Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unemployment down 28% in Meath

Deputy Regina Doherty with Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton
Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Monday), said that Meath is performing well on our road to recovery, with unemployment down 28%.

The Meath East TD said that “the recent CSO figures showing unemployment down 28% tells us that we are performing well on our road to recovery in Meath, however, we need to be realistic about the road that lies ahead.

“Since the implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs we have seen over 100,000 new jobs created across Ireland. These 100,000 extra jobs have seen unemployment drop significantly in recent years and there has been a decrease in unemployment in every region since 2011; however we are not yet out of the woods.

“The reality is that not every business owner and not every family has benefitted from this recovery. In a bid to reach full employment by 2018 it is essential that we focus on regional job growth. I believe in the entrepreneurship of the people of Meath, and I believe that we have the skills to develop our area but more resources are needed.

“Over 41,000 more people were back working in 2014 in comparison to that in 2013. We need to continue to drive this upward trend in employment, many of which is supported through Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.”

Concluding, Deputy Doherty said “while multinational investment to County Meath, such as Facebook in Clonee, is welcomed with open arms, we cannot become overly dependent. We must continue to support our SMEs and indigenous Irish businesses in securing our recovery.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Planning refusal for Cregg Wind Farm a step in the right direction for Meath

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has said that the planning refusal for Cregg Wind Farm is a step in the right direction for Meath.

Doherty said that “I know that I was not alone in breathing a massive sigh of relief when I heard that An Bord Pleanala had made the decision to refuse the planning appeal for the development of Cregg Windfarm in County Meath. I believe that this refusal bodes well for those of us in Meath who are in outright opposition to the proposed development of Emlagh Wind Farm.

“I am absolutely delighted with the decision, which I hope will lead the way and reiterate to An Bord Pleanala that Meath is not the right place for industrial sized wind turbines.

“46, let alone 6, industrial sized wind turbines do not belong amongst families and communities in North Meath, or anywhere for that matter. Wind farms of this scale should be located either offshore, or on vast isolated lands away from Ireland’s towns and villages. This week’s decision by An Bord Pleanala to refuse planning for the development of Cregg Wind Farm was without doubt the right thing for all involved, families, local businesses and farmers alike.

“Last week I raised a wide variety of issues at the oral hearing for the proposed development of Emlagh Wind Farm. Many of these issues, though not all as Emlagh is a much bigger beast, applied in the case of Cregg Wind Farm, which I also included in my submission to Meath County Council during the planning application process.

The Meath East TD concluded saying “this week’s planning refusal was made on the basis of unprecedented and undue interference to the landscape and specifically views from Whitewood House, one of Meath’s protected structures. If undue inference to the landscape from 6 industrial sized wind turbines in Nobber is enough to bring about a refusal; then 46 turbines, made up of 3 clusters located across breadth of North Meath, and nestled amongst UNESCO World Heritage sites, then impact on landscape should certainly hold a lot of merit in the ongoing decision making process for the Emlagh development.

“Well done and a massive congratulations to everybody involved.”

Meath beef trade safe after BSE test results

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has said that it comes as a great relief to hear that the diagnosed BSE case in County Meath has been deemed an “isolated case”.

L-R Diarmuid Lally IFA Regina Doherty TD Cllr Paddy Meade

Deputy Doherty said “the last few weeks have been a long wait for the test results from the BSE case in Louth, a wait that I am sure was longer for some more than others. The first diagnosed case of BSE in Ireland since 2013, our farming reputation and the future of our beef trade in Meath and Louth are thankfully free from any danger on the international markets.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of our beef trade in County Meath. Should this not have been an isolated case, our local beef industry could have been hit, and hit hard. Thankfully, our national €2.2billion beef trade should be relatively unaffected by the isolated case in County Louth.

“While it is likely that Ireland’s BSE status will now be changed back to “controlled risk” from “negligible risk”, farmers, traders and consumers alike can rest easy in the knowledge that the commercial feed supply chain, and our livestock, have been relatively unaffected.”

The TD for Meath East concluded saying “farmer Joseph McCardle from County Louth, and his family, have gone through what must have been a traumatic ordeal over the last number of weeks. The results which were announced this week by the Department of Agriculture now mean that Mr McCardle, and all of our farmers in Meath and Louth, can get back to business.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

481 farmers in Meath apply for GLAS

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the news that 481 farmers in County Meath have applied for the first tranche of GLAS funding, Ireland’s new agri-environment scheme, co funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has confirmed that 481 farmers in Meath have applied for the first tranche GLAS of funding and that he expects that most of these will draw close to the maximum annual payment of €5,000.

“I am particularly pleased to hear that the majority of farmers who have successfully applied for GLAS look set to receive close to the maximum payment. There had been concerns that only a minority of farmers could ever hope to achieve this level of payment. These concerns have been allayed.

“The GLAS scheme is set to play a vital role in the protection of Meath’s rural environment. Nationally, almost 27,000 farmers applied to join and 481 farmers in Meath have also applied.

“It is significant that well over half of the commonages in the country, just under 2,700 have applied for GLAS. This is a major step towards the establishment of greatly enhanced management regimes for these upland areas.

“The most popular element of the Scheme related to Low Input Permanent Pasture which was selected by 20,000 farmers. Protection of watercourses was another popular choice by 10,000 farmers, while large numbers also chose a variety of actions designed to protect birds, bees and bats.

“Protecting the agri-environment and supporting strong, sustainable farming is key to the continued growth of the agri-food sector. GLAS will make a big difference in achieving this goal and it will provide support for farmers in doing so.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Doherty tries out new cycle lanes in Ashbourne

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Monday), welcomed the new cycle lanes in Ashbourne after trying them out for the first time on Sunday morning (21st June).

Doherty stated “we set out on our bikes on Sunday morning at 9.30am to join the Bike Week Family 6km Cycle which was so brilliantly organised by Cllr Alan Tobin, Ashbourne Fire Brigade and Garda Aisling O’Connor.
“It was an absolutely fantastic way to finish off National Cycle Week and to give the new cycle lanes in Ashbourne a try. I have to say, they are a fantastic addition to our town; myself and my son, Ryan, felt very safe cycling on the roads on Sunday morning. “It is so important that our roads remain a safe place for all road users. I would encourage everyone to get on their bike and use our new cycle lanes as an alternative means of transport to and from Ashbourne town. Cycling is a fantastic way to keep the mind and body in shape.” 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Planning permissions up almost 97%

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has said the increase in new planning permissions is another sign the recovery is taking hold and will contribute to the easing of the current housing shortage.

“In the first three months of 2015 planning permissions were granted for 3,155 dwelling units. The number in the same period of 2014 was 1,604 units for the same period in 2014, representing an overall increase of 96.7%.

“According to the CSO planning permissions were granted for 641 apartment units, compared with 158 units for the same period in 2014, an increase of 305.7%. One-off houses accounted for 28.8 % of all new dwelling units granted planning permission in this quarter.

“Living in the Meath commuter belt I am very aware of the huge demand for housing as the economic recovery takes hold so it is encouraging to see such this sharp rise in the number of applications.

“Four towns in my area Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Ratoath and Ashbourne are all seeing house building at present.

“The Government’s social housing strategy will deliver 35,000 units at a cost of €3.8 billion by 2020. This will create 29,000 jobs in construction and it will reform the way in which social housing is delivered and managed in Ireland.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Overhaul required in addressing medical negligence cases

Fine Gael TD for Meath East and member of the Oireachtas Committee for Health and Children, Regina Doherty has, today (Wednesday), said that significant overhaul and reform is required if we are to deal with cases of medical negligence appropriately.

Doherty, who has never held back on her views for the need of a Duty of Candour to be introduced in Ireland, has today said “the report [Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity Insurance] which I launched this morning with my Committee colleagues brings us one step closer to addressing cases of medical negligence appropriately.

Deputy Regina Doherty in Leinster House at the launch of The Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity with her committee colleagues today, 17th June 2015

“I have previously called for a Duty of Candour to be introduced in our health system; we have seen all too often, both in Meath and nationally, the unprecedented pain and sometimes trauma that legal cases can bring to patients and families affected by medical negligence.

“Today’s report recommends that parties involved in, or affected by, medical negligence should consider mediation, or any other suitable dispute mechanisms, before engaging in legal action.

“Open disclosure is fundamental outcome of this report, and I believe it to be a critical feature of the reform required in how we deal with medical negligence cases. This recommendation is underpinned by a further proposal that new legislation be introduced to reflect and assist in the embedding of a culture of open disclosure in our health system.”

Concluding, Deputy Doherty said that “what is needed here is a radical change in protocol and culture in our health system to avoid the strain of cases, be it in the High Court or subsequent appeals by the State Claims Agency.

“We currently have some 2,840 claims pending; putting aside for a moment the personal stress for patients, there is a sizable and rising cost of medical indemnity insurance. Should the recommendations made in this report be put into practice, we should see a substantial reduction in costs to the state."


Notes to the editor:
The Report on the Cost of Medical Indemnity Insurance launched today by the Committee for Health and Children recommends that:

    · The HSE introduce a standardised complaints resolution service, in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations; · The medical indemnity lower cap to be reduced to €250,000 and for the higher cap to be reduced to €500,000, to help ease the pressure on private consultants, and · Consultants with low numbers of claims be rewarded with lower premia

Young farmers to benefit from investment scheme

Fine Gael TD, for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has encouraged young farmers in Meath to apply for the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, after the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, announced that the online application system is open from today (Wednesday).


Regina Doherty TD with Diarmuid Lally (IFA) (left) and Cllr Paddy Meade (right) at beef protest last year
Deputy Doherty said that “our farming industry is Meath is incredibly important and it is essential that we continue to support our farmers where ever possible. Young farmers comprise of a relatively small proportion of our farming community in Meath. Age profile is one of the biggest challenges facing the farming sector, both nationally and in Meath; the grant-aid available under this scheme will be of great benefit to our young tillage farmers for the construction of storage facilities, soiled water, and farm safety investments, amongst others.

“This is the first of the new Targeted Modernisation Schemes (TAMS II) to be launched under the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and it comprises a €120 million scheme aimed at young farmers. Farmers must be below 40 years of age at the time of application and have been set up in farming within the previous five years.

“The grant-aid available under this Scheme and the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Schemes will assist tillage farmers for the construction of nutrient storage facilities, and storage facilities for other farmyard manures, soiled water, and related facilities, as well as farm-safety investments. The Farm Safety items include the provision of sliding/roller doors. Tillage farmers will also be able to avail of grant-aid under the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme. This Scheme provides grant aid for the purchase of new equipment for the spreading of slurry which has distinct environmental advantages.

“Further announcements will follow shortly on the other TAMS Schemes. A total of €395 million has been made available for TAMS 2 over the course of the RDP period. The remaining schemes are being launched over the next few months and include:

    · Dairy Equipment Scheme
    Low-Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment Scheme
    Organic Capital Investment Scheme
    Organic Farming Scheme
    Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme
    Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme

“Farmers who are registered for online services via the Department’s Agfood facility can access the online system on the website of the Department. Alternatively, farmers may opt to use an approved agricultural advisor to prepare applications on their behalf. The online system also contains a very helpful Frequently Asked Questions section which should answer any queries farmers may have. For more technical queries farmers can email the address

“The system is now live and available for the preparation of applications and the facility to submit applications online will be available from tomorrow Wednesday 17
th June. The deadline for this tranche of applications is Friday 18th September but there will be further funding rounds according to Minister Coveney.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

Positive start for free GP care in Meath, a lot done, a lot more to do

 Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has said the new free GP Service for under 6s and over 70s should get off to a positive start with 20 out of 68 GPs in Meath signed up to take part.
Deputy Doherty said “We now have 20 of our 68 GPs in Meath signed up to take part, with more and more signing up every day. While I welcome the increase in the number of GPs signing up, at this point in time we have a lot done and a lot more to do if all of our children in Meath under the age of 6 are to benefit from free GP care.” 

 “In the last two weeks, there has been a 63% increase in the number of GPs signing up to take part in the new Free GP Service and there is still time for other doctors to take part. In County Meath 29% of GPs have already committed to take part meaning that children under six and those over 70 will be able to avail of free GP care from 1st July.

“From Monday 15th June, parents will be able to register their children and senior citizens over 70 who currently have to pay for GP care, can also sign up meaning that this summer up to 300,000 children and senior citizens will no longer have to pay.

“Free GP care was a key Fine Gael election commitment and it will result in real savings for pensioners and for families. It is important that we change the health system from one that only treats sick people to one that keeps people well; providing free access to GP care will make a significant difference in achieving this goal.

“Early identification of health issues at a younger age can reduce the impact of ill-health later in life and as one in four children in Ireland are overweight or obese, this is especially relevant when it comes to detecting illnesses that may be coming down the road.

“With 29% of doctors in Meath signing up to provide the service, this is a very good start. I know many families of young children and older people are very pleased that this service will be available, and I would encourage parents with children under 6 to sign up from Monday.”

Meath tagged in Facebook investment boost

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Monday), welcomed Facebook's announcement that it has officially made an application for planning permission to Meath County Council to establish a data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.

Deputy Doherty said “I am absolutely over the moon with the news. This is the second good news story for investment and employment for Meath in the last two weeks”, referring to the sale of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey, which will see a €44 million investment into the industry in Slane.

“Our construction industry in Meath will reap the benefits of hundreds of construction contracts, not to mention the several dozen permanent operational positions once construction has completed. The news brings with it a sigh of relief for many, particularly our young professionals and graduates who are on the hunt for work in Meath. I am confident that today’s announcement will scoop up our local talent from the length and breadth of County Meath. 

“It just goes to show that Meath is a great place in which to do business. Clonee, a 30 minute drive to Dublin City Centre and 15 minutes to Dublin Airport, this is certainly a smart move for Facebook.

“I have to hand it to Meath County Council and the Meath Economic Development Strategy for all of their hard work on this project so far, which has been in the pipeline for some time now."

Doherty, pictured above at the launch of the Meath Economic Development Strategy, concluded “the announcement today is testament to the continued hard work and planning of the recently launched Meath Economic Development Strategy. We must continue to pull together if we are to achieve our goal of bringing several thousand jobs back to Meath. Facebook’s planned establishment in County Meath is just a taste of what we can achieve.”

Friday, June 12, 2015

Suspected case will put our BSE controls to the test

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Friday), said that the suspected BSE case in Louth will put our BSE controls to the test.

Deputy Doherty said that “I have witnessed growing concern across Meath about the suspected BSE case in Louth over the last number of days. It will be a long wait for many in the farming and export industry between now and when the test results will be known. Our BSE controls will really be put to the test this week.

“I know I am not alone when I take comfort in knowing that there is no human risk from BSE, as the animal in question did not enter into the food chain.”

The Meath East TD continued “Since 2002 the Department of Agriculture has tested in the region of 7 million animals for BSE. Our BSE controls have proven to be highly effective thus far and are consistent with legal requirements and international best practice standards; these include the enhanced feed ban, comprehensive surveillance programs and the removal of specified risk material. Because of these controls, I am always proud to tell people that our farms are considered to be categorised as “controlled risk” officially. This status was recently upgraded to a country of ‘negligible risk’ for BSE, the highest standard.

“Our farming reputation and the future of our beef exports now await a negative result for BSE in the case in Louth, and the continued control of the disease in Meath, and right across the country.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tomorrow’s Judgement on Emlagh Windfarm will tell all

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Wednesday), said that tomorrow’s judgement on the Emlagh Windfarm SID case will tell all.

Doherty stated that “tomorrow at approximately 10.30am Ms. Justice Caroline Costello will give her judgement on the SID case in the High Court with regard to the proposed Emlagh Windfarm development. The outcome of this judgement will tell all.

“I am looking forward to hearing what decision has been made; whatever the outcome there will be an impact on the road the lies ahead with regard to the application process for the Emlagh Windfarm development and specifically the oral hearing that is due to take place next week.”

The Meath East TD continued “by this time tomorrow we will know the decision of the High Court as to the community challenge which was made against the application by Element Power Ltd. The development will see 46 industrial sized wind turbines erected in our communities, from Kells right across to Castletown.”

Doherty concluded “At 169 meters in height and 130 meters in diameter, these wind turbines are the largest ever to be proposed in Ireland. I find this development to be invasive in many respects, but also somewhat unusual given that County Meath is considered to be on the lower scale with regard to wind speed in Ireland.”

Friday, June 05, 2015

Doherty Welcomes Establishment of Judicial Enquiry into Death of Sergeant Michael Galvin

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Friday), welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, regarding her decision to establish an independent judicial enquiry into the death of Sergeant Michael Galvin.

Doherty stated that “under no circumstances would it have been appropriate for GSOC to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Sergeant Michael Galvin from Donegal. This week I wrote to the Minister for Justice and asked her to seriously consider establishing an independent investigation into the circumstances around Sergeant Galvin’s death, and I was relieved when I was informed that a judicial enquiry had been launched”

“Sergeant Galvin’s family deserve nothing less than a wholly transparent investigation into his tragic death.

“Given the circumstances currently known about events in the months running up to Sergeant Galvin taking his own life, GSOC are certainly not the appropriate body to carry out this investigation. There is incorrect and misleading information with regard to the circumstances in the months prior to Sergeant Galvin’s death, and for GSOC to carry out this investigation, in my view, would raise serious questions as to the organisation’s apparent impartiality.

“Furthermore, it would damage the public’s confidence in the organisation in GSOC, a service which is “independent”, and one that “you can trust”, according to GSOC itself. Well, if GSOC had not terminated their investigation into Sergeant Galvin’s death, this certainly would not have been the case.”

The Fine Gael TD continued “Sergeant Galvin had been under investigation by GSOC with regard to an incident that took place in January of 2015. There are too many unknowns and possible contributory factors that can be directly associated with GSOC in this instance, and therefore GSOC are a conflicted party and could not conduct this investigation without prejudice.

“My sympathies and condolences are with Sergeant Galvin’s family, friends and colleagues.” 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Doherty Raises a Glass to €44 million Investment and 25 New Jobs for Slane

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Thursday), welcomed the recent announcement from Brown-Forman Corp., the U.S company behind Jack Daniels, as to their purchase of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey, which will see a €44 million investment in Slane and over 25 new jobs.

Doherty said “I am absolutely thrilled to hear the news of €44 million in investment and over 25 permanent jobs for Slane. This is a considerable investment in capital, infrastructure and employment for County Meath, and specifically for the Boyne Valley Region.

“The news is a wonderful and deserved testimony to Meath, and sends a message loud and clear to investors and multinationals on the global platform that Meath is a great place in which to do business.”

Doherty continued by saying that “it is great to see local and international business join forces. The Conyngham Family have been part and parcel of our community for several generations and it is terrific to witness their continued loyalty to Slane in this aligned approach.”

The Meath East TD concluded by saying “I am very excited to see what lies ahead and I am very optimistic as to the knock-on effects that this new venture will have on our hotels, restaurants and tourism in Meath." 

Rural areas in Meath to benefit from broadband expansion

Fine Gael TD, Regina Doherty has welcomed eircom’s announcement that they are to significantly expand access to high speed fibre broadband in rural Ireland benefiting a number of areas in Meath.
In Meath, broadband will be expanded to Beauparc, Castlejordan, Dunderry, Fordstown, Kilbride, Killeen Castle, Kilsharvan, Lobinstown, Newtown, Robinstown and Tara. This expanded footprint means eircom will invest €400 million in fibre over the next five years, hugely benefiting families and business in the county.  “The National Broadband Plan is a partnership between the commercial sector and the State to deliver high speed broadband to every home, school and business in Ireland. The Government has played a major role in creating the conditions for accelerated telecoms investment by highlighting to broadband providers the potential profit to be made by expanding into rural areas and by securing commitments from them to invest. Today’s investment is a clear indication that eircom recognises the opportunities in this market.

“Making the economic recovery a reality for people in all parts of the country, including here in Meath, is a key objective for Government. Lack of broadband has been a long standing issue in rural Ireland and one that had not been addressed by previous Governments. Initial commercial plans to provide high-speed access to one million homes by 2015 have now expanded into a commitment to provide access to 1.6 million homes by the end of 2016, and 1.9 million homes by 2020.

“Eircom’s announcement means the element of the National Broadband Plan that requires State intervention is likely to reduce significantly.

“The Minister for Communications, Alex White is expected to publish the State intervention strategy in July with a view to moving to formal procurement by the end of this year. Roll-out will commence in 2016.”