M7 Widening and Sallins bypass confirmation

M7 Upgrade Sallins BypassI am delighted to confirm that the contract has been awarded for these vital pieces of infrastructure. Since becoming active in politics and as a local resident in Sallins I have been campaigning for the M7 widening and the Sallins bypass projects to be completed. It is a long time coming but is very welcome.

Once completed these works will be critical for road users in Sallins, Naas plus the wider areas such as Prosperous and Clane. The Sallins bypass in particular will take traffic out of Sallins and help ease congestion in the village and surrounding areas which is critical in helping people get to work on time. I want to credit Peter Carey and his team in Kildare County Council for their work in progressing this project.

Leixlip Tidy Towns in IBAL Rankings

21272631_10155468032726047_9036342793540349160_nMassive congrats to Leixlip Tidy Towns on their 3rd place finish in the Irish Business Against Litter results. Having seen first hand the work put in by Leixlip Tidy Towns and having attended several of their events I know that this award and very high ranking is justly deserved. Leixlip and Confey are really looking well and it is a huge credit to all involved to reach this standard. Well done to all the volunteers and of course the townsfolk for having the streets looking so neat and tidy and in great shape. I look forward to working with them to build on this achievement.

University rankings highlights need for greater emphasis on research

As Fianna Fáil Science, Technologyh, Innovation and Research I beleive the publication of the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings highlights the need for a greater emphasis to be placed on developing Ireland’s third level research sector.

It’s important to note that there are multiple parameters driving these figures and no league table should be the primary focus of university activity. However these rankings nonetheless offer a good insight into how Irish universities are perceived internationally.

It’s positive to see TCD moving back inside the top 200 ranked universities in the world while three other Irish universities, namely UCD, RCS and NUIG, have made it into the top 250. However Ireland should be aiming to have multiple universities placed within the top 200 universities worldwide.

Ireland should be aiming to emulate the success of our near neighbour Scotland which has five universities in the top 200. Questions have to be asked as to why Irish universities are not, as a bloc, punching to that weight internationally. While the Taoiseach is busy opening SFI centres, his Government continues to underfund the third level research sector. This is preventing Irish universities from achieving their true potential.

Previous Fianna Fáil led Governments launched several successful funding initiatives for high end research, however this commitment has not continued under Fine Gael. The research sector has experienced a retrenchment under Fine Gael as there is an unhealthy focus on promoting commercial activity. This is preventing universities from focusing on progressing important research that does not necessarily have an immediate commercial application.

It’s imperative that this shift in emphasis is reversed and rebalanced in order for Ireland to continue its great tradition of pioneering research and academic excellence.

With Brexit on the horizon there is a huge opportunity for an open, welcoming nation like Ireland to attract world class researchers who are seeking a new academic home.

Firmount House Open for Business

21191846_10155457491531047_2246242739942216419_nGreat to see Firmount house back up and running under the careful stewardship of Eilin O’Carroll serving fine organic food and fare.

Eilin treated me to a tour of the new premises this afternoon and the high quality items on offer. It is a fantastic backdrop for a lovely day out and I was delighted to support Eilin as she restored the old house.

This property has always been a landmark in the Clane / Prosperous area and fantastic to see it back open as a place to dine and visit.

Minister must bring CERN talks to Cabinet

Pictured at the march for Science recently.

Pictured at the march for Science recently.

As Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research& Development I have urged Minister Francis Fitzgerald to accelerate the process of Ireland joining CERN.

Membership of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has major benefits for the research and development sector in Ireland yet no progress has been made by the Government in joining the organisation. Continue Reading →