Category Archives: Naas

News and updates relating to Naas, Co. Kildare.

Kilcock Train Capacity Needs To Be Increased says O’Rourke

railway

Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has again pressed Irish Rail to increase the capacity on the Kilcock rail line, following a meeting earlier this week with Kilcock commuters.

“Iarnrod Eireann recently gave me a commitment that it will review the level of service on the line. Having met with commuters in Kilcock, it is clear that extra services are needed at peak times.”

“In September, the capacity on the 08:01 service from Kilcock to Connolly has been increased to the pre summer level capacity. However, Irish Rail need to increase the fleet and improve the service at peak times, as passenger numbers grow.”

“Irish Rail did confirm to me that they are seeing growth on the Kilcock rail route.”

“A Park and Ride location for bus and rail commuters, which I worked hard to deliver, has now been agreed for Kilcock.  Kilcock is now included in the Shop Hop Zone for rail commuters which had the effect of reducing the fares for commuters, and the Leap reader is now installed at Kilcock Rail Station. All of these events, combined with the increased number of people living in Kilcock, are leading to increased demand on the rail and bus services.”

“We must improve the public transport capacity for Kilcock commuters. Travelling to Dublin by car is becoming increasingly less attractive and we must provide viable options for commuters. The bus service recently experienced some disruption and I am working with all concerned to get the matter resolved, and we are making progress,”  concluded Deputy O’Rourke after meeting with Kilcock commuters.

Government Should Provide Legal Aid To All Those Affected by Tracker Mortgage Scandal says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, says the Government must do more to secure a better deal for mortgage holders from banks operating in Ireland and should provide legal aid to those that are currently in dispute with the banks in relation to the tracker mortgage scandal.

“The latest examples of bank customers caught up in the tracker mortgage scandal, reports that profits in banks here are three times the EU norm and the interest rates that the banks charge their customers in Ireland are the highest in the EU, are all examples of the how the banks operating here are not giving their customers fair play.”

“As I said earlier this year, for example, the interest rate on all new mortgages, fixed and variable, stood at 3.3% in June compared to a Euro area rate of 1.83%. This means that a borrower with a mortgage of €200,000 is paying €250 per month more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.”

“It appears that those that are affected by the mortgage scandal may have to go to the courts to secure fair play.  If they do, then the Government should provide legal aid to them to ensure that legal fees are not an obstacle to securing what they are entitled to” stated Deputy O’Rourke after speaking on the issue in the Dail.

“I welcome the initiative from MEP Brian Hayes to ask the EU to investigate Irish banks over the tracker scandal, having made a complaint to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.”

“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 address the latest bank scandals,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke who spoke on the issue in Dail Eireann this week.

Pension Inequality Must Be Dealt With says O’Rourke

Senioren sitzen auf Muenzstapel

Fianna Fail’s Local TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to review the gap in State Pension pay between men and women, which is currently unfair, and a road map should be proposed for dealing with this inequality.

“The current State Pension Scheme affects women’s ability to qualify for the State Pension. I understand that currently only 16% of women qualify for the full pension and are receiving around €35 less per week in their pensions.”

“The 2012 band changes, made by the previous Government, to how State Contributory Pensions are calculated have had a detrimental effect on over 35,000 people, including 23,000 women.”

“Time taken out of the workforce and careers, by women, to care for their children or their loved ones, is time lost paying into a pension. This is an unfair situation.”

“I have received many calls to my constituency office in relation to this issue. The Government must now set out a road map to end this unfair situation. The desired impact of our Dail motion last week is quite clear – equality of treatment between men and women in relation to pension contributions.”

“There is now an urgent need to provide an incremental pathway to address the pension anomalies through the Social Insurance Fund. Men and women should be treated equally in terms of their State Pension payment. I will continue to liaise with my colleague Deputy Willie O’Dea our Spokesperson on Social Affairs on this issue,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Government Must Do More for Mortgage Holders says O’Rourke

tracker_mortgage

Local Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, says the Government must do more to secure a better deal for mortgage holders, from banks operating in Ireland.

“The latest examples of bank customers caught up in the tracker mortgage scandal, reports that profits in banks here are three times the EU norm and the interest rates that the banks charge their customers in Ireland are the highest in the EU, are all examples of the how the banks operating here are not giving their customers fair play.”

“As I said earlier this year, for example, the interest rate on all new mortgages, fixed and variable, stood at 3.3% in June compared to a euro area rate of 1.83%. This means that a borrower with a mortgage of €200,000 is paying €250 per month more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“We hear a lot about helping those that get up early in the morning, however, we must put more focus on reducing the cost of living. If banks gave their Irish mortgage holders a fairer deal, their cost of living would be reduced and more money would be available for the local economy.”

“Around 13,000 customers were left on the wrong interest rate, and over 100 lost their homes as a result of the banks failure to place them on the correct mortgage rate. The banks treatment of these customers is nothing short of scandalous. It is simply not acceptable, and the Government must adopt a stronger stance with the banks.”

“We have been campaigning for mortgage holders, and particularly those in mortgage arrears, for some time now. Since my election last year, I have worked with our Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, to keep a focus on their concerns.”

“The Central Bank revealed at the Oireachtas Committee a number of disturbing features of the approach taken by banks to the tracker mortgage scandal. This together with the higher interest rates charged to Irish customers, must be dealt with by the banks. The time for persuasion is over.  All of the instruments available to the Government and the Central Bank must be used to address these scandals,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Government Must Seek EU Funds Post Ophelia Damages says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, and Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to seek funds through the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the post Hurricane Ophelia works.

 “Given the huge amount of damage inflicted by Hurricane Ophelia across the country, in my view the Government is entitled to seek funds under the rules of the scheme.”

“The EU Solidarity Fund was first set up in 2002. It was designed to assist Member States deal with the aftermath and clean-up operations necessary following natural disasters. Applications to access this funding need to be made within 12 weeks of damage occurring.”

 “Estimates to-date indicate €1bn’s worth of damage could have been caused throughout Ireland. The Government needs to direct local authorities, and other state agencies, to calculate the total cost of the damage and immediately apply to the EU for funding.”

“Kildare did not get the worst of the effects of the storm, however, from a national perspective, if there are resources available from the EU as a result of the damage cause by the storm, then we should secure them,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Supports for Older People in Budget 2018 – says O’Rourke – as more focus on reducing the cost of living required.

Doctor holding a senior patiens 's hand on a walking stick - special medical care concept for Alzheimer 's syndrome.

Fianna Fáil’s Kildare North TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that his party’s footprint in relation to supports for older people has been demonstrated in the range of measures included in Budget 2018.

“We have secured a €5 per week increase in the State Pension, an extra week of Fuel Allowance, the Telephone Allowance for older people is to be brought back from October 2018 and a new €2.50 weekly allowance to adults living on their own” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“In terms of the health service, there will be additional funding for home care packages. I know from my clinics the increased requirement for home care packages, as we try and assist older people live in their own homes. I had raised these issues prior to the budget and I am delighted that we have made some progress.”

“We ensured that fairness was put centre stage in Budget 2018. Last year, was the first progressive budget in 6 years; a fact admitted by the Taoiseach himself. Fianna Fail’s influence over budgetary policy, through its supply and confidence agreement, is greater than that of the Labour’s party influence while in Government. We successfully moved Fine Gael away from their focus on reducing the higher rate of income tax.”

“This wasn’t a perfect budget, but the direction of the Budget, in terms of lower income families and older people, was much fairer because of our influence,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke who has urged the Government to put more focus on reducing the cost of living between Budgets.

More Bus Eireann Drivers needed says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called for extra drivers to be recruited for Bus Eireann, given the ‘on/off’ service that now seems to be developing for Kilcock Bus commuters. Deputy O’Rourke is meeting with senior management of Bus Eireann to discuss the situation.

“Recently, a number of bus services, in particular, on Route 115 servicing Kilcock, have been cancelled at short notice. Sufficient notice is not being given to commuters. This is leading to people standing at bus stops waiting for buses that have effectively been cancelled.”

“Over the last two years, I have worked hard to secure additional Bus Eireann services for areas like Kilcock and Clane. We are making progress and given the increase in population, we need to provide additional services for these areas.”

“I understand that the cancellations arise from disgruntlement, mainly as a result of new rostering systems within Bus Eireann.”

“In my view, we need more Bus Eireann drivers. Many commuters are now not able to get public transport to get to college or work. We need to develop more of a culture of public transport and having a reliable and regular public transport service will encourage more people to use the service.”

“I have requested a meeting with senior management of Bus Eireann to discuss the situation on behalf of Kilcock Bus commuters. I will continue my campaign for better public transport services,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Budget 2018 DART set for Maynooth and Hazelhatch –says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has said that the Department of Transport has been allocated €680million to be spent on the improvement of the rail networks in Ireland between now and 2021.

“Given the increase in population, we need to ensure that we are future proofing our public transport infrastructure. Since being elected, I have relentlessly fought for increased public transport services.”

“Kilcock and Naas rail commuters are benefiting from lower fare structures, since both stations are now included in the short hop zones.”

“We have had some success; there are plans for a Park & Ride facility in Kilcock to be located near the Lidl side. There has been increased frequency for bus services in Kilcock and we need to secure additional services for the 120 route servicing Clane and Prosperous.”

“The Budget does bring the electrification of the Maynooth rail line closer to a reality. As I mentioned earlier this year, the electrification of the Kildare Line to Hazelhatch is also on the agenda and was captured in the multi-annual allocations to the Department of Transport.”

“This is part of the DART Expansion Programme, and we need to ensure that these two projects secure the adequate funding. The budget allocation will assist in relation to the project,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke. 

Increase In The Number of Special Needs Assistants a Welcome Move says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the increased resources for Special Education in the Budget, as Fianna Fail negotiated hard for increased resources for education through the confidence and supply agreement.

“Last year I organised a public meeting in relation to Special Needs Education. I have worked hard to ensure that more resources are allocated to special needs education. This budget delivers an additional 1,091 Special Needs Assistants, bringing the number to over 15,000, with a total investment in special education of just short of €1.7bn.”

“Delays in deciding the allocation of SNAs for September means that assistants and school principals were left “in limbo” due to this delay. Principals were not in a position to tell assistants if they have a job for the next school year. This has to stop and SNA allocations need to be completed at an earlier stage”  stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“Nearly 1,300 new teaching posts are also to be provided in schools in 2018. This will bring the pupil teacher ratio to 26:1. I also welcome the fact that 10 NEPS psychologists will be recruited in 2018. Last month, I highlighted the requirement for increased resources in this area and, following my representations, I received confirmation that a primary care psychologist was to be appointed to Kildare.”

“The North Kildare area has a growing population with increased demands for education, both in terms of teachers and school buildings. I will be fighting to ensure that Kildare receives its fair share of the education resources and that its growing population is captured when these resources are being allocated,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Brexit Funds Available for Food Exporting Business – says O’Rourke – but more supports needed

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the budget proposal for a €300m Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) loan scheme for businesses exposed to the UK market. It will give an opportunity for Kildare based exporting companies to the UK to secure funds to assist with the challenges of Brexit.

“A loan scheme of up to €300 million will be available at competitive interest rates to SMEs, including our food businesses, given their unique exposure to the UK market, to help them with their short-term working capital needs.”

“We need more detail on this proposed scheme, however any affordable capital to help businesses meet the challenges of Brexit is welcome. It must be seen in context. Based on the recently leaked Revenue report on Brexit, 91,000 companies will be affected. This fund of €300m would provide less than €3,300 per company. This will not be enough.”

“We need to be more ambitious. It appears to me that the Government has ‘stage fright’ in relation to Brexit and are waiting for the EU to take the lead. We are part of the EU, and we need to be centre stage in relation to solving our Brexit challenges rather than waiting for others to solve them.”

“Our Government needs to make the case strongly in Europe to represent Ireland’s businesses that are exposed to Brexit. No other country in the EU is exposed to the same scale as Ireland is. We need to provide funding not just for short term needs, but on terms that allows firms access to affordable capital for the years ahead, to assist in maintain their UK markets and develop new markets.”

“Kildare food based companies, who have developed a strong brand and large markets, particularly in the UK, need to be supported and I will continue to ensure that their concerns are highlighted.”