Policy Priorities

James Lawless NaasHere are some of my main policy priorities I would pursue if elected to Dáil Éireann. I’ve been outspoken on these issues over the years, however, there is only a limited amount I can achieve as a local community activist and county councillor. Most of these issues need to be addressed at national level.

Kick starting investment in infrastructure

While critical infrastructural projects like the Sallins bypass and M7 widening to 3 lanes are continually stalled, costing commuters valuable time and communities frustration through traffic delays, a voice at national level is needed to secure funding. If elected I will continually put forward the case for these projects until we see work underway.

Policing & crime prevention

Over the years I have worked with local groups setting up text alerts and community clinics in the wake of Garda station closures, however, the fact remains that Kildare now has the lowest number of Gardaí per capita of any county in Ireland, and absolutely no community Gardaí at all, and this can be tackled only at national level.

Local services

When I raised the scandal that many estates not taken in charge were not receiving local services, despite being levied with the full property tax, the reality was that only national legislation can address this – and the many other unfair aspects of the local property tax system.

Housing crisis

The housing crisis is obvious at every clinic I hold as so many people struggle to find a place to call home. Yet Kildare County Council can only build houses if the government provides funding, and so far it is all just talk from Ministers. This country always had a strong social housing policy under previous governments, however, in recent years we’ve gone backwards on this serious issue.

Investment & job creation

Despite the critical importance of inward investment and attracting employers, across all of County Kildare we received just a single IDA visit in 2014, almost the lowest in the country. This must change if we are to create new jobs in Co. Kildare. I will support and pursue investment and job creation initiatives and try my best to ensure that Kildare isn’t lagging behind as the economy grows.

Public transport

As a commuter myself and as spokesperson for the Naas and Sallins Rail Users Group, I am a long standing advocate for better train and bus services. I believe we must invest to ensure our public transport and motorways can handle capacity as the economy recovers.

Dedicated Homeless Helpline for Kildare Welcome

L-R: Pat Doyle, Managin Director of Peter McVerry Trust, Cllr James Lawless, and Andrew Considine, President of Naas Rotary Club

L-R: Pat Doyle, Managin Director of Peter McVerry Trust, Cllr James Lawless, and Andrew Considine, President of Naas Rotary Club

It is very much welcome that an out of hours information and advice service for County Kildare is now available, operated by the Peter McVerry Trust on behalf of Kildare County Council. Due to a housing crisis we need to offer more help to people who find themselves without a place to stay. This out of hour’s advice service, operated by the experienced Peter McVerry Trust is a welcomed addition to the support services available to homeless people in Kildare.

I have recently met with Pat Doyle, Managing Director of the Peter McVerry Trust who explained to me the services and support the Trust offer. I have full confidence that this partnership will be a success and be of some support to homeless individuals in Kildare. I also want to commend the assistance, effort and fundraising that went into this project from the Naas Rotary Club.

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Government Support for Naas Hospital Absent

At Naas General with staff protesting the dire shortage of staffing resources a few months ago.

At Naas General with staff protesting the dire shortage of staffing resources a few months ago.

The lack of commitment toward health care in Kildare by the current government has to be criticised. Since it was revealed at the start of June that Portlaoise Hospital is to have its A&E services downgraded, this will place further pressures on Naas Hospital emergency department which is already under strain.

Minister Varadkar stated this week there would be a ‘modest increase’ in operating budgets to allow ‘existing levels of service to be maintained’. Given the expected increase in demand to Naas A&E which will arise from the downgrading of Portlaoise Hospital it is clear there is no cohesive plan in place toward health care in Kildare and current services being maintained will not be adequate to cope with rising numbers.

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Tree of Hope, Monread Park

James Lawless Tree of HopeAfter the storm comes the sun. The heavens opened in Monread Park today but the spirits were not dampened as we planted and dedicated the Tree of Hope for all victims of suicide and as a place for their loved ones to remember them. Well done to Maud Nolan for all her work on this and to the council parks department for providing the materials and doing such a good job with a tree and bench now providing this quiet corner of reflection. Thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Frank O’Rourke, for officiating at the event.

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Urgent Action Needed on Hospital Overcrowding Crisis in Naas

James Lawless Naas general hospitalOur local Government TDs must step up to the plate and tackle the growing problem at Naas General Hospital. The latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, published this morning (Jan 6th, 2015), reveal there are more than 600 people on trolleys in hospital A&Es, the highest number recorded since “TrolleyWatch” began ten years ago, and 32 of those are in Naas General Hospital right now.

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