Department of Education & Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin D01 RC96 mary.mitchelloconnor@oir.ie 01-8892199

Shop around for the best value in health insurance

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, is today (Friday) urging everyone with private health insurance to shop around for the best value as there are many different schemes that offer the same packages at better value than others on the market. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking following a meeting of the Health Committee and the Irish Insurance Federation.

“Following a meeting with the Health Committee and the Irish Insurance Federation this week, it became apparent that there are significant price variations for the same schemes with different insurance providers in this State.


“I am urging everyone with private health insurance to do some research to determine what providers are offering what packages to ensure that you are getting the best value for money for your specific health requirements.


“There are many different options available, especially if you work for a company that has a group scheme. We are living in very difficult times where every penny counts, so, by shopping around, people may be able to make savings which will go some way towards alleviating financial pressures.”


Old Bray Road Cornelscourt – Parking Issues

A draft proposal for the introduction of Pay & Display (P&D) parking controls on Old Bray Road Cornelscourt in the vicinity of the shops and at The Mart was discussed with the owner/occupier of the main retail premises at this location in 2010. This proposal was not accepted. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Transportation Department is required to consider its policy on the introduction of P&D schemes into residential areas because of financial constraints and introduce schemes in areas that are commercially viable for the Council with the objective of becoming self-financing.

The Transportation Department in introducing P&D in residential areas is committed to introducing all day parking and it is not proposed to amend the parking periods as set out in the proposal presented in 2010. It should be noted that at this time there are a number of areas requesting the introduction of P&D and in considering the introduction of P&D all areas must be assessed individually for prioritisation in line with the objects set out.

Additional €2m available for The Gathering 2013

Event organisers in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown should apply for funding to ensure maximise impact for events and festivals.

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has welcomed the announcement of an additional €2 million in funding for the Gathering 2013 which is being supplied, in equal measure, by the Government and IPB Insurance. These additional funds are being made available due to the huge number of festivals and events that are being planned across the country as a means of attracting the Irish Diaspora to come home to Ireland next year.

“Two million euro in additional funding is being supplied to assist the people of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and beyond in their attempts to organise events and activities at local level as part of The Gathering 2013; the biggest tourism initiative ever planned in Ireland.

“The fund will be administered by local authorities to support activities and I am encouraging anyone in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown who is interested in planning an event, to apply for funding from their local authority. City and County Councils will be administering grants of between €25,000 and €60,000 which will support up to three flagship events in each Council area. Grants of between €500 and €2,500 will also be available for other local and community events.

“The Gathering 2013 is a fantastic opportunity for each locality to demonstrate all they have to offer. It’s a fantastic excuse to bring friend and family home or to encourage those who merely have an interest in Ireland and Irish culture to pay us a visit. It is hoped that the year-long series of festivals and events will bring an additional 325,000 tourists to Ireland next year which have a significant impact on our economy, contributing to our overall economic recovery.

“The Gathering will not only have benefits for tourism in Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown but it should also bring enhanced opportunities for the business community in terms of forging links and relationships for future trade.

“To date, there have been between 6,000 and 7,000 people attending meetings to organise events in every constituency in Ireland. It is estimated that the additional funds announced today will help to support a further 700 events across the country. IPB is to be commended for its generosity in making funds available and I would encourage anyone in Dun Laoghaire who is interested in getting involved with The Gathering to contact their local authority to apply for funding.”

Luas to DART via UCD – Cycle and Pedestrian Route

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown is currently developing a cycle and pedestrian route from Windy Arbour Luas Station to
Booterstown Dart Station via UCD. This route forms part of the DLR Cycle Network and will provide excellent permeability for all users.

The route travels through a number of residential areas (Columbanus, Mulvey Park, Gledswood, Woodbine and Trimleston) and it should be noted that it is not proposed to alter or remove any parking in these areas. As per the recommendations in the National Cycle Manual the speeds and volumes of vehicles are sufficiently low that the installation of cycle lanes would not be warranted. It is proposed to install wayfinding signage at various points within these areas.

See http://www.dlrcoco.ie/newsevents/latestnews/title,8755,en.html for more information

Onlookers’ behaviour in Cork schoolgirls’ fight is worrying

Parents need to resort to golden rule of the 4Ws when it comes to responsible child care

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Friday) said that while the fight between two school girls in Cork is to be condemned, the actions of the onlookers who did nothing to intervene and who posted a video of the antics online is extremely worrying.

Deputy Mitchell O’Connor said the traditional values of the 4Ws should be used by parents in attempting to monitor their children’s activities. The 4Ws are;
• Where is your child?
• Who are they with?
• What are they doing?
• And at what time will they be home?

“This fight raises serious questions, not only in terms of the behaviour of the girls at the centre of the row but also where the onlookers are concerned. Schools have a duty of care to their children both in and outside of school hours and while it is difficult to implement anti-bullying policies outside of the school gate, I am heartened that the school in question is examining disciplinary procedures on foot of this incident.

“Of even more concern is the posting of the video to a social media website. This has resulted in the video going viral, with thousands of people having viewed it online. This is completely unacceptable and represents a new low. It is estimated that as many as 50 people watched the brawl as it happened and encouraged the girls as they fought.

“While there is no physical way of knowing your child’s exact whereabouts at all times, in the interest of responsible parenting, mums and dads across the country simply have to revert to the 4Ws in a bid to keep an eye on what their child is doing and with whom they are doing it.

“I hope that the Gardaí will be successful in investigating the video and I would ask anyone with any information to assist the guards in their efforts.”

Mary Mitchell O'Connor Breast Cancer

Mitchell O’Connor encourages women to ‘Get the Girls’ in the fight against breast cancer

Speaking today (Thursday) following a event to raise funds for breast cancer research at Leinster House, Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, called for women right across Ireland to get involved in the Irish Cancer Society’s new breast cancer initiative, entitled ‘Get the Girls’.

The initiative encourages women of all ages to come together and organise fundraising events, such as a cake sale, a ‘Come Dine With Me’ style dinner party or a movie night with the aim of raising much needed funds for breast cancer research.

“Tomorrow is pink ribbon day, where volunteers all across the country will be selling ribbons to aid breast cancer research. Women, and men, are being encouraged to get involved and to play their part in tackling this terrible disease.

“By buying a ribbon or organising a fundraiser, much needed funds can be raised to help the Irish Cancer Society to make the next ground breaking discovery which is not too far away.

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and by getting involved, each individual can ensure that women are educated on how best to protect themselves against this disease and that the services, where detection, treatment and diagnosis are concerned, can be delivered.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ireland, with more than 2,500 women diagnosed every year. However, the disease has also been found to impact men, who should not ignore it as solely a woman’s issue. Survival rates for those who are diagnosed have gone up 30% in the last decade and with early detection and lifestyle choice the main keys to survival and avoidance, the power to get to grips with this disease lies, in part, with each one of us.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by buying a ribbon, organising an event or simply taking the time to find out how best to protect yourself against breast cancer.”

For more information visit www.getthegirls.ie or CallSave 1850 60 60 60.

Actions of Jonathan Pugsley and Jeremy Prince will assist families dealing with cyber-bullying

Three tiered approach needed to stamp out internet abuse.

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Tuesday) paid tribute to Jonathan Pugsley and Jeremy Prince, both of whose daughters’ deaths have been linked to cyber-bullying, for the courage they have shown in highlighting the issue.

Deputy Mitchell O’Connor was speaking following RTÉ’s Frontline programme last night which dealt with cyber abuse and the impact it is having on our children’s lives.

“Jonathan Pugsley showed tremendous courage in taking part in the show so soon after his daughter’s death and both he and Jeremy Prince, whose daughter Phoebe died last year, will undoubtedly help many children and their families through similar experiences.

“During the course of the programme a statement was made by the website at the centre of Ciara Pugsley’s death, ask.fm, which stated that Irish and British children are crueller than children from other countries when it comes to cyber-bullying. As a former school principal, I refute these remarks and find any attempt to portray Irish children in this light as a cheap shot.

“It is my firm belief that a three tiered approach is needed to stamp out cyber-bullying, which involves greater regulation by the industry, greater education for our children regarding how to behave online and greater parental supervision.

“Increased regulation by web moderators of websites that are commonly used by children is needed, as are updated guidelines for schools on how to tackle cyber-bullying.

“For their part, parents must ensure that a child’s computer access is monitored and that social media pages are checked regularly. With the ease of access to the internet these days through mobile phones and the 24/7 nature of social media sites, such as Facebook and ask.fm, our children are more at risk than ever.

“We have seen the tragedy that can result from cyber-bullying, with families left devastated. For the sake of our children’s mental health, their confidence and their ability to live full and happy childhoods, we all need to play our part in getting to grips with this issue once and for all.”

Commended County Award For Sandycove Tidy Towns

Sandycove Tidy Towns Committee were celebrating on Wednesday evening last at the Dublin Regional Awards in The Discover Ireland Centre Suffolk Street , Dublin 2 when they received a Commended County Award from the Minister of the Environment, Phil Hogan T.D. The reception and presentation was organised by Failte Ireland in association with the Department of the Environment and SuperValu the sponsors of The National Tidy Towns Competition.

Speaking at the end of the presentations, Minister Phil Hogan T.D paid tribute to all The Tidy Towns Committees,and said that he was delighted that the competition continues to flourish and that interest is still growing and getting stronger with a record of 821 communities participating in 2012.

Congratulations to everyone involved in The Sandycove Tidy Towns and Coastcare Group who made a special effort during the Summer months to keep the area tidy and looking well.

Microfinance loan fund will be a lifeline for small, growing businesses

Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, has welcomed this morning’s launch of the Government’s Microfinance loan fund. The fund will provide loans to small, commercially viable businesses that do not meet the risk criteria applied by banks. It will be administered by Microfinance Ireland and will cater to all industry sectors. The Microfinance Scheme will be open for business from next Monday, 1st October.

“I warmly welcome this new Microfinance loan fund, which will be a lifeline for small, growing businesses. Many small Irish firms are unable to access credit due to the banks’ risk criteria. This €90 million fund will help firms overcome these fundamental obstacles and enable them to develop their businesses. Businesses can qualify for loans of up to €25,000.

“These small businesses are of huge importance to the economy. However they face massive challenges in accessing credit. This scheme will is expected to benefit an estimated 7,700 small businesses over 10 years. This could help create 5,500 jobs.

“Businesses cannot grow without funding and I know of a number of small businesses which could benefit greatly from this initiative. I encourage small businesses which are looking to grow to consider applying for this scheme. Further details, guides and application forms can be found at County and City Enterprise Boards and at www.enterpriseboards.ie.

“We need these businesses to succeed and grow in order for our economy to return to prosperity. I am glad that this Government is championing small businesses and I congratulate Minister Bruton for this excellent initiative.”

Dun Laoghaire from pier

Additional funding for start-up companies great boost for Dun Laoghaire

Fine Gael TD for Dun Laoghaire, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Tuesday) welcomed the announcement by Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, that 30 companies have received funding from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. The Deputy has also welcomed the additional €750,000 in a new round of funding, which will benefit up to 15 additional companies. This could be of great benefit to many start-up businesses, particularly in the Dun Laoghaire area.

“With 18 of the 30 companies which have been awarded this funding being located in the Dublin area, it is a welcome boost for our local economy. The companies which were awarded the funding are start-up businesses which are leading the way in innovation and job creation. With the announcement of an additional €750,000 in funding, a further 15 companies will receive funding allowing them to grow and develop their business. This could be hugely beneficial to companies in Dun Laoghaire.

“The Competitive Start Fund provides new companies in the Industrial and ICT sectors with funding to test the market with their products and services and hopefully progress their business plans to the global marketplace. The additional 15 companies will bring the total companies that have benefited from this fund, up to 60.

“The closing date for applicants is 10th October, 2012. I would strongly urge any new companies which feel that they could benefit from this fund, to apply.