Category Archives: Clogherinkoe

EU Single Market for Mortgages is the way Forward says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to press for the formation of a European Single Market for mortgages, as Ireland’s mortgage rates continue to be significantly higher than the average EU mortgage rate.
“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%.  In my view the Government have let down Irish customers as recent reports indicate that Irish first-time buyers will pay up to €61,641 more in interest costs over the lifetime of their mortgages than anywhere else in Europe.”
“For example, an Irish borrower with a mortgage of €200,000 is paying around €250 per month more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.
“When we take this in conjunction with the Tracker Mortgage scandal, where over 33,700 customers were put on variable mortgage rates as opposed to the more competitive tracker rates.”
“We have been campaigning for mortgage holders, and particularly those in mortgage arrears, for some time now. Since being elected last year, I have worked with our Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, to keep a focus on their concerns. All of the instruments available to the Government and the Central Bank must now be used to ensure that Irish mortgage holders receive fair treatment when compared to other EU countries.”
“As I have said in the Dail, mortgage rates in Ireland remain dramatically out of line with EU norms and must be addressed. The higher mortgage rates here are taking money out of our local economy and adding to the bank profits. We need a EU approach to securing better rates in Ireland,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke who has previously called for a similar approach in relation the provision of motor insurance in Ireland.


O’Rourke Says FF to Introduce Bill to Protect CE and Tús Schemes



Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that Fianna Fail is to introduce a Bill to prevent Jobpath from denying participants from taking up a place on a Community Employment (CE) Scheme, the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) or the Tús Scheme.

“In recent years, I met with both the former Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar TD, and the current Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD, and made strong representations to them, to have the CE and Tus Schemes made more flexible.”

“In effect, many people feel that they are being unfairly coerced into Jobpath and would prefer to take up a place on a CE, RSS or Tús scheme. In many instances, this would be more appropriate and suitable to the needs of both the community and the individual concerned. I also want to ensure that we facilitate older people on the scheme.”

“People involved in Tus schemes in Clane, Donadea, Leixlip and Celbridge have met me to discuss the problem associated with the way the scheme was being administered and have requested that we change the rigid framework that is in place.  The aim of the legislation, which Fianna Fail is introducing, is to give a legal entitlement to a person taking part in the JobPath activation programme to opt out of said programme in order to take part in a Community Employment Scheme, a Tús Scheme or a Rural Social Scheme, in circumstances where a place on any of these schemes becomes available.  Fianna Fáil supports these schemes and recognise the tremendous benefit that they bring not only to participants but to the community at large,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Elevated Insurance Costs Must Not Become The Norm For Motorists says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to provide a renewed focus on reducing the cost of motor insurance further, as the average premiums are still €300 higher now than they were in 2014.

“I appreciate that recent CSO figures show that the cost of car insurance fell by approximately 12% over the last year, but the average annual cost of insurance now stands at €750 compared with €450 in 2014.”

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

“While I appreciate that Brexit has become the most urgent matter for the Government at the moment, we must ensure that the Government does not lose sight of bread and butter issues such as motor insurance costs.”

“The cost of insurance working group put forward a whole range of proposals to have the cost of insurance reduced and we need a quarterly update, and debate, on the implementation of these recommendations,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“The recently published National Development Plan, never mentioned the importance of tacking the rising cost of living expenses and addressing the cost of insurance is one key element of that. As I have said before, the modest benefits from the changes to the USC in the last two budgets has been taken from most workers by the increase in the cost of motor insurance,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

O’Rourke Presses for Funding for Storm Clean-Up



Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to provide compensation to those worst affected by the recent severe weather conditions, as Kildare starts the clean-up and opens up the road network.

“Kildare County Council should be provided with extra funding to assist with the repairs and clean-up associated with the recent severe weather conditions.  Special allocations should be provided to repair roads, grants for Residents Associations, and funding to repair our water infrastructure are issues that need to be urgently considered and actioned by central Government.”

“Supports should also be provided for small and medium-sized businesses. I know from meeting local business people that some businesses have been effectively out of operation for 4 or 5 days.”

“I want to acknowledge the local authority workers, private contractors, volunteers, An Garda Siochána, the National Ambulance Service, the Health Service professionals, the Civil Defence, the Defence Forces, workers in our transport companies and the ESB workers. The people on the ground have worked so hard in recent days to open up Kildare again. However, National Government needs to step in and assist in providing much needed resources,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Towns and villages throughout North Kildare, from Celbridge, Maynooth, Clane, Straffan, Rathcoffey, Kilteel, Naas to Prosperous have been badly affected by the recent storm and snow fall. Kildare was one of the counties worst affected and the Government must now realise this,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke

Additional Resources Needed for Kildare, and Lessons to be learnt following Storm Emma says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that lessons can be learned in the aftermath of Storm Emma, as Kildare takes the hit.

“Kildare so far has experienced the brunt of Storm Emma. Great efforts have been made to minimize the effect of the storm and extraordinary commitment has been shown by so many. ”

“We have seen that the motorway network has been kept open to traffic, but the challenge for many residents in Celbridge, Maynooth, Straffan, Rathcoffey, Clane and Prosperous has been to get access to the motorway and key services.”

“I understand that 18 Kildare County Council trucks, 30 tractor powered ploughs a number of JCB’s and other machines have been attempting to clear the regional roads and other strategic routes throughout Kildare and, as I have seen today, they are making progress.”

“Link roads between our North Kildare towns have been badly affected. Having seen at first hand today the power of community effort, in Clane, Maynooth and Kilcock, I believe that we can learn from these events. There has been a great collective effort, between state and voluntary organisations and our community to deal with the challenge head on.”

“It seems incredible only a kilometre from our motorway network, which has been kept open to traffic, we have blocked roads for a number of days. Kildare County Council needs further supports and resources as it was so badly hit. We need to see how best we can address this issue for the future.  However, we cannot but acknowledge the great work of so many in minimising the impact of this extraordinary weather event,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Orbital Route from Naas to Blanchardstown via Clane, Rathcoffey, Maynooth and Leixlip starts on Monday, says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that the new bus service, which he has campaigned for, from Naas to Blanchardstown via Clane, Rathcoffey and Maynooth, will commence next Monday.

“The preferred bidder for the Orbital Route from Naas to Blanchardstown, Route 139, has been decided and will come into effect on Monday 12th next. It will service Naas to Blanchardstown via Clane, Rathcoffey, Maynooth and Leixlip.”

“It is going to service Blanchardstown IT and Naas Hospital, with nine services each way, seven days a week, with first departures at 07.15 and last departures at 22.35 and will be run for the NTA (National Transport Authority) by JJ Kavanagh & Sons.”

“As I have said before, this service is an important public transport link, linking significant population centres such as Naas, Maynooth and Blanchardstown, connecting three hospitals and two third level institutions.”

“I am happy for the residents in all towns and villages along this route. Since my election, I have campaigned for an improved public transport services for commuters in North Kildare and we are making progress. I will continue to make representations to have further improvements made,“ concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Loan Sales to Unaccountable Vulture Funds Should Not Go Ahead – O’Rourke


Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says the proposed sale of a vast swathe of loans by Irish banks to unregulated and unaccountable vulture funds should not proceed.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “It is evident that banks have shown very little willingness to work through their non-performing loan book. Instead of selling their loan book and outsourcing their dirty work to vulture funds, the banks should be providing sustainable and reasonable solutions for customers willing to cooperate with them.

“It is clear now that vulture funds are lining up to buy portfolios of loans from the main banks in Ireland. It is expected that these portfolios will involve SME loans and buy-to-let investment properties. However, the Government has allowed these funds to go completely unregulated in Ireland.

“Recently it has emerged that both AIB and Permanent TSB are taking steps to sell large swathes of their mortgage loan books to unregulated vulture funds. The Government has the power to stop this from occurring considering the Irish State has a majority stake holding in both banks.

“These vulture funds are accountable to nobody and are completely beyond the reach of the Central Bank. There are many families who are in distress with their mortgages who are living in fear of losing their homes as they find it impossible to engage with these firms. Their sole interest is in the property, they take no account of social concerns.

“Fianna Fáil is opposed to the banks selling their loans to unregulated vulture funds. The banks should not be selling Irish loans to unregulated vulture funds. We will be bringing forward legislation to ensure these sales do not take place,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

New Round of Infrastructural Funds confirmed says O’Rourke


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has confirmed that a second round of funding to finance critical pieces of infrastructure in counties like Kildare, such as a second bridge in Celbridge, ring roads around Maynooth and Clane, will be available.
“Last year, under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), Round 1, €14m was allocated for the construction of the Maynooth Ring Road linking the Dublin Road to the Celbridge road.”
“Since being elected, I have made repeated representations, and met the relevant Minister, to secure funding for the construction of a number of ring roads, including the construction of the Maynooth Ring Road, Clane Ring Road and a second bridge for Celbridge.”
“Funding from the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), which I proposed in my Dail contribution, is an ideal way to ensure that we have a source of funding for critical projects. As more housing units are being developed in the area, we have to provide matching infrastructure, such as roads, public transport and schools.”
“Following a Parliamentary Question, I received confirmation that the Government will launch the second round of the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), before the end of March, and this will give Kildare County Council an opportunity to seek funding for critical projects.”
“We must learn from the mistakes of the past. We must provide adequate infrastructure in line with development, rather than trying to retrofit the infrastructure subsequent to the development, as happened in the past.”
“I continue to raise the requirement for infrastructure of this nature, with the Department and Kildare County Council, for projects in Maynooth, Celbridge and Clane and I welcome the announcement of Round 2 funding under the (LIHAF),” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

O’Rourke Arranges Meeting with Education Minister to Press for School Buildings for Celbridge

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has arranged a meeting with the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD, his officials, and Kildare County Council to press for permanent school buildings for Celbridge.

“In recent years, we are seeing the requirement for school accommodation grow in Celbridge. At the moment, we have temporary school accommodation for both St Patricks Primary School and Celbridge Community School. We need to put in place a plan to provide permanent school accommodation for both schools.”

“There is no good business case to have temporary accommodation as our school buildings. Our children and teachers deserve permanent structures, with supporting facilities, to cater for the long-term requirement of Celbridge.”

“I have organised a meeting with Kildare County Council and the Minister for Education to press for permanent school buildings for both Celbridge Community School and St Patricks School. All four TDs have been invited, and I want to ensure that the template used can be rolled out to other parts of the constituency.”

“We need to plan for our school buildings, and the more co-ordination, and focus, we have between the Department of Education and Kildare County Council the better. Too often, we see different organs of the state working in different directions. I want the Department and Kildare County Council to have a co-ordinated approach to cater for our school building requirements.”

“I am hopeful that once this meeting takes place today (14th February) we will have a course of action to enable the planning and construction of these two permanent school buildings in Celbridge on the most suitable and available site to commence as quickly as possible,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Grants of €10,000 Available to Employers to Hire Over 50’s says O’Rourke, but Scheme Needs Co-ordination


Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the government’s move to provide an incentive to employers to hire people over-50, but said that the revised JobsPlus Acheme needs better marketing and co-ordination.
“Under the JobsPlus Scheme, from the 1st of January 2018, grants of €10,000 will be available to employers if they employ people who are over 50 years of age, that have been on the live register, and unemployed for at least 312 days in the previous 18 months.”
“There are barriers for older people returning to work and we must reduce these barriers. The JobsPlus Scheme has been refocussed, and now employers are entitled to a subsidy of €10,000 when hire people over 50 years of age.”
“JobsPlus is a cash incentive to employers who offer full-time jobs to the long-term unemployed. We must incentivise employers to hire people who are over 50. Older people can be discriminated against, however, the skills and knowledge that they possess can be very beneficial for businesses and younger generations that are working alongside them.”
“We must start to promote a positive image of older people in the workforce. This change to the JobsPlus Scheme is a step in the right direction. However, I believe that the Department of Social and Employment needs to bring more co-ordination to the scheme and match those looking for work to employers who are seeking employees.”
“As our population ages, we must start to refocus our benefits and supports to ensure that older people are valued in both the work environment and in our community. I will continue to raise the importance of these types of supports for older people,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.