Mitchell O’Connor to chair cyber bullying conference

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has called for action against cyber bullying ahead of the Bully4u conference taking place in Dublin Castle tomorrow (Monday).

“I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Bully4u conference on cyber bullying. Bully4u is a not for profit organisation committed to understanding, communicating with and empowering young people affected by cyber bullying. Respected and knowledgeable speakers will come together tomorrow to raise awareness of the dangers of cyber bullying and to discuss how we can tackle this problem.

“Cyber bullying has brought bullying to a different level. No longer can young people temporarily escape – the bullies online are always there and their power is immense. This poses a huge problem for parents, teachers and anyone who interacts with children.

“The purpose of this conference is to empower key education workers and health staff, to enable social media practitioners, to be able to identify threats and trends, and contribute to policy submission to the Government, the EU and the UN.

“Some excellent speakers including MEP of the year for the Digital Agenda, Sean Kelly and Simon Milner of Facebook have a lot to contribute to this very important discussion.

“As a former teacher I know the perils of cyber bullying and it is clear to me that we need to take action without delay. The Bully4u conference will make a significant contribution to the debate and I expect there will be many excellent ideas which will contribute to making positive change in this area.”

Focus on Road Safety needed as child deaths double

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD and teacher, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Wednesday) urged parents preparing to send children back to school to think about road safety, in light of the news that road deaths among children have doubled this year.
“Twice as many children have died on the roads in the first eight months of the year as were lost in the whole of 2013. This means that road safety must become a priority when it comes to preparing children to go back to school.
“When you think about getting ready to go back to school, lunch boxes, new schools bags and covering books are usually the first things that spring to mind, but it is important that talking about road safety is included in this routine.
“Figures from the Road Safety Authority have revealed that thirteen children under the age of fourteen have died in the first eight months of the year on Irish roads. In the fifteen year period between 1997 and 2012 there was an 89% drop in number of children killed on our roads. Today’s figures indicate that this trend is reversing and action is needed immediately.
“Many children are walking to school and if they are not, they are being dropped off in areas where many cars are coming and going. We need to make sure that children are educated in how to be safe when they are dealing with traffic; this is especially relevant for children in cities and busy areas.
“It is also important that we adults take the simple steps to make sure our children are safe; ensure they are wearing high visibility gear and that they are wearing a seatbelt if in the car. One in three of the child passengers killed so far this year was not wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint; I find that an extremely worrying statistic.
“Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age so it is important that we start as we mean to go on in helping our young people to stay safe on the roads.”

Renewing Motor Tax in Post Office would save money and make life easier

 

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Tuesday), supported the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) in their call to make motor tax renewal available at Post Offices.
“Post Offices provide a huge array of excellent services including Passport Express application, NTMA savings and banking services. Customers can pay their Local Property Tax, Garda fixed fines and dog license fee. This is in addition to distributing Social Welfare payments and maintaining access to standard postal services. Adding motor tax renewal to this wide range of services would be very beneficial to many.
“Post Offices are at the heart of local communities and the Government is working to support them in any way they can. A cross departmental working group has been established to identify what additional public services could be provided through Post Offices. It is definitely worth exploring the possibility that motor tax renewal could be one of these services.
“A report issued from the IPU suggests that savings can be made for customers by making this change. If this is the case then it is worth considering.
“The economy is starting to improve but many people are not feeling the recovery in their everyday lives. Renewing motor tax in the Post Office would be easy and if it would save money, I’m sure many people would choose that option.”

Long overdue NRH upgrade will hugely benefit service users

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, having recently met with the design team of the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, has today (Wednesday), reiterated her strong support for a prompt upgrade and urges people to engage in the design process.

“As it stands the NRH building is simply not fit for purpose. An upgrade is long overdue and I would encourage all interested parties to engage in the design process.

“The NRH is submitting a planning application to An Bord Pleanala in the coming weeks to replace the existing beds and therapy services on the campus. This will be the first purpose-built rehabilitation facility in Ireland, and will replace all existing patient ward accommodation with new purpose designed patient bedrooms and integrated rehabilitation-specific treatment spaces.

“If everything goes to plan and approval is granted, a contractor will be appointed and it is hoped that the project will be completed by mid-2017.

“The first stage of the upgrade will include building the 120 bedroom hospital to replace the existing small, cramped 110 bedrooms, an 8 bedroom Paediatric unit, a special brain injury unit, a sports hall for wheelchair rugby and basketball, a hydrotherapy pool and integrated therapy rooms. Each room will have a patient information system pad and will use advanced technology for voice control and slight movement control.

“The NRH is not just a building; it is a place where service users should be able to rehabilitate in a positive, supporting and welcoming environment. The upgrade of the NRH will hugely improve the level of care being given to those using the services.

“The NRH provides a comprehensive range of specialised rehabilitation services to adult and paediatric patients who, as a result of an accident, illness or injury have acquired a physical or cognitive disability and require specialist rehabilitation.

“It is estimated that the first phase of the project will cost €40 million and this is being funded by the NRH foundation, the sale of NRH land and by the HSE.

“This is an extremely important project and one I have been supporting for some time. I would encourage anyone who is interested to get involved and to contribute to positive change.”

Leaving Certificate students reminded to consider all of their options

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD and former teacher, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, today (Wednesday) called on Leaving Certificate students getting results today to remember that they have plenty of options.

“Today is an exciting day and hopefully a very good day for most students. There are however many people who will be disappointed with their results. It is important to remember that you have options and it’s not the end of the world if you didn’t get the points you hoped for.

“The results you get today will not determine the rest of your life; it is what you do with these points and which direction you choose to take that will make the difference. No matter how you feel today, you have choices.

“Students should also remember that it is often a good idea to get their results checked if they are not happy and they felt, on the day, that they did better. There is an option to view your paper with your teacher and then together, with advice, you can choose if it is worth paying to have the result rechecked.

“Today is an important day because it marks the beginning of the next chapter for thousands of students. Well done to everyone who achieved the results they hoped for but for those who are disappointed today, remember that there are PLC courses which you can still apply for. Stay calm and consider all of your options.”

“The Exam 2014 helpline is 1800 265 165 or you can log onto the Irish Times helpdesk at irishtimes.com/results.”

Over €300,000 for local authority housing adaptations in Dun Laoghaire

Tenants with disabilities to benefit

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has, today (Thursday) welcomed the allocation of €323,532 by Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Paudie Coffey TD, for the adaptation of local authority housing to meet the needs of tenants with disabilities.

“In Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, €323,532 has been granted to the County Council so that improvements can be made to local authority housing for tenants with disabilities.

“In all local authorities across the country, allocations have been made for the full amount sought up to €300,000. In our case here in Dun Laoghaire, €360,000 was requested so I am pleased that a significant proportion of the full amount was secured.

“Thousands of people are living in local authority housing in Dun Laoghaire and many of these have disabilities. We need to ensure that the people of the locality are living in homes that are fit for purpose and this funding will go a long way towards making the improvements required.

“Where new houses can’t be identified for tenants with disabilities, we must do everything we can to ensure that their houses are more suitable for them to live in and that is what this funding is intended to do.

“It is important that we continue to work to make the greater Dun Laoghaire area a better place for people to live. Funding such as this is essential in raising the standard of living for all people in the community.

“The provision of housing is a priority for this Government. As well as building new homes, it is vital that we upgrade the houses where people are already living. This funding is very welcome and I am confident it will make a big difference to many people in Dun Laoghaire“.