22 October 2018

Statement on Publication of DIsclosures Tribunal Report

Local Fine Gael TD, Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the publication of the Charleton Report.

“On a personal level I am pleased that I have been found to have acted appropriately, used my judgement well, and that my evidence has been accepted as truthful.

“I established the Tribunal to find the truth about very disturbing information given to me when I was Minister for Justice & Equality, and am pleased that it is proving effective in the quest for the truth in these complex matters,” she said. “There are many lessons to be drawn from the Report, which requires thorough and careful reading.”

As the Report points out, the consequence last November of politicians, the public and the media going on ‘leaked snippets’ in relation to the O’Higgins Commission was that “…at a crucial juncture for Ireland in the Brexit negotiations, the Government of our country came close to falling and in the ultimate result Frances Fitzgerald TD the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, who had formerly been Minister for Justice and Equality resigned from office on 28th November 2017.”

“It is tempting to jump to conclusions in complex situations but in both politics and the media this must be tempered by respect for facts and due process.,” Ms Fitzgerald said, adding that at all times she had abided by these principles.

The Report restates the vital role that Sergeant Maurice McCabe has played in shining a light on poor practices, which Ms Fitzgerald always acknowledged in her dealings with him. The Report’s emphasis on the reform and ethical standards required of An Garda Siochana, areas which Ms Fitzgerald had spearheaded as Minister for Justice, indicate the extent of change which must be achieved.

Ms Fitzgerald has thanked An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, for his support during and since the controversy erupted in late 2017, pointing to his prophetic words at the time of her resignation:

In the past few days a drip-drip of information may have made certain things seem greater than they are. There was a feeding frenzy, and it became impossible for her to get a fair hearing based on the full facts. I hope that will change in the period ahead.” (Dáil Éireann: 28th November 2017)

I also want to thank my Fine Gael colleagues and all of my constituents - and of course, my family for their support.
The Tribunal has now provided a Report of that fair hearing based on the full facts, Ms Fitzgerald concluded, and she thanked Justice Charleton for his hard work and a very comprehensive report.


27 September 2018

Government Has No Intention of Discontinuing the Christmas Bonus

Local Dublin Mid-West TD, Frances Fitzgerald is assuring locals that the Government has no intention of discontinuing the Christmas Bonus. 

“I can confirm that Minister Doherty has absolutely no intention of discontinuing the Christmas Bonus for any Social Welfare recipient. 

“I know many people have been concerned in recent days following reports in the media regarding discontinuing the Christmas Bonus. 

“I understand that there were suggestions that the bonus was under threat – however, I want to assure everybody that this is absolutely incorrect. As is always the case, there is currently no provision for a Christmas bonus in the Department of Social Protection's allocation for 2018, the decision to pay a Christmas Bonus is made at budget time every year. 

“I was contacted by a number of concerned constituents on this issue and I am happy to be in a position to clarify that the Government has absolutely no intention of discontinuing the Christmas Bonus for any Social Welfare recipient. 

“The Christmas Bonus was abolished in 2009 by under the Fianna Fáil Government. As the economy recovered, I was very pleased to see it reinstated by Fine Gael in 2014 at the rate of 25%. “This was increased to a 75% payment in 2015 and further increased to 85% in 2016 and 2017,” the Fine Gael TD concluded. 


17 July 2018

Fitzgerald Highlights New Online Safety Plans

Local TD for Dublin Mid-West, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed the Government’s first ever Action Plan for Online Safety which was published this week.

“The internet has broadened the opportunities and access we have to the world. Within a generation, we have moved from the creation of the internet to the daily use and reliance on online information. Seven out of ten of us use the internet every day; be it for news, entertainment, online shopping and staying in touch with friends and family. 

“For the first time, Government has developed an Action Plan for Online Safety. This plan covers six Government Departments with five broad goals around individual supports, educational programmes at Primary and Post-Primary level, legislative changes and stakeholder engagement. To oversee all this, a new National Advisory Council on Online Safety will be chaired by Minister for State with responsibility for Digital Development Seán Kyne which will bring all the relevant Departments, stakeholders and organisations together.

“A key part of this is the creation on a single portal, www.gov.ie/BeSafeOnline, that Irish internet users can access for resources and information on how they can stay safe online. It also points users towards mental health supports, should they be required.”

11 July 2018

Mental Health Initiatives for Schools Welcomed by Fitzgerald

Dublin Mid-West Fine Gael TD, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed two significant mental health initiatives for schools announced by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD.

This announcement is part of the Minister’s broader focus on supporting student wellbeing in all schools as part of his ambition to make Ireland’s Education System the best in Europe by 2026.

“Schools are at the frontline of youth mental health; they are where our children spend most of their time and face challenges from exams, building friendships and coming into their own in their teenage years. Therefore it is necessary to give schools and teachers the tools to recognise mental health issues and provide appropriate assistance and intervention.

“The SafeTALK programme has already been introduced to a number of schools in order to help teachers to have safe conversations around suicide and suicidal risks. The internationally recognised programme allows people to identify persons at risk and how to keep them safe while challenging taboos that inhibit open talk about suicide. A model of the programme specifically targeted at teachers and other school personnel was developed by the Department and the National Office of Suicide Prevention. This training commenced in the 2017/18 school year in 6 Education Centres. Today the Minister announced that the course will be available in a further 6 Education Centres from the start of the new school year. Schools in the area of each Education Centre will be invited to send two relevant members of staff to participate in the SafeTALK training,”
confirmed Fitzgerald.

06 July 2018

In-School Therapies Pilot for Clondalkin and Lucan Children

  • 40 Schools across Clondalkin and Lucan to participate in pilot bringing speech and language therapists and occupational therapists into schools and pre-schools
Local Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed the announcement of the first ever project to provide in-school and pre-school therapy services. The pilot project will take place in her own local Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) Region 7 which includes West Dublin, Kildare, and West Wicklow. 

“I have been pushing for some time now to have a more integrated approach to our community health services and our Education system. Having therapists come to schools to provide the necessary interventions such as Speech and Language Therapy or Occupational Therapy seems a practical solution. Not only does it lessen the amount of time a child needs to be away from their classroom but it also allows the therapists and teachers to collaborate and more accurately meet the particular needs of an individual child.

“The provision of in-school Speech and Language services was a core commitment of my Party in the last election which we ensured was included in the Programme for Government. Following an initial announcement of the scheme in May, the local preschools, primary and post primary schools taking part in the pilot have been announced.

“Forty schools across Clondalkin and Lucan will take part in this exciting pilot during the 2018/19 school year. This includes twenty seven pre-schools, ten Primary and three Post-Primary schools.

“This pilot has the potential to change a child’s entire education. By placing such an emphasis locally on our pre-schools in particular, this pilot will ensure that issues can be identified and addressed before they become a barrier to a child’s learning.