The Weekly Cavan Voice, 43rd Electronic Edition
Welcome to 43rd edition of the Cavan Voice. I hope that you are continuing to enjoy my updates.
Kindest Regards and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Joe O’Reilly TD
A few weeks ago, four school projects in Cavan received a really wonderful funding boost.
The four projects were;
The Holy Family School, Cootehill: I was delighted to learn that the Holy Family School project was given the official go ahead, by Minister O’Sullivan, to being the construction of their new school next year. This is truly excellent news for a very worthwhile project. As anyone living in this area will tell you, the current school is by no means fit for purpose and a new school is something that was on the cards for a long time. The Holy Family School plays a very important role in the lives of so many pupils and parents, living in this area and it is only right that they are able to go to school in a building, suitable for their needs. This truly was wonderful news.
Kingscourt Secondary School: The commitment given for a new Secondary School for Kingscourt by Minister O’Sullivan was extremely welcome news for Kingscourt residents. We have a situation where 600 children leave the town every morning, to go to school in Carrickmacross, Bailieborough and Nobber. This could not continue. Since this Government came into power in 2011, more work has been done to progress this project than was every done in the past 20 years. I am happy to learn that construction will begin on the school next year and that Kingscourt will finally have the Secondary School they deserve.
New Third Level Campus for Cavan Town: I was thrilled to hearthat the Minister for Education sanctioned funding for the construction of a new Third Level Campus for Cavan Town, under the 2016-2021 Schools Building Project. Cavan Institute was established in 1985 and started out with only 65 students and 5 teachers. Since then, it has grown, under the leadership of Ms Annmarie Lacey, to catering for over 1300 students and 100 teachers. Such was the success of the Institute, the original building was unable to cater for so many students and the ETB have rented units in the Town, to deal with the overspill. Obviously this was not something that could be seen to be an ideal long-term plan. Well done to Martin O’Brien, CEO of Cavan/Monaghan ETB and all of his staff on the hard work they put into the application for funding. This is a flagship project for the County and it will really put the Town on the map, bringing our Third Level Institute in line with other Institutes of Education, across the Country.
St Clare’s National School, Cavan Town: St Clare’s National School in Cavan Town was built and opened in 1969, has a staff of 30 teachers and assistants and caters for almost 500 children in Cavan Town. I was pleased to learn that they will also being construction on their new school next year.
All of this is great news for our County and for the teachers, parents and pupils of each of these schools. This type of investment is very welcome as it means a boost to our local construction sector. Construction means jobs, which means an increase in revenue into the County. This was really a good news day for Cavan.
Regional Action Plan for Jobs
Two weeks ago, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, launched the North East/West Regional Action Plan for Jobs. This Action Plan is the 6th of 8 regional jobs plans to be published over the coming months, as part of a new €250million regional jobs strategy. Since the 2012 Action Plan for Jobs 20,000 extra jobs have been created over the region resulting in a thirty per cent reduction in joblessness. This Regional specific Action Plan is aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in this region, over the coming years.
The emphasis in this plan will be on the Agri- Food, Tourism, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Digital Sectors, which are traditionally strong sectors for this region. I welcome the commitment from the Minster that there will also be an emphasis put on training and upskilling in each of these areas and to cross-border initiative and cooperation.
€29,658,617 in Basic Payments for Cavan Farmers
This month I welcomed the news that so far this year, €29,658,617 in Basic Payments was paid to 4,414 or 95.73% of Cavan farmers.
This money is essential to support agriculture and farming families in Cavan. Basic Farm Payments are also key to supporting the local economy as farmers can spend this money with local suppliers and in small businesses. The food industry in Ireland is worth €26 billion and directly employs 170,000 people. Farmers are at the centre of this and it is essential that we offer every support possible. For two successive budgets farming agri-taxation measures have played a central part in the Budget.
This Government has prioritised agriculture and makes no apology for that. The agri-food sector has been essential in driving the recovery and is playing a major role as we work to keep the recovery going in Cavan and in all parts of the country.
Dairy Aid Package good deal for Cavan and Monaghan Dairy Farmers
In September, the European Commission sanctioned funding for the provision of aid (in the form of one-off grant payments) to Member States, as part of its recent announcement on a special dairy-aid package. Ireland has been granted an allocation of €13.7m from an overall fund of €420m and Minister Coveney has already confirmed that the EU package will be paid out before the end of the year. With the finer details only confirmed late last week, I am pleased to learn that the Government will 100% co-finance the €13.7m of funding Ireland has already received. It is projected that the Department will pay out some €25m of the dairy package this year.
I further understand that two types of payments will be on offer to our dairy farmers; a €1,380 lump sum for all dairy farmers and an €800 top up for young farmers. In September, at the height of volatility in the dairy market, I called on Commissioner Hogan to intervene in support of the Dairy Farmers in Cavan and Monaghan. I was pleased to see the allocation of this special fund for our dairy farmers. With Christmas drawing in, I was happy to learn that the Minister intends on getting the payment out before the holidays draw in.
Speaking in the Dáil
I recently spoke on two very important pieces of legislation in the Dáil.
1. Mental Health Amendment Bill.
This is a very short, but important Bill. It seeks to amend the Mental Health Act 2001, ensuring that Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) cannot be administered to a patient who is capable, but unwilling to give his/her consent to such a treatment. There are strong views for and against the practice of ECT, with some believing it to be a necessary treatment option for severe depression and others who feel it is outdated and should be banned altogether. Even though this Bill does not deal with the banning of this treatment, it did open up the debate about mental health treatment in this country, which is something we that I believe needs further debate.
2. Criminal Justice Bill
This Bill amends the Bail Act 1997 and will now mean that if a person is charged with burgling a house and it is found that they were arrested and convicted in the past for similar offences, then the Court will now be able to not grant bail to such a person. The likelihood of someone, with a history of burglary offences, not continuing to reoffend when they are released on bail, is high and I was pleased to see this Bill go through the House. Through my research on this Bill, I found that 60% of people, convicted with burglary, reoffended in some way within three years.
Burglary has a very serious and lasting effect on its victims. As anyone who has the misfortune to be burgled will tell you, the feelings of intrusion and fear can last for a long time. I was glad to see legislation being put in place to make it harder for repeat offenders to re-offend.
Super Draw 2015
This year was, once again, a phenomenal year for Cavan/Monaghan. The constituency topped the poll of the most Superdraw tickets sold.
The winners for Cavan/Monghan were;
€1,000 Stephanie McKiernan
Constituency Bonus : €250 Cash – Kathleen Keoghan
Christmas Hamper- Patsy O’Callaghan
Christmas Hamper- Martin Gaffney
Christmas Hamper- Niall McCaul
Christmas Hamper- Helen Duffy
Christmas Hamper- Aine Rafferty
Christmas Hamper-Peter Linden
Christmas Hamper- Ballyconnell Branch Fine Gael
Christmas Hamper- Patrick, Lorraine & Catriona Hyland
Christmas Hamper- Cavan & Monaghan Executive Fine Gael
Christmas Hamper- Cavan County Executive Fine Gael
Well done to all the winners.
A special note of thanks also to our Co-Ordinator, Mr Terry Argue, who really did a sterling job over the past few weeks. Terry has a real winning touch and I was proud to see Cavan/Monaghan once again top the poll, a credit to Terry, all the sellers and to everyone who bought a ticket this year.
I am very lucky to have a strong and incredibly hard-working election campaign team around me, led by my Director of Elections, Mr Kevin Kiernan. This excellent team is working hard, in conjunction with our Councillors, Party Officers, Party members and volunteers, in the run up to the Election.
So far we have completed numerous leaflet drops, covering every Town and most of the rural areas in Cavan. They ran a very successful fundraiser event in October, with An Taoiseach as guest of honour, held a canvasser training day and a social media training day. They really are a great support and I look forward to working with them in 2016.
Special thanks also to all who have helped in any way over the past year, it is deeply appreciated. I hope that all of our members and friends will be able to do what they can before polling day.
A very Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for your continued support this year. Christmas is a time for family and friends and a time to relax and enjoy each others company. If you know of any neighbour or family member who is alone this Christmas, I would urge you to take some time to call in to see them and check to see that they are doing ok. This is especially important for those who are elderly and living alone.
With every good wish for a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year!
You know you are always welcome to be in touch on a personal or community issue.
My contact details are:
Tel: 01 6183721 Fax: 01 6184601
Constituency Office Address
Teach Fine Gael
11 Rossa Place,
Tel/Fax: 049 4365853