Author Archives: Frank O' Rourke

Government Must Seek EU Funds Post Ophelia Damages says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, and Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to seek funds through the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the post Hurricane Ophelia works.

 “Given the huge amount of damage inflicted by Hurricane Ophelia across the country, in my view the Government is entitled to seek funds under the rules of the scheme.”

“The EU Solidarity Fund was first set up in 2002. It was designed to assist Member States deal with the aftermath and clean-up operations necessary following natural disasters. Applications to access this funding need to be made within 12 weeks of damage occurring.”

 “Estimates to-date indicate €1bn’s worth of damage could have been caused throughout Ireland. The Government needs to direct local authorities, and other state agencies, to calculate the total cost of the damage and immediately apply to the EU for funding.”

“Kildare did not get the worst of the effects of the storm, however, from a national perspective, if there are resources available from the EU as a result of the damage cause by the storm, then we should secure them,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Supports for Older People in Budget 2018 – says O’Rourke – as more focus on reducing the cost of living required.

Doctor holding a senior patiens 's hand on a walking stick - special medical care concept for Alzheimer 's syndrome.

Fianna Fáil’s Kildare North TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that his party’s footprint in relation to supports for older people has been demonstrated in the range of measures included in Budget 2018.

“We have secured a €5 per week increase in the State Pension, an extra week of Fuel Allowance, the Telephone Allowance for older people is to be brought back from October 2018 and a new €2.50 weekly allowance to adults living on their own” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“In terms of the health service, there will be additional funding for home care packages. I know from my clinics the increased requirement for home care packages, as we try and assist older people live in their own homes. I had raised these issues prior to the budget and I am delighted that we have made some progress.”

“We ensured that fairness was put centre stage in Budget 2018. Last year, was the first progressive budget in 6 years; a fact admitted by the Taoiseach himself. Fianna Fail’s influence over budgetary policy, through its supply and confidence agreement, is greater than that of the Labour’s party influence while in Government. We successfully moved Fine Gael away from their focus on reducing the higher rate of income tax.”

“This wasn’t a perfect budget, but the direction of the Budget, in terms of lower income families and older people, was much fairer because of our influence,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke who has urged the Government to put more focus on reducing the cost of living between Budgets.

More Bus Eireann Drivers needed says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called for extra drivers to be recruited for Bus Eireann, given the ‘on/off’ service that now seems to be developing for Kilcock Bus commuters. Deputy O’Rourke is meeting with senior management of Bus Eireann to discuss the situation.

“Recently, a number of bus services, in particular, on Route 115 servicing Kilcock, have been cancelled at short notice. Sufficient notice is not being given to commuters. This is leading to people standing at bus stops waiting for buses that have effectively been cancelled.”

“Over the last two years, I have worked hard to secure additional Bus Eireann services for areas like Kilcock and Clane. We are making progress and given the increase in population, we need to provide additional services for these areas.”

“I understand that the cancellations arise from disgruntlement, mainly as a result of new rostering systems within Bus Eireann.”

“In my view, we need more Bus Eireann drivers. Many commuters are now not able to get public transport to get to college or work. We need to develop more of a culture of public transport and having a reliable and regular public transport service will encourage more people to use the service.”

“I have requested a meeting with senior management of Bus Eireann to discuss the situation on behalf of Kilcock Bus commuters. I will continue my campaign for better public transport services,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Budget 2018 DART set for Maynooth and Hazelhatch –says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that the Department of Transport has been allocated €680million to be spent on the improvement of the rail networks in Ireland between now and 2021.

“Given the increase in population, we need to ensure that we are future proofing our public transport infrastructure. Since being elected, I have relentlessly fought for increased public transport services.”

“Kilcock and Naas rail commuters are benefiting from lower fare structures, since both stations are now included in the short hop zones.”

“We have had some success; there are plans for a Park & Ride facility in Kilcock to be located near the Lidl side. There has been increased frequency for bus services in Kilcock and we need to secure additional services for the 120 route servicing Clane and Prosperous.”

“The Budget does bring the electrification of the Maynooth rail line closer to a reality. As I mentioned earlier this year, the electrification of the Kildare Line to Hazelhatch is also on the agenda and was captured in the multi-annual allocations to the Department of Transport.”

“This is part of the DART Expansion Programme, and we need to ensure that these two projects secure the adequate funding. The budget allocation will assist in relation to the project,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke. 

Increase In The Number of Special Needs Assistants a Welcome Move says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the increased resources for Special Education in the Budget, as Fianna Fail negotiated hard for increased resources for education through the confidence and supply agreement.

“Last year I organised a public meeting in relation to Special Needs Education. I have worked hard to ensure that more resources are allocated to special needs education. This budget delivers an additional 1,091 Special Needs Assistants, bringing the number to over 15,000, with a total investment in special education of just short of €1.7bn.”

“Delays in deciding the allocation of SNAs for September means that assistants and school principals were left “in limbo” due to this delay. Principals were not in a position to tell assistants if they have a job for the next school year. This has to stop and SNA allocations need to be completed at an earlier stage”  stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Nearly 1,300 new teaching posts are also to be provided in schools in 2018. This will bring the pupil teacher ratio to 26:1. I also welcome the fact that 10 NEPS psychologists will be recruited in 2018. Last month, I highlighted the requirement for increased resources in this area and, following my representations, I received confirmation that a primary care psychologist was to be appointed to Kildare.”

“The North Kildare area has a growing population with increased demands for education, both in terms of teachers and school buildings. I will be fighting to ensure that Kildare receives its fair share of the education resources and that its growing population is captured when these resources are being allocated,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Brexit Funds Available for Food Exporting Business – says O’Rourke – but more supports needed


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the budget proposal for a €300m Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) loan scheme for businesses exposed to the UK market. It will give an opportunity for Kildare based exporting companies to the UK to secure funds to assist with the challenges of Brexit.

“A loan scheme of up to €300 million will be available at competitive interest rates to SMEs, including our food businesses, given their unique exposure to the UK market, to help them with their short-term working capital needs.”

“We need more detail on this proposed scheme, however any affordable capital to help businesses meet the challenges of Brexit is welcome. It must be seen in context. Based on the recently leaked Revenue report on Brexit, 91,000 companies will be affected. This fund of €300m would provide less than €3,300 per company. This will not be enough.”

“We need to be more ambitious. It appears to me that the Government has ‘stage fright’ in relation to Brexit and are waiting for the EU to take the lead. We are part of the EU, and we need to be centre stage in relation to solving our Brexit challenges rather than waiting for others to solve them.”

“Our Government needs to make the case strongly in Europe to represent Ireland’s businesses that are exposed to Brexit. No other country in the EU is exposed to the same scale as Ireland is. We need to provide funding not just for short term needs, but on terms that allows firms access to affordable capital for the years ahead, to assist in maintain their UK markets and develop new markets.”

“Kildare food based companies, who have developed a strong brand and large markets, particularly in the UK, need to be supported and I will continue to ensure that their concerns are highlighted.”

Irish mortgage Rates Remain Dramatically Out Of Line With EU Norms – O’Rourke

Irish mortgage Rates Remain Dramatically Out Of Line With EU Norms – O’Rourke

Recent Retail Interest Rate statistics published by the Central Bank show that mortgages rates are falling in Ireland. However, there are not falling at the same pace that deposit rates are falling, and mortgage rates in Ireland remain dramatically out of line with rates charged elsewhere in Europe, according to Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Finance Spokesperson Frank O’Rourke.

“These statistics published by the Central Bank recently show that, despite modest reductions in mortgage rates, Irish mortgage holders are continuing to pay dramatically more than consumers elsewhere in Europe.”

“For example, the interest rate on all new mortgages, fixed and variable, stood at 3.3% in June compared to a euro area rate of 1.83%. This means that a borrower with a mortgage of €200,000 is paying €250 per month more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country. That amounts to €3000 per year. There has yet to be a credible explanation for such a dramatic difference in the rates charges,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“In May 2016, a Fianna Fáil Bill designed to give the Central Bank powers to tackle excessive variable mortgage rates passed second stage in the Dáil. The progress of the Bill through the legislative process has been tortuous and painfully slow. Despite not opposing the Bill at second stage, it is abundantly clear the Government does not want the Bill to become law.”

“As I have said in the Dáil on a number of occasions, we must focus on reducing the cost of living as well as reducing the burden of taxation. There is little point in reducing tax rates, if the banks are continuing to charge excessively high variable mortgage rates or insurance companies are continuing to increase their rates, take back a multiple of any reduction in taxation.”

“However, key elements of our Bill on mortgage rates will proceed during this Dail term. This will be of help in relation to securing a fairer mortgage rate regime in the Irish market,” concluded Deputy O’

Maynooth Community College & Post Primary Schools Visits Dáil Éireann

maynooth-post-primary-2Maynooth Community College & Post Primary Schools Visits Dáil Éireann

I was delighted to have the CSPE class visit Dáil Éireann this week and meet the students and teachers. Iit was very enjoyable and well done to all the students for their great engagement and questions. I really enjoyed meeting you all and thanks to my colleague Deputy Anne Rabbitte for coming along to meet you.

Fianna Fail’s Influence Puts Fairness First in Budget – says O’Rourke – but lack of focus on cost of living is a missed opportunity

budget-2018Fianna Fail’s Influence Puts Fairness First in Budget – says O’Rourke
– but lack of focus on cost of living is a missed opportunity

Local TD, Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that while Budget 2018 is far from perfect, we have through the supply and confidence agreement with the Government, and our determination, ensured that fairness is put at the heart of the budget.

“I am delighted that once again we have secured a €5 per week increase in the State Pension. This is the second year in a row that Fianna Fáil has secured such an increased. The €5 per week welfare payment increases are a core priority for Fianna Fáil.”

“Increased resources for public services are also welcome, with increased number of teachers and special needs teachers, which I have campaigned for. The reduction of the USC for low income families and the widening of the tax bands for low income families are also welcome; we have succeeded in moving the debate from reducing the higher tax rate, a Fine Gael led proposal, to focusing on low income families. ”

”The Telephone Allowance for the elderly is to be brought back to return October 2018. I called for this in recent weeks and I am delighted that it is included in the budget, but it is only a small step in the right direction. However, the funds allocated for the Taoiseach’s Strategic Communications Unit, amounting to €5m, would in my opinion be better placed in further supports for the elderly.”

“We need to focus more on the cost of living expenses. Rising cost of insurances, increased home property taxes and the inflation of energy costs are the hidden growing costs which have not been the Government’s priority. I have said many times, that there is little point in reducing taxes, if a multiple of the reduction is taken back in the increase in the cost of living.”

“Last year was the first progressive budget in 6 years; a fact admitted by the Taoiseach himself. Fianna Fail’s influence over budgetary policy, through its supply and confidence agreement, is greater than the Labour party’s influence while they were in Government. Our spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD, with whom I work closely, has been determined to ensure that fairness is put at the heart of the budget.” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.


Frank O’Rourke Attends Briefings By Scouting Ireland and Conradh na Gaeilge



conradh-n-ngaelige conradh-na-ngaelige

I was delighted to attend the recent briefings which supports and promotes scouting Ireland and the Irish Language. Both of which are very important. Everyone involved is to be complimented for their work with these groups and organisations.