Irish Science Teachers Association conference held in Maynooth

Left to right: James Lawless T.D., Sheila Donegan, Prof Aidan Mulkeen Vice President Maynooth University and Eoin Gill.

Left to right: James Lawless T.D., Sheila Donegan, Prof Aidan Mulkeen Vice President Maynooth University and Eoin Gill.

I was delighted to attend the opening of the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA) conference held in Maynooth this evening. The annual meeting of Irish Science Teachers took place in the Glenroyal Hotel. The theme of the conference was ‘effective science communication’.

It is vitally important we support our teachers and in particular sciences teachers and those who focus on STEM subjects. We have evidence to support the fact that there is a growing need for graduates educated to the highest level in this area. The only way they gain that knowledge is from the excellent teachers providing them with this material. I was delighted to attend tonights conference to lend my support and let the organisation know Fianna Fáil will also support them.

School Transport from Northwest Kildare to Edenderry to be Investigated by Minister

8-news-bebs9I can confirm that Minister John Halliagan has given a promise to investigate the situation of school transport from Johnstownbridge, Kilshanroe, and the wider area to Edenderry’s St Mary’s and Oakland schools.

Following the fiasco which has left many without school transport last September I have this week met the Minister to lobby on behalf of parents who had been left driving or making other arrangements to get their children to school in Edenderry. If at all possible, this must be avoided for the upcoming academic year.
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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 →

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.

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