ABO to re-apply for 11 Industrial Wind Turbines in Rural South Wicklow in June
Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey has expressed his shock and anger at the decision by ABO Wind Ireland Ltd to re-apply for planning permission to build 11 Industrial scale windfarms in rural South Wicklow between the villages of Tinahely, Annacurra and Aughrim.
“The previous application which consisted of 12 industrial turbines that would dominate the local landscape resulted in one of the largest ever number of community and individual objections being sent to Wicklow County Council. Several large public meetings were held where the overwhelming view was that this application was disastrous for the communities living in their shadow.”
“There was nearly unanimous political support for these local communities and the planning application was rejected by Wicklow County Council in a most emphatic manner referencing the size and scale of these turbines, which “alter its reading as a rolling rural landscape to a more industrialised scene. There was also a harmful impact on the built and natural heritage of this part of rural Wicklow.”
“After the stress and financial cost that the local communities had to bear in order to protect their homes and families, there was widespread relief with the refusal and the strength of that refusal. However it now seems that ABO Wind Farm’s first application was just a scoping exercise and a cynical one at that.”
“Their so-called public door to door consultation following this refusal has been twisted to suggest that somehow there is community buy-in to this development. I will be working with local Councillors and the people of rural South Wicklow to ensure that this further attempt to impose this unacceptable development is once again rejected.”
“The common good of the residents of South Wicklow must be taken into account before we pollute our unique landscape with these industrial turbines. The deep pockets and the media campaigns of multi-national companies such as ABO must not subvert the democratic will of local people and the local Council.”
“I am also annoyed that the Fine Gael led Government has still not made decisions to protect our landscape and our people from dangers of widespread industrial wind turbines. The distance parameters and a landscape and noise strategy are still with Independent Minister Denis Naughten. Firm decisions are needed now to protect the people, the landscape and the tourism industry in South Wicklow.”
Casey met Bank of Ireland management and received confirmation that no Wicklow branch will be closed (until 2020) and that staff will help businesses and older people adapt to new changes
Wicklow/East Carlow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has called on Bank of Ireland to reverse its decision to close or severely restrict cashier services in several Wicklow branches. Branches in Greystones, Arklow, Baltinglass, Tinahely, Carnew and Rathdrum are affected by this decision which has angered many rural businesses and the surrounding communities. Greystones, Arklow and Baltinglass will now only have cashier services on mornings only while Tinahely, Carnew and Rathdrum are to lose cashier services altogether.
“I have written to Bank of Ireland and met senior officials outlining my serious concerns about this decision which I believe is ill-judged and which does real damage to rural towns and villages affected. Bank of Ireland has disregarded the needs of their rural customers to make a cold decision to cease cashier services. How do local businesses and the rural customers get change or cash in rural Wicklow? The added security risks that the Bank is now placing on loyal customers is also a factor here. Rural residents feel very vulnerable because of this.”
“I fully support the rural communities affected by this decision and in particular the community in Tinahely who have organised to oppose this decision and engage with the Bank. They have gathered over 1000 signatures in a short space of time and have met with the management in Bank of Ireland. I wrote a letter of support which was given to management and I secured a meeting with senior management at which I outlined my concerns about business and older peoples security.”
“The community in Tinahely know from experience the effect of restricted services had on their village as the Bank was effectively out of the village for a year when it was being refurbished after a failed bank robbery in 2010. All businesses suffered loss of income as people went to other towns to access banking services.”
“Local managers and staff are not to blame here. This decision was taken at national level and affects up to 60 branches. When the banks nearly went bust the taxpayer came to the rescue. Yet when rural Ireland now needs their support Bank of Irelands response is to cut services.”
“Tinahely customers for example cannot even go to Arklow as the branch there will only have a cashier desk from 10am-12.30. Instead they have been advised to travel through back roads to Gorey or even Bunclody which is a round trip taking up to two hours. This is a short-sighted decision from a Bank which traditionally has been seen as supportive of rural Ireland. How this decision fits into their corporate social responsibility framework is a mystery to me?”
“I understand the technological changes that are taking place in banking but Bank of Irelands strength and reputation is embedded in its large branch network and the staff that work there.”
“There is still time for Bank of Ireland to reflect on this and offer some compromise to their loyal customers that are so badly affected by this. We are not going to let this go without a fight and I and Cllrs Pat Kennedy and Pat Doran will support this campaign in every way we can.”
For Immediate Release – Thursday 13th 2017
Sunbeam merger on hold until crisis issues are resolved – Pat Casey TD
- Casey received assurances from Minister Harris that the merger is on hold and “further actions may be necessary” -
Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has said that the service users, the families of service users and front line staff must be at the centre of all actions aimed at resolving the crisis at the Bray, Wicklow and Arklow facilities.
Deputy Casey raised the serious complaints in relation to Sunbeam House Services at a special Topical Issues debate yesterday in Dáil Eireann. “The removal of the assurance report from the HSE website has convinced me that I needed to bring these issues directly to the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, and for a publicly accountable response on the floor of the Dáil. I am also concerned about the apparent lack of a protected disclosures policy at Sunbeam House Services. Given the responsibility of care given to any organisation providing services to adults with intellectual disabilities, the absence of such a policy is, quite simply, disgraceful. The families need to know if protected disclosures have been made to the HSE or to Sunbeam House Services, the number and gravity of such disclosures and the response to such disclosures, including reporting to the Garda where required.”
“From my contact with some families I know they have been very reluctant to go public because of a deep seated fear that their loved ones' level of service may be affected. The fact that family members of service users are living in fear is enough of a disgrace to warrant a serious, rapid and public response from the HSE and from the Minister.”
The Wicklow TD continued in thanking the Minister for his response “and for his confirmation that he is meeting immediately with the HSE on this matter. I am also delighted to see that he is meeting formally with the families tomorrow. This is what is needed. Now that action is being taken a public response is needed that all service users, the families of service users and front-line staff can take confidence in. There needs to be a rapid, time-bound approach to every single recommendation contained within the reports into Sunbeam House Services.”
Speaking in relation to the proposed merger “The Minister will be aware of the proposed merger involving Sunbeam House Services, KARE and St. Catherine's, which would, in effect, bring the entire service offered to those adults with intellectual disabilities in Wicklow under one managing entity. It is my information that the insurance report recommends this merger be put on hold until such time as the issues in respect of Sunbeam House Services has been resolved. I would ask that he come back to me on it. I also ask that he ensure that, at a minimum, this recommendation is followed”
After the debate Deputy Casey concluded by stating that “I am happy that Minister Harris confirmed to me in the Dáil that the merger is now on hold and that all recommendations and complaints would be fully investigated and resolved and that further actions may be necessary. This is vital if we are to restore the confidence of the service users, their families and the front line staff who do such Trojan work every day.”
-ENDS-For Further Info please contact Pat
(M) 086 2649483
I Met a delegation of Ardmore Studios workers and service suppliers in the Dáil on Wednesday to hear their serious concerns about the sale of the State's 32% shareholding. I will be continuing and increasing my campaign to reverse this decision which makes no sense whatsoever.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Housing and Urban Renewal Pat Casey TD has questioned whether the Government are already reneging on their commitments to rural Ireland.
“Following the publication of the latest revised budgetary estimates for the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, no extra money was provided for rural and regional development in the revised estimates. This is despite a clear written agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to secure increased funding for the LEADER programme,” stated Deputy Casey.
“The estimates show that the total funding for rural and regional development, including the LEADER programme, will amount to €60m in total. There is no additional funding for rural Ireland in these estimates as this is a direct transfer of existing funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. This is in stark contrast to the commitment made by Fine Gael to ramp up investment in rural Ireland.
Elected first as an Independent Wicklow county councillor in 2004, he has served on the council since then. Now a member of Fianna Fáil, he is the owner of the Glendalough Hotel and is a member of a number of local boards and committees in his area, including the Joint Policing Committee.
The Fianna Fail councillor has been a member of Wicklow County Council for the past ten years.
Cllr. Casey is the first sitting Wicklow county councillor to formally announce he plans to run in the General Election set to take place in 2016.
'I feel Fianna Fail in Wicklow is in a very low position because we have no deputy or senator. It weakens the position of the party in Wicklow. For this reason I feel it is fitting to announce that I am going to contest the convention and seek a nomination for Fianna Fail. It will be a two tier campaign. It will be out there meeting supporters at the grass roots level. The second challenge for the party will be to win a seat back for the party, whether that is by me or someone else.'
The next Irish General Election must take place no later than April 3 2016.
Dick Roche, then a sitting Minister, and Cllr. Pat Fitzgerald of Arklow were selected to run on the Fianna Fail ticket for the 2011 General Elections. Cllr. Casey had challenged Mr. Roche for selection but controversially lost out following a party vote.