Month: June 2020

€1.5million in funding for Limerick project under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund – O’Donovan

Added June 29th, 2020

Limerick Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has welcomed funding of €1.5million which has been allocated for projects in Limerick under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

The Fund is part of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme which is funded under Project Ireland 2040 and provides €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the regeneration and development of rural towns, villages and outlying areas.

Patrick O’Donovan said: “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to further develop and prosper.

“This investment is more important than ever to help address the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis and to drive economic recovery and sustainable development in rural areas.

“The Category 2 funding announced today is for projects that require further development to make them ready for construction. There can be significant work and expense involved in getting projects to the point where they are ready to be delivered.

“This support is critical to ensure that a pipeline of ambitious regeneration projects are ready to hit the ground running in the future. The funding announced today will go towards dereliction and re-use for housing development in the core of towns and villages in rural Limerick. It will cover Newcastle West, Rathkeale, Abbeyfeale, Askeaton, Ardagh, Kilmalloock, Croom, Bruff, Kilfinane and Ballingarry. The total project cost will be €2million. Limerick City and County Council will lead this project.”

“The project announced today and the projects already approved under the Fund will continue to make a significant and tangible contribution to economic recovery in Rural Ireland over the months ahead.

“This Fund has now made available over €161 million in funding for projects worth a combined total of €229 million. This funding is supporting jobs in every sector within the construction industry, most particularly for many companies, contractors and individuals who are themselves based in rural towns and villages here in Limerick. In turn, as these projects are delivered, they will help support community development, enterprise development, town centre retail and activity, and assist our tourism industry to rebound strongly.”

Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises in Limerick to receive €833,766 to provide essential services during Covid-19 – O’Donovan

Added June 26th, 2020

Limerick Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has announced that 14 Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises in Limerick will receive €833,766 between them in funding to help vulnerable citizens during Covid-19.

“I am delighted that my colleague, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, TD, has allocated €10.5 million under Tranche One of the COVID-19 Stability Fund to a total of 179 organisations that provide critical services to those most vulnerable in society.”

“The COVID-19 Stability Fund is intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19.”

“There was considerable interest in the Stability Scheme, and the funding being announced today is the first tranche, with further tranches due to be announced in the coming weeks.”

“Community and Voluntary organisations, along with Charities and Social Enterprises here in Limerick have gone above and beyond in their response to the challenges presented by this pandemic and to assisting those most vulnerable in our communities.”

“These organisations continued to carry out their essential work while restrictions stalled much activity in Limerick and I, along with my colleagues in Government, commend them for that. For that reason, I am delighted that 14 organisations in Limerick will receive €833,766 in funding to provide services.

Cliona’s Foundation €100,474
Croom Community Hall €68,977
Ennis Road Community First Responders €2,000
Garryowen Community Development Project €14,276
Gateway to Education Limerick Education €16,584
Learning Hub Limerick Ltd €42,473
Limerick Autism Group Company Limited By Guarantee €14,323
Limerick Island Community Partners CLG €79,737
Mid West Simon Community €187,677
Mobile IT Limited Education €14,735
Patrickswell Community Resource House €14,118
The Butterfly Club CLG €18,412
The Desmond Ability Resource Complex Company Limited By Guarantee €59,978
Treaty Steel €200,000

“The Government recognised that these organisations required help and additional resources to deliver these essential services and to cope with the inability to generate traded or fundraised income due to social restrictions.

“Following the announcement of a €40 million funding package for the sector, applications were invited for the €35 million Stability Scheme. The Stability Scheme, which is administered by Pobal, opened for applications from 11th – 21st May, with a total of 1,027 applications were received in that period.

“Pobal will contact successful applicants in the coming days to finalise contracts and facilities for payment of funding. Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said, “The sector reached out and asked for help, which is why I, along with other Departments, committed up to €35 million of Dormant Accounts Funding to help these organisations to keep the lights on, and keep delivering those critical services to the people that depend on them.
“I am delighted to make the first tranche of payments available today and hope to see many more funded in the coming days and weeks as my officials and Pobal complete final checks.

O’Donovan calls for re-examination of guidelines for the reopening of church’s

Added June 22nd, 2020

Limerick TD and Minister Patrick O’Donovan has said that he believes that the Government needs to re-examine guidelines in respect of the re-opening of Church’s and he said he has spoken both to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health on the matter.

“Over the last few days several people have contacted me in relation to the opening of church’s particularly around the issue of fifty people per church regardless of size. They have contrasted some of our large church’s with seating capacity of over one thousand to smaller ones with maybe enough seats for two hundred, yet the same rules apply.”

“I made that point over the weekend to both the Taoiseach and Simon Harris; both understood the issue, and both said it is the correct course of action for the National Public Health Emergency Team to look at the issue. I hope that there will be early clarification for the various denominations soon, so that when they re-open they can take particular size and context of their church into consideration.”

Patrick O’Donovan said that he was heartened by the responses of the community to the reopening of the country, but he said we need to be reminded from events in other countries in the past few days that the virus can come back and make a resurgence in the community. He also added that we need to remember that over 1700 people had now lost their lives to COVID-19 and that the virus had not gone away, and that we all needed to remain vigilant.

Live-saving, innovative 24/7 text service launches in Limerick – O’Donovan

Added June 17th, 2020

If you can’t talk about it, text about it

A free, anonymous and inclusive text service has been launched to provide support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis, Fine Gael Minister and Limerick TD, Patrick O’Donovan has said.

Minister O’Donovan said: “‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people who need it.
“Many people – particularly young people – don’t feel comfortable making that call or reaching out for help. This is a service that will offer a lifeline to people of all ages across Limerick and indeed across the country.”

“It’s been an exceptionally difficult time for our country, and this service is needed more than ever. There is no doubt the launch of 50808 by Crisis Text Line will save lives.”

Deputy Patrick O’Donovan continued: “50808 has been in development for some time, and it couldn’t launch at a more important moment. The service’s trained Crisis Volunteers will help people through this current crisis and will continue to provide free, 24/7 support in the long term. This life-saving service is part of the government’s strategy to protect the mental health of all members of the public.”

“I’d like to commend my Fine Gael colleagues, the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly for prioritising this essential service.

“Since the initiative began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational.

“Of the almost four thousand people supported;

● 832 people were thinking about suicide
● 360 people were self-harming
● The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), Depression/sadness (32%), Relationships (29%), Isolation/loneliness (23%) and Suicide (18%)
● 80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34
● 65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary
● 30% of texters identified as LGBTI+
● 35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition
● Reasons for texting: Didn’t have anyone else to talk to (50%), Wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me (48%), More comfortable texting than talking (40%), To embarrassed to talk on the phone or in person (31%), Didn’t have access to a therapist (31%)

“The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texter’s at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue.”

“50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning in pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support. The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenging time for us all. If you need to talk, please pick up the phone and text 50808 where you will be connected to a trained and compassionate volunteer. The service is available 24/7.”


About ‘50808’:
● 50808 is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. From breakups or bullying, to anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, our Crisis Volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations. Our aim is to provide immediate support in the short term and connect people to resources that will help them in the future.

Beef farmers in Limerick to benefit from a financial support package in response to Covid-19 – O’Donovan

Added June 13th, 2020

A €50m support scheme will be made available to beef farmers in Limerick who have been financially affected by Covid-19, Limerick Minister and Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has said.

“My colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced Cabinet approval for an allocation of €50 million for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19.

“The Irish beef sector has suffered from ongoing market disturbance related to this pandemic which has had a substantial impact for beef farmers in Limerick and for the rural economy as a whole.

“Fine Gael has been making every effort to assist people whose incomes have been affected by restrictions brought in to ensure the health and safety of all and by economic developments globally. I hope that the support package announced today will go some way to restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Limerick and their families.

“This support for the beef sector is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock and to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises.

“Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to the local economy here in Limerick, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining our communities as we recover from the economic effects of Covid-19. Farming is very important to Fine Gael and we will always work to represent farmers’ interests.

“Minister Creed has confirmed to me his department will be engaging with stakeholders regarding the details of the scheme to be developed, which must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.

“A meeting of the Beef Taskforce will also be planned for the end of June, to take place by video conference in light of Covid-19 restrictions”.

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