Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street, Dublin 2Phone: 01 618 3539Fax: 01
618 4671Email: [email protected]
Constituency Office:115 Main Street, Bray, Co. WicklowPhone: 01
2764699Fax: 01 2116664
In the three year period since thecurrent government was
electedthe number of people fromAvoca, Arklow, Inch,
Aughrim,Redcross and Brittas Bay signingon the live register in
Arklow hasstopped climbing and started tofall. It’s still far too
early forcelebrating and there’s more tobe done before we are back
tothe levels of unemploymentexperienced in 2008 but
there’sdefinitely a strong downwardtrend. In fact the number of
people signing on in Arklow has now fallen below 2009 levels.
There’s still far too much unemployment in the Arklow live
register area. It’s frightening to think thatthings could be twice
as bad if the post-crash trend had continued without active policy
This welcome change in trend is, we are told, not reliant on
emigration or the number of people thathave returned to education.
According to the experts in the Economic and Social Research
Institute (the ERSI) the downward trend inunemployment nationally
is matched by an upward trend in numbers of jobs being created. The
ESRI tells us that this year alone will see thecreation of 50,000
new jobs nationally, bringing national employment back to 2008
One of the encouraging aspects to the current pattern is that we
know that recent employment growth is not linked to another
constructionbubble. The hope is that the growth we are experiencing
now represents a more sustainable type of base employment pattern.
The more ofthese stable jobs that can be created in areas such as
services, tourism, small industries and food production the better.
Then when theconstruction sector begins to recover Ireland can
enjoy the benefits of further employment growth without the fear of
Earlier this year I travelled to the town of Ypres in Belgium to
honour more than 100 youngmen from County Wicklow, including
several men from the Avoca area, who died therefighting in World
Some were nationalists, some were unionists but the vast
majority were just young menin their late teens and early twenties
who left Ireland in a spirit of adventure to see theworld. All were
proud of the country that they left and most died hoping for peace
andprosperity for the families they left behind.
When I visited their memorials in Ypres, I brought with me a
suitcase filled with littlesprigs of Wicklow heather. The idea was
to bring a small token of the beauty of the GardenCounty to the
place where these men from County Wicklow experienced the full
horrorof a wholly unnecessary war.
On the new WWI monument unveiled on 18th September at
Woodenbridge, the men’snames are carved in Wicklow granite and the
memorial is set within a wild mountain landscape. I can’t think of
a more fitting or morepeaceful tribute.
A newsletter by Anne Ferris TD
Anne with Myles Smith and Bernie Ivers atthe Woodenbridge
sdnera Ter Ar
JOBLESS TREND IN AVOCA FALLING� Arklow jobs, p1
� Avoca World War I, p1
� Garda Authority, p2
� Community Courts, p2
� Mandatory Retirement, p2
� Adoption, p3
� *COMPETITION!* p3
� Wind Farms and Pylons, p4
� The Red Kite Walk, p4
� O’ Moore’s Tree Avoca, p4
AVOCA AREA WAR DEAD HONOURED
Justice Committee Updateby Anne Ferris, Vice Chair of Oireachtas
Committee on Justice Defence and Equality
GARDA AUTHORITYSCOTTISH OR NI MODEL?At the height of the
controversies about GSOC and Garda penalty pointsI was the first TD
to call for a truly independent Garda Authority.
As a result I was asked to author Labour Party Policy on the
shape anddirection of the new Garda body.
I have yet to be convinced that we should blindly follow the
model of theNorthern Ireland Policing Board which has 19 politician
members. Firstly,that size of a board can be just too big to be
effective. Secondly I wouldprefer to have a smaller board dominated
by non-elected board members.
I prefer the structure of the new Scottish Policing Authority
which has 13members, none of whom are elected politicians. In my
view GardaAuthority board members should be selected by public
advertisementand open competition.
There is a real value to having members of thepublic involved in
overseeing the work of thepolice force that protects their
communities. Wehave to get back to basics. The key issues are
crimeprevention, safer communities, more transparencyand trust.
The new Garda Authority should have the powerto recruit, and if
necessary dismiss, senior Gardaí.In my view the Authority should
also have the role of distributing budgetsto the various Garda
functions. The new body should prepare strategies,set targets and
measure success and failure.
The bottom line is that a democracy needs an effective trusted
policeforce. Our Garda Síochána still ranks amongst the best police
forces inthe world. The challenge is to retain what is good and to
build a strongerpolicing service for the future.
COMMUNITY COURTS COMINGI have to say that I’m a big fan of
Community Court systems. I studied how itworks in parts of New York
and I was impressed.
Every day of the week we are hearing stories of street crimes
that cause greatupset in our communities.
These types of crimes range from graffiti to structural
vandalism, from handbag snatching to the spate of car-jacking that
has been witnessed in Dublinand Wicklow in recent months.
Crimes like this are expensive to police and prosecute and more
often thannot the perpetrators reoffend on release.
Started in New York in 1993, the Community Court system seeks to
applyrestorative justice within localities. In a nutshell, if
through an obligatory pre-trial process an offence is deemed to be
suitable to go through the Community
Court system, and if the accused pleads guilty, there will be no
criminal sanction and a communitybased restorative justice
programme will apply.
So the graffiti vandal could find herself paying back the local
community through a supervisedarts or landscaping scheme and the
handbag snatcher could be placed supervised in a communitycharity
In July our committee issued a report recommending a major pilot
scheme. The trial scheme wouldbe carried out in one of the policing
districts in central Dublin, under the supervision of a
dedicatedJudge, supported by a cross body Implementation Group and
importantly, with the support of thelocal community.
Launch of Report on Hearings in relation to Community Courts
We have to get back tobasics. The key issues arecrime
prevention, safercommunities, moretransparency and trust.
“The graffiti vandal could findherself paying back the
localcommunity through a supervisedarts or landscaping scheme
andthe handbag snatcher could beplaced supervised in acommunity
There was astrong welcomeamongst thegeneral publicfor my
recentlypublished Bill toabolishmandatoryretirement ages. The
employers’ representative bodyIBEC made some disapproving noises
but I’d imaginethat even their members realise that they must
movewith the times.
It is wrong for people to be forced to retire justbecause they
hit a ‘magic age number’ like 55 or 65. Ifa person is fit and able
to do a job and willing to workthen that person should be able to
make their ownmind up about retirement.
This autumn I will continue to lobby for change andwill be
strongly promoting my Employment Equality(Abolition of Mandatory
Retirement Age) Bill 2014with colleagues in the relevent
ADOPTION - a subject close to my heartMany readers will already
be familiar with my personal experiences of our archaic adoption
laws. I was adopted and, when I was a teenager,my first born
daughter was placed into adoption.
I was reunited with my daughter after 23 years. This summer I
met a long lost sister for the first time, some 55 years after her
Gaps like this are just too long. So much that should have been
shared within a family unit has been lost forever. That is why I am
verykeen to do what I can to help update our laws.
In April of this year my Open Adoption Bill was debated in Dail
Eireann for the first time. The idea is to allow today’s adopted
children tohave the possibility of maintaining contact with natural
family members, a mother, a grandmother, an uncle.
Our current laws work like a closed door. There’s no room to
slide a birthday card or a Christmas greeting or a communion
photographunder that door. I want to see the term ‘Open Adoption’
on our statute books.
And that’s just a start. I have also drafted a Labour Party
Position Paper on Adoption called ‘Opening the Door’.
This new approach would allow adult adoptees access to all the
information needed topiece together their identity. For far too
long adopted people have been denied access totheir adoption files
and birth certificate information.
COMPETITION FOR AVOCARESIDENTS ONLY!To mark the success of the
Red Kite project in Avoca, I’d like to offer a prize to the
firstAvoca address out of the hat on December 1st 2014 with the
correct answer to thefollowing question:
In what year did the Red Kite reintroduction programme
begin in Wicklow? (hint – see overleaf!!)
Anne Ferris pictured with journalist Martin Sixsmith andadoption
activists Philomena Lee and Susan Lohan
Anne Ferris delivering the opening addressto the International
Adoption Conference2014 at UCC
Cheese board and knife byHill Picket Studio
It is wrong for people to beforced to retire justbecause they
hit a ‘magicage number’ like 55 or 65.
“I was reunited with my daughterafter 23 years. This summer I
met along lost sister for the first time,some 55 years after her
Remember – on this occasion the raffle is for thosewith Avoca
Answers by email to [email protected] or by post toAnne Ferris,
115 Main St, Bray.
The prize is a beautiful beech and sycamore cheeseboard and
cheese knife, hand made by thewoodworkers in the Hill Picket Studio
in Avoca. Thestudio is run by master craftsman Chaim Factor
whomakes handcrafted furniture and gifts fromsustainable Irish
timbers. The studio also offersclasses in woodworking.
THE AVOCA POSTCARD
Anne Ferris TD
Dáil ÉireannKildare Street, Dublin 2Phone: 01 618 3539 Fax: 01
618 4671 Email: [email protected]
Constituency Office115 Main Street, Bray, Co. WicklowPhone:
01-2764699 Fax: 01-2116664
Shortly before the Oireachtas retired for summer recess, a fresh
south easterlywind blew through the Department of Communications,
Energy and NaturalResources. We have a new Minister, and as quick
as a tornado I was engagingwith his advisers on the important issue
of Ireland’s renewable energy strategy.
I’m pleased to report that it looks like my message is being
heard. I have beencampaigning for a long time for a fresh approach
to Ireland’s renewable energystrategy. What worked for the Green
Party in government back in 2008 does notwork today. There is
little evidence of an export market for Irish renewable energyyet
developers and EirGrid continue to submit large scale windfarm and
pylon proposals into a confused planning systemwith the objective
of exporting wind power.
I’m a firm supporter of renewable energy and I believe
thatIreland should install sufficient capacity to meet our
owntargets. But no politician has the mandate to promise ourrural
landscape to meet the environmental targets of othercountries.
The ground is certainly shifting on this issue. The Ireland-UK
governmental exportagreement idea has been scrapped. I am calling
for a full economic review of theneed for off-shore and on-shore
wind proposals including those in Wicklow andthe Grid Link pylon
route from Cork to Kildare, one corridor of which proposesto pass
through west Wicklow.
The latest word to me from Department sources is that close
attention will bepaid to the 1200 submissions to the Government’s
Green Paper on Energy. Giventhat most of those submissions
expressed sentiments similar to mine, my feelingis that change is
in the wind!
Anne with Clifford Dagg of D2 Alliance andHelen Gilletlie of
Coastal Concern Alliance
AVOCA LEADS THE WAY WITH REDKITE WALKIf like me you prefer an
easypaced hike to a full-onmountain climb then perhapsthe Red Kite
Walk in Avoca isthe trail for you.
The woodland walk startsfrom opposite the church inAvoca Village
and climbsupwards to an elevation of80m along an easy distanceof
about two and a half kilometres. The trail, which is marked with
arrows, takes aboutan hour to complete and there’s every chance
that if you look up in the sky there willbe a beautiful Red Kite
These large birds of prey had become extinct in Ireland before
being reintroduced toCounty Wicklow since 2007.
To mark the success of the trail since its official launch this
spring, the Anne FerrisConstituency Office is having a raffle! The
prize is a beautiful hand crafted cheese boardand knife, made by
the wonderful craftspeople in The Hill Picket Studio, based in
Avoca.See overleaf for competition details.
Anne attending the Official Opening ofthe Red Kite Walk in
My constituency office has produced a limitededition postcard
reproducing an 1845 image ofthe famous O’ Moore’s Tree at the Vale
There’s one for every household in the Avoca area,with my
details on the back should a constituentneed to contact me for any
issue big or small.There are a few postcards left over so if you
knowsomebody would like a copy, let me know [email protected] or
Anne Ferris, 115 Main St,Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Please sharethis newsletter
and thenremember to
“There is littleevidence of anexport market forIrish
WIND FARMS AND PYLONS UPDATE