Mary Mitchell O’Connor Calling for Greater Support and Recognition of Deafblindness

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor chaired the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on Thursday, 28 May and encouraged her colleagues to officially recognise Deafblindness as a disability.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children met to discuss recognition of Deafblindness as a distinct disability. There are over 10,000 Deafblind people in Ireland who need increased support from the Government.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, who has strongly supported the Deafblind community, asked witnesses and experts to elaborate on the public services available for the Deafblind, the quality of those services and the specific areas of support that need to be improved.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD stated, “The Deafblind community in Ireland needs the Government’s support to help access crucial services that will improve their quality of life. The first important step is to fully define and recognize Deafblindness as a disability.”

“Once the Government officially recognises Deafblindness as a distinct disability, we can appropriate the necessary funding for individuals to access the services they need. This will also help raise awareness on the condition and further inform the public on Deafblindness.”

“It is imperative that the Government provides additional and necessary services, institutes regulations on hearing aids, and assists the greater deafblind community, so that they are no longer an unsupported minority.”

€2,267,763 in Funding for Social Housing in Dún Laoghaire

€2,267,763 is being made available to help meet Dún Laoghaire’s housing needs in a variety of ways”, says Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor. The funding forms part of a €91 million Government package to make more social housing available to those who need it and also to improve the standard of housing for people with disabilities, as well as retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency.

“In Dún Laoghaire, €90,000 is being made available in 2015 to bring vacant social housing units back into use. In total across the country over 1,000 units will be returned to the housing list for people and families who need them. This builds on the more than 2,300 units brought on stream last year with an average cost of refurbishment of €11,277. It is a terrible legacy of the recent economic crisis that there are boarded up social housing units around the country when there are people urgently in need of accommodation. This funding package seeks to return these units to use and give people and families the fresh start they need in a new home.

“Older people and people with disabilities living in Dún Laoghaire social housing are also set to benefit from €1,255,205 in investment in Housing Adaptation Grants. This is part of a €50.5 million package for Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability across the country. The funding will allow extensions to be built for people with a disability as well as housing adaptations to improve mobility aid, such as stair lifts, access ramps etc. A further €513,200 will be made available for local authority house adaptations and extensions to meet the needs of tenants with a disability and to deal with overcrowding.

“The third element of this housing funding announcement is a €20 million package for energy retrofitting to make social housing more energy efficient. Dún Laoghaire is set to receive €409,358 to allow tenants to complete this work to make their homes warmer and more efficient and to cut down on their bills.

“I strongly welcome this funding which is all about bringing more people off the housing waiting list and improving the quality of life for people who are already living in social housing.”

Mitchell O’Connor calls for regulation of hearing aid providers

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has called for the regulation of hearing aid suppliers. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children today (Thursday), which she chaired.

“Currently hearing aids are advertised on the basis of price, with little reference to the quality of the product or its suitability for the consumer. Often hearing aids are fitted very badly and this causes distress to the patient. Today at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, it was stressed that hearing aids available through HSE must be of a high quality, especially for people with a dual disability of hearing and sight loss.

“I understand from the Department of Health that the Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (ISHAA) is the professional body for Hearing Aid Audiologists and registration with this body requires a minimum qualification of a Foundation Degree in Audiology.

“However I believe we must now consider regulations for private audiologists in the best interests of consumers.”

Use your vote this Friday

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has urged people to use their vote this Friday. Tens of thousands of new voters have registered ahead of polling day.

“This has been a remarkable campaign. I am amazed at the amount of young people who have taken this campaign to their hearts by both campaigning and registering to vote for the first time. Decisions are made by people who turn up so my appeal on the day before polling is p really encourage all those people who have registered to get out and vote.

“There are a few things people need to remember before casting their votes.

“Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm. People don’t need polling cards but do need an ID, like a passport or driving license.

“There will be two ballot papers, the white one is the one for the Marriage Equality referendum. Only put an X in the Yes box. Anything else could spoil a vote. And remember no selfies in the voting booth.

“The most important thing is to vote. The next most important thing is to get family, friends and colleagues to go vote too.

“I’ll be voting yes because I believe we should all have the right to marry the person we love. Marriage equality will ensure that gay family members, friends and colleagues are treated the same as everyone else.”

Public Consultation Opens for Economic and Community Plan for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, is pleased to welcome the public consultation for the Economic and Community County Plan for Dún Laoghaire. Mary Mitchell O’Connor suggests that all community members make submissions and attend the meetings regarding future plans for Dún Laoghaire.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has been producing a six year Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) for the County from 2016 to 2021. A draft Socio-Economic Statement has been prepared to facilitate you to have your say on the LECPand the development of the County.

Members of the public are now invited to make observations/submissions in writing relating to the development of this new LECP for the County. Submissions may be made on or before Tuesday 16th June 2015 as follows:

– Online through our consultation hub https://dlrcoco.citizenspace.com/planning/economic-community-plan

– By email to: lecp@dlrcoco.ie

– By post to: Local Economic and Community Plan, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Two public meetings will also be held in relation to the LECP on Tuesday 2nd June from 10am to 12:30pm in County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire and on Wednesday 3rd June from 7pm to 9pm in the Stillorgan Park Hotel, Stillorgan.

Further information on the process is available by viewing the Socio-Economic Statement either on:www.dlrcoco.ie or in the Council’s Dún Laoghaire office (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) or Dundrum office (Mon-Fri 9:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm).

Vote “Yes” on the Marriage Equality Referendum

On Friday May 22nd, we have an opportunity to make a change to our Constitution and extend the opportunity for civil marriage to everyone. You have taken the first vital step in having your say on this important constitutional and social question.  Now, we appeal to you to make sure that you go out and vote ‘yes’.

This is an opportunity for a new generation of voter to shape the future of our country and the lives of our family and friends.  We hope that you will join with us in ensuring that all people have an equal opportunity to marry the person they love.

We also want to encourage you to talk to your family and friends about the importance of saying ‘yes’ to marriage equality.  Voter turnout is important and it is critical that those of us campaigning for change make every effort to encourage people to join with us in voting ‘yes’.

You can vote on Friday May 22nd between 7am and 10pm at your assigned local Polling Station. Your Polling Card indicates which Polling Station you should vote in or click on the link below to see the location of your Polling Station.   http://www.dlrcoco.ie/pollingstations/

If you have queries or need further clarification on the Marriage Equality Referendum, please visit the Referendum Commission’s website, which
provides neutral and unbiased information at http://refcom2015.ie/.

Please review the rules and guidelines on voting etiquette, so that your vote is not spoiled or disqualified. For a summary of the rules, please follow this link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/q-a-how-to-vote-no-selfies-and-leave-the-badge-at-home-1.2218688

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Age Friendly Consultation Event on May 20th

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, is pleased with the new Age Friendly Strategy in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County and hopes that community members attend the Age Friendly Consultation Event on May 20th.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County is developing an Age Friendly Strategy in collaboration with Age Friendly Ireland and the Age Friendly Alliance. As part of this initiative, a consultation process will occur with older people across the County.

Anyone who is either interested in the older persons issues or is over the age of 55 is invited to attend a public consultation event in the Concourse, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County  Council, on the 20th of May at 19.00pm.

The purpose of the meeting  is to listen to the concerns of older people across a number of themes identified by the World Health Organisation as to what makes a place age friendly, such as access to public transport, neighbourliness, housing and health, among others.

The objective of the Age Friendly County Strategy is to make Dún Laoghaire Rathdown ‘A Great Place to Grow Old’, but this cannot be achieved without first establishing what needs to be improved. We look forward to hearing your views and suggestions.

For more information about the event or programme in general, please contact Pat Coffey, dlr Social Inclusion Officer & Age Friendly Programme Coordinator, at 01-2047924 or email pcoffey@dlrcoco.ie

New Mortgage Arrears Measures Will Help Struggling Home Owners

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor has said the Government’s new measures to support mortgage holders in arrears will increase the supports available to people in Dún Laoghaire.

“The Government has agreed a number of new measures to support mortgage holders who are in arrears.   These measures build on the action already taken and aim to increase the supports available to people in arrears and to increase the numbers of people availing of them.

“In a major reform of the Personal Insolvency framework, the Government has agreed to give Courts the power to review and, where appropriate, to approve insolvency deals that have been rejected by banks.  The Government will legislate to give effect to this change before the end of the summer.

“This move will protect distressed mortgage-holders from any unfair lack of cooperation from their banks when it comes to seeking to agree a personal insolvency solution.

“This is expected to see more cases processed to a successful outcome through the Personal Insolvency framework. The process seeks to ensure that fair and sustainable deals are upheld for struggling borrowers willing to work their way out of difficulties with a view to keeping their family home.

“The Mortgage-to-Rent scheme will be expanded, including increasing the property value thresholds that apply.  The new thresholds make the scheme more flexible and accessible.

“The Government has also agreed that the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) will play a greater role in offering information, advice and assistance to borrowers in arrears.  This will ensure that borrowers have access to information on the range of supports and options available, advice on the ones most suited to their needs, and assistance in pursuing such options, where necessary.  MABS will be working closely with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI).

“Fine Gael in Government is absolutely committed to helping people in arrears to reach sustainable solutions. We want to help more people to access the supports, options and solutions available and, in particular to support mortgage holders in long term arrears.”

Local Diaspora Engagement Fund Now Accessible to Community Groups and Organizations in Dún Laoghaire

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, welcomes the Minister for Diaspora Affairs’, Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD, announcement of the Local Diaspora Engagement Fund.

Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD, today invited applications for funding from local and community groups and organisations based in Ireland for local diaspora engagement projects and initiatives.

The purpose of the newly created Local Diaspora Engagement Fund is to promote diaspora engagement at a county, local and community level.

Speaking today, the Minister said: “The Local Diaspora Engagement Fund is fully in line with the objectives of Global Irish:  Ireland’s Diaspora Policy which I published along with my colleagues in Government earlier this year.  The Diaspora Policy acknowledges the importance of a sense of place to the members of the Irish Diaspora.  There is great potential for communities and counties in Ireland to connect with their own diaspora and build relationships that can work for mutual benefit”.

Funding of €200,000 has been made available under this grant scheme and the closing date is Friday, 29 May.  Full details and the application form can be accessed at http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Publications/Publications_2015/Minister_for_Diaspora_Affairs_Mr_Jimmy_Deenihan_TD_on_announcement_of_the_Local_Diaspora_Engagement_Fund.html

Mary Mitchell O’Connor stated: “The Local Diaspora Activation Fund will enable the Dún Laoghaire community to support projects and initiatives to reconnect with their diasporas across the globe. I hope many people take the time to review and submit an application.”

Reasonable Accommodation Applications for Candidates with Physical, Visual, Hearing and Learning Difficulties Available in Dún Laoghaire

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, welcomes reasonable accommodations during examinations for students with physical, visual, hearing and learning difficulties set out by the State Examinations Commission.

“Students with permanent or long-term conditions, such as visual and hearing difficulties or specific learning difficulties, which they believe will negatively impact their test performance, may apply to the State Examinations Commission for reasonable accommodations during exams.

“Arrangements include modified questions, enlarged print, additional time to complete exam, and extra audio equipment for oral and aural exams. Braille translations of questions may be provided, answers can be tape recorded by students, and visual diagrams will be enhanced.”

“Students with physical, visual, hearing and learning difficulties will now have the tools and resources they need to reach their full potential during examinations.

“It is imperative for this Government to recognize students with difficulties and offer them accommodations, so that all students have equal opportunity and success in education.”

Applications are now available at: https://www.examinations.ie/schools/cs_view.php?q=6618ed989497c5375af8b4480b3bd97ccb360af5

Please visit https://www.examinations.ie/index.php?l=en&mc=ca&sc=ra for more detailed information regarding the accommodations during exams.