic Supplementary Allowance will be reduced for new claimants under 20 years of age to €100 per week from the first week of May 2009. The Qualified Adult rate payable to a Jobseeker’s Allowance/basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance claimant aged under 20 years will also be €100 per week.
“Minister Lenihan claims this measure is designed as an incentive to get young unemployed people to participate in training programmes. As the government have only allowed for the creation of 23,000 places in the budget on various training schemes this excuse is laughable, it does nothing for almost 350,000 unemployed, and the people who will be laid of in the coming months. This budget does not address the needs of the unemployed, there is no strategy for retraining or education. This budget will ensure, that once again, young Irish people will leave these shores in droves to seek work abroad. This is an emigration budget.
“By removing the Christmas bonus for those in long-term receipt of social welfare, this government will force vulnerable and desperate families into the hands of money lenders. These families are the ones shouldering a burden they had no part in creating. They have effectively cancelled Christmas for the poor.
“The government is cutting €200 million from the environment budget, principally social housing and water infrastructure. They are cutting €54 million from the school building programme. They are cutting €13 million from Sustainable Energy and Energy research programmes. They are cutting €300 million from public transport. “Successive Fianna Fáil led Governments have squandered the economic boom and led us into this crisis which has seen unemployment rise to record levels. For them to now be slashing funding for key public services which are more and more people are now dependant on is a disgrace. The fact that the Government completely neglected to include any job creation proposals in the budget adds insult to injury. This budget is a sickening attack on working families and the ever growing numbers dependant on social welfare.”
Saturday 21 March 2009
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today met with constituents and several campaign groups in Dublin, including the Liffey Valley Park Alliance in Lucan. Mr Adams was joined in the meeting by local Sinn Féin representative Robert Ballesty.
Mr Ballesty said, "I and Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams, met the Liffey Valley Park Alliance. We support their initiative for a designated park for the Liffey Valley, an area that should be protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy. We have pledged our party's continued support to the Liffey Valley Park Alliance and commend their dedication and work to date."
In response to today's live register figures, Mr. Adams said: "Today's announcements on job losses was the first topic of conversation for all of those we met. The fact that unemployment figures have soared to 9.2% with a projected unemployment figure in excess of 400,000 expected by the end of 2009 is a very daunting reality for families to face. This coupled with increased taxes, cuts in public services and rising cost of living expenses is causing massive anxiety. This is compounded by the government's failure to provide clear leadership or spell out its strategy to get Ireland working.
"The economic challenges are sizable but they can be overcome with honest leadership and decisive action. The starting point must be stimulating the economy. This means putting in place measures to encourage economic growth, including economic strategies which invest in jobs, in people and in public services.
"Now is the time for new ideas, new thinking and real change."
Sinn Féin local representative for Lucan and Palmerstown, Robert Ballesty, has condemned the perpetrators who set fire to the playground in Rosse Court estate last Sunday. Robert Ballesty said, "The residents here are understandably frustrated and angry by this recent course of events. The siting of the playground in Rosse Court Square – against the wishes of the majority of residents – amply demonstrates the scant regard that South Dublin County Council have displayed to the local residents.
"The siting of the playground in Rosse Court by the Council is part of their development plan whereby a quota of playgrounds were to be constructed throughout the South Dublin County Council area. However the Council sought to make residents in Rosse Court – through the management company – carry the liabilities associated with a playground that local residents didn’t want in the first place. While residents in Rosse Court aren’t opposed to playground facilities, the location and manner with which this was imposed has understandably annoyed them.
"Futhermore, the playground has effectively acted as a magnet for anti-social behaviour with blatant drug dealing and an atmosphere of intimidation present. Residents who live in the vicinity of the Square have complained about general noise levels, vandalism, damaged properties and residences, drug dealing, fighting, intimidation and burglaries that have occured in the estate.
"As a community based political party, Sinn Féin is well aware of the concerns and issues that affect people here. The siting of an off license in the local Centra/Londis shop in December 2006 was very ill-conceived as this has also attracted a significant level of anti-social activity. Sinn Féin has also been made aware of the issue of the local management agents in Rosse Court and the general level of dissatisfaction with them.
"I call on South Dublin County Council to immediately clean up the site of the playground and to negotiate with the residents of Rosse Court regarding the future of the site.
Sinn Féin local representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty calls on South Dublin County Council to introduce their Brown Bin collection service to households in the Lucan and Palmerstown areas in consultation with the communites concerned, without delay. The brown bins will be used for food and garden waste.
Robert Ballesty said: "Food and garden waste makes up for one third of the waste in an average household. This waste once collected can be used to make compost, which in itself is a valuable resource and an excellent method of recycling. At the moment those wishing to recycle their food and garden waste must do so at an initial expense to the household, by buying the composters either from the South Dublin County Council or their local hardware store. I would urge that the brown bins are distributed and collected free of charge to households, as is current practice with the green bin collection service. I have written to the Minister for the Environment and the South Dublin County Council on this matter.
"Dublin faces a waste management crisis, but continuing to bury and burn our waste is a totally unacceptable policy. The Fianna Fáil/Green Party government should invest in a programme to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. A zero waste strategy needs to be implemented in Dublin. We need a policy that is based not on incineration or landfill but on reducing, reusing and recycling of waste. The Fianna Fáil/Green Party government agenda of burning or burying our waste is just not good enough.
Sinn Féin representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty, today welcomed the decision by An Bord Pleanála to refuse permission for the proposed building of an incinerator in Rathcoole.
Sinn Féin local representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty has backed Dublin West's Sinn Féín Councillor Paul Donnelly's calls for Zavvi music stores to honour Zavvi vouchers and gift cards.
Robert said, "Councillor Donnelly has called on Zavvi to honour all vouchers purchased in Zavvi music stores. I would like to support Councillor Donnelly's call. In the run up to Christmas many people bought Zavvi vouchers, for Christmas presents, and have discovered since, that Zavvi has refused to honour them. I have also been contacted by constituents who have purchased vouchers in the local Zavvi music store in Liffey Valley who have told me that their vouchers were not being honoured.
"I have written to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement requesting that they investigate this matter without delay and that the vouchers are honoured immediately."
Sinn Féin calls for South Dublin County Council and Oxigen to clean up their act - Press Release 31 December 2008
Sinn Féin representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty has described the recent Green Bin collections service in areas of Lucan as 'unacceptable'.
Mr Ballesty said, "I contacted South Dublin County Council in the run up to Christmas in relation to the collection of the green bins in Lucan. Several residents had contacted me to state that the green bins were not being collected on their allocated collection day, with the result that the bins were posing a litter problem in the area.
"We received more complaints over the Christmas period from residents annoyed that their Christmas week green bin collections didn't occur. When contacted, Oxigen were unable to offer any reason as to the non collection of bins. Only to assure us that they would catch up on collections in the following week.
"In a week where households produce more recyclable waste than at any other time in the year, I am calling on South Dublin County Council and Oxigen to immediately provide a special collection for the households that have been neglected in the past month."
Lucan Sinn Féin calls on An Bord Pleanála to reject proposal for planned incinerator - 7 November 2008
Lucan Sinn Féin local representative Robert Ballesty chaired a public meeting in the Spa Hotel on 6 November, where Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald outlined Sinn Féin's opposition to plans to build an incinerator in Rathcoole, which is just six miles from Lucan. Also attending the meeting were spokespersons for RAID (Rathcoole Against Incinerator Dioxins), Deborah MacDermott and Liam MacDermott as well as Dublin Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Councillor Daithí Doolan.
Speaking after the meeting Robert Ballesty said "Lucan Sinn Féin is opposed to this planned incinerator because 70% of the time the south-west prevailing winds will carry the toxic emissions from the plant over Dublin - our most densely populated area. Dioxins resulting from the incineration are cancer-causing and the EPA in America considers them among the most toxic substances. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and sterility. Heavy metals and small particles (PM10s) from the process are highly dangerous causing respiratory complaints and other health issues. Thousands of trucks will be carrying rubbish to the plant and other trucks will be removing by-products from the process, including hazardous products. Thousands of tons of rubbish will be imported into the area and burned on our doorstep. This could be the largest incinerator in Europe.
"We are calling on An Bord Pleanála to reject this proposal. Dublin faces a waste management crisis, but continuing to bury and burn our waste is a totally unacceptable policy. Incineration must be ruled out as an option, it should never be considered. This government should invest in a programme to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. A zero waste strategy needs to be implemented in Dublin. It is the only credible and workable alternative to incineration.
"Sinn Féin will stand by the people of Rathcoole and RAID who are committed to opposing the incinerator and urge An Bord Pleanála to reject this proposed incinerator. A petition has been set up at http://www.petitiononline.com/sflucan/petition.html and I urge as many people as possible to sign it. We will protest against this incinerator until we're sure not one sod will be turned on the proposed site"
The photo above was taken at the public meeting, seated from left to right are, Liam MacDermott (RAID), Mary Lou McDonald MEP, Councillor Daithí Doolan, Lucan Sinn Féin Representative Robert Ballesty, and Deborah MacDermott (RAID)
Ballesty calls on Green Party TD to reverse savage cutbacks in education - Press Release 25 October 2008
Ballesty calls for budget decision on Medical Cards for over 70s to be reversed - Press Release 18 October 2008
Note to editor: Photo of Robert Ballesty and Mary Lou McDonald at today's protest in Lucan attached, as well as a photo of some of the other protestors. Sinn Féin representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty was today joined by Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald on a demonstration organised by Lucan Sinn Féin outside Minister for Health Mary Harney's constituency clinic today in Lucan, in response to the government's decision to means test the over 70s access to medical cards.
Speaking afterwards Robert Ballesty said "We in Lucan Sinn Féin organised this protest today, after receiving many calls from angry constituents who have expressed concern and confusion with the latest government policy, especially regarding the income limits that will apply. We call on the Health Minister to immediately reverse the decision to withdraw automatic medical card provision for the over 70s without delay."
Sinn Féin representative for Lucan and Palmerstown Robert Ballesty has called on South Dublin County Council to immediately take measures to tackle the regular drug dealing and abuse in Ballyowen Park. Robert Ballesty has been contacted by local parents who complained that their children were recently approached by drug users while they were playing in the local park. On further inspection Ballesty discovered that the area behind the changing facilities for football teams using the park, is littered with drug paraphernalia
He said, "Having been contacted by concerned parents in the area I visited the park with one of the parents and found the area littered with tinfoil, syringes and crack pipes. There was also a tent that the drug users use to sleep off their 'fix'.
"I have contacted South Dublin County Council and asked them to immediately clean the area around the changing facilities in Ballyowen Park, and to clear some of the bushes and undergrowth away, as this has become a haven for drug users.
"This park is used by families and young people playing football, it isused by many residents in nearby estates as a shortcut and for peopleout walking. I am also calling on South Dublin County Council to install adequate lighting in the park, to ensure the safety of the residents who use it once darkness falls.
"This park is just 400 metres from a Garda Station. I have called in to see them, showed them the photographic evidence from the park and put them on alert to the situation. It is imperative that they act to stem this problem with extra patrols in the park.
"Last week I welcomed an announcement by John Curran the Minister of State, on the roll out of the 'Dial to Stop Drug Dealing' scheme. Sinn Féin had been asking for this scheme to be extended across the state for some time now and we are glad that the government has eventually agreed to our demand. What we need now is action not words. We need to move more Gardaí out from behind desks and into their communities, where they belong.
"Funding must also be increased for drug treatment and rehabilitation. The numbers of people presenting for help with drug addiction is at record levels. This is particularly so in the case of heroin addiction. The current economic slowdown must not be used as an excuse to cut funds for drug treatment and rehabilitation.
"Proper investment in all five pillars of the national drugs strategy will have a significantly positive impact in the community in the longer term. Anyone seeking help to come off drugs must be provided with the proper facilities to do so, not just for their own sake but for the sake of the wider community."