Minister English congratulates Tabor House on 10th Anniversary celebration


Earlier today Sunday, 31st May 2015, I joined with the Bishop of Meath Michael Smith , Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr. Christy Burke, and local dignitaries at an event wishing Tabor House, Trim Road, Navan, founded by Sr. Catherine Lillis, a happy 10th Anniversary.

Tabor House is a residential secondary addiction treatment centre, located at Trim Road, Navan. It runs a four month programme emphasising group therapy, one to one counselling, personal responsibility, peer support, retraining and work skills, and participation in a twelve step programme.

Alcohol and wider addictions are huge problems for our society. They present costs to our health service through our A&E’s, to our Justice system, but most importantly a human cost, to those trapped in the addiction, their families and friends. The work of Tabor House, of Sister Lillis and her team, is a refuge in the storm and a light of hope in the darkness.

A 10th anniversary like this is a time of both celebration and of reflection. It is a time to salute the work of staff, of volunteers, the Board of Directors past and present, fundraisers past and present, all of those in whatever way, big or small, who help make that light of hope happen. The work of Tabor House saves lives, and helps change lives. It deserves the full support of Navan and Meath people to make the next 10 years equally as successful.

The aim of Tabor House is to assist men in early recovery to develop and maintain an abstinence based lifestyle and improve quality of life.

The objective of Tabor House is to continue to deliver a high quality abstinence based addiction treatment for addicted men in early recovery.

Opening of new St. Ultan’s N.S. Bohermeen extension

Education, School extension

Bohermeen NS

Thursday 28th May was a proud day for the Parish of Bohermeen and especially for pupils, parents and staff of St. Ultan’s National School.

It was great as a former student of St. Ultan’s to return to join Bishop of Meath Michael Smith in the official blessing and opening of a new €308,000 extension to the school.

Schools are at the centre of community life in Ireland, but especially in rural parishes like Boheermeen. They are where friendships are made and values are taught that set people up for life. That was certainly my experience of St. Ultan’s. There is a great team of staff here, both great teachers and great support staff.

Pupils have the benefit of the best people possible here in St. Ultan’s. But pupils, parents and staff deserve the best possible buildings too. That is what we are celebrating and acknowledging here today in Bohermeen. 4 years of my time in this school were spent in prefabs. They were too hot in Summer and too cold in Winter. I am glad that prefabs are on the way out, and that is my vision for all our schools.

The new extension comprises 2 mainstream classrooms, as well as a resource room and new external ramps, together with associated works. The school has received funding of €123,000 over the last 7 years under various Summer Works Schemes for works to the toilets, windows and structural improvements

The 218 pupil school has also been approved a further teaching post from September 2015 for the next school year.

Beef Genomics Programme deadline extension to benefit farmers in Meath West

Farming, Funding

The extension of the deadline for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme will give more Meath and Westmeath farmers the chance to apply. The new deadline for application to the scheme is Friday 5th June.

Already almost 15,000 farmers have applied for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme. I welcome the extension of the deadline for application to the scheme to Friday 5th of June, which will ensure that Meath and  Westmeath farmers have every possible chance to apply.

I know that some beef farmers had concerns around the flexibility of being in a six year programme. However the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has highlighted that many farmers have more land than is needed to qualify for the full payment under the scheme and so there won’t be compliance issues if they are to sell off or lease some of their land within the six year time period. Where the land is sold, leased, gifted or willed, the obligations of the scheme will transfer to the new owner.

Farmers with any queries in relation to the scheme should read the Frequently Asked Questions document on the Department of Agriculture’s website, or to contact the Department directly on Lo-call 1890 200 510 or 01 607 2000.

Minister English welcomes €2 million Young Entrepreneur Investment Fund

Funding, Jobs, Startups


A nationwide search has begun to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), with a total investment fund of €2million available for young people throughout every county in Ireland.

Aimed at those aged between 18 and 30, the competition is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs and is supported by Minister English’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices.

I urge all young Meath and Westmeath people with a startup or a business idea to apply through their Local Enterprise Office before 31st July. The competition is free to enter, and further information is available from LEOs nationwide as well as at

The first stage is a county-based competition, with a closing date of July 31st through the Local Enterprise Offices, leading to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This will be followed by eight regional finals, with one young business-person being crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur later in the year at the national finals in Google’s European HQ in Dublin before the end of the year.

Up to €50,000 will be awarded to 3 winners in each county. The winners at national level can then receive up to an additional €50,000 and over 400 young entrepreneurs will also win places at regional Business Bootcamps with mentoring supports, to further develop their business skills.

The aim of the initiative is to support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage Ireland’s young people to set up new businesses which will ultimately create jobs.

Part of the effort to attract applications from young people both in Ireland and abroad will be a comprehensive social media and marketing campaign.

We need to create a stronger culture of entrepreneurship in Irish society, especially amongst our young people. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups, so if we are to create the jobs we need we must support more entrepreneurs to start new businesses. More younger people need to see this a viable and sustainable job option. That is why we have placed start-ups right at the centre of our Action Plan for Jobs, and put in place new measures like establishing a new system of easily-accessible supports through the Local Enterprise Offices.

The deadline to apply for this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is Friday, July 31st and the full details are available through or by searching #IBYE on social media and YouTube.

Minister Damien English turns the sod on new 500 student Longwood School


Sod in the air pic Longwood

Today, Monday 25th May 2015, I turned the sod on the new purpose built second level school for Longwood with accommodation for 500 students as well as a Special Needs Unit.

I told the gathering from the community of the wider Longwood area that today is a proud day for the Longwood community as the sod is turned on a new purpose built school, with contractors, Ganson, due on site in the next two week to commence works.

Schools are at the heart of every parish and community in Ireland. They are the engines of communities, and now Longwood will have a brand new engine to propel it into the 21st Century.

I am delighted that after all this time that the sod has finally been turned for the new Second Level School in Longwood that will serve the town and the surrounding hinterlands.

I want to thank all those involved in bringing this project into fruition; the current and past boards of management at St. Fintina’s, the parents groups, the staff & pupils at the school.  For years they have put up with working in a school that was in need of replacement. The standard of education provided remained high & this ensured that the necessary enrolment numbers were sufficient to back up their argument for the new facilities.”

I want to acknowledge the input of Principal Tom Stack. I remember meeting with a delegation of parents and staff led by Tom in 2002 on this very issue. It was through Tom’s persistence and the willingness to continue with the campaign for a new school that we are where we are today.

Today marks the end of a long campaign to secure a new second level school for Longwood. The campaign has gained the support from across the community and all political representatives from the area over the years.

Peter Kierans, Chief Executive of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board was also commended for promoting the need for the new school in Longwood over the past decade

Minister English was joined by fellow public representatives Deputy Ray Butler, Chariman of Trim District Council Cllr Joe Fox who is a former Board of Management member, Cllr Enda Flynn, Cllr Noel French, Cllr Trevor Golden and Cllr Caroline O’Loinsigh and former Councillor Seamus Murray at the sod turning.

Parish Priest Fr. Carney did a blessing in the presence of the guests as well as students, parents and community representatives.

English launches Pan-European research team to unearth pathways to sustainable land management

Farming, Food, Research and Innovation

“Making the most of our land” – English

imgres-2Launch of LANDMARK

The Pan-European research project LANDMARK was launched this week in
Castledockrell, Co. Wexford, Ireland, by Meath T.D. and Minister
Damien English, T.D., Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation.
LANDMARK is a brand new consortium of European researchers and
advisors that will seek to unearth practices and policy pathways that
make the most of Europe’s rich and diverse heritage of soils, which
are key to so many ecosystem services. LANDMARK receives €5 million in
European funding from the European Commission as part of its Horizon
2020 Research Programme.

Is Europe running out of land?

At the launch, Teagasc Director Prof Gerry Boyle explained that
LANDMARK addresses one of the most urgent challenges for European
agriculture: “the number of mouths to feed from each parcel of land
continues to rise. But the ecological footprint that we can afford
ourselves continues to shrink. Last autumn, the UN revised its
projections for population growth: the world’s population is no longer
expected to stabilise after 2050, instead it is now expected to
continue to grow and approach 11 billion people by 2100. These new
figures will certainly fuel the debate whether the world, including
Europe, is ‘running out of land’.”

The LANDMARK coordinator, Dr Rachel Creamer from Teagasc added: “Not
only do we expect Europe’s agricultural land to provide a nutritious
diet for all; we also expect it to provide clean water, to store
carbon, recycle our waste and provide a home for biodiversity. These
competing demands have now brought soil science sharply back into
focus. If we are to make the most of our land, we need to understand
the ‘engine room’ of agriculture in all its diversity.”

Towards sustainable practices and policies

LANDMARK aims to do exactly this: it will open up the soils of Europe
and assess farm practices and policies that optimise the delivery of
food and other ecosystem services. Since both the European food system
and ecosystems do not recognise borders, LANDMARK has taken an
international approach: it will bring together all the knowledge on
land management from European farmers, advisors, scientists and policy

By 2020, LANDMARK will produce three outcomes:

– For farmers: a Soil Navigator that provides advice on the
sustainable management of soils on ‘my farm’;
– For legislators: a framework for monitoring of soil quality and soil
functions that is applicable across Europe;
– For policy makers: an assessment of policies that can ensure that we
‘make the most of our land’, from both an agronomic and environmental
point of view.

Example of innovation

LANDMARK is an early example of the European Innovation Partnership,
where scientists, practitioners and policy makers work together to
generate new knowledge that can be put to use. At the launch, Minister
of State for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English, TD, said:
LANDMARK demonstrates Ireland’s international leadership in research
and innovation in the area of Sustainable Food Production. I
congratulate Teagasc for winning this first, highly competitive call
for research. Teagasc has demonstrated that it is possible for Irish
research institutions to assume a leadership role in securing funding
under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme”.

Minister English launches new Dunboyne College of Further Education

Education, Meath, Skills

Today, Thursday 14th May 2015, marked both an important end and beginning in the history of education in Dunboyne and for Co. Meath.

It marked the end of Dunboyne College of Further Education time as part of St. Peter’s College and the beginning of what is hoped will be a long and successful era as a provider of Post Leaving Certificate courses as a stand-alone PLC centre in its own right.

The launch of the new educational entity took place in Dunboyne Castle Hotel and was attended by myself as Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. & Tánaiste Joan Burton T.D. who is a T.D. for neighbouring Dublin West constituency.

Stand-alone status for Dunboyne College of Further Education is something that I have worked on as a T.D. for Meath since 2002, and in the last year as a local Minister based in the Department of Education.

I thank my Dáil colleagues in Meath East Regina Doherty, Helen McEntee and Dominic Hannigan for their continuous representations on the matter.

We live in changing times and none more so than in the Further Education and Training Sector. Recent reforms such as the establishment of SOLAS and the 16 Education and Training Boards, and now a new standalone Dunboyne College of Further Education will lead to real long term change in Meath and nationally.

I would like to pay tribute to Peter Kierans, Chief Executive of Louth and Meath ETB and all the ETB staff who support the provision of further education and training across the ETB area. I congratulate Denis Leonard, Principal, and the staff of Dunboyne College of Further Education and everyone involved with today’s events.

Dunboyne College of Further Education has for many years, as part of St. Peter’s College, provided Post Leaving Certificate courses to students in the Meath, west Dublin and north Kildare region. Post Leaving Certificate courses are aimed at preparing learners both for employment and for progression into other areas of education and training.

It has grown on an annual basis and now over 400 students are participating in a diverse range of courses including Arts, and Business, Social Care, Sports and Science, Nursing and Healthcare, Multimedia, Sound and Music, Childcare and Journalism. The range of these courses was very in evident in the graduation ceremony earlier today.

Minister English Addresses Launch of Springboard+ 2015

Skills, Speeches, Springboard

7th May 2015

Check against Delivery

Good morning everyone and welcome to the launch of Springboard+ 2015.

I want to thank John, Marie and Ciaran for sharing their experiences of Springboard with us this morning.

It is clear from what we have heard that participating on a Springboard course can really make a difference.

Employment trends

An important feature of Springboard has been the evaluation of outcomes for these participants and employment trends.

This has enabled us to track outcomes for over 21,000 people who have already participated on a Springboard course between 2011 and 2014.

I am delighted that new data from the Department of Social Protection shows that 74% of all Springboard participants during this period are no longer on the Live Register.

Data also shows that while participants who were long-term unemployed at the start of their course find it harder to get employment, 45% of this group now achieve employment/self-employment within 6 months of completing a Springboard course.

This validates our focus this year on increasing the availability of Springboard courses for participants with no previous higher education qualifications.   This is being achieved by an increase in level 6 courses in particular.

Data also shows that the quality of employment is trending upwards with 85% of survey respondents in full-time jobs.

95% of jobs are in Ireland and 49% are located outside Dublin.

Feedback from participants

 In terms of feedback from participants, 98% of 2014 graduates recommend Springboard to others wishing to reskill for employment.

Participants have also identified the most helpful aspects of Springboard for securing employment as work placement, the part-time and flexible delivery of courses; course content, the qualification received; and networking opportunities with employers.

In that context, I’m pleased to say that work placement is now a feature of over 90% of courses in 2015 (excluding entrepreneurship courses) compared to 70% of courses in 2011.

Springboard+ is specifically targeted at high growth areas.   ICT skills are particularly in demand.  Springboard+ will ensure that graduates have these high-level ICT skills that will address the needs of employers.   This is supported by findings from a survey of ICT skills conversion graduates which indicates that 87% of graduates are in employment within 18 months of completing their course.

Springboard+ is just one of a number of industry focused reskilling initiatives that are available to jobseekers. Momentum, JobBridge, and the Skillnets are also providing additional targeted programmes, focused on addressing the skill needs of industry and supporting jobseekers into employment.

Information on all of these initiatives can be found on, which is aimed at making it easier for jobseekers and employers to know what Government skills initiatives are available.

Finally, I am delighted to see that the Springboard Helpline will be available again this year.  This helpline is invaluable to prospective students when deciding on the best course options available to them under Springboard.


– See more at:

English congratulates Meath TY students for success at Get Up And Go National Mini Company Final

Education, Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Summerhill
Bainne milis

Pictured: Scoil Dara Kilcock students Jack Lynch and Megan Lyons from Summerhill, Caroline McHale, Event Organiser, Minister Damien English T.D. and Ciara O’Donnell, Event Organiser inspect the Bainne Milis chocolate milk drink which won a national sustainability award.

This morning, Tuesday 5th May 2015, I was in Naas to preside over the Get Up And Go National Mini Company Final, which is organised each year by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and which included winners from Co. Meath.

250 mini companies took part in the regional finals and there were 31 finalists from all over the country at the National Final in Naas last Tuesday representing whole class teams.

Bainne Milis Marketing, from Scoil Dara, Kilcock scooped the top prize in the Sustainability Category with the help of Summerhill students Megan Lyons and Jack Lynch, Tommy Gilseanan from Moynalvey and Michael McNamara from Kilcock. Their mini company involved a healthy natural chocolate milk drink which was well received by all who sampled it.

St. Peter’s College, Dunboyne, Co. Meath came 3rd in the Quality Category. Their Mini Company called ‘Lids for Kids’ involved making innovative hats for young people undergoing cancer treatment who might suffer hair loss from chemotherapy.

Addressing the National Final I told the students, teachers and parents that I was delighted to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic young people. I warmly congratulated each one of them on running their very successful mini-companies. It is young innovators, like themselves, who can really make a difference to Ireland’s future.

The exhibition stands really demonstrate the hard work and commitment. I was hugely impressed by the great varieties of businesses that have been set up. It makes me optimistic for the future of Meath and Irish business.

Agher Church, Rathmoylan to benefit from €15,000 under the Structures at Risk Fund 2015

Agher, Heritage, Meath, Tourism


I welcome the news of funding of €15,000 for Agher Church, and salute the work of Cllr. Joe Fox in this regard as Chairman of Trim Municipal District Council. Our beautiful old buildings are one of the many reasons that people come to visit Meath. By supporting best practice in the conservation of our protected structures, we are contributing to the ongoing attraction of our county and our country as a tourist destination of choice.

The poet, political writer, and clergyman Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) was rector of Agher Church at one time.

Welcoming the news Cllr. Joe Fox stated: “I am delighted to receive word from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys and local Minister Damien English that Agher Church, Rathmoylan is one of 28 heritage structures across the country that will benefit from a total of €624,000 in funding under the Structures at Risk Fund 2015. Agher Church will receive €15,000. I believe the preservation of heritage structures like Agher Church is very important for our pride of place.”