Category Archives: Derrinturn

Additional Early Morning Bus Eireann 120 Service for Celbridge says O’Rourke

120_busLocal Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has highlighted that the new morning Bus Eireann 120 is providing an earlier service for Celbridge commuters. A new additional morning service on Route 120, commenced on Monday 27th of November last.

“Over the last number of months, I have made representations to Bus Eireann and the National Transport Authority to improve the service on the 120 Bus Eireann. This new service from Clane is providing an earlier morning departure from Celbridge into the City.”

“Previously, the first Bus Éireann service from Celbridge was 07:45hrs. This new service will operate via Celbridge at 07:20hrs. This new service also serves Straffan. It arrives into the city city at 8.10.”

“I welcome this news and I will campaign to have this service and other services, including Route 67, improved in the coming months. We need to increase the morning capacity of Route 67 outbound, as the number of passengers using the service between Celbridge and Maynooth increases. Route 67 provides a link for people living in Celbridge that are working or studying in Maynooth.” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

‘Under 5s Free’ Welcomed by O’Rourke – as further improvements needed

bus_under5Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the announcement by the National Transport Authority (NTA), that free travel for all under-fives on subsidised public transport services, on Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas, Dart and Dublin Bus, becomes a reality from today.

“Last year I called on the NTA to consider introducing free travel for children to make the cost of public transport for families more attractive. I am delighted now that the Authority has introduced this concept and I feel that we could expand this in the future to cover older children, particularly at weekends.”

“I do want to acknowledge the work of the NTA in this area. The child fare eligibility has been extended to a person’s 19th birthday and during the summer a “Kids go Free” promotion was launched.”

“I continue to press for improved public transport services. More frequent Dublin Bus Routes 66 and 67 are required, improved services on Route 120, while acknowledging the new morning service from Clane at 7.00am and more frequent service on Route 115 serving Kilcock.”

“We need additional services on the Kildare route servicing Sallins and Hazelhatch in Celbridge. Some commuters have been in touch with me in relation to improving the services between 9 and 10 in the morning as some parents start work later to facilitate family life.”

“We are making progress, but as it becomes more difficult to navigate traffic in the city centre by car, more people will use public transport once we have a regular and reliable service,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Cork Food Hub Model Should be Replicated in Kildare says O’Rourke

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Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to replicate the National Food Innovation Hub, recently established in Cork, in Kildare, given the significant number of food companies based in Kildare.

“Kildare is home to many food based companies. It is essential that we sustain the growth in our food export business, given the challenges that Brexit present. UK, alone, accounts for more than 40% of Irish food exports and Kildare is home to many companies exporting to the UK.”

“I have campaigned for the area of North Kildare to be designated as a Food Hub. Kildare County Council’s CEO has also supported calls for the area to be designated as a Food Hub.”

“Recently, the National Food Innovation Hub was established to create a business innovation network at Moorepark involving dairy companies, Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL), incubator companies and public-private partnership based R&D programmes with a research focus on food processing, quality and nutrition.”

“As I have mentioned in the Dail on a number of occasions, Naas and the surrounding area is home to many food related companies, which have strong brands. Examples include, Kerry Food, Dawn Farm Food, Queally Group, Tara Vale Foods, Green Isle, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Brady Farm Food located in Timahoe, and Ballymooney Foods located in Clane.”

“The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry which employs over 175,000 people with a turnover of €11bn last year.”

“The industry is facing a very serious challenge following Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and we need to ensure that new markets and opportunities are explored to ensure that we protect the many jobs that are associated with this important Industry.”

“I believe that promoting Kildare as a Hub for Food Products would enhance the standing of the companies trying to seek new markets, particularly in a Brexit world. That is why I tabled a question to the Minister for Agriculture in relation to this matter. I will continue to campaign to have Kildare designated as a Food Hub,”concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Pressure Mounts To Increase Capacity on Hazelhatch/Kildare Line says O’Rourke

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Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again pressed Iarnrod Eireann to provide increased capacity on the Hazelhatch/Kildare Rail Line, for Celbridge and Naas rail commuters, as the numbers using the service grows.

“Since the Grand Canal Dock Line opened in 2016, the number of passengers, using the Kildare Line is increasing. The Kildare Line has now opened up commuters to the heart of the City Centre and more capacity is required.”

“I have raised the matter with Iarnrod Eireann and the National Transport Authority (NTA). Commuting to Dublin City Centre by car from North Kildare is now becoming almost impossible at peak times. Once we provide a regular and reliable public transport service, people will use it.”

“The reduction in the fares for Naas/Sallins users earlier this year, together with the opening up of the Kildare Line to the heart of the City Centre, is making the Kildare Line more attractive for commuters, and we must respond by providing more capacity.”

“Following my representations, extra Park & Ride places were provided for rail commuters at the Naas/Sallins station earlier this year. Plans are in place for a Park & Ride in Kilcock. I am working with all stakeholders to provide extra places at Maynooth.”

“For many Celbridge and Naas commuters, the Kildare Line is now the most efficient way of getting in to Dublin. It is a brilliant service that is attracting more commuters. The NTA with Irish Rail must now provide additional capacity on the Kildare Line as a matter of urgency, to cater for the increased demand,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Irish Variable Mortgage Rates Double EU Average – O’Rourke

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Despite numerous Government pledges to tackle the issue of high variable mortgage rates, variable rates here are still nearly double the Euro area average, according to local Fianna Fail Deputy, Frank O’Rourke.

“According to the recent Central Bank figures, the average interest rate on new mortgages in September of this year stood at 3.31%; this is nearly double the equivalent rate across the Euro area, which stood at 1.86%.”

“Mortgage rates in Ireland remain dramatically out of line with rates charged elsewhere in Europe, and we must ensure that this is addressed. We have pressed for the extension of mortgage relief for those who bought their home during the peak of the boom, however, we must now focus on the variable rate that is being charged by Irish banks. ”

“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 country.”

“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. We will continue to press for this Bill to be passed.”

“Putting €250 per month back into families will help the local economy, bring down the cost of living and ease wage inflation pressure. I see again this weekend that Fine Gael are trying to make a priority of reducing the top rate of tax, as opposed to focusing on the cost of living for people. Focus on reducing the cost of living will bring a multitudes of benefits to our local economy and hard pressed families that have mortgages,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Housing Assistance Payments (HAPs) Need to Increase says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to increase the Housing Assistance Payments, even on a temporary basis, as the costs of renting increases.
“The low level of the supply of the housing units, is fuelling the rising cost of renting a home, and means that the current level of HAP funding is not enough, in many cases, for those seeking accommodation.”

“I know from my weekly clinics that our social housing list is rising most months. Kildare County Council’s housing waiting list has increased by nearly 1800 people in the last 12 months. The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. However, the level of funds under this scheme is not enough.”

“Under the HAP scheme, local authorities pay landlords directly and 805 households were helped with rent repayments through the HAP scheme last year.”

“I know that many seeking accommodation under the scheme are not being successful as the level of funding is too low, as rents rise. So long as the supply of housing units are at a low level, rents will continue to rise as supply does not meet demand. I am calling for an increase in payments under the HAP scheme, so that we can get more people housed in Kildare.”

“As supply of housing units increases, and rent costs reduces, we could then reduce the HAP funding. Social Housing supports needs to be improved, and I will continue to raise this issue in the Dáil to ensure that it secures Government attention” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

FF Expects Progress to be Made on Ending Pension Inequality – O’Rourke

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The Government is expected to make progress on reversing the 2012 pension contribution changes that resulted in nearly 35,000 people, including 25,000 women receiving reduced pension payments, stated local Fianna Fail TD,  Frank O’Rourke, at Fianna Fail’s Constituency Meeting in Maynooth last night.

“The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Regina Doherty TD, stated that she expects the Government to move on this matter, and outline a roadmap to ending this blatant discrimination. I welcome this move by Minister Doherty and the Government as I have raised this matter with the Government through our party’s spokesperson and the Government have listened.”

“We have been consistent that this discrimination has to end. I have raised the matter after the budget and I know that it has caused hardship for thousands of people across the country and people living in Kildare.”

“We have stated that, if additional funding becomes available through either day to day savings in the Department of Social Protection through further reduced unemployment, or from an increased surplus in the Social Insurance Fund, that priority should be given to reversing the 2012 changes.”

“This is a complex issue, and may unearth other anomalies in the pension system. However, it is an example of discrimination, and one which a fair and equal republic cannot support or sustain. Many constituents have raised the matter with me and it was raised with me at our Fianna Fail meeting in Maynooth last night,” concluded O’Rourke.

O’Rourke Presses For Movement on Flood Relief Measures at Hazelhatch, Celbridge

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again pressed for funding to be provided for Flood Relief measures at Hazelhatch in Celbridge.

“I met with the Minister responsible for the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, this week, to press for funding to be provided for Flood alleviation measures at Hazelhatch.”

“The Hazelhatch area is home to the GAA, Tennis Club and many residential estates and will be a home for new schools. I secured funding for interim flood alleviation measures in 2014 which proved successful. However, we need a long term solution to ensure that this area is protected from future flooding” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“I have engaged with Kildare County Council, Department officials and this week met the Minister again to have this project progressed, namely to get a flood relief design agreed and for the contract to go to tender.”

“Currently, site investigation works are ongoing and the Minister this week assured me that once the design is finalised, he will progress to tender stage without delay.”

“Earlier this year, the Office of Public Works provided funding for the Lower Morrell Flood Relief Scheme. This area has been affected by flooding for many years. Residents from the area of Alasty, Kileenmore, and Turnings campaigned hard to achieve this result. Last year, I raised this work in the Dail, and I am delighted we have made progress on this project. This work dovetails with previous flood works along this catchment area.”

“Now we need to make progress on the flood works for Hazelhatch. I will continue to raise this issue with the Minister and Kildare County Council until we get these works to construction stage,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke after meeting residents from Hazelhatch on the issue.

Nearly 20% Increase In Number of Older People Acting as Carers – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again highlighted the need to provide supports for older people, as CSO figures show a significant increase in the number of older people acting as carers for their loved ones and relatives.

“Between 2011 and 2016, there has been nearly a 20% increase, from 24,746 to 29,311, in the number of people, aged 65 years or older, providing care for their loved ones.”

“Since being elected, I have highlighted the need to prepare for the change in demographics.  In 2006, there were 468,000 people aged 65 or older in Ireland, but by 2041, the number of people in this country aged 65 or older will be 1.4 million.”

“I have highlighted the need for increased resources for Housing Adaption Grants, Fair Deal Scheme, Phone Allowance, Pension, Home Care Packages and Carers. The recent figures show that older people are now fulfilling, in many cases, the role of the State in providing care to those living with illness or disability,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“We must also ask who is looking after the carers? These carers also have needs and they also need supports. Those aged over 65 years of age are, on average, providing 1.43 million hours of care per week. This is an increase of 12% in just five years, which is placing an unfair burden on our older people.”

“I know from my constituency clinics that older people are not receiving the supports they need. As I have said in the Dail, there is not enough home help hours, respite support, and limited access to the Fair Deal Scheme. This means that the responsibility of providing care is being passed to spouses and older relatives,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Government’s Broadband Plan Needs More Focus says O’Rourke

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Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that broadband must be delivered to rural parts of Kildare as soon as possible, as he criticised the Government’s lazy approach to the Broadband Roll-out Plan.

“There are many locations throughout North Kildare, even within a few kilometres of one of the world’s best known IT companies, where access to broadband is limited or even non-existent.”

“High quality broadband is crucial for small businesses, and for many families and young people where there is an increasing opportunity to work from home or a requirement to access the internet for educational needs,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which was designed to assist areas that were not commercially viable, should have been in place by now. However, the National Broadband Plan will now not take place until 2019 at the earliest. This delay is indicative of this Government’s dismissive attitude to the roll-out of broadband.”

“Considering the original deadline for completion of the National Broadband Plan was 2018, it’s a farce that many areas across Kildare will not even see preliminary work carried out until 2019.”

“As I have said before, broadband is not a luxury commodity – it’s an essential service.  Kildare County Council has a senior official appointed as a Broadband Officer who I am liaising with on this important issue. This is bringing focus to the roll-out of high speed broadband across the county. However, the Government needs to act on the National Roll-Out Plan to address the gaps in the service,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.