Friday, April 24, 2015

Government wants to hear from parents on early years and education

“Parents and childcare practitioners are invited to make submissions to the Government’s work on Future Investment in Early Years and School-Age Care and Education Services,” according to Regina Doherty TD, Fine Gael TD for Meath East.

“The Inter-Departmental Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School-Age Care and Education Services is examining issues related to childcare and early education.

“As part of this public consultation process, the Minister for Children, James Reilly, wants to hear people’s views on what is working well and learn where we can best direct investment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of Ireland’s early years and school-age care and education services.

“There are two separate consultation forms available for online completion –one for all stakeholders with an interest in the field (including policy-makers, practitioners, providers, advocates and academics) and one specifically for parents and guardians. The closing dates for submissions from the early years sector is Friday 1st May and the closing dates for submissions from parents and guardians is Monday, 4th May.

“Further details and links to these consultation forms are available on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs website at:

Minister encourages local authorities to engage constructively on historic commercial rates

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has called on Meath County Council to engage with Ratoath GAA club to resolve its outstanding rates bill in the spirit of the amendment to the Valuation Act which gave partial relief or exemption from commercial rates to all sports clubs which had some commercial activity. Deputy Doherty was speaking in the Dáil on the matter today (Thursday).

“Earlier this month we enacted a very welcome amendment to the Valuation Act which gave partial relief or exemption from commercial rates to all sports clubs which had some commercial activity, be it a small bar or renting out some of their AstroTurfs.

“We did that because we recognised it was unfair to rate the entire club, which is a voluntary organisation and which is the backbone of probably all our communities, on the basis of it having a small bar or renting out its AstroTurf.

“In Ratoath my local GAA club which, historically, has had a commercial rates bill that is astronomical. The club has not been able to afford it for the past number of years because the entire complex was rated.

“The GAA club in Ratoath wants to pay what is owed but it only wants to pay what is fair and what it can afford.

“Today I met my colleague Paudie Coffey, the Fine Gael Minister of State at the Department of the Environment who told me that he expects local authorities to engage with clubs to sort out outstanding bills in the spirit of the new law.

“This is an example of a piece of legislation that will have a very real impact on local communities. The Government is committed to improving facilities and services in all regions of the country.

“I am calling on Meath County Council to engage with Rathoath GAA club in the spirit of this new law.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ireland Needs a Duty of Candour as a Matter of Urgency

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Thursday) said that we seriously need to consider the introduction of a Duty of Candour in Ireland. Should a Duty of Candour be introduced in Ireland, it would see a more transparent system whereby should an accident occur while under medical care, a legal obligation would be placed on the healthcare professional to disclose the incident at an early stage.

Doherty stated “there is already an obligation for a healthcare professional to report an accident, however, should the Duty of Candour be introduced we will see a more transparent system whereby the obligation to report a medical accident is reinforced by legislation, which does not currently exist.”

The Meath East TD stated that “few will disagree with me when I say that victims of medical negligence deserve nothing less than openness and transparency from our healthcare system. I strongly believe that a Duty of Candour should be introduced in Ireland as a matter of urgency. All too often we see families and children, who are already trying to adapt and cope with the consequences of medical negligence, having to endure further stress and worry from the process of High Court litigation.

“As we have seen in several cases which are receiving media attention, Matthew McGrath and Tadhg Costello to name a few, the already harrowing ordeal of High Court litigation is met with the additional and unsolicited torment by the State Claims Agency in its appeal of the High Court decision. It is an absolute disgrace that such worry, stress and unwarranted suffering is being brought to children and their families by the appeals process of the State Claims Agency.”

Doherty continued by saying that “children who are the victims of medical negligence deserve nothing less than to continue on with a normal life to the greatest extent possible, from the perspective of both health and quality of life; historically and currently the child’s entitlement to do so has effectively been shelved for the duration of State Claims Agency’s appeal.”

Doherty concluded “this is a no brainer. We must be compassionate with our children and families who have already experienced more trauma and stress in a short number of years than anyone should in a lifetime. Additionally, the Duty of Candour will drastically reduce the costs to the State associated with litigation for cases of medical negligence."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Phased roll-out of €4 billion Rural Development Plan to begin

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, said today (Monday) the European Commission has issued Ireland with a letter of comfort regarding the €4 billion Rural Development Programme (RDP).

This means a number of the associated schemes can now open. “This is the result intense period of consultation between the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, and the European Commission and is news for Co. Meath.

“The schemes funded by the RDP include the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), the Beef Genomics Scheme and the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) and the LEADER programme “As a result of the letter the Government is now in a position to begin the phased roll out of the schemes and supports in the RDP which will help to underpin economic growth and development throughout rural Ireland.

 “The RDP is co-funded by the National Exchequer and the EU Commission, and contains some €4 billion of schemes and supports. “Government co-funding this RDP is a clear signal of our continuing commitment to strategic investment in the agri-food sector and the rural economy.”

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Issues surrounding collapse of Setanta Insurance must be resolved

Fine Gael TD for Meath East and member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, Regina Doherty, has today (Wednesday) called on the legal squabbling surrounding the collapsed Setanta Insurance to end in the interest of policy holders who have lost out. Deputy Doherty was speaking after the issue was discussed at the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

“Setanta claimants haven’t received a cent because of a legal wrangles, and that is not acceptable.

“The Insurance Compensation Fund, funded by a levy on insurance policies, should be the appropriate source of compensation. The fund pays 65% of the value of a claim. A further 35% should come from the liquidators once the liquidation process completes.

“Another potential source of compensation is the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland fund which is also funded by a levy. Its principal role is to compensate innocent victims of accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles. However, as the former customers of Setanta had insurance, they have been advised this source is not open to them. This is disputed by The ICF and is before the courts.

“The matter is further complicated by the fact that Setanta was registered in Malta and it’s liquidation law requires that no compensation be provided to anyone until all claims are settled, leading to further delays.

“Put simply, all of this means that the former Setanta policy holders loose out. They need action. The sensible solution is that they receive 65% of the values of their policies from the Insurance Compensation Fund, with the remaining 35% following once the liquidation process is complete.”