Vote Mary Mitchell O’Connor #1

Dear Voter,

On Friday February 26th, you have a choice between voting for economic stability, growth and jobs, or political and economic instability. I am asking for your No. 1 VOTE, so I can continue to work tirelessly, to ensure that every household in the Dún Laoghaire constituency benefits from the growing economic recovery.

I promise you experience, commitment and an unwavering determination to do what is in the best interest of the Dún Laoghaire constituency and country. I want to thank you for your support, but also for your honesty on the doorstep.

In voting No. 1 Mary Mitchell O’Connor, you will ensure the hard work gets done and that this constituency is represented by an experienced TD, who understands and cares about your issues and priorities.

I am also asking you to entrust your No. 2 Vote in my Fine Gael colleague Cllr. Maria Bailey.

As we prepare to celebrate the centenary of the 1916 Rising, the words of Michael Collins must resonate:

“Give us the future, we’ve had enough of your past. Give us back our country, to live in, to grow in and to love.”

It now behoves us in Fine Gael to finish the work of those selfless men and women, who thought nothing of laying down their lives, so we could live in an Ireland that every man, woman and child could be proud of.

Yours sincerely,
Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

 

MARY MITCHELL O’CONNOR – EDUCATION MATTERS

Dear Parent(s),

As a former school Principal of the Harold School in Glasthule and Chair of the Internal Fine Gael Committee on Education and Skills, I would like you to know that education and the needs of your children are very important to me.  Every child deserves the highest standard of education and every child must be given opportunities to reach their true potential.

I had the honour to draft the Fine Gael Education Manifesto and am pleased that many of my plans and programmes have been taken on board, including:

Pupil-Teacher Ratio
Reducing Pupil/Teacher ratios will help ensure children get a chance to experience quality learning and teaching.  Fine Gael will fund, by 2021, an additional 832 teaching posts and reduce the Pupil-Teacher ratio for Junior and Senior infants from 28:1 to 18:1, phased in from September 2017.

After-School Programme
Childcare is one of the single biggest obstacles facing young families. As Principal of the Harold School in Glasthule, I successfully launched an After-School Programme which has now grown from strength to strength. It offers parents a cost effective flexible childcare alternative. I am delighted that Fine Gael in government will provide an additional €50m in funding for primary and secondary schools to make their facilities available for after-school care.

Special Needs
For a young child, parent and teacher, it is crucial that early detection and intervention takes place so that each child can reach their full potential. In Government, Fine Gael increased the number of Special Needs Assistants from 10,575 to 12,040. We also increased the number of resource teachers from 5,175 to 7,452 in 2016. We will continue to do so.

Speech and Language Therapists
I believe the best environment for children with speech and language difficulties to develop and grow is within the school. I am thrilled that Fine Gael will allocate 217 additional therapists for a new model of In-School Speech and Language Therapy.

Free Pre-School
Bringing up our children is a big, complex challenge. Childcare should not be one of those biggest challenges. We have extended the free preschool year for children age 3 until they start school. Commencing in September, this will reduce preschool costs by €1,500 on average for a family.

Mental Health and Well-Being
We need to promote awareness and prevention about our mental health and well-being rather than simply reacting to incidents. Consultation on how best to teach resilience and coping mechanisms for pupils must take place. I believe a designated subject on this matter would be beneficial to student, parent and teacher.

Physical Education
We are now facing an obesity crisis with 4 out of 5 Irish children being obese. We need to promote greater time and engagement in physical activity in our schools. We will explore the option of making Physical Education a Leaving Certificate subject.

Fee-Charging Schools
I greatly appreciate the contribution that fee-charging schools make in educating our children and recognise the sacrifices which parents and education partners have made in recent years. There will be no further discrimination in taxpayer support for fee-charging schools. The reduction in the Pupil-Teacher Ratio in September 2016 will benefit all schools.

I would like to thank you for all your support over the past five years. I am hard working and passionate about the needs of your children. If re-elected I assure you this Education Manifesto will be my priority and remain at the forefront of my agenda in Government. Education is the key to giving every child an equal opportunity in life.

Yours in Education,

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

Fine Gael General Election Manifesto

The Fine Gael Election Manifesto, which offers people the stability and certainty needed to keep the recovery going.

Our manifesto is built on the three steps of our Long Term Economic Plan:

·         More and Better Jobs

·         Making Work Pay

·         Investing in Better Services

It is a detailed, fully-costed and ambitious set of proposals, designed to keep the recovery going. We are the only party offering a plan for Ireland’s future.

There is a clear and undeniable link between the recovery we are now experiencing and the economic policies pursued by this Government.

Fine Gael is determined not to let Ireland go back – not to those who wrecked our economy in the first place, and not to those who would kill jobs with new taxes on work.

Our policies are in stark contrast to Fianna Fáil, the party who has no plan, plain and simple.

In an uncertain world, our Long Term Economic Plan will reinforce Ireland’s position as a pro-jobs and pro-family country of stability, growth and opportunity for all.

Our commitment to you is to keep it that way. Together with the Irish people, Fine Gael will keep the recovery going.

Thank you for your continued support and for all the work many of you are doing to help us on the doorsteps, in the backrooms and kitchens all over the country during the campaign.

We very much appreciate it and please continue to help us spread the message of our Long-Term Economic Plan and how, if we are re-elected it will ensure a better life for all.

The reality is that without this plan there will be no extra jobs, no recovery and no additional investment in services.  That’s what people need to understand between now and February 26th.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

Fianna Fáil’s manifesto deception puts jobs and the recovery at risk

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, today (Thursday), exposed Fianna Fáil’s attempt to deceive the Irish people with their manifesto.

Today Fine Gael published an analysis of the Fianna Fáil manifesto that exposed a black hole of €1.24 billion in its election promises.

Minister Noonan said, “Fianna Fáil want voters to think they’ve changed since they crashed the economy and destroyed 300,000 jobs.

“However they have been caught out trying to hide the cost of their spending promises by not making any provision for their commitment to increase public service pay.

“This reckless approach to politics will put jobs and our recovery at risk.

“The Irish people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to hand power back to the same old Fianna Fáil. They still cannot be trusted to manage the economy on behalf of the Irish people.

“Fianna Fáil now need to admit that all their election promises are based on a lie and explain honestly how they intend to fund all their spending commitments.”

Every worker in Dun Laoghaire will be better off under Fine Gael’s plans to make work pay

Fine Gael candidate for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Thursday) encouraged workers in Dun Laoghaire to check out Fine Gael’s new online income calculator, which demonstrates how much better off they will be as a result of the Party’s plans to make work pay. You can access the calculator at www.finegael.ie/calculator to see how much you will benefit.

“Every worker in Dun Laoghaire will be better off as a result of Fine Gael’s plans to make work pay. Our top priority is to make work pay more than welfare, to help create more jobs and to keep the recovery going. Putting more money in people’s pockets will households and businesses across Dun Laoghaire.

“I know that workers in Dun Laoghaire want to be able to take home more of their hard earned money. When the USC was introduced by Fianna Fáil, it decimated local people’s packets. High personal taxes are bad for job creation and bad for economic growth.

“Fine Gael is committed to abolishing the USC, committing to sensible and affordable increases in the minimum wage, and introducing a new Working Family Payment to help make work pay for low income families.

“Fine Gael will also introduce a range of worker-friendly measures which will benefit families in Dun Laoghaire, such as making childcare more affordable, which will ensure that people get to take home more from their pay packet.

“Abolishing the USC will help us to deliver on our target to create an extra 200,000 jobs by 2020. Fine Gael has a strong track record on the economy and now we can have Long Term Economic Plan which will spread the recovery and create opportunities for people right across Dun Laoghaire.”

FG’s plan to grow exports will boost jobs in Dun Laoghaire

Fine Gael candidate for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has today (Wednesday) said that Fine Gael’s plans to grow the number of jobs in export orientated companies over the next five years, will have a positive impact on job creation in COUNTY.

Fine Gael will allocate at least €500 million to accelerate export led job growth across the country from the €4bn Future Jobs Investment Fund, with a specific focus on regional job creation. Fine Gael’s exports plan will target growth from three key export streams:

  • Exports from Irish owned companies,
  • Exports from foreign owned companies based in Ireland,
  • By growing our tourist numbers and revenues.

Speaking today Mary Mitchell O’Connor said:

“Fine Gael is aiming to create 200,000 extra jobs over the next five years, and we want 80,000 of those jobs to be in export-orientated companies. That will help to ensure that the unemployment rate in REGION dips below 7% by 2020.

“To help ensure that those ambitious targets are achieved we will allocate €500m from our €4bn Future Jobs Fund towards developing the capacity of Irish exporters in Dun Laoghaire to grow their business. This is an integral part of our plan to make sure that every region feels the benefit of the recovery

“Building on the success of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, which has funding of €250 million, our new Future Jobs Investment Fund will commit €500 million of extra funding in the years ahead. This will allow Enterprise Ireland to provide additional support to Irish owned companies focused on exports and will provide extra funding to the Local Enterprise Office in Dun Laoghaire.

“Under Fianna Fáil, the Irish economy steadily lost its competitiveness and our economy became increasingly dependent on buying and selling houses and apartments to each other. Fine Gael, on the other hand, has a Long Term Plan for the Economy built around enterprise, innovation and – crucially – exports.

“By helping companies in Dun Laoghaire to grow their export markets, we can build a sustainable recovery where jobs are created and maintained in every region.  Fine Gael has the plan and it is committing the resources to help our Irish enterprises to grow and create even more jobs in the years to come.”

Fine Gael’s plans to get Ireland working will end welfare dependency and tackle long-term unemployment in Dun Laoghaire

 

FG will put long-term unemployed at top of jobs queue in Dun Laoghaire with new and improved supports

FG candidate in Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor today said that the party’s plan to get Ireland working will help end welfare dependency and tackling long-term unemployment in Dun Laoghaire.

“Getting Ireland working is the top priority of Fine Gael in Government. We believe in the value of work; we understand the sense of independence and pride that comes from earning a living. We have seen 135,000 extra jobs created since we launched our Action Plan for Jobs. Fine Gael is the only party with a funded jobs plan which we will use to break the endless cycle of poverty by getting people off welfare and into jobs in Dun Laoghaire.

“During Fine Gael’s first term in Government we started to transform our passive welfare system into an active employment service that has directly benefited Dun Laoghaire. Today there are almost 95,000 fewer long-term unemployed people since the launch of our Action Plan for Jobs. But in the next Government we need to be more radical and do more to provide everyone with the opportunity to access work in Dun Laoghaire.

“Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted on jobs. Not only did their disastrous economic policies cost us 300,000 jobs but they abandoned people on the dole queues right here in Dun Laoghaire and forced tens of thousands of our young people to emigrate. Fianna Fáil still has no plan to help the long-term unemployed get off the dole and into work. Instead they want to hike welfare payments without any corresponding policy to make work pay, which will only make it more unaffordable for people to enter work.

“Fine Gael’s plan involves a whole new approach to eliminating chronic joblessness, welfare dependency and long-term unemployment. We’ll put long-term unemployed people to the top of the jobs queue in Dun Laoghaire by increasing the incentive for employers to hire those who have been out of work for more than 12 and 24 months. We will prevent young people from falling into the welfare trap by ensuring school leavers have access to further education and training.

“As the economy recovers we cannot repeat Fianna Fáil’s mistakes. During the height of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland experienced one of the highest rates of jobless households in Europe, even when unemployment was at its lowest. Building on the success of the Pathways to Work Action Plan during our first term, Fine Gael will publish a Specific Pathways to Work Plan for Jobless Households which will help to tackle long-term unemployment in Dun Laoghaire.

“Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan offers our people the stability and certainty needed to keep the recovery going, by creating more and better jobs, making work pay and investing in better services in Dun Laoghaire”.

Fine Gael €2bn Plan for Health will benefit everyone in Dun Laoghaire

Fine Gael candidate in Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor says the party’s new €2 billion Plan for Health will benefit everyone in Dun Laoghaire.

“This plan, which is being launched by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar today, is built on four pillars: Healthy Ireland, Building Capacity, Universal Healthcare, and Health Service Reform.

“Fine Gael will continue rebuilding our health service here in Dun Laoghaire.  Our plan requires both further investment and further reform. It’s only by Keeping the Recovery Going and the economy strong that we’ll be able to generate the revenue that we need to invest in public services like health here in Dun Laoghaire and ensure that patients are always the absolute priority.

“The plan allocates €2 billion extra to health over the lifetime of the next government. It sets realistic targets for incremental improvements in our public health service in Dun Laoghaire and around the country, investing in new infrastructure and technology and hiring 4,400 new frontline staff, taking at least one big step every year towards Universal Healthcare, and formally setting up Hospital Trusts and Community Healthcare Trusts. In the last five years we showed that even in tough times, real progress could be made in key areas. We intend to build on that over the next five years.

Highlights include:

  • Extending free GP care to all children in Dun Laoghaire
  • New programmes to manage common chronic diseases in the community
  • A full medical card for all children in Dun Laoghaire on Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • A dedicated fund of €50 million a year to reduce waiting lists
  • Measuring and improving patient experience times in Emergency Departments
  • A tax on sugar sweetened drinks
  • Further measures to reduce smoking
  • Implementing Healthy Ireland initiatives to improve the nation’s health
  • Investing at least a further €750 million in primary care
  • A detailed five year budget for the health service will be set out in 2017
  • 100 extra GP training places
  • Providing faster access to mental health services in Dun Laoghaire
  • Continued increase in acute hospital beds
  • A new programme to help more people with disabilities to work
  • A new dental benefits package
  • Dismantling the HSE and establishing Hospital Trusts and Community Healthcare Trusts on a statutory basis

“The Government has allocated €3 billion to the capital budget for health for the next six years allowing us to proceed with major flagship projects like the new national children’s hospital, primary care centres all over the country, an ambitious programme to replace or upgrade community nursing units to comply with HIQA standards, and much-needed investment in IT.

“Fine Gael inherited a health service in freefall – funding cuts of €2 billion, thousands of staff gone, and 1,245 hospital beds closed. Because of the economic recovery in the last two years, we have been able to start rebuilding the health service here in Dun Laoghaire. We have increased the budget by €900 million in the last two years, excluding supplementaries. That is a €300 million increase this year, on top of a €600 million increase last year. We reversed the previous Government’s policy of cutting 1,245 beds by adding 300 new beds in the last 12 months.

“We have taken on more staff, including record numbers of consultants, doctors, midwives and therapists. We have taken the first steps towards Universal Healthcare by introducing free GP care for the youngest and oldest in Dun Laoghaire – those who need to see their doctor the most.

“Economic recovery isn’t only about more jobs and more money in our pockets, it’s also about better public services for everyone in Dun Laoghaire and we have a plan to do that in health.”

 

Ends

* Note to Editors:

The four pillars of the Fine Gael Plan for Health

Healthy Ireland

We need to improve our health as a society and as individuals. It’s the only way in the long term that we can reduce the burden of disease, ensure that people live longer and healthier lives, and control the cost of healthcare. Healthy Ireland is the Government-led initiative to enable people to make the right decisions about their own health. This includes further actions to reduce smoking, cut back on alcohol consumption and binge drinking, tackle obesity, implement the National Physical Activity Plan, extend the vaccination programme to include Meningitis B and the rotavirus, and extend screening programmes where evidence-based and cost-effective. Among the newest measures will be a tax on sugar sweetened drinks.

Building health service capacity

Fine Gael is committing to increase the health budget by an average of €400 million a year, which means the health budget in 2021 will be at least €2 billion higher than it is now. Budget 2017 will set out a detailed five year budget for the health service, providing financial certainty and allowing for better planning and long term decision making. We will hire 4,400 frontline staff including 600 consultants, dentists and specialists, 2,800 nurses and midwives, and 1,000 health and social care professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, paramedics and radiographers). We will increase the number of GP training places by around 100 over the next five years. We will provide a dedicated fund of €50 million a year to reduce waiting lists. We will conduct a full hospital bed capacity review to be completed by 2017 to provide a strong evidence base from which to plan for increasing bed capacity in the context of the capital review in 2018.

We will improve patient experience in our emergency departments by ensuring that between 93% and 95% of patients spend no longer than six hours in an ED from the time they check in at reception, to the point at which they are discharged. Currently 68% of patients spend less than six hours in an ED. We will improve this by 5% a year and publish the figures on a monthly basis.

The next steps to Universal Healthcare

We will take at least one big step every year towards UHC. The first big step was taken last year with free GP care for the under sixes and over 70s. This shall include but will not be limited to: free GP for the under-12s, the remaining under-18s, comprehensive management of chronic disease in general practice, reduced prescription charges for medical card holders and everyone else, and a dental and oral health package. We will target the most common chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD and heart failure with a view to managing them in the community rather than hospitals, where clinically appropriate. The dental package will include the restoration of PRSI-related dental benefits which were scrapped by the last government, including a children’s dental health programme, and a preventative oral health package for medical card holders. We will extend full medical cards for all children in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance who don’t already have one. We will expand the role of community pharmacy.

Reforming the health service

We will complete the break-up of the HSE by establishing the hospital trusts and community healthcare trusts on a statutory basis, with their executives reporting to their own boards. The HSE will evolve into a Health Commission with specific national functions including shared services and the National Clinical Programmes, the National Ambulance Service, HSE Estates and Health & Wellbeing. We will complete the major financial reforms already underway including Activity Based Funding.

Other priorities

The public health service will be funded from taxation – as it is now – for the duration of the next government. However, further research will be conducted on other funding models and the ESRI will conclude its research into the various forms of Universal Health Insurance. We will publish a plan for faster access to comprehensive mental health services and improved mental health status, building on A Vision for Change. The Departments of Health and Social Protection will pursue a “Fit for Work Programme” to support more people to get back to work if they have an illness or disability. We will legislate for family consent and an opt-out register for organ donation, and establish an expert group to report within six months on a better way to deal with compensation claims for catastrophic injuries. We will set up an independent Patient Advocacy Service, legislate to support Open Disclosure and expand the role of HIQA to include the licensing of hospitals.

Note: the €2 billion allocation excludes pay restoration or pay increases which are negotiated centrally for the public service as a whole.

Fine Gael General Election Manifesto

Today we launched our Election Manifesto, which offers people the stability and certainty needed to keep the recovery going.

Our manifesto is built on the three steps of our Long Term Economic Plan:

·         More and Better Jobs

·         Making Work Pay

·         Investing in Better Services

It is a detailed, fully-costed and ambitious set of proposals, designed to keep the recovery going. We are the only party offering a plan for Ireland’s future.

There is a clear and undeniable link between the recovery we are now experiencing and the economic policies pursued by this Government.

Fine Gael is determined not to let Ireland go back – not to those who wrecked our economy in the first place, and not to those who would kill jobs with new taxes on work.

Our policies are in stark contrast to Fianna Fáil, the party who has no plan, plain and simple.

In an uncertain world, our Long Term Economic Plan will reinforce Ireland’s position as a pro-jobs and pro-family country of stability, growth and opportunity for all.

Our commitment to you is to keep it that way. Together with the Irish people, Fine Gael will keep the recovery going.

Thank you for your continued support and for all the work many of you are doing to help us on the doorsteps, in the backrooms and kitchens all over the country during the campaign.

We very much appreciate it and please continue to help us spread the message of our Long-Term Economic Plan and how, if we are re-elected it will ensure a better life for all.

The reality is that without this plan there will be no extra jobs, no recovery and no additional investment in services.  That’s what people need to understand between now and February 26th.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD

Supporting Older People in Dun Laoghaire – Fine Gael plans to ensure older years are better years

Fine Gael TD in Dun Laoghaire Mary Mitchell O’Connor has highlighted Fine Gael’s plans to support older people in Dun Laoghaire and ensure that older years are better years.  The plan will safeguard and improve State entitlements for older people, and will provide enhanced supports for older people to live independently in their homes amongst their own communities in Dun Laoghaire.

“Fine Gael has a Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going in Dun Laoghaire with three connected steps: more and better jobs; making work pay; and investment in better services.

“Today we are focusing on services to support older people. We plan to ensure that older years are better years. Our package of measures for older people is worth €870 million, and is the second largest commitment in our Long Term Economic Plan after the abolition of USC.

“Fine Gael wants Ireland to be one of the best countries in the world in which to grow old. We can achieve this if we keep the recovery going and create the resources to support better public services.

“There are five key elements to our plan to support Dun Laoghaire’s aging population:

  • Older people can be confident that State entitlements will be safeguarded and improved as the economic recovery continues. This includes their medical card; free travel; an increase of €25 in the State Pension by 2021; an extra €5 for the Living Alone Allowance by 2021; and a cap on the prescription charge at €17.50, which represents a 30% reduction.
  • Enhanced supports for older people will allow them to live independently in their homes for longer. These include 2.2 million more home help hours and increases in housing adaption grants and senior alert grants.
  • More care will be provided in the community which will benefit older people. This includes building more primary care centres; providing additional front line staff in the health system; and ensuring that chronic conditions can be cared for closer to home.
  • The Fair Deal Scheme waiting list will be kept to four weeks for those who need residential care.
  • Finally, older people can be confident that their voice will be heard. We will establish a Citizens’ Assembly to discuss and plan for the needs of our ageing population.

“In 2007, Fianna Fáil promised to increase the State pension to €300. Instead they presided over a catastrophic economic crash and decided to cut the Christmas bonus, a move that really affected vulnerable older people.

“By contrast, Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going will ensure that older years are better years, as we spread the benefits of the recovery to everyone and ensure that older people across Dun Laoghaire can experience meaningful improvements to their quality of life.”