Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Doherty urges eligible parents to apply for Back to School allowance

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, and Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach, Regina Doherty, is reminding families that the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will be made available again this year, and urged families who are not automatically entitled to make an application before the August deadline.

Minister Doherty said “The support provided through the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance helps parents to help with the cost of the new school year. The Department of Social Protection has allocated €38.8 million for the payments this year. I would remind families, who do not automatically receive the allowance, that they can still make an application before the August deadline.

“In 2015 over 153,000 families with 281,000 children benefited from the payments. The payment rate is €100 for each child aged 4 to 11 and €200 for children aged 12 to 22.

“As in previous years, a large proportion of Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance payments will be fully automated and no application form will be required. Letters will issue in the week ending 10th June informing families of their entitlement and notifying them of the expected payment which will be made during the week ending 15th July.”

Concluding, Doherty said “Further payments will be made for applications submitted to the Department of Social Protection. Application forms will be available in Department of Social Protection offices, via the Department’s SMS form request service and by download from www.welfare.ie from 10th June 2016. Further details of the application process for the 2016 payments will be made available at a later date.

Still time to apply for carers support grant as deadline looms

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, and Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach, Regina Doherty, has today urged carers to apply for the support grant, if not automatically eligible, which is due to be paid at the end of this week.

The Meath East TD said “this morning the Minister for Social Protection advised that over 86,000 carers are due to receive their support grant by the end of this week. This grant is automatically paid to some carers; however, I would urge anyone eligible who has not yet made an application, to do so as soon as possible in order to as soon as possible, there is still time.

“I know many carers in Meath will welcome the full restoration of the carers grant to its previous level of €1,700, following cuts to the grant during the economic crisis, which is paid to carers who are already in receipt of schemes such as Carers Allowance, Carers Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance.

“Other full-time carers, who are not in receipt of these schemes, can also apply for the support grant, which was formally known as the Respite Care Grant. The grant is an annual payment available to all carers providing full-time care and attention to an older person or a child or adult with a disability, regardless of their means or PRSI contributions.”

Continuing, Doherty said “the Government is very aware of the vital service provided by carers. The Department of Social Protection provides funding to support training for carers and in the last two years, over €900,000 has been provided to 16 groups, including €300,000 to Family Carers Ireland. The estimated expenditure on the Carer’s Support Grant this year is €157.6 million.”

Concluding, Minister Doherty said “I would urge anyone who is currently working in the capacity of a carer to consider applying for this grant before the scheme closes for the year in the coming days. There is still time to make an application, and I would invite anyone in need of assistance in making their application to contact my office on 01 8257204.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eirgrid arrogant and disrespectful

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, and Minister of State Regina Doherty, who attended the final day of the An Bord Pleanala (ABP) Oral Hearing today, said in her closing statement that Eirgrid, has behaved with what can only be described as arrogance, and with very little respect for the public, affected communities and landowners.
The Meath East TD said “this afternoon I made my final oral submission at the ABP Oral Hearing for the North South Interconnector. I joined a room full of landowners, concerned parents and business owners in contributing to the closing statements of this public consultation process.

“I can only describe the behaviour of Eirgrid, throughout this whole public consultation process as arrogant and gravely lacking in respect for the public. I noted this afternoon in my closing statement, that it is almost exactly ten years since I first attended a public meeting in Trim, organised by NEPPC, for the initial proposal for the North South Interconnector.

“I find it incredibly difficult to fathom, exactly how Eirgird, ten years later, have made so many last minute, but substantial, changes to their planning application, despite having had six years since their initial application to ABP for the interconnector.”

Continuing, Doherty said “for the second time, we have seen a planning application from Eirgrid which is inherently flawed, in the form of what one can only assume to be carefully choreographed changes to 50 access routes, which have left both members of the public, and affected landowners, completely in the dark.

“As a result, we have been left unable to engage with these changes, and I am reliably informed, that some affected landowners have not even been notified by Eirgrid as to these changes, despite Eirgrid stating otherwise.

“Eirgrid, has essentially robbed Meath landowners and communities from being able to partake in what should have been a thoroughly democratic and transparent public consultation. I also share the confusion which was voiced in the room today as to whether ABP will be adjudicating upon this planing application either with, or without, the extensive amendments to access routes presented by Eirgird.

Concluding, Doherty said “again, I echoed the striking absence of a fully costed alternative undergrounding, or partial undergrounding, of the interconnector, which, in and of itself, most are in agreement is a much needed upgrade to our critical national infrastructure. We cannot, and will not, take Eirgird on its word, that undergrounding is not feasible for long-term viability and sustainability reasons, given its behaviour of late, and particularly its CEO, Mr Slye’s admission at an Oireachtas Committee that undergrounding is technically feasible.
Pictured with Padraig O'Reilly and Amy Treacy from the NEPPC

“I would like to congratulate all of the members of the NEPPC, and indeed the many hundreds of people who have together invested a considerable amount of time in presenting both written and oral submission to the board. Without their efforts, we would not have been in a position to make such a strong and thorough submission to the Board.” 

Doherty welcomes removal of Green Bin charge

Fine Gael TD, and Minister of State, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the decision by Minister Simon Coveney, to remove the mandatory minimum pay by weight charge for the collection of recyclable (green bin) waste as part of the new household waste collection regime.

"I believe it was the right decision to drop the green bin charge, as it will encourage even more people to recycle.

"I also welcome the introduction of paying by weight for other non-recyclable house hold waste. In accordance with the polluter-pays principle, the new scheme will give households more control of their waste costs and should provide better value for households, who prevent waste and recycle.

"Moreover, it will stimulate the prevention of waste and ensure a more environmentally sustainable approach to the management of waste in Ireland.

"As a knock-on effect of this, it will help Ireland achieve current and future EU waste targets in relation to recycling rates and the diversion of recyclable and biodegradable waste from landfill. This is crucial for Ireland’s economy and our international reputation.

"It is the quintessential win-win situation, as this new scheme is also expected to result in job creation, as a result of the processing of increasing quantities of recycling and organic waste."

Unemployment continues to drop, now at 7.9%

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, and Minister of State, Regina Doherty, said Fine Gael is continuing to deliver on its pledge to prioritise job creation and reduce unemployment. The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that the unemployment rate is now down to 7.9%.

“This is very positive news and proof yet again of Fine Gael’s commitment and success in creating the environment to get people in Meath back to work.

“The unemployment rate down of 7.9% is the lowest since November 2008 and our unemployment rate is now firmly below European averages. Unemployment has decreased in every region of the country in the last 12 months.

“155,000 new jobs have been created since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2012 and the Program for Government has reaffirmed the Action Plan for Jobs as the best way to implement ideas on job creation across Government. With 15,400 new jobs created in the first three months of 2016 we are off to a great start in meeting Fine Gael’s target of 200,000 new jobs by 2020.

“Each new job created in Meath is another family looking forward to a brighter future, and each new job created by a business is a sign of returning confidence and growth. In fact each new job created here in Meath leads to more resources which Fine Gael is committed to using to fix the many challenges we face as a society.

“This Partnership Government is determined to maintain the good progress on job creation that was started by the previous Government.

“Fine Gael in Government continues to prioritise job creation because we believe that only a strong economy, supporting people at work, can pay for the services needed to create a fair society here in Meath and around the country. Helping people back into work will lead to greater equality of opportunity, where people in Meath can plan confidently for the future.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Doherty Appointed Government Chief Whip

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regain Doherty was last week appointed Government Chief Whip, and Minister of State in the Department of An Taoiseach, and is set to take her seat at the Cabinet table for the first time this Wednesday.

Minister Doherty, who is based in Ratoath, today said “I am absolutely delighted with my appointment as Government Chief Whip. The role of the Whip was always crucial to our Parliament, but considering the formation of our new Minority Government, it is one that comes with more responsibility than ever.

“This month (May), it will be exactly ten years since I first presented myself at a Fine Gael Selection Convention, seeking the party’s nomination to run in the General Election. My recent appointment is one which I have been striving towards for a decade now, and I will continue to work towards increasing my influence on building and developing our public policy.

“I am very much looking forward to working together with my colleagues, from all sides of the House, from all parties and none, in what will be one of the most dynamic parliaments we have ever seen in Ireland.

“I envisage that I will be doing much more listening than talking in my role as Chief Whip, as we begin to see radical changes in how we do politics in Leinster House, off the back of the Committee on Dail Reform, which I have been a member of for the last seven weeks.

“One of the outputs of our work on Dail reform will see the establishment of a new business committee, which will arrange the order of proceedings in the Dail, giving greater power to parliamentarians to have their say in the order of business in the house. Order of business previously would have been the sole responsibility of the Government at the helm at the time, and I strongly believe that this will enhance and enrich our legislation from this point forward.”

Concluding, Doherty said, “I am very enthusiastic about the portfolio that I have been given; it is a new challenge that I feel privileged to have, in a parliament that will have more power than ever before.” 

Doherty delivers 24 hour blood pressure monitoring for Ashbourne

Government Chief Whip, and Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regain Doherty has confirmed that 24 hour blood pressure monitoring will be available in Ashbourne.

The Meath East TD has said “high blood pressure is a major risk factor for many diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. I recently called on the then Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, requesting that 24 hour blood pressure monitoring become available in Deerpark Medical Centre as a matter of urgency.

“I very much welcome the Minister’s speedy turnaround in this regard, which demonstrates the importance of making available this facility locally. The early detection, and quick diagnosis, of high blood pressure can quite literally be the difference between life and death.”

Continuing, Doherty said “this new scheme, while quite straight forward in its nature, will play a vital role in reducing the risk of diseases associated with high blood pressure. The 24 hour blood pressure monitors are the crème de la crème inaccurate blood pressure readings. Many standard blood pressure tests, while useful in day to day standard tests, can give false readings of elevated blood pressure, depending on day time and night time readings.

Concluding, the newly appointed Minister of State said “The provision of accurate readings, depending on the time of day and activities of a patient, will allow for precise readings, and more efficient diagnosis of many diseases. Treatment and appropriate action for high blood pressure, ranging from weight loss, avoiding salt, regular exercise, and medication where necessary, will now be more efficient and exact than ever before as a result of this new scheme.” 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Avoca to receive a warm welcome to Dunboyne

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regain Doherty has welcomed the approval of planning permission for Avoca to make modifications to the site at its twelfth store, which is to be located in Dunboyne.

The Meath East TD said “Avoca recently received planning permission to make modifications to its new site at Piercetown, Dunboyne, which, once opened, I am certain will receive a very warm welcome from the village.

“This fantastic news brings us one step closer to bringing further 900 jobs to South Meath. Considering recent announcements, from Shire and Facebook, our Royal County is certainly proving a great attraction for investment from both within the country, and from further afield.

“We cannot underestimate how lucky we are with our location; our proximity to Dublin City Centre, Dublin Port and the airport, are absolutely contributors to drawing investment to Meath. However, our highly skilled and educated local workforce, I believe, is our unique selling point to the Avoca’s and Shires of the world.

“There are many locations, which also have superb connectivity, but in the last three months, three large firms have chosen Meath. Avoca's arrival is not an accident, or luck, rather it is credit to the people of Meath, who are the driving force behind any such investment. Additionally, Meath County Council is constantly working, quietly behind the scenes, to make our county what it is, and for that we should be very grateful."

Concluding, Doherty said “I am very much looking forward to joining Dunboyne in welcoming Avoca to Meath, which is set to be its ‘most ambitious store to date’.” 
Regina said Avoca’s arrival to Dunboyne is not an accident, or luck, rather it is credit to the people of Meath, who are the driving force behind any such investment