Worker's Rights

Socialist Party Councillor Clare Daly, a SIPTU shop-steward in Aer Lingus has condemned Aer Lingus management for what she called, “deliberate actions designed to provoke a dispute.

Councillor Daly was speaking following the decision of Aer Lingus to suspend over 100 of its cabin crew staff and subsequent decision to hire in aircraft. She said, “the full responsibility for this situation lies on the shoulders of management. It was their actions which led to the disruption of flights and inconvenience to passengers earlier in the week. This dispute has clearly been orchestrated by management in an attempt to break the cabin crew union.

Aer Lingus cabin crew have accepted that their hours of work will increase, but they correctly refuse to allow those rosters to be designed in a manner which would have them with no home/family life. Management seem to have designed rosters in a manner which make them unworkable for anybody with children or personal responsibilities. IT is clear that there are a whole number of aspects to the roster which could be easily changed while still giving the company the extra hours and not affecting the schedule. The fact that they have shown no desire to look at these over the past number of months indicates that this is about showing who is boss and nothing more.

It is absolutely scandalous,” Councillor Daly said” that this dictatorial management would be enforced. To call people into interviews individually is absolutely reprehensible in this day and age. IT is also somewhat ironic, that the company which has consistently over the past number of years cut millions from the staff budget in terms of reduced numbers of workers, pay and conditions on the grounds that they need to reduce costs, have no problem hiring in aircraft and staff, while hundreds of their own staff are available for duty.

Councillor Daly concluded, “I fully support the cabin crew in their just demand for a reasonable work-life balance. The days of workers being serfs at the beck and call of their owners should be well and truly over. I am calling on all unions at the company to come together and discuss a collective response.

Environment, Local Issues

I fully support the community in Rush in their determined battle to ensure that the proposed Eirgrid high voltage DC cable is re-routed away from the hundreds of houses on the route from Kilbush Lane, Skerries Road, Main Street, and Channel Road.

I salute residents who have organised on this issue, convened meetings and stepped up the pressure on both Eirgrid and the political establishment. We pledge to do whatever we can to support this critical community campaign in the coming weeks and months.

Route Can Be Altered!

It is a disgrace that given the concerns that have been expressed that Eirgrid are still stream rolling ahead regardless! Everybody agrees that an East-West interconnector is welcome. But just because the chosen route has been approved by An Bord Pleanala, doesn’t mean that it has to take that path.

How many people have previously got planning permission for something only to change their minds at a later date and submit new plans? This is a perfectly normal and regular occurrence and there is no reason why it can’t happen in this case other than the fact that there is a lack of political will to do so.
Fingal County Council Facilitates Eirgrid, not Residents!

Eirgrid has stated that the original plans to go through Ratoath were altered and the town bypassed at the request of Meath County Council. Fingal County Council on the other hand, rather than assisting residents in Rush has actively facilitated Eirgrid at every turn while simultaneously ignoring the community.

Council management gave permission to Eirgrid to access public roads at two locations in Rush without any recourse to the elected councillors. The antics that occurred at the Council meeting on Monday July 12th were astounding. Originally Eirgrid asked permission under Section 183 of the Planning Act for a way leave across the two roads. Under this procedure it is only the councillors who can decide. When it became obvious that the councillors would vote against it, the management pulled the item and said they needed legal advice and a special meeting was convened.

Meanwhile prior to that special meeting, Eirgrid came in for a meeting with Council management and suddenly decided to opt for a different method of accessing the land – a method which coincidently had been outlined by the Council’s solicitor!!! The Council management then granted them permission for this before the councillors meeting took place!! This is a total affront to democracy and a deliberate frustration of the wishes of the community. It was precisely because your campaign was having an effect on the councillors that they pulled the plug and decided to attempt to force it through by a different method. This should not go unchallenged and Clare Daly has requested a further legal opinion for the councillors on what has taken place.

Very Valid Reasons to Insist on Re-routing from the town!

It is quite clear that there are powerful interests pushing this project. Meanwhile for residents of Rush the facts remain;

  1. Rogerstown Estuary which is a special area of conservation, was not so special that the sewerage pipes couldn’t be laid through it, leading people to correctly say that there is no reason why the cable can’t take this route also.
  2. High Voltage DC cables are new to Ireland and should avoid population centres. In all other interconnector projects internationally, populated areas have been avoided such a the Moyle interconnector between Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the interconnector between Sweden and Poland. It’s not unreasonable for Rush residents to demand parity of treatment with everyone else around the globe.
  3. Studies conducted by the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research, among others have stated that the risk of Leukaemia is doubled at 0.4 Micronesia. Eirgrid has stated that the output will be 0.6 Micronesia at 10 metres. This involves hundreds of houses and the national school situated on the route where exposure will be 24/7. It is unacceptable to expect parents to expose their children to potentially serious adverse health effects. The precautionary principle should apply and the town avoided.
  4. It is galling to note that Lusk was rejected as a potential route because it was “heavily populated” and Donabate because it was “heavily trafficked”. We are not in any way suggesting that the cable should be re-routed through those towns, it shouldn’t but this example exposes how flawed the methodology used was, given that Rush beats both of them on both counts, with a bigger population and greater through flow of traffic. It’s clear that they got that wrong, so how much more is wrong also!

There is more than sufficient evidence to suggest that residents are absolutely right to hold firm on this and to insist on a re-routing. Eirgrid is a semi-state body, set up by and answerable to government. Government and the Minister have the power to halt the works and instruct Eirgrid to take a different route. There are three government TDs in the area, including a former Minister. These people are the people in power and either they exercise that power in the interest of the community or what benefit is it to residents having them there.

The clock is ticking. Already works have begun on the project. The community needs action. Substantial pressure must be brought to bear on the government reps, and they should be left in no uncertain terms that either this route is voluntarily altered by Eirgrid or residents will frustrate the work if necessary. Do they really want another Rossport on their doorstep?

Enough is enough! Reroute the cable away from Rush! I, together with me other Socialist Party colleagues, will assist this campaign in any way we can. If enough residents get involved and demonstrate their opposition then a U-turn can be forced. Don’t leave it to someone else. Contact the government TDs today and demand that they deliver.

Local Issues

Fingal’s new Wildflower Meadow and Growing Places Policy has gone down like a lead balloon in communities across the north county as a result of cutbacks in the grass cutting program.

The policy was supposed to involve moving away from simply cutting all of the large grassed areas, to introducing more of a meadow environment with planting of different varieties of flowers and trees to aid biodiversity and develop an interesting and colourful landscape! Nothing wrong with that for parkland areas and roundabouts, but on greens in estates which are the main play areas of young children, it is an entirely different matter.

While greens in the estates were in the main not intended for the Wildflower Meadow pilot scheme, the appalling lack of information from the Council meant that everyone thought that they were when they witnessed their greens growing high, with only the rims, and a kick-about area being cut as a result of cutbacks in grass cutting.

A public outcry has forced a partial U-turn with the frequency of grass cutting being upped from monthly to once in 18 days. This will have to be monitored and the pressure kept on.

The reality is that this scheme is partly motivated by a crucifying burden on the Parks Department as a result of the government embargo on public sector recruitment.

Many staff retired in the section in the past year, and could not be replaced – meanwhile, over 1000 extra acres of open space were taken in charge.

They simply cannot cover all the work that is necessary. This is a direct consequence of government cutbacks and yet a government TD had the neck to issue a leaflet telling residents that he would liaise with the Council on residents’ behalf!!

This is not good enough. I demand, together with my Socialist Party colleagues, proper public services. The recruitment embargo must be lifted and the urgently needed jobs provided to improve standards in our communities.

Local Issues

Residents around Fingal, and indeed nationally, who have found defects in their homes, are finding that it is more than their houses that are defective!

The system in place to deal with these problems is monumentally defective, with every organisation which is supposed to be there to sort the issues out, running for cover. The Socialist Party believes that we are sitting on a ticking time-bomb on this question.

The scale and extent of these problems are only beginning to emerge, as tens of thousands of properties that were thrown up during the boom, begin to reveal totally shoddy workmanship. In a number of estates in Balbriggan, Swords, Lusk and Malahide, serious problems have arisen ranging from pyrite in the foundations, in some areas, to major damp, and inadequate fire-proofing, along with other structural faults and cracks.

Individual houses were bought under contract and in most cases, a Homebond guarantee. It is Homebond’s responsibility to arrange to find out the extent of the problem and ensure that the repairs are carried out in order to make the dwelling structurally sound and habitable.

However, it seems that they are doing everything in their power to stall and not deal with the issues. Meanwhile, the builders who were responsible in the first instance, the Council who oversee compliance with building standards, and the engineers and architects who certified the work, are all protecting their own interests.

It is absolutely criminal that the government has failed to address this issue. Those responsible must be held to account and a more transparent and effective system put in place to ensure that residents get a structurally safe and sound home which is their entitlement.