14 March 2018

Fitzgerald welcomes extra places on teacher training courses

Local TD Frances Fitzgerald has today welcomed the announcement that extra places will be available on teacher training courses.

Following consultation with the Irish Universities Association, the Minister for Education has announced an expansion of the number of places on post primary teacher education courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. There will also be additional places provided in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and Foreign Languages.

“Some concerns have been raised recently with me by local school principals regarding teacher supply issues and I have consistently raised these with Minister Bruton. Some measures have previously been announced to support schools in managing these issues; including expanding the number of days a teacher can work while on a career break. Today the Minister is taking further action by expanding the number of places on teacher education programmes with a heavy emphasis on certain subject areas at post primary level, to ensure that schools can get the right mix of subject teachers.

“The Government have set out ambitious strategies in STEM, foreign languages and digital, as part of our overall goal to have the best education and training service in Europe by 2026. We are now providing additional places to ensure the system can respond more readily to our national priorities and the needs of schools.

“Teaching is a fantastic profession for any young person considering their options, with a starting salary for a teacher straight out of college of nearly €36,000, increasing to €37,600 from October 2020. An additional 3,000 leadership posts have also recently been announced, meaning 1 in 3 teachers in our schools will now be in a leadership position.

“Teachers play a central role in achieving the Government’s ambition to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. I have the deepest respect and appreciation for all those who work with our nation’s children, to teach them, to enhance their learning, to support their all-round welfare and development and I will continue my work with local schools and Principals on any issues.”


23 February 2018

Project Ireland 2040 will Deliver Real Investment in Locally

Frances Fitzgerald, local Fine Gael TD, has welcomed the launch of the Government’s National Development Plan - Project Ireland 2040. 

Speaking about Project 2040 which was launched by Government on Friday, Fitzgerald said it will support families and strengthen communities in Lucan, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Saggart, Brittas, Rathcoole and Newcastle and will ensure sustainable growth for the future of the area.

“Our local communities are going to benefit from real investment and proper planning as a result of Project Ireland 2040. Project Ireland 2040 is the Government's plan for the future of Ireland and combined two important planning and investment policies; the National Planning Framework, which sets out how Ireland can grow in a sustainable, balanced fashion over the next twenty years, and the National Development Framework which supports this development with a €115 billion fund. This means that for the first time in the history of the State, our spatial planning is backed up with solid investment and it will deliver for our citizens.

"I have repeatedly highlighted the need for further public transport infrastructure with my colleagues as a sustainable solution to our local and regional traffic issues. I am pleased that Project Ireland 2040 places a particular importance on public transport projects that will deliver locally. 

“Priority elements of the DART Expansion programme which will create a full metropolitan area DART network for Dublin with all of the lines linked and connected. The initial sequencing of this €2 billlion investment will focus on delivery of non-underground tunnel elements of the programme, using the recently opened rail link and existing connector tunnel under the Phoenix Park.  The next step will be to provide fast, high-frequency electrified services including to Celbridge/Hazelhatch on the Kildare Line, which encompasses Adamstown and Fonthill stations, by 2027. There is a significant benefit to using the recently opened rail link and existing connector tunnel under the Phoenix Park in that it will enable additional passenger services to be put in place much earlier using existing infrastructure with some enhancements.

“A Luas to Lucan is committed to in the National Transport Authority’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035, however Project Ireland aims to undertake appraisal, planning and design of the LUAS network expansion to Lucan by 2027.

“A new Park and Ride Programme will see the development of strategic park and ride sites plus investment in parking facilities at rail, and bus connections. Local developments under this programme will include Liffey Valley and Naas Road.

“Implementation and funding of the BusConnects Dublin strategy which is an approximately €2 billion plan to deliver a radical redesign of the bus system in Dublin and is expected to be fully rolled out and completed by 2027.  Other elements of the Dublin BusConnects programme include: a network of “next generation” bus corridors (including segregated cycling facilities) on the busiest bus routes;  a complete redesign of the bus network; simpler fare structures;  cashless payment system; a state-of-the-art ticketing system;  park and ride facilities; new bus stops and shelters.

“Adamstown and Nangor Road Improvements which will see an upgrade to the Adamstown Road and Nangor Road to support the development of the area for enterprise and economic uses. The project will alleviate congestion, improve connectivity and enhance economic development.

"Significant improvements to address access and capacity issues within our Health Service are also funded by Project Ireland such as; an additional 2,600 acute hospital beds with elective-only hospitals for Dublin, Cork and Galway, 4,500 short and long term residential beds in public Community Nursing Homes, the building of a Renal Dialysis and Intensive Care Unit as well as a Paediatric Outpatient and Urgent Care Centre at Tallaght Hospital and more investment into providing Primary Care Centres and Community Diagnostic Facilities. These measures aim to reduce waiting lists and increase access to care for residents across the constituency.

Two local schools win the race to study PE

Two local schools in Clondalkin and Lucan are among the 80 secondary schools nationwide, to be part of the first phase of implementation of Physical Education (PE) for Senior Cycle programmes.

Local Fine Gael TD Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the news saying: “I am delighted that Coláiste Cois Life in Lucan and Deansrath Community College in Clondalkin are included in the pilot scheme for schools to study Physical Education at Senior Cycle. This means local students could be among the first in the country to take the Leaving Cert exam in PE.”

80 schools will implement either the examinable Physical Education Leaving Certificate subject or the new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework which is not for examination, or both. It will be rolled out to all schools across the country from 2020 so all students will benefit from this before too long.

“As a mum of three boys and former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I know the importance sport in our young people’s lives, so I am delighted that PE is now being piloted in our local schools for Senior Cycle. Physical activity is healthy for our overall wellbeing, not just in terms of fitness but also offers great mental stimulation. Participation in sports is also fantastic for developing a person’s confidence and team work skills. As your local TD I want to support families and communities across Lucan, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Rathcoole, Newcastle, Saggart and Brittas to make healthy choices.

15 February 2018

Illegal Dumpers Beware! Increased Funds Allocated to Fight the Scourge of Illegal Dumping

Local TD, Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the announcement of the 2018 Anti-Illegal Dumping Initiative and an allocation of over €2 million in funding for a targeted crackdown on illegal dumping black spots across the country. 

Welcoming the announcement by Government this week Fitzgerald commented, “Applications are now open for Local Authorities and community groups to apply under the 2018 Anti-Dumping Initiative with an increased funding allocation of €2 million this year.

“I know the huge impact illegal dumping has on communities across Rathcoole, Palmerstown, Saggart, Newcastle, Lucan, Brittas and Clondalkin, with some particular hot-spots in these areas. Our local Tidy Towns groups, residents groups and local Council are fighting back and reclaiming our rivers, parks, laneways and country roadsides from illegal dumpers. We owe these volunteers a debt of gratitude.

“Illegal dumping poses a significant threat to jobs, incomes and investment on those areas of our country whose growth is dependent on the preservation and protection of our magnificent landscapes, and our clean waterways. The response to last year’s anti-dumping initiative saw over 2.8 thousand tonnes of waste collected across the country, including funding allocated towards the community in Clondalkin for the Camac River Clean-up.

13 February 2018

Fitzgerald encourages local schools to apply for Creative School initiative

Local TD Frances Fitzgerald is encouraging local schools to apply for the Creative School initiative, which was launched by Government this week.

Speaking about the new initiative Fitzgerald commented, “The Creative School initiative which is part of the Governments overall Creative Ireland programme, will see over 150 schools across the country participate in a pilot programme providing them with expertise to enable them to explore the potential impact of the arts and creativity on school life. All participating schools will also receive a range of supports including a once-off grant of €2,000 and training for teachers in the school.

“The arts challenge people to think differently and be inventive in finding solutions to problems and participation in the arts is ideal for equipping young people with the ability to be inventive, critical and adaptable. Developing the creativity of children and young people enables them to achieve their full potential and grow as well rounded individuals.

“I would encourage all local primary and secondary schools, as well as Youth Reach centres to apply to participate in this programme. We are fortunate in our local area to have a number of clubs and organisations which inspire creativity in our young people from drama groups to preforming arts, to dance, music and much more. This initiative is now a great opportunity for our young people to also have the opportunity to foster these skills in schools.

“As former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I know the arts are a powerful means through which young people can explore communication and teamwork, stimulate their imaginations to be inventive, and harness their curiosity.

“I would encourage any parent to bring this initiative to the attention of their children's school – and any teachers or principals to register today.”

Interested schools should:

·         Step 1 – Get online to find out more www.artscouncil.ie/creative-schools
·         Step 2 – Register your school today
·         Step 3 – Apply online between 20th February and 22nd March 2018

Applications open on the 20th of February and participating schools will be announced in May 2018. Work will begin in schools in September 2018.