English welcomes news of €47,000 for new Meath Sports Partnership project

Funding, Meath, Navan, Sport, Tourism, Trim

Friday, 15th December 2017

Meath one of 11 Counties to benefit from Urban Outdoor Adventure
Initiatives under Dormant Accounts Fund

Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal
Damien English has welcomed news from the Department of Rural and
Community Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and
Sport, that Meath Sports Partnership is to benefit from €47,000 in
funding under the Dormants Accounts Fund.  Meath is one of 11 Counties
chosen to benefit from ‘Urban Outdoor Adventure Initiatives’.

The successful Meath Sports Partnership project is a kayaking
programme that will run in Navan and Trim. The project seeks to create
new opportunities for traveller community with training provided to
participants in kayaking. There will be investment in equipment
necessary for this project. Equipment will be also utilised by local
clubs, schools, and youth groups and on other programmes after this
initiative is complete. “This means it is an investment both now and
for the future for Navan, Trim and Meath” stated Minister English.

ENDS

Address by Damien English, T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development at Fine Gael National Conference

Action Plan for Housing, Active Retirement, Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim, Wesmeath

Slieve Russell Hotel, 11th November 2017

PLEASE CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

The ageing of our population is of prime significance to Government and presents challenges and opportunities on many levels.

By 2045, it is projected that there will be double the number of 65-year-olds in this country, and we need to make sure that we plan for and cater for our ageing population.

We must recognise the critical role played by older people in society, many of them with skills and expertise already in short supply, who must be given every opportunity to contribute as active members within their wider community.

We must also seek to increase and enhance the opportunities for active participation. The quality of life of the older members of our communities is something that concerns us all, and demands a cohesive, inclusive and comprehensive approach at all decision making levels.

A vital element of the quality of life of older people lies at the decision making at local authority level.

This is the level that is in immediate contact with the community, and indeed is part of the local community. Decisions made at this level greatly determine safety within local communities, the quality of accommodation and the physical environment, service provision and the accessibility to these services.

Such services are of limited use without the means to access and utilise them, and this is true for all members of our communities. In planning to make our communities age friendly, we also meet the needs of many other service users.

The planning of such services is vital, as poor decision making can have the counter effect of causing rather than solving problems. Of course appropriate decision making and planning will benefit many service users, and it is critical that local authorities take the key leadership role of bringing together relevant agencies and service providers.

Central to the planning of such services is consultation with services users, involving them in the decision making process.

The establishment of Older People Councils has ensured this consultation, and has allowed plans to be developed and agreed locally, providing inclusion, involvement and accountability for all key stakeholders.

This approach represents local government at its best and it is a prime example of giving effect to the need for integrated services through thorough engagement and planning.

It is Government policy to support older people to live independently and with dignity in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

While acknowledging the effect that this can have on reducing reliance on health and social services, the benefits to the individual in terms of well-being and community inclusion are of equal, if not greater importance. After all, it is the individual who is the heart of the community. It’s really about making Ireland a great place to grow old.

In terms of my own brief, older people have specific housing requirements, including proximity to family and social networks. Access to public and other essential services, recreation and amenities is also vital. Therefore, there is a requirement for a range of housing choices and options to be made available to older people, involving a cross Departmental, multi agency approach.

Following a housing summit two years ago, an inter-agency Housing Working Group led by Age Friendly Ireland set out to explore the options to better accommodate older people within their community rather than in residential care. They carried out extensive research, workshops with older persons, and there was active collaboration between stakeholders including the Irish Council for Social Housing, the HSE, the Department of Health, Dublin City Council and my own Department.

Among the recommendations put forward in the Report is the development of a pilot project of 50 – 60 dwellings suitable for the elderly. A steering committee has already been formed to oversee progress.

It is intended that the collaborative process, leading to the commencement of the project, will set the standard for roll-out of future schemes.

Of course, the challenge will then be how to take local models of good practice to a wider network, in a way that consistently applies age friendly initiatives.

Key to this is innovation, and developing adaptable and smart homes to support assisted living for older people in their homes.

In this context, the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness committed to supporting a design challenge to provide solutions for older people within the built environment.

As mentioned, the challenge for all of us is to ensure cooperation and teamwork between service providers.

An example of this is the case of the Age Friendly Programme, which provides a real opportunity to transform communities in a positive and collaborative environment, to make them as age friendly and inclusive as possible.

The programme allows us to learn from each other and be better placed to deliver the services older people within our communities deserve.

We all need to be involved in taking the strong foundations of the community and building on them.

It is, without a doubt, the people that make a community work, as the old Irish saying goes ‘Ní neart go chur le chéile’ – there is no strength without unity!

Together, we need to build and perpetuate that vital sense of community that has and always will be the bedrock of Irish society, whether that is through leading, or supporting those leaders, towards the development of age friendly communities throughout Ireland and across Europe.

Thank you.

Meath and Westmeath Libraries set to benefit from over €456k in Local and Nat. Govt. funding – English

Library Services, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Science, Skills, Wesmeath

Thursday, 9th November 2017

Libraries in Meath are set to benefit from €206,644 in Government
funding, whilst in Westmeath Government has allocated €135,486, local
Minister Damien English T.D. has said. This will be matched with Local
Authority funding of €68,881in Meath and €45,162 in Westmeath
resulting in a total investment of €456,171 in Libraries in Counties
Meath and Westmeath.

The funding was announced this week by the Minister for Rural &
Community Development, Michael Ring TD.

Minister English said this represents an unprecedented Government
investment in our Meath and Westmeath public libraries. The funding
will allow for the modernisation of our library service and for the
extension of library opening hours.

Minister English continued “This investment package comprises €342,130
into Counties Meath and Westmeath from the Department of Rural and
Community Development, supplemented by additional funding locally of
€114,043 from the 2 Counties. This funding is in addition to
significant funding already provided by Minister Ring’s Department for
public libraries here this year.

“Here in Meath West this investment will enable the implementation of
our new public library strategy which will be launched early next year
and which will be focused on modernising the public library service
and enhancing the range and quality of services available to users.
It’s an ambitious strategy which is aimed at increasing library
membership and usage of our public libraries. This programme of
funding demonstrates Fine Gael’s continued commitment to the public
library service over the coming five-year period of the strategy.”

Minister Ring said: ““This is an exciting time for the public library
service and for library staff. The roll out of self-service technology
in our libraries will free up librarians who can use their expertise
to assist library users and direct people to the many excellent
services offered by the libraries.

“The public library service has recently introduced a single library
management system and a national distribution service that provides
branch to branch collection and delivery.

“Through this ground-breaking new lending service there is access to
15 million items for all library users in Ireland and nationwide
access to all library services.”

ENDS

Launch of the Be Winter-Ready Campaign

Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim, Wesmeath

Speech by Mr. Damien English, T.D.,

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY PLEASE

8th November 2017

I am delighted to be here today with my colleagues, Mr. Simon Harris, Minister for Health, Mr. Michael Ring, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Paul Kehoe, Minister of State at the Department of Defence, and Mr. Kevin “Boxer” Moran, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief and to be associated with the Be Winter Ready campaign, now in its sixth year.

I am delighted to see how the campaign has developed and grown over the years. The campaign aims to provide advice to individuals, communities, and businesses to enable them to prepare for the coming winter.

The value of this preparedness and the importance of providing accurate information and advice to the public was demonstrated as recently as three weeks ago when Storm Ophelia impacted the country. This weather event was unprecedented in its potential impact and severity and precipitated the issuing of a RED LEVEL weather warning for the entire country, the first time this had ever been done.

Tragically 3 people lost their lives during the storm. However, I have no doubt that this number would have been considerably higher without the timely and accurate information and advice provided by the public authorities that enabled people to take action to protect themselves and their property. The preparedness and resilience of individual citizens also had a great part to play in this and in how quickly communities recover from severe weather emergencies.

During and following the storm communities and individuals worked together with the Principal Response Agencies, demonstrating remarkable resilience and resourcefulness to further bolster the response effort. Initiatives and campaigns such as Be Winter Ready contribute enormously to this preparedness and the quality and accuracy of the advice it contains enables this combined effort and helps build trust in the public authorities.

Speaking of preparedness, it is also important that we are ‘Winter-Ready’ with regard to homeless rough sleepers.

Preparations are currently underway across all the major urban local authorities to ensure that additional safe and secure accommodation is available for rough sleepers during any periods of cold winter weather.

Approximately 200 new emergency accommodation spaces will be in place before Christmas. These are additional bed spaces available for single homeless persons which will remain in the system for as long as they are required.

My Department is assigned the Lead Government Department role for the response to severe weather events and takes on the task of convening and leading the National Emergency Coordination Group, which brings together the entire panoply of Government, when severe weather events, such as flooding, occur.

My Department convened a National Emergency Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather in anticipation of the arrival of Storm Ophelia. The Group continued to meet during the storm and in the days following to bring a “whole of Government” response to bear in dealing with this crisis.

My Department is now undertaking a wide-ranging review of the response to Storm Ophelia so that lessons can be identified to further refine and improve how we respond to other emergencies that will occur in the future. The review will engage key stakeholders and representatives of all organisations involved in the response at both national and local level will be invited to participate in a number of debriefing sessions that my Department plans on holding over the coming weeks.

We have just concluded a meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning which dealt with winter-preparedness and where a comprehensive briefing was provided from across the range of Government Departments and Agencies.

My colleagues and I are jointly launching this campaign to emphasise the ‘whole of Government’ approach that is in place.

The main message is simple; be prepared, stay safe and know where to find help if you need it.

 

Thank you.

Fire Safety at Halloween 2017

Fire Safety, Firefighters, Halloween, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim, Wesmeath

Halloween is a fun time for children and adults alike, but it presents
many fire risks.

Fire Services respond to an increased number of incidents, including
bonfires, at this time of year. Bonfires are extremely dangerous and
can cause people to suffer serious injury due to hazardous items being
ignited.

This Halloween, I am urging people to consider their own safety and
the safety of others by being extra careful. Careful does not mean not
having fun, it just means taking into account some simple steps.

In particular, I am urging people to:

– Attend only legal, safe and supervised organised events in your area
– Keep a safe distance from bonfires and fireworks and obey the advice of stewards
– Use battery-operated candles if possible
– Never leave lit candles unattended. Place them in a safe holder where
they are unlikely to be knocked over, away from fabrics and draughts.
– Make sure that costumes have a CE mark and keep them away from naked flames
– Be sure that children know how to “stop, drop and roll” if their
clothing was to catch fire
– Keep pets indoors
– Test all your smoke alarms and replace batteries if necessary

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

ENDS

Meath continues to be at the forefront of Innovation and Entrepreneurship after 5,000 years – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Brexit, Business, I.T., Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Research and Innovation, Wesmeath

Friday, 22nd September 2017

“Meath continues to be at the forefront of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship after 5,000 years.” That’s the view of local Minister
for Housing and Urban Renewal, and Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West
Damien English, speaking after comparing and analysing the jobs data
between the most recent 2016 Census, and the 2011 Census which took
place during Ireland’s recessionary period.

“In 2016 83,254 people in Meath had a job, this is 8,917 more people
than in 2011. Meath based companies who were supported by our State
agencies such as the IDA or Enterprise Ireland employed 8,732 people
in Meath in 2016. This figure is up 2,134 people on the 2011 figure,
or 32%. These jobs are particularly important as they represent jobs
within the County meaning less commuting. They represent native
entrepreneurial spirit and local relevant skills and are mostly export
orientated” stated Minister English.

“Companies supported by our Local Employment Office as part of Meath
County Council employed 927 people in 2016.  This figure was up 86 on
the 2015 figures, a rise of 10%.  On the unemployment front 10,533
Meath people were unemployed in 2016, down 5,769 on the 2011 figure,
or 35%.  Clearly the National and Regional Action Plan for Jobs are
working, in tandem with Meath County Council’s Economic Development
Plan and the work of Meath LEO and Meath Enterprise, but we need to
constantly renew and refine our efforts until every one wants a job
has one, and that job is as local as possible. In this regard I will
continue to back plans for the Boyne Valley Food and Innovation Hub
and the Meath Digital Hub for our County” stated Minister English.

“This  month the unemployment rate fell nationally again to 6.1%, its
lowest rate in 9 years.  These new jobs both locally and nationally
represent dignity and opportunity for people old and young.  New jobs
allows people to fulfil their dreams and their potential, we want to
continue creating that opportunity for everyone who wants it”
concluded Minister English.

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

Statement by Minister English regarding Water Pipe burst in Navan

Meath, Navan, Water

Tuesday, 1st August 2017

Like many Navan residents I am very concerned by the Main Water Pipe
burst at Proudstown early this morning. I am in my Department this
morning.  I have had discussions with officials and a full briefing on
this crucial issue for Navan.

Irish Water have assured my Department that they are working on site
to repair the major burst, and that they expect full supply to be restored
later today. I will continue to liaise with Irish Water, my
Department, and Meath County Council throughout the day to monitor
progress on the repairs.

If Irish Water fails to meet their target of today, I have asked Irish Water, my Department and Meath County Council to ensure their back up plan is then ready to implement.

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