Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Discovery Zone

How would you like to :

  • Discover New Ideas?
  • Discover new Business Opportunities?
  • Discover your True Potential?

The Discovery Zone is an exciting new 12 week programme designed to assist experienced professionals who find themselves at a time in their careers where they want to develop new ideas, start a new business or explore ways in which they can use their skills, experience and talents to exploit commercial opportunities.  Based at the Kells Enterprise Centre, The Discovery Zone aims to :

  • Help participants to both generate new business ideas and/or to evaluate existing business ideas
  • Assist participants with the technical and commercial evaluation of these ideas.
  • Enable participants to complete a feasibility study on their most viable business idea.
Elements of the Programme will include:

  • A formal training day once per week.
  • A group project to build a strong Team Dynamic.
  • Compulsory attendance in the dedicated Discovery Zone Incubator for two days per week for project work, workshops, assignments etc.
  • Support from a dedicated Programme Manager
  • Mentoring by experienced Business People.
  • Case Studies from real Entrepreneurs.
  • Informal access to technical advice from Researchers/Academics at DKIT.
This project has been co-funded by Meath County Council & Enterprise Ireland.

NOTE:  Attendance at the Discovery Zone will not jeopardise receipt of Social Welfare Payments.

To request an application form, please contact Joanne Kearns at 042 9370435 or email

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apply for Social Welfare online

This link allows customers to file online applications for:

  • State Pension (Contributory) (if you have been invited to apply online)
  • Widow(er)’s Contributory Pension (if you are resident in the Republic of Ireland)
  • Child Benefit (if you have been invited to apply online)
  • Jobseeker’s Payment (if you have been invited to apply online)
Note for JobseekersThis service is not yet available to all Jobseeker customers.
You can only use this service if the Department of Social Protection has written to you inviting you to apply online, or if you have been advised by your Local Social Welfare Office to apply online.

Minister Varadkar boosts council funding to cope with another severe winter

Local authorities will have 60,000 tonnes of salt this year for regional and local roads
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar announced today (Friday) that local authorities will share an extra €1.25 million in funding this year to prepare for extreme weather conditions.
The Minister has increased the Winter Maintenance Grant from €10 million to €11.25 million to assist local authorities with winter maintenance and to keep important roads clear.
“We must do everything we can to prepare Ireland for extreme weather conditions. Every extreme winter in recent years has seen salt stocks running perilously low.  Hopefully, local authorities will have access to sufficient supplies of salt this year, and sufficient resources to spread it, as a result of this extra funding.
“We have no way of knowing whether another severe winter is on the way. But we must do our very best to be prepared.”
The extra €1.25 million, along with the direct purchase of some 60,000 tonnes of salt, was possible through savings in the Department. It means that local authorities will have access to some 60,000 tonnes of salt, on top of the supplies purchased separately by the National Roads Authority.
The funding will help to cover the cost of purchasing, transporting, storing and spreading salt, and other works associated with extreme weather conditions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If you have a bright start-up idea and want to get it off the ground quickly and funded then apply today!

Following on from The Success of Round One of Smart Start, They have decided to add two more programmes to the list in the months ahead, yes that’s right ... TWO!

One cohort in the South of Ireland and for the First time ever, one in Northern Ireland!

So if you have a bright start-up idea and want to get it off the ground quickly and funded then apply today! - Easy!

They will announce the selection list in the second week of October and begin work straight away!
Have you got what it takes?... Apply Now!

Monday, September 19, 2011

€6 million investment programme for Irish Rail

Deputy Regina Doherty welcomes the €6 million investment programme for Irish Rail announced today by Minister of State Alan Kelly.

The funding will go to line speed improvements, further rollout of Wi-Fi on the train service and important fuel saving technology to reduce costs.

The funding is coming from reallocated capital within the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport and is being spent on works that will be completed by year end.

Under the initiative, an additional €1million will be spent on improving journey times between Portalington and Dublin, €1million on ticket validating machines and €300K for the additional roll-out of wifi on 63 rail cars and €600,000 for order point heaters to ensure depots are not unduly affected by a harsh winter.


Proposed allocation

Line Speed Improvement Design & Work          
Major programme to enhance railway competitiveness in terms of travel time to major urban centres.

Work would commence on parts of mainline from Dublin to Portarlington

Order Point Heaters                            
Programme to reduce impact of harsh winter conditions on service


Provision of WiFi on the remaining ICR fleet   
Enhances customer experience & gives competitive advantage over other transport modes. Last section of fleet to be so equipped


Loco Fuel Savings Enhancement                  
Green alternative that also reduces operational costs

Device to limit idling time to improve fuel efficiency and reduce  costs
Security Enclosures for new ATMs               
ATMs have impact on manpower costs and provide easy access for customers (security enclosures are essential for ATMs outside stations)

Protection for 91 machines to be purchased for the Non Greater Dublin Area, at approximately €12,500 each with the majority of expenditure this year. The remainder - €150K – would be required next year.
LED Signals                                    
More efficient and less maintenance


Purchase of ticket validation machines         
Exit Validation is priority for manpower savings and revenue protection

€1 M
For stations in key regional cities and towns. The ticket validation programme will enhance revenue protection capability on both access and egress and also improve the passenger throughput. All machines would be smart card enabled.
Embankment Stabilisation                       
reduces threats to services in high risk areas


Station Upgrades on Lightly Used Lines
Requirement to keep assets on all lines in good repair



€6.1 M

New website hopes to make it easier to complain about the health service

A new website has been launched today to make it easier to complain about the health service.

Seventeen agencies are coming together under to facilitate patients who feel their treatment was unsatisfactory.

Sunday times article - 18 September 2011 - Backbencher rebels over autism policy

A FINE Gael backbencher is organising a nationwide campaign against her government's education policy on autism. Regina Doherty, a Meath East TD, will write to the parents of 4,000 autistic children to ask them to act against the approach taken by Ruairi Quinn, the education minister.
"I will be asking parents to put pressure on the government to change their policy," Doherty said. "I don't believe the department even has a policy on autism. It is giving a pretence of delivering a service, nothing more than that."
Doherty is representing parents in favour of implementing applied behavioural analysis (ABA), a specialist teaching method, in schools.
Quinn was strongly in favour of ABA while in opposition.
In February 2008 he called the previous government's rejection of the teaching method "an issue of major concern", saying the department's decision was "more to do with institutional rigidities and conservatism within the civil service than a real and open evaluation of the effectiveness of the ABA method".
In July, the Achieve ABA school in Donaghmede, Dublin, was forced to close after the state refused a request for funding. Daniel O'Mahony, a parent who helped set up the school, said the government had betrayed the trust of voters.
"Fianna Fail created this mess 10 years ago, but I'm flabbergasted Ruairi Quinn hasn't done anything to change it," O'Mahony said. "They told us they would support us. The only reason we kept the school going for the last year was because we were waiting for the new government, because they said they'd help us.."
Instead of ABA, Quinn is supporting the previous government's decision to create special classes for autistic pupils in mainstream schools. Doherty has claimed teachers of these classes are not properly qualified to carry out their duties. "The teachers are not being given any special training, apart from a three-day inservice course. You cannot become qualified in this very specialised teaching method in three days," said Doherty.
"These children are not getting the education they need, and they will start to regress.
When that happens, boards of management are going to be sued by parents for failing to provide their children with an education."
Doherty said she believed Quinn was still in favour of ABA, but had been conflicting views from his civil servants.
"I think he's getting bad advice from his department, and you're only as good as the advice you're getting," she said.
A spokeswoman for the department denied that it had no policy on autism. It said it was not accurate to say that teachers in special classes are not qualified to teach autistic children, because they were all qualified primary teachers.
"The department ... provides a comprehensive programme of continuing professional development," she said.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Doherty welcomes €367,811 in funding for Meath road maintenance

Fine Gael TD for Meath East has today (Friday) welcomed the increase in funding for Meath County Council to help maintain roads over the coming winter months.
“I am very pleased to hear that the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, has allocated an extra €1.25 million to help local authorities around the country with winter maintenance and keeping roads clear during harsh weather. The total being allocated nationally comes to €11.25 million, with Meath County Council set to receive €367,811, an increase of €40,868.
“This is a clear example of the Minister planning ahead, in a bid to avoid some of the delay and disruption experienced during the snow and ice earlier this year and late last year. Many local authorities clearly struggled to keep main routes clear and gritted, much to the disgruntlement and disappointment of local people.
“The additional money being allocated this year is being made available thanks to savings within the Minister’s Department. Sixty thousand tonnes of salt is being directly purchased, which will be provided to local authorities on top of the supplies bought separately by the National Roads Authority. The extra €1.25 million will help to cover the cost of purchasing, transporting, storing and spreading salt, and other works associated with extreme weather conditions.
“If reports this week are to be believed, it looks like we could be in for another harsh cold snap in the coming months. This time around, the Government is putting contingency plans in place now. This means local authorities will have the power to react to tough conditions quickly, which will hopefully greatly reduce the disruption and difficulty experienced by members of the public.”

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Register of Electors

All Irish citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote at the Presidential Election but only if they are on the Register of Electors for their area.  The Register of Electors is maintained by the relevant Local Authority and it is important to make sure that you are on the register for your area.  You should verify this even if you have voted in previous elections since errors do occasionally happen and could prevent you being able to cast your vote.
You can check the register online at where it will only take a minute to make sure you are registered.
People who are eligible to vote but who are not registered as electors still have time to apply for entry in the supplement to the register of electors to be published before polling day and so be able to vote on 27 October 2011. Application forms can be downloaded from or can be obtained from City and County Councils.  To be eligible for inclusion in the supplement to the register a person must be an Irish citizen, must be 18 years of age by polling day and must be ordinarily resident in the State.
Applications for inclusion in the supplement must be signed in the presence of and witnessed by a member of the Garda Siochana or, if the person cannot attend their local Garda Station, by an official of their County or City Council provided they state the reason why they were unable to attend a Garda station. If, because of a physical illness or physical disability, a person cannot attend either their local Garda Station or their County or City Council, their application form must be accompanied by a medical certificate. The final date for the receipt of completed supplement application forms by the relevant City or County Council is 10 October 2011.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Gaelscoil na Mi opens its Doors Today

Deputy Regina Doherty today (Thursday 1st September) attended the official opening of Gaelscoil na Mi.
The official opening and rising of the flag took place at the Gaelscoil’s temporary home beside the clubhouse in Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA club, Ashbourne Co. Meath
“For the 40 Junior and Senior infant pupils of the new Gaelscoil na Mi this is a very exciting day” says Doherty  “So far the Gaelscoil caters for Junior and Senior infant classes and expected to grow in the future. We have been campaigning for the establishment of Gaelscoil na Mi for a very long time and I am personally delighted today.”
“It is fantastic to see efforts to keep the Irish language alive with the establishment of another Gaelscoil in the area. I wish the pupils and teachers the best of luck for the coming school year”

Finally some positive news for Homeowners

Meath East TD Regina Doherty has today spoken with Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD regarding the decision by Homebond to withdraw all offers and further support from any homeowner covered by their company relating to pyrite claims.
Following the conversation Deputy Doherty can confirm that the Minister has agreed to set up a task force to tackle the issue of pyrite claims by homebond homeowners.
“This task force is expected to consist of members of all parties concerned with the pyrite issue. It is anticipated that the Department of the Environment will issue terms of reference to the task force as to the outcome expected and it will be up to the members of said task force to achieve this.”
“This confirmation from the Minister is finally some positive news for worried homeowners. This news will not solve problems just yet, but at least it will go some way to easing the minds of those whose houses were damaged by pyrite. The Minister has said that he will issue further details in the coming weeks.”