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“Rural Ireland must not be hit in scramble to find cash for Children’s Hospital over-run,” Mattie McGrath

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, to clarify what rural projects will be being scaled back or delayed following reports in today’s Irish Independent that his department will be asked to slash its budget in order for government to make up the €100 million funding gap that has emerged following the enormous cost over-runs at the National Children’s Hospital. Deputy McGrath went on to say that this would represent a double betrayal for the children of rural Ireland in light of the well documented challenges that already exist for rural families in terms of accessing the site of the NCH at St. James Hospital:

 

“It is absolutely unacceptable for the government to even contemplate raiding the budget for projects in rural Ireland in order to cover up its disastrous oversight of the NCH.

 

We are hearing this morning that funds announced as part of Project Ireland 2040, including the Rural Development Fund, will also be temporarily delayed, in addition to cuts in housing and education.

 

It is also being reported that the extra €9m allocated to the OPW for flood schemes this year is also likely to be reduced by €3m.

 

What’s next-abandoning rural broadband in order to cover the blushes of Leo’s Ministers?

 

Rural Ireland has taken hit after hit in the last six years; not least in the area of health where it remains nearly impossible for us to retain or recruit rural GP’s.

 

Proportionally speaking, rural Ireland is still playing catch up in terms of the huge economic imbalance between it and the city and county of Dublin where over 50% of Ireland’s GDP – the total value of everything produced in the country – is generated.

 

This is despite the fact that an estimated 60% of the population live outside Dublin County.

 

These facts must be taken into consideration before the government takes the budgetary knife to badly needed projects in rural Ireland,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Community

Lowry Welcomes Funding for Tipperary Animal Welfare Organisations

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I welcome the announcement from the Department of Agriculture today that six Tipperary Animal Welfare Organisations will benefit from €86,000 between them.

Applications for 2020 funding will be open soon. All applicants must be registered with the Charities Regulator.

Cappanagarrane Horse Rescue, Mullinahone – €6,000

Great Hounds in Needs, 7 Cois Coille, Kilcash, Clonmel – €2,000

Mo Chara Animal Rescue, Ballygemmane, Thurles – €14,000

PAWS Animal Rescue, Mullinahone – €45,000

Roscrea SPCA, Roscrea – €18,000

The Haven Rescue, Tipperary, C/o 26 The Haven, Roscrea – €1,000

Funding for Animal Welfare Organisations is vital for them to continue to carry out their work.

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Drivers continuing to receive mixed messages about NCT testing inspections

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Independent TD and General Election candidate Mattie McGrath has written to the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, and the head of the NCT Test service, to seek immediate clarification around the suspension by the NCTS of its vehicle lift inspections. Deputy McGrath was speaking after reports were made that several NCT Centres have resumed full service; a claim that is contradicted on the NCT national website which says that the suspension remains in place across the NCT network:

“There is huge confusion around this issue and drivers are getting extremely frustrated by the mixed messages that they are receiving.

The NCTS are also saying that those drivers who have presented already and who have ‘failed’ their test due to an inability to access the underbody of the vehicle should hold on to their report to present to Gardai if challenged for a not having a valid NCT Cert.

I have spoken to a number of gardai however and they have assured me that they have received no instruction in this matter in terms of applying discretion to drivers.

Drivers need to know if they are going to have penalty points applied or not.

There is also the question of why these faults were not identified as part of routine reviews at each individual testing centre. Was there any need to suspend the inspections across the entire network?

We need answers to these questions so that confidence can be maintained in the NCT service and so that drivers can be free of the concern that they are going to be penalised for faults in the system outside their control,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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Improved pay and conditions for childcare workers is a priority for FF – Goldsboro

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Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Tipperary Cllr. Imelda Goldsboro says her party will address the current inequality faced by childcare workers if elected to government.

Cllr. Goldsboro made the comments as thousands of childcare workers travelled to Dublin yesterday to protest against their pay and conditions.

“Early childhood care and education is one of the most important parts of any society and the people charged with taking care of our children should not have to march on our capital to have their voices heard”, said Cllr. Goldsboro.

“Many of these workers have third level qualifications but their pay simply does not reflect that.  Fianna Fáil is committed to securing a Sectoral Employment Order for staff in the early years sector to ensure better pay and conditions.

“We will also bring forward measures to make childcare more affordable for families across Tipperary and right around the country.  There are simply not enough childcare places, and the creches and early childhood centres are being swamped with additional paperwork and increased costs.

“Insurance is a huge issue for the majority of childcare providers and we have situations now that creches are closing because they can’t afford to stay in business.

“Fianna Fáil is pledging to tackle these issues head on.  We will establish a new €10 million commercial rates relief fund, which will provide important support to creches who are crippled by commercial rates. We will also increase the National Childcare Scheme subsidy for ordinary workers with an investment of an additional €81 million to increase the universal childcare subsidy from €20 per week to €80 per week.

“Yesterday’s rally led by the Early Year’s Alliance should not be ignored by any public representatives or those seeking public office. It is paramount the next government tackle this crisis head on. It is something my Fianna Fáil colleagues and I are committed too,” concluded Cllr. Goldsboro.

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