€586,186 vote of confidence in Meath West towns and villages – English

Athboy, Ballinacree, Ballivor, Collinstown, Delvin, Dromone, Funding, Meath, North Meath, Oldcastle, Tourism, Wesmeath

Wednesday, 4th October 2017

8 Meath West projects to benefit under 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme

The Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, and Meath West Fine Gael
T.D. Damien English has today welcomed news that 8 rural towns and
villages across the Meath West Dáil Constituency are set to benefit
from over €900k in funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal
Scheme. The scheme is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for
Rural Development.

Commenting on the success of the 8 Meath and Westmeath rural town and
villages Minister
English stated: “Fine Gael in Government have placed a particular
emphasis on projects in rural Ireland which have the capacity to
support the economic development of rural town and villages as well as
their neighbouring townlands.  This scheme will also support
improvements to public amenities in town and village centres, to help
make them more attractive places in which to live and work and to
visit. I congratulate the local community groups concerned in
achieving this funding, and the local Councillors and Meath and Westmeath County
Council officials whom they and I liaise with to ensure this vital
funding for local communities. Congratulations again to all concerned”
concluded Minister English.

The 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which was launched in April
this year, focuses on projects which can help to enhance and develop
rural towns and villages, with a particular emphasis on stimulating
economic development.

The full list of projects funded in the Meath West Dáil Constituency
are set out below:

Athboy Convert Community Centre €100,000.00
Ballinacree Village Enhancement €29,200.00
Ballivor New Playground €90,000.00
Oldcastle Walkway Improvements €78,986.00
Dromone Village Enhancement €72,000.00
Collinstown Develop Village Centre €72,000.00
Delvin Signage,Surface dressing of Laneway,Improve lighting, Provide
Parking. €68,000.00
Killucan/Rathwire Improvement enhancement Town Park,Restoration of
Mass path,Address high level of derelection. €76,000.00

Meath West Dáil Constituency Total: €586,186

ENDS

Government funding to improve quality of school age childcare in Meath – Minister English

Childcare, Funding, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim
Friday, 18th August 2017
Funding of over €76,000 has been made available by Government to help
improve the quality of school age childcare in Meath according to
local Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Fine Gael T.D.
for Meath West Damien English.This is part of a nationwide allocation of €1.2 million from the School Age Childcare Capital Scheme announced by the Minister for
Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone.“This funding builds on the recent allocation of €70,000 in funding to
help new and existing services to increase the number of childcare
places that they provide here in Meath. In total Meath is receiving
over €176,000 in new funding this Summer 2017 alone to increase
capacity and improve the quality of childcare services.“Improving the quality of existing school age childcare services was
one of the key actions of the Action Plan on School Age Childcare,
published in March. Examples of how we do this given by Minister
Zappone include the provision of age appropriate play equipment to
stimulate children mentally and physically. The idea of this is to try
to replicate the home environment for children where they need to
avail of childcare afterschool.

Fine Gael is also delivering on its election commitment to help ease
the financial cost of childcare for hard-pressed working families. New
childcare supports coming on stream this September will benefit up to
70,000 children.

“A new universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, is
available for children aged from 6 months up to starting their free
pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months.

“In addition to this universal payment, there will also be further
childcare supports for families who need them most. Families on lower
incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, will be eligible for
supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15
years of age.

“The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up
jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, will now
be able to do so.

“Fine Gael is building a Republic of Opportunity, ensuring that
everyone has a fair chance to reach their full potential. Access to
employment and education is a big part of this. Yet childcare can
often be a barrier, where it should be a bridge to opportunity for
parents, their children and our economy.

“That’s why it’s so important we continue to invest in childcare here
in Meath in order to increase capacity, improve quality and help ease
the cost for parents.

“I strongly encourage all parents to visit – affordablechildcare.ie –
to see the supports available to their family here in Meath” concluded
Minsiter English.

ENDS

English: Ramparts Navan and Girley Bog Loop to benefit from Rural Recreation Projects funding

Funding, Heritage, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Tourism

Monday, 31st July 2017

“i am delighted to learn from Minister Michael Ring this morning that
Navan Ramparts (€10k) and Girley Bog Loop (€6k) in the Meath West Dáil
Constituency are to benefit under the 2017 Outdoor Recreation
Infrastructure Scheme” Minister for Housing and Urban Development and
Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has stated.

The Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural
Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor
recreational infrastructure and the maintenance, enhancement and
promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland.

“Recreational tourism is a growing sector in Ireland’s tourism
offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and
overseas visitors enjoying our local tourism and heritage offering in
Meath. This investment in the Ramparts in Navan and the Girley Bog
Loop will further enhance our outdoor recreational offering for both
locals and visitors alike” Minister English concluded.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

Navan Ramparts and Girley Bog Loop fall under Measure 1: Small
maintenance/promotion of existing infrastructure (maximum grant
€10,000)

The scheme will primarily be run by Local Authorities and State
Agencies, and funding will be provided to a maximum of 80% of total
project costs, with the balance to be provided from Local Authority or
other sources.

English urges Meath West Community Youth Groups to prepare to apply to €4m Capital Fund

Agher, Athboy, Ballinacree, Ballinlough, Ballivor, Bohermeen, Budget 2017, Castlepollard, Childcare, CLAR, Clonard, Collinstown, Education, Enfield, Funding, Johnstown, Killyon, Longwood, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Oldcastle, Summerhill, Trim, Wesmeath

Local community youth groups can apply from late September

Monday 31st July 2017

Meath West community youth groups are set to benefit from a €4m
capital fund being established by Government, Minister for Housing and
Urban Development Damien English T.D. has stated.

The money is being made available to allow clubs buy equipment which
will support their work with young people, and applications open in
late September. The Meath West Fine Gael T.D. is urging local
community youth groups to begin thinking about and preparing for their
application.

Minister English stated: “Nationally, over 1,500 volunteer led clubs
will be eligible to apply, reaching practically every community in the
country. I want to see Meath West getting its fair share. I encourage
Meath West clubs to examine which sports, arts, adventure or other
equipment they need the most and be ready to apply.’

Minister English saluted the youth group volunteers, stating: “These
volunteer led youth clubs do so much good work on the ground. They are
in the frontline providing young people with indoor and outdoor
activities to prevent them falling into trouble. They also improve
health, wellbeing and build team spirit in our communities.”

“The value of this work is not under-estimated by Government, hence
this new fund.The Application process for the funding is expected to
open in late September. I am happy to help local community youth
groups with their applications” concluded Minister English.

ENDS

€444k extra funding for childcare services in Meath – English

Childcare, Education, Funding, Meath, Navan, Wesmeath

19th July 2017

€444k extra funding for childcare services in Meath – English

Childcare services in Meath are to receive €444,983 in extra funding, Meath West  Fine Gael TD and Minister of State, Damien English has said.

The financial boost comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to accessible affordable quality childcare.

Minister English said: “I am delighted to confirm that 35 local childcare services in Meath will share in almost €450,000 in extra funding.

“The money will be used to provide more new childcare places, maintenance and building work as well as outdoor play areas and is available for immediate draw-down by providers here in Meath.

 “I hold the provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare as a very highest priority, ensuring local children get the very best start in life.

“My Government colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said €8.4m  in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase in €4,4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017.

“This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, and will contribute to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined in Budget 2017.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“From September an estimated 70,000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Meath.

“Families will benefit in two ways. First there is a universal support for all children aged 3 and under then there are supports for those families who need it most.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“I encourage parents in Meath to take the time to study the increased supports which are available and prepare for the autumn, by checking out the new website www.affordablechildcare.ie  or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre.

ENDS

Increase in minimum wage will benefit lower paid workers – English

Business, Funding, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Oldcastle, Wesmeath

18th July 2017

Increase in minimum wage will benefit lower paid workers – English

The Low Pay Commission is recommending an increase to the minimum wage
of 30 cents, bringing it to €9.55 per hour.

Fine Gael Minister of State for Meath West, Damien English TD,
believes this and other supports will greatly benefit lower paid
workers here in Meath West.

“Increasing the minimum wage is just one tool in a wider Government
programme to help the lower paid and incentivise people into work.

“Affordable Childcare is on the way this September, which will see up
to €1,040 per year for children in full time childcare.

“The latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows that show
that that Ireland is becoming more equal and that poverty is
decreasing.

“Fine Gael in Government recognises that higher levels of public
investment in social and economic infrastructure in Meath West, will
improve skills, childcare, and empower our communities.

“These are the building blocks for more inclusive, fairer and
sustainable patterns of economic growth in our society.

“The latest CSO Household Budget Survey shows that our economic
recovery is being used to reduce inequality across the country

“The ‘Household Budget Survey’ found that the gap between the highest
and lowest income households narrowed between 2009-2010 and 2015-2016.

“Economic and social progress go hand in hand. Only a strong economy
supporting people at work can pay for the services needed to create a
fair society.” Minister English said.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said: “The Government welcomes the
recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to increase the national
minimum wage by 30c to €9.55 per hour. It would work out as a €12
increase in a full 40 hour week.

“This would be a modest increase but it’s ahead of the rate of
inflation and average increases in earnings. It would be the fourth
increase in the minimum wage since 2011, and the second under this
Government, and a further step towards the Programme for Government
commitment for a minimum wage of €10.50.

ENDS

English urges Parents to look into Affordable Childcare Supports

Budget 2017, Childcare, Funding, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Wesmeath

11th July 2017

New website affordablechildcare.ie

Damien English, Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Housing and
Urban Renewal is urging Parents in Meath West to look into the new
childcare supports that can help them financially from September.

There have been over 173,000 page visits to an information website –
affordablechildcare.ie – in the past month alone as more and more
parents look into the supports available to them.

Minister English said, “I strongly encourage all parents here in Meath
West to log on to the website and get informed of the supports
available to them.

“Up to 70,000 children will have extra supports negotiated in this
year’s budget come into force at the start of the pre-school year,
with some children will receive childcare benefits up to €7,500. This
will really benefit families in Meath West

“We are enhancing existing targeted childcare supports by as much as
50%. There will be improved access to subsidies for providers – with
the traditional Community Childcare Scheme (CCS) being extended to
both community and private providers.

“Overall total spending on child care programmes this year is €466m –
representing a 79% increase on figures in 2015. Now we must ensure
that families receive the benefit of this.

“Families will benefit in two ways. Firstly, the changes will see a
universal benefit for every child under 3-years old. Universal
subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum, which will be available for all
children aged between 6 and 36 months in full time childcare.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those
parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because
they cannot afford childcare.

“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone has
said, this is the first big step, but there is still much work to done
in this area. I am assured that the Minister is focused on quality of
childcare, accessibility and also recognition for the workers who
provide services.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard
pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the
economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost
of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it
to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an
average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever.
Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Meath West can
avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they
need it. Fine Gael will continue to ease the financial burden on hard
press working families.”

ENDS

CF patients in Meath and Westmeath to benefit from access to Orkami and Kalydeco – English

Funding, Health, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim, Wesmeath

Friday, 14th April 2017

Cystic fibrosis patients in Meath and Westmeath are set to benefit
from a new deal between the Health Service Executive and
pharmaceutical company, Vertex, which will see Orkambi and Kalydeco
made available from next month.

The HSE are now working to finalise the contractual terms to make sure
we have the best and most robust deal possible for CF patients and the
healthcare service overall.

Minister Damien English says that the deal announced by Minister for
Health, Simon Harris is a landmark decision for CF patients and their
families. The HSE and Vertex have reached an agreement in principle on
the commercial terms for the supply to Irish patients of Orkambi for
patients aged 12 years an older and for Kalydeco for patients aged 2
to 5 years and for other treatments and age cohorts following market
authorisation in Europe.

“This is great news for CF patients here in Meath and Westmeath. I
know that this has been a particularly difficult time for all cystic
fibrosis patients and their families and hopefully this announcement
gives them some degree of relief and certainty.

“I want to thank my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Health,
Simon Harris, and the HSE for bringing this deal to fruition. I know
they have been working hard on this deal for a number of months.

Speaking of the announcement, Minister Harris said, “I was very
pleased to be in a position to bring this news to CF patients and
their families this week.  I hope that it will help to finally put
people’s minds at rest, knowing that the drugs their family and
friends need will be available to them from the beginning of next
month.”

ENDS

Community groups and schools in Meath/Westmeath should apply for CLÁR funding- English

CLAR, Funding, Meath, North Meath, Wesmeath

Tuesday, 4th April 2017

Community groups and schools in Meath/Westmeath should apply for CLÁR
funding- English

Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Fine
Gael T.D. for Meath West, has called on community groups and schools
in Meath and Westmeath to apply for funding through the CLÁR programme.

The programme, which has a budget of €5 million this year, forms part
of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development which was
launched in January 2017.

Grants are available for a wide variety of works in rural areas
including playgrounds, car parks, public lighting, bus shelters,
pedestrian crossings, speed safety signs and other safety measures at
schools.

Minister English said: “I would strongly encourage community groups
and schools in Meath and Westmeath to apply for funding through the
CLÁR programme.

“Funding will be made available for safety measures near schools and
other community facilities, as well as funding for play areas.

“The safety measures coupled with funding for playgrounds and
multi-use games areas will assist CLÁR areas to provide safe amenities
for their young people thereby increasing the attractiveness of an
area from both a social and economic perspective”.

“The scope of the programme will also be extended this year to provide
capital funding for innovative, community based projects that do not
qualify for other established schemes.

“Applications must be made through our local authority so I would
encourage groups and schools with an idea or project proposal to make
contact with Meath or Westmeath County Councils.”

Minister English added: “This year my colleague Minister Ring
announced a new initiative under CLÁR to support voluntary
first-response organisations who provide an excellent service in rural
areas, very often under very difficult circumstances.

“This funding will enable them to purchase or upgrade equipment that
is fit for purpose in assisting them in their life-saving activities.”

This is the second round of funding Minister Ring has announced,
having re-opened the CLÁR programme last October. The programme had
been closed for new applications by Fianna Fáil in 2009 which was a
huge loss to rural communities.

CLÁR forms part of a suite of measures introduced by Fine Gael to
support our rural communities. Other important schemes such as the
Rural Recreation programme and Town and Village Renewal Scheme will
also open for applications shortly.

These funding streams are an important part of the Action Plan for
Rural Development, Realising Our Rural Potential, which was launched
by Minister Heather Humphreys in January 2017.

The Plan provides a framework for a co-ordinated approach across
Government to support the economic and social development of rural
Ireland.

ENDS

Note to Editors

The scheme is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional,
Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and delivered, for the most part, by the
Local Authorities in consultation with local communities. Proposals
will be submitted to the Department for consideration and approval.

Full details of the scheme will be issued to the Local Authorities and
other relevant organisations.

Speech to Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland in Maynooth

Action Plan for Housing, Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Brexit, Budget 2017, Funding, Housing and Urban Renewal, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Rebuilding Ireland, Speeches, Trim, Wesmeath

Address by Mr. Damien English, T.D. Minister of State

at the

Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland /SCSI National Conference 2017:

on

Friday, 31 March 2017 at 4:15 p.m. at Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here this afternoon at the SCSI National Conference 2017 to explore the many difficult and complex challenges facing the construction sector which are being dealt with by your profession.

As you will all be aware, the Government and I have made it our number one priority to resolve the housing and homelessness crisis and under ‘Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’ we have set out a broadly based and comprehensive set of actions to do just that.

However we cannot implement this plan in isolation. We will need both collaboration and assistance from all of our partners involved in housing provision including industry professionals, such as SCSI members.

Shortage of critical Skills in the Construction Sector

To reach our Rebuilding Ireland objective to increase housing output to at least 25,000 homes per annum by 2021 – a doubling of 2015 output levels – requires the necessary skilled work force to be available.

It is crucuial that any new jobs created are available and accessible to those who are unemployed, and that their wealth of experience and talent can contribute to the recovery of the sector.

Significant work has been carried out under Rebuilding Ireland Department of Education; SOLAS; and the Apprenticeship Council with regard to improving skills and education in the sector and I would encourage continued consultation with the sector in that regard.

Affordability – Housing Delivery Costs

One of the challenges the Government faces is providing quality homes at a cost that is affordable. Under Rebuilding Ireland the Government committed to a broad range of measures to tackle, among other things, some of the costs associated with the provision of housing in the interests of reducing construction overheads.

This included a commitment to undertake a detailed analysis, in conjunction with the construction sector, to benchmark housing delivery input costs in Ireland, in order to facilitate an increased level of housing output into the future.

A working group, chaired by my Department, with a broad range of industry representatives was established late last year and has met several times. I am pleased to say that the group has benefited from positive contributions from industry including members of the SCSI.

Building Control Regulations – Reform

The aim of the building control regulatory framework is to ensure that a home or a building is designed and constructed in compliance with the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations.

Too many serious and unprecedented failures have affected our construction industry and economy over the past decade or so. Failures such as pyrite, defective blocks and fire safety which has given rise to difficulties and distress among the many affected homeowners.

The development of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. 9 of 2014) was introduced to empower competence and professionalism on construction projects and establishing a chain of responsibility that begins the owner who must assign competent persons to design, build, inspect and certify the building works and who, in turn, must account for their contribution through the lodgement of compliance documentation, inspection plans and statutory certificates.

Social Housing – Getting the balance right

My Department’s policy is to achieve an appropriate and balanced mixture of tenures in new developments in order to avoid large mono tenure estates where difficulties have necessitated considerable public expenditure in regeneration.

My Department provides guidance on the scale of social housing which would be suitable in a particular context or area. This guidance is based on the size of the host town or city and the proportionate nature of the development to ensure good social integration and cohesion. For example a maximum size of 75 dwellings in any single mono tenure housing development applies in large urban areas with proportional reductions in size for smaller towns and villages.

Ideally all developments should provide for a mix of tenures and dwelling sizes to cater for all. Consistent with this policy, Part V of the Planning and Development Act is structured to deliver Social Housing in private housing developments.

 Conclusions

Returning to a normally functioning housing and construction sector is critically important in order to support economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability which will benefit all of our citizens.

While there are many challenges currently facing the housing and the wider construction sectors, we remain fully committed to meeting these challenges.

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for inviting me here today and I wish you every success over the remainder of your conference.

Thank you