Category Archives: Derrinturn

Flexibility Needed for Tús Schemes – as O’Rourke presses Minister Doherty

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again highlighted the need for flexibility to be shown in relation to the way Tus Scheme is administered, following a meeting he had with the new Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD in relation to the scheme.

‘Last year and earlier this year, I met with the former Minister for Social Protection, Leo  Varadkar TD, and made representations to him to have the Tus Scheme made more flexible and not be as time bound as it is, currently subject to the maximum time of 12 months. Those involved in Tus Achemes in Clane, Donadea, Leixlip and Celbridge have met me to discuss the problems associated with the way the Tus Scheme is currently structured and administered.’

“The Tús initiative, which is a community work placement scheme, provides short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The work is to benefit the community, and is provided by community and voluntary organisations in both urban and rural areas, and comes under the overall responsibility of the Department of Social Protection. Participants work for 19 ½ hours a week and the placement lasts 12 months”  stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“When the placement finishes after 12 months, participants then sign on again and cannot participate in the Tús Scheme again for 3 years. This is too restrictive and we need flexibility to, in certain cases, allow the Tus Scheme be extended for longer than 12 months, which would be mutually beneficial for both the participant and the community group.”

“Indeed, the previous Minister did agree with me, at the time, that greater flexibility should be considered and I have now met with the new Minister to press again to ensure that the Tus Scheme be administered with greater flexibility.”

“Many of my parliamentary colleagues have also raised this issue and I believe that it is possible to get cross party support so that the Tus Scheme be restructured and become more flexible.  Community groups are losing skilled workers and there are situations where their services could be provided for a longer period than 12 months” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

O’Rourke Presses for DART to Hazelhatch

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has requested an update from the National Transport Authority  (NTA) on the project to electrify the rail line to Hazelhatch, effectively bringing the DART to Celbridge.

“Plans are at an advanced stage to bring the DART to Maynooth and we need to get an update on timeline to secure the DART to Celbridge. Both projects are included in the DART Expansion Programme and we need to ensure that these projects are given priority as we try and increase the capacity of our public transport network and as funds become available for Capital Projects.”

“Towns like Celbridge, Maynooth and Leixlip continue to expand; more people are working and commuting to Dublin daily. In a recent report from the National Transport Authority (NTA) , we have seen  that the average daily traffic at the tolling point on the M50 was 18% higher in 2016 than in 2014. Journeys by car in the morning peak hour, take, on average, over 18% longer than just two years ago” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“We need to increase our public transport capacity. The DART expansion programme to include the Kildare line to Hazelhatch and to Maynooth on the Maynooth Line, under two separate projects, is welcome; but we need to see progress on both lines. “

“Overall we are making incremental progress on improving our public transport; we are going to see improvements to the train services on the Kildare line in the Autumn, extra car parking spaces are to be provided at Naas/Sallins, plans are in place for Kilcock and Celbridge Park & Ride facilities,  a fairer fare structure for Kilcock and Naas rail commuters is now in place, better bus services are either in place or planned, and plans are in place to provide an Orbital Bus Route linking Naas to Blanchardstown via Clane, Rathcoffey and Maynooth. I will continue to press for further improvements and hence, I want to get an update on the timeline for the DART expansion programme for both the Kildare and the Maynooth Rail Lines” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

O’Rourke meets with Kildare Garda Management to Discuss Resources

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Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says more resources are needed to support the roll-out of An Garda Síochána’s renewal and modernisation programme.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after meeting with senior Garda management for the Kildare division in which he expressed support for the efforts being taken to promote community policing in the region.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “Last week I met with senior Gardaí to discuss the rollout of a number of community policing initiatives in the county.  I was encouraged by the information I received, including confirmation that 10 probationary Gardaí will be assigned to Kildare from July this year. Further Gardaí are expected to be transferred to the Kildare Division as the year progresses. Fianna Fáil pushed for increased Garda recruitment under the Confidence and Supply Arrangement and it’s positive to see that this is beginning to have a positive impact on the ground in communities right across Kildare.

“At the meeting I emphasised the importance of tackling the scourge of burglaries in the county alongside the occurrence of anti-social behaviour. I also pointed out the importance of maintaining a strong and adequately staffed Garda Drugs Unit in the region. The meeting also discussed road safety measures and I highlighted the need for additional resources for the Garda Traffic Corps in Kildare, especially when you consider some of the busiest roads in the entire country pass through the county.

“I was particularly impressed by the proposals brought forward by Chief Superintendent Roche and his team in regards enhancing community policing in Kildare. I have been assured that there will be increased Garda visibility in towns such as Celbridge, Maynooth, Leixlip and Kilcock in the months ahead. People will also be given a constant point of contact within the service who will take ownership of community policing in particular areas. I’m also encouraged by the measures being taken to enhance community policing in and around Maynooth University.

“It’s important to recognise that An Garda Síochána’s renewal and modernisation programme, which is leading to new community policing practices, can only be successful if it is backed up by adequate resources. The service has been subject to severe cutbacks in recent years and it’s clear that targeted investment is needed to ensure Gardaí on the ground are given the tools they need to carry out their duties,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Walkway Needed Beside Alexandra Bridge in Clane

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that the funding of a walkway adjacent to Alexandra Bridge in Clane, is an option that can be considered by Kildare County Council or the National Transport Authority following the matter being raised by Deputy O’Rourke in recent months, requesting that a footbridge be constructed for this location.

“The relevant stakeholders have confirmed to me that they will give serious consideration to funding a footbridge adjacent to the Alexandra Bridge in Clane. Currently, people are taking their lives in their own hands when they cross the bridge, and we need to provide a safer option for pedestrians.”

“Earlier this year, I met with residents in Clane, including residents from Blackhall, and viewed at first hand the difficultly pedestrians have crossing the bridge. There is a footpath on either side of the bridge and we need to link these two paths up.”

“I have now requested Kildare County Council to prepare a design for a footbridge adjacent to Alexandra Bridge and submit it for funding consideration and hopefully approval.”

“I have been making representations to Kildare County Council to have a comprehensive footpath infrastructure in Clane. Plans are in place to complete the footpath on the Kilcock road; the footpath needs extending on the Ballinagappa Road and we need a footbridge adjacent to Alexandra Bridge,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke who is committed to continuing to raise the matter until resolved.

Permanent Site Required for Schools in Celbridge says O’Rourke.

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has stated that permanent sites in Celbridge are required for St Patricks NS and Celbridge Community College and must be made a priority. Deputy O’Rourke made the comment after raising the issue with the Department of Education.

“We need to secure permanent educational facilities for St Patrick’s NS and the newly established post-primary school, Celbridge Community School, which opened in temporary accommodation in 2015.”

“The Department of Education has confirmed to me that it is pursuing a site for these two schools now. Initially lands owned by Kildare Wicklow ETB located at Hazelhatch, Celbridge were acquired to accommodate these two schools. However, given the difficulties encountered with that site, due to flooding, these plans did not go ahead.”

 “I continue to raise the requirement for additional school places that are required in Celbridge to cater for current and future demand arising from the proposed residential units outlined in the local area plan.”

“As I have said before, we must provide infrastructure in tandem with development rather than try and retrofit infrastructure after development takes place. This is the case for public transport, roads including a new bridge in Celbridge, water and of course schools” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Our immediate focus must be to secure permanent educational facilities for St Patrick’s NS and the newly established post-primary school Celbridge Community School. I will continue to make representations to the Department and Kildare Wicklow Educational Training Board to secure planning and construction on the appropriate site as soon as possible.”

 “Given the projected needs for school places, the Department of Education has confirmed to me that it has requested that the reservation on the KWETB lands on Hazelhatch Road, for educational use, be retained so that when the flood risk issues are addressed, this site would be available to serve future educational needs. I am delighted that the Department is planning adequately for the future, but we need action on the ground now for St Patricks NS and Celbridge Community College” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Car Insurance Credit Needs To Be Considered For Low Income Earners says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to introduce a car insurance credit for low income earners, to assist in dealing with the high car insurance costs. Deputy O’Rourke raised the matter following a meeting with a constituent who showed him the insurance premium for a modest car which had increased by 30% over the last few years.

“The Government has failed to deal with the motor insurance crisis. While I appreciate that the Government is implementing the action plan to deal with the high cost of car insurance, progress is too slow and it does not seem to be a high priority for the Government

“Over the past three years, premiums have risen by over 50% and the government has failed to take decisive action to stem the rises that are placing families in severe financial difficulty.”

“Earlier in the year, I called on the Government to publish a Quarterly update on the implementation of the action plan on the Cost of Motor Insurance. The first report was published recently which showed that very little progress has been made in implementing the action plan.”

“It is not enough to say that the rate of the rise in car insurance is reducing, we simply have to reduce the cost of motor insurance. I believe that the Government should consider a car insurance credit, either by way of a tax credit or by way of a voucher for low income earners and families. This could be introduced on a temporary basis, say for a 12 month period, until car insurance is reduced. It will also incentivise the Government to implement the action plan designed to reduce the level of car insurance.”

“As I have said in the Dail, there is little point in reducing the Universal Social Charge, if a multiple of the reduction in USC, is being taken back by increased insurance costs. I believe that a measure to assist low income earners to secure car insurance is essential” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

€3m Allocated to Kildare for Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People or People With Disabilities.

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the allocation of €3m to Kildare County Council by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, Simon Coveney TD, for Housing Adaptations Grants for Older People and People with a Disability living in private houses.

“Last year, I raised the requirement for increased funding for Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with Disabilities. Given the projected increase in the number of older people in Ireland, it is important that we put in place policies and supports to deal with this reality.  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.”

“Under the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes, grants of up to €30,000 are available for an adaptation, up to €8,000 for housing aid for older people and up to €6,000 for mobility aids” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Apart from improving the quality of life for people and facilitating people to continue the independent occupancy of their own homes, there are other benefits from the Government’s expenditure on Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes. These include; a stimulus package for small local construction companies, more local employment and increased business for local building material suppliers, and either improve the Government’s tax take or reduce social welfare payments. In addition, it is clear that it costs the state less to facilitate older people living in their home rather than in residential care” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

HSE Confirms Lack of Psychology Services in North Kildare – O’Rourke

psychologyFianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, Frank O’Rourke says he is disappointed with the lack of progress being made in appointing a new primary care psychologist to North Kildare.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after raising the issue with Minister for Health Simon Harris. The HSE subsequently contacted Deputy O’Rourke to confirm that North Kildare has been left without a psychologist.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “The lack of progress being made in assigning a primary care psychologist to Kildare is deeply disappointing. I have raised this issue with Minister Harris on a number of occasions but the reply I have received from the HSE indicates that little progress has been made on this issue.  

“The presence of a primary care psychologist is important for ensuring we have a proper functioning mental health service in Kildare. The HSE have confirmed to me that there is a significant gap in existing services in Kildare and this has been the case for many months now. The HSE has committed to implementing a revised model of care for psychological services but it doesn’t seem as if much progress is being made in relation to this on the ground in communities.

“The need for properly staffed mental health services has never been greater. How can we expect to encourage people to use our mental health services when they are unable to properly meet the needs of patients? It’s simply not acceptable for the Government to just pay lip service to the problems facing our mental health services. Appointing a new primary care psychologist to North Kildare should be a relatively straight forward process once the will is there to deliver on this commitment.

“I’ll continue to raise this issue with the Government until it’s satisfactorily resolved. North Kildare urgently needs a primary care psychologist to help improve our mental health services,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

NTA Will Consider Bus Park & Ride for Clane says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has confirmed that the National Transport Authority will consider a Park and Ride for Clane for Bus commuters.

‘The National Transport Authority (NTA) have confirmed to me that it will consider a Bus Park & Ride facility in Clane, once Kildare County Council put forward a proposal for same” stated Deputy O’Rourke who has repeatedly raised the requirement for a Park & Ride facility, for bus commuters,  using Bus Route 120 in Clane.

“I am hopeful that, later this year, we will see an improved bus service on Route 120, in particular servicing UCD. Many people in Clane and surrounding areas work in Dublin and I believe that a modest Park & Ride facility be considered for Clane” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Since the inclusion of Kilcock and Naas rail stations in Iarnrod Eireann Short Hop Zones, which I campaigned for, I expect that more people will use these services which will also bring extra demand requirement for Park & Ride in Kilcock and Sallins.”

“However, we now have a Clane Park & Ride for bus commuters on the agenda and I have requested Kildare County Council to consider a suitable site in Clane for a Park & Ride facility” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.