Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Duleek, urgently needs more Garda resources

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regain Doherty, is seeking additional Garda resources for Duleek as a matter of utmost urgency.

The Meath East TD said “last night I attended a public meeting in the Parish Hall, Duleek, which was organised by Mr Martin Leddy in the wake of an arson attack on Kelly’s Pub last week.

“There was a great deal of unease and worry in the room last night and understandably so. There has been a high levels of crime in Duleek and Donore in recent months and weeks in the form of break-ins, arson attacks and anti-social behaviour.

“This morning I have asked the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to allocate additional, and much needed, Garda resources to the Duleek area even temporarily. Current allocation of resources are not enough to act as a deterrent or a comfort to local residents and businesses..”

Continuing, Doherty said “I have made a strong case to both the Minister and the Commissioner that resources should be allocated to Duleek, not on the basis of population, but rather on the grounds that Duleek has regrettably been the victim of a ‘hot spot’ for crime in recent times.

“There are over 7 thousand people living in Duleek are they are feeling the brunt of recent increases in criminal activity.

“With nearly 100 people at the meeting last night it is clear that the community are pulling together but they need more supported through increased Garda resources. While community alert groups, CCTV and text alerts are crucial and a credit to their organisers , they cannot replace Gardai on the beat. 

Doherty confirms €450,000 funding for flood works in Ashbourne

Pictured above with Minister Simon Harris during his visit to Ashbourne last year with Cllr Alan Tobin, Doherty said no family should have to leave their home, and no business should have to close, for any duration of time, as a result of flooding.

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regain Doherty, has today confirmed that €450,000 in funding will go towards flood mitigation works in Ashbourne.

The Meath East TD said “this is absolutely fantastic news for Ashbourne. Last year, I invited Minister for Public Works Simon Harris and his Department officials to visit Ashbourne and see first-hand the trail of destruction left on homes and families after flooding during our winter months. These flood prevention works are long overdue and, without flood protection, parts of Ashbourne could be considered a ticking time bomb for more extensive damage in the future.

“The project location for this funding will go to some of the areas which have been worst hit by flooding in recent years, specifically Rathlodge, Racehill Lane, Huntsgrove, Brookville Road, Hunters Lane, Cedar Road and Milltown Road.”

Doherty continued “This funding of €450,000 is in addition to the previously allocated €58,000 which had also been approved for Meath County Council, and comes under the OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. The initial round of funding was used to appoint consultants to investigate the causes of flooding in the Ashbourne area and come up with solutions.

“It is great to see that this project has now come to its fruition and also to see that Ashbourne has remained a top priority for the Minister and his Department. We all remember the heavy rain that swept across the country in November 2014 that saw Ashbourne hit particularly hard.

Continuing, Doherty said “we are not yet out of the woods. There are a number of other sites that have been badly damaged by flood waters that are not included in this funding.”

Ashbourne's Fine Gael Councillor, Alan Tobin, said “while I welcome the OPW funding, there are areas of concern which I will be highlighting in my submission to Meath County Council, so it is of utmost importance that each and every person living in the areas effected have their say. The planning application can be seen in the Municipal Building in Ashbourne until the end of the month. The flooding problem has been constant worry for those living along what we now know as channel C1/7. It concerns those affected every time we have heavy or persistent rain. This has had a profound effect on people's lives with some suffering from sleepless nights, anxiety and mental health issues. It is imperative that this is fixed now and that we never have to revisit the devastation of Nov 13th 2014.”

Concluding, Doherty said “No family should have to leave their home, and no business should have to close, for any duration of time, as a result of flooding. Continued investment in flood mitigation measures will ensure that Ashbourne will not have to revisit the ordeal of November 2014 again.” 

Doherty welcomes changes to pre-school ECCE funding model

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today welcomed the announcement which will see reform of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Higher Capitation model to support capacity building and quality development across pre-schools.

The Meath East TD today said “I warmly welcome the reform of the pre-school ECCE funding model which is due to come in to effect from September 2016. The cost of childcare in Ireland is a real and genuine problem that needs to be addressed.

"I personally know of many instances in County Meath where the cost of childcare has prevented a parent to continue or return to work. The additional free pre-school year, which was introduced by Fine Gael in the last Dail term, continues to take just some of this financial pressure away from families.

“It is crucial that we provide continued investment and development in our pre-schools so as to ensure that the sting of childcare costs is somewhat alleviated.”

Doherty continued “From September 2016 in ECCE services, Higher Capitation will be paid to individual ECCE sessions (or rooms) which are led by Early Years professionals with a relevant Level 7 qualification or higher. This changes the current model where the higher capitation rate is only paid if all sessions / rooms in the service are led by staff qualified at Level 7 or higher.

“This reform will allow more services to benefit from extra capitation. From September, services that have multiple ECCE rooms, but only one with a Pre-school Leader with the necessary higher capitation qualification, can avail of this higher funding for part of their service.

“When the ECCE programme was first launched in 2010, the Higher Capitation model was introduced as a quality development measure to encourage the development of a qualified workforce to deliver an education focused curriculum to children in pre-school settings.

“Today, approximately 38% of services participating in the ECCE Programme are currently in receipt of the Higher Capitation grant. It is expected that from September 2016 up to 50% of services will qualify. The sector has asked for this change for some time and believes that it will encourage services to expand and to further develop the quality of their service.

“The reform of the Higher Capitation model is one of a number of measures being taken by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to encourage an increase in the number of ECCE places available to meet increased demand from Sept 2016. From then, all children will be eligible for free pre-school from the time they turn 3 until they start in primary school.”

Concluding, Doherty said “these changes will encourage an increase in the number of ECCE places available to meet increased demand from September 2016. From then, all children will be eligible for free pre-school from the time they turn 3 until they start in primary school. Children will be eligible to enter pre-school at three entry points after they turn three, September, January and April. The number of places will need to expand from 67,000 in 2015 to 127,000 by April 2017 which will be aided by the recently announced €4 million in capital funding.”