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.

Sallins Playground – Planning Application Underway

The Sallins playground has taken a step closer to construction with the publication today of the planning documents by which the council seeks a “Part 8” approval to proceed with the project.

Outline location for the Sallins community playground.

Location for the Sallins community playground.

These documents are quite technical in nature but show the exact location of the proposed playground and deal with all the environmental and planning considerations that may be relevant. These proposals are on display both in the council offices and in Café Grange and any interested parties can make a submission up to the 29th September. If you support the playground I would encourage you to email a supporting submission, details how to do so are at the end. Note these documents do not get into the detailed design of the playground itself, but if you had any thoughts on that, this would also be a good time to send them to the council. I attach here all the relevant documentation. I also want to again acknowledge that the proposed playground is to be built on land owned by Sallins parish and I want to thank them for their very decent and generous accommodation in enabling this project to happen. The below image indicates the exact location where the playground is intended to sit between the church, community centre and national school. sallins_playground_location

You can review the various documentation at these links sallins-playground-part-8-application-report, sallins-playground-part-8-final-location-map-a3l-1, sallins-playground-part-8-final-a1-l-1.

The detailed design of the playground is subject to a tender process and will come after this. However it will satisfy the following high level specification:

    • The playground will cater for 1-12 years old.
    • It will contain a range of equipment for children from 1-6 and 6-12 years. The equipment may include the following. Swings, Slides, Rockers, Seesaw, Play Panels, Multi Play Units, Sand & Water Play & landscaping.
    • It is envisaged that the grass contained within the existing site will be retained where possible.
    • Additional surfaces which may be used in the design of the playground are rubber surfacing, woodchip and sand.
    • The design may also contain landscape features such as mounding, sand pit, planting and living willow structures and tree and shrub planting.
    • It is likely the construction of the playground will take 12-16weeks from starting on site to completion and opening. This timeframe is dependent on weather and ground conditions.
    • Equipment with  varying heights will be used throughout the playground to a maximum height of 5.5m
    • any surface water drainage which may be necessary will be attenuated on site.

The relevant contact is Simon Wallace, Senior Executive Parks Superintendent, Kildare County Council, Devoy Park, Naas, Co. Kildare before 4.00 p.m. on Friday 29th  September 2017.  Submissions should be clearly headed “Sallins Community Playground”  and you can send them by post or email them to swallace@kildarecoco.ie.

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 →