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 Se├ín 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.

26 June 2018

Fitzgerald Welcomes Proposed Gender Pay Gap Legislation

Local Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed today’s announcement of the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill.

Deputy Fitzgerald welcomed the legislation, stating:
“I have dedicated most of my adult life to tackling inequality, especially gender inequality. Prior to serving as a TD, I was Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland and, as well as my own experiences of being a working mother, I am keenly aware of the need to improve gender equality in the workplace.

Fitzgerald Welcomes 2018 Back to School Scheme

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, Frances Fitzgerald, has welcomed the announcement of the 2018/19 Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme.

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a valued support for low-income families in managing back to school costs. Families will start receiving this Allowance on the week ending the 13th of July, benefitting 28,024 children across Dublin.

“This year will see an increase in the amount allocated to the scheme with the Government providing €49.5 million for this important scheme; an increase of €2.1 million on the allocation for 2017. The Government is able to provide this increase thanks to our recovering economy, driven by increasing employment.

“This means more money to improve social services and social supports. Fine Gael is determined to use the benefits of our recovering economy to support those who need it most,”
confirmed Fitzgerald.