I was pleased to lead a delegation of dedicated volunteers on the Save Our Surgrey Committee to meet with David Walsh, Head of the HSE, in Kildare. In our meeting we discussed the recuirtment process for Johnstownbridge Health Centre, clearly outlined the demand for the centre remaining open, and got reassurances it would remain open once a new full time GP has been hired, and any new GP who be provided with the Rural General Practitioners Allowance. Continue Reading →
Here are some of my main policy priorities I would pursue if elected to Dáil Éireann. I’ve been outspoken on these issues over the years, however, there is only a limited amount I can achieve as a local community activist and county councillor. Most of these issues need to be addressed at national level.
Kick starting investment in infrastructure
While critical infrastructural projects like the Sallins bypass and M7 widening to 3 lanes are continually stalled, costing commuters valuable time and communities frustration through traffic delays, a voice at national level is needed to secure funding. If elected I will continually put forward the case for these projects until we see work underway.
Policing & crime prevention
Over the years I have worked with local groups setting up text alerts and community clinics in the wake of Garda station closures, however, the fact remains that Kildare now has the lowest number of Gardaí per capita of any county in Ireland, and absolutely no community Gardaí at all, and this can be tackled only at national level.
When I raised the scandal that many estates not taken in charge were not receiving local services, despite being levied with the full property tax, the reality was that only national legislation can address this – and the many other unfair aspects of the local property tax system.
The housing crisis is obvious at every clinic I hold as so many people struggle to find a place to call home. Yet Kildare County Council can only build houses if the government provides funding, and so far it is all just talk from Ministers. This country always had a strong social housing policy under previous governments, however, in recent years we’ve gone backwards on this serious issue.
Investment & job creation
Despite the critical importance of inward investment and attracting employers, across all of County Kildare we received just a single IDA visit in 2014, almost the lowest in the country. This must change if we are to create new jobs in Co. Kildare. I will support and pursue investment and job creation initiatives and try my best to ensure that Kildare isn’t lagging behind as the economy grows.
As a commuter myself and as spokesperson for the Naas and Sallins Rail Users Group, I am a long standing advocate for better train and bus services. I believe we must invest to ensure our public transport and motorways can handle capacity as the economy recovers.
It is very much welcome that an out of hours information and advice service for County Kildare is now available, operated by the Peter McVerry Trust on behalf of Kildare County Council. Due to a housing crisis we need to offer more help to people who find themselves without a place to stay. This out of hour’s advice service, operated by the experienced Peter McVerry Trust is a welcomed addition to the support services available to homeless people in Kildare.
I have recently met with Pat Doyle, Managing Director of the Peter McVerry Trust who explained to me the services and support the Trust offer. I have full confidence that this partnership will be a success and be of some support to homeless individuals in Kildare. I also want to commend the assistance, effort and fundraising that went into this project from the Naas Rotary Club.
The lack of commitment toward health care in Kildare by the current government has to be criticised. Since it was revealed at the start of June that Portlaoise Hospital is to have its A&E services downgraded, this will place further pressures on Naas Hospital emergency department which is already under strain.
Minister Varadkar stated this week there would be a ‘modest increase’ in operating budgets to allow ‘existing levels of service to be maintained’. Given the expected increase in demand to Naas A&E which will arise from the downgrading of Portlaoise Hospital it is clear there is no cohesive plan in place toward health care in Kildare and current services being maintained will not be adequate to cope with rising numbers.
After the storm comes the sun. The heavens opened in Monread Park today but the spirits were not dampened as we planted and dedicated the Tree of Hope for all victims of suicide and as a place for their loved ones to remember them. Well done to Maud Nolan for all her work on this and to the council parks department for providing the materials and doing such a good job with a tree and bench now providing this quiet corner of reflection. Thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Frank O’Rourke, for officiating at the event.