Category Archives: Celbridge

Council work that has been achieved or is being worked on for the Celbridge Area.

Events/Issues of interest

O’Rourke Makes Case for Additional Resources for Kildare Disability Team

– Currently no dieticians on the North Kildare disability team –

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Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says new information he has obtained from the HSE demonstrates the need for additional resources for the North Kildare Network Disability Team.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after receiving confirmation that there currently is no dietician on the disability team.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “Dieticians play an important role on disability team’s right across the country. They ensure that children with disabilities receive the support they need and have a balanced diet. For example, children with autism often have significant nutritional issues as they are unable to eat certain foods. Dieticians work with children with autism to ensure they receive the nutrition they need from alternative sources of food.

“I was surprised by the response I received from the HSE to state that there currently is no dietician working in the North Kildare disability team. This is yet another failure in the provision of services to support children with disabilities. There is already a shortage in the number of speech and language therapists and child psychologists in Kildare. It’s unacceptable that the Government continues to underfund disability support services.

“I believe there is a strong case to be made for assigning a dietician to the disability team in North Kildare. I will be raising this issue with the Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath.”

Reduced Mortgage Rates from Ulster Bank a major breakthrough says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD and Deputy Spokesperson on Finance, Frank O’Rourke, has described Ulster Bank’s decision to cut its 2 year fixed mortgage interest rate to a market best of 2.3% as a major breakthrough for consumers and a validation of the strategy pursued by Fianna Fail over the last number of years.

“Ulster Bank have announced that they are lowering their 2 year fixed rate mortgage interest rate to 2.3%. Over the last two years, I have raised the importance of bringing fairness to the mortgage rates in Ireland and this move by the bank is a recognition that their rates to-date were not fair.”

“The average standard variable rate for a mortgage in Ireland is currently around 3.2%. This is nearly 1.5% higher than the average Eurozone rate which stands at 1.8%. This means that a borrower with a mortgage of €200,000 is paying around €250 per month more than they would be paying in the average Euro area.”

“There is little point in reducing the USC and PAYE taxes if the cost of living expenses are going up by a multiple of the reduced taxes. Let’s continue to focus on reducing the cost of living for people, such as mortgage rates and motor insurance rates and allow more money into the local economy and reduce the pressure on wage inflation.”
“Ulster Bank’s move is hugely significant and proves the point that Fianna Fáil, and myself, have been consistently making; Irish banks have been ripping off mortgage holders. Other banks operating in Ireland must now follow Ulster Bank’s move.”

“Mortgage holders should not tolerate paying more than they need to, or that is fair to pay. We are entitled to be treated like other EU citizens when it comes to mortgage rates and I will continue working with my colleagues, in particular our party’s Finance spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, to achieve better interest rates for all Irish consumers and lower the cost of living,” concluded O’Rourke

FF Bill Will Deter People From Making Fraudulent Insurance Claims – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, says a new Bill being brought forward by his party should lead to reduced insurance costs, as it will clamp down on fraudulent insurance claims. 

“Fraudulent insurance claims have been a contributory factor in the rising insurance costs, which people in Kildare and across the country have been hit with in recent years.”

“The average premiums today are still €300 higher now than they were in 2014. Constituents regularly raise the high cost of motor and business insurances with me at my weekly clinics”  stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Our Bill, the Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018, is the latest measure from our party aimed at tackling spiralling insurance costs. I have raised the high cost of insurance with the Government on many occasions and have offered a number of proposals which the Government should have pursued. The Government has not given focus to this issue and it is affecting the cost of living for many people.”

“The majority of insurance claimants are genuine. However, there is an underlying issue with fraudulent claims, which is driving up the cost of insurance for motorists, businesses, community groups and individuals. We need to address this issue and our Bill is designed to make would-be false claimants think twice about making a claim. If passed, the Bill will direct a court to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions where a case is deemed to be a fraudulent action.”

“This proposal was captured in the report published by the Cost of Insurance Working Group earlier this year. Reducing insurance costs has been a key priority for me and our party, and we must make better progress in reducing the cost of insurance and bring rates more in line with EU norms rates,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Ireland slips Out of EU Top 10 For Inward Investment says O’Rourke – as renewed focus on competitiveness is needed

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O Rourke, has again highlighted the fact that the rising cost of living is affecting our competitiveness and is now affecting our ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

“As I have said before, Ireland is losing its competitiveness. Our cost of living expenses, including insurance, mortgage rates, rents and childcare, are the highest in the EU.”

“We have high motor and business insurance costs, and the Government progress on the implementation of the recommendations on the Motor Insurance Working Group has been slow to say the least.”

“We have the highest variable mortgage rates in the EU. This week we learned for example, that Permanent TSB’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) of 4.5% for existing customers is ridiculously high. It is in stark contrast to the bank’s blended cost of funds of just 0.46%.”

“Exiting customers on a variable rate are paying €260 per month more that a new customer on a 2.95% fixed rate, with a mortgage of €300,000. This is a difference of €3000 per year.”

“The average standard variable rate for a mortgage in Ireland is currently 3.26%. This is nearly 1.5% higher than the average Eurozone rate which stands at 1.83%. Earlier this year, I called on the Government to press for the formation of a European Single Market for mortgages ”

“Day in day out, business owners and workers alike are crying out for action from the Government on the issue of the rising costs of living. If we had normal insurance and mortgage costs, there would be less wage inflation pressure and more money available for the local economy.”

“Ireland has fallen out of the Top 10 EU countries for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is a warning sign. Attracting FDI has been a key success factor in our economy with over 200,000 people employed directly or indirectly for these companies. Kildare is home to some of the most successful multinationals.

“In 2017, 37% of the State’s Corporate Tax receipts were paid by 10 companies. These 10 companies contributed €3.43 billion to the Exchequer and to the funding of much needed public services“

“Foreign Direct Investment has always had the core objective of creating jobs in this country. Sustainable taxes come from having quality, long term employment and a key component of this is to ensure that we are competitive,” concluded Deputy O’Rourkee, who has tabled a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Business on what action the Government is taking to improve the country’s competitiveness.

O’Rourke Presses for Local Property Tax (LPT) Relief – as review planned in light of increased property vaulations

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Fianna Fail’s Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Frank O’Rourke, has pressed the Government not to increase the net Local Property Tax (LPT) on families, as property valuation has increased since the introduction of the LPT in 2013.

“Local Property Tax (LPT) rates have been frozen since 2013, but in the meantime, house prices have increased substantially. This means that property taxes could rise substantially in 2020 when houses are revalued again, unless fairness is adopted by the Government.”

“The local property tax was reluctantly accepted by the people and it was introduced gradually. However as property valuation increases, homeowners need to be protected from severe hikes in their LPT,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“There has been a 70%-plus rise in house prices nationally since 2013. For example, someone now paying €405 a year could face a rise to €675 or even €765 in Kildare. This will be unacceptable.”

“The property tax makes no allowance for fixed income households, for families that have significant outlays such as childcare or motor insurance. We must not add to the rising costs by increasing the net LPT paid by householders. This I know to be a real concern for many Kildare home owners.”

“I have met with our Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, who has been to the forefront of ensuring the mortgage holders have been treated fairly. We are determined to ensure that fairness is also applied when the LPT comes up for review,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Cost of Living rises as Government sits on the fence says O’Rourke – Ireland’s competitiveness reduces

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Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Frank O’Rourke, has stated that the Government has not done enough to stop the rising cost of living as Ireland’s reduced competitiveness is having a negative impact on the cost of doing business in Ireland.

“The cost of Insurance, rising childcare costs, rising rents, rising costs of fuel, gas, health insurance, and other day-to-day living expenses, are all putting pressure on families. For instance, electricity costs are going up by over 6%, and gas by over 12%. These increases will lead to an increase of nearly €150 for some customers.”

“Irish consumer prices in 2017 were 24% above the EU average. Irish Mortgage Rates are higher than the EU average. The average standard variable rate for a mortgage in Ireland is currently 3.26%. This is nearly 1.5% higher than the average Eurozone rate which stands at 1.83%” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“In addition, it is clear from the latest National Competitiveness Council (NCC) report, the Irish economy is up against a series of major deficiencies in competitiveness. The report states ‘Ireland remains an expensive location in which to do business with a price profile which could be described as high cost and rising’.   Every week, the cost of living and the cost of doing business is raised with me. Both inside and outside the Dail, I continue to try and get the Government to focus on reducing the cost of living by focusing on improving our competitiveness.”

“We are also developing a skills shortage particularly in the construction sector. There seems to be no plan by this Government to address any of these issues. At times, I wonder has the Government learned anything from the past.  As I have said in the Dail, and at meetings in the constituency, the report states that if we do not address the cost of living issue we will return to ‘a vicious circle of increasing prices, reducing real incomes, increasing wage demands and reduced international cost competitiveness’.  We run the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past and I am calling on the Government to get off the fence and address these issues rather than simply surf the wave of economic growth. People are best served when their Government ensures that it keeps a focus on the cost of living expenses,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Support Returning Irish Emigrants says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to put in place a cross-departmental strategic action plan to encourage and facilitate returning emigrants so that they can smoothly reintegrate back into our society.
“Over the last ten years, hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens had to leave our country to find employment abroad out of necessity, and not out of choice.  As our economy improves, we must encourage and facility returning emigrants. We should have a strategy, which has a cross department approach, to enable returning emigrants smoothly reintegrate back into our society and economy. Today, there are disproportionate and unnecessary administrative burdens affecting Irish emigrants wanting to return to live in Ireland.”
“Last year, the Central Statistics Office estimates that 27,400 Irish emigrants returned to Ireland. I know from my clinics that emigrants making a return to Ireland encounter barriers and challenges including; costly car insurance, access to education for their children, in particular third level, finding employment, and of course finding accommodation.  The ‘Economic Report on Addressing the Challenges Faced by Returning Irish Emigrants’ was published in March.  The Government must honour its commitment to implement the recommendations outlined in this report.”
“The part time initiative ‘Back to Business’ launched last October is aimed at assisting returning emigrants to start or develop businesses. This has the potential to encourage many back home, but it is just one such measure and more needs to be done.  We need a cross-departmental strategic response to be put in place to support those willing and eager to return to Ireland. As Ireland had little opportunities to offer people during the recession, the least we owe our returning emigrants is to make the transition home as seamless as possible.” 
“From an economic and competitiveness point of view, as we see this week, the country needs the skills that returning Irish emigrants are bringing back home and we must do more to assist them return,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

 

High Insurance Costs Not Being Addressed by Government – O’Rourke

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Insurance costs in Ireland remain stubbornly high as the Government last week published its most recent report from the Cost of Insurance Working Group.  Deputy O’Rourke has called on the Government to give greater priority to reducing the cost of insurance.

“My concern is that the elevated motor insurance costs that we now have, will become the norm. Since being elected, I have persistently raised the unacceptable rise in the cost of motor insurance.  I pressed the Government to partner with other EU countries to fight the rising costs, and to-date we have received a deafening silence.”

“The National Claims Information Database is one of the key recommendation of the working groups report.  The legislation to establish the database was supposed to be enacted by the end of 2017. Now it seems it will not be even introduced until the second half of 2018 and that time-frame is far from certain.”

“A mechanism to set up an anti-fraud unit within An Garda Síochána was to be approved by the third quarter of 2017.  This has yet to be achieved and no solid timeline has been put in place for the approval of such a mechanism, much less the establishment of a unit.

“Motor insurance costs have been a major issue for drivers in Ireland over the past number of years and Fianna Fáil has been to the fore in pressing the government to take action. The lack of action in relation to the recommendations of the working group is unacceptable.”

“The message must go out to all, that we are determined to get fairer motor insurance premiums for Irish motorists. Many Kildare motorists continue to make contact with me in relation to their rising costs, and I am determined to keep a focus on this important issue for them.”

“High motor insurance premiums have not gone away. The government has shown no sign that it is on top of this issue, as many continue to face unsustainable high insurance premiums.  This is a direct threat to our competitiveness, and increases the cost of living, and must be addressed,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Kildare Set to Receive 44 Additional SNA Posts says O’Rourke

 

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke has welcomed the additional 44 Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts to be appointed this year in Kildare, as part of 800 additional special needs assistants nationally. Deputy O’Rourke has campaigned for increased resources for special needs education over the last number of years.

“44 new Special Needs Assistants will be appointed this year to Kildare schools. This brings the total number of SNA posts in Kildare to 629 for the academic year 2018/2019. This is welcome news and it was an issue that I raised coming up to Budget 2018.”

“We must ensure that children with special educational needs are fully supported so that pupils can participate fully in our schools.”

“Since I entered public life, parents of children with special needs have been in regular contact with me seeking supports, particularly in the educational area. I held a public meeting to ensure that Special Needs Education would be captured in our policy framework and given priority in our Budget negotiations.’

“We have a growing population in Kildare. This leads to an increased demand for education, both in terms of teachers and school buildings. Special Needs Education is a priority for our party and for me personally. I will continue to fight to ensure that Kildare receives its fair share of the Education resources and that it’s growing population is captured when these resources are being allocated,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.
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Work With Other EU Countries to Tackle High Motor Insurance Premiums – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to step up its efforts to tackle the high motor insurance premiums in Ireland, by working in collaboration with other EU countries on the issue.

“We are now more than a year after the publication of the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report and the progress to-date on the cost of motor insurance is to say the very least, very modest.”

“The Government recently followed my proposal and is now working with Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria on reducing the cost of medicines. I proposed this approach last year to assist in reducing the cost of motor insurance and I am now calling on the Government again, to work with other EU countries to reduce the cost of insurance. Having a co-ordinated approach with other countries against the powerful insurance companies will, in my view, pay dividends.”

“Since being elected, I have campaigned to have the cost of motor insurance reduced. We have seen modest improvements on the cost of insurance, but much more needs to be done.”

“The message must go out to all that we are determined to get fairer motor insurance premiums for Irish motorists. Many Kildare motorists continue to make contact with me in relation to their rising costs and I am determined to keep a focus on this important issue for Kildare motorists.”

“The recently published National Development Plan never mentioned the importance of tackling the rising cost of living and addressing the cost of insurance is one key element of that,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.