Westmeath Co. Co. Annual Cathaoirleach Awards

Wesmeath

Westmeath County Council

Annual Cathaoirleach Awards  by Cllr Frank McDermott

Belvedere House and Gardens

12th May 2017.

Address by Minister Damien English.

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY PLEASE

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

As Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government I am delighted to be here with you this evening for this important annual event, the Westmeath County Council Cathaoirleach Awards ceremony.

Thank you to my colleague and friend, Cathaoirleach, Frank McDermott, and to all the members and management of Westmeath County Council for your kind invitation to be here.

As a public representative serving North Westmeath in Dáil Éireann, I am aware of the important role that the community and voluntary sectors play in the wellbeing of our nation.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you here tonight for your active participation in the community.

Thank you for giving your time so selflessly; for sharing your energy, enthusiasm, and expertise for the betterment of County Westmeath.

From the individual working on their own, to the group of like-minded people, you are ones who have a sense of social concern, of shared values, who have a sense of pride in their place and a sense of service towards their community.

Small tasks make a big difference to those who benefit directly, but, in many ways, the real winners are our communities which are made healthier by the multiplier effect of a positive volunteering spirit running through our society.

Each act of voluntary participation combines to form the cement that binds and unifies our society in common purpose and makes it a better place for its entire people. Voluntary participation is at the very heart of active citizenship and enriches and energises our democracy.

A key determinant of the health of society is the degree to which individuals are prepared to come forward to give of their own time on a voluntary basis. This essentially sums up the value of volunteering and the significance it has for the maintenance of a healthy society.

The extent of volunteering in a society is a barometer of its civic health. And in County Westmeath the barometer is set high.

On behalf of the Government I want to recognise the value of your engagement in volunteerism. I believe that a better and more inclusive society can be created by Government listening to the voluntary and community sectors as a reflection of the views of large numbers of its citizens.

My Department supports a range of volunteering organisations, including 21 volunteer centres across a range of counties, volunteering information Services in counties without a full-time volunteer centre and a range of volunteer supporting organisations such as Volunteer Ireland and Young Social Innovators.

While central Government has a key role to play in supporting the volunteering sector, local government also has an important role to play. In this context, I wish to acknowledge the significant funding distributed each year by Westmeath County Council to community and voluntary groups in the form of awards and grants.

The benefits of this level of engagement at local level are clearly demonstrated in the awards being given out tonight – across a range of very worthy categories including eco-schools, Tidy Towns and Person/Group of the year.

In Westmeath and equally throughout the length and breadth of our country, thousands of individuals and community organisations contribute, each and every day, to society in a number of ways from providing essential services in areas such as social care, to education, the environment, sport and much more.

Young and old together with a shared vision for their community, united in a common goal to carry out fundamental and crucial jobs for the betterment of others.

We must not and should not forget that or even take that dedication as a sort of ‘given’, as if it will happen anyway.

To do so, devalues and undermines selfless effort and most certainly does not bode well for the future of any community let alone any society.

I’ll conclude on a slightly different, but none-the-less related, theme. Government is, and remains determined, to promote active citizenship, to support a vibrant, diverse and effective community and voluntary sector.

Engagement with the community and voluntary sector can, and should, lead to a better reflection of the views of larger numbers of the population and, as a consequence, to the creation of a better and more participative society.

Government is also determined to facilitate having your voice heard and heeded in matters of importance to the locality.

In that regard I wish to highlight to you here tonight the work of the Public Participation Networks (or PPNs), which are the main link through which local authorities connect with the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors.

While still relatively new, I believe that the PPNs will be critical in facilitating greater engagement between active citizens, communities and local government into the future.

Finally, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this very prestigious event here this evening. I am confident it will be a tremendous success and in my mind everyone here present tonight is a winner.

ENDS

New funding of €327,103 for Cultúr in Meath welcomed by Minister English

Budget 2017, Funding, Meath, Navan

Local Fine Gael Meath West T.D. and Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal has welcomed €327,103 in funding for Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd, which is based in Navan  and is helping the integration of migrants in Navan and Meath.

The migrant integration projects being funded across the country, like Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd’s JUMP project locally will provide a range of practical supports directly to migrants including measures to promote integration, Anti-racism and cultural diversity initiatives.

“This grant will bolster the good work being carried out every day by
Cultúr Celebrating Diversity Ltd as a local community organisations in
support of migrant integration here in Meath, as well as being good
news for Navan” Minister English concluded.

Taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships, Election 2016, Jobs, Skills

“We are focussed on taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships” – Remarks by Minister English to National Fine Gael Skills event today Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 11am

Successful sports teams compete on the basis of fitness and skills.

So do successful economies.

Fine Gael and the sacrifices of the Irish people have restored Ireland’s economic fitness by stablising the National Finances.

Now we are focusing on taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Skills are the key achieving full employment.

This Government has an ambitious plan to create 200,000 jobs by 2020, but we can only fillthese jobs if our people have the skills to do these jobs.

That is why Fine Gael is focused on ensuring that all of Ireland’s citizens have access to the skills they need to succeed in life; and Irish business has the people with the skills they need to grow.

The National Skills Strategy launched in January, and these proposals we are announcing today, to double the number of apprenticeships to 31,000 through 100 new Apprenticeship Schemes mark a step change in the approach to skills development.

Apprenticeships are a tried and tested method of on the job training and skills development.

They offer young people a great way to build a worthwhile career.

We are expanding this approach to address skills needs across a much broader range of careers.

I would like to see every talented young person consider an Apprenticeship as an option for building their career.

Just like Jamie Oliver, Stella McCartney and Formula One Technical Director Ross Brawn did.

We are also proposing to create more and improved trainee ships, build on the Springboard and Momentum Programmes and support the creation of Technological Universities.

Our approach to skills development is based on partnership.

We listen to industry and work with them to address the skills needs they have.

That means that people can confident that the courses they do will result in a job.

That matters because as the Taoiseach has said “a job doesn’t just mean an income. A job can transform a life. Give a person a role and a stake. A job offers the chance to make a contribution. It helps young people, in particular, find their own path in life and strike out to a new future

Fine Gael in Government will deliver the skills to generate jobs and sustainable economic growth and help Ireland and its people strike out to a new and better future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Address to meeting of the INTO in Navan

Education, Election 2016, Meath, Navan, Wesmeath

Addressing a meeting of the INTO in the Newgrange Hotel, Navan, last
night ahead of the 2016 General Election, the Minister for Skills,
Research and Innovation at the Department of Education stated:

· Our ambition is to ensure that no child is left behind in the
economic recovery and that we use the benefits of a strong economy to
become a leader across all PISA rankings and in the provision of
quality higher education and skills.

· Provide an additional 3,224 Teachers

· Provide an additional 217 Speech and language therapists and develop
an in school speech and language service

· Ensure smaller class sizes, particularly in junior and senior levels
with a ratio of 18 to 1

· We will establish a new Schools Excellence Fund, to reward
collaborative approaches driven by schools and by parents themselves,
aimed at improving school outcomes, through the teaching of subjects
such as Maths, Science and Technology, key life skills programmes, and
pupil retention initiatives. We will prioritise those seeking to
tackle educational disadvantage.

· Our manifesto will have 4 priorities to invest in Schools, Education
and Teachers, strengthen leadership and innovation, improve parental
choice and invest in higher level.

In terms of achievements to date, Minister English highlighted:

Under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, three flat-rate increases will be
made to teacher salaries namely; increases to pay scale, restoration
of supervision and substitution, and reductions to the pension levy.
These measures have improved, in particular, the salaries of teachers
who are beginning their careers. We are abolishing USC putting money
back in the pockets of every worker.

By 2021 we will have reversed the public service pension reductions
introduced during the crisis.

Over €115m has been invested in continuous professional development.
A Centre for School Leadership was established in 2015 and will
support the continuum of professional development for school leaders.
We will continue to invest in our teachers.

Since 2012, we have invested over €1.35bn in improving school
buildings, in a second term we will be investing €2.8bn providing new
schools, extensions/refurbishments and 62,000 additional places to
cater for our growing pupil numbers.

Almost €200m has been provided to schools under the Summer Works
Scheme and the Minor Works Grant to enable schools to undertake
improvement works.

Since 2011 we have opened 42 new schools; 39 of which have a
multi-denominational ethos.  Eight schools have opened under the
patronage divesting programme to date.

Our Capital Plan provides an investment of €210m to upgrade school ICT
and the installation of robust wireless networks in all of our
schools. We have rolled out high speed broadband rolled-out to all 780
post primary schools.

We have provided over 4,000 additional teaching posts.

We have increased the number of resource teachers and special needs
assistants in the Irish school system by 29% and 13%.

Published an Action Plan on Bullying launched in 2013 to help prevent
and tackle bullying in primary and second level schools.

English launches Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future

Meath, Skills, Wesmeath

“The new Strategy is a key pillar in the Government’s plan to keep the
recovery going and build sustainable economic growth” – Minister
English

View pictures from the launch here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/merrionstreet-ie/albums/72157661677074244

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste today (Wednesday) launched the new National
Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future, along with local Minister for
Skills, Research, Innovation Damien English, TD, at the Blackrock
Further Education Institute, Dublin recently before the flag dropped
on General Election 2016.

The Strategy identifies Ireland’s current skills profile, provides a
strategic vision and specific objectives for Ireland’s future skills
requirements, and sets out a road map for how the vision and
objectives can be achieved.

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D.,
commented:

“Winning the war for talent is the key to keeping the recovery going
and for future sustainable economic growth.  The NationalSkills
Strategy will ensure our people have the skills they need to succeed
and that Irish Business has the skills it needs to expand.

“The critical success factor for this strategy will be the real
partnership between the education and enterprise sectors. I am
delighted that this strategy will put in the place the structures to
make that partnership a reality.

“Apprenticeships are an absolute central part of delivering the skills
enterprise needs and I would urge talented young people to look
seriously at an Apprenticeship as the foundation for a great career.”

The Strategy has been developed around six key objectives and a
comprehensive set of actions and measures aimed at improving the
development, supply and use of skills over the next 10 years.  Key
actions in the plan include:

·        Establishment of a new National Skills Council to oversee
research, forecasting and prioritisation of skills needs in the
economy.

·        Further development of the Regional Skills Fora across the
country to support increased employer engagement with education and
training providers to meet the skills needs of each region.

·        50,000 Apprenticeship and Traineeship places to be supported
over the period to 2020.

·        Further Education and Training and Higher Education providers
to produce employability statements for courses.

·        Development of an Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement
which will inform the development of entrepreneurship guidelines for
schools.

·        Making sure that all Transition Year, LCVP and LCA students
in schools and full-time students in further education and training
and higher education benefit from work placements, and tracking this
activity.

·        A review of guidance services, tools and careers information
for school students and adults to identify options for improvements.

·        A review of the School Leaver Age with a view to increasing it.

·        An increased focus on lifelong learning and a target to
increase participation in lifelong learning to 15% by 2025 (from 6.7%
in 2014).

The Department of Education and Skills will provide strong leadership
in order to ensure the Strategy is successfully implemented and these
actions are achieved.

The Strategy will aim to ensure that Ireland’s current and future
workforce needs are met through increased participation, educational
attainment, skills development and skill use to achieve greater
productivity and support economic and social prosperity and growth.

The Strategy Report is available at :
http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/pub_national_skills_strategy_2025.pdf

At a time when we need stability, Independents offer the opposite – English

Election 2016, Meath, Wesmeath

Minister Damien English TD has warned that the real contribution of Independents in the forthcoming election could be instability.

“A vote for an independent candidate could contribute to political instability at a time when our country needs certainty and continuity. As pointed out by the Taoiseach, Independents in government are like a three legged stool that wobbles every week.

“Various Independent groupings are jockeying for inclusion in government and at the Cabinet table. But they each come with their own shopping lists and ‘individual’ approach to doing business.

“Shane Ross’ Independent Alliance wants to accept ministerial posts but not attend cabinet meetings. This failure to take collective responsibility as members of government would not only be a recipe for chaos, but it is also unconstitutional.

“People know what they’re getting with Fine Gael. They don’t know what they’re getting with Independents. It’s time for them to start providing answers.

“As we approach the election, it’s not enough to shout from the rooftops, we need more than that. If they are asking people to vote for them, people deserve to know what they propose doing if elected. I challenge the Independents and newer political alignments to come up with credible, practical solutions to Ireland’s problems.

“In the run up to the last election Fine Gael proposed a clear policy platform — to help fix the public finances and get Ireland working again. We are indisputably delivering on that. Ahead of the election, we are asking people to stay with us so as to ensure Ireland’s recovery and continuing economic stability.

“Yesterday, we got another strong indicator of how Fine Gael’s approach in government has brought about stability and certainty when the international ratings agency Fitch announced that it was changing Ireland’s rating from A- to A, with a stable outlook. It also projected strong economic growth and steady improvements in our public finances. And, in a week in which our unemployment rate fell to 8.6 per cent, the agency also cited a strong projection for further employment growth.

“Fine Gael’s track record on the economy is that we have delivered stability, growth and certainty. We absolutely will keep the recovery going. Why risk our stability by giving your vote to an Independent?”

Discussing Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan on LMFM today

Action Plan for Jobs, Agher, Apprenticeships, Athboy, Ballinlough, Ballivor, Bohermeen, Budget 2016, Business, Castlepollard, Clonard, Collinstown, Enfield, Innovation, Jobs, Johnstown, Killyon, Longwood, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Oldcastle, Summerhill, Trim, Wesmeath

Discussing Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan on LMFM earlier today, listen below:

Boost of €100,552 for Meath volunteers – English

Funding, Meath

Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine
Gael T.D. Damien English has said that funding of €100,552 for Meath
Volunteer Centre will provide a great boost for Meath’s volunteers.
This is part of national funding of €3.15 million for volunteering
organisations.

“Funding of €100,552 has been allocated to Meath Volunteer Centre to
help support Meath’s volunteers for 2016. This money will add to that
being raised locally by many hard working volunteers.

“Volunteerism helps people to feel involved in their communities and
to participate in local events. Volunteers drive local development,
sports organisations and charities in all parts of the country and
this funding will help to support the structures behind this valuable
work. The importance of volunteers in our local communities cannot be
understated.

“There is a wide range of social and community initiatives operating
in Meath, all of which are only possible because of alliances that
have formed between communities, voluntary agencies, government, and
business. The level of professionalism, skill and cooperation that
exists among volunteers here in Meath has never been greater.

“This funding has been provided to support volunteer centres and
volunteer information services in all parts of the country including
here in Meath. A number of national organisations such as Volunteer
Ireland, Young Social Innovators, Chambers Ireland and Focus have also
received support under this scheme.

“Supporting volunteers in our community is extremely important and now
possible due to resources available from growing employment. Fine Gael
has a long term economic plan to keep the keep the recovery going and
job creation is at its core. The plan has three steps: more and better
jobs, making work pay more than welfare, and investment in better
public services, which will only be possible as a result of the
increased revenue generated by creating more jobs. This plan will
ensure that more people feel the benefits of a recovering economy in
their own lives.”

Minister English urges Meath West voluntary organisations in health sector to apply for Lotto funding

Funding, Health

Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, and Meath West
Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has urged Meath and Westmeath based
voluntary organisations in the health and disability sectors to apply
for the Department of Health’s National Lottery Grant Scheme. It
should be noted that this is a separate National Lottery Grant Scheme
to the one provided by the HSE locally.

Under the National Lottery Act (1986), the Department of Health
operates a National Lottery Discretionary fund under which it can
provide once-off grants to organisations for the provision of health
related services.  The fund is aimed at community groups and voluntary
organisations operating in Ireland providing health services to
specific client groups (like people with an intellectual and/or
physical disability), providing information and support for various
disabilities and illnesses or groups with a specific interest (like
providing equipment for hospitals, for example).

The closing date for receipt of application forms is 12 noon on the
6th May 2016.

If you have any queries relating to National Lottery funding, please
contact the Department of Health’s Finance Unit on 01-6354281 or
01-6354019.

Your organisation must have a valid tax clearance certificate or be a
registered charity to be eligible for a grant.  Click here  for more
information on getting a tax clearance certificate.

This funding is for ONCE-OFF INITIATIVES, NOT for ongoing running
costs or staff. Projects may like to apply for once-off programmes or
capital projects (including equipment or minibuses) for initiatives
addressing obesity/mental health/disability/health promotion/drug &
alcohol prevention.