HSE Service Plan provides details of capital projects for Dún Laoghaire

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has today, (Thursday) welcomed the launch of the 2015 HSE Service Plan by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD & Minister for Primary and Social Care, Kathleen Lynch TD.

“After many years of significant reductions, there is a modest increase in funding in 2015. It will allow for Programme for Government commitments to be met including GP Care without fees for the oldest and youngest in society, the under 6s and over 70s, as well the extension of BreastCheck which I have supported for some time.

“I am also particularly pleased with the announcement of investment in a new Primary Care centre for Deansgrange which will be open to the public by the end of 2015.

“The Service Plan is based on maintaining the existing level of service plus some targeted improvements. It sets out how we intend to address the very important issue of delayed discharges, to which the Government has allocated €25 million. Addressing the delayed discharges will also help those trying to access the Fair Deal Scheme which has also been allocated an extra €10 million. Some €35 million has also been provided for mental health in 2015 bringing to €125 million the amount of funding prioritised for mental health since 2012.

“The Service Plan also outlines commitments to:

· Extend the pilot ultrasound access project to additional primary care sites on a prioritised basis.
· Pilot the provision of additional minor surgery services in agreed primary care settings.
· Extend the Stroke Clinical Programme to a national basis, with five hub hospitals providing telemedicine support to 17 other hospitals in this area.
· Increase opening hours of Acute Medical Assessment Units (AMAUs) to seven days per week in selected hospitals.
· Provide an additional €2m for ‘maternity services’ for more midwifes and consultants.
· Protect Local Drug Task Force funding.
· Extend the coverage of community intervention teams and improve access to primary diagnostics so patients go homes sooner;
· Introduce the Consultants Incentive scheme which will improve performance across the Balanced Scoreboard in acute hospitals by encouraging innovative cost saving proposals from clinicians.

“Budget 2015 provides for the delivery of health and social care services within the funding allocation of over €12 billion, plus €35 million for mental health services. This funding allocation includes an additional €625 million as part of the two year programme to increase health funding and is the first step in establishing a multi-annual funding approach which will see funding allocated for a two or three year period.”

80,000 more people at work, an increase in full time jobs

Latest CSO Quarterly National Household Survey figures show further jobs growth

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has welcomed the latest official CSO employment figures which indicate that growth in the economy is spreading across the regions and that more people are now in full-time employment.

“Since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, 80,000 more people are at work. In the last year alone, 27,700 entered the jobs market, with 94% of those securing full-time employment. It is extremely positive to see that people are not only getting work, but also that this work is full-time.

The economy is growing and more people are starting to feel its benefit.  Today’s figures confirm that employment increased in seven out of eight regions over the past quarter, with strongest increases in the West, the Border counties and the South East. Now that regions outside of the capital are beginning to benefit from the economic recovery, I expect that this growth will continue, including in Dún Laoghaire.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 10.9%. It is still too high but due to the hard work and sacrifice of the Irish people, things are moving steadily in the right direction. This Government is working to build a sustainable economy and the fact that job increases are particularly strong in the domestic economy in areas such as construction and retail means we are driving a home-grown recovery.

Today’s figures confirm again that the plan this Government has adopted is working, but there is more to do. We want to ensure that people across the country are better off as a result of the improvement in the economy. Following changes announced in Budget 2015, everyone who pays tax or the universal social charge will benefit.

This Government is pursuing a policy of job creation and of making work pay. Our goal is to ensure that there are job opportunities in all regions of the country and that people who take up these positions are better off.”

Tax relief to help elderly people remain in their homes

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has welcomed the introduction of a new tax relief to help elderly people remain in their homes in their later years. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking after Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, introduced an amendment to the Finance Act this week to assist families to care for elderly relatives at home by employing a nurse or carer.

“A new tax relief introduced this week by Minister Noonan will be extremely welcome for elderly people who wish to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

Often elderly people need extra support and care in order to stay in their own homes. The new tax relief will assist families financially to look after their elderly relatives at home by employing a nurse or carer. The amendment to the Finance Act will raise the level of tax relief available to employ a professional nurse or carer in the home from €50,000 to €75,000 per annum. This will make a big difference to families.

Older people do better at home. They retain their independence and are more comfortable in their own surroundings. Of course it is not always possible for people to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish for medical and other reasons. However this new tax relief aims to help people with the financial costs involved in staying at home where they need additional support.”

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council announces Countywide Christmas Parking Promotion

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is pleased to announce a Christmas holiday parking promotion for on-street pay & display parking areas across the County.

The promotion will provide shoppers and visitors with one hour free parking when they pay for a minimum of one hour parking from 26th November 2014 to the 12th January 2015 inclusive.
How does it work?
The promotion applies to on-street Pay & Display parking Countywide and will work as follows: 
Motorists who pay for a minimum of 60 minutes parking will be given 60 minutes free parking time in addition to the 15 minute grace period already available throughout the County.
For example: A person who parks their car at 1pm and pays for 60 minutes parking will not have to return to their car until 3.15pm. This person has paid for 60 minutes covering them from 1pm to 2pm, they will get 60 minutes free covering them from 2pm to 3pm and will also receive the normal 15 minutes grace period covering them from 3pm to 3.15pm.
Customers do however need to be aware that the 3 hour maximum time limit designed to encourage turnover in parking spaces does still apply in the areas covered by the promotion.

Shop local this Christmas – Mitchell O’Connor

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has encouraged the people of Dún Laoghaire to shop local this Christmas, saying that the festive period is a great opportunity to support local retailers.

“I encourage everyone in Dún Laoghaire to shop local this Christmas. Now that the lights are up and we are heading towards December people are starting to think about their Christmas shopping. I do hope that when they make their lists and check them twice that they remember to support their local retailers.

I also commend Retail Excellence Ireland for their upcoming event ‘Small Business Saturday’ which takes place on Saturday, 6th December. This seeks to highlight the importance of small businesses to local communities and encourage people to support them.

The retail sector employs 272,000 people across Ireland, most of whom are in small businesses. Supporting local business obviously benefits your community as a whole. Successful local retailers can create jobs for local people which ensures that there is more cash flow in the community to support other small local businesses in turn. Retail Excellence Ireland estimate that every €1 spent in a local shop is worth €4 to the local economy.

Small businesses also make for vibrant main streets in towns and villages throughout Ireland and so it is in all our interests to support them. Let’s all ensure we remember our local retailers this Christmas.”

Be aware of signs of domestic abuse

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, today (Thursday) calls for all women to be aware of the risk factors of domestic abuse in relation to themselves or close friends and family, in order to improve response times and prevent future deaths. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking following the Women’s Aid minute’s silence which she took part in out the Dáil this morning.

“Today I took part in the Women’s Aid one minute’s silence in remembrance of the 78 women murdered in Ireland by their partners or ex-partners since 1996. We also remembered the 10 children who were murdered alongside their mothers.

The motivation behind the minute’s silence was to encourage people to think about the signs of domestic abuse and to be aware of these for yourself, or in order to watch out for friends and family.

In 2013, there were almost 18,000 incidents of domestic violence disclosed to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline. In the same year, 575 incidents of sexual abuse were disclosed to Helpline support workers including 201 rapes. In extreme cases domestic abuse can result in death.

It is frightening to think that one in every two women murdered is killed by a current or former boyfriend, partner or husband. For the 78 women and 10 children we were remembering today, Women’s Aid laid out 88 pairs of shoes reminding us that these were real people who found themselves in terrible situations.

People find domestic abuse very difficult to deal with. Irish people in particular are conscious of invading somebody’s privacy as we don’t want to be accused of interfering. However it is vital that people in relationships are aware that physical abuse, threats to kill, controlling behaviour, stalking and harassment are not normal. People who think any of things may be happening to someone else, should speak out. It is also important to be aware that times of separation can often be most dangerous for women in abusive relationships.

I would appeal to everyone, women especially, to be aware of the risk factors involved in domestic abuse, to ask for help and to try to stop the cycle of violence. I would also like to pass on my condolences to the families of the women remembered today.”

Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. Launches Education Site

Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., Chair of Fine Gael Education & Skills Committee and Member of Health & Children Oireachtas Committee, launched the new Children’s Hope website on November 12th 2014 at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT).

The new website was developed by lecturers and students of IADT in conjunction with Children’s Hope and features new Children’s Hope characters developed by Alan Nolan.

The website (www.childrenshope.ie) features a series of projects which will enable teachers and community leaders to engage with children of all abilities in project work associated with the school curriculum. The projects include science, history, biodiversity and the arts. This teaching resource will be updated and expanded on a regular basis.

The launch of the new website is a culmination of over fifteen years of Children’s Hope experience in the development of educational projects. These projects were developed and implemented in partnership with local, national and international organisations such as Foras na Gaeilge, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the Local Enterprise Board and the VEC.

Speaking at the launch event, Alison McNamara, Founder of Children’s Hope, had this to say, ”Children’s Hope has come a long way over the past fifteen years thanks to our old friends. Now our new characters Pixie, Alec, Tom and Holly with all their new friends, will ensure that the education and fun of Children’s Hope will continue.”

The launch event at IADT, Holy Child Killiney Secondary School provided an exhibition of artwork while the school choir sang a selection of songs to attendees.

Violence and intimidation are not effective forms of protest

Affordable water charges show Government is listening

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connell, has today (Wednesday) welcomed the announcement of a fair, simple and affordable water plan that provides certainty. Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Mitchell O’Connor acknowledged the frustration of the Irish people who protested legitimately, but said that violence and intimidation must be condemned.

“I accept that the role out of Irish Water was handled badly; this is a fact that Minister Kelly has acknowledged, but today the Government has responded with a revised, more realistic and most importantly, a fair plan for water charges.

To ensure simplicity, charges will be capped at €160 for single adult households and €260 for all other households. Once the universal water conservation grant of €100 is applied, the maximum net charges will be €60 per year, or just over €1.00 per week for single adult households. All other households’ net charge will be €160 per year, or €3.00 per week.

All eligible households will receive the water conservation grant of €100 per year from the Department of Social Protection, once they have registered with Irish Water. The water charges will now be among the lowest in Europe.

Today’s announcement has come about because the Government has listened to people who expressed genuine concern. The violence and intimidation we have seen over the past few days has been destructive rather than constructive and has not assisted the reasonable people who have legitimately expressed their concerns.

Sinn Féin and other representatives including Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger, Richard Boyd Barrett and Paul Murphy have done nothing but waste time, scaremonger and exploit the situation. Deputy Murphy last Saturday assisted with the internment of the Tánaiste in a car and then appealed to the mob, “Do we agree to let her go?” The Tánaiste that was invited to Tallaght but Deputy Murphy chose to wreck the day for the graduates.

There seems to be a concerted effort to undermine and challenge the rule of law and democracy, both in the Dáil and throughout the state. Not happy with ignoring and physically obstructing democratically elected representatives, these people expect to employ the same strong arm, thuggish bully tactics here within the chamber.

They are trying to destabilise this state with menacing threatening behaviour, hell bent on obstructing the Government from doing its job, from doing what we have been elected to do. I also find it disgraceful that the ordinary workers who are employed to install the meters and earn a decent days wage are subjected to horrendous abuse from these so-called protesters.

I know one young female engineer who was threatened with a baseball bat, workers have been followed home and they have been vilified on social media. This is simply unacceptable behaviour.

The Government have put their hands up and have put forward an affordable model that will ensure our water security into the future. The focus on water conservation will continue. Irish Water’s investment programme will stop the leaks, ensure everyone has good, clean water and that the country has the water infrastructure it needs to secure investment and grow the economy.”

TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor joins Caremark to launch its New Deansgrange Office

Caremark officially launched its latest office on Thursday 13th of November, bringing its number of offices nationwide to seven. This latest office based in Deansgrange, will provide Care and Support to the community in south Dublin.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor T. D was delighted to be present at the launch, and welcomed this new service being offered to the local community of south Dublin. Ms Mitchell O’Connor T.D. commented “Living at home is every older person’s first preference. It is where they feel safe, where they know best and feel happiest. They cherish their independence, they want to be close to their family and to remain part of their community”.

The Caremark ethos is to empower people of all age groups to reach their full potential. This person-centred approach is central to the Caremark philosophy and its core values. Anne Cassin, Managing Director of the Caremark Dublin South office has strong links with the community. She firmly believes in the importance of inclusion to its more vulnerable members. Anne, who lives locally, commented “ It is vitally important especially for the older members of our community to remain involved in some way with day to day happenings , be it attending local events, getting local news, or simply people dropping by for a chat. This contact is essential to the well-being not alone our older and vulnerable members, but to the entire community”.

For more information contact Anne Cassin Managing Director Caremark (Dublin South)

T: 01 2890088 Email: anne@caremark.ie or visit www.caremark.ie

Value your Vote! Register by 25 November 2014

Check the Draft Register of Electors by 25 November 2014

The Draft Register of Electors is on display at your City/County/City and County Council’s offices, Garda Stations, Libraries, Post Offices and on line at www.checktheregister.ie until Tuesday, 25 November 2014.

If you are aged 18 or over you should check that your name and address are present and correct on the Draft Register and, if there’s a mistake, tell your registration authority before 25 November 2014.