Jobstown Trial ‘ludicrous’

Dessie Ellis TD speaking at 2015 Ard Fheis

Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has said that it is ridiculous that the Jobstown trial has reached this stage and that people are being prosecuted for engaging in legitimate protest.

Speaking after attending the court today, the Dublin North West TD said:

“I cannot believe that it has come to this where people are being tried for legitimate protest and the state now seeks to brand them as criminals and possibly imprison them.

“To trump up the charge to false imprisonment seems ludicrous and diminishes that very serious charge. Strict controls on who was eligible for jury selection only further demonstrate the level of paranoia with which the state views the anti-water charges movement. To say that having expressed an opinion on water charges on social media would impact on the ability of a juror to impartially determine the guilt or innocence of someone accused of the crime of false imprisonment goes against the essence of a fair trial.

“The seven defendants deserve, first and foremost, a trial before a jury of their peers and they most certainly do not deserve a charge of false imprisonment, one which in this case carries a possible life sentence is too far a step entirely.”

The removal from office of Commissioner O’Sullivan would be in the best interests of An Garda Síochána

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Sinn Féin are bringing this private members business  to the house tonight in the best interest of this state and also that the removal from office of Commissioner O’Sullivan would be in the best interests of An Garda Síochána.”

As a society we need a policing service that prosecutes the law without fear or favour, that anyone from Dublin to Cork is entitled to a force that serves them fairly.

Also as a society we need a Garda force thats accountable, representative of the community and held to the highest professional and ethical standards.

There are a number of reports into Garda misconduct over the last number of years and each report erodes the public confidence in the Gardai and the Garda management. The recent Garda errors which led to the wrongful conviction of 14,700 people for motoring offences and to 937,000 breath tests being wrongly recorded on the Pulse system is just another case of mind-blowing corruption or sheer incompetence. 14,700 wrongly convicted and that let me tell you this may only be the tip of the iceberg.  It’s also being our experience that calls made to local Garda Stations are not registered on the PULSE system and hence we are not seeing a true picture of what happens based on actual reporting of crime.

What this motion aims to do, is to start a process that will make the senior Garda management responsible for the actions of the force and the need to hold the police and criminal justice systems to account on the basis of fairness, impartiality and objectivity. We are not going to change how we do policing in Ireland until we change the system. This is the crisis point; any hesitation from the government at this stage in dealing with these major issues will only further erode the public confidence in An Garda Síochána.  It has come to the point that the Garda Commissioner does not enjoy the confidence of the Dáil and more importantly she does not enjoy public confidence and therefore has no choice but show a strong lead in accountability and go.

Loss of Jobs in Office Direct/Viking Direct ‘a severe blow to employees, their families and the wider community’

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Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis has said that the loss of between 65-85 jobs in Office Direct/Viking Direct in Rosemount Business Park is devastating news for the community and local economy.

The Dublin North-West TD said:

“A majority of the employees have worked with the company for over ten years and now are being made redundant on statutory redundancy.  The company notified the employees last February that their operation is moving to England.  Office Direct/Viking Direct is a major supplier of office goods to such companies as City Bank, Allied Irish Bank, the Prison Service, and various Government Departments.

“Considering that the company changed their contract arrangements around redundancy packages in November of last year, it is very convenient that redundancies became available a few months later.  Not only does this impact on those who lose their jobs but also has a knock-on effect on the local economy as these wages are removed.

“I would call on management at the company to work with staff and trade unions to ensure that a fair deal for the workers is achieved. They should also make sure that retraining and upskilling opportunities are put in place for the workers involved to help them secure alternative employment. Though we are meant to undergoing an economic recovery, it is not a fair recovery for all citizens and certainly not a recovery for those at Office Direct/Viking Direct.”

Minister needs to keep his word and support water committee report.

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Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis has said that Minister Simon Coveney must legislate on the basis of the Oireachtas Water Committee report to abolish domestic water charges for good.

Speaking today, Deputy Ellis said:

“The Oireachtas Water Committee report has laid out the pathway for the abolition of water charges. It is now up to Minister to accept this as he said he would. If the Minister does not accept the report, he is going against the majority, not only on the committee, but of the Dáil. It is also against the will of the hundreds of thousands of citizens who marched for abolition of domestic water charges.

“In the report, domestic water charges are gone, charges for excessive use of water are gone, as is metering. Importantly, there is a provision for a referendum on the public ownership of water; this is what the people want and it is what the government should legislate for. If the Minister is in doubt and will not legislate on the basis of the report, he should look on this Saturday and to the thousands who will be marching in demand that the Government do what they should have done when the Government was formed and domestic abolish water charges.”

We must break cycle of failure in Mother and Baby homes

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Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, speaking in Leinster House this week, called on support for the Sinn Féin motion to set up a truth commission which would establish the truth of what practices took place in Mother and Baby Homes and other institutions and called for other parties to support the bill.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The atmosphere and climate in these institutions was allowed due to this States failure. And let us remember who were in these institutions.; it was young women and children, young girls who, as Austin Clarke in his 1963 poem said, were left to ‘cook, sew, wash, dig, milk cows, clean stables and, twice a day, giving their babes the teat’.

“There have been many failures over the years in relation to how this State has dealt with the legacies of abdicating its responsibilities for the welfare of mothers and babies to religious organisations. The lack of overview and regulation, the failure of addressing concerns raised over the years as to what was happening in these homes and when it became more than apparent that there was serious abuses occurring and had occurred, the state stood frozen, silently wringing its hands and muttering platitudes while still doffing its cap to the religious who successfully evaded answering or taking responsibility for the actions of its members who carried out these abuses.

“At this moment,  the State has to date failed to initiate a meaningful process that would help obtain the truth for survivors, nor has it provided a suitable forum that would allow the full story of these institutions and the system that underpinned them to be made public. Considering the long line of failure in regards to these institutions, we are introducing this Private Members Bill calling for a truth commission to be established to allow the state to break that cycle of failure and start the process of a truthful discourse of a shameful past.”

New facilities needed for Meakstown

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Speaking in Leinster House on Wednesday Deputy Ellis raised the need for a primary school and new community hall and other facilities in the Meakstown Area.

The Dublin North West TD said “In the last decade there has been a big increase in population without community resources and no schools to cater for the population.  The area around Charlestown, Melville, Hampton Woods, Creston, Lanesboro, Seagrove and Mayeston has grown enormously and will be further extended in the coming years. Community facilities need to be prioritised, which can be funded from several sources, for example, the rates from Charlestown Shopping Centre and local development levies.”

The Sinn Féin TD told the Minister “that he must instruct Fingal Co. Co. and the Dept. of the Environment to ensure that facilities are put in place and proper planning must be adhered too and that the current situation is not good enough. “

Deputy Ellis finished by saying that “  I will keep pressure on the Dept. of the Environment and Fingal Co Co to prioritise the Meakstown area for proper infrastructure as is required for a community of this size. “

Time for Government to stand up for workers and contracts.

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Speaking in Leinster House, Sinn Féin Dublin North West TD Dessie Ellis hoped that a more sensible approach will be taken by Tesco, and not the confrontational one which was previously taken, which triggered almost two weeks of protest by workers.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The support shown by the public who by and large didn’t pass the pickets and supported the workers over the strike is encouraging. The resolve of the workers who I meet at Clearwater and Drumcondra is one to be applauded, as is the support given by the public and business community.

“However, I told the Government that they have failed to stand up for the workers’ rights and allowed a profitable company like Tesco to attempt to tear up hard fought agreements and contacts. This inaction by the Government is only facilitating a race to the bottom. Tesco misjudged the resolve of workers and support from the public. I don’t accept that the Government has no opinion on this issue.

“It’s time the Government should stand up for people and say this race to the bottom is wrong and the Government shouldn’t facilitate big multinational companies who are driving down wages and tearing up contacts.”

Vnuk verus Triglav ruling will influence Irish motor insurance

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Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis asked Minister Ross the implications for insurance on off road vehicles arising from the Vnuk v Triglav ruling.  The ECJ interpreted the directive to mean that any motor vehicle, whether on private or public land, must be covered by third party insurance.

The Dublin North West TD said:

“Mr Vnuk who brought an action for compensation for injury in his native Slovenia as a result of an accident.  Mr Vnuk lost his claim for compensation in the domestic courts on the basis that the vehicles were only insured when in public place but appealed his claim to the ECJ. Like Ireland, the Slovenian equivalent of our road traffic legislation required vehicles to be insured when they were on the road or other public place – but not necessarily when they were on private land. this might have serious implications on off road vehicles.

“I have raised the issue of the misuse of all-terrain vehicles numerous times in the Dáil and the government and Senior Gardaí have always responded that this is already covered by legislation. Hence, I introduced a Bill called the Misuse of Vehicles in Public Spaces in 2012; this Bill was opposed by the Fine Gael Minister at the time, who, on advice, deemed it unnecessary. This contradicted the advice I was receiving from local safety forums from Gardaí and other relevant bodies which were indicating there is an anomaly in the current legislation.  Now, the current Minister needs to explain how the ECJ directive will affect both the definition of public space and the need to insure all motor vehicles on public and private land.”

Plan for the North Inner City does not go far enough.

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on urban regeneration Deputy Ellis has welcomed aspects of Kieran Mulvey’s outline plan for the social and economic regeneration of the north inner city.
“The plan announced last night has positive aspects but it doesn’t deal with the wider and longer term issues in the area. This is the consequence of not engaging fully with the local community. Successful urban regeneration has to understand the social, environmental, cultural, educational, safety, business  and structural needs of the area. This report focuses on the short term and finding the solution to immediate crisis, but unless a holistic long term approach is forthcoming the regeneration will problematic. ”
Deputy Ellis continued ” the actions outlined in the plan will have a positive effect on the area in the short term where the limited funding outlined will allow, but no thought is given to what the north inner city will develop into over the next number of years , such as how the effects of gentrification will effect it. However, the initial step taken by the Government is welcome in so far as that they are engaging with a community that they have ignored for years.”

Ellis asked the Taoiseach to support Tesco workers

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Speaking today under promised legislation Deputy Ellis asked the Taoiseach if he had any concerns for the existing industrial relations framework due to Tesco’s stance which led to the present strike.
The Dublin North West TD said ” Workers rights are under attack and attempts are being made to undermine existing agreements and conditions. This strike by Tesco workers is about stopping that company attempts to break the Union. If we allow this all that is left is a race to the bottom.

Deputy Ellis continued ” I asked the Taoiseach to support the workers and if he agreed that others should stick by their own agreements. The Taoiseach replied that he did support workers but he could not interfere in this matter. Which is very unfortunate.
Sinn Féin fully support the Tesco workers in their defence of their working conditions. Many of my constituents work for Tesco and the way in which it has tried to force in new contracts on its employees does not belong in modern Ireland. and the Taoiseach should acknowledge this.”