It was a huge honour to be selected recently as the Fianna Fáil candidate to contest the next general election in North Kildare. It was a real contest with almost a full house of the eligible membership and a real democratic exercise showing a rejuvenated organisation. Commiserations to Cllr. O’Rourke who put in a really strong campaign as well. I look forward to meeting and engaging with the whole constituency in the coming months. In 2011 we were promised a whirlwind of change. In Kildare with 5 out of the 7 TDs Government TDs, we have been certainly let down. If elected at the next general election in Kildare North, I will be looking to challenge this political malaise that currently exists.
After the storm comes the sun. The heavens opened in Monread Park today but the spirits were not dampened as we planted and dedicated the Tree of Hope for all victims of suicide and as a place for their loved ones to remember them. Well done to Maud Nolan for all her work on this and to the council parks department for providing the materials and doing such a good job with a tree and bench now providing this quiet corner of reflection. Thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Frank O’Rourke, for officiating at the event.
In a major setback for the critical M7-Sallins bypass road projects, it was announced last week that KCC is now being asked to fund a major part of these road projects from its ‘own resources’. The Minister for Transport says two out of the three M7 road up-grade projects should be funded from Kildare County Council’s “own resources”. The total cost of these linked schemes is €110 million.
These three related projects are:
- the M7 3 lane widening between Naas and the M7 merge
- the Sallins by-pass
- the Osberstown Interchange
Minister Pascal Donohoe has already stated that funding is not available in the short term. In response to a parliamentary question, he now says “with regard to the Osberstown interchange and the Sallins bypass the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority”. Consequently, KCC may now be obliged to find the money for these schemes itself, supplemented by State grants. To put this in context, the cost of these schemes would be equal to about 90% of KCC’s entire annual budget. This is not good enough for government to abdicate responsibility like this and jeopardise these works.
A series of consultations are ongoing regarding draft flood maps that have been prepared by the Eastern CFRAM Study for Naas. These maps model flooding propensity in different regions and specific studies have been ran for Naas, Clane, Allenwood, Maynooth, Celbridge, Kilcock, Edenderry, Leixlip and other areas. The public are invited to give their input on the draft maps, to provide local knowledge on flood risk areas around our community. The draft flood maps are accessible on the Study website www.eastcframstudy.ie and any interested parties are invited to have your say via the website and study. This survey is an add-on to the study ongoing at Morrell river (see here http://jameslawless.ie/morrell-flood-relief-plans/ ).
In the 2015 budget at Kildare County Council which was set in late 2014, Fianna Fáil led a motion to cut Local Property Tax by 7.5% for Kildare which was passed and which householders will see the saving in their LPT bills this year. In addition to the tax cut, a further 7.5% of LPT collected was ring fenced for each Municipal District to be spent at the discretion of the elected councillors. In the Naas area agreement has now been reached to use this fund for the following in 2015.
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