Speech on the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016

This is not my first time speaking in the House but it is my first time to speak on a Bill and it is an honour to do so. I begin by congratulating the Minister on her appointment. I am not sure if she is aware that she is a constituency neighbour of mine as the steps of Killinarden run up to the hills of Kilteel as Kildare North and Dublin South-West border each other. As such, I extend my best wishes to her on her appointment and wish her continued success in the role.

In terms of the matter before us, Fianna Fáil as an opposition party will freely oppose the Government on issues when merited but equally, as a constructive party and mindful of the minority Government framework which can only work when all sides play their part, agree on areas of common ground. Continue Reading →

Education in North Kildare

  • Worked continuously to get Naas Community College into construction
  • New Boys school now urgent for Clane
  • New school building for St. Joseph’s, Kilcock
  • Additional accommodation for Scoil Dara, Kilcock
  • New building for Prosperous Secondary, St Farnans
  • New schools priority for Maynooth, with traffic plans
  • School bus system needs complete overhaul
  • School Places must come with housing

Campaigning on Transport

  • Long standing commuter campaigner
  • Fought for years for Sallins bypass and M7 upgrade
  • M4 noise reduction and Maynooth exit needed next
  • Secured LEAP card fares / zone for Sallins station & Kilcock
  • Lobbied for Sallins/Hazelhatch trains to use Phoenix Park tunnel
  • Now enables direct travel from Kildare line into city centre
  • Fought for retention of “Nightrider” late night bus services
  • Raising issues on 120, 115 and 126 buses regularly
  • Dealing with “Go-Ahead” on bus changeovers
  • Made improvements to 139 orbital bus service
  • Seeking better connections on bus and train services
  • Bus Connects must service all communities (e.g. Captains Hill)
  • Long term believe Dublin needs a “circle line” railway connector
  • Park & Ride expansion urgently needed in Sallins & Maynooth
  • Second bridge needed for Celbridge
  • Electrification of rail lines to Sallins and Kilcock

Focus on Policy; Tech & Innovation

Am Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Science and Technology

  • Deal with Social Media Companies on regulation
  • Introduced new laws to manage social media
  • Proposed regulation for “fake news” and dark ads
  • Measures to avoid online harms and internet safety
  • Have argued for importance of cyber-security
  • Member of International Cross-Parliamentary Group
  • Quoted in US, UK, Chinese and Russian Media
  • Deal with Universities and Research Institutes
  • Advocate for Knowledge Economy and Research Funding
  • Work with FDI and many Tech/Sci Multinational Firms
  • Critical to support discovery and innovation and future jobs
  • Published “Science Foundation Ireland” legislation
  • Won cross-party support for Ireland to join CERN
  • Sat on Oireachtas committee to implement GDPR into Irish Law
  • Introduced multiple private members bills and legislative amendments

Proven Track Record on Environmental Issues

Proven Track Record on the Environment

  • Campaigning for better public transport since 2004
  • Secured recycling bins in Sallins in 2008
  • Was giving talks on “five mile rule” re local produce in 2005
  • Proposed cycle lanes and “staying alive 1.5” campaign when on council
  • Supported remediation of Kerdiffstown from landfill into public park
  • Vice Chair of the Environment & Climate Action Oireachtas Committee
  • Led for Fianna Fáil on the climate change Dáil debates
  • Over the past Dáil term I supported the following measures:
    • A ban on dangerous microbeads
    • A ban on fracking
    • A ban on further exploration of fossil fuels
    • Restrictions on single use plastics
    • Micro-generation solar schemes for clubs and communities

Minister must address concerns about Leixlip Water Treatment Plant

Following the boil water notice which was in place for several areas in Kildare North, I have asked Minister Eoghan Murphy to advise on the measures being taken to reassure the public that water is appropriately treated and fit for consumption at both the Leixlip and Ballymore Eustace water plants.

A report by the Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed last weeks incident and recommended that Irish Water use extra disinfection techniques at the Leixlip plant as added protection. It is very concerning that alarms at the plant were not responded to and Irish Water have some serious failings to address if the public are to have any confidence in their water supply.

The Minister must act on this report and ensure that Irish Water improve their management of plants and response to emergencies.