Meath West benefits from Fine Gael’s scheme to help move people from welfare to work – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2017, Business, Education, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Skills, Startups, Wesmeath

Participants in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) are twice as likely to be in full employment after six months than those who did not take part, a review has found.

The study compared people who had stayed on the BTWEA scheme for its full two year duration with non-participants.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English T.D. said the review, published by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, was very encouraging for Meath West.

“In Meath, some 475 people are currently participating in the programme, while in Westmeath the figure is 235 people.

“Entrepreneurs are vital for local economies, our economic future and for job creation.

“I would encourage anyone who is currently unemployed in Meath and Westmeath to use this valuable State support which helps starting a new business.

“This review has shown the allowance is highly effective in getting people in Meath and Westmeath from welfare to work” the Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister said.

The BTWEA helps people who are unemployed or claiming welfare to set up their own business and continue receiving State income supports for two years, while getting advice and support for running a new enterprise.

Minister English continued: “The Department of Social Protection has also made it much easier for many more people to avail of the allowance.

“The qualification period has been reduced from 12 months to just nine months for more people on welfare, not just for Jobseekers, but also reduced those on other schemes like One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist, and other welfare payments.”


Geographic breakdown of BTWEA participants by county:

County Number Participants Percentage of Live Register for County
CARLOW 194 8.7%
CAVAN 275 11.1%
CLARE 412 12.4%
CORK 770 6.2%
DONEGAL 413 6.0%
DUBLIN 2833 8.0%
GALWAY 612 8.9%
KERRY 390 9.3%
KILDARE 425 7.3%
KILKENNY 297 11.8%
LAOIS 220 6.9%
LEITRIM 130 12.4%
LONGFORD 160 8.2%
LOUTH 509 9.1%
MAYO 384 9.3%
MEATH 475 14.0%
MONAGHAN 162 8.8%
OFFALY 198 5.7%
ROSCOMMON 158 11.3%
SLIGO 194 10.6%
TIPPERARY 406 7.3%
WATERFORD 375 8.2%
WESTMEATH 235 5.9%
WEXFORD 369 5.5%
WICKLOW 546 12.9%
Total Participants and national Percentage  





Minister English welcomes €1,866,495 in ICT funding for Meath and Westmeath schools

Education, Funding, Innovation, Meath, Navan, School extension, Science, Trim, Wesmeath

Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal
Damien English has welcomed the news that Minister for Education and
Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., has today Tuesday 3rd January 2017
announced he will invest €30m in ICT infrastructure grants for all
primary and post-primary schools in the country.

According to Minister English, today’s investment will be worth €1,202,651 to Meath’s 123 primary and post primary schools and €663,844 to the 89 primary and post primary schools in Westmeath. This is a total of €1,866,495 between the 2 counties. No application is necessary and the payments are being made directly into the schools’ accounts.

Minister English stated: “This investment marks the start of the
implementation of the Government’s new €210 Million Digital Strategy
for Schools. This funding will support the development and
implementation of an eLearning Plan for each school to embed ICT into
teaching and learning. No matter what career a young person
contemplates, there is one thing for sure, digital technology is
revolutionising it. We want our young people in Meath West to be leading
this revolution and have the best prospects in life.”

Notes to Editor

The rates payable are €2,000 per school plus €22.20 per mainstream
pupil in primary schools, with additional per capita payments for
pupils in DEIS schools, Special Classes and Special Schools.

At post-primary, the rates payable are €2,000 per school plus €31.90 per
student, with an additional per capita payment for students in DEIS
schools. The grant is worth approximately €4,000 for a 100 pupil
school and approximately €11,000 for a 500 pupil school at primary
level. At post-primary level, the grant is worth circa €15,000 for a
500 student school, and over €27,000 for a 1,000 student school.

This is not an exhaustive list, and schools will be advised to
consider how best to support an eLearning Plan for their school in
allocating this funding. Advice and support for schools will be
available from the PDST Technology in Education website –

Further information about the terms applying to this funding are
available at circular:


Funding for 2 Meath West schools

Education, Funding, Navan, School extension

2 Meath West schools have recently been approved for Emergency
Work/Access for All (Loreto Secondary School) and Additional
Accommodation (St. Brigid’s NS, Cortown – 1 X 80m2 mainstream
classroom inc en-suite& 1 x WC for assisted users).

There are also 2 schools in Meath East – St. Peter’s College,
Dunboyne and Yellow Furze NS, Beauparc, Navan.

Minister English stated: “I congratulate the Principals, Boards of
Management and Parent Associations of St. Brigid’s NS, Cortown and
Loreto Secondary School in Navan for seeking this vital funding for
their students and staff. Fine Gael in Government since 2011 have
prioritised funding for Education, especially for providing new school
buildings and new facilities that are needed locally.  Education is
the driver of a sustainable economy and of of our local communities,
especially our rural communities.  I will continue to work with Meath
West based schools for additional necessary resources in the New Year
and beyond.

No details are given of the amount of funding approved by the School
Building Unit, as the publication of the amount of grant aid
sanctioned could prejudice the tendering process for an individual

The School Building Unit of the Department of Education will issue
detailed letters on the relevant projects directly to the school
authorities and these letters will inform the school authorities of
the amount of grant aid sanctioned by the Department.

50th Anniversary UCD Planning Seminar

Action Plan for Housing, Education, Housing and Urban Renewal, Speeches


Address by Mr Damien English, T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal

On the occasion of the UCD Planning Seminar: “Reflections: The Past, Present and Future of Planning”

UCD, Dublin




Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon.

As Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal I am delighted to join you for the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of UCD’s Planning School.

On behalf of the Government, I wish to acknowledge the important contribution that the School has made to the development of the planning profession and to shaping the overall learning process of planning since 1966.

It is right that we celebrate that contribution and discuss how it might be expanded, developed and improved for the future.

The well-being and strength of our cities and towns has increasingly become the barometer for the health and strength of our economy, and of our wider society – all of which is possible through proper professional planning.

I would like to reiterate the sentiments of my colleague, Minister Simon Coveney;

I believe in the importance of having vibrant and dynamic urban and rural places. I believe in the need to plan for the longer term interests of both.

However, we must reflect on the present fact that just over 12,600 housing units were completed last year, almost half were “one off” houses.

We need to be building somewhere in the region of 25,000 units for the future.

These houses are principally needed in our key cities, our towns and our villages.

They are needed to meet future and evolving household formations, economic and demographic patterns.

Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

‘Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’ sets out a holistic response to the overall housing system as a fundamental building block of our urban and rural policy.

The Plan provides over 80 practical and readily implementable solutions that aim to increase the annual housing supply to 25,000 units per annum by 2021.

The Plan will enhance the stock of social houses by 47,000 units in the same period.

To back this up, a massive €5.5 billion, yes €5.5billion, is available for future housing and infrastructure in Ireland.

Planning plays a major part in setting the conditions for housing delivery and accordingly Rebuilding Ireland aims to support and develop the planning process.

Urban Renewal and Regeneration

The impression might be that the Action Plan is all about building new houses.

But the Plan also has an emphasis on making the best use of our existing buildings and existing places.

To this end I am leading an Urban Renewal Working Group which

  • Will drive forward these and wider proposals;
  • It will complement the existing regeneration programme;
  • It will further develop projects under the Social Housing Capital and Social Programmes across local authorities.

Action 5.1 of the Plan also undertakes to develop a National Vacant Housing Re-Use Strategy by 2017.

The Housing Agency, will lead the responsibility for co-ordinating the development of the Strategy.

It has established a working group to inform the Strategy, and includes senior representatives from my Department and from the Local Authorities. Its first meeting was held in September and work is progressing.

My Department and the Housing Agency are liaising with Local Authorities and with the Central Statistics Office in order to obtain a better understanding of the numbers, characteristics and reasons why homes are vacant.

This understanding will also assist Government in:

  • Introducing a new Town and Village Renewal scheme; a similar scheme to the ‘Living City Initiative’ to regenerate urban centres and villages (Year 1 action)
  • Exempting the use of under-utilised or vacant areas over ground-floor premises in urban areas, from “change of use” requirements, for both residential and commercial use (Year 1 action)
  • Reforming the Derelict Sites Act to tackle the under-use and hoarding of derelict land by the State, semi-State and private sectors;
  • Commencing the new “Buy and Renew” initiative with an initial capital provision of €25 million in 2017, and
  • Rolling out the new Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) for which I have secured €140m over the next five years.

National Planning Framework

While our housing needs must get priority attention, I recognise the value of planning for the future.

This is why I, and my Department, are committed to the development of a new National Planning Framework (NPF) to succeed the National Spatial Strategy.

The National Planning Framework ‘Ireland 2040’ will be different from its predecessor in the following ways:

  • It will be a framework not in sole ownership of Government.
  • It will, as provided for under statutory legislation, and as recommended by the Mahon Tribunal, be approved by Dáil Éireann.
  • It will be the definitive statement on the future strategic development of our remarkable country.
  • The NPF will be more strategic and more concise than its predecessor.

There will be three new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies developed alongside the NPF.

They will be developed by the three Regional Assemblies representing the local government sector and co-ordinating their local economic development and planning functions.

I believe that the National Planning Framework will address the key aspects of planning for the future in Ireland. It needs to:

  • Identify where and how our housing needs are best met;
  • Identify our Regions key assets for economic development and job-creation;
  • Specify the location, delivery and funding of critical infrastructure;
  • Enhance the role of planning our sustainability, our greenness;

To achieve these we need to:

  • Find the right balance between the complementary but contrasting strengths of our regions; and
  • Strengthen the opportunities for an island approach to our development;
  • And integrate the marine and terrestrial planning processes.

We will have a realistic national conversation about the potential of our places, both urban and rural, recognising that a National Planning Framework will mean hard choices and avoiding the “one for everyone in the audience” approach.

In a globalised world, quality of ‘place’ really matters.

You as Planners know more about making a place work than any other profession.

So I look forward to working together with UCD Planning School in forming both policy and urban development practice so that we create better urban places for all.

Learning From The Past

As we all know, we had dark times in our recent planning past.

Let us not forget the enormous work undertaken and the huge financial cost associated with the Mahon Tribunal, its reports and recommendations.

I am happy that the implementation of the recommendations are ongoing, and includes legislation such as the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill presently at second stage in the Dáil.

As previous Ministers have stated and I certainly have no difficulty with re-stating today, abuses of the planning process are not acceptable and are not victim-less crimes.

By putting the wrong developments in the wrong places, at the wrong time, we are condemning future generations to live with the mistakes of the past.

That is why this Government is fully committed to the establishment of the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) through the Planning and Development Bill.

Looking to the Future

To conclude, this evenings 50th anniversary celebrations will reflect on the past, present and future of Irish Planning.

I think we will all agree that while there are challenging times ahead for planning in Ireland. They will be interesting times, if you are a Planner I am sure they will be exciting times.

Times which will require a better vision, a better commitment and better technical skills of the Professional Planner to address the many challenges we face together.

Within my own Department, it is fitting that 50 years after the establishment of this School that for the first time, we have the word “Planning” in our title.

I am proud to be a Minister in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government; one that reflects a newly re-constituted and expanded planning capability and function.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that, having come through the past, we are witnessing a new and golden era for planning and professional planners in Ireland.

We now know what didn’t work. We know what does work and with proper professional planning we know what will work.

There is now a remarkable opportunity to shape the future of our country through planning.

Ultimately, I believe that Planning is about bringing the future into the present so we can do something about it.

Or as Abraham Lincoln said – “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. Let us now do this together.

Finally, congratulations again to University College Dublin and to the Planning School.

I salute you for the past 50 years of your work; I look forward to working with you during the next 50 years as you play a dynamic part in the planning of Ireland’s future.

Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank You.


Speech to Grand Final of the Soapbox Competition

Education, Housing and Urban Renewal

8th November 2016

‘The EU: United in Diversity’

unnamed-4 unnamed-2 unnamed-1 unnamed unnamed-3


  • 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.


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.


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.”


Global Schools Student Summit of 5 Navan Schools

Education, Meath, Navan


Speech by Minister of State Damian English TD

Attending the closing the Global Schools Student Summit of 5 Navan Schools

Ardboyne Hotel, Navan

Tuesday Oct 25th 2016 – Closing session @ 3.30 – 4 PM


  • Thank you all very much for giving me the honour of addressing you at the close of your very busy day.
  • It is absolutely wonderful to see our schools, teachers and students being so proactive on the vital issues of development and sustainability, and to see how you have all come together here for Navan’s inaugural ‘Global Goals Student Summit’.
  • I want to thank the organisers at Beaufort College, Principal Angela Crowcock and particularly Jenny D’Arcy, Noreen Carolan and students, for the invitation to help close your quite unique conference. Naturally, I thank the organisers, teachers and students of the other schools here with every bit as much sincerity.
  • Beaufort College already does great work in its Green Schools programme and in a range of human rights and other areas. Noreen, I know, has coordinated the Development Education and Multicultural Programme at the school over the past few years.
  • The four other schools represented here have similar pedigrees in this field, and it makes me very proud, as a Meath man, to share even part of the day with you. I can see more than a few faces here that I already recognise.
  • I must acknowledge the practical grant aid that you have received for today’s forum, from WorldWise Global Schools. This organisation is among the leaders in making sure that we all engage with the UN Strategic Development Goals and other requirements. The aim is, essentially, to make the World a much better place than it is by 2030.
  • By that date, most of you young people here will already be in positions of greater influence in society and in your careers. I sincerely hope that today’s summit will help start some of you, at least, on a pathway in development education.
  • I began by referring to Meath, which may not surprise many here. I did so because it is important to remember that development education and sustainability are issues which, in many ways, must begin at home. If we cannot have our own houses in order, it is arrogant of us to expect that others will do so.
  • We face significant challenges in development, even in lovely Meath. We have, for centuries, been ‘Meath of the Pastures’, home to Brú na Bóinne. We are now a focal point of what is called the ‘Ancient East’ as well.
  • Yet, as we seek to preserve and promote these aspects of our heritage, we also have to grapple with the fact that County Meath is part of an ever-expanding belt of urbanisation around our capital city.
  • We face the advance of motorways and infrastructure, as well as needing to build up our housing stock with a deal of urgency – an issue which I am grappling with in my current position. Thus, even at local level, we can see that development education is all about getting the balance right.
  • When the National Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development was formulated in 2014, under the last government, it was inspired by the overall national strategy, ‘Our Sustainable Future’.
  • I held a portfolio at the Department of Education and Skills when these strategies were developed and from the outset, we were determined that a number of key principles would form the basis of ESD in Irish schools.
  • These included the need to be locally relevant while also linking the local to the national and international; emphasise social justice and equity; and focus on values and promote active democratic citizenship and inclusion as a means of empowering the individual and the community.
  • Your work today has embraced all of those principles, and more beside.


  • We cannot reasonably expect countries and peoples who are far worse off than the Irish are, to just accept international laws and decisions which, in the short term, may be very difficult for them to accept.
  • This is why it can take so long for agreements to be reached by all nations, like the one in Rwanda recently which will see a major restriction on the use of CFC gasses, so damaging to the environment.
  • Of course, many countries are still slow to deal with the challenges of CFC and other forms of pollution because, quite simply, they have few other options and may have suffered from decades or centuries of underdevelopment or misrule.
  • It is essential that the wealthier countries, and I include Ireland in that, lead the way and show how it can be done. The biggest polluters, and ironically the biggest threats to development education, come from some of the most developed countries.
  • It takes a long time for things to improve in terms of global development, no matter how much the United Nations, European Union, UNESCO and others try.
  • Today, in Paris, a major UNESCO conference on the Sustainable Development Goals will conclude, for example. Even before that, we know that progress will be slow and painstaking and that even an end-date of 2030 may come too soon for the realization of some of the key goals.
  • This is quite frightening really. The United Nations, Council of Europe and many other influential bodies have identified major challenges facing many parts of the world, including gender inequality, poverty, racial discrimination, intolerance and injustice – and yet there seems to be no solution to many of them in sight.
  • This is where schools like your own come in, in a really meaningful way. It is for you, the inheritors of the Earth, its next generation of leaders, to seize the challenges and opportunities now presented to you, and make sure our world ‘develops’ rather than regresses.
  • It was, I believe, a statement from World Wise Global Schools which summed this up in another way last year: ‘Development Education is education for transformation and positive change.’
  • This is a tall order. If history teaches us anything, it is that we continue to make the same mistakes of previous generations, by and large. Only now the stakes are higher than ever. There are increasing global populations, widening gaps between rich and poor, more and more horrific methods of killing people in the name of some cause or other.
  • The battle for human rights, tolerance, inclusivity and a better world is being won, but only slowly and we need the help of all of you, as active participatory citizens.
  • We had a very stark reminder in recent weeks of the fragility of human existence in many areas of the developing world, with the frightful destruction and loss of life caused by the hurricane in Haiti. While the loss of life in a nearby developed country to the very same storm, was counted in single figures, the losses in Haiti were in their thousands and continue to rise, today.
  • If you peel back the layers, you will see that poverty, climate change, poor housing quality and lack of proper development are all aspects of this terrible disaster. We tend to call these events ‘natural’ disasters, but the solution, or at least the means of easing much of the suffering caused by them, is very much in ‘human’ hands.
  • In terms of Irish education, the recent introduction of a new Leaving Certificate subject, Politics and Society, is a very encouraging step in the right direction for us. I know my colleagues in the Department of Education and Skills were delighted at the interest shown by schools last year, when invited to apply for the subject.
  • Eventually, forty-one post-primary schools began teaching the new subject in September this year, and it will undoubtedly help to supply the country with more workers in the field of development education in due course. It will be available to all schools from 2018.
  • There are lots of other efforts going on at departmental and systemic level to promote development education. The revisions to Civic, Social and Political Education, the introduction of Digital Media Literacy, and the placing of human rights at the core of school, national and international viewpoints in Ireland.
  • You are the next generation of development education pioneers. As such, you are following in the footsteps of many giants, and Irish giants at that.
  • It is wonderful that you have had support and encouragement today, in addition to World Wise Global Schools, from representatives from many local and national bodies, including Irish aid workers whose organisations are among the foremost in the world when it comes to promoting and supporting development education.
  • Before I close, I must tell you that I was asked by Jenny to mention to you how you can go about lobbying and pressurising for greater action in this area.
  • The influence of the organisations represented here today, and others, has spread far beyond the bounds of Ireland, let alone Meath. If I were to give you one recommendation today on how best to have an influence on development education, I would tell you to join one of these organisations and become an active worker for change.
  • May I close by simply thanking you all again for the honour and privilege you have afforded me today. It has been lovely to be with you, and to share some thoughts on this absolutely vital conference theme with you.
  • There is an old saying: ‘Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh siad’ – ‘Praise the Youth and they will advance’. I think you have all come forward today in a really important way already, and I can assure you that any praise I am able to give you is very, very well deserved.
  • Thank you.


Claire Byrne Radio Show 15th Oct. 2016

Action Plan for Housing, Budget 2017, Education, Meath, Rebuilding Ireland, Wesmeath

Last Saturday I represented the Government on the Claire Byrne Radio Show panel along with Peadar Toibin, Sinn Fein TD Meath West, Richard Boyd-Barrett, People Before Profit TD for Dun Laoghaire, Patricia King, ICTU General Secretary & Dan O’Brien Columnist with The Sunday Independent & The Irish Independent & Chief Economist at the IIEA.

Issues discussed included Budget 2017, public sector pay and the ASTI dispute.

You can listen back on the link below:

Minister English congratulates O’Growney N.S., Athboy on new extension

Athboy, Education, Meath, North Meath, School extension, Skills

Monday, 17th October 2016

Log on to my Facebook to see some pictures from the event:

“It was a pleasure as a local T.D. for Meath West, and as a recent
former Minister of State in the Department of Education with an
interest in this project, to attend at the blessing of the new
extension to O’Growney N.S. Athboy by the Most Rev. Bishop Michael Smith.
The staff team led by Principal John Brennan and Deputy Principal Mary
Kearney, the voluntary Board of Management, Parents’ Association and
their students are all to be complimented on seeing through a
fantastic project which will benefit and uplift the whole community of
Athboy” stated local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien
English T.D. after attending the blessing of the new O’Growney N.S.
Athboy extension last week.

The project at O’Growney National School consisted of the construction
of a new 16 classroom school and ancillary accommodation and
equipment/furnishings, part demolition of the existing school building
and retention of the protected part of the existing building. The
project commenced on site on 18th May 2015 and the school building was
handed over on 21st June 2016 with all external work completed by the
19th September 2016 for its official opening last week.