Category Archives: Sallynoggin

Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Education Programme is good news for families



Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and TD for Dun Laoghaire constituency, has said that the announcement by Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, of an expansion to the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme, (ECCE), will be of huge benefit to working parents across the Dun Laoghaire constituency.

“Thanks to a major expansion of the free preschool scheme known as the ECCE, thousands of extra children across the country are going to be able to access free preschool places.

“All children reaching three years of age are now entitled to a free preschool place, meaning that 85,000 children are now eligible for the scheme nationwide. Previously children were entitled to one free year. Eligible children will now be able access the expanded ECCE Programme across two (and in some cases three) school years. In previous years, eligible children were only permitted to access the ECCE Programme from the September of that preschool year, two further eligibility entry points have been added, in January and April, to facilitate additional access.

“This expansion of the free preschool scheme will be of huge benefit to working parents in Dun Laoghaire. It is estimated that for each place on the scheme, a family can save between €2,500 – €4,000 in childcare costs.

“This Government is determined to use the fruits of our recent economic success to assist families who struggled through the years of the recession. Childcare is a big issue for many families and savings of up to €4,000 will help to ease the financial burden significantly.

“As well as the financial benefits, international studies show that children who take part in schemes such as the ECCE, have better outcomes later in life, particularly those children experiencing disadvantage.

“Aside from access to childcare, Minister Zappone has also highlighted the need to support the childcare sector to provide a quality service. In that context I welcome that the first meeting of the National Early Childcare Forum will take place at the end of September.”



Minister Mitchell O’Connor announces €45,000 funding for micro-enterprises in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown

Minister-Mitchell-O-ConnorMinister Mitchell O’Connor announces €45,000 funding for micro-enterprises in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown

A reallocation of funding ensures Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown is receiving €45,000 for LEO clients


Minister Mitchell O’Connor today welcomed the announcement that Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown will be receiving a further allocation of €45,000 in capital funding to assist micro enterprises in creating local jobs. The funding is part of a further allocation of €1.85m in Capital funding for 15 LEO offices throughout the country. These funds are being made available to meet identified demand for financial assistance for projects that can be initiated this year.


The funding will be available for use by LEO Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown to provide direct Capital grant assistance to micro-enterprises within the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown area. These supports are aimed at assisting enterprises to start-up or expand their business. It is expected that the funding will assist micro-enterprises to create or sustain jobs across the Dun Laoghaire area. Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown LEO supports almost 229 clients which last year created 164 new full and part-time jobs.


Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the announcement stating that: “I am pleased to be able to further support enterprise development in Dun Laoghaire, through my Department. The LEO Dun Laoghaire has identified a pipeline of demand for financial assistance from people who want to start a business or grow an existing one. This €45,000 in funding has the potential to support additional jobs within the area. It’s another example of how well the Local Enterprise Office in Dun Laoghaire has been working to promote entrepreneurial activity at local level around the area. I would encourage all interested businesses contact the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown LEO office”.



Important Reminder on the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA and Travel to the United States

The U.S. Embassy in Ireland wishes to remind all Irish passport holders who are able to travel to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that as of 01 April 2016, they must have a valid electronic passport.

This rule applies even to those who possess a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that all travelers check to ensure their passports are valid electronic passports before they make arrangements to travel to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program.

You can check if your passport is valid for travel under the VWP by carefully reading the following page: 

Any traveler who does not have a valid electronic passport is still eligible to travel to the United States with a valid nonimmigrant visa issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. Such travelers will be required to appear for an interview and obtain a visa in their passports at a U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to the United States.

If you do not have imminent travel plans, you should pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee, fill out the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form and schedule a visa appointment. If your travel is imminent and urgent in nature, you may request an expedited visa appointment. 

Round 2 of the 2016 DLR Grant Scheme is now open

The purpose of the Scheme is to provide financial assistance to individuals, groups and organisations engaged in projects, events or developments at local or county level. The emphasis of the scheme is on providing a diverse range of funding for projects from Events and Heritage to Community, Arts and Business.

The Council endeavours to encourage the development of as broad a range of local community activities and services as possible. This ensures that the limited financial resources available are used to the maximum benefit of the community at large.

Anyone interested in applying for funding under the 2016 Scheme can download the relevant applications below. Please ensure you read the 2016 DLR Grant Scheme Guidelines to ensure you qualify for the grant you are applying for.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Tuesday the 3rd May 2016.


2016 dlr Grant Scheme Guidelines – Round 2 (pdf -281kb)

2016 dlr Grant Scheme Guidelines – Round 2


2016 Application – Art Access Grants

2016 Application – Art Access Grants (pdf -4,085kb)

2016 Application – Business Area Promotion Grants

2016 Application – Business Area Promotion Grants (pdf -7,553kb)

2016 Application – Community Grants

2016 Application – Community Grants (pdf -7,607kb)

2016 Application – Event Grant (pdf -7,607kb)

2016 Application – Event Grant

2016 Application – Winter Festival and Event Grant

2016 Application – Winter Festival and Event Grant (pdf -7,606kb)

Contact Details

Phone:       +353 1 204 7024


Address:    Grant Scheme Section
Municipal Services Dept
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Level 3, County Hall
Marine Road
Dún Laoghaire
Co. Dublin

2016 dlr Grant Scheme -Grants Awarded under round 1

For details of the grants awarded under round 1, please click on the link below

2016 dlr Grant Scheme – Applications Awarded (pdf -1,491kb)

Docklands Innovation Awards 2016

I was delighted to be the Guest of Honour at the Docklands Innovation Awards last night in PWC.

Congratulations to Graham Byrne from Your Smiles Direct on winning Best Investment Proposal 2016 and a prize of €10,000.

All finalists were recent graduates of the Dublin Institute of Technology/IADT New Frontiers Programme and are innovative, hard working examples of entrepreneurs in Ireland.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Tidy Districts Competition 2016

The Tidy District’s competition gives Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council an opportunity to recognise the efforts made by Residents Associations and Tidy Towns groups to enhance their local environment and to reward them for the hard work carried out during the year.

The competition has evolved from the original focus on litter reduction and tidiness to now reflect the growth in environmental action & pride of place amongst local communities. Dean Eaton, Environmental Awareness Officer commented, ‘The dedication of our community groups is the driving force behind the enhancement of our local environment and the fostering of a sense of pride within our communities. I wish all participants the very best in their efforts.’

Applications forms will be posted & emailed to Resident Associations and Tidy Towns groups in the area and will also be made available from the Environment Department at the Council offices in Dún Laoghaire and Dundrum.

For further information, please contact the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Infrastructure & Climate Change Department on (01) 2054817 or email

DLR Local Enterprise Week

Starting a business is a viable career option in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and

 Local Enterprise Week offers valuable help and advice for new entrepreneurs

New start-ups and growing SME’s will have access to the cream of Irish and international business experience at the 30 events planned across Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s Local Enterprise Week from 7th-11th March.

Southside Partnership are running a series of daily workshops throughout Local Enterprise Week, from 10am – 1pm. These workshops, aimed specifically at people who are unemployed and want to know more about starting a business, will explore the following topics: Business Idea Generation; Introduction to self-employment; Introduction to marketing; Introduction to pricing; and Introduction to taxation. They will equip any aspiring business owner with valuable skills.

Loughlinstown Training Centre are also including a ‘start your own business’ taster module as part of their development programme which explores self-employment as a career option. The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Local Enterprise Office are running a free business information session on Thursday morning 10th March in Nutgrove Enterprise Centre.

Urging those potential entrepreneurs to take part in the Local Enterprise Week, Ms Dearbhla Lawson, Director of Economic, Community and Cultural Development, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, said that “being unemployed should not be a stumbling block for anybody who has a good, viable idea for a new business”.

“We’re encouraging anyone who is currently unemployed and has a business idea, to consider starting a business as a career option. Enterprise Week offers anybody, irrespective of their employment status, access to the highest quality advice, coaching and information from leading business people in Ireland. This is matched with the Local Enterprise Office’s range of programmes and funding opportunities to help the entrepreneur turn that idea into a viable business,” she said.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr Barry Saul, said the events organised for Local Enterprise Week are responding to business surveys carried out for the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2021.

“The business community asked for more opportunities to engage with stakeholders and to develop the county as a hub for small enterprises.  Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council is committed to creating an ‘enterprise-friendly’ county for companies and individuals setting up or expanding their businesses and ultimately supporting the creation of more local jobs.”

The Local Enterprise Office has already supported hundreds of new enterprises. Local Enterprise Week March 7th-11th will showcase the wide range of supports available to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s small business community, from grants to mentoring and from training to business advice. Don’t miss it.


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

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 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.”