No road through St. Catherine’s Park confirms Minister

CaptureFrank O’Rourke TD and I have secured a commitment from Minister Damien English that no road will be built through St. Catherine’s Park, Leixlip. The commitment comes following a debate  specifically on St. Catherine’s Park in Leinster House this week.

I am delighted that the Minister has given his commitment that no road will be built in St. Catherine’s Park. I met with the group fighting to Save St. Catherine’s Park and commend their efforts. Following a recent vote at Kildare County Council, which I sat in the gallery alongside the group to watch the vote and lend my support, we have seen the council take steps to secure the park. I look forward to continuing to work with the Save St. Catherine’s Park committee in keeping pressure on the Department and Minister so that no interference comes from central Government on this matter.

Social Media Transparency Bill 2017

We are all aware of the substantial and increasing role of social media and online fora on our public discourse and in the political sphere. Yet the many rules and safeguards which have emerged in the traditional spaces, everything from disclosure of donations to campaign fund caps, to a requirement that all printed materials must carry a label saying who printed and published them. None of these checks are present in the online space as the legislation has not kept pace with technology.

I introduced my social media transparency bill in the chamber today. The bill applies only to 1) paid political advertising 2) deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts for political purposes (bots).

The main provisions of the bill are:

– The requirement for a disclosure statement on any online political advertising
– The disclosure statement is similar to that already on printed flyers and election posters
– The disclosure statement will state exactly who published and sponsored the post and the target audience
– The social media platforms will be required to capture this information when the ads are purchased
– Failure to provide accurate or truthful information in the disclosure statement will be an offence
– Separately, deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts, for political purposes shall be an offence
– The prohibition on the use of public money for party political uses is re-stated (as per the McKenna judgments)

A link to the bill is Online_Advertising_Social_Media_Transparency_Bill_2017 and my speech earlier today, introducing the bill, is below.

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Council decision to protect St. Catherine’s Park & Leixlip Amenities is welcome

GN4_DAT_8615717.jpg--kildare_county_council_vote_against_road_in_kildare_section_of_st_catherine_s_parkThe decision by Kildare County Council today to reject the Minister plans for the area is very welcome. It was vital the council moved to protect St. Catherine’s Park which has been threatened with a regional road running through it, destroying the fabric of this wonderful amenity for the local community. I have been engaging with the campaigners and have been raising this with the Minister on their behalf. Today’s decision will be very welcome for the residents in Leixlip.

Should the Minister overrule the decision by the council it will be an extremely dangerous act and set an anti-democratic precedent. I hope the Minister respects the decision of our council and the residents in Leixlip who have made it clear they do not want any roads or developments through their park.
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Minister to deliver road map for Mayooth Gaelcholáiste

JamesLawlessTD_CllrNaoiseOCearuilArdFheisI am calling on the Minister for Education to deliver a programme of implementation for the structure of the proposed Maynooth Gaelcholáiste and urging all stakeholders involved to work together to progress the project. The call comes following a motion by the Maynooth Old Carton Fianna Fáil Cumman supporting the delivery of the school was passed during the Education segment of the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

The motion was proposed by local Fianna Fáil members from Maynooth in attendance, including Cllr Naoise Ó’Cearúil and Colm Ó’Cearúil. I was delighted to support the Maynooth Gaelcholáiste motion from the panel and it succesfully passed through our party’s Ard Fheis. Continue Reading →