Bus Éireann Delays Raised in Dáil

Debating with the Minister for Transport I rasied the delays and inconstitenties which have plagued Bus Éireann passengers in recent weeks. In north Kildare, in particular, places such as Kilcock, Clane and Properous, buses are literally not turning up in the morning to collect people. When they do turn up they are delayed, but people are being left stranded at the bus stop.

I have engaged with the stakeholders, the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann and other authoritative sources. There appears to be an unofficial industrial dispute, a form of blue flu, amongst the drivers. I put it to the Minister for Transport who has fobbed it off to the NTA.

Commuters trying to travel to work, hospital appointments, college or school are being left stranded in towns were Bus Éireann general is the only mode of public transport. The Taoiseach must direct the Minister to take action and show leadership in this crisis.

Calls for clarity in Waterways car park, Sallins , as clamping increases

wheel-clamp-appIn the past week alone I have been contacted by many commuters who have been unfairly clamped. These car parks have been used for commuters at Sallins train station for many years, including myself. I understand the arrangement had worked well while providing convenience and capacity to the train station. Now however, the car park has been split by the two management companies with little to no additional signage informing commuters of where to park and pay following the new arrangements.

This has led to much confusion for those using the car park as tickets for one section are not recognised in the other. Since Monday I have been contacted by five individuals who have returned home from a day’s work to find their cars clamped through no real fault of their own. Continue Reading →

University rankings highlights need for greater emphasis on research

As Fianna Fáil Science, Technologyh, Innovation and Research I beleive the publication of the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings highlights the need for a greater emphasis to be placed on developing Ireland’s third level research sector.

It’s important to note that there are multiple parameters driving these figures and no league table should be the primary focus of university activity. However these rankings nonetheless offer a good insight into how Irish universities are perceived internationally.

It’s positive to see TCD moving back inside the top 200 ranked universities in the world while three other Irish universities, namely UCD, RCS and NUIG, have made it into the top 250. However Ireland should be aiming to have multiple universities placed within the top 200 universities worldwide.

Ireland should be aiming to emulate the success of our near neighbour Scotland which has five universities in the top 200. Questions have to be asked as to why Irish universities are not, as a bloc, punching to that weight internationally. While the Taoiseach is busy opening SFI centres, his Government continues to underfund the third level research sector. This is preventing Irish universities from achieving their true potential.

Previous Fianna Fáil led Governments launched several successful funding initiatives for high end research, however this commitment has not continued under Fine Gael. The research sector has experienced a retrenchment under Fine Gael as there is an unhealthy focus on promoting commercial activity. This is preventing universities from focusing on progressing important research that does not necessarily have an immediate commercial application.

It’s imperative that this shift in emphasis is reversed and rebalanced in order for Ireland to continue its great tradition of pioneering research and academic excellence.

With Brexit on the horizon there is a huge opportunity for an open, welcoming nation like Ireland to attract world class researchers who are seeking a new academic home.

Minister must bring CERN talks to Cabinet

Pictured at the march for Science recently.

Pictured at the march for Science recently.

As Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research& Development I have urged Minister Francis Fitzgerald to accelerate the process of Ireland joining CERN.

Membership of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has major benefits for the research and development sector in Ireland yet no progress has been made by the Government in joining the organisation. Continue Reading →

Independent Broadcasting Bill will strengthen viability of local media

captureThe Independent Broadcasting Bill 2017 which seeks to extend support to the broadcasting of local news and current affairs by providing funding which will strengthen and promote diversity in media. Independent, public service broadcasting has an important place in our society and we must do more to value it.

There has been a significant shift in advertising spending towards social media platforms, and traditional media organisations are increasingly starved of revenue. Continue Reading →