Supporting Young Teachers Vital to Education System

With ASTI President Ger Curtin in Leinster House

With ASTI President Ger Curtin in Leinster House

I attended the conference of the Irish Science Teachers Association in Maynooth approximately six months ago where I again heard a call for greater emphasis on STEM subjects, a greater input into STEM teaching and a greater number of STEM graduates to enter the system. Continue Reading →

Pressure must be kept on Minister to progress Naas Community College

At a tree planting ceremony at Naas Community College

At a tree planting ceremony at Naas Community College

Pressure must be kept on the Department of Education to progress the new build of the school as quickly as possible.  There is a considerable demand for places in the school and this is a key part of the educational infrastructure for Naas and the surrounding areas complementing the existing schools by placing a co-ed ETB (Education and Training Board) school into the North Naas area to cater for students from all over the town but also places like Sallins, Kill, Johnstown, Rathmore and all that hinterland. Continue Reading →

M7 Widening to Begin January 6th

M7 near Millennium Park where Sallins bypass will intersect with new 3-lane motorway.

M7 near Millennium Park where Sallins bypass will intersect with new 3-lane motorway.

I can confirmed that work has begun in earnest for the widening of the M7 motorway. The works have begun on the M7 at Johnstown to the Naas South exit which will see the motorway expanded and the Sallins bypass installed. The works will fully begin on January 6th.

This is a great start to 2018. I have campaigned for many years for the project to go ahead. It is a vital piece of infrastructure which has been badly needed. Now commuters and residents alike will see tangible evidence that the work is well underway.

Once completed in 2020 the final project will see extra capacity on the M7, a new interchange, and bypass of Sallins. Continue Reading →

No road through St. Catherine’s Park confirms Minister

CaptureFrank O’Rourke TD and I have secured a commitment from Minister Damien English that no road will be built through St. Catherine’s Park, Leixlip. The commitment comes following a debate  specifically on St. Catherine’s Park in Leinster House this week.

I am delighted that the Minister has given his commitment that no road will be built in St. Catherine’s Park. I met with the group fighting to Save St. Catherine’s Park and commend their efforts. Following a recent vote at Kildare County Council, which I sat in the gallery alongside the group to watch the vote and lend my support, we have seen the council take steps to secure the park. I look forward to continuing to work with the Save St. Catherine’s Park committee in keeping pressure on the Department and Minister so that no interference comes from central Government on this matter.

Social Media Transparency Bill 2017

We are all aware of the substantial and increasing role of social media and online fora on our public discourse and in the political sphere. Yet the many rules and safeguards which have emerged in the traditional spaces, everything from disclosure of donations to campaign fund caps, to a requirement that all printed materials must carry a label saying who printed and published them. None of these checks are present in the online space as the legislation has not kept pace with technology.

I introduced my social media transparency bill in the chamber today. The bill applies only to 1) paid political advertising 2) deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts for political purposes (bots).

The main provisions of the bill are:

– The requirement for a disclosure statement on any online political advertising
– The disclosure statement is similar to that already on printed flyers and election posters
– The disclosure statement will state exactly who published and sponsored the post and the target audience
– The social media platforms will be required to capture this information when the ads are purchased
– Failure to provide accurate or truthful information in the disclosure statement will be an offence
– Separately, deliberate usage of multiple fake accounts, for political purposes shall be an offence
– The prohibition on the use of public money for party political uses is re-stated (as per the McKenna judgments)

A link to the bill is Online_Advertising_Social_Media_Transparency_Bill_2017 and my speech earlier today, introducing the bill, is below.

Continue Reading →