Month: May 2015

Government decision on Aer Lingus good news for Mid west – O’Donovan

Added May 27th, 2015

Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan has said that the decision by the Government in relation to the future of Aer Lingus is good news for the Mid West. Patrick O’Donovan, who is the only Limerick member of the Oireachtas Transport Committee said that the decision provides certainty for the future of the airline and gives a guaranteed connection between Shannon and Heathrow which currently does not exist.

Patrick O’Donovan said that the current situation in relation to Aer Lingus provided no certainty for the Heathrow slots from Shannon and having seen what happened when the last Government sold 75% of the company, he said that he believed that the deal brokered by this Government provided far more certainty for the region as it allows Aer Lingus to grow with a well established global brand which will be able to build new routes and create new jobs in Ireland.

“It’s important to point out that since this Government came to office Shannon Airport has been transformed. Fianna Fáil can say what they want in relation to Shannon and Aer Lingus; but this Government took the decision to give Shannon it’s independence and while the Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has attacked this in the Dáil, it is clear that it was the right thing to do. We have seen upwards of 17% growth in Shannon because of the Government decision with routes to Philadelphia and Chicago being restored and routes to Boston and New York growing significantly in numbers. This is proof that the policy of this Government in relation to Shannon is working and I am glad to see that the management of Shannon Airport support the decision by the Government in relation to Aer Lingus.”

“As a member of the Oireachtas Transport Committee we examined in detail the initial offer from IAG. I outlined the concerns I had as a TD from the Mid West and I am glad that our concerns were taken on board. In replying to my questioning at the Oireachtas hearings IAG chief, Willie Walsh, did indicate that they were prepared to look at the length of time that the Shannon and Cork slots would be guaranteed for, and I was happy to see that in place. We also listened to and met with industry representatives from across the region, and all agreed that there was a need for the airline to grow with a partner, while maintaining the Heathrow link. It is clear that Minister Paschal Donohoe has achieved this. ”

Patrick O’Donovan said he looked forward to the Dáil motion in relation to Aer Lingus, which he said he would be fully supporting. “Shannon Airport has turned the corner under this Government when it got its independence. I look forward to further growth there with the decision to form a new relationship between Aer Lingus and IAG, which I firmly believe will benefit the Mid West region.”

My week in the Dáil – 24th May

Added May 26th, 2015

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My week in the Dáil – 17th May

Added May 18th, 2015

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O’Donovan welcomes Garda Youth Diversion Project for Rathkeale

Added May 15th, 2015

Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan has today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD that Rathkeale is to be one of the areas that will benefit from the expansion of the Garda Youth Diversion Projects.

The Minister confirmed today that €2.8 million is to be allocated from Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme to expand Garda Youth Diversion Services in communities across the Country. 10 areas were identified today and will receive new Garda Youth Diversion Projects.

“Over the last number of years the Gardaí have developed a very strong working relationship with young people, this has been done effectively across the country through the Youth Diversion Project and I am delighted that the Minister has identified Rathkeale for a project of this kind.”

 

New mortgage arrears measures will help struggling home owners – O’Donovan

Added May 15th, 2015

Fine Gael TD for Limerick has said the Government’s new measures to support mortgage holders in arrears will increase the supports available to people in Limerick.

“The Government has agreed a number of new measures to support mortgage holders who are in arrears.   These measures build on the action already taken and aim to increase the supports available to people in arrears and to increase the numbers of people availing of them.

“In a major reform of the Personal Insolvency framework, the Government has agreed to give Courts the power to review and, where appropriate, to approve insolvency deals that have been rejected by banks.  The Government will legislate to give effect to this change before the end of the summer.

“This move will protect distressed mortgage-holders from any unfair lack of cooperation from their banks when it comes to seeking to agree a personal insolvency solution.

“This is expected to see more cases processed to a successful outcome through the Personal Insolvency framework.   The process seeks to ensure that fair and sustainable deals are upheld for struggling borrowers willing to work their way out of difficulties with a view to keeping their family home.

“The Mortgage-to-Rent scheme will be expanded, including increasing the property value thresholds that apply.  The new thresholds make the scheme more flexible and accessible.

“The Government has also agreed that the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) will play a greater role in offering information, advice and assistance to borrowers in arrears.  This will ensure that borrowers have access to information on the range of supports and options available, advice on the ones most suited to their needs, and assistance in pursuing such options, where necessary.  MABS will be working closely with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI).

“Fine Gael in Government is absolutely committed to helping people in arrears to reach sustainable solutions. We want to help more people to access the supports, options and solutions available and, in particular to support mortgage holders in long term arrears.”

€350,400 for group water and sewage schemes in Limerick – O’Donovan

Added May 14th, 2015

Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan has said that €350,400 worth of funding for group water and sewage schemes in Limerick will improve water quality and upgrade local water conservation works.

“These allocations to Limerick, worth €350,400, are aimed at improving water quality in group water schemes, and at upgrading water conservation works in group water scheme distribution networks. The programme also provides funding for group sewerage schemes.

“The news was announced by the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government. The Rural Water Programme benefits from funding under the European Regional Development Fund.

“The Government has also accepted a recommendation from the National Rural Water Services Committee to investigate whether some elements of proposed new group schemes would merit a special contribution to help address funding shortfalls.

“We are supporting the Group Water sector as an important element of the water industry in Ireland and to continued investment in the sector to sustain and improve quality, standards and performance.”

O’Donovan calls for major changes in planning rules

Added May 13th, 2015

Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan has asked the Minister for the Environment to review the position of organisations that are currently allowed to bring planning decisions to An Bord Pleannála without having been an original objector to a planning application. Patrick O’Donovan was speaking during a Dáil debate on planning and he criticised what he termed was an anti-rural bias by un elected and unaccountable people who were able to delay planning applications causing huge problems for communities and individuals, especially in rural Ireland without ever being held to account for their actions.

Patrick O’Donovan gave the example of a recent planning application for a facility in Foynes which had gone through a rigorous planning process within the Local Authority only to be appealed to An Bord Pleannála at the last minute. He told the Dáil that during the time he had bene a member of Limerick County Council that planning for one-off rural houses was a major issue and unfortunately a very elite mind set had been allowed to dictate the terms of where people could live, work and rear a family in rural communities and he urged the Minister to call a halt to the practice. Speaking after the debate Patrick O’Donovan said that he would be again raising the need to have the role of these outside bodies reviewed and their powers limited. He said that rarely, if ever, are any of these objectors from the area concerned yet they can play havoc with people’s lives. He added that it wasn’t just commercial and industrial applications which had fallen foul of these objectors; domestic dwelling houses in rural areas were also the focus of the anti-rural planning lobby.

Deputy O’Donovan said that he welcomed the Minister’s commitment to appoint an independent planning regulator and he asked Alan Kelly to extend the role of the regulator beyond what is envisaged so as to allow people who believe that the Local Authority may have acted improperly, or have failed to act to get the regulator involved. He said that no one should be above the law when it comes to planning and it was simply not acceptable that Council’s in some cases were failing to carry out their role. In some cases where Council’s had granted planning permission to themselves the quality of work could be questioned and he said that the new planning regulator should have a role in that area. He said that the Government had inherited a planning mess, among a whole pile of other messes from the last administration. Poorly built and badly planned houses were a legacy of the Celtic Tiger that this Government was left to deal with and while he admitted progress was slow, he welcomed the commitment to deal with the problems.

Patrick O’Donovan earlier welcomed a decision by Minister of State Paudie Coffey to review the planning regulations in respect of one-off rural houses. He said that this review was very welcome because while the intent of the regulations was to avoid poorly built houses appearing in areas, it has had the effect of pushing up the cost of building a house which he said needed to be addressed. The Limerick TD said he will continue to use Dáil time to highlight the need for a fair and balanced approach to rural planning for people across the country.

My week in the Dáil – 10th May

Added May 11th, 2015

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O’Donovan welcomes commitment to Athea Sewerage Scheme

Added May 5th, 2015

Limerick Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan has welcomed the commitment he has received from Irish Water today that the sewerage scheme in Athea is to be upgraded. This follows a number of meeting and discussions Patrick has had recently with Irish Water and the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD in relation to the sewerage scheme. Irish Water plan to use the scheme in Athea as pilot project for schemes of a similar nature across the country.

“Following my many meetings with Irish Water and the Minister, Irish Water carried out a review of existing proposals for the Athea Wastewater Treatment Works as well as an on-site inspection and determined that a re- scoped project would be both sufficient and viable. Irish Water will now appoint a consultant to design an upgrade of the existing plant over the coming weeks. This design will accommodate the upgraded works on the existing site and will provide full secondary treatment in the most sustainable manner.”

“I have asked Irish Water for a timeline in relation to the proposed works and they envisage that the design works will take 3 months, during which time planning permission will be sought from Limerick City & County Council. On completion of detailed design and receipt of planning permission, they expect that they will be able to deliver an operational plant within 12 months. Irish Water will also be carrying out a separate review of the existing pumping station and core elements of the network, so that these can be addressed in tandem with the plant.”

“I know from the time I was a Councillor during the years 2003-2011 and since I became a TD that the issue of the sewerage scheme in Athea is a major issue in the community there. At several times during the years of the Celtic Tiger the area was promised that the scheme would be prioritised. Instead of making progress it was bundled together with several other schemes and none of them progressed an inch. I asked both the Minister and Irish Water to begin unbundling these schemes and unravelling the bureaucracy around them so as to get them started. I also impressed upon them the need to have realistic size projects designed for these communities rather than the elaborate grandiose schemes that were designed during the so-called boom years and which would never be built.”

“We know that for donkey’s years that untreated and partially treated effluent is being pumped out from Local Authority operated waste water treatment plants. This would not be tolerated if it was from industry or farms and yet for years nothing was done. I’m glad that at least now there is a plan to tackle these and I am glad that Athea is being prioritised and the model used in Athea will be used across the country”

I am delighted that the strong case I put forward for Athea has been acknowledged by Irish Water with their commitment today. I am very anxious to see progress made on schemes across the County like Athea now that a utility like Irish Water has been established. I have asked Irish Water if they would meet with the local community regarding the scheme in the coming weeks and they have agreed to this request.

 

My week in the Dáil – 3rd May

Added May 5th, 2015

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