Opening Address: Trinity College Dublin – THE NEW ACADEMIC TRACK FOR INTERNSHIPS

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor being greeted by the Provost Dr. Prendergast, Prof Hennessy and Prof Gill at the launch of the National Academic Track for Internship, TCD, Dublin. Photo: David Coleman

Distinguished Academics and HSE representatives. And to the new head of the Trinity School of Medicine, Prof Michael Gill.

I am truly delighted to be invited here this morning, to meet with you all as you embark on one of the most exciting developments in Irish medicine and innovation. And especially on the morning that this esteemed campus is named as one of the most beautiful on the planet! Congratulations!

As a mother, having lived, first hand, through the blood, sweat, tears and commitment that a trainee doctor needs to apply to their medical qualification I commend you all on your huge achievement – Being selected as the inaugural group of 24 junior doctors to undertake the first of its kind in Ireland, The Academic Track for Internship.

I know you started your programme in July and I hope you have settled in and are relishing the challenge that lies in front of you. This is the first step on your career path from academic intern to a consultant clinician scientist. Exciting.

On reading some of your testimonials where you recount your areas of research, I was inspired and heartened that the future of our healthcare system will benefit from your innovations and the discoveries your research will bring.

As the first class of the The Academic Track for Internship, it was inspiring to read that approximately a third of you expressed an interest in undertaking the innovative pathway. You will lead the charge in enabling Ireland to remain one of the top innovation nations in the world.

It is a great opportunity for all of you to gain valuable experience in either clinical research, further medical education or in leadership and healthcare management.

You, as the chosen 24 interns, will make valuable connections with clinical researchers, academic and healthcare leaders that might not have otherwise happened until much later in your career.

I am sure many of you would have sought our similar programmes in the UK or further afield, so I am delighted as the Minister for State with responsibility for Higher Education to be able to facilitate your academic career in Ireland. Retaining medical talent in Ireland helps us address the skills shortage in academic medicine. 

As you are aware, Health Research is critical in providing essential information to government and policymakers. Health research is an investment in our future and it ensures a better health system and a better health outcomes.

Health research provides us with the evidence to address key societal challenges – such as an ageing population and the increases in chronic diseases. Research activity attracts and retains high-quality health professionals in the system. With global shortages in all areas of medicine and patient care, we need a vibrant research-active system to attract and retain skilled personnel.

The HSE is investing €250,000 in this programme. NDTP hopes that the availability of the academic track internships in Ireland will contribute to the retention of medical graduates of Irish medical schools who have academic as well as clinical ambitions. Furthermore, this initiative provides an early and dedicated focus on research skills among doctors.

I sincerely hope that many of you will go on to undertake further and more sizeable academic research during your careers and work as academic clinicians and that we all will be reading about you and your medical advancements in the years to come.

Brexit is set to have a significant impact on higher education in Ireland and the long term effects of it on the research landscape both in Europe and Ireland are not yet clear. Every year a considerable number of Irish medical students leave the country on graduation.

I see this development within the School of Medicine in Trinity College Dublin as an advancement to mitigate against any negative effects of Brexit and undoubtedly will strengthen the opportunities for Medicine undergraduates and postgraduates.

It is imperative that the Government does everything within its power to ensure opportunities exist for our future academic clinicians that keeps Ireland at the forefront of medical innovations.

I believe the future of clinical research in the country will be in safe hands, your hands. Programmes such as this are the perfect way to harness your exceptional abilities to benefit all our inhabitants. I have no doubt that patients both here in Ireland, and globally will thank you for your dedication in years to come.

I want to reiterate Prof Martina Hennessey’s remark, you are the stars. Go forth and shine in the field of medicine. I wish you every success during your internship and look forward to hearing and reading about you in the future.

Thank you.

Over €183,600 Extra Funding for Childcare Services in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown

Childcare services in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown are to receive €183,653.26 in extra funding, Fine Gael Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has said.

The financial boost comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to accessible affordable quality childcare.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted to announce that local childcare services will receive over €183,600 in extra funding.

“The money will be used to provide more than new childcare places, maintenance and building work as well as outdoor play areas and is available for immediate draw-down by providers across Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County.

“A total of 17 grants have been made to providers in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown across three strands of funding. Some of these are to individual facilities and providers, others are to larger companies with multiple facilities across the County.

“I hold the provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare as a very highest priority, ensuring local children get the very best start in life. As a former teacher, and as a mother and grandmother, I know how important the foundations to education that are laid in a child’s early years are.

“My Government colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said €8.4m in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase in €4,4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017.

“This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, and will contribute to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined in Budget 2017.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.
“From September an estimated 70,000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.

“Families will benefit in two ways. First there is a universal support for all children aged 3 and under then there are supports for those families who need it most.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“I encourage parents in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown to take the time to study the increased supports which are available and prepare for the autumn, by checking out the new website www.affordablechildcare.ie or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre.

Speech at the opening of the 2017 Summer School in Celtic Studies

  A dhaoine uaisle. Tá an-áthas orm a bheith anseo inniu le Scoil Shamhraidh na hInsitiúide Ard Léinn a oscailt go foirmeálta. Cuireann sé gliondar orm daoine as gach cearn den domhan a fheiceáil cruinnithe anseo i lárionad domhanda an Léinn Cheiltigh lena gcuid eolais ar an ábhar seo a leathnú agus le blaiseadh de shaol agus de chultúr na hÉireann. Continue reading

Patronage of New Primary School in Dun Laoghaire Awarded to Educate Together

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and TD for Dun Laoghaire constituency, has welcomed the news that Educate Together has been awarded the patronage of Dun Laoghaire’s new primary school, to be opened in September 2017.

“Dún Laoghaire is growing and thriving thanks to the hard work of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber, Dún Laoghaire BID, Digital Dún Laoghaire and other local driving forces. This is bringing new people into the area.

“The changing demographic has been reflected in the decision about the patronage of this new school. The Educate Together movement began in Dalkey almost 40 years ago. From one school they have grown to, not just a national body, but an international body, with their first school in the UK opening in 2014. It is fitting that they have been awarded patronage of this new school.

“In accordance with the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government has a strong commitment to increase the number of multi-denominational and non-denominational schools across the country. This will continue as more schools are built to accommodate our growing population.

“As a former teacher, education is always on my radar and this new primary school is a vital addition to the area. Parental preference and demand played a big part in deciding patronage following a public consultation in late 2016. I am delighted that people took the opportunity to be part of that consultation and have their views reflected in the decision.

“September 2017 will be a special time for the students of Dun Laoghaire Educate Together Primary School, and their parents and families who have campaigned for this school for a long time. I look forward to seeing smiling faces at the school gates.

 

Applications for Patronage of new primary school for Dun Laoghaire now open

Monday 3pm

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor has today welcomed the news that applications for patronage of a new primary school to be established in Dún Laoghaire in September 2017 are now open.

“My colleague The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., has today invited school patron bodies/prospective school patron bodies to apply for the patronage of this new primary school.

“As a former teacher, education is always on my radar and this new primary school is a vital addition to the area. Parental preference and demand plays a big part in deciding patronage so I urge parents to get involved and have the chance to influence the patronage of this school.

“Dún Laoghaire is growing and thriving thanks to the hard work of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber, Dún Laoghaire BID, Digital Dún Laoghaire and other local driving forces. This is bringing new people into the area. It is important that the changing demographic is reflected in the patronage of this new school.

Notes:

The school will be established in line with the requirements and criteria for the patronage of new schools. These requirements and criteria are published on the Department of Education’s website.

Parental preferences from parents of children living in the area, along with the extent of diversity in the area, will be key factors in deciding on the patronage of the school. As part of the process, parents have an opportunity to express their preference for their preferred patron body and also to express their preference for their child to be educated through the medium of Irish or of English.