Framework Needed to Regulate use of Drones

drone*A variation of this story was covered by the The Times. You can read their article here.

I intend to bring forward new legislation aimed at providing a regulatory framework for the use of airborne drones. There have been a number of recent incidents which have raised safety concerns surrounding the use of drones.

Drones present many interesting opportunities for both personal and commercial use. For example, they can be a useful aid for farmers who are looking to monitor crop growth and check for the presence of pests. They can also be used for recreational purposes, such as taking aerial photographs of scenic areas or hobby flying. Continue Reading →

Mass Post Office closures will sound death knell for rural Ireland

imageI am becoming increasingly concerned about plans for the future of post office services in Ireland.  Reports today suggest that more than 200 post offices are earmarked for closure under an An Post restructuring plan. If this plan is implemented, it will have serious repercussions for communities in rural Kildare and nationally.

The scale of the closures being reported today is frightening and will further accelerate the erosion of rural communities, which has become the hallmark of this Government.  Continue Reading →

Calling on Taoiseach and Minister to Publish Community Employment Scheme Report

I have called on the Minister for Social Protection to publish the long awaited report in Community Employment Scheme’s which was due in the summer of 2016. No reason has been given for the delay.


The Minister referred to a report that was pending on how CE schemes are and would be implemented. I am concerned that there is an ideological issue at play here. Some, including the Minister, see the CE schemes as a means to an end with job activation as the ultimate goal. Others see them as an end in themselves where individuals can contribute constructively within a structured format in their communities which is mutually beneficial to the individual and the host organisation. Continue Reading →

Need for Additional School Psychologists in Kildare North

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is drastically understaffed both nationally and in Kildare North. New information from the Department of Education reveals that two schools, St Farnan’s Post Primary School, Prosperous and Rathmore National School students have no access to a NEPS psychologist. Continue Reading →

Kildare Households to Benefit from Mortgage Relief Extension

It is  confirmed that mortgage interest relief is set to be extended in 2018. Mortgage interest relief for home loans is currently available to people who bought their home between 2004 and 2012 with nearly 300,000 mortgage holders currently in receipt of relief.

In the course of the negotiations with Fine Gael on the Confidence and Supply Arrangement that underpins the current Dáil, Fianna Fáil insisted on an extension of the mortgage interest relief scheme which was due to end completely at the end of 2017.

The Government has now confirmed that mortgage interest relief is set to be extended beyond 2018. This is a positive development for the nearly 300,000 mortgage holder’s right across the country, many of whom are based in Kildare. Until Fianna Fáil secured the extension of the scheme, these families were set to lose tax relief on their monthly repayments by the end of 2017. This would mean the loss of an average of €600 per annum per household.

This tax relief is an important financial support for families, particularly those strolling with high variable mortgage rates. The sudden withdrawal of this relief from existing homeowners would have represented a severe blow to families who bought their home when prices were at their highest. Many of these families are now juggling huge outgoings including their monthly mortgage, childcare costs and medical bills.

We will insist that Fine Gael live up to the commitments it made through the Confidence and Supply Arrangement. Securing an extension of mortgage interest relief will provide further breathing space for hard-pressed families. This is particularly important in the context of recent comments by the ECB and Federal Reserve which both indicated that interest rate rises could be on the cards within the next couple of years.

Continue Reading →