Gael Form Ltd from Meath takes Grand Prix Award at the 2015 Bank of Ireland Startup Awards

Business, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups
Grand Prix Winner: Pictured at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards are Minister Damian English with the Bank of Ireland  Grand Prix Startup Award winners Charlie McCarron and Colm Griffin from Gael Form Ltd, Ashbourne , Co Meath with Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive Retail Ireland at Bank of Ireland.

Grand Prix Winner: Pictured at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards are Minister Damian English with the Bank of Ireland Grand Prix Startup Award winners Charlie McCarron and Colm Griffin from Gael Form Ltd, Ashbourne , Co Meath with Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive Retail Ireland at Bank of Ireland.

Partsyard.ie won Innovative Startup of the Year Award

Gael Form Ltd from Meath has won the Grand Prix Startup of the Year Award at the Bank of Ireland Startup Awards 2015. Gael Form Ltd was also awarded the gold award in the Service Startup of the Year category, at the awards ceremony which took place in November in Croke Park in Dublin. Special Guest on the night was Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and local Meath West T.D. Damien English. who presented the award. Partsyard.ie also from Meath won the gold award in the Innovative Startup of the Year Award category.

Established in 2012, the Startup Awards recognise innovative, successful and aspirational Irish start-up companies who have launched their businesses in the last three years. This year, awards were presented to deserving winners across 11 categories including tech, retail, product and innovation with gold, silver and bronze winners been awarded in each category.

 

Minister English highlights Tara Mines impact on Meath economy at national launch for €18 million in Geoscience research

Innovation, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Research and Innovation
Photo of Prof. Mark Ferguson, John Ashton, Chief Exploration Geologist, Boliden Tara Mines Limited and Minister English at iCrag Launch.

Photo of Prof. Mark Ferguson, John Ashton, Chief Exploration Geologist, Boliden Tara Mines Limited and Minister English at iCrag Launch.

RTE 6.1 News coverage: http://www.rte.ie/news/player/six-one-news-web/2015/1202/

On December 2nd local T.D. and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English officially launched iCRAG, the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. The new Research Centre will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy locally and nationally Minister English said.

The centre will receive funding of €18 million from Minister English’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8 million from 55 industry partners that include Tara Mines owner Boliden, as well as Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, said, “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to continue to build on the major achievements in scientific research with a focus on turning great ideas into good, sustainable jobs and keeping our recovery going. iCRAG is an exciting new research centre which will ultimately grow jobs and support further participation in the STEM sector.”

Tara Mines

“Ireland has a 50 year history of zinc and lead mineral exploration and production. The industry has employed many people particularly in Meath – where Tara Mines is Europe’s largest zinc mine and the world’s ninth largest, it makes a major contribution to the economy of Navan and the wider county. We need to encourage and support industry in their efforts to find the next Navan, and extending the life of this important sector for our economy” Minister English said.

iCRAG will help companies de-risk the exploration for groundwater, hydrocarbons and minerals. This will ultimately help companies explore our natural resources for our benefit. At a time when 95% of our fossil fuels are imported, iCRAG research will help to decrease the risks of Irish exploration and attract more companies to invest in exploration. Security of access to energy is a critical issue for Ireland, given our huge dependence on imported fuels.

Clean Water

Security of access to clean water is a basic requirement for the people of Ireland. Surprisingly nearly 20% of that water comes from under the ground and has to be discovered by geologists. Modern industries are becoming more water hungry, e.g. the IT sector with Facebook’s location at Clonee in Co. Meath, and agri-business. Some of the main growth areas for Ireland are underpinned by the provision of secure supplies of water. iCRAG’s research will help to better discover and sustain these important sources of water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enfield, Meath, School extension

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

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

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

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

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

Meath schools and students to benefit from new facilities

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

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

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

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

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

Enfield

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

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

National crackdown of habitual burglars will help Meath and Westmeath – English

Law and Order, Meath, North Meath, Wesmeath

With Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Local Meath West Fine Gael T.D. and the Minister for Skills, Research
and Innovation Damien English T.D. has stated the new nationwide
crackdown on crime codenamed ‘Operation Thor’ launched today targeting
the worst offenders in the State will benefit Meath and Westmeath.

Six criminal gangs and more than 200 habitual burglars have been
identified by Gardai for Operation Thor.

Among those identified by Gardai are six mobile gangs – based mainly
in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Sligo – who are suspected of carrying
out nightly robberies using high-powered cars on the motorway network,
leaving Counties like Meath and Westmeath particularly vulnerable as
they are well served by the motorway network and easily accessible.

New Garda resources and measures as part of this crackdown will
include regional support units and traffic corps patrolling the
motorway network, backed up by local personnel.

Minister English commented:

“This Government has ended the moratorium on Garda recruitment, with
1,150 Gardaí being recruited. We have invested over €34 million in new
Garda vehicles since 2012 with over 640 new vehicles coming on stream
in 2015, ranging from more Garda patrol cars to high-powered vehicles
for armed units. This will ensure Gardaí can be mobile, visible and
responsive, on the roads and in the community. We are also investing
in airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems.

“In addition in excess of €5 million is being committed to support
Operation Thor. This allocation, which includes funding for Garda
overtime will support a combination of additional patrols,
checkpoints, rapid armed response and public awareness measures.”

Why Fine Gael is NOT a party of the elite

Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2016, Business, Meath, Research and Innovation, Speeches, Wesmeath

Fianna Fáil’s efforts to paint Fine Gael as a party of the elite are fatally undermined by this week’s budget…

FIANNA FÁIL’S NEWEST line of attack , which finance spokesman Michael McGrath has been pushing on this website, is that Fine Gael doesn’t care about ‘ordinary’ people.

Given that Fianna Fáil screwed virtually every ordinary person in the country, the irony of this statement will not be lost on many people. This week’s budget, as with its predecessors, provided clear evidence that ordinary people are at the heart of Fine Gael’s budgetary priorities.

We reduced the rate of USC on low and middle earners from 7% to 5.5%. Low and middle earners are the focus of our tax cuts. That’s why there’s no relief on earnings over €70,000.

We believe that people should be rewarded for their work and, from January, 42,000 lower earners will no longer have to pay any USC. This means that by next year 450,000 will have been removed from the USC net by this government.

There is also a 50 cent increase in the rate of pay for minimum wage workers on the way. A full time minimum wage worker will see their annual take home pay increase by €708, a 4.2% increase, while a person earning €55,000 will see their take home pay increase by €677 or 1.8%.

The Budget also provided a €550 self-employed tax credit for small business owners, many of whom are just about getting by.

There was also a €3 per week increase in the old age pension, a €5 increase of child benefit and the commitment to provide a second year of free pre-school care, which will significantly benefit working parents and people considering having children.

So much for not caring about ordinary people.

Fine Gael is committed to ensuring that there is work for everyone who can work and that people are incentivised to work.

We also implicitly understand that lower taxes lead to further job creation. More people at work means more money for the State to spend on services like health and education and on providing strong social protection to those who are out of work or unable to work.

Not a party of the elite

mcgrathOn Fine Gael, Micheal McGrath told TheJournal.ie recently: I don’t think they care too much about ordinary people.Source: TheJournal.ie

Michael McGrath is a very capable politician and will probably be the next leader of Fianna Fáil. But I don’t believe for one moment that he actually believes the guff he is spouting.

His comments reflect a clear effort to portray Fine Gael as a party of the elite, but Michael Noonan’s Budget emphatically debunks that notion.

When I go to a Fine Gael branch meeting I meet a lot of ordinary, decent individuals who care about their community and their country. I am fairly sure that McGrath meets the same kind of people at his local cumann as does every TD when they meet their supporters. I’m sure he and Fianna Fáil care about ordinary people – virtually everyone in politics does – but caring is not enough.

Politicians are not paid to care, they are paid to deliver. Fianna Fáil has failed on this front.

In government it presided over the economic equivalent of a head on car crash. Over 300,000 ordinary people lost their jobs, saw the value of their homes plummet, struggled to pay their mortgages and make ends meet.

This government had a plan. Like all rehabilitation plans it was hard, it required sacrifices, but thanks to the resilience of ordinary Irish people it worked.

Fianna Fáil’s alternative budget doesn’t stack up. Demographic changes mean that an extra €300 million a year is needed in education and health just to keep the current level of service. Around €267 million is needed to pay for the Lansdowne Road Agreement on public sector pay increases next year. Fianna Fáil did not account for either of these in its costings.

The Irish economy is in recovery but still has a long way to go. The challenge for the next government will be to ensure that the recovery is sustainable and that we don’t see a return to boom and bust economics.

The choice facing the Irish people in the forthcoming election is clear: Do you chose a government with a strong record of delivery and a vision for sustainable growth, or take a chance on a party without a plan?

Damien English is Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation and a Fine Gael TD for Meath West.

Minister English’s Budget 2016 Speech

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Budget 2016, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Wesmeath

On Wednesday night 14th October I addressed the Dáil on Budget 2016:

This budget is designed to support the recovery, hard pressed families and begin future proofing the economy.

This budget is neither the hair shirt budget that some Economists have called for, nor is the silk shirt that the opposition seem to think we can afford, rather it is a prudent budget that will create jobs.

It will remove barriers to work and make work pay, grow the economy and keep the recovery going while reducing the current account deficit.

Business in Ireland has welcomed this budget. Danny McCoy of IBEC said “The budget is right for the economy at this time and signals a new phase of economic development. The crisis is behind us and we are planning ahead. The Government has taken on board the concerns of business, reduced tax and encouraged private investment.”

ISME and the SFA have also welcomed the Budget. The SFA Chairman, A J Noonan stated “This Budget is a strong endorsement by Government of the importance of entrepreneurship and small business in Ireland.”

But this is not just a budget for business and jobs, it is also a budget for our young families.

My constituency of Meath West has one of the highest concentrations of young families in the country, with a youth dependency ratio of over 38%.

You only have to walk around the streets of Navan, Trim or Enfield to see just how young our communities are. Our young population means we can look forward to a more hopeful future, but families cannot live on hope alone.

They need help now and this budget does just that.

Cutting USC, raising child benefit, and extending the free preschool scheme to accommodate all three to five year olds will benefit young families in Meath West and throughout the country.

These families endured a lot of the pain in the recession it is only right that they get some of the gain from the national recovery.

Talk to any parent on the doorsteps in Meath West – education and the future of our children is a major focus. This budget will reduce class sizes; it will recruit an additional 2,260 teachers.

This budget will deliver a better education to our children and will invest in career guidance. This will help our children chose the courses and the skills they need to get a good job and build a better future.

With this budget young school leavers will now have a lot more choice in their career paths.

We are investing an additional €10.5m to effectively double the number of Apprenticeship Schemes available in Ireland.

These 25 new Apprenticeship Schemes will cover areas such as

ICT,

Transport and Logistics,

Financial Services,

Tourism and Hospitality

and the bulk of these will be delivered in 2016.

We need to refocus the third level system to create a more enterprise responsive educational system; we need to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Future proofing the Economy is all about building skills at all levels including our pool of research skills.

Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend on our continued investment in science, technology and innovation.

This investment is all about developing:

A competitive knowledge based economy and society;

Driving innovation in enterprise;

Building human capital

And maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress.

Investment in research and development is crucial for creating and maintaining high-value jobs.

In addition to the investment announced yesterday, my Department will be allocating an additional €29m specifically for investment in research and innovation to spend before the end of this year.

In addition to this, the overall 2016 capital investment will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

Support 100 Innovative High Potential start Up Companies in 2016 employing 2,000 people.

Issue six Competitive Start Fund calls with a target of financially supporting 85 innovative entrepreneurs.

Fund over 100 in-company R&D projects for companies that are valued in excess €100,000, and

Continue the development of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the wider national Technology Transfer system to create 30 new spinout companies

For Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the 2016 allocation will:

Continue to fund the 12 SFI Research Centres, which represents an investment of €355m from the government and €190m from over 200 industry partners.

Train some 3000 researchers for key positions in Industry

Science Foundation Ireland will also undertake a recruitment campaign in partnership with the Irish Universities to attract world-class researchers.

I am pleased that Ireland’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) will continue to support a growing number of Irish companies in the rapidly expanding European and Global space markets. In this sector we will see:

A doubling of sales to over €80m

A rise in total employment to over 2,300, and

An expansion in the number of companies actively engaged with ESA to over 75

We are competing in an ever more competitive global environment. I am therefore pleased to report that work is almost complete on a new Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

It is now time for fresh strategic ideas to make research work to maximum effect for the country.

The vision for the new Strategy will be underpinned by 5 key goals:

an internationally competitive research system;

excellent research with relevance and impact for the economy and for society;

a renowned pool of talent in both academia and industry;

a joined-up research eco-system, responsive to emerging opportunities;

and a strong innovative enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports.

We need to ensure that we have a world leading state-of-the-art research and innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

I am confident that the upcoming Strategy will provide us with the roadmap to deliver on this ambition for Ireland.

To conclude a Leas Ceann Comhairle,

This Budget charts a responsible, prudent path to fiscal stability, economic growth and opportunity.

The Budget marks a new stage in Ireland’s road to full recovery and a more sustainable future.

It will support that recovery and will begin to future proof the economy.

I commend this budget to the House and to the country.

Minister English welcomes €10.5 million for new Apprenticeships in Budget 2016

Apprenticeships, Jobs

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, has welcomed the provision of €10.5 million to expand the apprenticeship programme. The Government has, in Budget 2016, increased the National Training Fund allocation for apprenticeship from almost €50 million to over €60 million. This will allow for the development of new apprenticeship programmes and cater for increased registrations in existing trades.

Minister English said that “since my appointment, I have been committed to developing our apprenticeship system. We now have high quality proposals identified by the Apprenticeship Council in new areas such as ICT, Transport and Logistics, Financial Services and Tourism and Hospitality. This funding will allow for their development into new apprenticeships in 2016”.
He continued by stating that “Apprenticeship is an excellent route to a sustainable high quality career for young people as well as delivering highly skilled and job ready employees to meet the skill needs of industry. I am delighted that we are not just expanding apprenticeship into new areas but that registrations on existing programmes are continuing on an upward curve after a number of very difficult years”.
“The increase in registrations with employers for existing Apprenticeships which are up almost 20% in 2015 over 2014 are a clear vote of confidence in the future by both employers and young people. The Irish economy is now in recovery mode after many years of recession.” said Minister English “and investing in skills is one of the best things we can do to ensure we build a sustainable recovery and future proof the Irish economy.”
Minister English also welcomed that Budget 2016 will enable some 270,000 further education and training places to be delivered through SOLAS funding to the Education and Training Boards and through Skillnets.
The Minister said that “the Government has delivered major reform of the further education and training sector through new structures and processes that will enable provision to be targeted effectively to meet the needs of learners and employers. I am confident that SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards will carefully plan the delivery of these places to deliver the maximum positive impact for learners and for the economy.”

Ireland is “Forging ahead” in R&D, English tells GEN Magazine

Business, I.T., Research and Innovation

I was delighted recently to sit down with GEN Ireland and be interviewed for their magazine about my work as Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, and the work we are doing in Ireland to put Research, Development and Innovation at the coalface of our economic recovery.

You can see a video of my interview here:

From a standing start 10 or 15 years ago, Ireland has shot up the international league tables for R&D and Innovation.  This did not happen by accident.  Successive Governments, including the one in which I have the honour of serving as Minister, have realised its potential, and given it priority, protecting funding and pursuing top level talent, even in bad economic times.

But now we must plan and grow for the future too.  We cannot afford to stand still.  Therefore the Irish Government will be publishing a new strategy for science, technology and innovation in October that will target increasing the country’s investment in research and development (R&D) from 1.7pc of GDP in 2014 to 2.5pc by 2020.

You can read the full article here:

http://www.thinkirelandinc.com/uncategorised/forging-ahead-minister-damien-english-leads-the-global-charge/