Major re-organisation of higher education sector sanctioned

A major re-organisation of the country’s higher education sector that includes provision for the creation of new Technological Universities has been announced.

This announcement follows recommendations made by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to the Minister for Education and Skills. The HEA’s report called for consolidation of the Institute of Technology (IT) sector; the creation of a small number  of technological universities; the formation of regional clusters between universities and stronger ITs; implementation of recommendations to rationalise teacher education; as well as increased sustainability and capacity in the higher education system.

The Minister said; “A new relationship between the state and the 39 publicly funded higher education institutes will be implemented. This will allow the system to respond in a more coherent way to national priorities set down by the government and provide graduates with the skills and qualifications that are essential for Ireland’s social and economic well-being.

“A new performance framework will be put in place to increase the transparency and accountability of institutions for delivery of agreed performance outcomes. Integral to this will be a process of strategic dialogue between the HEA and each higher education institution”.

The Minister continued: “Following discussion with Government colleagues this week, my response to the HEA report formally sets out the Government’s national priorities and its key objectives for the higher education system. I will be asking the HEA to report to me on an annual basis on the collective performance of the higher education system against these national priorities and objectives and a set of high level system indicators which will be finalised in the coming weeks. A legislative framework will be brought forward to enable the implementation of these very important processes.”

The Minister said this new focus on system and institutional performance will bring the funding and governance of Irish higher education into line with best practice internationally. “It marks a new era for students and other stakeholders of the system”.

30 May 2013

New Wayfinding system for Dún Laoghaire and the surrounding areas

A new pedestrian signage system has been developed for Dún Laoghaire and the surrounding coastal areas that will point visitors to the key places of interest. This world-class pedestrian wayfinding system will be installed in Blackrock, Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire, Glasthule and Sandycove making it easier for visitors to navigate the coastal area and will greatly enhance the tourism infrastructure of the coastal area in the County. The installation process of the map and fingerpost system will commence in July.

Killiney Beach and Seapoint awarded Blue Flags amid sea of award losses

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has said the awarding of Blue Flag status to Killiney Beach and Seapoint is great news for the local areas which will no doubt see an increase in the number of visitors to their shores as a result.

“This year just three new Blue Flags were awarded nationally; two of which were in the Dun Laoghaire constituency. The local Council, and everyone who has played a role in getting, and keeping, our local beaches up to standard, is to be commended for a job well done.

“The awarding of the flags for Killiney Beach and Seapoint is even more marked as so many beaches lost their Blue Flag status this year for various reasons. In all, 13 beaches across the country failed to retain their status because the water quality wasn’t up to scratch, the beach simply wasn’t in an acceptable condition or the council did not apply this year.

“The fact that stricter new EU bathing water quality standards were introduced this year indicates the amount of work that has been done in the past year to bring Killiney Beach and Seapoint up to standard. Both of these beaches are already enjoyed by huge numbers of the population from across Dublin and beyond and hopefully, with a bit of good weather to come, we will see greater numbers taking day trips out here, with a positive knock-on benefit for local businesses generally.

“In some areas, the bad weather over the last year, which caused beaches to be flooded, has been blamed for the loss of status. I am delighted that, considering the fact that 13 beaches lost their Blue Flags this year, Dun Laoghaire constituency made the grade when it came to water quality, information provision, environmental education and beach management, to pick up two new awards.”

23 May 2013

Proposed Development by Council – Flood alleviation measures on the Deansgrange Stream in Clonkeen Park, Dun Laoghaire

Plans and Particulars – Flood alleviation measures on the Deansgrange Stream in Clonkeen Park

In accordance with Part 8, Article 81 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2012, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council hereby gives notice of proposals pertaining to development as follows:

It is proposed to construct flood alleviation measures on the Deansgrange Stream in Clonkeen Park, (adjacent to Little Meadow), Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.

In accordance with S.I. 476, 2011, Section 250, Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations, 2011 Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has determined that an Appropriate Assessment is not required.

Plans and particulars of the proposals are available for inspection from Thursday 16thMay 2013 up to and including Friday 28th June, 2013 (inclusive), at the Planning Department, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire between the hours of 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and at the Council Offices, Dundrum Office Park, Dundrum between the hours 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.  A copy of the proposed Part 8 may also be viewed on the County Council’s website at

Plans and Particulars – Flood alleviation measures on the Deansgrange Stream in Clonkeen Park

Submissions or observations with respect to the proposals, and dealing with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, may be made in writing before 4.30p.m. Friday 12th July, 2013.


Declan McCulloch,
Acting Director of Services
Planning & Enterprise Department,
 Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council,
County Hall,
Marine Road,
Dún Laoghaire
Co Dublin.


Or by email to:

16 May 2013

Mary Mitchell O’Connor pays tribute to the ‘Forgotten Irish’ while reaching out to modern day diaspora

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy will attend the Global Diaspora Forum in the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney tomorrow morning (Tuesday), before welcoming the Irish Elderly Emigrants Tour UK in Glasthule, as part of the Gathering 2013, tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking in advance of the events, Deputy Mitchell O’Connor said that recognising the contribution made by those who left Ireland, post World War II, never to return home, while seeking the best ways of harnessing the Irish diaspora, is a fitting way to pay tribute to the Irish men and women who over the last 70 years left Ireland in search of opportunity and a better way of life.

“Tomorrow afternoon, I will be joining Friends of the Forgotten Irish in welcoming the Irish Elderly Emigrants Tour UK to St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Glasthule as part of the Gathering 2013 celebrations. A wreath will be laid later in the day at the East Pier, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, in memory of Irish people who left from Carlisle Pier for England, in search of a better life.

“Sadly, many of the ‘Forgotten Irish’ never again made it home but were instead subsumed into life in cities such as London and Liverpool. For many, it was not opportunity that awaited but hard times, with many being forced to live in less than desirable circumstances. With no means of support, coming home was not an option with the result, sadly, that many were forced to cut their ties with Ireland, at least on a physical level.

“In the morning, I will be attending the Global Diaspora Forum which is being held in the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney. The Irish diaspora is so diverse and stretches to every corner of the globe. The strength of Ireland’s international reputation is owed, in part, to the role our emigrants play in representing their homeland overseas.

“Harnessing the potential of our diaspora is key to keeping our Irish family connected and, as part of the Gathering, ensuring that everyone knows that the door is always open and that a welcome is what awaits visitors or those who are returning home when they get here. The Forum is being held on the same day as Washington event, something that was suggest by Hillary Clinton while in office. The Forum is expected to hear from as many as 50 speakers and I look forward to hearing suggestions on how best to secure the very special bonds we feel here in Ireland with the Irish men and women who have made their homes elsewhere.”

Hearings on the Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013

The Committee has agreed to hold three days of public hearings on the 17th, 20th and 21st May. There was broad agreement as to how the meetings will be conducted, with key medical and legal experts to be invited to address the Committee. The hearings will be focused and concentrated on the Heads of Bill. 
Committee Membership:


Jerry Buttimer, Fine Gael
Catherine Byrne, Fine Gael
Sandra McLellan, Sinn Fein
Ciara Conway, Labour Party
Regina Doherty, Fine Gael
Robert Dowds, Labour Party
Peter Fitzpatrick, Fine Gael
Seamus Healy, Independent
Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil
Eamonn Maloney, Labour Party
Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Fine Gael
Mattie McGrath, Independent
Denis Naughten, Independent
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sinn Fein
Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil


Colm Burke, Fine Gael
John Crown, Independent
John Gilroy, Labour Party
Imelda Henry, Fine Gael
Marc Mac Sharry, Fianna Fáil

Gillian Van Turnhout 

The Irish Elderly Emigrants Tour UK – The Gathering 2013

The 14th of May is confirmed as the date for the first of 4 groups of Irish Elderly Emigrants from around the UK coming to Dublin during 2013. There will be approximately 35 in each group. The second group is planned to arrive in June. Date for Dún Laoghaire tba.

Cllr Sally Mulready, member of the Irish Council of Sate is co-ordinating the trips in the UK through the Irish Elderly Advice Network based in the London Irish Centre. Their itinerary includes a reception at St.Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Glasthule, a visit to Dún Laoghaire to walk the East Pier, and view the recently unveiled plaque in commemoration of the Forgotten Irish (including a wreath laying), a trip to the Shackleton Exhibition in the Ferry Terminal followed by free time to shop or visit local places of interest. The day will finish with dinner and Irish music by local musician William Byrne in the National Yacht Club on the seafront.

Friends of ”The Forgotten Irish” cordially invite you on Tuesday 14th May at 3.30pm to join them in greeting the Irish Elderly Emigrants (UK) The Gathering Ireland 2013 at the East Pier, Dun Laoghaire for the laying of a wreath by Cllr. Sally Mulready, Irish Council of State, and Hackney Borough Council at the Commemorative Plaque in memory of all the Irish men and women who left from the  historic Carlisle Pier post World War 2 and never returned to their homeland. Cllr Mulready and historian Tim Pat Coogan will say a few words.
All are welcome.

If you would like to join us, please just come along on the day – meet the group and hopefully enjoy a nice walk down the pier. We look forward to seeing everyone. Dates will be updated as we know them.

Timetable for 14th May 2013 – Glasthule & Dún Laoghaire

1pm – “ Meet and Greet Group on arrival at St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre, Glasthule.
1.15pm – Reception: Group will be seated and served.
2.45pm – Tour Coach departs for the East Pier to arrive circa 3 – 3.15pm. Cars to assist bringing anyone with limited mobility down the pier to the plaque.
3.30pm – Wreath Laying by Cllr. Sally Mulready, Irish Council of State and Hackney Borough Council at the Commemorative Plaque in memory of all the Irish men and women who left from the historic Carlisle Pier post World War 2 and never returned to their homeland.
4.15pm – Group visiting Shackleton ‘Endurance’ Exhibition at the Ferry Terminal for a guided tour.
6-6.30pm – Group meets in the Bar at the National Yacht Club.
7pm – Dinner in the National Yacht Club followed by a cake cutting and photo. Local musician William Byrne will follow this with some Irish Music.

Global Diaspora Forum – European Strand – 14/15 May 2013

The Global Diaspora Forum is a celebration of diaspora communities. The forum has been held annually in Washington and, this year; it will run simultaneously in Washington and Dublin. In addition, there will be a satellite event in Silicon Valley, LA. 

The Global Diaspora Forum was inspired by former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and is coordinated by the US-based charity, the International Global Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA).

The purpose of the forum is to challenge diaspora communities to forge partnerships with the private sector, civil society and public institutions in order to make their engagements with their countries of origin or ancestry effective and sustainable.

The theme for the 2013 Global Diaspora Forum is ‘Where Ideas Meet Action’. It is being held in Dublin to mark the Irish presidency of the European Union, and in recognition of the increased focus which the EU has on diaspora matters.

The main plenary session of the event will involve a live link up with the forum in Washington DC, when it is expected that the Secretary of State John Kerry will participate.

The European-strand of the Global Diaspora Forum is being organised by the Irish International Diaspora Centre Trust.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD will be a panelist in the workshop on Diaspora Representation and Voting Rights which takes place at 11.00 a.m. on Tuesday.
The programme for the event may be downloaded here.