Trade Visit to the European Space Agency

Inside the ESA component of the International Space Station: L-R Ambassador Kevin Kelly, Head of ESTEC Franco Ongara, Minister John Halligan, James Lawless TD

Inside the ESA component of the International Space Station: L-R Ambassador Kevin Kelly, Head of ESTEC Franco Ongara, Minister John Halligan, James Lawless TD

I travelled to Noordwijk in the Netherlands earlier this week to visit the European Space Agency technology & research centre. It was part of a trade mission with Minister Halligan and Enterprise Ireland and our group included over a dozen Irish companies who are heavily invested in space technology. Ireland was a founder member of ESA and has contributed engineering, scientific and technology projects to many space missions. Continue Reading →

#marchforscience

17992045_10155028457641047_7264221241818342397_nI was part of the one thousand plus people who gathered in Dublin today to #MarchForScience.

In the “post truth age” Turkish academics have been imprisoned, Hungary’s top university has had its funding cutoff after it criticised the ruling party and in the U.S. “alternative facts” drive political discourse. Continue Reading →

Leap card readers installed at Kilcock station

nws_20130808_ana_018_28520219_i1Leap card readers are to be installed in Kilcock train station. The expected installation date is the end of April. I am delighted to confirm that these tag on/off poles will be installed in Kilcock train station. Following on from reducing the fairs in half I lobbied the National Continue Reading →

Traders meeting organised by held in Naas & Maynooth regarding Rates

4281141b-ae54-4c24-92a7-aeb094595c1aI was keen to host a number of traders meeting in Naas and Maynooth following increases in rates as set out by the Valuations Office. The meeting were addressed  by Declan Lavelle of the Valuations Office, Charted Valuations Surveyor Eamonn Halpin and chaired by Allan Shine of Kildare Chamber of Commerce. In Maynooth Declan Kennedy of the Maynooth Business Association chair that meeting.

It was extremely important I organised this meeting to allow traders the opportunity to speak directly with the Valuations Office. In some cases businesses have seen their rates rise by 300%. This is clearly unmanageable for many businesses who I represent in Naas.  When this matter first broke I hosted 30 traders in my office to discuss their immediate concerns. Following on from this I decided to invite Declan Lavelle to Naas to engage with them.

Last night’s meeting consisted of Lavelle explaining the rationale behind the how the valuations office came to these decisions and most importantly, how to appeal. I would urge businesses who feel their valuation is off to appeal before the April 18th deadline. I also want to thank the contribution of Allan Shine and the Kildare Chamber of Commerce for hosting the meeting.

Irish Science Teachers Association conference held in Maynooth

Left to right: James Lawless T.D., Sheila Donegan, Prof Aidan Mulkeen Vice President Maynooth University and Eoin Gill.

Left to right: James Lawless T.D., Sheila Donegan, Prof Aidan Mulkeen Vice President Maynooth University and Eoin Gill.

I was delighted to attend the opening of the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA) conference held in Maynooth this evening. The annual meeting of Irish Science Teachers took place in the Glenroyal Hotel. The theme of the conference was ‘effective science communication’.

It is vitally important we support our teachers and in particular sciences teachers and those who focus on STEM subjects. We have evidence to support the fact that there is a growing need for graduates educated to the highest level in this area. The only way they gain that knowledge is from the excellent teachers providing them with this material. I was delighted to attend tonights conference to lend my support and let the organisation know Fianna Fáil will also support them.