Today the budget for 2015 was announced in Dail Eireann.
The main measures for next year are detailed in this on-line document here.
To read the Financial Statement from the Minister for Finance, click here.
To read the Expenditure Estimates announcement from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, click here.
For more detailed information, including breakdowns across departments and the exact changes to taxation and how they might affect you, click here.
Ireland’s bid to host The Rugby World Cup – click here.
Discussions on the future of the Irish Defence Forces – click here.
Dramatic fluctuations in numbers on illness benefit and disability allowance – click here.
How much does the interest on our national debt cost us? – Click here.
The second stage debate on the most recent sports bill – Sport Ireland 2014 – provided an opportunity to speak on a number of areas.
I focused my comments on:
-Tourism and economic benefits through sport
-Sports capital grants and support for clubs
-Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup
-The Sandycove to Sutton cycleway
Click here to watch my contribution.
Garda presence in Dublin, regulating house alarms – click here.
Irish Defense Forces resources and cooperation with NATO in Ukraine – click here.
Are tax rules for the self-employed fair? – click here.
Testing and state support for foetal abnormality screening – click here.
During the recent debate on the new lobbying legislation I took the opportunity to speak on the manner in which the government appoints people to state boards.
You can watch the video of my contribution by scolling down to the bottom of the page.
- Draft remarks -
It’s about time that we did something on Lobbying in this country – to try and regulate it, to try and bring greater transparency to it.
Lobbying is a part of political life. It’s not inherently a bad thing – it’s actually an important function of democracy: to have one’s voice heard. But when it is not done openly, it actually undermines our democracy.
There is a direct correlation here to the area of appointments to state boards.
Click here to continue reading
Click here to read my latest newsletter.
Inside you can read about:
Making work pay
School enrolment changes
The Banking Inquiry
Funding for local sports clubs
All things bicycling
Rathgar Village Improvement Plan
Fair funding of schools is back on the agenda as discussions ahead of budget 2015 get under way. I have been fighting to protect the rights of children who attend fee-paying schools, and the economic choices of their parents, since I was elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011.
To give you an idea of some of my work to date in this area:
In October 2012, I led the political campaign to protect fee-paying schools when they were further targeted for Budget2013. (Read my statement here). My main argument at the time, based on figures supplied to me by the schools’ Joint Managerial Board (JMB), was that the state did not subsidise fee-paying schools – in fact it was the other way around, with parents of children in fee-paying schools in fact saving the state money.
Continue reading here.
At the Public Accounts Committee on 26 June 2014 the new Secretary General of the Department of Environment was before us to discuss his department.
Once again I used this as an opportunity to discuss the Poolbeg incinerator project, which by end of year will have spent in the region of €108 million euro over more than a decade, with nothing yet built, and with a series of highly critical audit reports citing weak financial governance.
You can watch the exchange by clicking here
I have raised this on a number of occasions in the PAC over the past three years and you can watch these exchanges here:
Yesterday I again raised the issue of Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 with Minister Ring in the Dail.
Click here to watch the debate.
Scroll down for the Minister’s official reply.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport (Michael Ring)
Last November the Government considered a Memorandum on the discussions and examinations to date on a potential bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023. While the Memorandum identified a number of challenges, the great potential of the event is also clear and I believe that hosting the Rugby World Cup on a cross-border basis in 2023 would be a great opportunity for Northern Ireland and Ireland. In response to the Memorandum, the Government expressed strong support for the proposal and for the conduct of further work to get to the stage of making a formal decision to bid.
To progress the matter further, Minister Varadkar and I met with Minister Arlene Foster and Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, who are the Ministers respectively responsible for tourism and sport in the Northern Ireland Executive, in Armagh on 22 January. We established a working group to examine some key issues further and to report back to Ministers in the Summer.
The working group, on which the IRFU and relevant Government Departments from both jurisdictions are represented, has held a number of meetings to date and indeed is meeting again tomorrow. I look forward to receiving their report later in the Summer.
Debate in the Dáil
In December 2013, the Oireachtas Committee on Education & Social Protection published its report on the draft Education Bill which seeks to reform the admission process for primary and secondary schools. You can read a summary of their findings here and the full report here.
This report was debated in the Dáil today in advance of the first draft of the legislation being published in the next six weeks.
Click here to watch my contribution.
The Minister & Chairperson will know that this is an area I am very interested and involved in. The Minister will know this in particular as we represent the same constituency and have debated the general issue of admissions, as well as issues particular to our own constituency, many times in this chamber.
We have a problem with admissions in some areas. Where there is oversubscription for places. Massive demand for particular schools.
Which has given us a waiting list system – 11 years in some cases – that discriminates against people who may have recently moved to an area. A system which creates anxiety and stress for parents who are given a holding number and do not know if their child will ever actually get a place in the preferred school. And a system where often, children cannot be educated in their local community, in their local school.
Which is incredible when you think about it. Particularly at primary level. Sometimes to educate ones child there is no other choice but going down the fee-paying route, even when it may not be affordable. Stretches parents financially. That is unacceptable.