Speech on the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016

This is not my first time speaking in the House but it is my first time to speak on a Bill and it is an honour to do so. I begin by congratulating the Minister on her appointment. I am not sure if she is aware that she is a constituency neighbour of mine as the steps of Killinarden run up to the hills of Kilteel as Kildare North and Dublin South-West border each other. As such, I extend my best wishes to her on her appointment and wish her continued success in the role.

In terms of the matter before us, Fianna Fáil as an opposition party will freely oppose the Government on issues when merited but equally, as a constructive party and mindful of the minority Government framework which can only work when all sides play their part, agree on areas of common ground. Continue Reading →

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 →

Calling on Taoiseach and Minister to Publish Community Employment Scheme Report

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 →

Need for Additional School Psychologists in Kildare North

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 →

State Must Ratify UN Convention of Rights for People with Disabilities

I have called on the Minister for Health to ratify the UN Convention of Rights for People with Disabilities. Currently Ireland is the only European country to have not ratified the convention.

I had the pleasure of meeting a most amazing, passionate and articulate young woman last week, Niamh Herbert from Sallins, who attended the House with me to request Members of the House to advance the passing of this Bill as expeditiously as possible and, indeed, to ratify the convention. Niamh is a student in Trinity College Dublin and she represents herself, the students’ union in the college and a group called Disability and I”. Continue Reading →

Staff Shortages Ensuring Disability Complaints Not Being Dealt With

Waiting_TimesUnless there is an urgent intervention by the Minister for Disability, with additional resources, complaints relating to Assessment of Needs applications will continue to put on the long finger. The HSE informed Fianna Fáil that there are currently 445 complaints currently outstanding as of February 2nd. Continue Reading →