I travelled to Noordwijk in the Netherlands earlier this week to visit the European Space Agency technology & research centre. It was part of a trade mission with Minister Halligan and Enterprise Ireland and our group included over a dozen Irish companies who are heavily invested in space technology. Ireland was a founder member of ESA and has contributed engineering, scientific and technology projects to many space missions. Continue Reading →
I intend to hold hold a number of meetings with businesses across Kildare and the head of the Valuations Office, Declan Lavelle, following high increases in rates which have occurred in recent weeks to traders across Kildare North. Continue Reading →
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 →
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 →
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.