Boost for Dun Laoghaire businesses as vouchers up to €500 purchased since 22nd Oct now tax free

“The Finance Bill announced that employers will be able to gift vouchers of up to €500, tax free and today (Friday) it was confirmed that this measure has come into effect and will apply to all voucher purchased since 22nd October”, says Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor

“It is very welcome news that the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan has fast tracked these new measures and backdated them from 22nd October to 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 provide a great boost to local businesses in Dun Laoghaire.

“It is great news that the change will take effect before Christmas so employees can now benefit from this in their Christmas bonus this year.

“Up until now, an employer could provide an employee with a once-off, annual non-cash benefit to the value of €250 that was not liable for tax. The new provisions, contained in the Finance Bill, mean the maximum value of such a benefit has now been increased to €500. Anything above that will still be 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.”

Mitchell O’Connor calls for greater regulation and support for suppliers of assistance dogs to children with Autism

Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor has today (Thursday) called for greater regulation and safety standards to be imposed on private companies that supply assistance dogs to children with Autism.

Deputy Mitchell O’Connor made the call after a meeting with groups that represent the families of children with Autism.

“I requested this Health Committee meeting after witnessing first hand the life changing role that assistance dogs can play for children with Autism and their families.

“These dogs, when professionally and properly trained, can provide safety, independence and companionship to children who would otherwise live in a very isolated and chaotic world.

“There is an issue however. 700 families are now on the waiting list for these dogs and due to the shortage of assistance dogs in Ireland, families have turned to private trainers, who in many cases are, unfortunately, unqualified.

“I support Irish Assistance Dogs’ call for a number of measures to improve the situation, including:
· Assistance Dogs users to have the same legal access as guide dog users.
· All organisations, whether “not-for-profit” or “private” must ensure public liability insurance is provided for all qualified assistance dogs partnerships upon graduation.
· All organisations must as a priority ensure the welfare and safety of both the client and the dogs at all times and ensure proper procedures are in place to address any problem that would arise in this area.
· All current allowances received from revenue to guide dog users should be extended to all assistance dog users.
· All assistance dogs should be exempt from having a dog licence, in the same way as guide dogs are.

“I have seen how these dogs help to transform the lives of children and their families. We now need to take steps to ensure this important work continues and these dogs are properly trained in all cases.”

New Primary School announced for Dun Laoghaire under major school building projects list 2018

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire said that Dun Laoghaire is to benefit from funding under a multi-million euro school building programme for a new primary school.

“Today the Government is unveiling a major school building programme, which involves funding for a 16 classroom Primary School.

“This school building programme sets out over 310 individual major school building projects, which will proceed to construction between 2016 and 2021. Meanwhile the Government is also announcing today that 13 new primary and second-level schools are to open in 2017 and 2018.

“I’m very aware of the pressing need to provide more school places in Dun Laoghaire, in order to continue to meet the accommodation requirements of our growing school going population

“This funding will facilitate the provision of more school places in Dun Laoghaire and this significant investment will also support direct and indirect jobs in Dun Laoghaire. This is all part of Fine Gael’s plan to keep the recovery going. Job creation means more revenue for the exchequer and therefore more money to invest in the services people depend on such as schools.

“I know how vital it is to parents across Dun Laoghaire that their children are not just guaranteed a school place, but are guaranteed that they can learn and grow in a comfortable environment, which is conducive to study. Fine Gael is committed to ensuring that this happens.”

Publication of Draft Register of Electors for 2016 – 2017

The draft Register for 2016 – 2017 was published on 1st November 2015.

From the 1st to the 25th November 2015 the draft Register is open for inspection.

It is important that you check that your details / voting status are correct and that you are registered only once.

Details can be checked online at www.checktheregister.ie   A copy of the draft Register is available for inspection in County Hall, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire or in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council office in Dundrum Office Park, off Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14.

The draft Register can also be checked in:

  • Post Offices,
  • Garda stations, and
  • Public libraries

Claim for corrections to the draft Register – RFA1 Form

Any person may claim to have a correction made in a draft Register, including a claim to have the name of a person added to, or deleted from, the draft Register.  All claims must be sent to the registration authority on or before 25th November 2015.

Register of Electors 2016/2017

The Register of Electors comes into force on the February 15th 2016 and remains in force until 14th February 2017.

New anti-burglary plan will crack down on crime in Dun Laoghaire

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said that the new Anti-Crime and Burglary response by An Garda Síochána will crack down on crime in Dun Laoghaire.

“This new Anti-Crime and Burglary response by An Garda Síochána, named Operation Thor, will help tackle crime in Dun Laoghaire. This new plan will be backed up by increased Government investment of €5 million, a tougher law on sentences and stricter bail for repeat offenders.

“While operational planning is a matter solely for the Garda Commissioner, this new operation delivers on increased investment in policing by this Government to tackle burglaries and related crime.”

“Operation Thor is aimed at tackling burglars, organised crime gangs and prolific offenders as well as working with communities to prevent crime.

The key elements include:

· The use of new high powered vehicles by the armed Regional Response Units;
· Extra high-visibility patrols in identified burglary hot-spots;
· Increased used of checkpoints to tackle the criminal gangs using the national road network;
· Efforts to disrupt the stolen goods market;
· Programmes to help reduce re-offending by prolific offenders;
· A high-profile national crime prevention awareness campaign to be launched later this month;
· Targeted crime prevention advice for local communities;
· Enhanced supports for victims.

“Burglaries have a terrible and unacceptable impact on families and communities nationwide, both urban and rural.

“Fine Gael’s response to crime is focussed: investing in more Gardaí and vehicles and strengthening the law to crack down on serious and repeat offenders.

“Fine Gael in Government has reopened Templemore, with 1,150 Gardaí being recruited. We have invested over €34 million in new Garda vehicles since 2012 with over 640 new vehicles in 2015, ranging from more Garda patrol cars to high-powered vehicles for armed units. This will ensure Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive, on the roads and in the community. We are also investing in airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems.

“Over €5 million is being committed to support Operation Thor. This includes funding for Garda overtime to support a combination of additional patrols, checkpoints, rapid armed response and public awareness measures.”