Friday, 17 July 2009

Looney Slams “Conservative Clique” on Council

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council (SDCC), has slammed the “new conservative clique” of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on the Council. Looney’s comments come in the wake of a Labour motion on suspending the issuing of new taxi licenses at the July meeting of the Council.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Eamonn Maloney, called on the Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to instruct the Taxi Regulator to suspend the issuing of taxi licenses immediately. Debate on the motion centred on the pressures put on local taxi drivers by deregulation. The motion was passed by 13-9 with the support of the Labour Party, Sinn Féin and PBPA Councillor, but was opposed by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

Speaking during the debate, Cllr Looney noted that while no-one wanted to see a dearth of taxis similar to pre-2000 levels, the philosophy of deregulation had failed taxi drivers and endangered the drivers themselves and their passengers. Looney called for a suspension of license issuing until a new regulatory framework was put in place which would ensure a strict inspection regime, rigorous new entry standards and a pathway to achieving a wheelchair accessible fleet.

“The passing of this motion sends a strong message to government from South Dublin – we’ve had enough of the deregulation philosophy that has caused so much pain both in the taxi industry and in society in general,” noted Looney.

"That Fianna Fáil’s Councillors opposed this motion is no surprise. After all, their policies have led to the dangerous over-supply of taxis in Dublin to such a point that we now have more taxis than New York City.”

“Fine Gael’s acquiescence with their fellow-travellers in Fianna Fáil will come as a surprise to some. However, the charge against the Labour motion, led by Cllr Colm Brophy, came with an out-of-touch political ideology that continues to believe, despite all we’ve seen, that the market is king.”

“Taxi drivers and their families, as well as passengers and the general public, should be mindful of this right-wing claptrap when considering their political support. Labour have again shown that we are the real alternative with serious ideas about reforming and securing the taxi industry.”

Press Release - Council Decision on Rovers Game ‘Very Questionable’ - Looney

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council (SDCC), has said that the Council’s decision to cancel Shamrock Rovers’ home fixture against Sligo Rovers on Saturday night at Tallaght Stadium is “very questionable” and has called on Council officials to clarify the decision.

SDCC, who own the stadium, confirmed to the FAI on Thursday July 9th that the game would not be going ahead due to preparatory work on the ground for the ‘glamour’ friendly fixture between Shamrock Rovers and Real Madrid on Monday July 20th. SDCC have cited “health and safety” concerns in their decision. The cancellation of the fixture has come under criticism from both the FAI and Shamrock Rovers, who have managed to refix the game at the eleventh hour for Tolka Park.

“I’ve been contacted by dozens of Rovers’ fans who are rightly angry at this decision,” Looney noted.” “I am deeply worried about a decision that seems to undermine League of Ireland football in Tallaght.”

“Rovers have already played a number of home matches with construction work going on around the Stadium, including the recent friendly fixture against Newcastle United and the first home game of the season, which was also against Sligo Rovers. With the FAI agreeing to provide additional security resources for this Saturday, I cannot see any reason behind cancelling this fixture other than prioritising the friendly fixture with Real Madrid.”

“As a supporter of St Patrick’s Athletic, I have attended dozens of League of Ireland games on effective ‘building sites’ during upgrades of grounds such as Richmond Park, Dalymount Park, Turner’s Cross, Flancare Park and Terryland Park and, with appropriate security measures taken, there have never been any issues.”

“I have asked the manager of Tallaght Stadium to clarify the exact health and safety concerns and to specify whether retaining the quality of the pitch for Monday was a factor in the decision. I have also asked him to clarify the involvement of the Platinum One company, who have brought Real Madrid to Ireland, in the decision.”

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Press Release - “Labour will lead the charge against water charges”: Cllr Looney

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party representative on South Dublin County Council, has said that the Labour Party will lead a campaign against the introduction of domestic water charges at all levels. Cllr Looney was speaking on foot of the "An Bord Snip Nua" report commissioned by the government which advocates a water tax. This commitment has been previously indicated by Minister John Gormley who stated that the re-introduction of water charges was ‘inevitable’ in a speech to the Academy of Engineering Institute on Tuesday, April 28th.

“I oppose the reintroduction of water charges,” Looney said. "So does the Labour Party."

“Resource struggles for water, particularly in the context of climate change, are hitting headlines across the world. But this latest proposal highlights the difference between Labour’s philosophy and that of this conservative government; they look at water as a commodity to be rationed, while Labour views it within the rights framework. We believe that everybody has the right to free, clean and safe water provided, not through private companies, but accountable public utilities. Water should be paid for through general taxation, not in the form of a regressive stealth tax.”

“After the recent election, I know that working people are very concerned with the possibility of another stealth tax. As well as Labour, others on the left are on record as opposing the water tax. Now it’s up to all other councillors on South Dublin County Council – particularly those in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael - to come clean and state, as a matter of public record, whether they will vote with us to oppose water charges.”

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

One Month On - Cllr Dermot Looney

Well, firstly, it's been a while. A month since I last blogged - I keep putting it off. Hopefully this marks a return to more regular posts.

The big difference since June 5th is that I am now Cllr Dermot Looney. I'm deeply honoured to have been elected with an impressive 2329 first preference votes and to have received such an endorsement from the community I grew up in.

Count day was not as stressful as I thought with the tallies looking good for us from early on, although it took until after 1am for the Returning Officer to declare me the fourth elected of six. ElectionsIreland has count details although with a small caveat - the final count details are incorrect. The correct order on the final count was my colleague Cllr Pamela Kearns winning the third seat, me winning the fourth, Cllr Sean Crowe taking the fifth and FF's Cllr Eamonn Walsh taking the sixth.

I have already sent many thank you letters and mails to supporters and well-wishers but I am very late to say thanks to those of you who read this blog regularly. Having analysed the tallies and received contact from a number of voters we believe that a small but significant vote came to our campaign based on our activity online - and that comes from a vibrant, interactive mix across the various platforms.

The last month has been somewhat hectic with work and politics - hence the lack of blogging. Politically, much of the work has involved getting familiar with the Council and attending meetings. I am delighted that we have established, for the first time ever, a Left Alliance on South Dublin County Council with 9 Labour Councillors, 3 Sinn Féin Cllrs and Independent Cllr Guss O'Connell. The combined vision of this alliance aims for a fairer, more sustainable county and one of our first moves - to reallocate funds from external Conferences (perhaps unfairly known as the junket fund) to provision of the first emergency homeless accommodation in South Dublin - shows the kind of priorities we have.

More to follow in the days to come. The blog will change focus and I'm interested in hearing, by email or comment, what kind of site some of the readers would like to see from an elected Cllr.