Further Coverage Announced for Rural Broadband in Kildare North

CllrPaulWardJamesLawlessTDImagineBrianODonoghueToday I hosted a constructive meeting with the Imagine Broadband executive team regarding rural broadband coverage for Kildare North in Leinster House today. In attendance were Ciaran Doyle and Brian O’Donoghue from Imagine Broadband and Cllr. Paul Ward.

Having previously worked with Imagine to bring fibre broadband to rural areas of Kill and Eadestown where previously services had been poor I was keen to stress the need for broadband in North West Kildare. Cllr Paul Ward explained the urgent need for improved broadband services in Newtown and Kilcock during this meeting.

It was agreed that Imagine’s technological team will begin to next assess these areas for further roll out. They will work with Deputy Lawless to target the areas in North West Kildare which need better coverage.

It is great to progress this issue further. It was vitally important to increase broadband services in North West Kildare and the first steps will now take place. Businesses, students, and families all need faster broadband as a basic need. The pilot in Eadestown and Kilteel has gone very well and Imagine have now agreed to roll the service out further to Clane, Straffan, and Ardclough. They will next begin to work on Newtown, Kilcock, and North West Kildare coverage at my request.

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 →

Kildare’s Small Firms Making Big Waves in Business

With Fiona Craul & Susan Dempsey of Sweetspot Sourcing (Naas), and Sue O'Neill (Sallins) of the Small Firms Assoication.

With Fiona Craul & Susan Dempsey of Sweetspot Sourcing (Naas), and Sue O’Neill (Sallins) of the Small Firms Assoication.

As Fianna Fáil Technology spokesperson I met with a number of Kildare firms in the RDS this week inculding Ventac, Sweetspot Sourcing and Sea Change who were all showcasing their businesses with the Small Firms Association.

It is very encouraging to see such talented businesses all based in Kildare, including two from Naas. These businesses are all models of innovation, entrepreneurship and making things happen. It was a pleasure to listen to them and take away their ideas for any further policy initiatives.

I was delighted to speak with Fiona Craul and Susan Dempsey of Sweetspot Sourcing, a manufacturing company. With offices in Naas & China their business is a shining example of the success small firms in Kildare can have. Continue Reading →

Tús and Community Employment Scheme to be Reviewed

Raising the Tús Scheme in the Dáil

Raising the Tús Scheme in the Dáil

In the Chamber yesterday I queried the operation of Tús and Community Employment schemes. Too often a worker is willing and able to remain placed with the same institution (usually a charitable or community organisation like Tidy Towns or McAuley Place) but is forced by “job-path” to spend a year in limbo and seeking alternate work.

This sees both the organisation and the individual losing out on an arrangement that gives the the individual a job they enjoy and the organisation an extra staff member.

This all stems from changes made to the scheme last August when it was outsourced to private providers. Following my question Minister Varadakar has agreed to review the operation of the scheme.

Parnell Summer School

Parnell_SchoolI was delighted to attend the Parnell Summer School recently. At the Summer School I gave a speech on the echoes of 1916 and patriotism in the modern era. Below is a transcript of that speech.

Nationalism cannot become the sole preserve of an exclusionary, closed borders rhetoric. A positive force for national self-confidence and assertion of fraternity; a recognition that between the models of material individualism and xenophobic supremacy lies a third way.

Communitarian, egalitarian and continually evolving, true patriotism embraces diversity and recognises the nation as a state of mind and cultural connections as much as a physical entity bound by borders and barriers.

The progressive and open nationalism of the Catalans, the Scottish and indeed the Irish must be championed and distinguished from the narrow and often false flag patriotism of the new cheer leaders and charlatans of the 21st century. Continue Reading →

Broadband Coverage Increased in North West Kildare

Map of new broadband coverage in North West Kildare

Map of new broadband coverage in North West Kildare

I am delighted to unveil the coverage map of areas which will receive fibre speed broadband where previously there has been slow or inconsistent broadband coverage. Working with Imagine, we have brought the service to the north west of the county following meetings with residents and hearing their concerns around the lack of coverage in the area.

As a member of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, and someone who is passionate about improving our broadband services I am delighted to be able to let residents know of the service rollout which is live and taking applications now. A huge issue when I met with residents in the area was the lack of coverage in places like Newtown, Johnstownbridge, Carbury, Broadford, and Timahoe. All these areas will now have access to fibre speed broadband. As people can see from the coverage map there is now comprehensive coverage across north west Kildare.

It has been said time and again how important broadband is for the local community in terms of education and business. It is a credit to Imagine for working with me and appreciating the concern and demand from residents in the area.