Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Press Release: Looney Slams Greyhound “Mischief-Making”, Calls on Govt to Implement Waiver Scheme

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party Councillor on South Dublin County Council (SDCC), has said that today’s call on the Government by Greyhound to pay them millions for a waiver scheme in SDCC is “daft and mischievous.” Looney has re-iterated his call for the Government to proceed immediately with a national bin waiver scheme, and to provide interim support for 18,000 households in South Dublin who are due to lose their waivers in a month’s time.

“This is a daft and mischievous call by a company who have behaved disgracefully since the bin service in our area was privatised. I and my Councillor colleagues fought tooth and nail against this privatisation but the service was sold by the management, without regard to the opposition of elected representatives, in a deal whose finer details we are continuing to look for.”

“The latest mess in the privatisation saga is the impending loss of bin waivers for some 18,000 households. There are almost 2,000 households on a waiver in my own immediate area of Dublin 12, almost all of whom are elderly residents of limited means who will be forced to pay for their collections if nothing is done by the end of March.”

“I have consistently called on Labour in Government to implement their Programme for Government pledge to introduce a national bin waiver system for all households. This appears to have been put on the back burner by Fine Gael’s Minister Hogan, but it is now time for Labour Ministers and TD’s to put on the pressure to ensure those on low incomes are given waivers.”

“As this will take time to implement, I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, and the new County Manager of South Dublin County Council to meet to thrash out how those on a waiver can be accommodated in the interim. However, not one red cent should go to Greyhound given their treatment of residents in South Dublin and Dublin City and their appalling customer service record. Instead, the Government should investigate options outside this company.”

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Press Release: Looney Welcomes Reversal of Local DEIS Cuts

Cllr Dermot Looney, a Labour Party Councillor on South Dublin County Council, has welcomed today’s announcement by Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn that 235 posts in disadvantaged schools in the DEIS scheme will be retained. Looney, who works as a primary teacher in Tallaght, was involved in attempts to overturn the cuts since the announcement in Budget 2012, in particular with the Band 2 schools in the area.

“I am giving a cautious welcome to news that posts in DEIS Band 1 and 2 schools are being reinstated across our area. This was a scandalous mistake by the Minister, and one which was rightly opposed by school communities across Dublin South-West. Today’s u-turn is a tribute to the schools, parents and activists who worked to save these crucial posts in our disadvantaged schools. I also want to thank our local Labour TD’s, Eamonn Maloney and Minister Pat Rabbitte, who were involved from the get-go in trying to save these posts. Schools and parents across Tallaght will breathe a sigh of relief tonight as the news breaks.”

“However, many issues remain. St Mary’s NS in Tallaght Village, which received some support as a disadvantaged school but did not fall into the DEIS Scheme, is set to lose a number of teachers. Four local post-primary schools which are in DEIS are also set to lose out. This is in addition to a decrease in the capitation grant and a swathe of other cutbacks which schools are already forced to deal with.”

“With billions of further cuts promised, I would call on Labour Ministers and TD’s to protect education and develop an economv strategy which promotes growth and investment, and not the failed policies of austerity, to meet our international obligations and grow our economy. Otherwise, the axe will continue to fall on crucial services and our communities will continue to suffer.”