Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doherty encourages Meath groups to apply for Caring Communities grants

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) encouraged community groups in Meath to apply for funding under the Caring Communities initiative, which is run by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

“This is the second round of Caring Communities grants, and this time around awards will be made under four categories; LGBT communities, youth unemployment, emergency respite care and older people. The grants are aimed at funding innovative projects and successful applicants are encouraged to work with other grantees to share their learning and experience.

“The Community Foundation, which is a charitable organisation, has given out more than €12 million in grants since it was established in 2000. This latest round of grants will allow a range of groups to benefit from extra funding, and I would encourage community organisations in Meath to check out if they are eligible to apply.

“It is the first time that grants are being made available for youth unemployment initiatives. Funding will be made available to groups who engage with young people who aren’t in training, employment or education. Respite care grants will be given to those not currently receiving support from the State, while grants will also be targeted at projects which help older people engage in advocacy roles and active citizenship.

“The Community Foundation has been a long supporter of the LGBT foundation. As part of this round of grants, the Foundation will support groups working with the LGBT sector.

“I would encourage groups in Meath to explore whether they could benefit from the Community Foundation’s benevolence. More information can be found at”

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vitamin D screening could help prevent return of rickets

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Wednesday) urged the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, to consider introducing a screening programme to identify vitamin D deficiency in children. Deputy Doherty raised the issue in a recent Parliamentary Question to the Minister.

“Reports in the UK suggest that rickets, a bone disease associated with the 18th century, is on the increase, due to a combination of dietary and lifestyle measures. The disease can be extremely painful and can cause stunted growth, bowed legs and enlarged wrists and ankles.

“The return of rickets has been attributed to a number of factors including the overuse of sun cream, poor diet and our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. I believe a screening programme or an information campaign could help to prevent this very serious health problem from making a comeback.

“The Minister has confirmed to me that the Department of Health has not carried out any recent studies of the vitamin D levels of Irish children, and therefore it is very difficult to ascertain the scale of the problem. However recent national dietary surveys carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have identified low and, in some cases, deficient intakes of vitamin D in children.

“The Minister also pointed out that vitamin D deficiency is a problem for all age groups living in Ireland because of poor sunlight and the fact that, apart from oily fish, there are not many good natural sources of the vitamin. A national policy of vitamin D supplementation of all infants in Ireland has been implemented and the targeted needs of other sub-groups in the population such as pregnant women are currently being examined.

“This issue has attracted considerable attention in the UK recently, after a six year old boy was diagnosed with rickets because he was wearing too much factor 50 sun cream. While this kind of case might be rare, I do think we need to take heed of worrying trends and consider what we can do to prevent a return of rickets in this country.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

70 new jobs for Meath East demonstrates wealth of talented and skilled workers available in the county

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, that Mafic (Black Basalt) Ireland Limited (Mafic) will create 70 jobs over the next three years with a multi-million Euro investment in its new production facility in Kells, Co. Meath. This development has been made possible with the support of the Succeed-in-Ireland Initiative.

“I am very pleased with today’s announcement. There is a wealth of talented and skilled workers in Meath East who are ready and able to take on the challenge and help Mafic succeed as the manufacturing centre of excellence and production headquarters.

“A big congratulations must go to the directors of the company, Jane Walsh and Brian Dougan, who are first time company directors who have expertly steered the company since it launched in November, to today’s announcement of a multi-million euro investment in the new production facility in Kells and the creation of 70 new jobs.

“This Government’s number one priority is to create jobs and position Ireland as the best small company in which to do business and I’d like to thank all those involved in the Succeed in Ireland initiative, and Minister Bruton, who have been heavily involved in bringing today’s announcement to fruition. ”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Doherty & McEntee meet North Meath Road Action Group in Leinster House

Fine Gael TDs for Meath East, Regina Doherty and Helen McEntee, this week attended an information session in Leinster House with members of the North Meath Road Action Group. The session provided the group with an opportunity to illustrate to Oireachtas members the issues that exist with roads in north Meath.

Deputies Doherty and McEntee and jointly stated: ‘As always, we continue to work closely with Government Ministers in order to get proper services and solutions in place for Meath East. We have made representations to the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, on the issue and he is fully aware of the situation in north Meath.

Deputy McEntee said: ‘It was great to see the amount of people who came down from north Meath in order to illustrate the problems with roads in that part of the county and I’d like to thank them for their participation and for the excellent presentations made.’

“As a recently elected TD, I have made our local roads a priority and I hope that a solution to the situation will be found.”

Deputy Doherty said: ‘Councillors face an annual challenge to locate funds to service the roads throughout the county. As TDs we are fully aware of the problem with roads in north Meath and have a clear plan on how it should be resolved. Having made representations to Minister Varadkar on the issue, I am confident that a satisfactory resolution will be provided in the coming weeks.’

“I was really enthused by the turnout at the briefing event in Leinster House. It shows that people are engaged with and concerned about the issues that affect them in their communities.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FG TDs welcome allocation for Meath roads under the Community Involvement Scheme

Highest allocation goes to Meath in recognition of the dire state of the county’s roads

Fine Gael Meath TDs have this morning (Monday) welcomed the allocation of €1,549,868 under the Community Involvement Scheme which will be used to repair lesser trafficked rural roads in the county. This announcement follows on from a meeting the TDs had last week with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, where they raised the state of the roads in Meath and pushed for action on the matter.

Speaking this morning, Deputy Regina Doherty said: ‘The roads in Meath are among the worst in the country, with an estimated €20 million needed to bring them up to standard. Obviously that amount is not available but the nationalisation of the Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) will help to bridge the gap. Meath had lodged applications for 11 projects and all of them have been awarded. This demonstrates and confirms a serious response by Government to this issue which is impacting greatly on commuters and motorists in Meath’.

Deputy Helen McEntee said: ‘The roads in Meath, and particularly North Meath, have been in a particularly dire state since the bad weather last year. The fact that Meath has been allocated the most amount of money of all counties is an acknowledgement of the scale of the problem facing the people of Meath. A total allocation of €10.5 million nationally has been made available and Meath has been given access to more than €1.5 million. Three quarters of a million euro has been recommended for this year and €800,000 in 2014. I know the people of Meath will be forthcoming in playing their part in getting the Meath roads up to speed.

Deputy Damien English said: ‘The CIS allows communities to contribute to the cost of the repair and maintenance of local roads by providing of a portion of the funding or the supply of labour or machinery, with the Council making up the rest. This scheme has already been in place in some local authorities but today’s announcement sees the roll-out nationally of what is a very worthwhile initiative. This scheme allows for the speedier upgrading of roads that ordinarily would be much further down the list of priorities. It is incumbent on us to be more creative in finding solutions to the challenges of maintaining local roads. We must use our imagination to get the problems sorted and to make good use of any stimulus funding that may be available. This scheme ticks all those boxes.’

Deputy Ray Butler said: ‘In the last number of weeks, myself and my colleagues met with the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, local Fine Gael councillors and members of the North Meath Action Group Committee to discuss the poor state of the roads in Meath so I am delighted that this funding has been announced today. By allowing local communities to get involved in this way, we can ensure that roads which may have been ignored will get the attention they need. The overall cost of the works in Meath is €1,937,335 over two years, with 23kms of road set to be improved. Meath County Council has been approved for the total amount of funding applied for which is great news. This scheme will allow the people of Meath to get on with getting potholes filled on local roads and will give them a real sense of involvement in bettering their local communities.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Have Your Say - What do children in Meath and their families need?

The Meath Children’s Services Committee comprising of HSE Children Services,  Meath County Council,  Gardai, Education, Probation and local voluntary services, are currently undertaking research into the needs of children aged 0 – 18 and their families within the county.  If you know of a service or facility that should be provided in your area, please email your ideas to the researchers:

As part of this research, all providers of Children services will be asked to complete a short survey. The researchers will send this survey to all known children’s service providers in the county. However if you are not contacted, please e-mail the above address to be included in the survey. It is intended that the survey will identify gaps in service provision and inform the future work of the committee. It is also intended that the information gained from this survey will be used to develop a website where parents and adults will be able to obtain details on services available to children in their area.

Your ideas can shape future services for Meath’s Children & Young People

Health Committee finalises witness list for hearings on the Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013

The Committee on Health and Children have finalised the witnesses to appear over three days of public hearings on the 17th, 20th and 21st May 2013 to discuss the Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013.
The following individuals and organisations are scheduled to appear before the Committee over the three days:

Friday 17th May – Seanad Eireann (Policy, Medical & Obstetrics)

Session 1: 9:30 - 11:00 Policy - Overview of Heads of Bill

· Minister for Health, James Reilly TD
· Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Secretary General, Department of Health

· Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer

Session 2: 11:15 - 1:45 Regulatory & Representative Bodies
Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists:

· Prof Robert F. Harrison, Chair
· Dr Cathy Allen

· Dr Meabh Ni Bhuinneain

· Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe

Irish College of General Practitioners:

· Dr Seamus Cryan, President, ICGP Executive
· Mr Kieran Ryan, CEO

· Dr Darach O'Ciardha, Chair of Communications

· Dr Margaret O’Riordan, Medical Director

Irish Medical Council:

· Prof Kieran Murphy, President
· Ms Caroline Spillane, CEO

Irish Medical Organisation:

· Dr Matthew Sadlier, President
· Ms Vanessa Hetherington, Policy Executive

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland:

· Prof John Crowe, President
· Prof Frank Murray, Registrar

· Prof Desmond Carney, Fellow

· Prof Declan Sugrue, Fellow

Session 3: 2:30 - 5:00 Obstetric Care Facilities – Larger Hospitals

· Dr Peter Boylan, National Maternity Hospital
· Dr Sam Coulter Smyth, Master, Rotunda Hospital

· Dr Rhona Mahony, Master, National Maternity Hospital

Session 4: 5:15 – 7:45 Obstetric Care Facilities – Other Hospitals

· Dr Gerard Burke, Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick
· Dr Mary McCaffrey, Kerry General Hospital, Tralee

· Dr M áire Milner, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

· Dr John Monaghan, Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe

Monday 20th May – Seanad Eireann (Psychiatry & Other medical Groups)

Session 1: 9:30 - 12:00 Psychiatry & Perinatal Psychiatrists
College of Psychiatrists of Ireland:

· Dr Anne Jeffers, Consultant Psychiatrist
· Dr Maeve Doyle, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

Perinatal Psychiatrists:

· Dr Joanne Fenton, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

· Dr Anthony McCarthy, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

· Dr. John Sheehan, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist

Session 2: 12:15 – 2:45 Psychiatry

· Dr Yolande Ferguson, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital
· Dr Peadar O'Grady, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

· Prof Veronica O'Keane, Consultant Psychiatrist, Tallaght Hospital & TCD

· Dr Eamonn Moloney, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cork University Hospital

Session 3: 3:30 – 6:00 Psychiatry

· Prof Kevin Malone, Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s University Hospital & UCD
· Dr Bernie McCabe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Navan Hospital

· Dr Jacqueline Montwill, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mayo Mental Health Service

· Dr Sean O’Domhnaill, Consultant Psychiatrist

Session 4: 6:15 – 8:45 Other Medical Specialties

· Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation: Ms Claire Mahon, President
· Mental Health Commission: Mr John Saunders, Chair

· Dr Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist, Crumlin & Mater Misericordiae Hospital

· Dr Janice Walshe, Consultant Medical Oncologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital

Tuesday 21st May ?€ “ Seanad Eireann (Legal Hearings)

Session 1: 9:30 - 12:00 Medical Law

· Mr Paul Brady, BL
· Dr Simon Mills, BL

· Mr Tony O’Connor, SC

· Ms Caroline Simons, Solicitor

Session 2: 12:15 – 2:45 Constitutional Law

· Prof William Binchy, BL, Trinity College Dublin

· Dr Maria Cahill, University College Cork

· Mr Frank Callanan, SC

· Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, retired judge of the Supreme Court
Session 3: 3:30 – 6:00 Medical Ethics

· Dr Ciaran Craven, BL
· Dr Ruth Fletcher, Keele University

· Ms Sunniva McDonagh, SC

Session 4: 6:15 – 8:45 Members Time / Closing Statements

· Minister of State, Mr Alex White TD

Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said: “This is pre-legislative scrutiny at Heads of Bill stage which is a consultative process involving the Committee examining written submissions along with hearing from invited expert witnesses from the medical, psychiatry and legal fields. The Committee wishes to record its thanks to all those who offered to come before us and regrets that it cannot accommodate every request.

“The hearings will be broadcast live to the citizens we serve on Oireachtas UPC Channel 207, accessible to over 300,000 homes across the country, and webcast live on the Oireachtas website. As a Committee, we hope that the debate is conducted in a temperate and moderate fashion, and that the hearings make a considered contribution to the shaping of this significant piece of legislation.”

Committee hearings can be followed live over the three days via the Seanad webcast feed:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Doherty welcomes significant progress on Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway

Project could generate an additional €6 million for local economy

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Tuesday) warmly welcomed progress on developing the Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway, stating that the project has taken a significant step forward with the approval of a Part 8 scheme by Meath County Council.

“I am really excited about this project, which will see the disused Navan to Kingscourt railway line being redeveloped as a Greenway for walkers and cyclists. The route would run for 30km from the Boyne Valley in Navan to Kingscourt in Cavan, passing through a number of towns and villages including Kilberry, Wilkinstown, Castletown, Nobber and Kilmainham. The project would not only create a wonderful amenity for local residents, it also has the potential to attract large numbers of extra tourists into the region.

“The benefits of the Greenway for the local population are obvious; it would make it easier for local people to get out and about, whether it’s by foot or by bike, it would encourage the establishment of local walking groups and it has the capacity to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the surrounding population.

“The additional tourism revenues which could be generated thanks to the project are considerable. The establishment of the Greenway will not only help to attract more visitors into the area, it will greatly increase the average spend of tourists while they are here. It’s estimated that it could generate an extra €6 million in spending for the local economy, which would be a huge boost to businesses in the area.

“The Greenway is expected to cost €2.5 million in total, or about €68,000 per kilometre. In my view, this would be a very worthwhile and cost effective form of investment in the local economy, and I intend to raise the issue with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, in a bid to secure funding.

“The approval of a Part 8 scheme by Meath County Council is a significant step forward for this project, and I hope swift progress can be made in the coming months to make this wonderful idea a reality.”

Health Committee to hold hearings on the Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013

The Committee on Health and Children will hold three days of public hearings on the 17th, 20th and 21st May 2013 on the Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013.

At its meeting today, the Committee agreed the outline for the hearings:

Friday 17th May – Seanad Eireann (Policy, Medical & Obstetrics)
Session 1: 9:30 - 11:00 Policy - Overview of Heads of Bill
Session 2: 11:15 - 1:45 Regulatory & Representative Bodies
Session 3: 2:30 - 5:00 Obstetric Care Facilities – Larger Hospitals
Session 4: 5:15 – 7:45 Obstetric Care Facilities – Other Hospitals

Monday 20th May – Seanad Eireann (Psychiatry & Other medical Groups)

Session 1: 9:30 - 12:00 Psychiatry & Perinatal Psychiatrists
Session 2: 12:15 – 2:45 Psychiatry
Session 3: 3:30 – 6:00 Psychiatry
Session 4: 6:15 – 8:45 Other Medical Specialties

Tuesday 21st May ?€ “ Seanad Eireann (Legal Hearings)
Session 1: 9:30 - 12:00 Medical Law
Session 2: 12:15 – 2:45 Constitutional Law
Session 3: 3:30 – 6:00 Medical Ethics

Session 4: 6:15 – 8:45 Members Time / Closing Statements

Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said: “This is pre-legislative scrutiny at Heads of Bill stage which is a consultative process involving the Committee examining written submissions along with hearing from invited expert witnesses from the medical, psychiatry and legal fields.

It is important that the language we use is temperate and moderate and that we are respectful of different viewpoints.

We are thankful to the many people who offered to come before the Committee. Regrettably we cannot accommodate every request but we are grateful to those who made written statements.

These Committee hearings are very important and I welcome the fact that they will be broadcast live on Oireachtas Channel UPC 207 and also on the Oireachtas website. I hope that people will take the opportunity to tune into the hearings.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Doherty seeks local support for new Ashbourne CoderDojo group

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has urged local businesses to help her get a new CoderDojo group up and running in Ashbourne, by providing computer equipment. CoderDojo is a global movement aimed at teaching children computer programming technology.

“CoderDojo is an incredible worldwide movement, which has been growing at a staggering pace since it was set up just two years ago in Cork. Its ethos is based on volunteerism, and I would love to hear from local businesses who would be willing to sponsor or donate computer equipment for the new group I am setting up in Ashbourne.  

“CoderDojo is a not-for-profit movement which runs free coding clubs for young people. Youngsters are taught how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. The clubs also act as a really positive social outlet for young people, allowing them to meet other kids with the same interests.

“The great strength of CoderDojo is that it makes learning code a fun experience. And, more importantly, it arms the young participants with skills that have the potential to set them on a very positive course in life.

“CoderDojo allows children to develop mentally and socially in an informal and fun background. It has resulted in children as young as seven learning to code, which is an incredible achievement, especially for those of us who remember relying on no more than a pen and paper to get through our school day. These children are the innovators of the future, and CoderDojo provides them with the perfect platform to flourish.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure our children our equipped with the skills to meet the needs of the future. I hope to get a new CoderDojo group up and running in Ashbourne in the next month or so, and I would like anyone who could help by providing equipment to get in touch.”

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dooley wants to raid taxpayers’ pockets to bail out Bus Éireann – Doherty

FF’s own plans didn’t budget for any increase in Bus Éireann subvention

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has accused Fianna Fáil of wanting to use taxpayers’ money to bail out Bus Éireann instead of putting the company back on a sustainable footing, securing jobs and protecting services.

“Timmy Dooley wants the Government to reach deep into taxpayers’ pockets in order to finance another bailout of Bus Éireann. He effectively told the Dáil today that the Government should finance the company’s €11 million shortfall.

“Bus Éireann is facing annual losses of €11 million and needs to sort out its finances. Even the unions’ own financial advisers agree that the company’s finances are not sustainable. That’s why Bus Éireann is planning to implement a savings plan drawn up by the Labour Court, a fully independent body.

“But Deputy Dooley thinks that taxpayers should be the ones to pay for it. Last year the Government bailed out CIE to the tune of €36 million, and made it clear that this wouldn’t happen again.

“The most incredible thing is that Deputy Dooley has done a complete U-turn for political gain. If Fianna Fáil genuinely believed in an increased subvention for CIE, it would have included it in its pre-Budget submission for 2013. No such provision was made.

“The situation facing Bus Éireann workers and management is stark. Savings must be made, and with the very real prospect of strike action this weekend, Deputy Dooley’s meaningless contributions have done absolutely nothing to help the situation.

“Clearly, Deputy Dooley is engaging in political opportunism of the most blatant kind, while doing nothing to ensure that bus services will be protected from this Sunday.”

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Doherty urges community workers to check out new Meath Partnership course

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) urged volunteer and community workers based in Meath to check out a new course being run by Meath Partnership and the National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth. The certificate programme is entitled ‘Community Work in a Changing Meath’.

“This new course will provide participants with a qualification specifically focussed on Meath and will allow them to develop a project or strategy involving members of the community. Upon completion of the course, graduates will be armed with a level seven certificate. And, crucially, they will be equipped with a specific insight on the needs of the local community here in Meath.

“The course, which will run on a part-time basis for a year from this July, is targeted at those who are already involved in community or voluntary work in Meath. The qualification will be Meath specific, and the course is bespoke in nature, specifically designed with the needs of the local community in mind.

“The content of the course will include a particular focus on social justice, equality and the challenges facing disadvantaged groups. This course is just the sort of educational programme we need to enhance the already excellent community work that takes place in Meath.

“The first two classes will take place in NUI Maynooth, and all remaining sessions will be delivered in the Dr. Curran Centre of Learning at Meath Partnership offices in Kells. Anyone who is interested in applying can contact”

Friday, May 03, 2013

EU SMEs have potential to create 23 million jobs - Minister Bruton

Enterprise Ministers focus on enabling SMEs to drive growth and job creation

Productive discussions on copyright and Digital Single Market

Europe’s SMEs have a key role in solving the EU’s economic challenges and have the potential to create 23 million jobs, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

Minister Bruton was speaking after he chaired a meeting of EU Enterprise and Industry Ministers in Dublin Castle. Ministers discussed how to enable SMEs to drive European growth and job creation. The meeting was the second day of a two-day informal meeting of the EU’s Competitiveness Council, being held as part of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.

Ministers heard from a number of leading authorities on SMEs. Speakers included Professor Josh Lerner, Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School who will speak on SME access to finance. Former winner of Irish Entrepreneur of the Year, Liam Shanahan, identified the key measures required for SMEs to internationalise and Professor Thomas Cooney from DIT who spoke on how cities and regions driver growth and jobs. European Commission Vice President with responsibility for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani was among the keynote speakers.

Minister Richard Bruton commented: “As the Irish Presidency of the EU is focused on Stability, Growth and Jobs, initiatives to help SMEs are a key priority. SMEs are the engines of economic growth and job creation. If each EU SME could create just one new job, we would generate 23 million jobs throughout the EU. That is why I brought leading international experts on SMEs to Dublin Castle today to engage with EU Enterprise Ministers.”

“Following today’s Council, I will be drawing up the best of these new ideas for SME support and job creation and working with my fellow EU Enterprise Ministers on their implementation.”

“Already the Irish Presidency has achieved some valuable wins for SMEs: auditing requirements for SMEs are set to be reduced and the target participation rate for SMEs in the EU’s new innovation programme Horizon 2020 has been increased from 15 to 20 per cent.“

“Work is also continuing to obtain agreement on the Programme for Competitiveness and SMEs (COSME).  I will be looking for every opportunity to further the interests of Europe’s SME’s and to ensure that they can extract the greatest possible benefit from the funding available under these Programmes, particularly in relation to expanding the scope for participation in research and innovation activity.”

“Along with Minister Sherlock, I also chaired a productive discussion on issues around copyright. This follows successive calls by EU leaders to expedite the introduction of a Digital Single Market by 2015. In this context, the European Council has called for the need to modernise Europe’s copyright regime to make it fit-for-purpose for the digital age.”

“Today’s discussion was very productive and will, I expect, in addition to the European Commission’s broader stakeholder dialogue, help us achieve progress on this important issue.”
“For the remaining time in our Presidency our focus will continue on delivering results that contribute to our core objectives of delivering stability, employment and economic growth across the EU.”

Doherty welcomes announcement of new school building for Eureka

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) described the announcement that a new school is to be constructed for Eureka post-primary in Kells as fantastic news.

The school is due to be completed by 2016 and is being delivered as part of the latest phase of the Government’s school building programme, which was announced as part of the stimulus package last summer.

“This is fantastic news. I have no doubt that all of those who have campaigned for a new school building for Eureka for so long will be delighted to learn that the project has finally been given the go-ahead.

“The current school building is struggling to cope with the demands of the vibrant school community at Eureka. I am delighted that an entirely new building will provided, which I am sure will be of the highest standard.

“This will make a huge difference to Eureka’s staff and student body, and of course it will benefit the entire Kells area for years to come as our young population grows and more and more children reach secondary school age.

“I am extremely glad that after all of the work that has gone into this project at a local level, it is finally coming to fruition.”

Doherty urges Bus Éireann to find resolution before looming deadline

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) urged staff and management at Bus Éireann to reach an agreement on cost cutting proposals before the looming deadline of 12th May. Management has said that they will implement cuts without agreement if necessary, which has prompted unions to threat strike action.

“Bus Éireann needs to get its house in order. After eleven months of wrangling, management and unions have failed to reach an agreement on how to achieve a total of €20 million in savings. Now, thanks to this impasse, Bus Eireann customers are facing the very real prospect of strikes which could paralyse the public transport system.

“To be frank, I think it is time some realism entered the discussions. The company has managed to bring about €11 million in operational savings. But no progress has been made in achieving €9 million in savings from terms and conditions. This is despite the fact that under the current plan put forward by the Labour Court, there will be no reductions in basic pay or employment levels. Many workers in other sectors would grab that sort of offer with both hands.

“Bus Éireann is in an unsustainable situation. It is facing annual losses of more than €11 million. And Minister Varadkar has been frank about this; even if he wanted to, he simply doesn’t have the money to help the company close the gap. While the State subsidises school services and Public Service Obligation, it legally cannot support Bus Éireann’s commercial Expressway services. These services can only be secured if savings are achieved.

“Ultimately it will be staff, commuters and possibly even school pupils who will suffer if unilateral cuts result in strike action. More than 100,000 commuters use Bus Éireann’s city and town services every day. And a further 114,000 school children could be left stranded if services come to a standstill., thousands of whom will be due to sit their exams next month.  

“Time is running out to reach an agreement. As we head into a Bank Holiday weekend, I would urge those on both sides to go to every effort to reach a resolution on delivering savings and averting what would be hugely disruptive industrial action.”

Thursday, May 02, 2013


The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children (the Committee) is seeking written submissions from interested individuals and groups in respect of its consideration of the Outline Heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Written submissions should be submitted electronically by email (PDF / MsWord or equivalent) and received by Mr Paul Kelly, Principal Clerk, Joint Committee on Health and Children, not later than 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday 8th May 2013.

Submissions should be succinct and to the point and should be of a reasonable size. Submissions should be detailed on a "Head by Head" basis and should not contain any unnecessary or superfluous material that does relate directly to the Heads of Bill, which can be accessed on the Houses of the Oireachtas website

Submissions and communications should only be sent to the email address above and not to individual members of the Committee. Please note that the Clerk to the Committee will ensure that all members of the Committee receive, in due course, copies of all submissions and communications received.

With and separate from your electronic submission, please include a covering note outlining in brief why you are making a submission. The covering note should also include your name, postal address, email address and contact telephone number. 

If you are making a submission as a group/organisation, please supply the name and contact details of the group/organisation and the names and contact details of the officers, if any, of the group/organisation. Please indicate in the covering note if you or your group/organisation are prepared to appear and discuss your submission with the Committee in Public Session at a future Committee meeting. (Public Hearings to be scheduled for mid May 2013).

NB: The submission itself must contain the following, in the following order:-

A brief introduction outlining any experience you or your group have or any work that you or your group have engaged in that is relevant to this issue. 
An executive summary of your submission. (1-2 pages maximum) 
A list of recommendations you or your group would like to be considered by the Committee. These should be summarised in the executive summary, on a "Head by Head" basis. 
The main body of your submission. This should be concise and to the point and should highlight any factual information or commentary that you or your group have to offer on a "Head by Head" basis. The Committee may draw conclusions from this information and may put it to other witnesses or parties for their comments.
Please also ensure that the submission itself is signed and dated by you or by an authorised officers of the group making the submission. In the case of a submission submitted by a group of individuals, it should be signed by allthe individuals represented by the submission.

The Committee will consider all submissions received in Private Session or in Public Session at its own discretion. The Committee will not disclose details of its considerations in Private Session.

The Committee, at its own discretion, shall invite a number of witnesses to address it in due course. The Committee reserves the right to invite the authors of certain submissions, as it so decides, but also to invite other witnesses on its own initiative. The Committee reserves the right not to discuss its reasons for inviting or not inviting any given witnesses to address it.

The Committee is not obliged to discuss your submission with you. The Committee may publish any submission it receives, but it is not obliged to do so. This is totally at the discretion of the Committee and you should be aware that the Committee may publish your submission either as part of a Committee Report or separately, at its own discretion. All submissions shall be deemed eligible for publication unless the author of the submission clearly indicates that it should be treated as confidential and not for publication.

A more detailed document (Ms Word version) outlining the guidelines for making a written submission is available at the following link:-
For information purposes only, a link to the Joint Committee's Report on Public Hearings on the Implementation of the Government Decision following the publication of the Expert Group Report on A, B, and C vs Ireland is accessible at the following link:-