Category Archives: Prosperous

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

vulture_funds

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

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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

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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.

Commitment to Additional Rail Fleet which is Needed to Improve Rail Service says O’Rourke.

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has been informed that the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Irish Rail have agreed to review their Rail Fleet capacity in light of the increased demand on our rail services at peak times.

“Since being elected, I have made repeated representations to have the level of service improved on both our rail and bus routes for commuters in North Kildare.”

“While we have received a commitment that there will be an increase off peak services on both the Maynooth and Kildare Lines, we need increased capacity at peak times. However Irish Rail’s fleet is now at maximum capacity at peak times.”

“Following my representations, I have been informed that the NTA and Irish Rail will review their fleet capacity with a view to seeking investment in additional new fleet. I am hopeful that the procurement of the new fleet, which will increase the train capacity at peak times, will commence this year.”

“We are making progress in relation to our public transport; better bus services are on the way, a Park & Ride is to be provided in Kilcock and an orbital bus route from Naas to Blanchardstown servicing Clane, Rathcoffey and Maynooth will be in place by the end of March.”

“As travelling to Dublin City Centre is becoming more challenging by car, we need to provide additional public transport services. I will continue to make representations to have further improvements put in place,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Additional Home Care Supports Needed to Resolve Overcrowding Crises – O’Rourke

– Older people stuck in hospital due to lack of home care supports –

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Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke TD says the Government needs to focus on making additional home care packages available to older people in order to resolve the hospital overcrowding crisis.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after receiving new information which shows that 589 people over the age of 75 were stuck on trolleys in Naas General Hospital in 2017.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “One of the key problems in hospitals right across the country is the lack of home care supports to help older people to return to their own homes. Many older people are stuck in hospital wards and are unable to return home after receiving the all-clear from their consultants due to the delays in sanctioning home care packages. This is a serious problem which is exacerbating the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.

“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. The HSE’s Service Plan for 2017 failed to put in place any additional home help hours and this put severe pressure on families and led to increased level of overcrowding in hospitals.

“Fianna Fáil raised this in the Dáil before Christmas and highlighted the need for additional home care supports to be put in place for older people. Demand for home help hours is projected to increase by between 38% and 54% by 2030. Additional investment will be required in home help care to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and ageing population.

“There is also a problem with the processing of Home Adaptation Grants. Many older people who are ready to leave hospital are unable to do so as their home is not suitable for them to live in. Often works need to be carried out to make their home safe for them to return to, such as putting in place ramps and handrails to make the home more accessible along with bathroom changes to make them safe to use. The current delay in processing grants for these adaptation works need to be resolved.

“Fine Gael need to get to grips with the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals. It’s clear that additional home care supports are needed to help people return to their own homes. Fine Gael need to put in place a plan to achieve the rollout of additional home care packages,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Progress for Pedestrians over Liffey Bridge in Celbridge says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O Rourke, has been informed that a consultant has been appointed to carry out a feasibility study on the options available for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Liffey Bridge and to select one.  “The National Transport Authority (NTA) have informed me that a consultant, Clifton Scannell and  Emerson Associates have been appointed to undertake a feasibility study which will identify the potential options to address the issues for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Liffey Bridge and recommend a preferred option.”

“I believe that the consultant will have their work completed by the end of Quarter 1 this year. I have made representations to provide a safer option for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridge and I am delighted that we are now seeing progress.”

“I am confident that a preferred option will be identified by April 2018 and there will be a public consultation process undertaken in relation to whatever proposal emerges from this study.”

“I will keep in touch with all stakeholders to ensure that we get a solution implemented as soon as possible. A safer route is needed for pedestrians and cyclists.”

“I will also keep the pressure on to secure funding for a second bridge in Celbridge. Last month, I was informed that Kildare County Council is to appoint a consultant, following the tender process, whose function will be to carry out a capital appraisal assessment for the construction of a new bridge in Celbridge,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

NTA Letter

Supports for Older People in 2018 Up – a key requirement under Confidence and Supply Agreement says O’Rourke

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Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has welcomed the supports for older people that are coming into effect this year as a result of Budget 2018, a key requirement of the supply and confidence agreement with the Government.

“Medical Card holders are charged for prescribed medicines and other items that one get on prescription from pharmacies. From 1 January this year, the prescription charge is €2.00 for each item that is dispensed under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €20 per month per person or family.”

“Older people are highly dependent on the State Pension and the vast majority rely on social welfare payments to protect them from poverty. I welcome the proposed €5 increase to the weekly State Pension, from end of March next, and we must continue our campaign to ensure that further improvements are provided.”

“The Fuel Allowance was increased and the Telephone Allowance was partially restored. We campaigned for all 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. 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. Caring for our older people must always be centre stage when considering our social affairs budget,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Funding Available for Food Hub Designation says O’Rourke

food_hubFianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has repeatedly called on the Government to designate Naas and the surrounding area as a Food Hub, given the significant number of food companies based in Kildare. Deputy O’Rourke has now received a reply to a Parliamentary Question indicating that funding is available under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to support such a proposal.

“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. The 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.”

 “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.”

“In the reply I received from the Minister for Enterprise Jobs and Innovation, the Regional Enterprise Development Fund allows us to drive growth in key sectors or geographies across the country. While there is no Government plan to formally designate Naas as a Food Hub, we are backing local and regional stakeholders to drive the future of their own communities by supporting their innovative proposals which will help to deliver job creation and sustainable employment.”

 “This I believe, could provide a window of opportunity if all stakeholders came together and made such a proposal.”

“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. I will continue to campaign to have Kildare designated as a Food Hub,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

Central Bank Making Progress on Tracker Mortgages – O’Rourke

 – As pressure continues to get fairer variable rates

Investment concept

 

New figures reveal the true scale of the tracker mortgage scandal, with the estimate of affected customers increased by 13,600, bringing the overall total to date to 33,700 according to local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke.

 “New information released by the Central Bank shows that the overall customers affected by the tracker mortgage scandal is now 33,700 an increase of 13,600 on what was previously reported.”

“The real story behind the latest figures is that the Central Bank had to flex its muscles to force the lenders to reveal the latest figures. I welcome the stronger approach being adopted by the Central Bank and together with Michael McGrath, our Finance Spokesperson, I had called for the Central Bank to be more aggressive in its approach with the banks. This approach is paying dividends,” stated Deputy O’Rourke.

“We must ensure that priority is given to ensure that all customers affected get the justice they deserve.”

“We must not lose sight of the higher variable rates that are charged in Ireland. 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%.”

“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.”

“As I have said in the Dail, mortgage rates in Ireland remain dramatically out of line with EU norms and must be addressed. We have pressed, and have had some success, for the extension of mortgage relief for those that bought their homes during the peak of the boom, however, we must now focus on the variable rates that are being charged by Irish banks,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.