Brid Smith challenges Emer Costello to debate on socialism

Brid Smith, the People Before Profit candidate for the Dublin euro election challenges Emer Costello to a debate on socialism.

In a statement, Cllr. Brid Smith said: ‘Emer Costello has erected posters at Dublin train stations that cost a vast amount of money that I cannot afford.. She claimed that the failure to mention her affiliation to the Labour Party was an ‘oversight’.

‘I do not believe this incredible story. Emer Costello knows that the people of Dublin are going to make the Labour Party pay a heavy price for their betrayals. In opposition, her party stated that there would be no property tax until  full site values had been established. In government, her party forced the people of Dublin to pay artificially high property charges.

‘Emer Costello’s posters claim that she belongs to the ‘Socialists and Democrats’ of Europe. She knows that the main challenge to her position is from the left – and this is why she is pretending to be a socialist. I challenge Ms Costello to a debate on what exactly her socialist vision is. I want to know how she can claim to be a socialist and support austerity economics.

‘Emer Costello’s party has presided over a  situation where taxes on PAYE workers have risen from 27 percent of all revenue in 2012 to 42 percent today. Taxes on corporate profits and capital gains have dropped from 20 percent to 13 percent today. It is clear that Labour has become just another party of the wealthy and upper professional groups.

Brid Smith’s emergency motion at Dublin City Council was passed unanimously this evening. Cllr. Smith’s motion expressed grave concern at the consequences of the recent fire at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount. The Council also voted unanimously to return decision-making authority over waste management to the locally elected Councillors.

Cllr Smith said:

“Following a full report from the fire officer Dublin City Council voted unanimously to accept my motion calling on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Environmental Protection Agency to initiate an urgent review of the waste management licences around the Dublin area, with a view to withdrawing licences for certain waste management activity which may be vulnerable to combustion or cause air pollution and which are proximate to the City.

“The council also voted to call on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to amend the Waste Management Act to return decision making authority over waste management to the locally elected Councillors.

“The consequences of the recent first at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount are extremely serious for residents in the surrounding areas. Toxic smoke bellowed from the site for several days and engulfing the atmosphere around Walkinstown, Drimnagh and Crumlin.  The consequences of this pollution cannot only be measured in the short term. This area of West Dublin has a proliferation of waste management sites which are located dangerously close to densely populated areas. We can no longer tolerate this. It is not lost on local people that almost all of these companies are located in working class areas and not in the leafy suburbs of Castleknock or Dublin 4.”

Cllr. Brid Smith welcomed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling against the Irish State for failing to meet its obligation to protect children from the sexual abuse.

Commenting Cllr. Brid Smith said: “I very much welcome today’s ruling by the ERCH and I commend Louise O’Keeffe for her courage and determined persistence in fighting for justice for herself and all victims of abuse in this country. I call on the Government to pay, without delay, all the Court ordered compensation to Ms O’Keefe.

“For far too long the Irish State has ignored, dismissed and resisted victims of abuse who have had to fight for the tiniest bit of justice or acknowledgment. Today’s ERCH’s ruling made it very clear that the level of abuse against children in Ireland was systematic and the State “had to have been aware of the level of sexual crime” against children in this country. But it has only been through the persistence of dedicated fighters and campaigners like Louise O’Keeffe that these shocking stories of abuse have been revealed. The State, like the Catholic Church, has been content to bury its head in the sand and pretend this abuse never happened.

“We need to learn the lessons from this ruling. The Irish State can no longer abandon its obligations to provide State education for children in this country and religious institutions cannot be allowed to dominate the education system. Instead we need a publicly funded, secular education system in this country that serves the needs of children.”

People Before Profit’s European election candidate for Dublin, Cllr. Brid Smith is calling for full disclosure from Oxigen and the Enviromental Protection Agency about the nature of the hazardous waste on the premises in Ballymount during the recent fire. She is calling on the EPA to immediately disclose any potential dangers for local communities.

Commenting, Cllr. Brid Smith said:

“Smoke and fumes from the Ballymout fire poured over the adjacent housing estates in Walkinstown, Drimnagh, Crumlin and Rialto. Local communities are naturally very concerned about any potential dangers to their areas following the fire. Of partcilar concern is asbestos.

“The Oxigen plant in Ballymount is licenced by the EPA to act as a Transfer Station for Hazardous Waste, mainly asbestos. According to their annual report for 2012 in total 3,342 tons of hazardous waste was received in that year, of which 1,789 tons contained asbestos, amounting to more than half the total.

“Asbestos is extremely dangerous if breathed in and the local people have a right to know if they have been exposed to this danger. An Inquiry, with full disclosure of what was contained in the fire and any potential side effects for local communities, is urgently required. “