Category Archives: Kilcock

Focus on Reducing Cost of Living – says O’Rourke

– Cost of living increases cancelling out any uplift for households

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again said that more focus is needed on reducing the cost of living, as we are experiencing rising energy costs, stubbornly high motor insurance, high variable mortgage rates, rising rents and rising child care and health costs.

“Ireland’s competitiveness is under attack by rising costs. I have repeatedly raised the stubbornly high cost of motor insurance and high variable mortgage rates that Irish home owners experience.”

“The latest CSO figures show that rising energy costs are swallowing up last year’s tax cuts. Electricity prices for example have increased by €125 over the past 12 months.”

“Insurance costs in Ireland remain stubbornly high. The average annual cost of motor insurance now stands at €750 compared with €450 in 2014, an increase of nearly 70%.”

“An Irish borrower, with a 30 year mortgage of €250,000, is paying €1085 per month. This is around €188 per month, equivalent to €2,200 per year and €68,000 over the lifetime of the mortgage, more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.”

“Householders are seeing their bank balances take a hit month on month, and any gains that were made in last year’s budget have been lost by rising costs. The rising costs results in a hit to discretionary expenditure causing lower spending in local shops and businesses.”

“For businesses, margins are being squeezed and the ability of businesses to expand and take on new employees is being severely hampered.”

“The Government cannot stand idly by as households feel the squeeze and businesses suffer from a lack of competitiveness.  Cost of living under every metric is increasing. Housing, childcare, insurance, transport and now energy costs are all going up – the Government must take action,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Older People Must Get Priority in Budget – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has stated that older people must get priority in the forthcoming budget. Deputy O’Rourke was speaking after meeting with Fianna Fail Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath and Mary Butler Spokesperson for Older People.

“The Programme for Government has a commitment to increase Home Care Packages and Home Help Hours, but Fine Gael have failed to set out how they are actually going about achieving this and we need progress on this in the budget.”

“Extra resources are needed for Home Adaptation Grants to make homes safer through the installation of ramps, railings and bathroom changes. Making homes more suitable for older people brings many benefits not least for older people themselves but also enables older people to live independently in their own homes.”

“Recent figures around waiting lists show that over 718,000 people are waiting for either outpatient or inpatient appointments in our public hospital system. More than 100,000 older people are waiting for appointments and procedures.”

“In last years budget, we did secure resources for increased pension allowance, Fuel Allowance and the Telephone Allowance was partially restored. We campaigned for these items under the Supply and Confidence agreement with the Government.”

“Supports for older people are critical. I have highlighted the need for increased resources for Housing Adaption Grants, Fair Deal Scheme, Phone Allowance, Pension, Home Care Packages and Carers. 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 and also care for our children. Caring for our older people must always be centre stage when considering our social affairs budget,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

More Action Needed by Government to Address Cost of Insurance – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD and Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Frank O’Rourke, has said that the Government needs to move quickly and deal with the insurance industry as the upward pressure on the cost of living and cost of doing business in this country is unsustainable.

“Insurance costs in Ireland remain stubbornly high. The average annual cost of motor insurance now stands at €750 compared with €450 in 2014, an increase of nearly 70%. Any reduction in the USC is being taken up by increase costs, such as motor insurance.”

“The Government must 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. I called for the Action Plan on Motor Insurance to be implemented.”

“For instance, 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.”

“The Government should back Fianna Fail’s Bill, the Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018, which seeks to make people think twice about making fraudulent insurance claims which have been shown to lead to increased insurance premiums for all consumers.”

“Citizens are seeing their wages being put under more and more pressure, and businesses are seeing their cost of doing business grow. This cannot continue. We need businesses to be competitive and we need our people to have more disposable income to spend in the local economy, rather than giving it to the insurance companies,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Extra Capacity Needed on Maynooth Line says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O Rourke, has called on the Government to provide additional resources to increase the capacity on the Maynooth Line.

“The Maynooth Line needs extra capacity to deal with the increased demand on the line, whether by providing increased frequency or increased numbers of carriages.”

“I appreciate that future plans for Electrifying the Maynooth Line will increase the capacity. However, we need to deal with the increased demand that we are seeing now.”

“Trying to drive into Dublin and negotiate the traffic is becoming impossible and public transport is becoming the only practical mode of transport to travel into Dublin. We must improve the capacity on the line”

“Modest improvements have been made on Route 115 serving Kilcock with the increased frequency on the route promised for some time now being put back to the end of September.”

“Bus Connect proposals, with some positive proposals linking Maynooth to Celbridge and Tallaght, however also include reduced direct services from Celbridge which I am campaigning to have reversed.”

“I intend raising again with the Minister for Transport the requirement for increase public transport services for North Kildare commuters,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Irish Rip Off Mortgages now at €2,200 a year – O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD Frank O’Rourke, has stated that mortgage interest rates charged in Ireland are entirely unjustifiable and the banks must be tackled to ensure that fairer mortgage rates are available to Irish home owners.

“Recent statistics, published by the Central Bank, show that the average interest rate on all new Irish mortgages in June stood at 3.23%, slightly higher than in May.  The equivalent average for the Euro area is only 1.8%.  Ireland is the only country in the Euro area with an average rate above 3%.”

“This massive differential is impacting negatively on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families around our country and depriving local economy of much needed stimulus.  An Irish borrower, with a 30 year mortgage of €250,000, is paying €1085 per month. This is around €188 per month, equivalent to €2,200 per year and €68,000 over the lifetime of the mortgage, more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.”

“Over the last 10 years, people’s wages have increased very little and we need to focus on reducing the cost of living to ease the pressure on wage inflation. Reducing people’s mortgage repayments is one mechanism to reduce the cost of living.”

“We have been campaigning for mortgage holders, and particularly those in mortgage arrears, for some time now. Since being elected to the Dail, 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 be used to ensure that Irish mortgage holders receive fair treatment when compared to other EU countries.”

“The government must reconsider its opposition to legislation giving more power to the Central Bank to tackle high mortgage rates in light of the most recent statistics.”

“A delegation from the Oireachtas Finance Committee will be meeting officials from the ECB next month and we have placed the issue of high mortgage interest rates on the agenda for discussion,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Outright ban on exploration of Oil and Gas would be counterproductive says O’Rourke

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Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has stated that having an outright ban on exploring Oil and Gas in Ireland would be counterproductive. Deputy O’Rourke was speaking after a presentation was given by the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association to the Oireachtas Climate Change Committee.

“An outright ban on exploring Oil and Gas would be counterproductive to Ireland’s competitiveness, to Ireland’s Energy security, to our ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment, would negatively affect our balance of payments and has the potential to increase the cost of living for our citizens.”

“I fully subscribe to the principle of seeking sustainable and low carbon energy sources. Indeed, Ireland has made significant progress in relation to having a more sustainable energy mix. However, this does not mean that we stop all current methods of securing our energy source and developing our own indigenous energy supplies.”

“Around 90% of Ireland’s energy requirement is supplied by fossil fuels, with over 70% of our requirement being imported. The balance is provided by sustainable mode of energy supply which is increasing but in no way will meet the growing demand of the country’s energy requirements  (electricity, heating, transport) in the future.”

“Currently Corrib Gas provides over half of our gas needs and has resulted in our energy import bill dropping from €4.6 billion to €3.4 billion in 2016. This indigenous gas source provides protection to Ireland against interruption to the supply of imported gas. A replacement for Corrib will be required in the coming years as production declines in order to retain our energy independence and security of supply.”

“Banning exploration in Ireland would significantly increase the risk around energy security.”

“Energy security is a key enabler to attracting FDI, where Kildare has been very successful. It also has the potential to ensure that we have a competitive cost base from the perspective of energy cost.

“Recently the cost of energy has increased and we need to ensure that our future energy mix is balanced to provide Ireland with a competitive and secure supply of energy. An outright ban on Gas and Oil exploration would negatively impact  that objective,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Waiting Lists For Homecare Packages Adversely Impacting on Older People – O’Rourke

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Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke has criticised the Government for failing to properly resource the Home Care Scheme.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after obtaining information which shows that 724 people in the CHO 7 Hospital Group, which includes Kildare, West Wicklow and parts of Dublin, are currently waiting for home care supports.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “It’s unacceptable that so many older people are waiting for access to vital home care supports. These people have already been assessed by the HSE and it has been determined that they need additional home care supports. It’s perfectly clear for all to see that the Government simply isn’t providing the necessary resources to ensure people get access to the home care supports that they need.

“I have raised this issue directly with HSE management and have asked for details on how the waiting list for home care supports will be cleared. The replies that I have received to date leave a lot to be desired as the HSE have made it clear that they do not have the funding needed to meet demand. HSE management have said that the matter is in the hands of the Minister for Health Simon Harris for consideration.

“It makes little sense to delay giving home care supports to people that need them. It goes against the Government’s stated aim of ensuring people can continue living in their home if they so choose to do so. It is also leading to unnecessary overcrowding in our hospitals. There are many older people in hospitals that are ready to be discharged but are unable to return home as the necessary home care supports have not been put in place.

“Minister Harris and his Government colleagues need to ensure that the Home Care Support Scheme is properly resourced. We all know that there are limited resources, but the current situation is only leading to increases costs in the long run due to overcrowding in hospitals and a scarcity of beds in nursing homes,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Contract for National Broadband Plan Has Still Not Been Signed – O’ Rourke

Home wifi network. Internet via router on phone, laptop and tablet pc. 3d

Home wifi network. Internet via router on phone, laptop and tablet pc. 3d

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment to intervene and bring clarity to the roll out of the National Broadband Plan as delays persist in the roll out of broadband connections in rural areas in County Kildare.

“It is time for the Government to outline a timeline for the signing of the contract for the National Broadband Plan, as there is only one company – Enet – left in the running after Eir pulled out of the process earlier this year.”

“The delay in the roll out and the signing of the contract is having a serious impact on the hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses who are still waiting to be connected to the network.”

“My understanding is that more than 13,000 homes and businesses, or 15% of the total, across the county of Kildare fall under “State led intervention” category for roll out of Broadband. Some of these homes and businesses are within a few kilometres of major IT Multinational companies and could face waits for another 3 to 5 years to secure high speed broadband.”

“The Government’s record on broadband provision is disgraceful.  The National Broadband Plan was launched in 2012 and it was due to be completed by 2016. We now hear from the Minister that it could be 2023 before it is fully rolled out nationally.”

“The current impasse cannot be allowed to continue.  The Minister needs to announce a date for the contract to be signed so that the scheme can be rolled out to the areas that need it most” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

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