Minister English urges national and local business to contribute to Skills Strategy


Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation is inviting businesses to submit their views on the development of the National Skills Strategy to 2025.

“Keeping the recovery going means having a plan to create more jobs and keep the economy strong.  So we’re putting in place the right structures and supports to make sure that Irish people have the skills to fill these jobs and that existing workers have the skills to progress their careers. This will be done through the new National Skills Strategy.

“The Strategy will aim to ensure that Ireland’s current and future workforce needs are met through increased participation, educational attainment, skills development and use to achieve greater productivity and support economic and social growth.  

“We are determined to make sure that Ireland has the right people with the right skills to fill the 220,000 jobs that will be created between now and 2020. To do that we need business to tell us the skills they need and how we can improve skills training in Ireland.

“We are in the process of doubling the number of apprenticeship schemes in Ireland. We are able to do this because industry was willing to get involved and work to identify where the gaps were.

“I want to see the same approach with the skills strategy where industry takes ownership and contributes to the strategy.

“Unemployment is the main source of inequality and unfairness. More jobs mean less tax for people working and more revenue to provide better services.”

Making a submission:

· Please send  your views by Tuesday, 1st December 2015: Via the online form, which will be available on 
· by email to or
· by post to Higher Education Policy and Skills Unit, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 RC96
· See more at:


English encourages potential Gardaí in Meath to apply for new posts

Jobs, Law and Order
Recruitment of 600 new Gardaí now underway on

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation and Fine Gael TD for Meath West, Damien English, has encouraged those interested in Meath to apply for one of 600 new positions available with An Garda Síochána. The recruitment campaign is now underway and applications are being accepted on until 5th January 2016.

“The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, today (Friday) announced the opening of a recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána in 2016. The 600 new Gardaí, to be recruited next year, will bring to 1,150 the total number of new recruits since the reopening of Templemore in September 2014.  

“So far 295 new recruits have completed their training and are now are on the ground in communities nationwide as fully fledged members of An Garda Síochána. It is expected that successful candidates from the 2016 campaign will enter the Garda College from mid-2016.

“Serving as a member of An Garda Síochána is a great privilege, but the position comes with great responsibility. I know that there are many capable and ambitious people in Meath who would make an excellent contribution to the force and I would encourage anyone interested to apply.

“The ongoing recruitment of Gardaí is testament to this Government’s commitment to supporting An Garda Síochána and to ensuring that they have to resources necessary to protect our communities.

“This Government has reopened Templemore after it was closed by the previous Government; €46 million has been allocated for Garda vehicles, many of which will be high-power vehicles for targeted operations; €18 million is being provided for the refurbishment of Garda stations and €205 million has been invested in new technology for An Garda Síochána This is part of an unprecedented allocation of €875 million in capital funding for the Justice sector.

“We know that 75% of burglaries are carried out by 25% of criminals so Minister Fitzgerald has published the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill, which will mean tougher sentences for repeat burglars and she has launched Operation Thor to tackle rural crime.

“It is essential that we keep the recovery going so that we can continue to invest in public services and to provide resources for An Garda Síochána who do such valuable work.”

Minister English officially launches new €2.2 million research into blood cancers

Health, Innovation, Research, Research and Innovation
The Irish Cancer Society, and Science Foundation Ireland, working under the auspices of local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English’s Department, are to invest €2.2 million in a new clinical research network for blood cancers.  

Irish patients will be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-saving treatments under a new national clinical research network launched recently by local Meath West T.D. Damien English. The new network will bring fresh hope for blood cancer patients in Ireland.

The €2.2 million investment has established a new virtual clinical research network that will offer early stage haematology clinical trials, providing blood cancer patients in Ireland with the opportunity to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-changing, drugs and treatments

Commenting on this significant investment in cancer research, Minister for Skills, Research, and Innovation, Damien English TD said, “The establishment of Blood Cancer Network Ireland by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society will bring real and tangible benefits to Irish cancer patients by helping to develop new treatments for blood cancer. It is in line with the Government’s policy of investing and focusing excellent scientific research that impacts positively on Ireland’s economy and society.”    

Over the next five years, Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) hopes to make novel drugs and treatments available to patients with all types of blood cancers across Ireland. The first clinical trials being rolled out through BCNI will bring fresh hope, in particular, to patients with difficult to treat blood cancers. Patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM) or Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) will be among the first to take part in early phase clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of experimental and potentially life-saving drugs that are in development. Early stage clinical trials test the safety, efficacy, dosage, and side effects of new drugs and treatments on a small number of patients, usually at an advanced stage of disease. These trials are the first hurdle in the licensing process in the development of experimental drugs and treatments.  

Enfield’s case for a 2nd level school has been recognised

Enfield, Meath, School extension

Minister Damien English with Cllr. Enda Flynn and former Councillor Willie Carey in Enfield

As part of the Schools Capital Programme, I am also happy that the need for a new Secondary School for Enfield is now accepted and to be studied. This is something I have worked hard on, with the support of local Councillor Enda Flynn, and former Councillor Willie Carey.

Enfield is included under the category ‘other areas where additional provision may be required’.  A range of areas nationwide are experiencing increased demographic pressure and will be kept under ongoing review.  At post-primary level, it is apparent at this point that this ongoing demographic analysis will include areas such as Enfield (Kilcock feeder area). Additional provision may be required post 2018 based on this ongoing analysis. I am glad that Enfield is now recognised as an area under consideration given the growth in primary school pupils in the town and its environs.

English and Cllr. Holloway confirm new schools for Johnstown

Education, Funding, Johnstown, Meath, Navan, School extension
I am pleased to confirm that the schools needed to complete the Johnstown School Campus will continue to progress under my Department’s six year plans for Major School Building projects.  Construction works at the campus to provide new school buildings for:

· St. Mary’s Special School which can commence in 2016
· Colaiste na Mí Post Primary School (Phase ii) which can commence in 2016

Also, construction of new school buildings in or serving Johnstown will include:

· Lismullen National School which can commence in 2016

· Ard Rí Community National School which can commence in 2017
· St. Ultan’s Special School which can commence in 2019-2021
· St. Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School which can commence in 2019-2021

These are very significant investments in education for Johnstown & Navan.  It builds on the recent opening of St. Stephen’s National School and Colaiste na Mí (Phase I).   It represents a very clear and strategic choice by this Government and shows the importance of education and schools to the life of our country as well as education’s importance to our overall economy.

Message from Cllr. Jim Holloway:

Councillor Jim Holloway pictured as Chairman of Meath County Council with former Taoiseach John Bruton and Minister Damien English

Councillor Jim Holloway pictured as Chairman of Meath County Council with former Taoiseach John Bruton and Minister Damien English

“I welcome the news from Minister English that the completion of
the new Johnstown School Campus is a priority. When finished, it
will be a great asset for the community to have the primary, post
primary and St. Mary’s Special School fully completed for the pupils
of the area at the same location.”

English: Capital plan for education will see €4 Billion invested from 2016 to 2022

Bohermeen, Education, Enfield, Johnstown, Killyon, Longwood, Meath, Navan, North Meath, School extension

Meath schools and students to benefit from new facilities

Local Meath West T.D. Damien English,  the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, has welcomed the Government’s new €2.8 Billion Schools Capital Programme 2016 to 2022 announced today (Tuesday 17th November) which includes some good news for Meath schools, and is part of the Department’s overall Capital spend of €4 Billion during this period.

This new Capital Programme outlines the details of the major schools projects that will create 62,000 additional school places nationally at primary and post-primary level to address future demographic demands.  Funding will also be available for the refurbishment of schools in older buildings that require improvement.  The plan also provides for important investment of €210m in IT and wireless broadband capacity in schools.

The schools in Meath that will receive major capital funding for projects include:

Meath 18106P
    SN Na Trionoide Naofa, Lios Muilinn
Meath 19560T
    St Mary’s Special School, Johnstown, Navan
Special School
Meath 19671F
    St Paul’s NS, Abbeylands, Navan
Meath 19813W
    Kildalkey Central NS
Meath 64410F
    Eureka Secondary School, Kells
Post Primary
Meath 16100Q
    Mercy Convent NS, Navan
Meath 20032B
    Dunboyne Junior NS
Meath 20033D
    Dunboyne Senior NS
Meath 20352S
    Ard Rí Community NS
Meath 71980O
    O’Carolan College, Nobber
Post Primary
Meath 91508C
    Boyne Community School, Trim
Post Primary
Meath 19216E
    St. Ultan’s Special School, Navan
Special School
Meath 20191V
    St. Peter’s COI NS, Dunboyne
Meath 64360Q
    St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School, Navan
Post Primary
Meath 64420I
    Franciscan College, Gormanston
Post Primary
Meath 64450R
    Scoil Mhuire, Trim
Post Primary
Meath 76374U
    ETB Dunboyne College
Post Primary
Meath 91495T
    Ashbourne Community School
Post Primary
Meath 76196W
    De Lacy College, Ashbourne
Post Primary

“This is a very significant investment for education locally in Meath and indeed nationally.  We are responding to local needs and reaffirming commitments outstanding from the previous plan and ensuring the right funding is in place.  This represents a very clear and strategic choice by this Government and shows the importance of education and schools to the life of our country as well as education’s importance to our overall economy” Minister English said.


“Enfield is included under the category ‘other areas where additional provision may be required’.  A range of areas nationwide are experiencing increased demographic pressure and will be kept under ongoing review.  At post-primary level, it is apparent at this point that this ongoing demographic analysis will include areas such as Enfield (Kilcock feeder area). Additional provision may be required post 2018 based on this ongoing analysis. I am glad that Enfield is now recognised as an area under consideration given the growth in primary school pupils in the town and its environs” Minister English said.
Minister English noted this new plan is capital funding, money for major new infrastructural projects, and is different from day to day spending in education, which will also grow in line with the expanding economy.  Schools that require additional school classrooms or other minor accommodation works continue to be progressed through the usual channels outside of this major capital programme.
“This new Schools Capital Programme (2016-2022) will build on this Government’s current 5 year programme.  In this regard I want to confirm that Phase 2 of Colaiste na Mí in Johnstown, St. Mary’s Special School in Navan and St. Pauls National School have funding ring fenced for the delivery of the new school buildings.  It is especially pleasing to see that planning permission for Colaiste na Mí phase 2 and St. Mary’s Special School has been lodged last week” Minister English said.
He stated that an additional 60,000 school places at primary and post-primary level have already been provided by this Government since 2011 through new build and extensions projects, including many in Co. Meath.  He highlighted schools such as Beaufort College, Baconstown N.S., Killyon NS, Bohermeen NS & Longwood that have seen great developments recently in their educational facilities.
“The quality of these new purpose built school building projects in Meath is top class and they provide our youngest generation with a fantastic learning environment” stated Minister English.

“This Government is increasing both current and capital investment in education in a safe and sustainable way in line with our growing economy, and so as to future proof our economy and the skill set of our younger generation.  This will benefit all our citizens, with a very positive impact on our economic, social and cultural life, especially in towns and parishes in across Co. Meath” concluded Minister English.

My submission on Navan Rail Line to the Draft Transport Strategy 2016 – 2035 for the Greater Dublin Area

Jobs, Meath, Transport


Submission to the Draft Transport Strategy 2016 – 2035 for the Greater Dublin Area

by Minister Damien English T.D.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation

Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West

Thursday, 12th November 2015

I write further to your call for written submissions or observations on the Draft Transport Strategy 2016 – 2035 for the Greater Dublin Area which has been prepared by the National Transport Authority in accordance with Section 12 of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008.

Since becoming involved in politics, as a member of Meath County Council in 1999, and as a member of Dail Eireann since 2002, I have always campaigned for, advocated for and highlighted the need for a rail line to Navan. It is an idea that commands cross party, cross community and cross sectoral support in Co. Meath, as I am sure the range of submissions you will receive on this matter will highlight.

I believe that your analysis in the Draft Transport Strategy, of the transport needs of Co. Meath as regards the expansion of rail services to Navan is fundamentally flawed. It lacks recognition of the current and future jobs situation in Meath, it lacks ambition and it lacks vision. It reflects a short term analysis and ‘sticky plaster solution’ for what are long term needs and long terms trends. We have had too much of this in the past as regards the potential of a rail line for Navan, with the resources of good times in this country not used at the appropriate time to live up to promises and commitments previously given.

The dismissal of further rail services in Co. Meath to Navan, and Dunshaughlin en route, in your current draft actually goes against the tone and ideals the strategy sets for itself.

In Chapter 5, Page 5, it talks about how: “The Strategy needs to consider how best to target areas of population where public transport access to the city centre and other major centres of employment remains poor.” In this regard Navan is the only County Town in the Greater Dublin/North Eastern Region not served by rail. The County Town’s of Louth (Dundalk), Wicklow (Wicklow Town) and Kildare (Naas via nearby Sallins) are all served by rail, as well as other significant population centres in those Counties (Maynooth, Drogheda, Bray, Greystones etc.) Meath and Navan are not being treated in a equitable manner as commuter hubs, as locations for FDI, and as locations where reverse commuting can actually take place, with commuters leaving Dublin for work in Navan, thus helping Dublin traffic congestion, and deepening the spread of economic recovery into the regions.

Also in Chapter 5, Page 5 we are told that “The Strategy needs to examine how to lock in the economic benefits of new transport infrastructure by maintaining journey times

and reliability.” The events on the M50 yesterday, Wednesday 11th November 2015, demonstrate how vulnerable Dublin, and greater Dublin, are to events on the M50 and on other major arterial routes into and out of the City, with traffic disruption of up to 7 hours for some people. These types of delays and vulnerabilities are not the type of thing our business community want to hear, or potential investors.

Bus transport, it must be said, has grown in the quality of the buses and frequency of service to Dublin over recent years. The draft strategy Is wrong though, in my opinion, in its overemphasis on bus as the single solution to Co. Meath’s transport needs up to 2035. Bus is totally dependent on road transport. It is vulnerable to the same shocks and surprises of poor weather or tragic accidents that a motor car is. Traffic volumes are also going to keep increasing, in line with our population growth, and our employment and overall economic growth. Rail is a sensible, reliable and environmentally friendly way of meeting both Meath’s transport needs and alleviating traffic congestion in Dublin.

It is disappointing that the draft strategy seems to be unaware of Meath County Council’s new Economic Development Strategy for Co. Meath 2014-2022, which was officially launched in June this year by my party colleague Meath County Council’s then Cathaoirleach, Cllr Jim Holloway. This plan aims to create 7,500 new jobs in Meath over the lifetime of the plan, approximately 1,000 new jobs a year.

With the winning of Facebook’s 2nd Data Centre for Europe in Clonee in Co. Meath, and our County having one of the fastest falls in unemployment in the country, this plan is clearly working. But it needs the capacity, the reliability and the connectivity of rail to enhance this plan and Meath’s offering. Rail will improve access, it will encourage reverse commuting, and it will also improve one of the most vital assets in winning FDI – overall quality of life and services in a County.

I would welcome, and strongly urge, a revision of your draft document, to make provision for the continuation of the rail line from Pace outside Dunboyne, to Navan via Dunshaughlin as originally planned and committed to by previous Governments. Indeed it is regrettable that this was not done as an integral one stage process. This would have significantly enhanced the attractiveness and usage of the current line. Presently when people get as far as Pace, they feel they may as well continue on to Dublin when they are so close. Short term thinking and cost cutting as happened in this instance has had long term consequences.

Additionally, the Dunboyne line at Pace needs to continue into Connolly Station for maximum effectiveness, attractiveness and connectivity. This is something that your strategy should reflect and act upon too.

In making your decision I would hope that you take on board my concerns, which as a Public Representative for Meath represent the thoughts and needs of many thousands of my constituents, as well as the wider business community active in creating jobs locally, and those who wish to do so in future years. The work put into this by Meath County Council, and by individual Councillors of all parties and none, as well as other interested parties and local experts will no doubt be reflected in the response to your public consultation, and deserves serious study and consideration.

I hope that you will share your thoughts on the submissions received before any final document is published or decisions taken, thus making this a truly public consultation and exchange or expertise and views.

Thanking you in advance.

Yours sincerely,


Minister Damien English T.D.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation

Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West

Consistent reductions in Meath unemployment will help to keep the economic recovery going – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Jobs, Meath, Startups

Damien English, Fine Gael TD and Mnister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has said that the consistent reductions in the Meath unemployment figures will help to keep the economic recovery going.

“CSO figures for October show that the Live Register has dropped by 35.16% in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in February 2012.  This is the highest drop in the country.

“When this Government took office, we promised to fix the public finances, restore growth in the economy and get people back to work. The task now is to finish the job and keep that recovery going. Crucial to this is continued job creation and the consistent decreases in unemployment since 2012 are certainly helping to keep the economic recovery going in Meath.

“Replicating this all over the country via our Regional Action Plans for Jobs is how this Government will achieve its plan to see all the jobs lost during the economic crisis replaced by 2018.

“Budget 2016 introduced a whole range of pro jobs measures, as it incentivises innovative startups, rewards successful entrepreneurs and makes sure that the jobs that are created will really pay. It reduces the general tax burden which helps businesses create employment. It begins the process of tax equalisation for the self-employed in order to support job creators. The Budget also maintains the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector which will continue to assist small business owners working in the tourism sector, which has been such an integral part of our economic recovery. A modest but significant increase in the minimum wage ensures that work pays more than welfare, while Employers’ PRSI has been adjusted to cater for these wage increases to ensure that neither employees or employers are worse off.

“This Government will work to keep the economic recovery going which helps us to provide better services for all of society. Crucial to this is the ongoing job creation successes we are seeing in Meath and right across the country.”


English congratulates Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur regional finalists from Meath

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, Meath, Startups

Local Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. has congratulated Meath’s regional finalists in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition run by the Local Enterprise Offices of each Local Authority in Ireland. The prize giving by Minister English for the North Eastern Regional Final was held in Cabra Castle Hotel, Kingscourt on Tuesday night 3rd November.

Minister English commented: “A total of 165 young entrepreneurs across Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath entered IBYE 2015. Almost half of the entrants have completed an intensive business bootcamp, giving them the opportunity to refine their ideas and develop their business plans further. Those entrants who did not participate in bootcamps are being offered other enterprise services by their LEO such as business advice meetings or training programmes. I am delighted that our County winners from Meath, who are now Regional Finalists, have also been able to avail of a total of €50,000 in funding in each County.”

Representing Meath in the category of Best Business Idea in the North Eastern region was Laura Browne, aged 21, from Tara, with her business Waterscout. Waterscout will develop a water usage monitoring system for industrial clients, initially focusing on data centres.

Representing Meath in the category of Best Start Up Business was Rachel Darby, aged 26, from Navan, with her business The Bubblins. Established in 2013, The Bubblins is a brand based around fictional characters that come from bubbles. Aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 7, they have already launched a picture book called ‘Can I play’? Their aim is to create a T.V. series based around the Bubblin characters along with developing Bubblin merchandise.

Representing Meath in the category of Best Established Business was Diarmuid Gryson, aged 24, from Tara with his business Envirosoil. Established in 2013, Envirosoil produce user-friendly compost for farmers, which is also environmentally-friendly. It is used for soil conditioning and as an alternative soil fertiliser. The company currently employs 5 people and has sold over 20,000 tonnes of compost in 2015. Future plans include selling to garden centres and landscape gardeners.

Minister English concluded by saying that Laura, Rachel and Diarmuid, and their companies were great Ambassadors for Meath, and its potential as a hub for innovation, investment and local sustainable jobs.