Independent Cllr Tom Fortune launched his local election campaign this week.

Speaking at the launch Cllr Fortune talked about issues and achievements over the past five years.

Over the past five years so much has been achieved, he talked about new community centre, new playgrounds. New footpaths across Greystones/ Kilcoole
and Newcastle. Delgany and Killincarrig village improvement plans. School development in Kilcoole/ Greystones and Charlesland. There was a lot of tree maintenance across the district.
Improvement to local bus and train services. He thanked the local district engineer for all his co-operation in order for a very busy schedule of work to be completed.

He also talked of issues that require urgent attention, some at local Cleveland some at national level. He is calling for clarification on proposed new 2nd level school planned for charlesland and promised for
 2021. This is coming up on the door steps, there is pressure on up to 400 places for 2021 according to concerned parents. Parents need to know what is happening.

The proposed housing development in Kilcoole is an issue because of the way it is planned. The application seeks to exit on to the main street, which is the heart of the village and a busy regional road.
This is crazy and not what  was planned in the original plan. This will destroy Kilcoole if allowed proceed as planned. He said he can not accept that a proper traffic survey was done, certainly not at the right time of the day. Board Planeala
  is not even listening to Wicklow county council, so what is going on.

Cllr Fortune talked about the housing crisis and the serious issue of homelessness. This is a scandal and is wrecking people’s lives. He says government policy is totally at fault here. The absolute debacle of the data centre project in kilpedder poses a lot of questions.
Why is it not getting the support that should be given to it. He also spoke of his annoyance at the way the ‘ROCK’S in Priestnewtown is allowed to be destroyed. It is a protected site in our county development plan. Also the flooding issues in Hollywell

Cllr Fortuned also talked about better local government and the importance of independent councillors on local councils. There is urgent need to take the control the major parties have on local councils.

Cllr Fortune praised the tidy towns groups in Kilcoole, Greystones, Newcastle and Delgany for the great work that they do and encouraged all candidates to do what tidy towns groups have asked and not put up posters in town and villages as
 per the schedule agreed at district meeting.

Cllr Fortune also spoke with a large gathering about his role as a councillor and how he likes to help people and challenge unfairness. He thanked everyone for coming and for their ongoing support.

The launch concluded with a cup of tea and some biscuits provided by Tom’s wife Ann.

Cllr Tom Fortune

Cllr Tom Fortune speaking with the media says the announcement by government to delay property tax increases is Cynical and is really driven by the fact we have local and European elections on the 24th May followed by the prospect of a general election in the autumn.

Cllr Fortune says to be talking about increase to property tax in the height of a housing crisis, with a shortage of supply driving prices up and with Brexit not sorted and any outcome likely to effect people’s incomes is totally unfair. Property has got far more expensive since 2013 driven artificially in my view. PEOPLE’S ABILITY TO PAY IS A MAJOR ISSUE.

When it is put to Cllr Fortune that people living in high value properties should be paying the tax, he says in his view the whole basis of the property tax is wrong and unfair. You can not spend your property. To the question of people being rich because they own their property ( HOME) . Cllr Fortune says , that is fine if you sell your property and go and live in a shed somewhere , so by that crazy definition, you have cash are are rich, but that is not reality.

Cllr Fortune says his main point is that the way the tax was introduced from the start was grossly unfair EG East coast property prices verses the rest of the country, a very ordinary house in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare Meath have high values.  Also the services it was promised to deliver locally is not happening mainly because central government reduced the local government to local authorities by the amount of the property tax income.

Cllr Fortune believes that national government should not be replicated at local level.  That this is a real challenge when you are  discussing an area such as property tax. Unfortunately big party whip system  always try and control things. That it is better for local democracy when it is not controlled by national government. We need more Independent councillors at local level.

He says the bottom line on this government decision is all about self preservation due to local and European elections in May.  I know from my meetings with constitutions that the key issue with LPT is people’s ability to pay and a lack of services that were promised .  In a word this is just CYNICAL.

Cllr Tom Fortune