Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bruton launches new €10million International Start-Up Fund to draw overseas entrepreneurs to Ireland

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today [Thursday] launched a €10million International Start-Up Fund, aimed at encouraging overseas entrepreneurs to locate start-up businesses in Ireland:

· The fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will be open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but will be targeted particularly at the Irish diaspora, international expatriates, the “New Diaspora” (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs
· Key geographical targets will include North America, UK, Europe and Australia
· Key target sectors include Internet, Games, Cloud Computing, Medtech and Financial Services sectors
· The fund will target investor-ready projects seeking between €200,000 and €500,000
· Funding will be in the form of an equity stake taken by the State in the company

To support the marketing of the fund overseas Enterprise Ireland will be appointing a number of high profile successful Irish entrepreneurs to act as International Start Up Ambassadors. Dylan Collins, one of the most experienced Internet entrepreneurs in Europe, is one of the first to accept the role of fund Ambassador.

Announcing the fund, Minister Bruton said:

“This Government’s ambition is not only to turn the country around and get employment growing again, but to once again create a dynamic economy that is the envy of the world and has over two million people at work.

“This will not be easy, but one key strand of our new industrial strategy will be to create a genuine indigenous engine of growth. As I have said before, our ambition must not only be to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but we must also seek to grow the next Google or Microsoft in Ireland. Indigenous companies provide proportionally more than three times more benefit to the Irish economy than multinational companies.

“Today’s announcement is a direct intervention by government to create more start-up companies here. Across the world, many of the start-up companies which go on to succeed and create jobs are driven by people within a small class of mobile, innovative, serial entrepreneurs. What the Irish Government is saying very clearly today to the international technology community gathered in Dublin is – come and start your company in Ireland, we are open for business, and we will support you”.

“There is no reason why Ireland should not be a global centre for international start-ups. We already have a growing number of mobile start-ups locating here, and with strong Government supports, a business-friendly environment, a deep pool of skills as well as all the benefits that come with a base of multinational companies that is the envy of the world”.

Commenting on the new initiative Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive said:

‘Stimulating the flow of new High Potential Start-Ups and supporting their growth are fundamental building blocks in Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for economic growth and job creation. We want mobile entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Ireland and to see Enterprise Ireland as their dedicated partner.

‘The addition of the €10m fund provides a core offering around which the rest of our overseas entrepreneurship marketing and promotion efforts will be centred. The attraction of overseas entrepreneurs to Ireland is an important opportunity to expand our start up activity and they will significantly add to the diversity and skill-base of the Irish start up community’.

Dylan Collins, Irish serial entrepreneur who has established highly successful companies in various countries, said:

“I am delighted to be the first international ambassador for this start up fund. It’s an excellent way to build on Ireland’s position as one of the leading startup hubs in Europe. If you’re in a startup anywhere in the world which has international ambition, you need to come and talk to us right now”.

Louis Ravenet, a serial US entrepreneur who earlier this year set up his company 2PaperDolls in Ireland, commented on what motivated him to move his business to Ireland:

“Ireland has a number of advantages for an early-stage business - it’s efficient, highly networked, co-operative and it is extremely refreshing that there isn’t a ‘hold cards close to the chest’ attitude here. 2PaperDolls is growing and we have found skilled software developers in good supply in the Irish market. And from a cost perspective, Ireland is a great place to do business - you have the low corporate tax rate and it’s inexpensive compared to other world-class capital cities for office space, housing, schools and getting around”.

To find out more about the International Start Up Fund and Ireland as a location for your business visit: www.startinireland.com

To apply for the fund contact:
Start in Ireland Enquiry Desk, Tel: +353 1 7272140, startinireland@enterprise-ireland.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

30th Amendment to the Constitution

This Thursday, October 27th, when the nation will choose a new President, you will also be asked to vote on two important referenda which would change the wording of our Constitution.

You will be asked whether or not you feel the Irish parliament should be given stronger powers to investigate matters of public importance. This will put a new system in place that is quicker and much more cost-effective than the lengthy tribunals that we have seen drag on for years in the past.

In 2002, a Supreme Court judgement in the Abbeylara Case found that there was legal doubt regarding the power of the Oireachtas – that is the Dáil and the Seanad - to carry out inquiries. The Government believes this must be addressed to ensure accountability in public life, which has been seriously lacking in recent times.

If passed, the 30th Amendment to the Constitution (Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries) Bill, 2011, will strengthen our democracy so that inquiries in the public interest can be carried out in our national parliament. These sort of investigative powers are already the norm in other parliaments across the world.

It will provide a transparent and effective alternative which will mean that those responsible for failures which have cost the public dearly can be held properly to account.

I firmly believe that those who have failed the public dearly should be held to account. A system of stronger Oireachtas investigation would provide a transparent and effective alternative to tribunals. Fine Gael wants to strengthen the power of parliament to act on behalf of the people to secure accountability in our society in areas where significant systemic failures have taken place. A ‘Yes’ vote will ensure that this happens.

Inquiries will be fairly conducted, clearly defined and carried out in a cost-efficient way and any attempt to harm the constitutional rights and liberties of the individual, as has been suggested by some, will be rigorously safeguarded against. Under the proposed new system, fair procedures must be abided.

This referendum will not to serve the Government of the day or any one particular party-political agenda. In the spirit of the current Committee system, it will provide for a cross-party parliamentary system of inquiry which will ensure that matters of general public importance that come to light can be subjected to full investigation and rigorous inquiry. We want a system whereby costs are reduced and all parties work together to investigate key issues affecting the people of Ireland.

I believe that for too long people who have let this country down have not been held accountable for their actions. A ‘Yes’ vote on the 27th will ensure that we can get to the bottom of the issues closest to people’s hearts and build a more open, transparent and inclusive society for all. Through the banking crisis and our economic demise, spending scandals in the public service and the arrival of the IMF, many people rightly felt that questions have gone unanswered. We now have a chance to get answers to these questions.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ashbourne Badminton Club FUNDRAISER


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Doherty Criticises Banks for Indignation over Possibility of Regulation

Meath East TD, Regina Doherty has this week criticised those within the banking sector who have hit out at the statement made by Financial Regulator, Matthew Elderfield, late last week.

In the wake of the request by the Financial Regulator for banks to cease raising interest rates on customers’ variable rate mortgages and the threatened action if they fail to comply with this request, members of the banking sector have come out to say that it would be unfair to impose such policy and restrictions on them.

Deputy Regina Doherty is incredulous “When, in their eyes, is the right time to regulate their sector? It seems to me that the banking sector believe themselves above regulation.”

The Deputy goes further to say “People in this country are paying for banking mistakes of the past. We are paying for the reckless lending and irresponsibility of those who acted without thought from 2003 onwards.”

“The audacity of those from within the sector who have gone on public record to state that the banks need to ‘recoup their losses’ and that regulating interest rates would limit this amazes me. They are no longer in a position to dictate to policy makers or people of this country. It is time that responsibility was accepted and they realise that changes need to be made. They owe the people of Ireland, who have bailed them out, that much.”

Tourism is doing its part to aid our recovery

Deputy Regina Doherty, TD for Meath East believes that tourism is doing its part to aid Ireland’s recovery. This statement comes as today with the publication of CSO figures on overseas travel from the period January 2011 to August 2011.

Deputy Doherty says “these figures show an increase of 11% in the number of visitor to Ireland in comparison to this time in 2010. 4.5million people visited Ireland within the first eight months of this year, this is huge, it is the biggest growth within the industry since 2007.”

Deputy Doherty points out that “We have had a fantastic year in terms of tourist ‘attractions’. Nationally we had President Obama’s visit and the Visit by the Queen. But locally, in County Meath, as well as having our heritage sites which the OPW allowed free access to the first Wednesday of every month over the summer period, we had our own tourism attractions, like the Solhiem Cup in Kileen Castle.

“The reduction of VAT rates for restaurants etc. to 9%, the halving of employer PRSI for those on modest wages and the introduction of the tourist visa waiver are just a few initiatives by Government which added to the success of the tourism industry so far this year.”

“I am excited for the future plans announced by the Minister for Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD at the Global Irish Forum, to launch a year-long national arts and event programme for 2013-The Gathering. I hope that this too will have the same positive effect of the last number of months. I also very much look forward to seeing what we as residents of Meath can contribute to this year-long festival which is hoped will attract and additional 300,000 visitors.”

Doherty Welcomes Government Plans to Tackle Alcohol Misuse

Deputy Regina Doherty TD welcomes the announcement made this week by Minster Roisín Shorthall, that the Government will be developing a National Substance Misuse Strategy to incorporate drugs and alcohol over the coming months. This announcement by Government was made at the opening of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs seminar where the impact on children of parental misuse of drugs and alcohol was discussed.

Deputy Doherty very much welcomes the move to tackle the abuse and over consumption of alcohol in Ireland.

“The issues of the misuse and abuse of alcohol is huge in this country. We need to fundamentally change the way in which we see alcohol in order to educate future generations. The reduced sale price and the ready availability of alcohol contribute greatly to the abuse which exists in this country.”

“I 100% believe that there needs to be stricter regulation on the sale and consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, and should be treated as such. If we continue down the path of this misuse, it will cost us dearly in the future in terms of our health, the health of our children. Already we have seen that roughly one in eleven children in Ireland live with a parent who had alcohol problems.”

“As a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, I very much look forward to the meeting next week where there will be a discussion on Alcohol Marketing from the Youth addiction perspective led by Tabor Lodge and Fellowship House. I am determined, as a member of the internal and external health committees to work hard in order to tackle these issues head-on.”

Doherty Welcomes Eirgrid Road Improvements in Advance of the Winter Months

Meath East Deputy, Regina Doherty TD, warmly welcomes news from Eirgrid that repairs will be carried out on roads in the Dunshauglin District in advance of the winter months.

“This news, from Eirgrid comes as somewhat of a surprise but welcome one” says Doherty.

“Originally, the agreement with Eirgrid was that repairs and resurfacing would be carried out when all works on the East West Interconnector project were completed in the area. It has since been realised that many sections of road in the Dushaughlin District are in such bad state that it would be counterproductive and dangerous to leave them in this state for the winter months.”

Repairs will be carried out in various locations along the Eirgrid route which include Elgarstown, Ballymore, Lagore Little & Flemmingtown and are due to be commence out immediately.

“I am pleased that Eirgrid have realised that these repairs are necessary and that road users and residents alike will have peace of mind when driving on them during the winter months.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Health Committee concludes its examination of the issue of non-consultant hospital doctors

The Health Committee has today, Thursday, 20th October completed its examination of the issue to non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD’s). The Committee identified this issue as one of its key priority areas for investigation. Over the last three weeks the various stakeholders have come before the Committee to discuss this issue.

During the three week consultative process the Committee heard from James Reilly, TD, Minister for Health together with representatives from the Health Service Executive, Medical Council, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.

Speaking after today’s meeting, Regina Doherty, TD said: “NCHD’s play a pivotal and vital role in the delivery of our nation's health service. They work long hours in sometimes difficult conditions and we must as a priority focus on a permanent solution to the issue of recruiting and retaining NCHD’s. It is clear that we must strive to retain Irish doctors at home, improve the training structure and provide a clear and defined career path for our young doctors.”

Meath Partnerships Older Persons Survey happening now

Meath Partnership Older Persons Survey Volunteers will be taking to the roads over the next 3 weeks. They will be calling to random houses throughout the county and asking people over 55 to complete a survey. The survey, which is being carried out in collaboration with Active Retirement Ireland, seeks to establish the level of satisfaction with services and facilities available to older people in Meath. It will also look at other issues that impact on the lives of over 55’s in the county. ‘It is hoped that this study will play a major role in the introduction of the ‘Age Friendly County’ Initiative to County Meath’ says Meath Partnership’s Kay O Connor. ‘It’s important that with the ageing population nationwide, provisions are put in place to cater for the specific needs of people as they age’. Meath Partnership has given a commitment to act on the results of the survey. ‘The findings of the survey will go a long way in informing us on funding priorities in the future.’

‘Over the last few months our team of researchers has been working with an advisory panel of older people from all over the county. The panels’ advice and direction has helped to ensure that the survey questions are relevant, sensitive and that the survey itself is carried out in the most appropriate way possible.’ Meath Partnership hopes to gather responses from over 500 older people across the county. Kay is urging everyone approached to take part. ‘We have also recruited over 70 older volunteers. They will spend the next 3 weeks going around to houses in County Meath to complete the questionnaire with people aged 55 and over. The volunteers will be knocking on people’s doors during daylight hours over the 3 week period. The questionnaires can be completed on the doorstep or can be left with the person to be collected at a later time. The volunteers have been told not to enter the person’s house unless they are invited to do so as it is not necessary to go inside.’ The surveyors can be easily identified by photographic ID and branded high visibility jackets.

If you have any queries you can contact Meath Partnership on 046 9280 790 or contact your local Gardai.

Water supply shutdown

Meath County Council wishes to advise consumers in the Cabinhill, Hallstown and Scalestown areas of Ratoath of a water supply shutdown on Tuesday morning the 25th of October between 10:00am and 13.:00pm

This is due to essential maintenance works.

Meath County Council regrets any inconvenience caused.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Temporary Closure of Roads

MEATH COUNTY COUNCIL
Temporary Closure of Roads
Roads Act 1993
(Roads Regulations 1994)

Meath County Council hereby gives notice of its intention to temporarily close the following roads:

• The L-5017 (through Lagore Little, Brownstown, Ballymore, Bradystown, Elgarstown, Curkeen, Commons, Wilkinstown and Powderlough) from its junction with R125 at Lagore Little to its junction with the L-5046-0 at Powderlough;

This closure is necessary to facilitate Eirgrid’s East West Interconnector Project.

Duration:

The intended road closure is from Monday 28th November 2011 to Friday 23rd December 2011.

Alternative Routes:

The diversion routes are as follows:

Traffic normally travelling south on L5017: Travel west along the R125 (Ratoath - Dunshaughlin road) as far as Dunshaughlin, turn left at the traffic lights onto the R147 and continue south through Dunshaughlin. Continue along the R147 to the south end of the closed road just before Rathbeggan.

Traffic normally travelling north on L5017: Travel north-west along the R147 (old N3) to Dunshaughlin. Continue through Dunshaughlin and turn right at the traffic lights onto the R125 towards Ratoath. Continue along the R125 to the north end of the closed road at the cross roads at Lagore Little.

Diversion signs will be in place.

Local Access:

Access for residents and property holders will be facilitated throughout the closure period.

Submissions relating to these proposed temporary road closures should be made in writing to the Area Administrator, Meath County Council, Dunshaughlin Civic Offices, Drumree Road, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath on or before 13.00 hrs on Tuesday 1st November 2011.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SOSAD Save our Sons and Daughters 2011 fashion show

SOSAD Save our Sons and Daughters 2011 fashion show
This is a night you will not want to miss!

26th of October @ 8pm, Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda featuring a host of our favourite Irish celebrity models including:
SOSAD patron and rugby star Shane Horgan, RTE Masterchef's star Nick Munier,
Gerald Kean, Lisa Murphy, Dragon's Den star Niall O'Farrell and the suitably suited Louis Copeland

Award winning designer Synan O'Mahony will showcase his 2011 A/W collection as will Umit Kutluk
Entertainment will include the incredible singer songwriter Darragh McGann, Kidkast, and 12 year old Sophia Rocca.
Join us for the after party in Earth Nightclub with Jerry Fish with his brand new band
Fantastic prizes to be won.... including, Best Bag, Best Shoes and lots more...
The winner of the €2,000 SOSAD/RSVP Shopping Spree will be unveiled by top Irish Stylist Amanda Kevlin.
Free copy of RSVP magazine November edition for everyone in the audience.
Tickets priced €25 from the Westcourt hotel or by calling SOSAD on 041-9848754

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doherty hits out at pharmacies for pushing up cost of prescription medicines


Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has strongly criticised pharmacies for pushing up the cost of essential medicines, following reports that mark ups of up to 350% are being imposed. 

“I am appalled at these figures, which show that consumers are being severely ripped off when it comes to buying essential medication. This isn’t an example of a luxury item that people can do without; we’re talking about prescription drugs that are vital for healthcare reasons. 

“According to the Irish Independent, pharmacies around the country are passing on huge mark-ups to their customers of between 73% and 354% on the wholesale drug price. As one example, the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor has a wholesale price of €36.06, but customers are being charged a whopping €65.77. 

“These kind of massive mark-ups cannot be justified. Pharmacies are clearly trying to squeeze as much as they possibly can out of private patients, while also earning a generous profit from dispensing medication under the Drug Payment Scheme. Every time pharmacies provide public patients with medication under the DPS, they earn a 20% mark-up on the wholesale price, plus a €5 dispensing fee from the Health Service Executive. 

“The Programme for Government contains a commitment on the greater use of generic drugs to reduce the cost burden on individuals. This commitment must be pursued, to ensure people have a greater choice when it comes to purchasing prescription medication. 

“I am also calling on pharmacists to enter the real world here. Many families who do not qualify for community run drug schemes are still struggling to make ends meet, and should not be forced to pay over the odds for essential prescription medication. It is entirely inappropriate that massive mark-ups are being enforced on these people, so pharmacies can inflate their own profits.”

Burglaries during day time


Message from Garda Sergeant Dean Kerins

Hi All,

Just a short note to let you know that there have been a number of
burglaries throughout the county during day time. There appear to be a
group of thieves breaking into houses during school pick up and
collection times. Please take extra caution during these hours when
doing school runs and ensure your house is properly secured. Please
inform any of your friends that are not on the mailing list or your
local school. If you have any friends that wish to be connected on the
mailing list please pass my e mail onto them.

During the course of a number of these burglaries a dirty silver
subaru impreza was seeing leaving the scene with a number of people on
board. It is using false registration number plates. Please can you
report any sighting of a car like this to your local garda station
immediately.

Regards,

Sergeant Dean Kerins
Crime Prevention Officer

It is up to us to nurture peace for the future

Local Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty has today spoken of the need to treat the Commemorations of the foundations of the Irish State and the Northern Ireland Peace Process over the next decade, delicately and with a conscious sense of inclusiveness. The statement from the Deputy follows a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement (Thursday 12th October) where members met with representatives from communities in the North of the Country.

Theses Representatives included Dr Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast, Mr Sean Murray, Mr Jackie McDonald, Mr George Newell and Professor Wesley Hutchinson.

Deputy Regina Doherty TD, a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement says that “we need to develop a shared approach to the commemoration events over the next decade and truly cultivate a national strategy.”

“We must be mindful that we do not organise ceremonies and mark those occasions in history in such a way that will result in the alienation of people in Northern Ireland or indeed those in the south. It is up to us as members of this committee to work with our counterparts in the North to develop a shared approach to honour events in our history like the 1916 Rising, The Civil War (1922-1923), The Battle of the Somme and the anniversary of the First World War (1914-1918). We must develop a joint approach to these events so we can ensure that no area of society feels disenfranchised.”

Deputy Doherty believes “We have the opportunity as Public representatives to lead this national approach, to work with those influential people in all our communities, in order to influence and educate young people of our shared history. We must, with these events, show young people that it is not a case of north versus south, as they may believe, but that we have both have troubled histories and no history is greater than the other.”

Deputy Doherty goes further to state “Since the signing of the Good Friday agreement on 10th April 1998 there has been great progress with peace. This process, however, is an on-going one which needs to be nurtured. This nurturing will happen as a result of embracing every member of society, taking into account individual communities’ histories and being sensitive to those. The fear I have is that if we do not adopt this approach, we will leave seeds for future conflicts as a result of people & communities feeling excluded.”

“It is up to all of us to celebrate the next 10 years without being divisive.”

International marketing blitz to boost tourism trade

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has said that a new €9 million international tourism marketing initiative will reach a worldwide audience of 20 million people, and should help to significantly boost visitor numbers to Meath.

“This initiative, announced by the Minister for Tourism, Leo Varadkar, will see a veritable blitz of media outlets across the globe, from Europe to Asia and the US, promoting Ireland as a world class winter tourism destination. Joint campaigns between Tourism Ireland and a list of private operators will reach an audience of 20 million potential overseas visitors.

“It’s hugely welcome that companies such as Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Irish Ferries and a number of international tour companies have come on board to co-fund the campaigns. Tourism Ireland’s funding is being sourced from the air travel tax.

“The marketing campaigns will be launched on a number of fronts. Promotions will be run by both Ryanair and Aer Lingus highlighting attractive routes between here and mainland Europe. Ads will run in major national and regional newspapers and on radio stations in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Nordic region.

“The campaigns will also tap into the online nature of the travel business, with prominent exposure for Irish destinations on leading travel websites such as Expedia and Hotels.com. The lucrative US, Asian and Australia markets will also be targeted in a bid to drive business over the winter period. A campaign will run in five gateway cities in America, while the Government’s new Visa Waiver Scheme will be promoted in emerging markets.

“I am delighted that this campaign has been launched and I think it offers real potential to attract extra visitors to Meath over the coming months. Irish tourism is already showing encouraging signs of recovery, with overseas visitors up almost 12% in the first seven months of the year. Minister Varadkar’s initiative will allow us to capitalise on this growth, with the potential for a huge boost in tourists numbers.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meath Accessible Transport Project

This morning I attended the Meath Accessible Transport Project Limited i.e. Flexi-bus ‘Celebration Morning’ in Navan Shopping Centre. The Directors and members of Flexi-bus invited me to the celebration morning to meet some of their valued passengers and to highlight the importance of this vital rural transport scheme.

This Service which is based in Navan operates 22 permanent services and 27 dial-a-ride services to nearly every corner of Meath. This vital facility helps connect community groups with limited access to funding, aid the transportation of people with disabilities and even transports people to their hospital appointments.

The Flexi-Bus service relies heavily on the Rural Transport Programme, run by the Department of Transport, for much of its income and without it they would be unable to offer such services to their passengers. This service picks up where the Bus Éireann is lacking.

This is a Hugely important service to residents in Meath. There are 34 similar companies in the rest of Ireland. There are concerns by the members of this voluntary service that with the review of the Rural Transport Programme by Minister Leo Varadkar and his Department may come cuts to their funding. In fact, it was reported this morning that all voluntary agencies may receive a cut of up to 25% on their state funding.

There are hundreds of people in Meath who avail of this service and would, for want of a better phrase, be left ‘out in the cold’, should this service be discontinued or scaled back due to lack of funding. I will be making representations to the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar on behalf of this voluntary service so that they may continue to operate this brilliant service.

It is up to us to nurture peace for the future

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty has today spoken of the need to treat the Commemorations of the foundation of the Irish State and the Northern Ireland peace process over the next decade delicately and with a conscious sense of inclusiveness. This statement from the Deputy follows a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement (Thursday 12th October) where members met with representatives from communities in the North of the country.

These representatives included Dr. Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast, Mr. Sean Murray, Mr. Jackie McDonald, Mr. George Newell and Professor Wesley Hutchinson.

Deputy Regina Doherty TD, a member of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement says that “there is a huge onus on the organisers of these commemoration ceremonies to treat the events as an opportunity to be all inclusive to all corners of society.”

“We must be mindful that we do not organise ceremonies and mark these occasions in history in such a way that will result in the alienation of people in Northern Ireland or indeed those in the south. It is up to us as members of this committee to work with our counterparts in the North to develop a shared approach to commemorations of events in our history like 1916 Rising, The Civil War (1922-1923), the Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement etc. We must develop a joint approach to these events so we can ensure that no area of society feels disenfranchised.”

Deputy Doherty believes “We have the opportunity as Public Representatives to lead this all inclusive approach, to work with those influential people in all our communities, in order to influence and educate young people of our shared history. We must, with these events, show young people that it is not a case of north versus south, as they may believe, but that we have both had troubled histories and no history is greater than the other.”

Deputy Doherty goes further to state “Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April 1998 there has been great progress with peace process. This process, however, is an on-going one which needs to be nurtured. This nurturing will happen as a result of inclusivity by reaching out to every member of society, taking into account individual communities’ histories and being sensitive to those. The fear that I have if we do not adopt this approach is that we will leave seeds for future conflicts as a result of people feeling excluded.”

“It is up to us to celebrate the next 10years without being divisive.”

Bus Éireann announces changes to Cavan-Dublin and Meath-Dublin Commuter Routes

Following customer feedback, Bus Éireann will introduce a number of improvements on its Route 109 Cavan-Dublin service, Route 109A DCU-Navan service, Route 187 Kells-Oldcastle service, Route 107 Dublin-Kingscourt service and its Route 108 Dublin-Bailieboro service on and from Sunday 23rd of October.

Customers are advised that on route 109 Cavan-Dublin services to/from Cavan will no longer operate via Dublin Airport and the Port Tunnel. These services will now operate via the Navan Road and the Mater Hospital.

All weekday services to/from Cavan will now operate via Navan and then operate via the M3 Motorway to Dublin. This excludes the 6am and 7am ex Cavan and the 4.30pm and 5.30pm ex Dublin, which will not serve Navan offering customers quicker journey times.

There will be a bus every 30 minutes from Dunshaughlin to Dublin during off peak times. Some off peak services to and from Navan will now operate via Johnstown Road and the Kentstown Road.

Customers from Cavan and Virginia wishing to travel direct to Dublin Airport should take the Route 30 service or interchange with other Bus Éireann network services such as the Route 109A at Kells.

On the route 109A service, customers should be aware that the route has been extended to Kells offering customers a wider network of services and providing a direct service to Dublin Airport and Dublin City University. Service frequency will remain the same.

The number of services between Oldcastle and Kells on route 187 will be doubled with some changes in service times.

Services will no longer operate direct to Dublin on route 107. The route 107 will now terminate at Navan. Customers travelling to Dublin will now have to change to the 109 service at Navan.

The number of services between Kingscourt and Navan will be doubled offering customers more availability with a greater choice of services.
The number of services between Bailieboro and Kells on the route 108 service will remain the same, but there will be some changes in scheduled times.

“Bus Éireann is always looking at ways to improve our services and meet customer needs. Following local consultation and a review we decided to implement these changes on the M3 Corridor Routes. This will allow customers to enjoy the comfort and convenience of travelling by high-quality coaches without the worries and hassle of car parking, toll charges and fuel costs,” said Joe Kenny, Regional Manager East Bus Éireann.

All of these timetable changes are in response to local customer requests.

These changes have been sanctioned by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Customers on routes where alterations come into effect from Sunday the 23rd of October 2011 will be informed of the change to their service.

Information on service changes will be available from local travel centres, leaflet drops, onboard buses and viewable at www.buseireann.ie

Taoiseach's latest video message

If you would like to view the Taoiseach's latest video message, in which he discusses his meeting with President Barosso, you can watch it here:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spirits of Meath



Halloween Festival
Oct 21st - Nov 6th 2011
Fun by Day Frights by Night



County Meath – uniquely where it all began – is bringing you Ireland’s spookiest and most electrifying Halloween Festival with over 35 events… Fun by Day, Frights by Night!! Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call “Halloween”, originated in Co. Meath more than 2,000 years ago. Samhain marks the end of the old Celtic Year and the beginning of the New Year. The Celts believed that this was a time of transition, and the spirits of all who had died since the last Night of Samhain moved on to the next life. One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, one mile east of Athboy, Co. Meath. It was here on the festival of Samhain that the sacred fire was kindled. The lighting of the sacred fire was a solemn and weird ritual. Torches were lit and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara and Loughcrew, and then on to light up the whole countryside.


To download a  complete list of events click HERE

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Mortgage Arrears

The Report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Mortgage Arrears has been published by the Government this morning. 

The Government’s Economic Management Council instructed that an interdepartmental group be established to consider further measures to alleviate the increasing problem of mortgage over-indebtedness.   


In establishing the group, the Government set two core objectives: 
  • To assist those facing real difficulties to remain in their own homes where appropriate, and 
  • To ensure a distinction between those who cannot afford to pay their mortgages and those who choose not to pay their mortgages.   
The report’s wide ranging and significant measures to address mortgage difficulties fulfils these objectives.   

Work is underway to implement key elements of the report: 


Minister Penrose will shortly launch two mortgage-to-rent schemes in line with the report’s recommendations.
These will operate on a pilot basis initially, subject to prompt review ahead of wider roll-out.  Under each scheme, households in extreme mortgage distress who are eligible for social housing will be able to remain in their homes as social housing tenants with either the lending institution or a housing association taking ownership of the property.


Minister Penrose’ officials will be kick-starting this process next week. 


Minister Shatter has already undertaken extensive work on the Heads of a Personal Insolvency 


Bill as set out in the report and these will be published shortly.   


Minister Noonan has instructed the Banking Division of the Department of Finance to begin discussions with the banks to ensure speedy implementation of the measures set out in the report. 

The Government will now propose that the Dáil have an opportunity to debate the findings and recommendations of the report and will make time for a debate next week.  This will give all sides of the House the opportunity to contribute in a constructive and realistic manner to the deliberations on this important issue. 

The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Justice and Equality will form an implementation strategy to be set out at the conclusion of the Dáil debate.  This implementation strategy will set out the necessary steps to put into effect all of the measures that are deemed feasible.  



Recommendations of the Report: 

The report provides a range of options within a defined framework for lenders and distressed mortgage holders to deal with what is a very stressful situation for the homeowners involved.   

The main conclusions of the report are as follows:- 

The group does not advocate blanket debt/negative equity forgiveness and instead indicates that the issue of mortgage difficulty can only be considered on a case by case basis having regard to the individual circumstances of each case. 
While mortgage forbearance measures are appropriate in many cases, long term forbearance will not be sufficient in all cases and it will have to be recognised by borrower and lender that some mortgages are currently unsustainable and that more sustainable solutions will have to be advanced for such cases

The report sets out a range of possible solutions for such cases and also sets out a “decision tree” approach to aid assessment of individual cases; however, the report indicates that these solutions are not intended to be exhaustive or proscriptive and that these and other solutions will need to be developed over time. 

The possible solutions that will need to be advanced by banks to address mortgage over indebtedness include
  • trade down mortgages   
  • split mortgages 
  • sale by agreement.   
The State also has a significant role to play and the group proposes the introduction of two “mortgage to rent” social housing schemes utilising approved housing bodies and the leasing of houses by banks to local authorities in appropriate circumstances.  Associated with this, the group also proposes that the mortgage interest supplement scheme should become time limited.  

The report proposes that a more specialised mortgage advice service be established, that could link into MABS, to provide specialist advice and assistance to mortgage holders in difficulty to enable them consider and evaluate their options in their engagement with mortgage lenders.   

Underpinning the range of possible solutions, the report also states that reform of the bankruptcy and personal insolvency law is fundamental and that without this the mortgage problem will not be resolved.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Doherty welcomes confirmation of early 2012 date for Children’s Referendum

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, that the children’s rights referendum will be held early in the New Year.
“I was very pleased to hear that during his speech to UN member states in Geneva, Minister Shatter confirmed that the much awaited referendum on children’s rights will be held in early 2012. This is a hugely welcome development, and further proof that this Government is committed to strengthening children’s rights where the previous administration failed.

“On its formation, the Government made it clear that the protection of children is a top priority by establishing a dedicated Department of Children and Youth Affairs. In the wake of the Cloyne Report, the Government also committed to putting the Children’sFirst Guidelines on a statutory footing.
“There has been some criticism that this referendum was not held earlier. However, this is an extremely sensitive and complex issue, and getting the wording of a constitutional amendment right is essential. Work on this issue has been ongoing within the Department of Children, under the guidance of Minister Frances Fitzgerald, for a number of months. I am confident that this work will conclude in time for a referendum to be held early next year.

“For too long, it was assumed that it was somebody else’s job to protect and cherish children.  By placing the Children’s First Guidelines on a statutory basis we will all be actively involved in providing a safe, nurturing environment in which our children can grow.

“The ancient African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child rings true; it does take a village,and to develop that kind of support we must begin with ourselves. Community,like charity, begins at home. I believe we will all benefit from having our responsibilities in relation to children clearly enshrined in our Constitution.”

Global Irish Economic Forum

The two day Global Irish EconomicForum got underway this morning in Dublin Castle. Many of the most influentialIrish and Irish-connected individuals abroad have travelled to Dublin inorder to attend, each of them at their own expense.
They did so for no reason other than to attempt to assist in our country’seconomic recovery and I am very grateful indeed to them for sacrificingtheir valuable time in this way. A small number of senior Irish based figuresfrom the business and political spheres are also attending and PresidentBill Clinton will address the Forum tomorrow.

Doherty calls for heightened level of debate on upcoming referendums

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has called on the Government, the Opposition and the media to engage in a proactive and visible debate on the forthcoming referendums on judge’s pay and on the powers of Oireachtas committees.  “It’s regrettable to say the least that these referendums have been so sidelined that the public are barely aware that they are taking place in less than twenty days time. Amendments to the Constitution are matters of significant national importance and deserve to be receiving as much attention and publicity as possible, so voters are in a position to make an informed decision at the ballot box.
“I am calling on the Government,the Opposition and those media commentators who have previously called for political reform to become more proactive in bringing this debate to public attention.  Apathy only creates a culture of ‘if you don’tknow – vote no’.  The issues before the people are important and warrant a large scale public airing before polling day.
“While I acknowledge the role of the Referendum Commission in informing the public on these matters, it is a faceless entity which the public may not relate to.  These referendums need personalities to come forward and show leadership on how they believe people should vote.
“These two referendums are by no means trivial.  The issues that arise from the referendum on judge’sremuneration include the relationship between the Oireachtas and the judiciary and the traditional separation of powers.  The referendum on Oireachtas committees grants significant powers on Oireachtas members which must be examined and considered in full before the public can decide whether they are in favour of them.
“We are currently surrounded by a media clamour pertaining to an office with a primary role of protecting our Constitution.  It would only be fitting that significant changes to the same Constitution should receive some level of attention, which has been absent to this point.”

Huge turnout for national launch of FG Presidential campaign

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, attended the national launch of the Presidential campaign in Dublin this week which was packed to the rafters with TDs, Senators, Councillors and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

“The national launch of the Mitchell for President campaign took place in Dublin this week and it was a huge success. The room was packed to the brim with the parliamentary party, as well as councillors and party members from across the country.

“With just three weeks to go until polling day on October 27th,the enthusiasm in the room was infectious as Gay Mitchell spoke about his vision for the Presidency. As someone who grew up during hard times, he knows what people are going through and he knows that we can come through this.

“Ireland needs someone with experience as President. Gay Mitchell MEP was a TD for 26 years and an MEP for seven. I believe that he has the experience and the international contacts that we need to help bring jobs to this country.

“For too long, we have forgotten what we were good at and what we do well.Agriculture is the star of this economy at the moment and a major creator of jobs. A big part of his role as President would be to help open up new markets and develop existing ones, so that more people can find work in this vital area.

“Gay also spoke about his proposals to lead the charge in promoting mental health, especially for young people. He wants to work with voluntary groups who do important work in the area of mental health. This generation is under great pressure, and we’ve seen too many people take their own lives.It’s time for us to tackle this in a meaningful way.

“Over the next three weeks I will be canvassing the length and breadth of Meath to gather support for who I believe is the best person to be President of Ireland.”

Extra funds will help to retrain redundant construction workers

Regina Doherty TD, has welcomed the news that the European Commission has approved funding worth €55 million for the retraining of redundant construction workers. The money is being made available under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, and must still be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament. “This is very positive news for thousands of construction workers who were made redundant during the height of the economic crisis. The ECF will help to co-finance a range of retraining measures to help up to 9,000 people from the building trade who lost their jobs between July 1st 2009 and March 31st 2010.
“Like areas right across the country Meath has been severely affected by the unemployment crisis, which was accelerated by the collapse in the construction sector. Hundreds of former construction workers across Meath are struggling to find work and many of them need to adapt their skills to ensure they can find sustainable employment for the long-term.
“At least €22 million under this programme has already been invested in training initiatives to date. This additional EGF support will help to provide a range of opportunities from evening training and further education courses to full-time third level education programmes. These measures are firmly aimed at getting people into the workforce.
“An inter-agency group within the Department of Education is focused on maximising the supports available to redundant workers. I am hopeful that the additional money being made available will be of benefit to many people across Meath.”

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Questions and Answers evening in the Ashbourne House Hotel

You are cordially invited to

Questions and Answers
An evening with your Dáil representatives
Minister Shane McEntee and Deputy Regina Doherty
with special guest Deputy Peter Mathews
in the
Ashbourne House Hotel
on
October 13 at 830pm
Participants will be able to put questions on local and national issues.
Councillor Maria Murphy and Gerry O’Connor will also be answering questions on the night. For further information e-mail ashbourne@meathfinegael.ie.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Meath Enterprise Board Awarded €140,000 extra funding

Deputy Regina Doherty, TD for Meath East, is delighted to announce that Meath Enterprise Board has been awarded €140,000 extra funding to directly fund job creation in Meathby the Minister for Small Businesses John Perry TD. This funding was awarded at the Small Business Advisory Forumas part of the €3.1million extra funding awarded to County Enterprise Boards around the country. This funding is in addition to the €15million already provided to CEB’s in 2011.
The additional €140,000 was awarded to Meath CEB in direct response to specific requests from the County Enterprise Board who feared that they would not have the funding to support all those entrepreneurs and businesses in Meath.
The additional funding is provided from savings elsewhere in the Minister for Small Business Department and it is estimated that with the new injection of funding 13 additional jobs will be created in the first instance with potential for more in the future.  
Deputy Doherty, speaking of Meath County Enterprise Board said “We are lucky in Meath with our County Enterprise Board. It provides vital and invaluable services to encourage start up and expanding business in Meath. The staff on the County Enterprise Board are excellent and try in every way to encourage & support the start-up spirit that exists in many individuals in the county.”
“Meath County Enterprise board is a dynamic, vibrant and forward thinking organisation that makes the most of every opportunity to provide employment. We only have to look at that recent website TaraDays.com which was established byMeath CEB to encourage tourists through networking opportunities and online shopping service to support local businesses during the period of the Soliem Cup Tournament in Killeen Castle.”
“Businesses in this county would be lost without the supports offered by Meath County Enterprise Board and this additional funding will enable them to assist more business in Meath and allow us as a county to do our bit to create employment.”