Pat Casey T.D.
Public Representative for Wicklow/East Carlow

Pat Casey T.D.Public Representative for Wicklow/East Carlow


Rathdrum Pharmaceutical Plant to re-open with new owners great news for Wicklow, 28/09/2017


Rathdrum Pharmaceutical Plant to re-open with new owners great news for Wicklow – Pat Casey TD & Cllr Pat Kennedy

  • Long awaited purchaser for Rathdrum plant welcome news –
  • State of the art plant and state of the art staff available in Wicklow-

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey and local Cllr Pat Kennedy have welcomed the news that a purchaser has been found for the former MSD Pharmaceutical Plant.

“Both Pat Kennedy and I have been working with the community in Rathdrum and with the IDA since the decision by MSD to close the plant in 2013. We were convinced that the state of the art plant and the state of the art staff would be a viable and profitable site for a new owner. Todays news is great news not only for Rathdrum but for the entire county of Wicklow”

“The new company which is one of the largest animal health firms will bring hundreds of highly skilled and valuable jobs back to the Rathdrum site with the spin off that all such jobs bring to the Wicklow economy. ”

Cllr Kennedy remarked that “since being elected as Councillor for Rathdrum in 2014 the restoration of the pharmaceutical plant has been my number one priority and today is a great day for all the people of Rathdrum and indeed South Wicklow.”

“I will be continuing to work with Deputy Casey to ensure that these jobs come on stream as soon as possible and that all available supports are provided to this new company in what promises to be a new dawn for Rathdrum.”


IDA Figures Confirm Government Neglect , 22/09/2017


IDA figures confirm Government neglect in spreading jobs – Pat Casey TD

 

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey says the 2015 county breakdown on IDA Ireland job figures debunks the Government’s claim that it is spreading FDI jobs fairly across the whole country.

“In a recent Parliamentary Question reply that Fianna Fáil received from Minister Mitchell O’Connor, the county by county data shows that of the 187,056 persons employed in IDA supported companies in 2015, shockingly 18 counties, nearly 70% of the state, accounted for less than 2% each of total jobs."

“Foreign Direct Investment acts as a significant engine in the Irish economy by providing highly skilled jobs and indirect employment to local domestic businesses nationwide. In turn FDI companies, support secondary, indigenous companies located in, and around, FDI businesses. The work of the IDA is to be applauded for continuing to attract FDI to Ireland."

“Despite this, the annual regional figures over 2012-2015 clearly reveal a consistent pattern. Counties such as Wicklow have been left behind by Fine Gael. Wicklow has only 1.2% of IDA jobs which is far too low when compared to neighbours Kildare at 5.5% and Dublin which has a massive 41%.”


“The previous Government denied the existence of a two-tier recovery, but these figures paint a damming picture. The Minister needs to accept the reality that her government has failed the Ireland that exists outside the M50, and needs to prioritise FDI-investment in counties outside Dublin.”

“During the election I highlighted that IDA engagement and investment with Wicklow was very poor considering the potential that exists here. I will be keeping a close eye on whether the regional action jobs plans deliver for all communities nationwide and if regional job targets in the programme for government are fully realised,” concluded Deputy Casey.


Community Employment Scheme Penalising Older People, 07/09/2017


Community Employment Scheme penalising older people - Ó Cuív

- Participation for over 55s being reviewed –

- FF place Dáil motion to support CE schemes and an increase in budgets-

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey has expressed disappointment with the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection for limiting the number of years older people can participate on the CE scheme.

Before the departmental review, people aged over 55 were allowed to remain on these schemes for extended periods, but this now appears to be under threat.

Deputy Casey commented, “Community Employment schemes have been extremely popular among older people because many of them find it difficult to find work as there are limited opportunities for over 55s in the commercial sector.  In Wicklow there are hundreds of participants that provide essential services to communities in nearly every town and village in the county.”

“Unfortunately, the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection has failed to grasp the importance of Community Employment Schemes, particularly in terms of self-worth and confidence.  The contribution that participants make in their own communities cannot be under-estimated.  Despite this, the Minister and her Department officials seem determined to reduce the participation rates for older people.

“Minister Doherty’s refusal to increase the number of places on these schemes is senseless.  The cost of providing a place is only marginally higher than paying the full jobseekers allowance, while the dividends for the community projects participating in the schemes, is invaluable.”

“Under the current proposals people over 55 will only be able to participate on a scheme for three years, with an extension to six years for people on a scheme since 2007.  The Minister appears to be living under the assumption that all CE participants are likely to secure employment once they have completed the scheme, and she has completely underestimated the importance of the work being carried out in communities by participants on these schemes.

“Rather than slashing the amount of time people can spend on these schemes, she should be ensuring that all people who are long-term unemployed, who cannot find work in the public or private sectors, can participate in ongoing work or training schemes”.

“Access to work is an essential element in people’s dignity. There are many older people in Wicklow who will not be able to gain full time employment and CE and other schemes such as TUS and RSS provide that opportunity whereby people can work for their own communities to the benefit of both the participant and wider society.”

“I and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil recognising the crucial value of this work have placed a motion for debate in the Dáil in the upcoming session. Budgets have been cut and then frozen that prevent Community Employment schemes covering the costs associated such as Insurance, materials and training. We will be asking all TD’s to support this motion which seeks to protect and enhance these valuable and locally led employment schemes.”, concluded the Wicklow TD.


Decline in Tourism from UK Troubling, 17/08/2017


Latest Tourism figures potentially herald beginning of substantial decline in UK visitors 

- Ross’s failure to develop Mitigation Plan for Tourism Sector to deal with Brexit chilling - 

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD and hotelier Pat Casey has said that the failure of Minister Ross to develop a national mitigation plan for the tourism industry in light of Brexit is a dereliction of his duties as Minister.

Speaking following the release of the latest overseas visitor numbers by the CSO, which showed that while overall visitor numbers continue to rise, numbers from the UK are down 6.4% on last year, Deputy Casey said:

“Rapidly falling tourism visitors from the UK due to Brexit and sterling devaluation is now becoming a reality.

“I fear that the decline this year could herald an even more substantial drop-off in UK visitors over the next two years, as Brexit chips away at consumer confidence among British would-be tourists.

“The decline in UK visitor numbers experienced this year is potentially just a taste of things to come. I have already noticed UK visitors are down in Glendalough which is one of Wicklows most famous destinations for tourists. Wicklow’s tourist industry is a vital economic pillar and supports thousands of locally based jobs and generates millions of euro for local businesses throughout the Garden County.

“Only in recent months have most consumer confidence surveys begun to show that Brexit is hitting the spending habits of UK consumers.

“What is deeply chilling for me is the clear sense, from Minister Ross and the Government in general, of self-satisfaction with the Tourism numbers. Minister Ross just does not seem to get just how dangerous these trends could be for Irish tourism.”

“While overall tourism numbers are still marginally up on last year, the reality is that UK visitors are the bread and butter of the tourism sector, accounting for 41% of the total number of overseas visitors to Ireland. Given the sheer number of visitors from the UK, they cannot be replaced quickly or easily by visitors from other countries.”

“Many smaller tourism businesses in Wicklow will feel the pinch if numbers from the UK continue to decline at this rate.

"The tourism sector is crying out for a national mitigation plan to reduce the impact of Brexit and global uncertainty. Yet Minister Ross has done nothing to assure the sector that he has a plan that can protect jobs.

"The strategy of the Minister seems to be to hold endless conferences and press gatherings to boast of our success, gleefully ignoring the looming threat hanging over the sector.

"We need a new overarching tourism policy to reassure the industry that there is a strategy in place for the consequences of Brexit and we need a support fund for areas that will be hit especially hard from a sharp decline in visitors from Britain,” concluded the Wicklow TD.


Awarding of Bray public bus service to non-Irish company disappointing , 10/08/2017


Awarding of Bray public bus service to non-Irish company disappointing – Pat Casey TD

  • Government policy should be to support Irish companies -

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has expressed his deep disappointment that the 184 and 185 public bus services from Bray Railway station have been awarded to a UK company Go-ahead.

“I was hoping that at the very least that an Irish company would have been successful in bidding for these very important public transport routes. There are 24 routes in total being awarded in this tender and two of them are the 184 from Bray Railway station to Newtownmountkennedy and the 185 from Bray Railway Station to Enniskerry.

“I am in favour of competition but I do feel that Irish transport providers should be regarded as providing the very best in terms of cost effectiveness, reliability, and standard of service. I am very disappointed with this decision and I will be hoping that this is not the beginning of a process to outsource our public transport needs to foreign companies.”

“Fianna Fáil have introduced a bill that will make it easier for Irish companies to compete for these public tenders. We have also included a social clause which would have helped Irish transport companies compete for these valuable contracts which at the end of the day are being paid for by the Irish taxpayer.

“Irish companies deserve an opportunity to access State tenders, but all too often the large multinational companies undercut their bid. Accordingly most of the money ends up outside the State. Introducing a social value clause will address this problem by forcing the State to take into account the knock on social benefits of awarding a tender to an Irish SME”, concluded the Wicklow TD


Brexit Damaging to Wicklow Tourism, 28/07/2017


Latest figures reveal damaging impact of Brexit on Wicklow tourism - Casey

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has warned that up to 10,000 jobs in the Irish tourism industry including up to a 1000 in Wicklow are at risk as a result of the ongoing turmoil caused by Brexit.

Deputy Casey pointed out that the latest figures available from the Central Statistics Office show that British tourist arrivals to Ireland are down 6% for the period December - February.

“The tourism industry has been hit hard by the fallout associated with Brexit. The weakening of the sterling, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing negotiations, has resulted in the Irish tourism industry facing its biggest challenge since the global recession,” said Deputy Casey.

“The latest figures made available by the CSO show British tourist arrivals to Ireland declined by 6% between December - February. What’s even more alarming is the fact that, looking at February alone, there was a decline of 22% compared to the previous year. This demonstrates that the negative impact of Brexit on the tourism industry is accelerating. If this trend continues then there will be 850,000 fewer arrivals from Britain to Ireland.

“The tourism industry employs up to 220,000 people in Ireland. The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation estimate that some 10,000 jobs are at risk as a result of the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The Government needs to take action to protect the tourism industry from the ill-winds associated with Brexit. Failure to do so will set the industry back many years considering 41% of total overseas visitors to Ireland arrive from Britain.

“I have worked all my life in tourism and I know that this is the greatest challenge to this industry since the troubles in Northern Ireland. As a Wicklow hotelier I know that UK visitors to Glendalough are already being affected by the Brexit effect on sterling vis-à-vis the euro. The currency differential now makes the holiday to Wicklow for our UK visitors far more expensive that it was before Brexit.”

“Tourism is one of the key planks of economic activity in Wicklow supporting thousands of jobs. In Glendalough alone there are hundreds of jobs at stake. We need this Government to act and act fast before this trend becomes entrenched.”

“Minister for Tourism Shane Ross’s failure to bring forward a new overarching tourism policy document aimed at dealing with the consequences of Brexit is deeply worrying. This should be a top priority for his Department and he should be coming forward with a plan to limit the impact of Brexit alongside growing Ireland’s reputation as a tourism destination abroad to allow the industry to continue expanding,” concluded Deputy Casey.


Government Needs to Deliver on Commercial Rates Bill, 22/06/2017


Time for Government to deliver on commercial rates Bill

- New FF legislation aims to ease the burden on businesses -

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing and Urban Renewal Pat Casey TD has called on the Government to accelerate its plan for a new commercial rates Bill.  Fianna Fáil has made this legislation a priority and has put forward its own Bill to help resolve the matter.

Deputy Casey stated, “Fianna Fáil has formulated a Bill that will reduce the impact of rates valuations on businesses by putting a cap on the rate increases themselves, and allowing businesses to spread their increased payments over a five year period, rather than frontloading it.  This will help give businesses a chance to adjust to their new valuation levels. Local Authorities will not lose out as they don’t benefit from valuation increases.

“We will use this Bill to put pressure on the Government to come forward with its own long awaited legislation. For Wicklow businesses all rates are up for review in 2019 and a reformed method is needed before then. Too many businesses throughout the Wicklow are paying rates on calculations that are out-of-date, far too complex and don’t reflect commercial reality on the ground.”

“The Government has been promising a new rates Bill for a number of months but it has yet to be published. I am calling on Minister Murphy to prioritise this issue, which is affecting businesses across the country. We will use our legislation to help strengthen the Government’s proposed Bill.

“This is an issue that impacts directly on thousands of jobs in every region of the Wicklow. It needs to get the attention it deserves.  Businesses in other areas are currently undergoing a re-evaluation process and are facing increased rates of between 50 -100%. This is clearly unsustainable for a small business. It also risks penalising bricks and mortar shops on main streets in town’s right across the country. This is the opposite of what we need.

“Rather than hitting Wicklow’s shops and businesses with additional costs we should be encouraging more businesses into our towns and villages. I will ensure that the forthcoming Bill does just that by using the Fianna Fáil Bill to put pressure on the Government. Now it’s time for the Minister to come up with the goods”, concluded Deputy Casey.


Low Income Jobs the Hallmark of Fine Gael in Government, 12/06/2017


Low income jobs the hallmark of FG in Government – Casey

- 1,478 Wicklow families still need Family Income Support despite reductions in unemployment rate –

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing and Urban Renewal, Pat Casey TD has said that the Government’s claim to be winning in the fight against unemployment is based on a narrow reading and understanding of jobs figures and an ignorance of the link between low pay jobs and Family Income Support.

Deputy Casey was commenting after he received information that shows that the same number of people in 2017 are in receipt of Family Income Support is broadly the same as in 2016 despite over three years of official unemployment rate drops.

“Of course, there has been a reduction in unemployment rates, but there are still 1,478 Wicklow families relying on Family Income Support.” Deputy Casey has questioned the simplistic and ignorant narrative emanating from all sections of the Government but in particular, Minister Mitchell O’Connor’s Department that there is a booming jobs market, and that a deep recovery is taking hold.

“What’s clear is that more people are now in some form of work than in previous years. That’s evident in the regular unemployment updates.”

“However, what’s also clear is, from the reply Fianna Fáil have received from the Department of Social Protection, that the number of people in receipt of Family Income Support has increased consistently and dramatically from 2011 onwards (when the number of Wicklow families in receipt of this payment was 665), and has despite reductions in unemployment, broadly stayed the same in 2017 compared to 2016.

“Minister Mitchell O’Connor can claim that she is leading a jobs bonanza for the Irish economy all she likes, but the fact is: more and more people are working in low income jobs that require the State to top up their family incomes through the Family Income Support scheme.

“Is this the type of economy that Minister Mitchell O’Connor and Fine Gael are happy to preside over; people working full time jobs but still relying on support from the State to keep a roof over their heads or put food on their tables? Why has the number of families in receipt of a FIS payment not decreased if there is a booming jobs market?”

“The Minister needs to understand that not all jobs are equal, and that simply being in employment doesn’t mean that people and families will have a decent quality of life. What’s now required is a Minister for Jobs who understands that simply announcing jobs isn’t the end of her role as Minister. We need decent, well-paying jobs that pay enough to ensure that families don’t need to rely on FIS or other supports.”

“The first step must be to publish the heads of bill of the proposed piece of legislation to deal with precarious work and ending Zero Hours Contracts in order to meet the commitment contained in the Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fianna Fáil,” concluded the Wicklow deputy.


Support TUS, Community Employment and RSS, 09/06/2017


Casey calls for Varadkar to stop damaging Wicklow’s local employment schemes such as TUS, Community Employment and RSS

- Varadkars changes a further blow for Wicklow communities -

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey is calling on new Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar TD to review the current model for staffing community schemes to ensure that vital community projects are properly staffed on a long-term basis.

The existing system places additional restrictive time limits on programmes such as the CE, Tús and the Rural Social Schemes in Wicklow. There are hundreds of participants on these schemes providing vital community and voluntary services in nearly every town and village in Wicklow.

“In rural Wicklow in particular there is a shortage of places on the TUS scheme due to Leo’s preference for the privatised and highly controversial jobpath scheme. My Arklow office has received several complaints about this so called activation service which seems to treat many people very badly. The community run schemes such as TUS and CE places the needs of participants first which is important in trying to rebuild confidence in people seeking to return to work.”

Deputy Casey commented, “Leo has been too busy getting elected as Fine Gael leader and does not understand the value of community schemes in towns and villages across Wicklow.  In fact, the work undertaken by these schemes and the services provided are often overlooked and there seems to be a failure to appreciate that if these programmes ceased to exist, many essential community services such as childcare, tourism projects and environmental works would no longer be available in many parts of Wicklow.

“Many basic services in rural Wicklow, as well as community services in Wicklow’s towns are provided through the Community Employment Scheme, the Tús Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme.  However, the Government is making it increasingly difficult for people to access employment on these schemes by placing prohibitive restrictions on them.  Even in cases whereby a person has been unable to find alternative employment or has very little prospect of securing alternative employment the amount of time they can spend on these schemes is very limited.”

“Some positive changes that had been made in relation to allowing older participants to remain on CE for up to 6 years seem to have been taken back. These cynical changes are actually very cruel as they fail to realise the difficulties that many older participants face in the current labour market. Allowing these participants a longer time framework enables them to access part time work which for many is the only work available in Wicklow.”

“Minister Varadkar needs to now concentrate on the day job on behalf of vulnerable people and protect these schemes to enable participants to remain on them on a more long-term basis, especially in cases where there are no other job opportunities available.  It’s imperative that the Government comes up with an alternative scheme to provide funding so that people can be employed full time to carry out this work in their communities”.


Casey calls for Government action on Ardmore Studios, 06/06/2017


Ardmore Studios needs Government action now - Casey
- Ardmore’s business being affected since sale was announced-
Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey has called on the Fine Gael led Government to act immediately to secure the future of Ardmore Studios.
“Since the Government made its ill-judged decision to sell its 32% shareholding in Irelands most iconic Film Studio, there has been a cloud over the future of the studio. The workers and the businesses that are central to the Film Industry in Wicklow have all reported to me recently of a significant reduction in upcoming productions or even forward planning for productions at Ardmore.”
“I have been urging the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor to act to protect the crucial role that Ardmore plays in the development of the Film Industry not only in Wicklow but in the mid-east region. I have pointed out the ridiculous scenario as admitted by her department last week whereby Enterprise Ireland has possession of the 32% shareholding in a Film Studio while “policy responsibility for the development of the film industry rests with my colleague Ms Heather Humphreys Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.”
“This total shambles of Governmental responsibility with regard to a vital industry that has the potential to employ thousands of people throughout Wicklow and South Dublin is unacceptable. I have already revealed through media investigation that the sale prospectus refers to the development potential of the studio with the only protection being the current zoning restrictions by Wicklow County Council.”
I have worked for years with Wicklow County Council and the Film Industry in Wicklow to develop our Garden County as Ireland’s best production location. Unfortunately the biggest threat to the development of the Film Industry in Wicklow is the fiasco that this Government is overseeing at Ardmore.
“The workers at Ardmore, Wicklow County Council, and public representatives have been waiting since February for clarity, direction and proposals to retain and enhance Film production at Ardmore Studios. In my considered view the shareholding should be retained, transferred to a Minister with responsibility for Film development and used to place Wicklow and the region as the central location for International Film Production on the Island of Ireland.”
“Instead of focused leadership from Government to secure this industry, the people of Wicklow have had to endure the soap opera of the Fine Gael leadership election. It is essential that whoever is Taoiseach appoints cabinet Ministers who will protect and develop the Film Industry in Wicklow.”


Ardmore Studios Needs Government Action Now, 23/05/2017


Ardmore Studios needs Government action now - Casey

- Ardmore’s business being affected since sale was announced-

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey has called on the Fine Gael led Government to act immediately to secure the future of Ardmore Studios.

“Since the Government made its ill-judged decision to sell its 32% shareholding in Irelands most iconic Film Studio, there has been a cloud over the future of the studio. The workers and the businesses that are central to the Film Industry in Wicklow have all reported to me recently of a significant reduction in upcoming productions or even forward planning for productions at Ardmore.”

“I have been urging the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor to act to protect the crucial role that Ardmore plays in the development of the Film Industry not only in Wicklow but in the mid-east region. I have pointed out the ridiculous scenario as admitted by her department last week whereby Enterprise Ireland has possession of the 32% shareholding in a Film Studio while “policy responsibility for the development of the film industry rests with my colleague Ms Heather Humphreys Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.”

“This total shambles of Governmental responsibility with regard to a vital industry that has the potential to employ thousands of people throughout Wicklow and South Dublin is unacceptable. I have already revealed through media investigation that the sale prospectus refers to the development potential of the studio with the only protection being the current zoning restrictions by Wicklow County Council.”

I have worked for years with Wicklow County Council and the Film Industry in Wicklow to develop our Garden County as Ireland’s best production location. Unfortunately the biggest threat to the development of the Film Industry in Wicklow is the fiasco that this Government is overseeing at Ardmore.

“The workers at Ardmore, Wicklow County Council, and public representatives have been waiting since February for clarity, direction and proposals to retain and enhance Film production at Ardmore Studios. In my considered view the shareholding should be retained, transferred to a Minister with responsibility for Film development and used to place Wicklow and the region as the central location for International Film Production on the Island of Ireland.”

“Instead of focused leadership from Government to secure this industry, the people of Wicklow have had to endure the soap opera of the Fine Gael leadership election. It is essential that whoever is Taoiseach appoints cabinet Ministers who will protect and develop the Film Industry in Wicklow.”


Motor Insurance Costs Too High, 03/03/2017


Arklow Businesses being held hostage with Motor Insurance Costs

Wicklow TD Pat Casey has said that businesses in Wicklow are being held hostage by their insurance companies when it comes to massive increases. Deputy Casey was speaking in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil motion to tackle rising insurance costs.

“I know of a commercial business in Arklow that is being held hostage by the failure of this Government to tackle the Insurance Industry and their story perfectly illustrates the unacceptable monopoly that the Insurance sector operates in Ireland currently.”

“This long running family business has seen its commercial motor insurance rise by nearly 45% this year alone. The cost increase to this company, that is an excellent employer in Arklow, is threatening the very viability of its business. The obvious answer to a Company that raises your insurance costs by this amount is to shop around for a competitive quote.”

“However not only can this family business and local employer not get a competitive quote, they can’t get ANY quote, on same cover, from any competitor in the Insurance industry. The only alternative insurance provider would not give cover to employees which made it in effect meaningless.”  

“What this means to the business involved and indeed to many other businesses is that they are, in effect, being held hostage by their insurance company, who can charge what they like as they know that there is no option other than close the business. That is disgraceful, immoral, and should be illegal.”

The Wicklow TD and business man continued “Fianna Fáil have been consistent and determined in raising and proposing solutions to rising Insurance premiums. In fact we have a 12 point programme to tackle out of control insurance costs in Ireland. I hope this all TD’s will support us with these urgent and sensible proposals.”


Ross Out of Service as Bus Strike Looms, 23/02/2017


Ross out of service as bus strike looms

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey says the Government must work with bus unions to help prevent a damaging strike from occurring at Bus Éireann.

Deputy Casey made the comments following confirmation that talks between unions and management at the semi-state company broke down this afternoon.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the talks between unions and management have broken down. The possibility of a damaging strike occurring at the company is now a step closer,” said Deputy Casey.

“Minister Ross has taken a completely hands off approach in dealing with this issue. His lack of interest in facing up to the problem has allowed it to develop into a full blown crisis. Many Wicklow people who rely on Bus Éireann services such as the 133 to Wicklow and Arklow on a daily basis now face significant disruption if this issue is not resolved quickly.

“The Government have been aware of the financial crisis facing Bus Éireann for over twelve months. Despite this Minister Ross has failed to take any measures to help resolve the difficulties facing our largest transport provider.

“It’s clear that the necessary savings cannot be made exclusively from tinkering with employee contracts. There are serious structural issues facing the company which need to be overcome, including problems with the current licensing system for bus routes. A review of the Expressway routes also needs to be carried out with a view to moving the non-commercial performing routes into the PSO. The social protection contract also needs to be re-examined.  These issues cannot be overcome without input from Minister Ross.

“Minister Ross and his colleagues around Cabinet need to urgently set out what they actually intend doing to avert industrial action at Bus Éireann, and what contingency plans he has in place to deal with this crisis,” concluded the Wicklow Deputy.


No Credible Reason to Sell State's Shareholding in Ardmore, 27/01/2017


NO CREDIBLE REASON TO SELL STATE’S SHAREHOLDING IN ARDMORE – PAT CASEY T.D.

At a public meeting held in the Royal Hotel last night (Wed 25th Jan), Pat Casey told the packed gathering that there was “no credible reason for the State to be selling its 32% shareholding in Ardmore Film Studios. There is no economic reason, there is no industry reason, and there is no jobs reason.”

“The sale contradicts the Governments own stated commitment to developing Film in four stated initiatives, the review by Heather Humphries into the economic potential of Film, the launch of Creative Ireland with Film as a key pillar, the Mid East Action Plan on Jobs, and the Rural Action Plan which sees rural Ireland becoming a hub for the Film Industry.”

Deputy Casey also informed the meeting about the timeline of the campaign since the announcement was made on the 18th October. Since then Pat has raised this issue to the level of national importance as “the studio is the centrepiece infrastructure of the Film industry in Ireland and is an essential asset to the growth of high end viable productions.”

“The film industry is a key plank to the economic development of the region, with up to 500 full time jobs associated with Ardmore when it is at full capacity with and thousands of part time and seasonal jobs. It has been at full capacity for the past two years, earning profits of €1.5 million and €1.6 million, respectively.”

Deputy Casey continued stating “Its ironic that Sean Lemass as Minister for Industry and Jobs was crucially involved in the opening of Ardmore in 1958 and now 58 years later Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor in the same portfolio may be about to sell the last State involvement with Ardmore.”

Deputy Casey concluded “I have further serious concerns about that I cannot bring into the public sphere until I have further information but this sale may involve conflicts of interest in which the State should not be involved. I am investigating this and I will be relentless in my work to keep Ardmore as a vital Film Studio into the future.”


Bray Credit Union Fine Disproportionate to Failings, 09/12/2016


Bray Credit Union Fine disproportionate to failings outlined by Central Bank – Pat Casey TD

Wicklow Fianna Fáil Pat Casey TD has said that the Central Bank fine of €98,000 with regard to Bray Credit Union for failing in its administration of money laundering procedures is disproportionate to the infringement and only serves to damage the nearly 27,000 members.

“The Central Bank since the financial crisis has been placing immense regulatory pressures on the Credit Union movement. While many of these regulatory procedures and processes are necessary and welcome the heavy handed attitude of the Central Bank in relation to the Credit Union boards and their members is placing immense strain on a vital financial service.”

“The scale of this fine when you consider the voluntary and membership ethos of the credit union system is off the scale and does not reflect well on the Central Bank. The Central Bank were asleep when the commercial banks contributed to the financial crash and now that they have woken up they are picking on the easy and soft target.”

“I accept that Bray Credit Union did fail in adhering to these administrative regulations but the fine is grossly unjust and puts further unnecessary burdens on the volunteer board and the 27,000 members. The Central Bank should be helping the Credit Union with capacity building measures in order that they can meet the strict regulatory regime now in place.”

Deputy Casey continued “Fianna Fáil champions the cause of credit unions in the Dáil. We are the only party to recognise the proud tradition that credit unions have in communities throughout Ireland. As banks close branches and restrict in-branch services, credit unions provide important competition and choice to consumers. In particular they provide financial services to people who the banks turn away.”

“For 52 years Bray Credit Union has proudly supported the people of Wicklow. They fully co-operated with the Central Bank investigation, there was no suggestion that the Credit Union facilitated or was aware of any money laundering and the proper controls are now in place. And yet the Central Bank decides to place this massive fine. This is wrong, plain and simple. This is using a sledgehammer to crack open a peanut., concluded the Wicklow TD.


Meeting with Minister Fails to Give Assurances for Ardmore, 08/12/2016


Meeting with Minister fails to give assurances for Ardmore – Pat Casey TD

  • Minister Mitchell-O’Connor met Wicklow TD’s on Tuesday
  • Meeting did not secure Ardmore’s future as a film studio
  • Serious questions remain

 

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey has said that after a meeting with Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD on Tuesday there remains no commercial or strategic reason for the taxpayer to be selling its 32% shareholding in Ardmore Studios and that the Government must reverse this decision immediately.

“I have been deeply concerned about this sale since the day it was announced two months ago. I have been met with stonewalling and silence from Government Ministers, IBI Corporate Finance, Enterprise Ireland, and the management of Ardmore Studios at every stage.”

“While I welcome the meeting with the Minister and her officials, I am not reassured by the response from the Government on the sale of the taxpayers shareholding. There was no guarantee given that the sale would be conditional on Ardmore remaining as a Film Studio just a vague assurance that they were to the Irish Film Industry.”

“I was also very disturbed by their continued refusal to allow the taxpayers who are an owner of this Studio to see the prospectus for sale. This is crucial to understanding the purpose of the sale and indeed there was no reason given at all as to why the Government agreed to this sale in the first instance.”

“I have discussed this with professional companies working in the Film Industry, with my party leader Micheal Martin and I am repeating our view that the sale of the Government shareholding in Ardmore is damaging to the growth of the Industry, contradicts the MidEast Action plan on Jobs, and puts at risk up hundreds of jobs in Wicklow.”

“There is still time to reverse this sale. In point of fact the best potential owner of the shareholding is the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs who have responsibility for the Film Industry and are undertaking an economic review.”


Government Must Reverse Ardmore Studios Sale, 02/12/2016


Government must reverse Ardmore Studios Share sale to protect Film Industry – Pat Casey TD

  • 150 Ardmore workers protest at Dáil and meet FF Leader Micheal Martin with Pat Casey
  • Petition signed by over 2,500 handed in to Minister Mitchell-O’Connors office
  • Letter to Minister Mitchell-O’Connor asking to reverse Government sale of shares from Pat Casey TD
  • Minister Mitchell-O’Connor to meet Wicklow TD’s on Tuesday

Wicklow Fianna Fáil Pat Casey TD has said that after a careful examination of all the facts that there is now no commercial reason for the State to be selling its 32% shareholding in Ardmore Studios and that the Government must reverse this decision.

“I have been deeply concerned about this sale since the day it was announced nearly seven weeks ago. I have undertaken a careful investigation to ensure that I was aware of all the factors that may be involved here. I have been seeking answers to sensible questions that anyone interested in the development of the film industry in Ireland would ask. I have been met with stonewalling and silence from Government Ministers, IBI Corporate Finance Enterprise Ireland, and the management of Ardmore Studios at every stage.”

“Film is a key plank of the Wicklow and the Mid-East Region when it comes to job development. Ardmore has an unparalleled, international reputation when it comes to film production and is the beating heart of this industry. On that basis alone the sale of the State’s 32% share with no conditions is madness at best, and at worst an example of potential shady and sharp profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer.”

“Last week I met a delegation of award winning Ardmore Film Crew personnel in my Dáil office and we discussed their deep concerns about the sale of Studios. Their professional view is that the States shareholding is an advantage to attracting Film Productions to Wicklow and that the sale makes no sense whatsoever from the Film Industries point of view and the taxpayers point of view.”

“This week I helped organise a protest of 150 service suppliers and highly skilled film technicians who have worked in Ardmore for decades. They are award winning and highly valued film crew personnel. They are unanimous in their view that the sale of the taxpayers shareholding is wrong and undermines the film industry not just in Wicklow but on the east coast of Ireland.”

“At the protest my party leader Micheal Martin met with the workers and agreed that there were serious concerns about this and I also brought Minister John Halligan who also spoke to the workers and agreed that this needed further investigation. We then handed in a petition containing over 2,500 signatures to Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connors office.”

“This has obviously worked as the very next day Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Mitchell O’Connor has invited all the Wicklow TD’s to a meeting to be held on Tuesday 6th December in her office. I will be again asking for her Department to reverse its decision to sale the 32% shareholding unless satisfactory guarantees can be given as to the future of film making in Ardmore.”

“I also welcome Wicklow County Council’s unanimous decision to seek a reversal of the Governments decision and once again it shows that the only people who are supporting this sale are the Government and the owners of the Studios. I don’t want to interfere in a private business decision but the State should ensure that the Film Industry is protected by retaining its shareholding.”

“I am now ramping up our campaign that will include all those who are involved in the Film Industry to get the Government to reverse this decision. What is the point of Minister Humphries commissioning an economic review of the Film Industry when her Government is selling its only significant stake in the most famous Irish Studio.”  


Government must reverse Ardmore Studios Share sale to protect Film Industry, 25/11/2016


Government must reverse Ardmore Studios Share sale to protect Film Industry – Pat Casey TD

Wicklow Fianna Fáil Pat Casey TD has said that after a careful examination of all the facts that there is now no evidence for the State to be selling its 32% shareholding in Ardmore Studios and that the Government must reverse this decision.

“I have been deeply concerned about this sale since the day it was announced just over a month ago. I have undertaken a careful investigation to ensure that I was aware of all the factors that may be involved here. I have been seeking answers to sensible questions that anyone interested in the development of the film industry in Ireland would ask. I have been met with stonewalling and silence from Government Ministers, IBI Corporate Finance and the management of Ardmore Studios at every stage.”

“Film is a key plank of the Wicklow and the Mid East Region when it comes to job development. Ardmore has an unparalleled, international reputation when it comes to film production and is the beating heart of this industry. On that basis alone the sale of the State’s 32% share with no conditions is madness at best, and at worst an example of potential shady and sharp profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer.”

“This week I met a delegation of service suppliers and highly skilled film technicians who have worked in Ardmore for decades. They are award winning and highly valued film crew personnel. They are unanimous in their view that the sale of the State’s shareholding is wrong and undermines the film industry not just in Wicklow but on the east coast of Ireland.”

“I welcome Wicklow County Council’s unanimous decision to seek a reversal of the Governments decision and again it shows that the only people who are supporting this sale are the Government and the owners of the Studios. I don’t want to interfere in a private business decision but the State should ensure that the Film Industry is protected by retaining its shareholding.”

“I am now assisting in organising a campaign that will form all those who are involved in the Film Industry to get the Government to reverse this decision. What is the point of Minister Humphries commissioning an economic review of the Film Industry when her Government is selling its only significant stake in the most famous Irish Studio.”


Wicklow Left Behind by Fine Gael Government in IDA Visits, 24/11/2016


Wicklow being left behind again by FG Government in IDA visits – Pat Casey TD

Wicklow Fianna Fáil Pat Casey TD has said that figures obtained by him once again confirm that the IDA is not doing enough to generate economic development in counties outside the Greater Dublin Area.

“Quarter after quarter, the figures speak for themselves. The IDA appear to be doing very little to bring investment to counties outside Dublin."

Deputy Casey was commenting after receiving a reply from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD that showed that 46% of all IDA site visits in 2016 (to 30th Sept) took place in the Greater Dublin Area.

“Wicklow has been completely ignored by the IDA again. In the build up to the General Election in 2015, Wicklow received a paltry 7 IDA site visits. Now that we have a second term Fine Gael Government, that has been reduced to 4 by the end of quarter 3. Given the threat to Ardmore studios and the closure of MSD in Rathdrum this lack of IDA attention is disgraceful.”

“There is no doubt that this imbalance will continue to entrench a two-tier economy across Ireland. The Government must redouble its efforts to spread any emerging economic recovery fairly, and in a balanced manner.”

“High quality, well-paying jobs are needed in rural Ireland, as much, if not more than in the GDA. Without jobs in Wicklow, communities will continue to decline, suffer from emigration and more and more pressure will come on already overstretched housing and services in the capital.”

“With incredibly high vacancy rates at IDA sites across the country (85 sites out of 137 were vacant at the end of 2015), the Minister must direct the IDA to prioritise site visits to counties with vacant sites.”

“The infrastructure needed to attract investment, such as high speed broadband needs to be rolled out far quicker. Minister Mitchell O’Connor needs to highlight the importance of connectivity to her colleague, Minister Denis Naughten.”

“We need a whole of Government approach to the regions. Quality broadband and attracting investment to the regions go hand in hand.  No amount of Government spin will change the fact that not enough is being done. ” concluded Casey.


Community Employment Must be Protected Against Privatisation, 06/11/2016


Community Employment must be protected against privatisation alternatives that are not working – Casey 

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has revealed serious concerns about the privatisation of employment measures which are putting CE and other schemes at risk.

Speaking in the Dáil today on the social protection bill Deputy Casey said “Community Employment is under massive strain and has been under sustained attack by Fine Gael in government since they entered office in 2011.

Speaking to Minister Varadker Casey continued “I know that Community Employment in the Mid Leinster region has the highest progression record in the country compared to all the back to work schemes that are out there. Why is that not being celebrated and endorsed? Why are you pushing ahead with the privatisation of these schemes when the community employment and rural social scheme models are examples of empowerment and community involvement that should be supported NOT consistently and relentlessly attacked by your Government.”

“I know of too many stories of people who are long term unemployed who are depressed and flattened by their treatment at the hands of this uncaring system. Your efforts at privatisation are wrong Minister.”

“The data for progression is still not available for this new departure but I have evidence that too many people have had a very negative experience from that service and it needs to be discontinued at the earliest opportunity.”

Reflecting on the Trump and Brexit votes Casey continued “The Minister for Social Protection is an ambitious man by all accounts. He is a follower of international political developments. He is all too aware of the mass democratic rejection of “establishment politics” that is taking place worldwide at the moment”

“One of the key reasons for this is that too many good people feel rejected by Government and Government services. Rural areas and those that need government services are NOT being listened to. Their politicians are unable to change things even when they try. Social Protection must live up to its name, not to a centralised, bureaucratic and computerised Government system.”

Deputy Casey concluded “Empower people Minister, give communities back the means to help all their neighbours. Stop reinforcing a failed bureaucratic uncaring system.”


Government Must Answer on Sale of Ardmore, 04/11/2016


Government must answer on sale of Ardmore – Pat Casey

  • Government attitude to Ardmore and Film is now high farce
  • Retention of studio dependent on zoning clause
  • Prospectus denial being investigated by Enterprise Ireland
  • Limerick studios a cause of deep concern

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey is continuing his campaign to seek assurances and answers on the controversial sale of Ardmore Studios in Bray and in particular the decision by Enterprise Ireland to sell the Government stake of 32%.

“It is now two weeks since Minister Halligan admitted to me in the Dáil that this sale needed investigation and that the decision was potentially disastrous for up to the 500 workers in Ardmore and to the potential of the Film industry in Wicklow. Since then there has been a deafening silence from Government in relation to this which is very worrying.”

“I have been in direct contact with the CEO of Enterprise, Ms Julie Sinnamon and she confirmed to me that the only condition preventing the sale of Ardmore as development land is the current zoning rules which as we all know are subject to change. Ms Sinnamon also committed to investigating why the prospectus for the sale was being denied to myself and to Wicklow County Council.”

“These two factors should be enough to demand a Government response given the centrality of the Film Industry to the development of the Wicklow economy, but the lack of urgency is becoming increasingly suspicious”, continued the Wicklow TD.

“It is now important that the public be informed of the fact that there is a rival studio in Limerick which involves the CEO of Ardmore Siún Ní Raghallaigh and other shareholders and in my view is being ramped up as an alternative to Ardmore. I ask anyone to compare the two websites and tell me which studio is being marketed proactively.”

“I have asked another question of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on this decision and the answer reveals that this final decision will be reviewed to ensure “return for the taxpayer. The decision to launch an economic review of the potential of the film industry to our economy at the same time as selling our only stake in that industry raises this to the level of high farce. We have Ministers who are all over the place on this.”

Given all that I have revealed about this sale, why would the Irish Government sell its stake in Ardmore studios. To retain a stake in this historic and successful studio would be the strategic move, to sell the stake makes no sense whatsoever, and in my view is highly suspicious given the Limerick alternative, which coincidently is located in the constituency of the Minister for Finance who provides much of the benefits for the industry through the section 481.”

“As a TD for Wicklow I have a duty to ensure that Ardmore is retained as one of Ireland’s most successful film production centres. The Film Industry is too important to Wicklow to be left to private sector interests only. I cannot believe that this Government is turning a blind eye to this and I can assure them that I will not let them off the hook on this”, concluded the Wicklow TD.


Casey forces Government to agree that Ardmore Sale Needs Investigation, 21/10/2016


Casey forces Government to agree that Ardmore sale needs investigation

  • Government admit decision is commercial and not conditional
  • Prospectus for sale denied to Wicklow TD

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey raised the sale of Ardmore Studio in the Dáil yesterday and found the Government response “totally unacceptable”. Minister John Halligan in reply accepted that the Government needed to investigate this sale and agreed that this would be done.

“I had to inform the Government that they owned 32% of this company. The responsible Minister was not there but Minister Halligan confirmed that the Ardmore sale is a commercial decision and not conditional. This means that the Studios can be sold as development land and the Studios and the vital Film Industry would be lost to Wicklow”

Deputy Casey told the Dáil “The announcement that Ardmore Film Studios is being placed for sale on the market raises serious questions about the commitment of Enterprise Ireland and this Government to the development of the Film Industry in Ireland with the massive jobs potential that this Industry brings.”

Ardmore Studios is the birthplace and foundation of the Irish Film industry in Ireland and in Wicklow. Ardmore is an amazing success story and must be continued and built upon. The 18 acre site is crucial to the development of film in Wicklow and to the nation.

Productions at Ardmore have received 14 Oscars and many BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy awards including such well known movies such as Braveheart, My Left Foot and Excalibur and the in the modern television era, Moone Boy, The Tudors and Penny Dreadful.

The Film Industry is a key industry for the economic development of Wicklow and of Ireland with up to 500 jobs when the studio is at full capacity.

Significant public investment by successive Governments and Wicklow County Council has been given over decades to support and grow this industry such as the section 481 and other measures.

The Government through Enterprise Ireland is a shareholder of 32% according to RTE business news and I want to know the reasons behind their decision to agree to this sale.

The announcement of the sale of studios as ‘a going concern’ is very worrying because there is a substantial risk that the highest bidder could be a developer not a film production business.

“I want the Government to confirm that the sale is conditional on Ardmore being retained as a Film Production centre. No if’s, no but’s just a simple confirmation.

In my view Film production is a national strategic industry where the Government through Enterprise Ireland should retain a direct sharehold interest such as it has in Ardmore.

As a member of Dáil Eireann for Wicklow, I contacted IBI Corporate Finance yesterday for a copy of the prospectus for the sale in order to study it. I was denied a copy by IBI and told to ask Ardmore Studios directly. I then contacted the CEO of Ardmore Studios and again I was denied a copy of the Prospectus.”

WHY the secrecy? Is it because the prospectus may refer to the unique opportunity the site presents as a development site?

“This is a copy of your Governments JOB Strategy for the Mid East Region. On page 5 you prioritise Film Development with 2 studios as a KEY Strength – and in your specific actions you target building on that strength. It’s an odd way to build the Film Industry in the Mid East by selling its landmark studio”

Deputy Casey also remarked that “following the civil war and at the beginning of Seán Lemass’s determined efforts to modernise the Irish economy, it was Emmet Dalton, the friend and comrade of Michael Collins, who convinced his old civil war enemy Sean Lemass to invest in the Film Industry and build a studio in Ardmore on 37 acres which opened in 1958. If Seán Lemass could be convinced by Emmet Dalton that the Irish State should be involved in the Film Industry, it is ironic that a Fine Gael led government could be about to see that dynamic partnership end.”


Government Incompetence in Regard to Ardmore Unacceptable, 20/10/2016


Government does not know what it’s doing with Ardmore – totally unacceptable – Pat Casey TD

`- Minister agrees with Casey that investigation is needed

  • Prospectus for sale denied to Wicklow TD

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey raised the sale of Ardmore Studio in the Dáil today and found the Government response “totally unacceptable”.

“I had to inform the Government that they owned 32% of this company. The responsible Minister was not there and they also confirmed that the Ardmore sale is a commercial decision and not conditional. This means that the Studios can be sold as development land and the Studios and the vital Film Industry would be lost to Wicklow”

Deputy Casey told the Dáil “The announcement that Ardmore Film Studios is being placed for sale on the market raises serious questions about the commitment of Enterprise Ireland and this Government to the development of the Film Industry in Ireland with the massive jobs potential that this Industry brings.”

Ardmore Studios is the birthplace and foundation of the Irish Film industry in Ireland and in Wicklow. Ardmore is an amazing success story and must be continued and built upon. The 18 acre site is crucial to the development of film in Wicklow and to the nation.

Productions at Ardmore have received 14 Oscars and many BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy awards including such well known movies such as Braveheart, My Left Foot and Excalibur and the in the modern television era, Moone Boy, The Tudors and Penny Dreadful.

The Film Industry is a key industry for the economic development of Wicklow and of Ireland with up to 500 jobs when the studio is at full capacity.

Significant public investment by successive Governments and Wicklow County Council has been given over decades to support and grow this industry such as the section 481 and other measures.

The Government through Enterprise Ireland is a shareholder of 32% according to RTE business news and I want to know the reasons behind their decision to agree to this sale.

The announcement of the sale of studios as “a going concern” is very worrying because there is a substantial risk that the highest bidder could be a developer not a film production business.

I want the Government to confirm that the sale is conditional on Ardmore being retained as a Film Production centre. No if’s, no but’s just a simple confirmation.

In my view Film production is a national strategic industry where the Government through Enterprise Ireland should retain a direct sharehold interest such as it has in Ardmore.

As a member of Dáil Eireann for Wicklow, I contacted IBI Corporate Finance yesterday for a copy of the prospectus for the sale in order to study it. I was denied a copy by IBI and told to ask Ardmore Studios directly. I then contacted the CEO of Ardmore Studios and again I was denied a copy of the Prospectus.

WHY the secrecy? Is it because the prospectus may refer to the unique opportunity the site presents as a development site?

“This is a copy of your Governments JOB Strategy for the Mid East Region. On page 5 you prioritise Film Development with 2 studios as a KEY Strength – and in your specific actions you target building on that strength. It’s an odd way to build the Film Industry in the Mid East by selling its landmark studio”

Deputy Casey also remarked that “following the civil war and at the beginning of Seán Lemass’s determined efforts to modernise the Irish economy, it was Emmet Dalton, the friend and comrade of Michael Collins, who convinced his old civil war enemy Sean Lemass to invest in the Film Industry and build a studio in Ardmore on 37 acres which opened in 1958. If Seán Lemass could be convinced by Emmet Dalton that the Irish State should be involved in the Film Industry, it is ironic that a Fine Gael led government could be about to see that dynamic partnership end.”


Ardmore Studio Sale Seriously Concerning, 19/10/2016


Ardmore studio sale a matter of serious concern - Pat Casey TD

  • Casey calls for urgent Govt response and has briefed Micheál Martin

Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey has expressed his serious concerns in relation to yesterday’s announcement that Ardmore Film Studios Bray is to be sold.

“Ardmore Studios is the foundation of the Irish Film industry in Ireland and in Wicklow. Ardmore is an amazing success story and must be continued and built upon. The 18 acre site is crucial to the development of film in Wicklow and to the nation.

The Film Industry is a key industry for the economic development of Wicklow and of Ireland with up to 500 jobs when the studio is at full capacity.

Significant public investment by successive Governments and Wicklow County Council has been given over decades to support and grow this industry such as the section 481 and other measures.”

“While I am aware that Ardmore Studios are anxious to be sold as ‘a going concern’, there are no guarantees that this will happen. The prospect that the 18 acre site could end up in the hands of developers would spell the end of film production at the site and seriously damage a key plank of Wicklow’s economic future which is heavily dependent on the growth of the film industry.”

“I want a guarantee from the Government who through Enterprise Ireland are a significant shareholder in Ardmore that this sale will be conditional on the full site continuing as a film production studio and that Enterprise Ireland retains a shareholding in this crucial industry. To that aim I have met with my party leader Micheál Martin this morning who shares my concerns and I will be raising this with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the earliest opportunity.”


Fine Gael Must Deliver Pension Increase, 06/10/2016


Fine Gael Government must deliver pension increase “in good faith”. – Pat Casey TD


Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has called on the Government to confirm that the promised €5 increase to the old age pension would be delivered in good faith and not cynically postponed until later in 2017.

Deputy Casey was commenting after reports appeared in national media today suggesting that Fine Gael were considering postponing certain budget payment increases such as the pension until later in 2017.

“This cannot be allowed happen. Those in receipt of a state pension have seen a range of other benefits cut over the last few years. This increase is justified to a sector of our community who need this increase in order to give deserved respect to their life long contribution to our society.”

“The question needs to be asked – who dreamt up this cynical manoeuvre? Who decided that this was an appropriate way to treat a deserved increase to the old age pension? At a time when this Dáil is trying to rebuild trust with the people, this stroke or kite flying or whatever you want to call it, is only further damaging the credibility of politicians.”

“I agree with Máiread Hayes of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament when she stated today that these reports are causing anxiety amongst pensioners. This is wrong. This increase was promised, this increase was agreed, this increase must be delivered in good faith.”

“I fully support my colleagues Michael McGrath and Dara Calleary in saying that this potential postponement will not wash.”

“I thought that all TD’s were going to make a greater effort to be responsible in our efforts to agree budgetary policy. The events of the last 24 hours are too much like the old political shape throwing which must be eliminated if we are to regain public trust in our Parliament and our Government.”


FIanna Fail Call for Doubling of EU Funding to Protect Farm Incomes, 22/09/2016


FF call for doubling of EU fund to protect farm incomes – Pat Casey TD

- Government must match the existing EU funding -


Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has called on the Government to match the EU Agri Solidarity Package and provide €11m to help farmers through current market volatility issues.

“It’s clear to me from talking to Wicklow Farmers at the recent ploughing championships in Offaly that they are very fearful about family incomes following a very tough year with the added negative impact from Brexit. I support fully Fianna Fáils decision to push the Government to further protect vulnerable farm families.”

“This fund provides much needed relief for farmers who are struggling with high costs and plummeting prices, which have been a feature of farming life over the past number of years.  The volatility in prices has been particularly difficult for smaller family farmers, many of who have been fighting to remain viable.

“The EU package will provide money to help with production costs, co-operation projects and certain cash flow reliefs.  This is a step in the right direction but our own Government can do more to alleviate the pressure on farmers.

“Under the package, member states are allowed to match the EU allocation with national funds and I am urging Minister Creed to do this.  At a time when the Government is failing to meet its own targets in the Beef Genomics, GLAS and Knowledge Transfer Schemes, it should be offering other funding packages to assist hard pressed farmers.

“This solidarity fund is open to most farmers and would provide an additional revenue stream, which is badly needed given the current market volatility.  Minister Creed should not delay on this issue.  He needs to put the necessary wheels in motion to ensure that his department can source the funds necessary to match this important EU package and provide greater certainty for farmers across the country”.


Casey Welcomes CCPC Investigation into Motor Insurance Industry, 15/09/2016


Fianna Fáil’s Pat Casey TD welcomes CCPC investigation into motor insurance industry

- Anti-competitive practices to be reviewed -


Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has welcomed the decision by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to launch an investigation into anti-competitive practices in the motor insurance sector.

“Over the last 18 months, Fianna Fáil has been consistent in highlighting this. Since I was elected to the Dáil in February, I and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil have used our private members time to raise, and discuss, this issue in Dáil Éireann.”

“Unfortunately, the Government have been asleep on the job, putting the interests of big business ahead of motorists,” added Pat Casey.

“The last 18 months have seen premiums sky rocket, as the Government dragged its feet on this crucial consumer issue, putting more and more pressure on motorists. When you consider that over 60% of Wicklow residents are commuting to work outside the county and the large car ownership within Wicklow this is an unacceptable burden on hard working people.”

“I hope that added to the work being undertaken by my colleague, John McGuinness, as Chair of the Finance Committee who is investigating motor insurance in Ireland, this investigation by the CCPC will see premiums reduce quickly, and without further delay,” concluded the Wicklow TD.


Casey Calls for Slaney ABP Merger to be Stopped by EU, 09/09/2016


Pat Casey TD calls for Slaney merger with ABP to be stopped by EU

 

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey TD is urging the DG Competition in Brussels to carefully examine the findings of an IFA report into the proposed merger of beef processors ABP and Slaney Foods.  The EU Commission is expected to make a ruling on the case in mid-October.

Deputy Casey, “The threat to the Wicklow beef sector from this merger cannot be overestimated and the contents of the IFA report fully reflect that.  I’m unsurprised that the processing sector has responded by trying to downplay the seriousness of the move, but I am not convinced by their argument.”

“The beef sector is hugely important in Wicklow’s overall agri-business industry and must be protected.  Beef farmers have come through a difficult few years, with the collapse of bull beef prices, labelling issues and factories shifting the goalposts on producers.  Concentrating the market power of these processors will further limit competition and will have a detrimental impact on farmers.”

“Reduced competition, combined with increased market dominance by a small number of players is bad for farmers and cannot be allowed to go ahead.  In its report the IFA raised legitimate competition concerns, which must be fully examined by DG Competition.”

“Fianna Fáil has consistently argued for fair pricing and transparency in the food supply chain, but unfortunately over the past few years farmers have been getting a raw deal.  This needs to change.  Minister Creed must stand up for beef farmers instead of pandering to big business.  Without his backing, the entire beef sector is being put at risk”.


Allowance Negotiations for Young Teachers Must be Concluded, 02/09/2016


Allowance negotiations for young teachers must be brought to a conclusion – Pat Casey T.D.

Fianna Fáil’s Wicklow TD Pat Casey has called on Minister Richard Bruton to announce an agreement in principle between his department and teacher unions on the restoration of allowances for newly qualified teachers who returned to work in Wicklow this week.

“It’s time we saw an acceleration in the talks between the two unions and the Department of Education and Skills and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. There is the potential for serious industrial unrest in Wicklow schools should this matter not be resolved. Dragging these talks on beyond this week could cause severe difficulties,” said Deputy Casey.

“It is clear that an agreement in principle effectively exists on the restoration of allowances for newly qualified teachers, and that ongoing negotiations are largely technical details that need to be resolved. However a Government statement is essential to confirm this progress.”

“Fianna Fáil have told Minister Bruton that a public statement should be made to confirm that an agreement in principle exists. This will provide reassurance for young teachers that progress is being made on achieving pay equality.

“New entrants to the teaching profession do not receive the same allowances as longer serving teachers, which cannot be justified and is corrosive to morale within schools. Unequal pay for new teachers is also discouraging talented individuals from entering or staying in the profession.

“A signal of clear progress on this crucial issue for teachers would act as a catalyst to resolving other industrial relations issues within the education sector, and will be the key to averting industrial action in the new school year.”


Casey Calls for SME Focus in Budget 2017, 26/08/2016


Pat Casey TD calls for SME focus in Budget 2017


Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has said that a focus on the SMEs sector and the self-employed must be a key focus in Budget 2017.

Speaking on the issue, Deputy Casey said, “In the wake of the Brexit shock it is absolutely essential that we boost the SME sector to enable it to meet the challenges of a difficult situation.

“Recently we learned of the repeated robberies which are crippling small businesses nationwide. It is critical that we prioritise regional development across all policy areas including Wicklow. We must strengthen businesses operating in rural Ireland. Substantial investment in infrastructure, such as broadband, would be very beneficial to further supporting SMEs. Too many areas have inadequate broadband and I know as a Laragh/Glendalough based business how damaging that can be.”

"More needs to happen to support self-employed people in creating employment in local communities. The unequal tax treatment of the self-employed remains a serious disincentive. Deficits such as this must be tackled if we want to spread what has been an unbalanced and two tier recovery to date.”

Deputy Casey continued "Many prospective entrepreneurs are hesitant about starting a business as they are apprehensive about the absence of a safety net should they not succeed. We need to move towards a social welfare safety net by permitting the self-employed to make full Class A PRSI contributions in order to qualify for Jobseekers Benefit and Invalidity Benefit.

“Fianna Fáil has been relentless in calling for the creation of a state enterprise bank by licensing the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to lend directly to businesses. This is crucial for investment and growth, particularly among start-ups and SMEs.

“As IBEC have pointed out, the post Brexit landscape will be very challenging for Irish business. Budget 2017 must rise to this challenge.”


Proposed Pension Rights Change Discriminatory, 12/08/2016


Proposed change in pension rights for part-time workers discriminatory – Pat Casey TD

  Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has described the proposal to increase the earnings threshold to qualify for the full contributory state pension, as discriminatory.

In a paper prepared by officials from the Department of Social Protection, for consideration in the forthcoming budget, part-time workers may have to earn a minimum of €70 per week or €3,900 per year to be entitled to the full contributory state pension.

Commenting on the proposal Deputy Casey said, “A hike of €32 to the current threshold would have a disproportionate impact on part-time workers. Almost 1 in 4 workers in Ireland are employed on a part-time basis and to reduce pension entitlements for these employees would adversely impact working women most.

“There are already serious differences between the average monthly pension for women and men. Female pensioners currently lose out through a gender gap by almost €700 a month.

“People work part-time or reduce their weekly work hours for a variety of reasons including childcare. There is a need to reflect this by providing for more flexible criteria to qualify for a contributory pension.

“In Wicklow the tourism sector in particular relies highly on part-time workers especially now during peak season. Many of these workers are women and it is wrong that while these people are working hard in the Wicklow economy that this Government is flying kites about reducing their pension entitlements.”

“I have serious concerns that this proposal may actively be considered by Government ahead of the forthcoming Budget. My party and I will be doing our utmost to avoid the introduction of such a regressive measure. It is our belief that Ireland must aspire to delivering a comfortable standard of living for all retirees," added Deputy Casey.