07 July 2016

Keeping in Touch - July 2016

Dear Residents,I hope this email newsletter finds you and your family well and that you are enjoying the summer so far!Well done to our fantastic Boys in Green, in particular Clondalkins Glen Whelan and Stephen Quinn, doing the nation proud and representing us in the Euros in the best possible way. I was delighted to secure permission from Dublin City Council for the Fanzone in Smithfield for the match against France! As usual our supporters did us proud showcasing the remarkable friendliness of the Irish fans, making them every other country’s second team at this years championship. The teams achievement in beating Italy, reaching the knockout stages, and taking on the host nation cannot be underestimated. The supporters excelled themselves as ambassadors for our country, and it was a great source of pride to see that every French city had the welcome sign out for the Irish supporters. Below is an update on just some of the issues I have been working on this month. Please continue to keep in touch with me on the issues of concern to you. Feel free to log onto my website www.francesfitzgerald.ie for more on my work on your behalf, both as a local T.D. and nationally as Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality.If I can at any time be of any assistance to you please do not hesitate get in touch.Best,

Palmerstown Festival Well done to all those involved in organising the Palmerstown Festival this year! Lots of great activities for the whole family, with the Bat Walk, Manor Road Street Party, Bowling and the family funday!
As part of the festival, St Pats held their annual Funday in Glenaulin Park. There was lots of excitement with bouncy castles, a magician and lovely hotdogs too!! Well done to Ronan, Pauline and all in St Pats for organising! I was delighted to present cheques of over €10,000 to St Pats from some local businesses - Palmerstown House, The Haven Pharmacy and Moraiartys SuperValu. The festival is a sign of the fantastic community spirit in Palmerstown!
Four Distrcits FeteA lovely day was had at the Four Districts Day Care Centre Fete in Rathcoole. As always, there was a great crowd supporting the fundraiser for the day care centre, which largely supports the running of the centre. There was plenty to do for all the family and it was great to see so many of you there. Well done to all the organisers!!NCBI Shop opens its doors in Clondalkin VillageI was delighted to open the new NCBI Shop in Clondalkin this month. I want to commend the fantastic work of the NCBI in supporting those who are blind or visually impaired here in Clondalkin and throughout the country. The NCBI provide a worthwhile and vital community based service to people of all age groups, offering support to people to help them adapt to their sight-loss and most importantly maintain their independence.  I was honoured to receive the only copy of the 1916 Proclamation in Braile! Congratulations to all the volunteers on their work with NCBI. Wishing them the very best of luck in the future!
Paternity Leave BillThis month, I introduced the Paternity Leave Bill to the Dáil allowing for 2 weeks paid paternity leave for fathers. This will afford fathers the opportunity to be more involved at the earliest stages of a child’s development. As part of this legislation, fathers will receive paid paternity benefit of €230 per week for the two weeks of Paternity Leave. This will also apply to self-employed men, who will be able to take paid Paternity Benefit for the very first time.Clondalkin FestivalWell done to all those who organized the Clondalkin Fesitval. Lots of activities for families with the fun-cycle, street entertainment and music! I called into the Clondalkin Library where there was lots of knitting for World Knit Day. They were knitting for Knitted Knockers Ireland for women who have just had a mastectomy. Well done to all the ladies who took part!
US Vice President Joe Biden visits IrelandI was delighted to meet with US Vice President Joe Biden, on his tour around Ireland. On behalf of the Government, I joined him at a ceremony honouring him with the Freedom of County Louth. He spoke about the importance to him of family and in particular his Irish roots. I was also privileged to be present for his inspiring speech to the LGBTI community in Dublin Castle.
Operation ThorThis months CSO figures show that burglary is down 18.4% for the twelve months to the 31 March, highlighting the positive effect of Operation Thor in tackling this awful crime. Significantly, the figures show very welcome decreases of 7% for theft and 6.7% for robbery. Government is committed to doing everything possible to support the Garda crackdown on criminals.
Lucan Harriers FundraiserLucan Harriers held a fantastic fundraiser on Friday - Who Wants to be a Thousandaire! Well done to all participants and organisers. I continue to support the club and look forward to the development of the all-weather track.
Increase to Rent SupplementIncreased rent supplement limits were announced this month, meaning that people in need who cannot afford the full cost of private rented accommodation, will receive greater rental assistance from Friday, July 1st. This is a significant measure aimed at providing more stability for tenants and reducing the danger of families becoming homeless if their rent is increased.
Kerala House FestivalI was delighted to join with members of our local Indian community to celebrate their 6th Kerala House Festival. It was a great event with lots of activities for all ages including a cricket tournament, bouncy castles and facepainting. A special mention goes to all those who worked hard to give a taste of some delicious Indian cuisine.
Extension to Griffeen Valley ETNSI was delighted to attend the opening of the West Wing of Griffeen Valley ETNS.  The opening ceremony included with singing, Bollywood dancing, gymnastics and much more.  Well done to the pupils, staff, teachers and Principal Tomas for a fantastic celebration ceremony. Wishing them the very best in the new building!
Lucan Lions County Colours NightI attended the Lucan Lions County Colours night in Sarsfields for Team James for Barretstown. There was a great range of county jerseys on show to support the Lions and Team James. Congratulations to all who helped organise the event!
New Garda RecruitsI presided over the graduation of two classes of new Gardaí from Templemore College this month. I would like to welcome eight of these newest members who were assigned to our local districts. Special congratulations to Eoin Keogh from Lucan and David Riordan from Rathcoole who celebrated with his family.
I am committed to continuing the ongoing accelerated Garda recruitment programme with a view to increasing Garda numbers to 15,000. My Department is engaging with Garda management as a matter of priority in relation to the preparation of a recruitment plan for the next five years that will deliver increased numbers of Gardaí without any compromise on the quality of those recruited or the training programme. In tandem with accelerated Garda recruitment there will be a fresh recruitment drive aimed at doubling the Garda Reserve and increased recruitment of civilians to free up Gardaí to front-line policing duties. This investment in personnel will be supported by an additional €205million in new technology and ICT to equip An Garda Síochána for the digital era and continued investment in the Garda fleet and in Garda stations.
Update from Dublin BusDublin Bus have confirmed that a review is currently underway of the 25/a/b route. They advise that increased traffic as well as Luas works have lengthened journey times impacting on reliability and passenger loading. I have asked that all solutions be considered to improve the service on this route and will be following up.
Italian Republic DayI was delighted to attend the Italian Ambassadors Garden Party in his residence in Lucan village to celebrate Italian Republic Day.
€7,200 raised for Crumlin Children's Heart Centre I joined with Aidan Glennon and St Pats committee members to present a cheque to the Children's Heart Centre in Crumlin Hospital. The club raised €7200 for the incredible multi-disciplinary facility, which includes space for parents to stay close to their children with a kitchen, showers and a lovely area for children to play outside. Congratulations again to all those who participated and supported the fundraiser!
Clondalkin showcases talented musicians!I had the pleasure tonight to join Clondalkin School of Music for their End of Year showcase, celebrating 20 years in operation.
From hearing all the upcoming musicians to presenting music teaching degrees, I can definitively say that there is no shortage of talent and musicality in Clondalkin!
 Women's Aid Report LaunchI attended the launch of the Women's Aid Impact Report 2015 this morning with Claire Byrne and Director, Margaret Martin. The levels of domestic and child abuse outlined in this report is truly shocking. Government hopes to ratify the Istanbul Convention soon, which with the EU Victims Directive will be key to improving the situation for victims. The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 341 900 or see www.womensaid.ieRathcoole Community Council MeetingI attended a constructive meeting with Rathcoole Community Council and other TD’s regarding local issues including parking, traffic and footpaths. We will work with the Council and other officials towards a resolution on these issues. I will keep residents up to date on any updates.
Google Data Centre opens in Grange CastleI joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Mitchell O'Connor for the opening of Googles Data Centre in Grange Castle. This is Google's second major data centre investment here and will house data for Google maps, search and more. Google have also announced that their workforce has increased in Ireland by 20%, from 5000 to 6000 in 12 months. This is further great news for local jobs!
Peamount United FundayI attended the fantastic family Fun Day in Peamount United! Lots of activities for kids including a mini-olympics, World Cup and bouncy castles! Good to meet Dermot Brady and his team from Bradys Butchers who were organising a gorgeous BBQ for everyone! Well done to all who helped organise the day!
860 Additional SNAs for this yearI am very happy to announce the Government will allocate an additional 860 Special Needs Assistants for schools by the end of this year. This is a 7% increase in the allocation and is in order to meet the level of assessed demand. This will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants to 12,900, at a total gross annual cost of €425 million.
A comprehensive assessment of the SNA scheme will be undertaken by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) which will be aimed at providing better outcomes for students with special educational needs and to ensure that we are making the best form of additional investment for children with special needs. I am committed to providing the best possible results for the children and students in our area and this process is the best way of ensuring that we deliver on this.
I am pleased that An Bord Pleanala have approved the EirGrid West Dublin Project which will provide a high-voltage220Kv power line and sub-station to service the Grange Castle industrial area. This project represents a success for the residents in Tullyhall, Oldbridge, and Adamstown with the removal of the unsightly pylons and overhead cables from the area.This project is designed to support the future development of Grange Castle and the adjoining lands with a view to attracting more multi-national firms to establish here. I will continue to work with my Government colleagues and with South Dublin County Council to develop the Grange Caste area to attract more jobs and investment.
Líonra Gaeilge Chluain Dolcáin/Clondalkin Urban GaeltachtTá dul chun cinn déanta ar iarrachtaí gCluain Dolcáin líonra Gaeilge a bhunú sa cheantar. Maoiniú an Rialtas €85,000 chuig Foras na Gaeilge chun Líonraí Gaeilge timpeall na tíre a forbairt, Muintir Chrónáin agus gCluain Dolcáin in a measc. Tá €15,000 ar fáil do Mhuintir Chrónáin chun plean teanga a chur chun cinn do Chluain Dolcáin. Comhghairdeachas do Bhrían agus Muintir Chrónáin ar an obair chrua ar shon stádás an teange i gCluain Dolcáin. Táim ag tnúth leis forbairtí eile a tacú chun on cuspóir seo a baint amach.
Further progress has been made with regards Clondalkins efforts to be established as an ‘Urban Gaeltacht’. Government has awarded Foras Na Gaeilge €85,000 to begin to develop a number of Irish Language Networks throughout the country including Muintir Chrónáin in Clondalkin. €15,000 is available to for Muintir Chronáin to develop the language plan in Clondalkin. Congratulations to Brían and all involved in Muintir Chronáin on all their hard work. I look forward to supporting continued developments on this project.
Assistance for Homeowners in Mortgage Arrears This week, I brought proposals to Cabinet to help homeowners in mortgage arrears.  These plans will ensure that struggling mortgage holders can access free advice and help from a specialist debt adviser, a personal insolvency practitioner, accountant or solicitor, aimed at identifying the best long-term solution for them and getting it into place.
Mortgage arrears are one of the lasting and most damaging legacies of the property crash and this Government will continue to build on the range of counteractive measures implemented by the previous Fine Gael-Labour Government in this area. Mortgage arrears have now fallen for 11 consecutive quarters, but there is still a significant cohort in long-term arrears.
This new Scheme will be backed up by the necessary funding framework, and by a significant information campaign to ensure that households in serious mortgage arrears know what help is available and are encouraged to avail of it. I would strongly encourage anyone worried about mortgage arrears on their home to contact MABS, who will be the gateway to this new aid and advice service.
Proceeds of CrimeThis week I published the Proceeds of Crime Bill which is part of the ongoing response to crack down on organised crime.
This new legislation that I am publishing today will give the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) the power to seize property which they suspect to be the proceeds of crime for up to 21 days. This period will allow CAB to prepare an application to the High Court for an interim restraining order and prevent the disposal or dissipation of the property in the meantime. The other key measure in the Bill is to reduce the threshold value of property which can be pursued by CAB from €13,000 to €5,000. This will target the proceeds of crime held by middle to lower level henchmen. The relentless pursuit of those directing these gangs will also continue.
An Garda Síochána has done some really great work in dealing with the current situation and this legislation is aimed at helping this work. They have shown absolute determination and resolve in the face of unprecedented ruthlessness from these gangs. An extra €55 million, on top of the €5 million already announced, has been made available to An Garda Síochána this year to assist in the fight against these thugs. I want to make it clear once again that there will be no let-up in the pressure we will put on these criminal gangs. Their outrageous actions are in total contrast to the dignity of the local communities in the face of the threat they pose, who have the right to live safely and securely.

Approval for EirGrid West Dublin Project