Friday, November 30, 2012

Government targets €80billion opportunity for Irish businesses – Minister Bruton

5% increase in global sourcing by multinationals from Irish business would lead to €500million annual boost to Irish economy

Global supply chain of multinational companies in Ireland among initiatives targeted by new Enterprise Ireland/IDA joint team

30 November 2012

The Government is targeting the €80billion global supply chain of multinational companies in Ireland in an effort to help Irish companies win new business, grow exports and ultimately create new jobs, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD announced today [Friday]. This is one of a series of initiatives driven by a new Enterprise Ireland/IDA senior management team established by Minister Bruton under the Action Plan for Jobs 2012.

Today’s announcement took place in Accenture, an IDA client company, which provides an example of the benefits that can be derived by Irish companies from engagement with multinationals. To date, Accenture has engaged with more than 17 Irish companies and a number have won new contracts from this engagement, including Daon, a leading Irish software biometric identity management company.

Multinational companies based in Ireland currently source approximately €80billion in goods and services globally, of which over €11billion currently comes from Irish businesses. The joint team is targeting an increase in this figure in 2013 through measures including:

Identify 65 multinational companies, which offer particular potential for Irish companies;
· Develop a Joint Strategy by Enterprise Ireland and IDA to target these companies;
· Increased participation by EI clients on inward itineraries by IDA companies;
· Enhanced programmes to support EI clients capability to meet needs of global corporations;
· Additional engagements targeted with key procurement decision-makers within 65 companies.
Aside from global supply chains, the other two major areas targeted are attracting international start-ups and mentoring (see below).
Making today’s announcement, Minister Bruton said:

“A key part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is ensuring that we derive more benefit, as an economy, from the amazing group of world-leading multinational companies that have located operations in Ireland.

“Targeting increased links between these multinationals and our innovative Irish exporting companies can achieve two important goals: firstly, it will open major opportunities for Irish companies to secure more business and exports as part of an €80billion global supply chain; and, secondly, it will help us attract more investment from multinationals, by making the capabilities of Irish companies into a key selling point. Even a 5% increase in global sourcing by multinationals from Irish companies would lead to annual benefits of over €500million for Irish companies. I am determined to ensure that ambitious targets are set and met for this important initiative.

“In the short time that this joint team has been in existence it has made significant progress. Necessary research has been done, plans have been concluded and initial actions have been developed, with major benefits to both Irish companies and multinationals as we can see here today in Accenture. The next step now is to build on this progress with a comprehensive strategy to target growth, which is what will happen in 2013. I commend Barry, Frank and all at IDA, Enterprise Ireland and participating companies for their major work on this initiative. I am determined to ensure that in 2013 and subsequent years we will see increasing benefits for the Irish economy and in particular the jobs and growth we need”.

IDA CEO Barry O’Leary said: “IDA client companies work with a range of Irish suppliers and sub-suppliers across a range of sectors. IDA Ireland is committed to acting as an intermediary to create even more of these sourcing partnerships in the future. We are confident that as Foreign Direct Investment grows in Ireland, there will be significant opportunities to increase sourcing relationships between foreign multinationals and indigenous supply companies’’

Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan said: “Enterprise Ireland would encourage more Multinational Companies as we have seen here today with Accenture, to engage with world class Irish companies and get a sense of the fantastic products and services that can add significant value to their operations both here and globally.”


1. Global supply chains:

The Global Sourcing project has been a major area of focus for the EI-IDA Senior Management team since its establishment in early 2012. In seeking to address the objectives of the Action Plan for Jobs, the Team has focused on an in-depth strategic assessment of the opportunities presented by Global Sourcing, and the development of a joint agency strategy to outline the core actions required by EI and IDA to advance this agenda.

Research was conducted by holding in-depth interviews with MNCs. This process, jointly conducted by EI and IDA, has provided strong evidence to support conclusions regarding the best supply opportunities, which will be addressed in the joint strategy document. Research has also been undertaken across EI client companies and this has highlighted the potential to enhance EI’s offer with client companies to help address capability requirements to win or sustain sales with MNCs.

Extensive third party research and interviews with leading supply chain experts has helped validate our conclusions. IDA has identified 65 operations from its circa 1,000 client companies that will be targeted in the first phase of the drive to secure additional sourcing opportunities from MNCs. Both organisations are finalising a joint strategy paper on Global Sourcing. This joint strategy paper will identify the core actions to be progressed during 2013.

2. Attracting inward entrepreneurs:

The Minister believes there is substantial benefit to be derived from enhanced cooperation between Enterprise Ireland’s activities in seeking to attract mobile international entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Ireland, and IDA’s activities in targeting high-growth emerging businesses which have already established operations overseas but are looking to internationalise.

An initial aspect of the work undertaken by the EI-IDA Senior Management Team was to drive effective collaboration between respective teams in EI and IDA working on the inward entrepreneurs and emerging businesses agenda. This entailed:

Developing a common understanding of both agencies’ respective target markets, and putting in place a robust mechanism to ensure that enquiries relevant to the other organisation could be passed on effectively;
· Common messaging and leveraging of marketing collateral to deliver the message overseas that Ireland is an excellent location for early stage companies;
· Sharing of pipelines and referral of potential clients between teams in the EI and IDA.
In order to maximise the impact of both agencies’in this space, joint participation in two events overseas was progressed during 2012. The first such event was Tech Crunch Disrupt, hosted in San Francisco in September. Additionally, plans are well advanced for an EI/IDA presence at the Le Web event in Paris in December.

Plans are currently being progressed between EI and IDA teams as to the focus of marketing efforts and the potential for joint participation at impactful events during 2013.

3. Mentoring, informal adoption and peer-to-peer learning:

Accenture is an exemplar as to how a leading multinational can engage with Irish companies to develop supplier capability and to augment the product offering of the MNC to mutual advantage.

Activities to date:

The client engagement programme with Accenture is making traction for clients in international markets. To-date, over 17 EI clients have engaged with Accenture and it is expected additional companies in other sectors will be identified to engage with the process.

Some initial results:

Daon –Accenture worked with Daon and its unique technology in biometrics to win deals in India, the US, the EU and Ireland in the border management and public safety space.
Brite:Bill– Accenture has partnered with Brite:Bill to introduce its innovative bill and document presentation solutions to Accenture clients in postal, mobile operator and government entities globally.
DataHug– Accenture is working with DataHug to give it access to its global network. Datahug works by using information organisations already have- communication data coming in and out of the business daily. It leverages analytics engines to show who knows who and even how well they know them.

Govt commits to protecting free pre-school year and youth club grants

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) welcomed a commitment from the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD, to maintain the free pre-school year. Speaking before the Committee today, Minister Fitzgerald also said funding would not be cut for local voluntary youth club grants.

“The Department of Children, like every other Government department, is facing serious challenges ahead of next week’s Budget. The Department must make savings of over €16 million next year, but despite this, the Minister has committed to protecting some significant areas from cutbacks.

“The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme, which provides children with a free pre-school year, is a hugely beneficial initiative. It not only provides a helping hand to parents in terms of childcare, it is also a very important tool in early educational intervention. Outcomes for children are greatly improved by early stage education. I am very pleased that the Minister has seen fit to protect the scheme, especially at a time when demand is increasing and budgets are falling.

“Funding for local voluntary youth club grants, which was cut last year, will not be cut in 2013, a move which is very welcome indeed. Ensuring adequate supports are in place for our young people in local communities is extremely important, and this is greatly enhanced by the work carried out by voluntary youth clubs.

“The decision to ring fence this funding is an implicit recognition from the Government that investing in youth services paid off. A study, released by the National Youth Council earlier this month, showed that investing in youth work makes sound economic sense. It showed that for every €1 the State spends on youth work, it saves more than double that in the long run. It also found that a quarter of young people here participate in a youth club or organisation.

“Despite severe economic constraints, the Government is committed to the importance of youth services. Extra funding will be made available next year for youth cafés, recreation facilities and other youth projects. For example, €1.75 million will be made available for play and recreation facilities next year, which will be of significant benefit to families.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Help make 'Tiny Dancer' Ireland's Christmas No. 1 for the Sunni-Mae Trust

Many of you will have already heard of The Sunni- Mae Trust set up to assist Lily-Mae Morrison, a 4 year old Galway girl who is suffering from a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma, which often requires treatment outside of Ireland. To date, the campaign has raised ■120,000. We now need your help to raise more money to help other families affected by Neuroblastoma and to research possible treatments and cures.

Lily-Mae is the daughter of dancers Judith Sibley and Leighton Morrison who are best known for their work with Chrysalis Dance and Youth Ballet West.

Recently a group of Ireland's most popular music stars gathered to record the Elton John song 'Tiny Dancer'. Paddy Casey, Declan O'Rourke, Mary Black, Mundy and Camille O'Sullivan are just a few of the musicians involved along with a choir of over 200 voices drawn from the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) choirs across the country.

To help our ‘Christmas No. 1’ campaign, many of the music stars on the single will join me and Minister for the Arts, Jimmy Deenihan TD for a photocall outside Leinster House on Thursday, November 29th at 11.30am. I would be grateful if you could spare a moment to come out and express your support for this worthy cause.

See Tiny Dancer at and purchase it on iTunes at

Shocking domestic violence figures reveal what is going on behind closed doors

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Tuesday) said that the domestic violence figures released by Safe Ireland reveal with devastating clarity what is happening to women and children in homes across the country. The figures show that the number of women receiving support from domestic violence charities has more than doubled in the last five years.

“These are devastating figures, which paint a very bleak picture of the reality facing thousands of women and children in homes right across Ireland. Every day, domestic violence is ripping lives apart. Even for those women who get help for themselves and their children, there is a long term impact that can take years to reverse. Long after the physical scars have faded, victims of domestic abuse deal with emotional and developmental trauma that cannot be easily erased.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of women and children seeking help over the last five years. One can only presume that the pressure on families due to the economic crisis is having a significant impact. People can act completely out of character when faced with incredible stress; however there can never be an excuse for perpetrating physical or emotional abuse, regardless of the personal circumstances.

“The high level of phone calls received by support services, with many repeat callers, underlines the need for on-going support. It is a credit to the agencies involved that the number of women receiving face-to-face supports has increased by 68% since 2007.

“Breaking the silence is key to tackling domestic violence. We need to consider how we address this problem as a society. It cannot be simply attributed to a negative knock-on effect of our challenging economic situation; when the country was awash with money women and children were still being abused in their own homes. We should all ask ourselves; would I offer a neighbour who I believed to be at risk at helping hand, or would I turn a blind eye? This isn’t someone else’s problem, it is everyone’s problem.

“As a Government, we must strive to make choices that do not penalise those in need of support services. But as well as this, we must also reform the system. The new Child and Family Support Agency, which will be up and running in the New Year, will allow for intervention at an early stage to deal with issues like domestic violence. New models of delivery will also ensure full integration between State services and voluntary resources.

“Introducing a more transparent family court system, as flagged by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter TD, will also help to lift the lid on domestic violence. We need to know what is happening in families in crisis if we are to bring about a change in how we tackle this problem. Victims of domestic violence must be given the courage to come forward, and the knowledge that they will be responded to with support and compassion.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Doherty looking forward to playing her part on the Constitutional Convention

Women’s issues to be considered by Convention

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) said that she is looking forward to playing her part on the Constitutional Convention. Deputy Doherty was speaking after the Fine Gael delegation on the Convention was announced yesterday evening. 

“It is very exciting to be included in our first ever Constitutional Convention, which will bring together politicians and citizens to consider possible changes to the Constitution like never before. It is a great privilege to be asked by An Taoiseach to serve as one of the Fine Gael members on the Convention. 

“We all have a duty to ensure we get the most out of this process. In the run up to its formation it has been criticised for being nothing more than a talking shop. That is an insult to the 66 members of the public who are being selected at random to take part. Politicians from every political party will also be involved, ensuring we have a wide variety of views, opinions and experience to add to the process. 

“The Constitutional Convention is one of the many methods this Government is employing to introduce significant reform. The Convention will first consider reducing the voting age and shortening the Presidential term. I think it is a very good idea that we begin the process with two topics that are relatively uncontroversial. In this way, if there are any teething problems with the way the Convention is being conducted, we can address them at an early stage. 

“The Convention will report on these first two issues within two months, and over the next year or so it will consider a number of other Constitutional issues. 

“I am very glad that a number of the issues listed for consideration under the Convention have particular relevance to women. Ensuring that women are fully represented and respected in public and private life in Ireland remains a constant challenge. The Convention will consider amending the clause on the role of women in the home, encouraging greater participation of women in public life and increasing the participation of women in politics.

“The Constitutional Convention can bridge the gap between politics and the people. We are embarking on an innovative process that aims to equip the Constitution for the challenges of the 21st Century. I am delighted to be taking part.”

Water Notice - Disruption to the Water Supply - Dunshaughlin Village

Water Notice - Disruption to the Water Supply - Dunshaughlin Village - Monday November 26th from 11:00pm until 5:00 am Tuesday morning

Date Released: 23 November 2012

Disruption to the Water Supply - Dunshaughlin Village

Meath County Council wish to advise consumers in Dunshaughlin Village and surrounding areas, they may experience disruption to the water supply on Monday November 26th from 11:00pm until 5:00 am Tuesday morning.

This is due to essential maintenance works.

Meath County Council regret any inconvenience caused

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Government spends more than €2.7 million on flood relief efforts for Meath

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) said that more than €2.7 million has been allocated this year to Meath County Council for flood prevention works. Deputy Doherty received the information in response to a Parliamentary Question she tabled to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD.

“This year alone, more than €2.7 million is being allocated to Meath County Council to help with flood risk management. Since 2009, almost €16 million has spent on flood prevention works in Co. Meath. Much of this money has been spent on the Mornington Flood Relief Scheme, which is now substantially complete. Other works have also been undertaken on the River Tolka and at Northlands in Mornington.

“We know how damaging flooding can be in Co. Meath. Just two months ago, a housing estate in Bettystown was flooded after very heavy rainfall. Last year the county was also hit by flooding after severe downpours caused terrible damage across the east coast.

“Between now and 2016, the Government will spend a quarter of a billion euro on flood relief measures, which is more than the total spent on such measures in the previous ten years. Considering our difficult economic circumstances, this substantial investment in flood prevention shows the Government recognises the serious personal impact flooding can have.

“While we cannot plan for every natural eventuality, I hope the alleviation and flood relief works being carried out in Co. Meath will help to prevent flooding from having a devastating impact on householders in the future.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Government approves drafting of legislation to dissolve CEBs and create new and enhanced support model for small business

Ministers Bruton and Perry launch 4 week public consultation on reforms, seek views of small business

The Government this week gave the go-ahead to begin drafting primary legislation to dissolve the existing County & City Enterprise Boards and create an enhanced national micro enterprise support model, delivered through Local Enterprise Offices to be established in each Local Authority office, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD announced today (Wednesday).
Minister Bruton together with the Minister of State for Small Business, John Perry TD, also today launched a four week public consultation on the Government’s reforms of supports for the micro-enterprise and small business sector, and sought the views of all stakeholders, in particular small businesspeople and small business representative groups, to the plans.
The key elements included in this reform programme are:
Establish a Centre of Excellence for micro and small business supports within Enterprise Ireland
Establish a network of Local Enterprise Offices in Local Authorities incorporating the enterprise-centric focus of the City & County Enterprise Boards following their dissolution. These Offices will operate under a robust Service Level Agreement with Enterprise Ireland
Create the best possible local environment for small business by combining enterprise support for business at local level with the business support service and expertise of Local Authorities
Develop a strong network for entrepreneurship by working with local business and the wider community
Specific targets will be set for the new structures to deliver, including on:

Increasing the number of and 5-year survival of new start-ups
Increasing the number of start-ups by women
Increasing exports from microbusiness and small business
Increasing job-creation and innovation in the sector
The structure of the new service was laid out by the Government decision of early 2012, based on proposals developed by Minister Bruton and Minister Hogan. The consultation paper sets out further detail on the reform process and Ministers Bruton and Perry are keen to receive the opinions from the micro & small business sector across Ireland on how the changes to be brought about can best provide support to the right people, at the right time and at the right level. Views are also sought on the details of the implementation as well as any innovative ideas for better supports to the sector and better customer service delivery.

Responses to the consultation process will be considered by the Implementation Working Group, which will report to Minister Bruton after the end of the consultation process. Other measures due to be delivered in the coming months include:

Early December– establishment of Micro and Small Business Division in Enterprise Ireland to develop a Centre of Excellence
January 2013– launch advance Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs)
April 2013– establish all LEOs on an administrative basis
Summer 2013– enact enabling legislation
Minister Bruton said:

“Micro and small businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy, and employ over a third of all people working in Ireland today. If we are going to create the jobs and growth we need we must provide better supports to this sector so that more of these businesses can start-up, grow, export, and create the jobs we need. That is why as part of the Action Plan for Jobs we have introduced a range of new measures aimed at micro and small businesses, including the ■90million microfinance scheme and the ■450million credit guarantee scheme.

“A key part of this plan is ensuring that micro and small businesses throughout the country have access to the best possible range of supports at all stages of their developments. That is why the Government decided earlier this year on a package of reforms which will ensure that this can be delivered, by creating a Centre of Excellence in Enterprise Ireland to develop best practice in small business support, and a network of Local Enterprise Offices in Local Authorities responsible for delivering these supports across the country.

“Today I am happy to announce that, after substantial work by my Department, Minister Hogan’s Department and all other stakeholders, I have secured Government approval to draft legislation to give effect to these changes. It is also important that all affected parties have the opportunity to have their voices heard on these changes, and I urge people to participate in the consultation process”.

Minister Perry said:

“As Minister for Small Business I am acutely aware, along with my Government colleagues, how important the small business sector is to Ireland and the country’s economic recovery. Government does not create jobs, people and businesses do. The role of Government, and the centrepiece of our plan, is to make it easier for businesses to start-up, expand, succeed, and create jobs.
“This is why as part of the Action Plan for Jobs we are restructuring enterprise supports for the micro and small business sector and more closely aligning the services currently provided by the CEBs and Local Authorities. The new Local Enterprise Offices will act as a first-stop-shop facility for small business at local level and will incorporate the successful CEB model of supporting enterprise, but will also allow the provision of an enhanced role by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities for the wider small business sector.
“It is important that the Government hear directly from people in the small business sector and I would ask people to engage in this important consultative process.”
Written submissions should be submitted by19th December 2012 to

Health Committee to meet with Irish Premature Babies Organisation and Comhairle na nÓg

Representatives from the Irish Premature Babies Organisation will attend the meeting of the Committee on Health and Children tomorrow, Thursday 22nd November, 2012 to mark
World Prematurity Day

Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said: “Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality and now the number two cause of child mortality globally. To mark World Prematurity Day, we will meet with representatives from the Irish Premature Babies Organisation to discuss the international campaign to raise awareness of the 15 million babies who are born too soon each year and consider what measures are necessary to improve the health of mothers and premature babies here and abroad.”

The meeting takes place tomorrow, Thursday, 22nd November, 2012 at 9.30am in Committee Room 2, LH 2000.

Following its meeting with the Irish Premature Babies Organisation, the Committee will discuss youth issues with Comhairle na nÓg.

“Comhairle na nÓg are local youth councils which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies. Given the on-going developments in the area of children and young people, it is an opportune time to meet with Comhairle na nÓg to discuss matters regarding children and youth issues.”

Committee proceedings can be followed live at:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Slane Traffic Management Study Public Consultation

Info session on the Slane Traffic Management Study Stage 1 report at the Conyngham Arms Hotel, Slane on Wednesday 21st November between 3.00pm and 8.00pm

Slane Traffic Management Study
Public Consultation

Meath County Council invites residents of Slane and surrounding areas, members of the public and interested parties to participate in an information session on the Slane Traffic Management Study Stage 1 report at the Conyngham Arms Hotel, Slane on Wednesday 21st November between 3.00pm and 8.00pm

Details of the study will be on display, and staff from Meath County Council & the consultants who undertook the study, Aecom, will be on hand to discuss and
take questions on the findings of the report.

The Slane Traffic Management Study Stage 1 report will be available for inspection at Meath County Council’s offices at County Hall, Navan, at Duleek Civic Offices

& the National Road Design Office at Navan Enterprise Centre from 14th November 2012 to 19th December 2012.
Also a copy of the report can be downloaded from following Link:
Slane Traffic Management Study Stage 1 Report October 2012
Written submissions or observations on the Traffic Management Study Stage 1 report can be submitted to

Meath County Council,
National Road Design Office,
Navan Enterprise Centre,
Trim Road,

Co Meath

Voluntary organisations will not be charged for vetting application

Fine Gael Meath East Deputy and Chair of the Fine Gael Committee on Health, Regina Doherty, has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD, that there is no plan to charge voluntary organisations for vetting applications under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012.

Deputy Doherty received notification from the Justice Minister following on from a letter the Meath Deputy sent to the Minister to make enquiries about the issue.

“Despite the fact that Section 31 of the Act allows for fees for vetting applications to be charged for certain categories of employment, I welcome the Minister’s assurance that voluntary organisations will not be subject to this. Ensuring that we have adequate vetting procedures in place is essential to protecting our children. The last thing we want is for cost considerations to prevent organisations from playing their part in making sure all children are being cared for in a safe and secure environment.

“Minister Shatter conceded that there may be some consideration given to charging commercial or semi-commercial organisations for vetting in the future. It will come as a welcome relief to voluntary organisations that there is currently no mention of these charges being extended to them.
“It is expected that the Bill will come into effect early in the New Year, requiring those who commence working with children or vulnerable persons on an on-going basis to be vetted. Where retrospective vetting is concerned, there is a provision in the Act to deal with staff who were hired before the Act came into force. It is estimated that, due to existing resources, retrospective vetting will take about two years and that once this issue has been adequately dealt with, it will not need to be revisited. Re-vetting of staff will take place, however, around every 5 years or but this provision will not come into effect until the retrospective vetting process has been properly completed.

“This legislation, together with the Withholding of Information Bill, the placing of the Children’s First Guidelines on a statutory footing and the ratification by the Irish people of the Children’s Referendum, will enable us to ensure that the utmost care and consideration is given to our children’s safety and welfare.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Doherty & Buttimer welcome radical reform document for the health sector

Patients to be placed at the centre of decision making, ensuring faster, fairer service delivery

Fine Gael Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Health, Jerry Buttimer TD, and the Party’s Internal Health Committee Chair, Regina Doherty TD, have welcomed the publication today (Thursday) of the radical healthcare reform document by the Department of Health.

The document, entitled Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012-2015, sets out the roadmap for the overhaul of our healthcare services so that value for money and appropriate service delivery can be achieved.

Speaking following the launch Deputy Doherty said: ‘As the document states, the healthcare system in this country is currently unfair to patients, does not deliver value for money and is in dire need of reform. We are facing major challenges in terms of dealing with the budget deficit, getting the trolley numbers completely under control and dealing with increased activity, year on year. All of this in the context of Ireland having an ageing population’.

“However, this document charts the way forward by outlining the steps to be taken on the basis of the best possible evidence. A full collaborative approach is to be taken which will make full use of the Regional Health Forums who will consult with the relevant stakeholders to ensure best service delivery. The patient will be front and centre in the reform process which will seek to have patients treated at the lowest level of complexity that is safe, timely and that is delivered as close to home as possible.

Deputy Buttimer said: ‘The radical reform agenda being carried out by Minister Reilly will not happen overnight. This Government was handed a health service that was creaking at the seams and which had money thrown at it as the solution to all its problems. The Irish people, quite frankly, deserve better’.

“It is the Government’s intention to create a single-tier health service which is supported by Universal Health Insurance and where no distinction between public and private patients exists. Outcomes for patients will be improved, free access to GPs will be available, as is the case in other countries, and there will be better management of chronic illnesses.

“We have no choice but to do more with less, but that aside, it is high time we had a healthcare system that worked for, instead of against, us. Healthcare staff, consultants and, most of all, the patient, who should always have been at the heart of the system, deserve it. I have no doubt that this intention can and will become a reality under Dr. James Reilly TD.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Education Grants for County Meath Community/Voluntary Groups

Available November 2012

  • Applications are invited from community and voluntary groups who have not received funding from Co. Meath VEC’s Community Education Programme in the past.
  • Co. Meath VEC’s Community Education Service provides tuition hours to community or voluntary organisations that wish to run learning programmes in their own areas.
  • “Programmes should aim to develop the individual’s self confidence and educational skills base in order to enable and facilitate their development and participation in the life of their community”

In line with Government guidelines for usage of funding, priority will be given to courses/programmes which:

  • ØSpecifically target educational disadvantage
  • ØAddress self development, confidence building and skills enhancement for group members
  • ØFacilitate and encourage participation in educational activity from all sectors of our community
  • ØPromote social inclusion

The latest date for receipt of completed applications is Friday 30th November at 4pm. Application forms are downloadable from or are available by contacting:

Jackie BreenCommunity Education ServiceThe Alpha Learning CentreCo. Meath VECAbbey Road, Navan, Co. MeathTel. 046-9068285 E-mail:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Doherty welcomes funding to facilitate reopening of Bellewstown Bridge

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Tuesday) welcomed confirmation that €92,000 in funding is being made available to ensure Bellewstown Bridge can be reopened as soon as possible.
“I am glad to hear that the National Roads Authority has agreed to transfer €92,000 to Meath County Council for works on the bridge, following a request from the local authority. This money will be used to pay for remedial works on the bridge, so it can reopen as soon as possible.

“The bridge has been closed for almost three weeks now, and it has been causing some considerable disruption to local people and other motorists who travel this route on a daily basis. It was closed in the first place due to structural concerns, so it is welcome that these concerns will now be addressed with remedial works.

“I would urge Meath County Council to ensure work is carried out on the bridge as quickly as possible, so any further disruption can be kept to a minimum. Bellewstown Bridge is an historic structure, which has been used by local people for centuries. I hope that the repair works will ensure it can be preserved into the future.

“The sooner these works are completed and people can begin to use this route as normal, the better.”

County Council unites citizens of Meath in Christmas jobs drive - Meath County Council is bringing together individuals, businesses and students in a drive to attract new business into the county.

Its ‘Whatever your business…Make it Meath ’ campaign invites everybody in the county to promote the benefits of setting up a business in Meath among their friends and contacts throughout the world.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Niamh McGowan, said that Meath County Council had put together support programmes to assist the local community to attract new business to Meath.

“With many of our emigrant citizens returning to Meath for Christmas, we are asking everybody to make sure that our visitors are invited to promote Meath as an ideal location to set up a new business or open a European office.

“We have a comprehensive promotional brochure available from our offices or at any library in the county. It highlights the benefits of working and living in Meath and provides information on a number of individual towns in the county.

For individuals or companies who wish to have the information posted to a contact abroad please contact us on 046- 909 7000 or email:

“Those who have businesses in the county are asked to promote Meath among their high level business contacts, especially those abroad. Indeed successful business people who are now retired may wish to support the campaign by sharing their international business contacts abroad. By working together we can attract new companies to the county and generate jobs,” she said.

Research by Meath County Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Unit has identified that each and every member of the community has a wealth of contacts in Ireland and throughout the world.

They include business executives either working in or from Meath who regularly travel overseas, solicitors and accountants with clients who may be in a position to invest in Meath, local clergy whose parishioners are now working abroad and local schools who can identify high profile former students who could help bring businesses to the county.

Mr Frank Harrington, President, Navan Chamber of Commerce welcomed the initiative from Meath County Council and has urged all Chambers of Commerce in the county to come together to make sure that all their contacts receive the promotional brochure.

“This united approach will bear fruits in terms of attracting industry and commerce to Meath. The support of all the Chambers of Commerce and the advice and assistance of the key state agencies in the county will make sure that directors and their families of those companies coming here have access to the best advice and assistance available in the county,” he said.

Mr Kevin Stewart said that if the county was to attract new business, then it’s up to each and every one of us working and living here to get out there and sell the benefits.

“These benefits include a high quality of life, access to quality education as well as excellent infrastructure, premier business locations, easy access to major towns and cities and a wealth of skills currently available in Meath. Our workforce has a wealth of skills in the majority of industry sectors and fluency in a wide variety of languages.

“We are of the view that if you don’t ask companies to consider Meath as a location, they won’t. We need everybody working together to ask international business people to set up in Meath. And we have had a great response from every section of the community in Meath and we are confident that if we all promote Meath abroad, we will attract new business. We also have the support of the State agencies in the county to help companies to set up in Meath,” he said.

Meath County Council’s Economic Development and Innovation brochure, ‘Whatever your business… Make it Meath”, showcases the economic case for locating a start up in Meath. It provides an overview of the county with an economic profile insert for 7 key locations in the county.

Further information and a copy of the brochure is available from

Friday, November 09, 2012

Health Committee to seek information from HSE on pregnancy counselling services allegations

At its meeting today, the Joint Committee on Health and Children considered the matter of recent allegations printed in a national newspaper concerning services at HSE funded pregnancy counselling services.

Following the meeting the Joint Committee decided to write to the HSE requesting the following information as a matter of urgency;

    · Has a formal investigation been commenced by the Health Service Executive in respect of the alleged advice given by counsellors at the clinics referred to?
    · If an investigation has commenced, what will be the terms of reference and scope of the investigation? What will be the timescale involved in such an investigation to complete to report stage? In particular, will the investigation examine the actions of the service providers only or will it also look at the role of the HSE in this matter? And who will be carrying out the investigation?
    · If an investigation has commenced, what is the basis or authority for such an investigation? Further, what procedures will be adopted in respect of the investigation?
    · Is the HSE aware of any investigation by An Garda Síochána into the alleged incidents?
    · Is the HSE aware of any internal review being carried out by any of the organisations referred to into the alleged incidents?
    · What actions were carried out by the HSE in the period of weeks before these articles were printed, during which time the HSE was in possession of the transcripts referred to in the article?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

video on state intervention

Staff from Louth Meath Hospitals to host information events to mark World Diabetes Day 2012

World Diabetes Day takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2012. To mark the occasion the diabetes department in Louth/Meath Hospital Group are inviting members of the public to attend free diabetes information events in Louth County Hospital, Dundalk and Our lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, or people at risk of developing diabetes are encouraged to visit the Outpatients Department in Louth County Hospital or the health promotion corner on the ground floor of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital between 10am and 4pm on the day. Staff from the diabetes department will be on hand to provide advice and information on managing diabetes, in relation to food, foot-care, and pre-pregnancy planning for women with diabetes or a history of gestational diabetes.

Diabetes is now recognised as one of the most chronic diseases of the 21st century. It is estimated that 366 million people worldwide have diabetes, with the number expected to reach some 380 million by 2025. In Ireland, it is estimated 240,000 people have diabetes – half of which are unaware of it.

Speaking in advance of the diabetes information events, Pauline O’ Hanlon diabetes nurse specialist Louth Meath Hospital Group said, “Many people could have type 2 diabetes for over seven years without realising it. It's very important to be aware of the risk factors, which include being overweight, having a family history of the illness, and in relation to women, if they have a history of gestational diabetes or have had large babies (over 10lb). However, both type 2 and type 1 diabetes can be managed effectively by incorporating a healthy diet and physical activity, monitoring blood glucose, medication and attending for regular follow up with their GP or diabetes hospital clinic."

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, potentially debilitating and often fatal disease. The disease occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps ‘sugar’ (glucose) to leave the blood and enter the cells of the body to be converted into energy.
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes (previously referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes) occurs when the body does not produce insulin. It can affect people of any age, but usually occurs in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood.
In Type 2 diabetes (previously called non-insulin dependent diabetes or mature-onset diabetes) the body cannot use the insulin it produces effectively. The onset of type 2 diabetes is linked to genetic factors but obesity, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet increase the risks of it occurring. In the past, it was thought of as a disease of the elderly. However, due to the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. Worldwide, many millions of people have type 2 diabetes without even knowing it.
Gestational Diabetes
Some women develop a third, usually temporary, type of diabetes called ‘gestational diabetes’ when they are pregnant. Gestational diabetes develops in 2-5% of all pregnancies, but usually disappears when the pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
Recognizing diabetes
The onset of type 1 diabetes is often sudden and dramatic and can include symptoms such as:
Abnormal thirst and a dry mouth
Frequent urination
Extreme tiredness/lack of energy
Constant hunger
Sudden weight loss
Slow-healing wounds
Recurrent infections
Blurred vision

The same symptoms that are listed above can also affect people with type 2 diabetes, but usually the symptoms are less obvious. The onset of type 2 diabetes is gradual and therefore hard to detect. Indeed, some people with type 2 diabetes show no obvious symptoms early on. These people are often diagnosed several years later, when various complications are already present.

Risk Factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes
Being overweight
Family history of Type 2 Diabetes
History of Gestational Diabetes (Women)
Women who had large babies (over 10lb)

Life-threatening complications
Poorly controlled blood-glucose can result in short and long-term complications, many of which, if not prevented and left untreated, can be fatal.Diabetes is among the top 10 causes of disability, resulting in life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations, kidney failure and blindness.All have the potential to reduce the quality of life of people with diabetes and their families.

Diabetes can be prevented
Early detection and the adoption of proven measures to prevent diabetes can significantly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, delay its onset or at least reduce its impact. People with type 2 diabetes can usually control the level of glucose in their blood by following a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, and oral medication (tablets).
For people with type 1 diabetes, it is not yet possible to prevent the condition. However, much can be done to prevent or delay diabetes complications by healthy eating, regular physical activity, medication and regular follow-up with the GP or diabetes clinic.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Julianstown Community Garden for 2013 Livcom awards

Meath took four of the top prizes in the All-Island IPB Pride of Place Competition at a gala awards ceremony in Thomond Park, Limerick, atthe weekend.

 Third Age, Summerhill, scooped the prize in Category eight, which a special award category for Active Elderly in the Community.

 The judges said: 'This group has long since recognised the value of older people engaged and contributing in their own communities for as long as possible. Responsive and dynamic, the impressive number of services on offer continues to evolve as needs emerge and change. A local project has developed into a sophisticated, efficient and resourcefuloperation modelling a community where older people are valued, remain in the mainstream of life and enjoy good and effective relationships across the generations'.

 Meath were also runners-up in three categories. Kilmessan, Co Meath took runner up prize in Category 4, for populations of between1000 and 2000, while Julianstown Community Garden, Co Meath took runner up prize in Category 7, a single issue category for Community Gardens. Hillview Estate, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath was runner up in Category 9, a single issue category for Housing Estates.

 It was also announced that Julianstown Community Garden was nominated for the 2013 International Livcom Competition.

 At the event the winners were congratulated and presented with their award by Jan O'Sullivan Minister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Christopher Moran Chairman Co-operation Ireland, Tom Dowling, Chairman of the Pride of Place Committee and IPB Chief Executive Ronan Foley.

 More that 400 representatives from practically every county in Ireland attended the event where the winners of the 10th consecutive annual competition revealed. They were announced by Will Leahy, 2FM presenter.
 During the evening, the Minister paid tribute to all the participating groups who work tirelessly to create and promote pride in their cities, towns and villages.
 The All-Island Pride of Place Competition recognises and celebrates the vital contributions that community partnerships make to society. The focus is on people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their local area. It differs from other similar projects in that they specifically recognise the involvement of the local community in all aspects of rural and urban regeneration including, promoting social cohesion, involvement in planning, the promotion of heritage and environmental awareness.
 The competition is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with the Pride of Place Steering Committee. This year the competition has been renamed the 'All-Island IPB Pride of Place Competition in association with Co-operation Ireland' thanks to the sponsorship from Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd

Monday, November 05, 2012

Deputy Doherty speaking in the Dáil on the Children's Referendum

New initiative to generate jobs strategy for rural Ireland

Pat Spillane to Head Up New Commission

The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, announced today (5.11.2012) that Pat Spillane will be the Chairman of the new Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA).

Minister Hogan said: “Getting people back to work remains this Government’s number one objective. Building on the Action Plan for Jobs, Jobsbridge and the new initiatives I announced inPutting People First which empowers Local Government to drive economic development and create jobs at a local level, I am now establishing a new Commission that will generate a jobs strategy for rural Ireland. Too often policy is created at central government, I believe it is the people on the ground, who often have the answers to the challenges we are facing. The Commission will examine the non farming, “outside the farm gate”aspects of economic development in rural areas and undertake an extensive public consultation on the future economic potential of rural Ireland and how best to channel funding and resources between 2013 and 2025.”

“The differential degree of economic development and the variable impacts of the economic downturn between urban and rural areas will be examined in detail by the Commission in order to ensure that appropriate measures are identified to inform the development of strategies that support rural Ireland into the future. This new Commission is particularly relevant given that unemployment has increased more in rural areas particularly in small towns since the economic crisis began.”

A number of commitments relating to economic development contained in the Programme for Government, in particular, commitments to encourage job creation and sustainable enterprise development, are reliant on the ability of all parts of Ireland to contribute to economic growth going forward.

The Commission will involve 3 stages:
  • A nationwide consultation of rural stakeholders including employers, unions, farm bodies, community organisation and the public sector
  • Research and analysis of economic factors affecting rural areas
  • The preparation of a report supporting the medium-term economic development of the Rural Areas for the period to 2025

Commenting on the appointment of the Chairman, Minister Hogan said: “Pat Spillane is the ideal candidate to act as Chairman of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. He has been a leader throughout his life, whether it be on the sporting field, where he won 9 All-Star awards, in his professional life as a School Principal in St. Gobán's College, Bantry or in his media career. Coming form a rural area Templenoe in County Kerry, where he lives with his wife and three children, and helping since his childhood days in running the family pub business, he has direct experience of the challenges facing rural Ireland. He is a passionate, enthusiastic and non-partisan champion of rural issues. Pat will do a great job in working with the Commission to deliver recommendations to create jobs in rural Ireland.”

Welcoming the CEDRA, Minister Simon Coveney TD, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine said: “The Government is determined to pursue policies that can keep young people in their Communities in rural Ireland. This Rural Commission is about talking and listening to people living in rural parishes across the country as the basis of policy development to maximise the potential for jobs and rural communities. We have a very clear development and growth plan for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food sector but there are other areas that need to be supported and developed in rural Ireland- that’s what this Commission is all about.”

Pat Spillane on accepting his role said:“I am delighted to be able to accept this important appointment. The unemployment situation is the real national crisis, affecting people deeply, the length and breadth of the land. It has particularly affected young people, who are struggling to get employment, many of whom are being forced to emigrate, decimating the fabric of rural society. I look forward to working with the members of the Commission to try to come up with ideas that will help to alleviate this situation.”

The Commission is established under the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and will be supported by an Executive led by Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue, Head of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme in collaboration with officials in the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Western Development Commission for the research and consultation process.

Commenting on his lead research role, Cathal O’Donoghue said: “Teagasc and I are honoured to be able to support the Commission. We in Teagasc have previous experience in providing research support to the Food Harvest 2020 Committee that developed the Agri-Food Strategy. Together with our partners, we will provide whatever support we can to facilitate the mission of the Commission. The work of the Commission is particularly relevant for our stakeholders as Farm households have been particularly affected by the down turn with the off-farm employment rate of farmers falling back to late 1990’s levels. On the other hand the Food Harvest 2020 strategy for the Agri-Food sector has a target to generate 25000 new jobs and thus the sector can make a substantial impact on rural job creation.” The focus of the Commission’s work will be on “outside the farm gate” dimensions of economic development.

A practical contribution of the Commission will be the recruitment of a group of interns under the Job Bridge programme, who will train with the Commission and get skills in Event Management, Research, Web technology, Media, Administration and Project Management.

The Commission has a defined remit and timeframe and its main output will be a report that aims to inform medium term economic development of rural areas for the period to 2025. The report will be short and specific and will take a multi-sectoral approach. The Public Consultation process will include 17 public meetings to be held all over the country in January, March and April of 2013. The full Commission will also meet each month (except March) until October 2013 when it is planned to publish the report. Outside of the public consultation process there will also be a number of individual stakeholder meetings with civil society organisations representing among others, Youth, Farmers, Women, Older people, Academic Institutions and Government Departments and relevant state agencies.

The Minister will announce the membership of the Commission later in the week. The membership will represent a broad set of people from different backgrounds, with significant experience and expertise in the Rural Economy. The membership comprises both public and private sectors, bringing practical, government and research experience.