All posts by admin_exsite

Health

In the past 4 years our local hospitals have carried out over 185,000 procedures, an increase of 31,000 or 20%, over 132,000 patients at A & E, an increase of 18,000 or 1 6%. This has been achieved at a time of declining resources. It has not been enough to prevent rising waiting lists. However, this year, for the first time in seven years, we have been able to increase staff and reopen beds. As we get more people back to work, more will be possible.

Dublin City Transport

City Planners expect a 20% increase in morning peak journeys over the next 8 years. However, they plan that the number travelling by car will have to fall by 25% if the city centre is to cope. This will reduce car journeys to just 1 in 5 in the morning peak. A big jump is planned for cyclists who are expected to more than treble. This growth will be facilitated through planned “Primary Cycle Routes”, while walkers will have strategic pedestrian routes. This will represent a step change in the way we view movement in our capital.

Marriage Equality Referendum

Dublin North Bay (Old North Central and North East) delivered the highest turn-out in the country in the recent Marriage Equality Referendum with over two-thirds of those registered turning up to vote. In total, 76,7 25 voted “yes” giving a margin of 67.8% versus 32.2% No

Childcare Options Outlined

A Report commissioned by the government has advocated a staged expansion in childcare support involving progressive expansion in separate areas

  • Longer parental leave in the baby’s first year
  • Steady expansion in the number of months of free early years care and education
  • Subsidies for childcare starting with those at work on low income
  • Investment in continuous improvement in the quality of early years provision

It will require over time a substantial increase in the €260m now spent by the State childcare provision.

Safer Cycling

From the 31′ July, cyclists who break red lights, who do not light up at night, or who cycle without reasonable consideration can receive a fixed charge notice of €40. This has been very successful at improving motoring behaviour without costly court proceedings. Cycling has staged a 50% revival in the past decade and now represents over one-third of bus use. In Dublin the 1,500 Dublin Bikes attract over 2 million users and nationwide there are over 4,000 kilometres of cycleway – some of it very popular like Sutton to Sandycove. Public consultation on safer laws for cyclists will open later this year.

Connecting for Life – Addressing Suicides

Connecting new strategy to reduce the rate of suicide over the next 5 years has been put in place. It is built around 7 key goals: Better Understanding, Local Community Support, Priority targets, Pathways of service, Standards of service, Restricting access to the means and Impact Evaluation. Each goal is backed up by planned actions which will be closely tracked. The strategy is back by a budget of €10m per year. Ireland’s suicide rate is far too high. This is a joint effort of public and voluntary bodies.

New Consumer Rights Bill

I have published draft legislation for new consumer rights. It includes

  • A ban on expiry dates on gift vouchers
  • Rights and remedies for consumers who download content from the Internet
  • Right to remedy or refund for substandard services (now only fully covers goods)
  • Full refund on faulty goods sought within 30 days The new Bill overhauls all existing legislation.
  • Consultation runs until 28th August. Let me know your views.

Assistance for Children with Special Needs

From September, 610 additional Special Needs Assistants will be provided to schools to assist children will special needs. There are now close to 12,000 SNA’s in our schools, who provide invaluable support to children who might otherwise struggle to take a full part in school. Moves are also being taken to create a better career structure for SNA’s.

Strong Response to Apprenticeship Call

We are trying to equip people for changing job opportunities.
Traditional apprenticeships are beginning to see a strong revival with 3,000 people expected to begin apprenticeships this year (double the number in 2012). These will be rolled out over the Autumn and Spring.

A call to develop new areas for Apprenticeships received responses from 86 sectors and trades. The 25 most well prepared are now being fast tracked. They will offer over 1,500 annual intake of new apprentices to new trades. A further 35 proposals are going to have further prep work done on them. There are over 200 places in each of a range of areas such as Manufacturing, Food Preparation, ICT, Craft Welder and Finance.

Making Work Pay

By managing the economy carefully, we have been able to make changes that are making work pay for more families
– Over 125,000 people stand to gain from a proposed 5.8% increase in the National Minimum Wage to €9.1 5 which is worth €1 ,000 to a person working full-time Public Servants will begin to see restoration of pay cuts in 2016. At least €1,000 extra will go to those earning €31,000 or less from 1St January. By 2018, this will rise to €2,170 (Lower amounts go to higher paid) 57% of private employers indicate that they plan to increase pay in 2016 The Back to Work Family Dividend makes it easier to take up work