25 January 2017

Fitzgerald welcomes Road Upgrades at Grange Castle Business Park

Local TD and Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed funding of over €3.1million towards road upgrades around Grange Castle Business Park  by the Department of Transport.  
Speaking this afternoon, Fitzgerald said: “I am pleased with the announcement today by my colleague Minister for Transport Shane Ross, of the 2017 grant allocations for local roads. Over €3.1million has been allocated to South Dublin County Council for roads in our local area including the Nangor and Adamstown Road Improvement Scheme. 

“This grant which is supported by the IDA, will support industry and facilitate increased employment in the area of Grange Castle Business Park. 

 “Grange Castle Business Park is continuing to expand and attract global industries. Leading global firms such as Pfizer, Microsoft and Google have already developed facilities in the area. The development of the roads network surrounding the business park proves positive for the Lucan, Clondalkin, Newcastle and the surrounding areas.

“As Minister for Justice and Equality, I am deeply conscious of the serious issue of road safety on our roads. The quality of our road infrastructure network is paramount to ensuring safety of residents in local communities across the country.

Fitzgerald concluded, “The priority for Government in 2017 continues to be the maintenance of our existing road network which will enhance safety and support job growth in local areas.


23 January 2017

Remember to make sure your passport is in order before you travel

Local Fine Gael TD and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, has urged locals to make sure their travel documents are in order before they travel.

“Before you book your trip it is important to look at your passport and check its expiry date. If you’re booking for your children, remember to check their passports too.”

“When applying, allow at least six weeks for your passport application. Delays are often encountered when forms are incorrectly completed and the six weeks allows time for any issues to be dealt with.

“Turnaround times for passports can vary depending on demand volumes but the Department of Foreign Affairs recommends allowing 3 weeks for renewals and 4 weeks for first time applicants.

“For genuine emergencies there is a Rapid Renewal Service. Certain specific documentation is required for this and candidates have to go to the Passport Office on Lower Mount Street in Dublin. There are, however, limitations to this service, so it’s best to check your passport now and get your application in on time.

“It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the visa requirements of the country you are visiting.

“Visa requirements differ from country to country outside the European Union, so it’s best to check with the country’s embassy or consulate prior to making your travel arrangements.

“Remember, if something goes wrong when you’re travelling abroad and you need help, you can contact your local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

In general, in the provision of consular care, the Department of Foreign Affairs can:

· Issue emergency passports/travel documentation (if certain criteria are met).
· Advise and support you in the case of an accident, serious illness or death.
· Help liaise with local police or other authorities, particularly if there is a language barrier.
· Contact your family or friends on your behalf.
· Visit you in prison if you have been detained.
· Advance cash to you in an emergency situation provided that the amount you need has been lodged in advance with us at our offices in Dublin or Cork or at a Garda Station.
· Provide a list of English-speaking lawyers, doctors or interpreters in a country.
· Provide a list of local undertakers in the event of a death.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides regularly updated travel advice for every country in the world and I strongly encourage you to visit it before making travel plans. This is all available on the website - https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice - and through a special free Smartphone App called TravelWise" she concluded.


19 January 2017

Fitzgerald welcomes new model for allocating resource teachers to schools

Local TD, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed the announcement today that a new model for allocating Special Education Teaching Resources to mainstream primary and secondary schools will be introduced from September 2017.

“I receive a lot of queries from parents who want to know what resources are available to support their children with Special Educational Needs in our mainstream schools. A new model has been announced today that will see an additional 900 teaching posts provided to support the introduction of a new Special Education Teaching Resources allocation model, which will remove barriers in children accessing resources.

“This new model will allow schools allocate resources to pupils, taking into account their individual learning needs, as opposed to requiring a particular diagnosis of disability. It will also remove the barrier of having to wait for a specific diagnosis to access resources and instead allow schools to cater to that child’s need immediately, allowing early intervention and supporting inclusion in our schools,” confirmed Fitzgerald.

The provision of up to 900 additional teaching posts will ensure that no school receives an allocation of resources less than those received in the current school year. Furthermore, up to 1,000 schools will receive additional allocations, where the new model indicates additional need.

“Re-investing the benefits of the economic recovery into services in order to build a fair and compassionate society is my focus in Government. Education is the best means of delivering a fairer society, breaking down cycles of disadvantage and ensuring that all our people, in particular those with special educational needs, are able to participate in that progress and fulfil their potential.

“Special Education Needs provision accounts for one fifth (€1.5billion) of the overall education budget. This investment demonstrates the commitment to improving services and supporting children accessing education. Government has agreed to provide additional resources to implement this model including €18 million in funding and 900 extra resource teachers.

“The model which has been carefully worked up is aimed at ensuring that we can deliver better outcomes for children with special educational needs, and eliminate unfairness and other problems which exist in the current model.

“This model has already been postiviely received in a number of pilot schools throughout the country. I hope that parents in Lucan, Clondalkin, Newcastle, Rathcoole, Saggart, Palmerstown and Brittas will also reap the benefits of the new model from September onwards,” concluded Fitzgerald.

21 December 2016

Local clubs should register now for Sports Capital Funding

-    €30 million available nationwide in 2017
-    Applications must be in by 24th February 2017

Local TD and Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald is encouraging sports clubs and organisations in Clondalkin, Lucan, Newcastle, Palmerstown, Rathcoole and Saggart to apply for Sports Capital funding.

Fitzgerald was speaking after confirmation from Minister for Sport, Patrick Donovan TD, that €30million has been secured for Sports Capital Programme funding in 2017.

Commenting on the announcement, she said, “I am delighted that once again, Sports Capital funding will be provided to clubs and local organisations around the country in the coming year. I recognise the role of sport and sports clubs in our communities and the imperative to invest in the clubs.

“As local TD and Tánaiste, I am committed to continuing investment in sport and supporting the volunteers who keep our sports clubs going. The Programme for Government contains the aim of allocating sports capital grants on an annual basis and since being given responsibility for sport. The Sports Capital Programme is an extremely effective way of bringing investment into local communities.
“Since the reopening of the programme in 2012, a number of clubs have been successful in receiving funding. This investment supports and rewards the great spirit of volunteerism that see hundreds of coaches every week supporting thousands of children and young people in sport.

“The application form has been significantly shortened, and the Department have issued new guides for completing the form. The upcoming holiday period provides a good opportunity for clubs to get registered online, familiarise themselves with the guide and undertake any other preparatory work in advance of formally submitting their application.

“As with previous years, there will be a two-step process, where clubs are required to register on the online system first and then submit the application subsequently. The online system will open today and online applications will be accepted from the 23rd January to the 24th February, 2017. Clubs not previously registered on the Department’s online application system need to do so in advance of this date and I strongly encourage clubs to register now.

She concluded, “I know a number of clubs will be submitting strong and ambitious applications for funding and I will be supporting them with their applications.  I wish them the very best of luck with their applications.”


19 December 2016

Fitzgerald highlights Garda successes in latest crime figures

Frances Fitzgerald, Local TD and Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, today highlighted a drop of 31% in the level of burglary crime, continuing the positive trend shown in CSO figures for the first half of 2016.

She said: “An Garda Síochána continue to achieve impressive results in their sustained drive against burglars under Operation Thor, which is powered by increased resources provided by the Government and supported by new legislation which I introduced this time last year, targeting repeat burglary offenders. The Government remains absolutely committed to supporting Garda efforts to combat crime including Operation Thor. It is encouraging that the regional breakdown of the CSO figures shows that Operation Thor is benefitting communities right across the country.”

“Burglary is a terrible and invasive crime and we will continue this crackdown to ensure the safety and security of people in their homes all over Ireland.”

Crime prevention is also an important element in the Garda drive against burglars and, with Christmas approaching, Fitzgerald reminded people to take care of their property and to heed Garda advice to “Lock up and Light up” their homes to deter burglars.

The new CSO statistics compare crime trends for the twelve months ending 30 September 2016 with the previous twelve-month period. In addition to the big drop in burglary there have been welcome reductions in other categories of property crime, including Theft, down 14.6% and Robbery down 11.1%. Overall, nine out of the fourteen crime categories in the CSO classification showed a decrease.

However, some categories showed small scale increases, including a 6.1% increase in drink-driving offences. Echoing recent calls from the Gardai and the Road Safety Authority Fitzgerald commented, “It is simply not acceptable for anyone to drink and drive. No one can say they are unaware of the potential consequences. No more families should have to needlessly experience this time of year as one of great sadness and loss because of drink-driving.” 

In relation to drugs offences, she highlighted recent Garda successes in the ongoing battle against organised crime including several major drug seizures, with support from the Garda Special Crime Task Force which was established in Dublin earlier this year to target crime gangs and the proceeds of crime.

Re-affirming Government commitment to tackle crime and dismantle criminal networks Fitzgerald paid tribute to the “…consistent, professional, and often heroic efforts of the men and women of An Garda Síochána who are unceasing in their commitment to communities up and down the country.”
Referring to the 6.6% increase in sexual offences, the Tánaiste highlighted the recent debates on the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill which she hopes to see enacted in early 2017. The Tánaiste has prioritised this new legislation, with wide ranging provisions incorporating enhanced protections for victims of sexual offences in the criminal process as well as measures to enhance the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Fitzgerald also highlighted other upcoming legislation which is designed to deal more effectively with criminal behaviour and support communities and victims of crime, including the recently published proposals to strengthen the operation of the Bail system as well as the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill which will fulfil a Programme for Government commitment to enact legislation to strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families.