Friday, September 27, 2013

Colm McCarthy joins Referendum Commission in endorsing €20million cost of running the Seanad

No side strangely silent after An Bord Snip Chairman endorses Seanad costs
Fine Gael Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has (today) welcomed a statement from economist Colm McCarthy who again endorsed the Oireachtas Commission figures stating that it costs €20 million to run the Seanad every year. Deputy Doherty was speaking after she took part in a debate on the Seanad referendum on Today FM’s The Last Word programme with Matt Cooper.

“From the start of the campaign the No side have been disputing the costs associated with running the Seanad. This is despite the fact that the independent Oireachtas Commission – who have responsibility for running the Seanad – have repeatedly stated that it costs €20 million every year to run the Seanad.

“Earlier this week we heard Judge Elizabeth Dunne, head of the Referendum Commission, state clearly that it costs €20million to run the Seanad every year. Now today we have heard Colm McCarthy, who examined this issue as head of the An Bord Snip process under the last Fianna Fáil Government, yet again confirm that this is the correct figure.

“Now that the €20 million running costs for the Seanad has been definitively nailed down by a string of independent experts, the No side have remained silent on the cost issue. The No side have been quick to dismiss the savings that would be generated by scrapping the Seanad, but the reality is €20million is enough to pay for 350 primary teachers, or 1,000 new Garda cars.

“This Government has a strong record of rationalising public sector bodies, and of delivering savings when we do so. As Colm McCarthy said today, it will be up to the Government to ensure that the full €20million is saved if the Seanad is abolished. And as we have said repeatedly, we are determined to ensure the full savings are delivered.

“Scrapping the Seanad will bring Ireland into line with international best practice, reduce the number of politicians in line with European norms and save €20million of badly needed taxpayers’ money.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why you should vote YES to abolish the Seanad

The choice facing the Irish voting public on October 4th is a very simple one; do you want to abolish the Seanad, yes or no? A Yes vote will save €20 million a year, reduce the number of national politicians by a third, and bring us into line with other European countries of our size, all of which have just one chamber of parliament.

Everyone agrees that the current Seanad is not fit for purpose. It is totally undemocratic; in fact just 1% of the population voted to elect the Seanad, and just over 3% of the population are entitled to vote in Seanad elections in the first place. The Seanad electorate consists of graduates from Trinity College and NUI, and existing politicians. Most of those who are successfully selected to sit in the Seanad are former politicians of one variety or another. And on top of this, the Taoiseach of the day can nominate 11 people of his own choosing to the Seanad, a move which usually guarantees a Government majority.

So what role does this utterly undemocratic institution play in the functioning of our democracy? The truth is, very little. The Seanad has almost no power. It can only delay, not overturn legislation, and the last time it actually did so was 50 years ago. In the words of my colleague, Minister Richard Bruton, what good is a watchdog that only barks every 50 years?

Defenders of the Seanad argue that it should be reformed. Micheal McDowell, with his former Government partners Fianna Fáil, is leading calls for the Seanad to be retained and reformed. This is despite the fact that both McDowell and Fianna Fáil were previously in favour of Seanad abolition, and neither did anything during all their time in Government to reform the second house. Voters shouldn’t be fooled by this political opportunism; there is no reform option on the ballot paper. And for good reason; ten reports have already been published on reforming the Seanad, and nothing has changed. I believe the Seanad has proved itself incapable of reform, and I don’t believe a country of Ireland’s size needs two chambers of parliament.

Ireland is the odd one out among European countries of our size in terms of political representation. Not only are we the only European country of our size with two chambers of parliament, we also have a third more politicians than the average. The abolition of the Seanad and the reduction in the number of TDs by 8, which has already been agreed by the Government, will mean Ireland has the same ratio of politicians as other small European states.

I fundamentally believe that a reformed Dáil can and should perform all of the roles of the Seanad more effectively, saving tens of millions of euro in the process. In tandem with the referendum on the future of the Seanad, the Government is radically overhauling the committee system to make it more independent and to allow external experts to be put centre stage. Changes will be made to the way draft laws are considered to allow for closer scrutiny of key legislation. This will allow for far greater oversight than a powerless and costly second house of parliament.

I believe that the Seanad is a luxury the political system can no longer afford. And I believe a reformed Dáil can deliver accountable government with fewer but more effective politicians, just like every other small country in Europe. If you agree, then I urge you to vote Yes to abolish the Seanad.

Monday, September 23, 2013

FF’s poor Seanad voting record emphasises hypocrisy of No campaign

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director for Elections, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Monday) said that Fianna Fáil’s poor voting record in the Seanad, as revealed in the Irish Independent, emphasises the hypocrisy of the Party’s campaign to keep the second House.

“These figures show just how seriously Fianna Fáil Senators take their jobs. Fianna Fáil is the only Party campaigning to save the Seanad, and yet its Senators can’t even be bothered to turn up for one in every three votes in the second House. Voting is an essential part of the legislative process; so how can Fianna Fáil claim the Seanad plays an important role if its Senators aren’t even turning up to vote on key pieces of legislation? It’s worth noting that Fine Gael Senators have an excellent voting record.

“One Fianna Fáil Senator has a valid excuse for a poor voting record. Thomas Byrne missed a lot of votes during the Meath East bye-election, when he was spending all of his time trying to get out of the Seanad and get back into the Dáil. Does that not say it all?

“The hypocrisy of No side is exposed by these voting records. Fianna Fáil is the only Party to have changed its position on the Seanad since the General Election. But despite its claims that the Seanad is worth saving, Fianna Fáil Senators have missed a third of all votes. How can the Party expect the public to take it seriously on this issue? Fianna Fáil has already conceded that it did nothing to reform the Seanad when it had the chance. How can it now justify the fact that its own Senators aren’t even turning up for work in the chamber it wants to save?

“It’s very interesting that some of the Independent Senators who have been most vocal about saving the Seanad, have abysmal voting records. Senator John Crowne has missed half of all votes, while Senator Feargal Quinn’s voting record is only marginally better. If the Seanad is so important for our democracy, how can two of its most vocal defenders justify the fact that they don’t even participate in one out of every two votes in the second chamber?

“As these voting records clearly show, some of the most vocal defenders of the Seanad can’t even be bothered to turn up to do their job. Most of the Independent Senators with extremely poor voting records have second jobs. Should the taxpayer really be paying for them to only turn up to the Seanad when they can fit it into their busy schedules?

“The voting records of Senators, trying to save their skin, is a damning indictment of the No campaign. It further underlines the fact that the Seanad is elitist and completely undemocratic. Just 1% of the population elected these Senators, and therefore they have no-one to answer to if they chose not to do their job. It’s time we accepted that the Seanad is an elitist and outdated institution, by voting Yes to abolish it on October 4th.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meath leads the way when it comes to gender equality

Fine Gael Meath East Deputy, Regina Doherty, has this evening (Friday) congratulated the Reverend Pat Storey on her appointment as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare and as the first woman bishop ever appointed by the Church of Ireland.

“There seems to be little doubt about the fact that when it comes to gender equality, Meath sets the pace. As the only constituency in the country with two female Deputies and also having a female MEP, progression for women in Meath is eminently possible. Added to this, we now have the first female Church of Ireland bishop ever appointed based in Meath and Kildare which is a tremendous honour for the county.

“I would like to wish the Reverend every success in her new role and extend a warm Meath welcome to her. I have no doubt that she will have nothing but positive experiences in the county and will go on to inspire all of the people she meets, whatever their gender.”

HIQA hand hygiene audit reflects negatively on practitioners who know better

Fine Gael Meath East Deputy and Member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty has today (Thursday) responded to the HIQA hand hygiene audit, which raised concerns about the hand hygiene standards at five hospitals, by saying that the results reflect negatively on the medical practitioners at those hospitals who are responsible for the poor standards.

“The results of this audit are a serious cause for concern and outline the negative behaviour being carried out by some at the hospitals named, which, put plain and simply, is endangering patients. Consideration must also be given to how much worse this behaviour is, when we reflect on the fact that those responsible, the medical practitioners and staff, know what they are dealing with and the damage they could be causing by not taking proper hygiene precautions.

“That these people know the potential for damage that their actions may cause and continue to do it borders on negligence. I hope that the Medical Council and An Bord Altranais will take a serious view of these findings and take the appropriate steps to address outstanding issues.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How far €20 million can go in terms of public spending

Fine Gael launches Facebook ads to highlight how other countries have abolished their second chambers

Fine Gael has today ( Wednesday ) launched a series of Facebook ads to highlight the fact that Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand were among 30 countries worldwide which abolished their second house of parliament during the 20 th Century. Using the tagline ‘They Seem Happy’ the Facebook ads feature images associated with the three countries, including Bjorn Borg, a Great Dane and Maori dancers.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty, said: ‘This latest online initiative is all about sparking a debate about why it’s time for Ireland to move towards a single chamber parliament, by abolishing the Seanad. A total of 30 countries internationally have abolished their second chamber in the 20 th century and I think it’s time we did the same’.

“Many other small successful countries, such as New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark, have abolished their second chambers as part of moves to better systems of Government. What we are saying to the Irish people in this referendum campaign is very clear. By voting Yes to abolish the Seanad on 4 th October, not only can you save the country €20 million per year and reduce the number of politicians, you can also help create a more effective system of Government and politics.

Social Media Co-Ordinator for the Campaign, Eoghan Murphy TD said: ‘By voting Yes to abolish the Seanad we can ensure that, like New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark, our political system is based on a strong, democratic, one-chamber Parliament elected by all of the people, not just the 1% which elects the Seanad. In this way we can create a more efficient and effective system of politics that represents us and serves us all better’.

“This referendum to abolish the Seanad is part of a range of measures which this Government is introducing to make sure our political system serves and protects people better in line with international best practice. This includes:

· Strengthened Ombudsmen, Regulators and Freedom of Information legislation
· Effectively abolishing corporate donations
· Enhanced Standards in Public Office legislation
· Independent oversight of budgets through the Fiscal Advisory Council
· Inquiry powers for the Oireachtas
· Stronger Dáil committees involved at the start of the legislative process
· Involving civic society and experts in the legislative process

“Today we are launching a series of Facebook ads to highlight the fact that New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark, three countries similar in size to Ireland, abolished their Senates during the 20 th century. These ads will be promoted on Facebook in a bid to get a conversation started on the merits of voting Yes to abolish the Seanad on October 4 th .”

Thousands of euro can be recouped on exported cars

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) highlighted the fact that car owners are entitled to claim back VRT if their vehicle is exported overseas. The information was contained in documents prepared for the Finance Committee, of which Deputy Doherty is a new member. 

“Many people may be unaware of the existence of this scheme, which is operated by the Revenue Commissioners. It allows for the repayment of Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) after a car has been exported out of the country. This can amount to several thousand euro in some cases.

“The scheme applies to cars registered in Ireland with a selling price of €2,000 or more and a valid NCT certificate. The car must be examined before it is exported, and then removed from the State within 30 days. Once the owner can prove the car has been registered in another EU country or permanently exported further afield, the VRT paid on that vehicle can be claimed back, minus an administration charge of €500.

“The scheme has only been in place since April of this year, and early indications suggest that take-up has been low so far. To date, 335 vehicles were presented for pre-export examination and 21 payments totalling €128,681 were approved. That’s an average of more than €6,000 per vehicle. The repayments were primarily paid to vehicles exported to the UK.

“In my view, many people could stand to benefit from this scheme; whether they have sold their car in the UK, or perhaps moved to another European country and taken their vehicle with them. It is important that people are aware of this scheme in advance, as VRT can only be reclaimed if vehicles are presented for examination before exporting.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Martin’s barefaced lies are a desperate attempt to hoodwink electorate

Fine Gael Meath East Deputy and the Party’s Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad abolition campaign, Regina Doherty, has said Micheál Martin’s comments on RTÉ’s Six One this evening (Tuesday) in relation to the Government’s renegotiation of the bailout deal demonstrate that Party’s determination to rewrite history and its willingness to unashamedly lie to the Irish people in its attempts to do so.

“Micheál Martin’s smug and arrogant barefaced lies this evening, under questioning from Brian Dobson on RTÉ’s Six One, were jaw-dropping to say the least. Aside from the merry dance the Fianna Fáil leader tried to engage in in terms of the 180 degree turn his Party has done in respect of the relevance of the Seanad, his comments where the Government’s renegotiation of the bailout deal are concerned cannot possible be believed, even by him.

“When asked if he would give any credit to the Government for getting us to the point where the end line is in sight and we can finally wave goodbye to the Troika, Martin said that getting out of the deal was always going to happen and that the interest rate on the bailout, as agreed by Fianna Fáil, was 3.5%. He went on to say that this Government had not renegotiated the deal, as promised.

“The simple fact of the matter is that, despite the fact that Micheál Martin claimed that the bailout deal could not be renegotiated, one of the first acts of the Fine Gael/Labour Government on coming to office was to do just that. Fianna Fáil agreed a bailout deal interest rate of around 6%. After this Government engaged with the Troika, a reduction was secured to bring that figure down to 3.5%; in anyone’s language a reduction from 6% to 3.5% equals a significant renegotiation, as well as a considerable saving for the Irish people.

“This Government has been working day and night to undo the damage inflicted on our country Fianna Fáil. Martin’s attempts this evening to play the Irish people for fools and to hoodwink them through barefaced lies demonstrate that, as suspected, nothing about that Party has changed. The truth of the matter is that Fianna Fáil, under Micheál Martin - the last link to Brian Cowen’s Government - remains as true to the Irish people as it has ever been.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Referendum Commission clarifies that there is ‘no question on the ballot paper about reform’

Fine Gael Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Monday) welcomed clarification from the Chair of the independent Referendum Commission, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, that there will be no option for reform on the ballot paper, when voters are asked whether they want to abolish the Seanad on October 4th.

“Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne made it very clear on RTE’s Morning Ireland programme this morning, that reform is not an option when it comes to the Seanad Referendum. As Justice Dunne said, ‘the question that will be put before the people is; do you wish to abolish the Seanad, or do you wish to retain the Seanad. That’s it’. And, crucially, she added ‘there is no question on the ballot paper about reform’.

“Justice Dunne rightly described the proposal being put to the people on the Seanad as ‘very straightforward’. Her comments yet again make it abundantly clear that Fianna Fáil and Michael McDowell are misleading the public with their fictional talk of reform.

“Fianna Fáil has no credibility when it talks about reforming the Seanad. The Party did nothing to reform the Seanad during all of its years in Government. Ten reports have been published on Seanad reform; eight of them under Fianna Fáil Governments. Fianna Fáil was in favour of abolition during the 2011 General Election, and yet now it expects the public to erase the past and believe the Party this time around.

“I am glad that Justice Dunne has clarified the issue. The choice is simple; do you want to abolish the Seanad, yes or no? By voting Yes you can help to save €20 million a year, reduce the number of politicians by a third, and bring Ireland into line with other European countries of our size, all of which have just one chamber of parliament.”

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Down Syndrome children won’t take 'No' for an answer


By not classifying Down Syndrome as a disability, children are suffering

Fine Gael TD for Meath East and Chairperson of the Cross Party Committee on Equality of Education for Down Syndrome Children, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday) described the situation where 219 children with Down Syndrome in this country are being denied access to supports in their classroom as outrageous.

Deputy Doherty was speaking following a presentation to the Oireachtas Education Committee by Professor Sue Buckley who has over 40 years’ experience in this area. Professor Buckley outlined to the Committee that if these children don’t get access to special needs services now, they will fall out of the system and end up in special schools.

“We have a duty of care in this country to ensure that each and every citizen has access to the supports they need in order for them to obtain an education. There are 219 children in this country who have been denied access to much needed supports in the form of special needs assistants to assist them in their schooling, because Down Syndrome is not classified as a disability in its own right.

“It is imperative that we change the status of Down Syndrome to a low incidence disability as a matter of urgency, so that children entering the new school year have access to the support they need to get an education.

“Autism has recently been classified as a low incidence disability as there are 1 in 100 children born with autism in this country. Down syndrome, however, has not been classified as a low incidence disability, despite figures showing that only 1 in 500 children are born with this disability.

“Professor Buckley advised the Oireachtas Committee this week that, by not having Down Syndrome classified as a low incidence disability, it will result in children with this disability drowning in the system and ultimately ending up in special schools, which would cost significantly more than providing a special needs assistant in the first place.

“We also have no idea how many people in this country have Down Syndrome, as we have no way of capturing this data as it is not classified as a disability in its own right or captured in the census.

“It is high time we addressed this imbalance and provide the much needed resources to all children with Down Syndrome, so that they can avail of an education like every other child in this country.”

Martin has flip-flopped on the Seanad and didn’t introduce any reform when he had the chance

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Tuesday) criticised Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin TD, for flip flopping on the Seanad, and described his current stance as hypocritical in the extreme, as Deputy Martin did nothing to reform the Seanad during his time as a senior member of Government.

“Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil have flip flopped on the Seanad, and the Party has absolutely no credibility to talk about political reform. In its 2011 General Election Manifesto Fianna Fáil described the Seanad as ‘an entity which is struggling to justify its existence after three quarters of a century’. The Party added that ‘during the last decade the Seanad did not play a substantive role in challenging unsustainable policies’ and ‘it is important to note that second chambers are not an essential part of a parliamentary democracy’. And yet now Micheál Martin believes the Seanad must be saved?

“If Micheál Martin is serious about his stance on the Seanad, I would call on him to answer the following questions:
Is Deputy Martin’s u-turn on the Seanad politically motivated?
Why does he now believe that Ireland should be the only country of our size in Europe to have two chambers of parliament, when two years ago he thought it was important to note ‘that second chambers are not an essential part of a parliamentary democracy’?
Does he think the Seanad has, in the words of his Manifesto, ‘justified its existence’ in the last two years?
Does he realise that the Seanad can only delay legislation, not overturn it, and the last time it did so was in 1964?
In 2011, Micheál Martin thought that ‘serious questions’ needed to be asked about the continued role of the Seanad. Does he think these questions have been answered?

“Listening to Micheál Martin speaking about the Seanad today was like listening to a newcomer on the political scene. Does Deputy Martin really expect the public to buy his fictional talk of reform, when he did nothing to reform the Seanad during his 14 years as a senior Government Minister? Deputy Martin was high on rhetoric today; he was not so high on action while he was in Government.

“The last time a Seanad reform plan was agreed under a Fianna Fáil Government, in 2004 while Micheál Martin was a senior Minister, it proposed increasing the number of Senators by five. Is this what Deputy Martin means when he talks of reform?

“Fianna Fáil is talking about a reform plan that will never materialise for a second chamber of parliament that we don’t need in the first place. The Party is determined to maintain the status quo and shelter the Seanad as a breeding ground for aspiring Fianna Fáil politicians. Fine Gael is instead giving the public a very real and simple choice; do you want to abolish the Seanad, reduce the number of politicians by a third and save €20 million a year, yes or no?”

Friday, September 06, 2013

Referendum Commission comments make it clear that the Greens’ fictional reform option isn’t on the ballot paper

Fine Gael Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Thursday) said that voters should not be fooled by the Green Party’s fictional talk of reform. Deputy Doherty added that comments from the Chair of the Referendum Commission, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, have made it abundantly clear that the question voters will be asked on October 4th is a very simple one; do you want to abolish the Seanad - Yes or No?

“The Green Party has joined Fianna Fáil and Michael McDowell in a bid to save the Seanad, an institution which is costing us €20 million a year. They all have something important in common; when the Greens, Michael McDowell and Fianna Fáil were in Government, they did absolutely nothing to change the Seanad.

“Like many others, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, cannot explain why the Seanad is worth saving. Instead he is talking about a fictional reform plan. But speaking earlier, the Chair of the independent Referendum Commission made it clear that there is no option for reform, and that choice facing the public is a straightforward one; do you want to abolish or retain the Seanad?

“The Green Party had its chance to reform the Seanad when it was in Government, and just like its predecessors, it chose to do nothing about it. Ten reports have been published on reforming the Seanad, and nothing has changed. It is now time to ask ourselves whether we need a second chamber that doesn’t do anything that isn’t already done in the Dáil, and costs €20 million a year to run.

“During the Green Party’s term in Government with Fianna Fáil, the Party’s then leader John Gormley championed a Seanad reform group in 2009. But they didn’t even manage to come up with a set of proposals. That says a lot about how seriously the Greens took the Seanad while they were in Government.

“The Greens should stop trying to confuse voters about what they are being asked in the Referendum on October 4th. It is a simple question; do you want to abolish the Seanad? Yes or No? If you agree that we could better spend elsewhere the €20 million a year it costs to run a chamber that is elected by 1% of the population and which hasn’t even delayed a piece of legislation since 1964, then I urge you to vote Yes.” 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Temporary Closure of Roads R147 (Dunshaughlin Village) Saturday 28th September 2013 for the Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival

Notice is hereby given that Meath County Council intends to close the R147 (old N3) in Dunshaughlin Villageto through traffic from it’s junction with the L2208 (Drumree Rd)/R125 (Ratoath Rd) to it’s junction with the L5029 (Lagore Rd).

This closure is required to facilitate the hosting of the Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival.

Duration:

The proposed closure will take place from 3p.m -11.30pm Saturday 28th September 2013.

Alternative Routes:

•Traffic Travelling southbound will be diverted towards theR125 Ratoath Rd, then turn right onto the L5040 (Gransheen Rd), then right onto the L5029 (Lagore Rd) and left back onto the R147 (old N3)

•Traffic Travelling northbound will be diverted right onto the L5029 (Lagore Rd), then left onto the L5040 (Gransheen Rd), then left onto the R125 and then right back onto the R147 (old N3).
Diversion signs will be in place.

Local Access:

Residents and property holders will be facilitated with access throughout the closure period.

Submissions on the proposed temporary road closure should be made in writing to The Area Administrator, Meath County Council, Dunshaughlin Civic Offices, Drumree Road, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath on or before 4p.m Wednesday 28th August 2013.

Temporary Closure of Roads in Dunboyne Village - Sunday 29th September 2013

Having given Notice, Meath County Council intends to close the following roads in and around Dunboyne Village:

(a) The L-2228 (old R156) from it’s junction with the L-2221 (Rooske Road) to it’s junction with the

L-2227 (old R157) – 12 noon to 6pm

(b) The L-2227 from it’s junction with the L-2228 to it’s junction with the L-2224-0 (Barracks Road) – 2pm to 5pm

(c) The L-2224-0 from it’s junction with the L-2227 to it’s junction with the L-2228 – 2pm to 5pm

(d) The L-2228 from it’s junction with the L-2227 to the roundabout at Newtown on the R157 – 2pm to 5pm

(e) The R157 from the roundabout at Newtown to the Maynooth Road roundabout – 2pm to 5pm

(f) The L-2227 Maynooth Road (old R157) from the Maynooth Road roundabout on the R157 to it’s junction with the L-2228 – 2pm to 5pm

This closure is required to facilitate the staging of the Spirit of Dunboyne Motor Parade 2013 in Dunboyne Village

Duration:

The proposed closures will take place (times as outlined above) on Sunday 29th  September 2013

Alternative Routes

Diversion signs will be in place.

Local Access:

Residents and property holders will be facilitated throughout the closure period.

COUNTY MEATH JOINT POLICING COMMITTEE PUBLIC MEETING

Wednesday 25th September 2013 at 8.00pm in the Conyngham Arms Hotel, Main Street, Slane

The public meeting will be concerned with matters affecting the policing of the administrative area of County Meath.

Members of the Public are invited and encouraged to attend and have a right to make their views known and ask questions of the Members of the Joint Policing Committee.

Questions will be accepted from any person affected by the policing of the area.

Questioners should give their name and address, which will not be publicised,

The public’s views are also welcome on what should be discussed at the public meeting and also how the said meeting should be conducted. 

Please note that in some circumstances it may not be possible to provide the information requested.

Questions / Views may be submitted in any of the following ways:

In writing addressed to the County Meath Joint Policing Committee, C/O Corporate Services, Meath County Council, County Hall, Railway St, Navan,  Co Meath

via e.mail addressed to meathjpc@meathcoco.ie or verbally by contacting a member of the County Meath Joint Policing Committee Team on  046 9097000.

The closing date for submission of questions/views from Members of the public is on or before 4pm on Friday 13th September 2013.

Doherty and Twomey welcome AIB commitment to step up mortgage writedowns

Fine Gael TDs and members of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, Regina Doherty and Liam Twomey, have welcomed a commitment from AIB CEO, David Duffy, that the bank will write down hundreds of millions of euro in distressed mortgages over the coming 12 months. The Deputies were speaking after Mr Duffy appeared before a meeting of the Finance Committee earlier today.

Speaking after the meeting, Deputy Doherty said: ‘A new broom sweeps clean, and today I was encouraged by the approach being taken by the new management team in place at AIB, in relation to the mortgage crisis. We have all been frustrated by the heel dragging by the banks in dealing with unsustainable mortgages. But if we can believe even half of what Mr Duffy had to say today it seems AIB is finally facing up to its responsibilities’.

“According to Mr Duffy, AIB has €3 billion in its provisional fund for mortgage write-downs. A fund of this scale has the potential to make a significant difference to AIB’s thousands of customers who are struggling with their mortgages. The bank says that residual debt will be written off after voluntary sales, and that it is committed to coming to debt compromises. This is essential if long-term sustainable solutions are to be found for distressed mortgage holders.

“David Duffy made some big promises at today’s meeting of the Finance Committee; he and the bank must live up to these commitments for the sake of struggling mortgage holders, and the wider economy.”

Deputy Twomey said: ‘The AIB Chief has said that the bank intends to write off hundreds of millions of euro in distressed home loans in the coming year. This is in stark contrast to the €38 million which the bank has written off this year to date. Clearly the process must be accelerated. The frustration felt by the public on this issue is palpable. It is about time that AIB is finally stepping up its response to the mortgage crisis. This is due in no small part to the new targets on restructuring mortgages being imposed on the banks by the Central Bank’.

“David Duffy today outlined how the bank has changed its internal practices to ensure it is dealing with distressed mortgage cases faster. I look forward to questioning the chiefs of the other main banks in the coming days to examine the approach to the mortgage crisis that is being taken by the entire sector.”

Monday, September 02, 2013

Fine Gael poster campaign gives the people a clear choice on the Seanad referendum

Fine Gael launched its poster campaign for the abolition of the Seanad today (Sunday) with a promise to deal with facts and reality – unlike those that want to retain the Seanad. Speaking at the launch, Fine Gael’s Director of Elections, Richard Bruton, TD, said that the people were being given a simple choice – to abolish the Seanad, or to keep it as it is.

“In Ireland we have 30% more politicians than other similar sized European countries and have an upper House that costs €20m per year to run.

Our posters give the simple facts about the upcoming campaign – the country can save that €20 million a year and reduce the number of national politicians by voting Yes to Abolish the Seanad. We don’t need two chambers of parliament that do almost exactly the same thing.

Abolishing the Seanad will bring us in line with progressive European countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland – all of which survive perfectly well with one house of parliament and far fewer politicians than Ireland.

“People should not be fooled about the No campaign’s motives to retain the Seanad.

When they talk about reforming the Seanad they really mean ‘keep things the same’.

They know that there has never been any reform of the Seanad in its 75 year existence despite ten different reports being published recommending changes to the Seanad.

“Fine Gael believes that, like every family and business in this country, politics needs to do more with less. That is why on October 4th, the Irish people will be offered a straightforward choice to abolish the Seanad or to keep it.

I am convinced that now is the time to Abolish the Seanad and continue the changes to our political system that this Government has introduced that will ensure that the failings of the past cannot be repeated again.”

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad campaign, Regina Doherty TD, said:

‘It’s important that the Irish people know the facts. This Seanad was elected by just 1% of the population. It duplicates almost everything the Dáil does, and has no real powers of its own. It isn’t any kind of check on the Government or the Dail.

It can’t stop legislation, it can only delay it, and it hasn’t done that for 50 years. As recently as last Friday, the No campaign couldn’t think of a single significant thing the Seanad has ever done. It’s up to the people to decide if we really want or need a mirror image of the Dáil, which has almost no power, and which most people aren’t even allowed to vote for.”