Dublin Bus Cuts

Ballymun Sinn Fein members along with Dessie Ellis TD took part in a community protest against cuts to Dublin Bus routes in Dublin North West last Thu 1/9/11. Several local people affected by the drastic bus cuts, along with People Before Profit & SF attended the demo.

“Some of the older and disabled people in Coultry, Shangan & Sillogue are virtually prisoners in their homes now as a result of the cuts or discontinuation of the service they previously relied on” Ballymun Sinn Féin activist Noeleen Reilly said. “This will be particularly felt in the cold, dark winter nights & early mornings.”

Noeleen addad: “we are worried about children, many of whom attend schools outside the area. They would have to walk in the wet and dark winter nights from the bus stop on the main road to Poppintree and to the back of the Coultry estate.

“They are only cutting these things to feed the greedy, incompetent bankers” Ms Reilly said; “three-quarters of the population in the working-class area of Ballymun are dependent on buses. A lot of older people feel they are going to lose their independence. They are going to be isolated in their homes if their bus is taken away.”

Under Dublin Bus’s €12 million cuts plan, entitled ‘Network Direct’, routes were “straightened out” to operate on the most “efficient” from the suburbs to the city centre.

Thursday’s protest by residents from a number of communities along with Sinn Féin and People Before profit was aimed to stop phase two of ‘Network Direct’ which is planned to take place over the coming months with further streamlining of routes.

Dessie Ellis TD said that the cuts to Dublin Bus were all part of what she labelled as misguided government policy.

“This is about investment; you can’t cut your way out a recession because the more you cut the more you deflate the economy”

he said

“The issues of productivity need to be raised but you don’t cut frontline services and you don’t deliberately put more workers out of jobs” Dessie added.

Dessie Ellis TD – Housing – Ard Fheis 2012

A Chairde agus gcomrádaithe

With the continuation of the economic crisis, unemployment and austerity in the 26 counties social issues have taken a back seat to discussion about bank debt, sovereign debt and bailouts.

One such social issue, a very core right which republicans strive for is housing.

But in many ways in the 26 counties housing has been taking the back seat for decades. Government policy has seen the end of any development and increase in the social housing stock of local authorities.

The responsibility of the state to provide a roof over the head of its citizens has been replaced with the need to form cosy deals with developers, landlords and speculators in order to enrich the few while hundreds of thousands are inadequately housed or not at all.

The economic crisis as I have said has only continued this pattern.

Last year the Department of Environment announcement what it termed “a radical new departure” in housing provision. Given the fact that what was outlined in the policy document this quote is taken from were nothing new, we must look at how the Department have pursued housing responsibilities since its publication.

The most glaring example is the very handsome deal squared with developers under NAMA that the department heralded as the Social dividend long sought by NAMA’s opponents especially Sinn Fein.

2000 units were to be identified.

Now 6 months later not one person has been housed by the deal and half the identified units have been deemed unsuitable.

But just were the details of this deal.

Really the word deal is misleading because the scheme setup by NAMA and the Department is nothing more than another feathering of the bed of developers who were instrumental in the states downfall.

The government plan to pay developers approximately 15 million euro a year for 20 years and then hand back the units for the developers to do with what they will.

That is an estimated 300 million over the lifetime of this scheme being paid to developers already bailed out by the public through NAMA and for nothing more than a 20 year lease.

We in Sinn Fein are committed to real social housing and state provision. To the true recognition of everyone’s right to housing.

The solution to the problems of the housing crisis and homelessness are within the grasp of the Fine Gael Labour government.
They must listen to us when we demand a real social dividend from NAMA and the recognition of the right to housing.

They must listen to us when we demand a target for ending homelessness, a dedicated strategy to deliver follow on housing and “housing first” and the equality proofing of all housing policy to ensure it serves everyone.

I welcome the motions to be debated on housing this year and encourage comrades to contribute to the discussion on what is an incredibly important issue for the people of our country.