Thursday, June 28, 2012

National Journey Planner will make public transport a lot easier


Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has  urged commuters across Co. Meath to check out the National Transport Authority’s new Journey Planner, which allows you to plan door-to-door journeys on public transport to and from any location across the country. 

“I’m delighted this service has gone live; it is the sort of system that is the norm in lots of other countries and it’s great to see the National Transport Authority taking the initiative to get it up and running here. It’s an extremely useful service, and I hope it will encourage more and more people to opt for public transport. 

“The Journey Planner is really easy to use. Simply log on to www.TransportforIreland.ie and enter the details of your journey; where you are and where you want to go to. You will be then be given a full route plan of the best public transport options, including any walking needed to get to the bus stop or the train station. 

“The system covers all 26 counties and all operators; bus, rail, taxis, ferries and private operators. That means it includes 9,600 bus stops, 750 different routes, 152 train stations, and information from 120 different transport providers.  Printed timetables are also available.

“The new site will be a great resource for regular commuters and people who just use public transport for time to time. As well as the website, there is an App available for Android phones, with an iPhone App coming very soon. 
  
“The National Transport Authority has plans to expand the service even further to include fare information, Real Time Passenger Information inputs and a cycle planner. The NTA is keen to get feedback for local people so they can fine-tune the service further. So why not log on to www.TransportforIreland.ie and check it out.” 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ulster Bank must resolve technical issue without delay


HSE staff affected by bank glitch

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) moved to reassure HSE staff who have been left without their wages, as a result of technical problems at Ulster Bank. Deputy Doherty has also called on the Bank to resolve the issues without delay.

“Concerns have been expressed to me this morning that there was some sort of problem within the HSE that led to workers not being paid. Let me state categorically; workers were not paid due to technical problems with the HSE’s clearing bank, Ulster Bank.

“The HSE is contacting employees today to reassure them that the problem is being addressed by Ulster Bank. 

“It is essential that Ulster Bank resolves this problem as quickly as possible. According to the Bank, it may now be tomorrow before it is rectified. That is completely unsatisfactory to those who have been left with no pay.

“The Bank needs to explain what contingency plans it has in place ahead of the weekend. I understand that HSE staff who are paid on a weekly basis – as well as some social welfare claimants – are among those affected. These people don’t have cash reserves that they can dip into when required; they need their payments, and they need them now.”

Doherty calls for Health Committee to invite Medical Missionaries of Mary and HSE to discuss Dr Shine case

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) tabled a motion to the Oireachtas Health Committee calling for an invitation to be extended to the Medical Missionaries of Mary and the HSE North East to come before the Committee to discuss changes in practices being implemented in light of the conviction of Dr Michael Shine. 

Deputy Doherty’s motion was seconded by Sinn Féin Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, and is due to be discussed at the Committee next week.

“I was glad to receive the support of Deputy Ó Caoláin on this issue. The people of the North East deserve a full account in relation to what changes in practises and processes are being implemented as a result of the conviction of Dr Michael Shine for the sexual abuse of patients and the removal of his licence by the Irish Medical Organisation.

“I look forward to discussing this issue in full next week, and I hope to receive the support of the other Committee members, so an invite can be issued.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Drug price cuts good news for patients

Agreement allows for release of new disease-fighting drugs
Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Tuesday) said that an agreement that will see the price of generic medications fall is good news for patients. She added that it’s expected the agreement, reached between the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, and the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) will allow for the release of cutting edge drugs to fight a range of diseases.

“Minister Reilly has reached an updated agreement with the IPHA that will not only deliver savings to the State of more than €20 million a year, crucially it will allow for the HSE to make a range of new, expensive drugs available to treat a range of conditions including multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder and hepatitis.

“Under the new agreement, which replaces the previous deal which expired in March, the cost of medications will be slashed by 30% once a generic version becomes available. This is an increase from the 20% under the previous agreement. 

“It’s estimated this will save the HSE up to €20 million per year. These savings will make it possible to provide expensive, cutting edge medicines for a range of serious conditions. So it means it is not only good news for taxpayers, it will also deliver a boost to patients in need of the most up to date treatments. 

“Our health system is undoubtedly under serious pressure, and we need to make savings and efficiencies where possible. But that doesn’t just mean cutting costs, it means spending our money wisely. By getting a better deal on generic, everyday medications, we will be able to provide the best care for those who need it most.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

businessregulation.ie: one place for information on regulation from over 30 Government bodies

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today (Monday) launched businessregulation.ie, a new website aimed at reducing the burden of red tape on business by bringing together in one place clear information on regulations imposed by over 30 Government bodies and how to comply with them. 
The website was developed to address a clear need identified by business for a single source of information on regulatory requirements. By providing users with over 150 separate links to information, guidance and contact details, the portal reduces the need to trawl through multiple pages on different websites in search of the right information. 
Today’s launch represents delivery ahead of schedule of a key Q3 commitment in Action Plan for Jobs 2012, and forms part of a range of measures aimed at reducing the burden of red tape on business, including:
  • Reforming and consolidating the five existing employment rights bodies into two streamlined bodies
  • Delivering a 25% reduction in administrative burdens imposed on business
  • Enabling online compliance with regulations where possible 
    Launching the new website today, Minister Bruton said: 
    “A key part of our plan for jobs and growth is reducing costs, particularly by reducing where possible the burden that Government regulations impose on business. One problem identified by business was the lack of one single online source of information on regulations and how to comply with them, and so today we have launched businessregulation.ie so that businesses no longer have to search multiple Government websites to find out their obligations. 
    “With today’s launch of businessregulation.ie, I am convinced that small businesses in particular will find compliance easier. Through the Action Plan for Jobs, we in Government will continue implementing changes to cut red tape, reduce costs, make it easier to start-up and expand a business and create the jobs we need”. 
    The website contains three principal sections: 
    1. For start-up businesses the portal contains links to information on registering a company or business name, setting up for tax purposes and requirements when employing staff. This section also provides a table setting out the generic regulatory requirements for establishing a business and details of the online tools available. 
    2. Under ‘Key Regulations for all Businesses’ the portal provides links on financial and structural regulation, employer and Health & Safety requirements and location-based regulation such as waste or planning. The portal also informs businesses about CSO and Revenue business surveys, data protection requirements and consumer-related information. Where appropriate the portal points to specific tools such as Revenue’s Online Service ROS and the Health and Safety Authority’s BeSMART, which helps businesses to quickly and easily develop their own risk assessment and safety statement. 
    3. A range of sector-specific information, which will be expanded as necessary in response to business needs. This section currently focuses on agriculture, forestry, food, fisheries, construction, retail, e-selling, transport, hospitality, security, pharmacy and manufacturing. 
    Businessregulation.ie was developed by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in close cooperation with business and inspection and enforcement agencies (though the Risk Based Enforcement Group). Focus groups with business were an integral element of the portal’s development;businessregulation.ie’s content and its clear layout are the result of this extensive engagement with regulatory agencies and business throughout the process, and the reaction of businesspeople who have tested the site has been very positive. 
    Business members of the High Level Group on Business Regulation, chaired by Minister for Small Business John Perry TD, also provided feedback on the portal from an early stage. 
    Minister Perry said: “It was vital to have the voice of business participating in the development of this portal from the beginning so that it addresses the real needs of the small business community. Businessregulation.ie is an excellent resource for SMEs; I would urge businesses to make full use of it.” 
    ENDS Notes for Editors 
    Action Plan for Jobs 2012 
    Action 1.51: Launch a single web portal for business compliance information
    High Level Group on Business Regulation 
    The High Level Group on Business Regulation brings together senior officials from relevant Government Departments, representatives from local authorities, business and trade unions to work together to reduce administrative burdens in the Irish economy. The Group acts as a forum for Government to connect directly with business and is a source of ideas for cutting red tape.
    Risk-Based Enforcement Group 
    The Risk-Based Enforcement Group brings together inspection and enforcement agencies to share best practice and establish a critical path of steps towards better risk-based enforcement.
    Structure and Content of businessregulation.ie 
    The portal is divided into three main sections: 
    Start-ups
  • Setting up and registering your company
  • Setting up as self-employed or using business name
  • Setting up for tax
  • Employer set up requirements
  • Find your local offices that can help
  • Online services for start-ups 
    Key Regulations for all Businesses
  • Financial and Structural
  • Employer and Health & Safety
  • Location Based
  • Other Key Areas
  • Useful Tools and Guidance 
    Sector-specific Regulation
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Food
  • Fisheries
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • e-Selling
  • Transport
  • Hospitality
  • Security
  • Pharmacy
  • Manufacturing
  • Other 
    The portal links to the following Agency, Departmental and other websites:
  • Bord Bia
  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara
  • Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
  • Central Bank of Ireland
  • Central Statistics Office
  • Citizens Information
  • Companies Registration Office
  • Data Protection Commissioner
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Department of Social Protection
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • Fáilte Ireland
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland
  • Gettingbusinessonline.ie
  • Health and Safety Authority
  • Health Services Executive
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland
  • Irish Fire Services
  • Labour Court
  • Labour Relations Commission
  • Local Authorities
  • National Consumer Agency
  • National Employment Rights Authority
  • National Hygiene Partnership
  • National Milk Agency
  • National Procurement Service
  • National Standards Authority of Ireland
  • National Transport Authority
  • Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement
  • Office of Tobacco Control
  • Patents Office
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
  • Private Security Authority
  • Property Services Regulatory Authority
  • Revenue
  • Road Safety Authority
  • Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority 
    The portal homepage also offers lists of
  • bodies providing support for business
  • contact details for the main Departments and Agencies
  • news and updates provided by Agencies 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meath parents to be informed about Back-to-School payments this week

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, today welcomed the assurances by the Department of Social Protection that the administrative arrangements for the 2012 Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) Scheme are similar to those that applied in 2011.

“Over 110,000 payments are due to be made around the country,  a number of which will be fully automated with no application form required, meaning that many families do not have to apply for the payment  this year.

“This payment is extremely important for families across the country. The costs associated with the start of the school year put a huge strain on family budgets and I welcome the fact that the process has begun at this stage.

“Letters will issue to the people concerned at the end of next week informing them of their entitlement and notifying them that payment will issue in week commencing 16 July.  

“ Anyone in the Meath East who is unsure of their entitlement or has difficulty with the Department of Social Protection or their application can contact my constituency office  at 01 825 7204 “

Friday, June 01, 2012

Get Your Club to have a go

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, today encouraged local youth clubs to apply for funding from the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, details of which can be found on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs website.

“This Scheme provides funding for the support of youth work activities at a local level. These grants are made available to youth clubs and groups through the local Vocational Education Committee.

“ The funding responds to the realities and practicalities experienced by local voluntary youth groups in the provision of activities to young people.

 “I’d like to encourage all local youth groups to apply for this grant, which  provides financial  recognition of the diverse range of voluntary youth clubs and groups in existence,  supporting  and promoting volunteerism as well as club activity at local level. “

The closing date for receipt of applications is 30th June 2012