Success of The Gathering brings welcome boost to Dun Laoghaire businesses – Mitchell O’Connor

 

Recovery in tourist trade is welcome boost for economy

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor has welcomed the latest official data on overseas travel from the Central Statistics Office, which has reported an increase of overseas visitor numbers to Ireland up 5.4% for first half of this year, the year of The Gathering.

“These figures confirm what I have been hearing from business owners on the ground in Dun Laoghaire for some time. Overseas visitors, as well as Irish people, are rediscovering Ireland as a place to go on holiday. The Gathering has given the tourism industry a shot in the arm and we have seen an increase of more than 15% in visitors from North America.

“The tourism industry is vital to Ireland’s economic recovery and the Government is working closely with tourism agencies to promote Ireland both at home and abroad. This Government has decreased the rate of VAT on hospitality services to encourage people to spend money and, in doing so, boost employment. Business people I have spoken to locally have been very clear that this measure has had a beneficial effect on local business. Other Government measures such as reducing employers’ PRSI and the visa waiver scheme, are helping to restore sustainable growth to the tourism sector.

This week’s figures from the Central Statistics Office are extremely encouraging:

  • · At almost 3.145 million visits, overall trips to Ireland were up 5.4% in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012;
    · Visits from mainland Europe grew by 7.9% for January to June 2013, to 1.149 million visits;
    · North America registered an increase of 15.4% visits for January – June 2013 (519,600 visits);
    · Visits from the rest of the world, mostly long-haul and developing markets, totalled 178,900 for the first six months of 2013, representing an increase of 5.7%;

“The 15.4% increase in visitors from North America is particularly positive, especially given that these visitors tend to spend more than others during their stay.

“Visitors from Britain remain static, however, which is a reflection of challenging economic circumstances there. I’m aware that Tourism Ireland is working hard to promote Ireland in this key market.

“As a destination, Ireland offers spectacular beauty, world-class quality, genuine hospitality and increasingly good value. Perhaps now that we can boast continental summers we will attract even more visitors in the future!”

Mary Mitchell O’Connor

24 July 2013

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Annual Report welcome but stats unlikely to reflect true scale of the problem – Mitchell O’Connor


An updated SAVI report could give us a better understanding of sexual abuse in Ireland allowing for better policy formation down the line

Speaking following her attendance at the launch of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s Annual Report 2012 this morning (Wednesday), Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said the statistics contained in the report, while shocking, may not accurately reflect the true scale of the sexual abuse being experienced by the men and women of Ireland.

Deputy Mitchell O’Connor said that an updated SAVI Report, which the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s (DRCC) has said it would welcome, could give us a more accurate picture of the type of sexual crime that is being perpetrated across the country, and who the perpetrators are.

“The launch of the DRRC Annual Report this morning makes for stark reading. The fact that there has been an increase of 23% in first time callers to the National 24 Hour Helpline between 2009 and 2012 indicates the importance of the work being undertaken by the Centre, which offers a vital service to victims in need of support.

“The sad fact remains, however, that the number of those who seek help from the DRRC is likely to be just a fraction of those who have actually experienced sexual abuse and disclosed it accordingly. The SAVI (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) Report in 2002, which interviewed more than 3,000 randomly selected Irish adults anonymously, was thought to more accurately reflect the real prevalence of the sexual abuse being experienced in Ireland.

“The study, which was first proposed by the DRCC and was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies and additional Government funding, confirmed that a staggering amount of sexual abuse was going undisclosed, with 47% of those reporting abuse in SAVI never having told another person.

“One of the points made at this morning’s briefing was the fact that the disclosure notes that are taken by counsellors at the DRCC during the reporting of a crime could be acting as a dissuasive factor in men and women reporting crimes as often these notes are called on during court proceedings at a later date.

“It is also believed that following on from the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports more people are coming forward to report abuse. It is essential that we lift the lid on sexual abuse in Ireland and put the systems in place to encourage victims to report crimes. The SAVI Report gave us a much greater understanding of the type of abuse being perpetrated in Ireland, who was being abused and who the perpetrators of abuse were. If we want to formulate policy to discourage sexual abuse, to better understand the nature of sexual violence in Ireland and to support the victims of abuse we need to have an accurate picture of what we are dealing with. Another SAVI Report would give us that view and point the best way forward in dealing with sexual crimes.”

Mary Mitchell O’Connor
Wednesday, 24th July 2013

 

Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomes launch of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County cycle network map

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has this week launched the first draft of its Cycle Network Map.
The map is the first of its kind in Ireland and is an important element in the development of the cycle network and in promoting cycling as a viable travel mode. The map brings cohesion to the cycle network and will help cyclists determine the most direct, safest and most efficient route for their journey.
The map is just one element of the County Cycle Network Assessment project, which aims to develop and enhance cycle routes in the County. The project reflects the Council’s commitment to providing high quality facilities for cyclists, thereby increasing the number of people cycling in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
The Council is seeking feedback on how this map can be improved or if there are any errors / omissions in this draft. Once the map has been finalised it is intended that a print run would be undertaken and the maps would be available FREE of charge. We welcome and encourage any comments.
The map is available to download on the Councils website,www.dlrcoco.ie.
Mary Mitchell O’Connor
22 July 2013

2013 Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) Scheme

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school.

You (the parent or guardian) must be getting certain social welfare payments or taking part in training, employment or adult education schemes and your child/ren must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September of the year you apply.

The BSCFA entitlements of some 115,000 families in respect of approx. 207,000 children have now been established with reference to their primary scheme entitlement, with no application form required.  Letters issued to the people concerned informing them of their entitlement.  These customers can collect their BSCFA payment this week (week commencing 16 July) on the same day as their normal weekly payment.

Customers who did not receive an automated payment are now required to complete an application form which will be processed from a centralised unit in the Department’s office in Letterkenny.  The Allowance is means tested so customers who are in receipt of benefit payments, on Community Employment or Back to Work schemes will be required to complete an application form.

The BSCFA section is processing claims which were received in July at present.  Payment in respect of these claims will issue on a daily basis as they are decided so the majority of customers who have an entitlement to the allowance will receive their payment in July.

Forms are available from Local Offices, via SMS (text “Form BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909) and on www.welfare.ie.  A phone bank is operational to deal with queries on the scheme. The LOCALL number is 1890662244.

 

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

19th July 2013

 

 

Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomes JobsPlus – New Jobs, Less Cost

1. What is JobsPlus?

JobsPlus is a new employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities to the long term unemployed. This incentive replaces the Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption and Revenue Job Assist schemes from 1st July 2013. Regular cash payments will be made to qualifying employers to offset wage costs where they engage jobseekers from the Live Register.

In order to qualify an employer must offer full time employment of at least 30 hours per week, spanning at least four days per week to eligible recruits (i.e. that employee must be on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI).

2. What is the value of the JobsPlus incentive?

The incentive will provide two levels of payments biased in favour of people who are long term unemployed: a payment of €7,500 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months; and €10,000 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months.

3. How will the incentive be paid?

Payment will be made monthly in arrears by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) – no other method of payment is available. A qualifying employer must specify the receiving bank account at the time of application. A monthly remittance slip will issue to employers outlining the employees to which the JobsPlus incentive refers.

4. When does the JobsPlus incentive start?

Eligible employers who recruit full time employees on or after 1st July 2013 may apply for JobsPlus, which will initially operate on a pilot basis for a period of six months.

5. I am an employer – how do I apply to fill a vacancy with JobsPlus support?

Once an employer decides to recruit an additional employee they can log on to www.jobsplus.ieand complete an online application form which gathers basic information such as name of company, size of workforce, bank details, economic sector of company and includes providing permission for an officer of the Department of Social Protection to check their tax clearance certificate online. Once this is submitted an officer of the Department will review, check the tax clearance certificate is in order and if approved will respond promptly to the employer via e-mail.

6. What is the next step once I’ve registered?

Once an employer receives eligibility confirmation from the Department they may proceed with their recruitment. At this stage an employer could contact his local Intreo Centre or employment services office for details of suitably experienced and qualified candidates for their vacancy. An employer may also wish to consider advertising their vacancy on www.jobsireland.ie.

7. When and how do I ascertain whether my job candidates are eligible employees under the JobsPlus incentive?

When an employer has conducted preliminary interviews and shortlisted candidates they should then advise these candidates to log on to www.jobsplus.ieto determine their eligibility for the incentive as an employee. The Department of Social Protection will process this request from the candidate and revert to candidates with eligibility status by mailing a two part JP1 form to the candidate – Part A of the JP1 form will confirm eligibility and rate of payment for a prospective employer, Part B to be completed by employer should they chose to employ the candidate. The candidate should bring the two part JP1 form confirming eligibility to the employer for consideration.

8. I have chosen my preferred candidate(s) for the job, what do I do next?

Once you offer the position to the successful candidate, they should close their Jobseeker’s claim online at www.welfare.ieor by going to their local Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office. Payment of JobsPlus to the employer can only commence once the Department confirms the Jobseeker’s claim of the employee has closed.

9. Is there a limit on the number of people that an employer can employ under the JobsPlus scheme?

JobsPlus is being launched initially on a pilot basis. There are no limits to the number of eligible employees any one employer may hire under the incentive. The associated budget for the scheme is set at a level that would support in the region of 2,500 jobs in this pilot phase.

10. I get very busy for the summer months and would like to hire somebody to work full-time for the summer months. Am I eligible to apply for the JobsPlus incentive?

No. Part-time employment and jobs which are short-term and/or seasonal will not be eligible under the JobsPlus incentive.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

19th July 2013

 

Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomes reopening of Deansgrange Library

Delighted to see that Deansgrange Library reopened on 15th July 2013 following extensive renovation. The bright, spacious interior is even more welcoming and should prove to encourage more people to make use of the new facilities. These include enhanced internet and self-service facilities, new public toilets, new comfortable seating areas and an abundance of new reading stock.

July 15th 2013

Norris should withdraw his sexist and entirely inappropriate comments – Mitchell O’Connor

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has called on Senator David Norris to withdraw the comments he made in the Seanad earlier today (Monday) regarding Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty.

 

“Senator Norris’ comments do not bear repeating. They were sexist, crude, offensive and deeply inappropriate. He launched a personal, misogynist attack on one of my female colleagues that was completely out of order. He should apologise and withdraw his comments immediately.

 

“Some of the behaviour in Leinster House over the last week has quite rightly been called into question. I believe it is time for a code of conduct to be introduced on how members should behave in the Dáil and Seanad. In my view, this should relate to appropriate language and behaviour.

 

“This is our national parliament and we need to think about the example we are setting and the message we are sending out to our young people as elected representatives.”

 

Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Monday, July 15th 2013

 

 

Céili Mór on the Seafront, Dun Laoghaire

 

Dancing at the Crossroads!

 

Great to see everyone enjoying the music and dancing at the Ceili Mór in Dun Laoghaire today. Well done Michael O’ Brien and DLRCOCO for organising event. Thank you Jacqui in Mary Mitchell O’ Connor’s Office for organising Irish Dancers to give a display of hornpipes, jigs and reels.

 

The dancers in their beautiful Irish dancing  costumes really brought the Seafront to life, and their Irish dancing combined with the fine traditional melodies of the Sean Norman and Fodhra Ceili bands created  a great atmosphere on the night. Many of the dancers were All Ireland Champions and Leinster Champions. The crowd had great fun and participated in the set dancing. Great weather and great fun.

 

Saturday 6th July

 

CoderDojo at the Dáil

CoderDojo is a global collaboration which helps young people learn to code for free.  The CoderDojo delegation which visited the Dáil on Wednesday 3rd July included 5 young coders from CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire, which is held in IADT.  They were stars – it was wonderful to witness their programming ability at such a young age.

Philip Doyle of Dun Laoghaire presented his Scratch game based on “Dr Who”.  What a wonderful experience for a 13 year old, to present their project in Dáil Eireann!

Philip with myself and Sandra Maguire, organiser CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire.

Philip, Sinead, Eric, Lily-Ann and Luke of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire

 

 

Mitchell O’Connor welcomes new system of redeployment for SNAs

New panel system will deliver a sense of security for Special Needs Assistants

 

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has welcomed the announcement of a Supplementary Assignment Panel for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement.

 

“The introduction of a redeployment panel is a new departure for the Department of Education, and one which will deliver a level of security for SNAs that until now had been missing. The fact that a panel will now be in place, to complement the existing redundancy scheme for SNAs, means that a fairer system of redeployment will be conducted and the level of experience that our SNAs have built up can be harnessed for future positions.

 

“Under the scheme, any SNA who is appointed to a new position from the panel will be able to carry forward their service from their previous employment, which means that they will not have to begin again at the bottom increment, but will instead be able to continue receiving increments at their previous level. In the instance that an SNA is redeployed via the panel and applies for redundancy down the line, they will also be permitted to include their previous service in their calculations.

 

“These new arrangements will be backdated to apply from 1st May 2013 of this year and will apply to all SNAs who have at least one year’s permanent service. I would urge any SNA who is in line to be made redundant to ask their employer to complete the Special Needs Assistants Supplementary Assignment form without delay as if the application form is not processed vacancies will be filled in the usual way, which means that the SNA in question is in real danger of losing out.

 

“The panel will remain live until 1st June 2014, after which point redundancy payments will be processed in the usual way. I welcome the opportunity the introduction of this panel will bring to SNAs who are being made redundant as the possibility of them securing employment at another school is being significantly increased. The Department of Education has committed to fully reviewing the operation of the panel in advance of the 2014/15 school year and I would encourage all SNAs who are due to be made redundant not to delay in having forms filled out and processed as quickly as possible.”

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

Tuesday, 2nd July 2013