Meath West 2016 National Lottery Health Grants

Ballivor, Funding, Health, Meath, Navan

Monday, 21st November 2016

“I welcome the local Meath groups to benefit that are listed below,
especially those in Meath West. A number of national organisations and
mental health groups also benefited and this will benefit Meath West
residents. Without the huge work of local voluntary and community
groups in Meath and across Ireland the policy objectives of the HSE
and the Department of Health could not be met. Voluntary and community
groups make this money go so much further to the benefit of young and
old alike in our local areas” stated Minister English.

Meath West groups to benefit:

Irish Wheelchair Association Navan

€          1,300.00

to fit door holders to fire doors.

Ballivor Community First Responder Unit

€          2,500.00

to fund an AED

Irish Wheelchair Association Navan II

€        22,000.00

to develop new facilities.

ENDS

Speech to Grand Final of the Soapbox Competition

Education, Housing and Urban Renewal

8th November 2016

‘The EU: United in Diversity’

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  • I am delighted to be here today on this the fifth year of the Europe Direct Information Centres’ Soapbox Competition Final.
  • Going from strength to strength, this magnificent initiative – fostered and supported most generously by the European Commission.
  • With its origins in the turn of the last century, the soapbox is evocative of ‘Speakers Corner’ in Hyde Park, London.
  • It provides citizens from every community a fundamental opportunity to have their say on EU affairs.
  • This is a key priority of the European Union and it strongly supports the principle behind the EU motto, ‘United in Diversity’.
  • United in Diversity signifies how Europeans have come together, through the EU, to work for peace and prosperity, while at the same time being enriched by Europe’s many different cultures, traditions and languages.
  • Recent events such as the refugee crisis and of course, Brexit, make the motto for today’s motion a burning topic for debate. And it has been keenly debated up and down the country at the eight regional finals.
  • The competition has drawn more than 80 participants of all ages, backgrounds and stages in life. The very talented finalists we will hear today have without doubt earned their place in this Grand Final.
  • I expect we will hear compelling and passionate arguments both for and against the topic. I do not envy the distinguished judges their difficult task of choosing the overall winners!
  • But before we launch into the debate, I would like to take a moment or two to say a few words on the role of the European Direct Information Centres and our library service.
  • Our Europe Direct Information Centres provide a vital link between the European Commission and Irish citizens.
  • They provide important information and essential advice about the European Union’s policies and provide space for local and regional debate about the EU.
  • Their events are purposely hosted to promote a greater knowledge and appreciation of the opportunities for work, study and travel in the EU. And celebrate the diversity of cultures within the 28 Member States.
  • Most importantly, they are not a one-way communication channel; they offer the opportunity for everyone to send their observations and views back to the European Union institutions themselves.
  • This critical link is facilitated through the eight Europe Direct Information Centres across the country, managed by Libraries Development in the Local Government Management Agency.
  • They are ideally placed to reach the heart of the community.
  • Located in public libraries, they stretch from, Letterkenny to Mallow, and from Dundalk to Waterford. There are dual centres in Donegal – Letterkenny and the Irish language centre in Gaoth Dobhair. And also in Galway, in Ballinasloe and Carraroe.
  • The Centres offer additional services within the libraries. Ranging from advice on citizens’ rights, work and study in the EU and opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs within the EU.
  • Indeed, our libraries are the default source of assistance when looking for information about public and government information, making them particularly suited as channels for EU communications.
  • As an important and valued civic space for the community to learn, meet and explore its treasures, our libraries are more popular than ever.
  • Continuously evolving to meet the needs of a changing population, libraries offer access to a vast range of on line services, information and opportunity to develop and fulfil creativity.
  • Since January 2016 membership is free to everyone. Last year alone, there were over 17 million visits made to public libraries, an increase of 20% since 2008.
  • Key to this popularity is the excellent service and positive message generated by Library staff whose interest and genuine support in their members needs is most evident.
  • Returning to today’s event, the Soapbox Competition is an important annual event. It raises awareness locally and nationally on issues topical in Europe.
  • Indeed, it is the perfect vehicle to showcase our proud tradition of public speaking here in Ireland.
  • So, without any further delay, it is my great pleasure to open the Europe Direct Soapbox Final 2016, The EU: United in Diversity.
  • And, I wish all of the contestants the very best of luck.

ENDS

Minister English congratulates Meath and Louth ETB and SOLAS apprenticeship graduates

Apprenticeships, Education, Meath, Skills

Monday, 14th November 2016

“I want to warmly congratulate graduates of the Advance Certificate –
Craft by Meath and Louth ETB and SOLAS last Friday” stated local
Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English T.D. who was
Guest Speaker at the graduation event.

“There are a few occasions in our lives that are marked as special,
and today is one of those days for you.  Congratulations on this
achievement” he told graduates.

One of the best qualifications in the world

“You have completed a comprehensive Apprenticeship that is recognised
as one of the best in the world. One of the most important features of
an Apprenticeship is that the attainment of agreed standards is now
compulsory for all apprentices. And each of you, who have successfully
completed your Apprenticeship, are awarded the Advanced Certificate –
Craft” he said.

Confidence in the future

“Some of you may one day go on to own your own business; some of you
will work for Irish or Foreign Direct Investment companies; while
others may decide to travel and work abroad for a period with your
skills base. Ireland is currently facing many challenges and I know
many of you are concerned about your future. I have confidence that
Ireland will face up to these challenges and the skills that each of
you possess will be utilised in rebuilding Ireland’s competitive advantage” Minister English told the graduates and guests.

New C.E. Martin O’Brien

“Meath and Louth ETB now has new leadership under Martin O’Brien, a
Meath man with an excellent track record behind him in Cavan and
Monaghan ETB. He has a great personal commitment to apprenticeships,
and a track record of delivering major capital projects in the field
of education.  I know that he will bring this huge experience to bear
again in Meath and Louth.  I wish him well in his new role” concluded
Minister English.

ENDS

New Library Strategy in 2017 will “build communities and expand knowledge”

Education, Heritage, Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath, Wesmeath

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English says new Library Strategy in 2017 will “build communities and expand knowledge”

Thursday, 10th November 2016

“As the final year of ‘Opportunities for All’, the strategy document for our Public Libraries nationally approaches, I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders around the country on creating an ambitious and all-embracing successor strategy to further the economic, social and cultural mission of our Public Libraries, and of our country overall”.  This was the message from Minister with responsibility for libraries at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Damien English, to the Library Association of Ireland (Public Libraries Section) Conference tonight Thursday 10th Nov 2016 in the Faithlegg House Hotel, Co. Waterford.

 

Minister English stated “These early years of the 21st century have seen rapid change. Public libraries are now at a turning point. We need to re-establish what people and our communities need. We have to determine what additional services will be offered in our communities and what the best way to deliver these services will be.  Particularly, we have to focus our attention on the non-member, or those who will become our new library users in the years ahead, as well as bridging the digital divide for older people.”

He continued: “As Minister, I believe our new Public Library strategy should be firmly focused on maximising the number of people who can access our library services. In the development of the new strategy we must broaden the library’s role in the community.  We need to expand its reach and connections to support larger community goals. I value the input and ideas of all staff in this work.”

Staff contribution vital

Speaking at the event Minister English told delegates: “Your personal engagement and genuine interest has contributed greatly to the successful implementation of the current strategy.  Your contribution is vital to the next new chapter for public libraries in Ireland.  So far in the lifetime of the current strategy, you have reached out and connected with over 850,000 library members.  You have enhanced their confidence in using the library service. I look forward to working with staff and stakeholders to develop a world class strategy for our Public Libraries.  A strategy that will stand the test of time and allow libraries remain the ‘Foundation’ for our main streets of our towns.”

ENDS

Minister English uses Varadkar visit to welcome reform of Social Welfare as ‘true safety net’

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2017, Meath, Navan

Friday, 4th November 2016

New Intreo office at Kennedy Road will provide important range of services

“The visit of Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar T.D. to Navan
this week to open the new Intreo Office at Kennedy Road, shortly after
the Cabinet met to approve the new Social Welfare Bill for 2017 is
timely.  The new office is a great asset to Navan, whilst nationally
Minister Varadkar is bringing about important changes” local Minister
for Housing and Urban Renewal and Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West Damien
English has stated.

The new Intreo Centre at Kennedy Road provides a one-stop shop for
employment services and income supports with a range of personalised
supports to jobseekers including:

– Information on all the income supports provided by the Department of
Social Protection, for example, jobseeker’s payments, back to work and
back to education payments, one-parent family payments and pensions
– Help and advice on employment, training and personal development opportunities
– Personalised support to help you enter the workforce
– Self-service facilities with information and guidance on employment
and training   opportunities
– Information on job vacancies through jobsireland.ie

“Social welfare should become a true safety net for those in need, it
should reward those who have worked hard in their old age or in their
sickness, it should reward carers who save this state a fortune, and
it should incentivise work.  The Social Welfare Bill for 2017 helps
bring this about, and has been endorsed by the ESRI in this respect”
stated Minister English.

Some of the changes that Minister English highlighted and welcomed included:

·         An increase of €5 in all maximum weekly pension payments
including State Pension Contributory and Non-Contributory, Widow’s,
Widower’s, Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension and Disablement Pension
with proportionate increases for those on reduced rates of payment.
Proportionate increases for qualified adult dependants will also be
provided for;

·         An increase of €5 in all maximum weekly benefits and
allowances including Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Disability
Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Illness Benefit, Blind Pension, One
Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance,
Maternity/Paternity/Adoptive Benefit and Farm Assist, with
proportionate increases for jobseekers under the age of 26 and those
in receipt of reduced rate payments. Proportionate increases for
qualified adult dependants will also be provided for.

ENDS

English welcomes consistent fall in unemployment – 175,000 people back to work

Action Plan for Jobs, Jobs, Meath, Navan

Friday, 4th November 2016

English welcomes consistent fall in unemployment – 175,000 people back to work

Meath playing its part with Shire planning permission says local Minister

“I welcome the news this month that unemployment has again fallen to
7.7%.  This is one of the lowest figures in the E.U., where we also
remain the fastest growing economy.  It represents the success of the
Action Plan for Jobs nationally since February 2012 with 175,000 new
jobs since then.  It also shows the success of local efforts like
Meath County Council’s own Economic Development Plan.  The news that
Shire has been granted its planning permission in Dunboyne shows that
Meath is open for business and is a jobs friendly County. I want to
compliment Meath County Council staff for their work in promoting
enterprise and investment.  As a Minister in Government and as a Meath
T.D. I will continue to work for inward investment for the County, and
help local firms who want to expand” stated Minister English.

“Every new job represents hope restored, it represents an individual
or a family with a new income and equality of opportunity to engage
fully in our country.   As we near full employment again it also means
Government has more resources to tackle the many social issues and
vital public services in need of attention. This is why jobs and
reaching full employment again must remain our focus” concluded
Minister English.

ENDS