Fine Gael to equalise tax treatment of self-employed in Dun Laoghaire by 2018


Taoiseach launches Fine Gael Tax Calculator –


An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, has said today (Wednesday) that Fine Gael is determined to equalise the tax treatment of self-employed workers in Dun Laoghaire, by 2018.


The Taoiseach was speaking at the launch of Fine Gael’s online tax calculator, which allows everyone who pays income tax or USC to see how they benefit from tax cuts introduced in Budget 2016.


Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has said that the equalisation of the tax system is great news for all of the self-employed in the Dun Laoghaire constituency.


“Following the introduction of the new €550 Earned Income Tax Credit in Budget 2016, it’s been confirmed today that Fine Gael will commit to completing the equalisation of the income tax system for the self-employed by 2018, by which time the new credit will match the €1,650 PAYE Tax Credit.


“Small and family businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have played a crucial role in the recovery that is now well underway. Tax equalisation for the self-employed would allow these businesses continue to grow and create jobs


“I also know that businesses in the Dun Laoghaire constituency wanted to see reductions in the general tax burden to help them to create employment. The significant reduction in the USC, announced in the Budget, will help ensure that every worker in Dun Laoghaire and throughout Ireland benefits from the economic recovery that is underway.


“Not only does Budget 2016 put about a week’s earnings on average in the pockets of low and middle-income working families, but it also provides people with a greater incentive to take up more work, to start a business or to take up more overtime.


“Fine Gael is reducing the tax burden on working families. Tax cuts create jobs, they make work pay and they attract migrants home.


“We know that high taxes damage the incentive to work and are a barrier to economic growth. That is why, if returned to Government, Fine Gael will put complete abolition of the USC at the centre of the most radical overhaul of personal taxation in a generation. This is all designed to make work pay, encourage labour force participation and entrepreneurship and keep the recovery going.


“The purpose of the tax calculator, launched today, is that people in  Dun Laoghaire can log on to the Fine Gael website, enter their details, and see how they benefit from the tax cuts introduced in the budget.”


Note to Editors: Tax calculator is available at

Invite – Public Meeting on Dementia, Thursday November 5th at 7pm

I would like to invite you to a Public Meeting on Dementia. This meeting will take place in Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney on Thursday, November 5th at 7pm.

I would greatly appreciate if you could circulate the enclosed invitation to colleagues, friends and family. It promises to be an interesting evening with a panel of expert speakers including:

  • Professor Ian Robertson – Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin

Prof. Robertson’s research focuses on neuropsychology and dementia and he has more than 400 published books and articles in this field. 

  • Tina Leonard – Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs, Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • Jackie O’Toole – Dementia and Person Centred Care Training Consultant 

Jackie is a Consultant/Advisor for the HSE & HIQA and is an experienced qualified trainer with more than 15 year’s experience in Dementia & Person Centred Care Training.

  • Eilis Hession – HSE Manager of Services for Older People, Living Well with Dementia Stillorgan/Blackrock

Did you know that……..
– 48,000 people are living with Dementia in Ireland
– The majority of people living with Dementia are women
– 1 in 3 people aged over 65 will develop Dementia
– It’s estimated that half of people never receive a diagnosis

There will be a Q+A session after the guest speakers’ presentations. If attending the meeting please RSVP to Please note that there is no cover charge for this public meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Employers will be able to gift bonus vouchers of up to €500 this Christmas, tax free

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor, says it is very welcome news that the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is to fast track new measures, which will allow employers to give bonus vouchers of up to €500 to employees, tax free.

“The fast tracking of this measure, to increase the value of non-cash bonuses or benefits which staff can receive from their employers without paying tax, will ensure that the change takes effect before Christmas. Employees can now benefit from this in their Christmas bonus this year.

“Currently, an employer can provide an employee with a once-off, annual non-cash benefit to the value of €250 that is not liable for tax. The new provisions, contained in the Finance Bill, mean the maximum value of such a benefit will be increased to €500. Anything above that is still subject to PAYE and PRSI.

“This is a great incentive for employers to reward staff with a larger bonus for Christmas and it will provide a significant boost to the local economy, where people will spend the vouchers.”

260 new Garda vehicles to tackle mobile gangs

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald that €5.3 million is to be spent on 260 new Garda vehicles between now and the end of the year. These vehicles will be used to assist the Gardaí in their pursuit of mobile gangs.

“These 260 vehicles will be added to the 370 vehicles that have already come on stream so far this year and they will be used to tackle the scourge of highly-mobile criminal gangs committing crimes in Dun Laoghaire and across the country.

“Minister Fitzgerald has allocated €5.3 million for 260 vehicles which will provide the Gardaí with additional high powered vehicles; marked and unmarked patrol cars; cars for surveillance; motorcycles for high visibility policing and vehicles for public order policing.

“This investment will support Gardaí to carry-out more visible and responsive patrols of motorways and rural communities. The extra vehicles will give them the resources to increase surveillance of criminal gangs and to enhance night-time public order policing.

“Including this announcement this Government will have invested over €34 million in new Garda vehicles since 2012, marking a massive increase on the €4.8 million provided by the previous Government between 2009 and 2011.

“Continued investment in An Garda Síochána is vital to provide a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose Garda force. This investment will continue with the recruitment of an additional 600 Gardaí to add to the 550 who have been recruited since this Government reopened Templemore. Investment will also continue through the Capital Plan 2016-2021 which provides an additional €46 million for new Garda vehicles.

“In July, Minister Fitzgerald published a new Bail bill to strengthening the law to get tougher on serious and repeat offenders out on bail. This new law will see a clamp down on repeat burglars and will support the Gardaí who work extremely hard to catch criminals.

“This Government is committed to ensuring that the Gardaí have all the necessary tools at their disposal to tackle crime. New, high powered vehicles, in addition to more Gardaí, improved ICT and stronger laws will give the force more resources to do their job in Dun Laoghaire and countrywide.”

Mitchell O’Connor to host breakfast for Breast Health Day

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, will tomorrow (Wednesday) host a breakfast in Leinster House to mark Breast Health Day 2015.

“Tomorrow morning’s breakfast, in co-operation with Europa Donna Ireland and Coviden, is an opportunity to highlight the issue of breast cancer: how far we have come in fighting it, and how far we still need to go.

“The breakfast will be addressed by Aileen O’Toole who has survived breast cancer. Aileen is the Managing Director of the Irish consultancy group AMAS Ltd, and co-founder of The Sunday Business Post newspaper. She will talk about advancements required in terms of treatment and care. In particular Aileen will focus on lymphoedema and the much needed awareness and services required for this condition.

“Breast cancer survival in Ireland has improved significantly in recent years. Screenings are very important to women’s health as early detection is key in the battle against breast cancer. According to the Irish Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the country and is most commonly found in those over the age of 50.

“The Breast Check programme provides free mammograms and a recall program to all eligible women aged 50-69 years. I would urge all women in this age bracket to avail of this vital service. The extension of the scheme to women aged between 65 and 69 this year demonstrates the Government’s commitment to women’s health and will greatly contribute to more early detections of the disease.

“I passionately believe that we must do all we can to prevent this disease in as many instances as possible. I am proud to give my time and effort to this cause and I thank all of my colleagues in Leinster House for their support for tomorrow’s event.”

Smaller class sizes and more teachers good news for the education sector

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire and Chairperson of the Internal Fine Gael Education Committee Mary Mitchell O’Connor, says the announcement of smaller class sizes and more teachers in Budget 2016 are very positive measures.

“The education budget will see €144 million in additional investment next year, allowing for a number of initiatives that will benefit students and teachers. Two of the key initiatives are smaller class sizes and more teaching places.

“Educational research shows that smaller classes lead to better learning outcomes for pupils, particularly in primary schools. Smaller numbers give teachers more time to work with individual pupils. From next September average class sizes will decrease from 28 pupils to 1 teacher, to 27 pupils to 1 teacher. This is a very positive development.

“Budget 2016 also includes provision for 2260 additional teachers, which will be provided in primary and post-primary schools. This consists of:

· 300 teachers at primary level to reduce class sizes
· 550 teachers, mainly at post-primary level, to enhance guidance counselling and school leadership
· 810 mainstream teachers to address demographic demand
· 600 resource teachers to address demographic demand

“Today’s Budget includes the payment of a minor works grant in 2015 and the beginning of a new €80m two year summer works programme. Schools will also be invited to apply for a new summer works scheme which will commence next year. The scheme will see €80m invested in enhancing schools between 2016 and 2017 – half of this amount in each year.

“This Budget is a very positive one for the education sector and as someone who worked within the sector for many years I warmly welcome the investment.

“The last few budgets have been hard, but they have made it possible for Ireland to exit the bailout, reduce our debts, and move into a real recovery. The top priority of this year’s budget is to keep that recovery going, while providing relief and better services for the Irish people.”

Free preschool for all children from age 3 to primary school and first ever paid paternal leave

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mitchell O’Connor has said that €85 million in childcare measures announced today in Budget 2016 will reduce costs for hard working parents, as well as improving the quality of the care available to their children.

“The Government has confirmed its commitment to investment in childcare, to ensure that we increase affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland. This is a real and meaningful first step, that will have both social and economic returns far into the future.

 “Among the range of measures in Budget 2016, aimed at helping hard working parents are:

  1. An extension of the free pre-school year, meaning free pre-school for all children from age 3 to primary school (there will be three windows for parents to enrol their children in the scheme – September, January and April)
  2. Over €15m will be used to make pre-school more accessible for children who special needs
  3. Two weeks of new paid paternal leave, which will kick in for fathers from next September
  4. A €5 increase in child benefit, to €140 per child per month
  5. An extension of the Community Childcare Subvention Programme, which offers low income parents, reduced rates. 5,000 extra childcare places through private and community providers this year and 8,000 next year
  6. A €3 million capital fund will support childcare providers to develop after-school services
  7. There will also be a number of measures to improve the quality of childcare provision, including an audit of all childcare, increased inspections and investment in training for childcare workers.

“In addition to these childcare measures families will also benefit from a reduction in class sizes in primary school to 27 pupils to 1 teacher (the lowest level they have ever been), 2260 additional primary and post-primary teachers in 2016 and an extension of free GP care to all children under 12.

“Fine Gael is prioritising job creation, because more jobs mean less tax for people already working and more revenue to provide better services. Government action to help create an accessible and affordable childcare system is vital for people to be given the opportunity to return to the workforce.

“The last few budgets have been hard, but they have made it possible for Ireland to exit the bailout, reduce our debts, and move into a real recovery. The top priority of this year’s budget is to keep that recovery going, while providing relief and better services for the Irish people.”

Death of Garda Golden a shocking tragedy

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, says the murder of Garda Tony Golden is a shocking tragedy.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Garda Golden in County Louth.
“Garda Golden had been stationed for a time in Cabinteely, here in South Dublin, where he served the local community with distinction, before he transferred to Louth.

“Garda Golden’s death is yet again a stark reminder that members of the Gardaí face risks every day as they carry out their duty. He bravely laid down his life in the line of duty and displayed great courage in protecting the community he served.

“I would like to extend my sympathy to his wife and children, his family, his colleagues and everyone who knew and loved Garda Golden. We all stand with Garda Golden’s family and An Garda Síochána at this very tragic time.”

Sports Capital Programme 2015 Funding Annoucement

I am delighted to confirm that the following organisations received funding from the Sports Capital Programme 2015 today:

12th Port Sandycove Canoeing Club
Blackrock College Rugby Football Club
Cuala GAA
Curragh Sub Aqua Club
Dalkey Scubadivers
Dalkey United AFC
De Vesci Lawn Tennis Club
Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club
Sailing in Dublin Club
St. Michael’s Rowing Club
The National Yacht Club
The Royal St. George Yacht Club
Trojan Gymnastic Club

It is very welcome that once again, Sports Capital funding is being provided to clubs and local organisations here in Dun Laoghaire and around the country.

The economic recovery allowed this Government to re-instate the Sports Capital Programme, after it was closed by Fianna Fáil during the recession. We understand the importance of sport to communities around the country and the imperative to fund it. Money spent on sport, is money saved on healthcare down the road. According to the Department of Sport, 90% of Sports Capital recipients say it has helped them to increase the numbers of people involved in sport.

Fine Gael is keenly aware of the impact the economic downturn has had on communities throughout Ireland and we are working to ensure that the economic recovery spreads to all parts of Ireland. This Government is committed to supporting local communities, with actions and funding like these Sports Capital grants.

Congratulations to each of these dedicated clubs on this welcome funding. I look forward to continuing to support the efforts of sports organisations in the Dun Laoghaire community.



Local Enterprise Office Counts Down to National Women’s Enterprise Day

Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (LEO DLR) is encouraging businesswomen and aspiring entrepreneurs from the County to support National Women’s Enterprise Day on Thursday, October 22nd.

Together with the other 30 Local Enterprise Offices, LEO DLR are marking the day with a major national conference, themed ‘Creating Connections – Building Business’, with the help of female entrepreneurs to inspire more women to set up and grow their own businesses.

In addition to providing direct grant aid and soft supports to the micro enterprise and small business sector, Local Enterprise Offices have a particular and specific focus on supporting women in business by leading events such as National Women’s Enterprise Day. The aim is to inspire, motivate and support women across the country in running their own businesses, which will not only boost female entrepreneurship but will also contribute to further recovery, more jobs and long term economic growth.

Launching the countdown to National Women’s Enterprise Day locally, Eibhlin Curley, Head of Enterprise, LEO DLR said: “National Women’s Enterprise Day is an important annual initiative from the Local Enterprise Office, highlighting the supports, information and advice on offer to those thinking of starting a business or already running one. By putting the success stories of Irish female entrepreneurs in the spotlight, we’re encouraging more potential businesswomen to follow in their footsteps and we’ll support them along the way. LEO DLR’s Enterprising Women Network is a peer-to-peer business support network for female-run businesses with monthly meetings in Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel, Killiney. We want more women to start and develop local businesses.”

Speaking in support of the event, An Cathaoirleach, Councillor Barry Saul said:  “Women remain under-represented in the world of small business. Increasing the number of female-led start-ups is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs, and Local Enterprise Offices are key drivers of female entrepreneurship locally, regionally and nationally.”

Guest Speakers at National Women’s Enterprise Day 2015 include Oonagh O’Hagan, CEO, Meagher’s Pharmacy and UK-based entrepreneur, business mentor and author, Deirdre Bounds. Other successful female entrepreneurs participating in the conference’s case studies and panel discussions are: Triona MacGiolla Ri from Aro Digital Strategy (Co. Galway); Anne Cusack from Critical Healthcare (Co. Westmeath); Claire Bannon from Avokado & Co (Co. Clare) and Niamh O’ Neill from Niamh O’ Neill (fashion label) (Co. Louth).

Conference Facilitator for National Women’s Enterprise Day 2015 will be Síle Seoige with Clare Culligan facilitating a Business Networking Event on the eve of the conference, on Wednesday, October 21st.