TD Pat Casey is running once again in this year’s general election, which will take place on Saturday the 8th of February, and he’s been busy campaigning all over the county. But where does he stand on the issues currently faced by the people of Ireland?
On a potential insurance referendum to end ‘claim culture’
Casey was commenting after Fianna Fails campaign commitment to holding a referendum to cap insurance pay-outs that have sky rocketed over the past number of years .
Deputy Casey said, “The only reason insurance reforms wouldn’t work is because there is no will from the current Fine Gael Government for them to work. The Government are hell bent on protecting the legal profession and Insurance companies who are the real benefactors of fraudulent and exaggerated insurance claims.”
“We know that there is a minority of legal and medical professionals who are fuelling excessive claims. These so called ‘ambulance chasers’ are the reason why businesses, sporting clubs and community groups the length and breadth of Wicklow are buckling under the strain of public liability and insurance premiums.
“It totally unfair for businesses in Wicklow to be expected to meet the cost of fighting fraudulent or exaggerated personal injury cases. Our tourism industry which is vital to Wicklow has been put under threat with unnecessary claims against walking trails which nearly shut down our billion euro outdoor recreation sector.
“As a Hotelier I have seen insurance rates for the hospitality sector skyrocket forcing smaller cafes and restaurants to consider closing. This is crazy. If there are no small businesses, then there will be no insurance business.”
I have been talking to community groups and voluntary associations that are terrified of a claim on the community hall or playing pitch and in some cases are finding it difficult getting volunteers to serve on boards such is the fear of being liable to an insurance claim.”
“The Government needs to take action and support both Fianna Fáil Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bills which would ensure that where a court dismisses a case on the basis that it is a fraudulent action, the court must refer the matter to the DPP and that legal costs be paid by the claimant.
“If fraudsters knew that they would be liable for costs, and a possible criminal conviction, as opposed to a slap on the wrist, they might think twice before bringing a case.
“I’ve used every channel available to me to force Government to delivery reform but to no avail. Fianna Fáil are going to deliver Insurance fairness for all in Wicklow if elected to Government in the coming weeks.” he concluded.
On low numbers in the Garda drug squad.
Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey has said the number of gardaí attached to drug units across Wicklow has continued to remain at a critical low despite accelerated Garda recruitment and a surge in drug use and related crime.
New figures provided to Fianna Fáil prove a low number of Gardaí assigned to drugs units around the county.
Deputy Casey said: “Recently, we raised a question in the Dáil regarding the number of Gardaí assigned to each divisional drug unit in 2011, 2017, 2018 and up to 3rd quarter in 2019.
“In Wicklow, in 2011 there was a total of 11 gardaí in the unit, this dropped to 3 in 2012, and now in 2019 we see there are just 4 gardaí in the unit. These cuts are unacceptable particularly when we see high levels of drug crime continuing and also the rapid increase in drug use is now damaging communities in every village and town in Wicklow.”
“Extra resources are badly needed in these divisions and not reductions like we have been seeing over the past few years. Garda drugs units are mainly detectives and undercover Gardaí assigned to deal with illicit drugs, movements and seizures.”
“There is an open and acknowledged drugs epidemic in every single town and village in Wicklow and Garda numbers and resources are simply not enough to tackle the scale of the problem. We need to declare zero tolerance on illegal drug use with harsh penalties for the criminals who peddle misery to so many Wicklow families.”
“I know parents who are now terrified that their children are going to be exposed to illegal drugs as young as 12. This is insane and as a society we must ensure that the Gardai are equipped and in enough numbers to clamp down on these evil dealers.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to rooting out gangland crime. Communities across Wicklow feel unsafe and neglected. Towns all over Ireland have massive drug problems with illegal drugs being sold, bought and injected openly on our streets and on public transport.What we want to create is a justice system that is fit for purpose and one which commands public trust,” concluded Deputy Casey.
On free public transport for children under 18.
Pat Casey has welcomed Fianna Fáil confirmation that it will introduce free public transport for young people under the age of 18 if the party gets into Government.
It’s one of a range of measures announced by the party to make public transport for young people in Wicklow more affordable, attractive and reliable.
Pat Casey, explained, “This policy means that children and young people under the age of 18 in Wicklopw will be able to travel on public buses, the Luas, the Dart and commuter trains for free at all times of the day, all year around. This will reduce the dependence of students for lifts from parents and ease the pressure on family finances.
“Not only will it make the use of public transport far more affordable and attractive for Wicklow families, we believe it will help to create a culture of public transport use among the younger generation, which will have enormous long-term benefits for our city, our country and our environment.
“This measure will require a €27million investment, which is included in Fianna Fáil’s fully costed general election manifesto published on Friday. It’s just one of a raft of measures aimed at promoting and investing in public transport, cycling and walking.
“Fianna Fáil will also create a Transport section within An Garda Síochána to crack down on antisocial behaviour on public transport in Wicklow. We will ensure greater frequency and capacity of our bus and rail services, by significantly boosting investment through a €30million annual increase in the Public Service Obligation (PSO) subvention.
“We will also invest a further €50million in the urban National Cycling Strategy. We will expand safe and segregated cycling paths, allow for priority signalling for cyclists, improve access to the Bike to Work scheme by reducing time limits, increase the availability of bike storage and establish a bike register to tackle bike theft.
“This is about making commuting easier, quicker and safer for young people in Wicklow and creating a more positive relationship with public transport use in our city.”