CÁIT KEANE THE ECONOMY IRELAND’S FINANCES ARE STABILISING As we approach the three year mark in our term of office we continue to work hard to build on the stability we have brought to the economy, to our public finances and to the employment situation. In November the Government announced Budget 2014 which is a critical step in exiting the bailout and recovering our economic sovereignty. It is designed to reinforce policies that grow the economy and create jobs, and to do so in as fair a manner as possible. We exited the EU/IMF Bailout Programme in December which illustrates the remarkable progress made by this Government over the last 3 years. In addition to this, income taxes were up by €607 million on last year, or 4.4 per cent, VAT is up 2.8 per cent and Corporation Tax is up 3.5 per cent; the strong exchequer returns in the dying months of 2013 demonstrates that Ireland is on track to achieve our deficit target. Looking to the future,we have more to do. It is important that we continue to put in place the conditions that will allow the economy to grow sustainably and facilitate further job growth getting people back to work.
TAX REIEF FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS A BOOST FOR TRADESMEN AND HOMEOWNERS A new tax relief for home renovation and maintenance work offers a boost for both homeowners and construction workers. Homeowners are being offered tax relief of 13.5% when they spend up to €30,000 on renovation and maintenance work in their homes, provided they use a tax-compliant contractor, this is most welcome. There is no doubt that it will boost the local economy through creating employment and business opportunities for smallscale builders, carpenters, plumbers, and other workers in the construction sector. This initiative is aimed at rewarding registered and tax-compliant tradesmen, thereby clamping down on illegal activity in the black economy, and ensuring the Exchequer benefits from legitimate activity. The threshold for homeowners to qualify is €5,000. However, homeowners can also aggregate small jobs in order to reach the threshold.
Pictured in Leinster House recently with Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan
JOB CREATION MEASURES BEING PROMOTED BY GOVERNMENT Through the measures we have put in place in Budget 2014, we are now creating over 3,000 jobs per month, an increase from a situation where the country was consistently losing 7,000 jobs a month when we took office. More than 48,000 new jobs will be created in 2014 as a result of support from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Enterprise Ireland and the IDA are targeting the creation of a total of 24,000 new jobs in supported companies during 2014 as a result of financial supports allocated in the most recent Budget; this will result in the creation of more than 20,000 additional jobs elsewhere in the economy through supply companies and support services. The Community Enterprise Boards, now known as Local Enterprise Offices, are expected to support the creation of a further 4,500 jobs in 2014. Our Local Enterprise Office in Dublin South-West is located in the County Hall, Belgard Square, North Tallaght. Contact details are: 01 4623590 or email Jackie at jackie.johnson@tallaghtles. com. The recent figures highlight that the unemployment rate is now at a five-year low of 12.4% so it is clear that these measures are indeed working and we are striving to decrease these figures further.
ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT meets the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs meaning a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. It offers a vision of progress that integrates immediate and longer term objectives, local and global action. It also regards social, economic and environmental issues as inseparable and interdependent components of human progress. We must strive to continue to conserve our planet for future generations and changing how we treat our environment is key to this conservation. FLOODING - The extreme weather conditions over the last number of weeks has caused much destruction in various parts of the country and along coastal areas where the brunt of the damage was borne. The Department of Environment and the Office of Public Works (OPW) is working in conjunction with Local Authorities in ensuring that there is a plan to ensure that this damage that has been
Sen. Keane with Minister Phil Hogan and Minister Brian Hayes recently where they discussed the of Castlefield estate flooding issue
done is repaired. It has been announced by Minister Brian Hayes that an additional €90 million is to be allocated towards reparatory works in various parts of the country. CLIMATE CHANGE - Ireland already has a challenging greenhouse gas mitigation target for 2020, which is binding under EU law. Compliance with that target is not an option; it is absolutely paramount and any ambition we set at a national level must, and will, respect compliance with this fundamental mitigation commitment. There are no easy answers to the greenhouse gas mitigation challenge we face in the immediate and longer term. The Government’s intention is to ensure that the ultimate decisions on the way forward will be taken on the basis of a fair hearing for all stakeholders. The full development of Ireland’s Renewable Energy Sources will be paramount if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop climate change in the long term. This Government is very conscious of climate change and the damage it causes and has published the heads of a climate change Bill which will be further scrutinized by the Oireachtas later this year.
WE MUST PROMOTE A CLEANER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR US AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Group is to take place later in the year. Its responsibilities will include monitoring the implementation of the Strategy and at the end of the period covered by the action plan, making recommendations to Government on what further actions it considers necessary at that time. Detailed information on radon and its risks, including information on how to get your home or workplace tested RADON CONTROL IN IRELAND for radon is available on the RPII’s - Minister for Environment, Community website www.rpii.ie or on freefone and Local Government launched the 1800 300 600. National Radon Control Strategy for ENERGY CONSERVATION - “THE Ireland on February 17th. The strategy POWER OF ONE” campaign is aimed aims to tackle the serious public health at creating awareness in each of us of problem of radon gas by reducing the the capability of our own power when number of lung cancer cases caused by it comes to energy efficiency. If we each the gas. The establishment of a National Radon Control Strategy Co-ordination use energy responsibly, we can collectively make a big difference.
Some of the Government Grants available to assist with making your home energy efficient BETTER ENERGY HOME SCHEME- This provides grants to homeowners to upgrade their homes with energy efficiency measures, thus reducing energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions. All relevant information is available at http://www.seai.ie/ Grants/Better_energy_homes/ or contact me and I will send you out further information.
GREENER HOMES- (tel: 1850 734 734) This provides grants to homeowners for; insulation of attic (€200), cavity wall (€250), internal wall (€1,800 for detached/€1,350 for semi or end-ofterrace), external wall (€3,600 for detached/€2,700 for semi or end-of-terrace), heater control with boiler upgrade (€560), heating controls upgrade (€400) and solar heating (€800).
WARMER HOMES- This Home Insulation Scheme is for pensioners and incapacitated people (who are on fuel allowance) and is available through Energy Action (01 454 5464). Energy Action will insulate attics, draught-proof doors and windows, fit a lagging jacket, install smoke alarms and energy-saving light bulbs, fit a mortise lock and install spy holes.
A grant of up to €50 is available for a Building Energy Rating (BER).Typically, all of the grants available will cover about 20-30% of the full cost of the respective works. Grant payment will be subject to the terms and conditions of the scheme, the details of which can be found at http://www.seai.ie/Grants/Better_energy_homes/.
SENATOR CÁIT KEANE - WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF AT NATIONAL LEVEL
CHILDREN What the Government is doing to advance Childcare & support working families in Ireland Having been an advocate for and having worked and lectured in the pre-school area for many years, I continue to work with Minister Fitzgerald in ensuring we have the highest possible standard of childcare in the state. The following are some of the Childcare Improvement Measures taken by Minister Fitzgerald up to end of 2013: • €1.5m in 2014 to support staff training and upskilling allocated as part of budget 2014. • Pre-School Quality Agenda established putting in place much needed systems of support and regulation for pre-school services in Ireland with €4.5m allocation in Budget 2014 for quality measures. • Five additional inspectors being recruited by HSE in areas where gaps had been identified including Dublin South West. In addition to this current recruitment, €500,000 has been allocated in 2014 to further increase staffing levels to strengthen the national preschool inspection system. • An Additional €1.5m for implementation of the Area Based Childhood (ABC) programme, a joint initiative between the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Atlantic Philanthropies to improve outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities including in Tallaght CDI. • Child and Family Agency Act 2013 established the Child and Family Agency representing a key Programme for Government commitment and an essential response to recent reports on child protection failings, including inconsistency and fragmentation in service provision. The new agency was recently launched and brings together over 4,000 staff and a budget of around €609m.
Smaller More Local Playgrounds on the Way South Dublin County Council’s Playground Programme is now under review with a focus on the approach to playground provision in the county. Up to now, playground provision has been focussed on larger destination type playgrounds in the Council’s Regional Parks and specific Neighbourhood Parks while a network of small local playgrounds has been provided in association with Community Centres around the county. Given that the costs associated with these large proposals are prohibitive and that the facilities previously developed often lie some distance from local residents, a significant change to this approach is now under active consideration. Proposals for a network of smaller, more local playgrounds that ensure a broader distribution of facilities is being developed. I have been advocating such measures for some time as there are presently many areas in South Dublin that are not catered for. As the areas mentioned under are ‘proposed locations’ there will be a full consultation with local residents organized by the SDCC prior to any development. Templeogue/Tallaght area: Belgard Heights (2014), Avonbeg (2014), Killinarden Community Centre (2014), Kilnamanagh Parkhill Road (2015), Aylesbury (2015), Jobstown Oark (2015), Kiltipper Park (2015), McGee Park (2016), Sean Walsh Park, Marlfield (2016), Firhouse Park (2016), Kingswood Open Space (2016), Tymon Park Limekiln (2016), Glendown Park (2016), Old Bawn Park (2017), Mount Carmel (2017), Bancroft Park (2017), Greenhills (2017), Tymon Park Willington (2018), Orwell Park (2018), Perrystown (2018), Kilnamanagh Treepark Road (2018), Carrigwood (2018), Hunterswood (2018), Killinarden Park (2018), Dodder Park Road (2018). Rathfarnham Area: Whitechurch Open Space (2014), Marian Road (2014), Prospect Manor, Stocking Lane (2015), Westbourne Lodge (2015), Idrone, Knocklyon (2015), Delaford (2016), Boden Park (2016), Hunterswood (2017),Woodstown (2017), Longwood/ Stonepark Abbey (2017), Dargle Wood (2018), Elkwood (2018) and Cherryfield Park (2018).
Senator Keane and Minister Frances Fitzgerald pictured outside Leinster House recently
Outline drawing of the proposed Ballycragh playground
SENATOR CÁIT KEANE - WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF AT NATIONAL LEVEL
Older People play a very important role in society. They have served their country through the decades and we must ensure that we promote policies on positive ageing. In 2011 there were 523,800 people aged over 65 in Ireland, accounting for 11% of the population. It is estimated that by 2041 people aged over 65 will account for 22% of the population. It is vital that we have policies that reflect the continued contribution older people in society make and we must look to them to seek their wisdom and experience. There are many schemes and entitlements available at present for older people within the community but often people are not aware that they may qualify for them: • Living Alone Allowance: is for people who are on social welfare payments. • Aged 80 Increase: this is also available through the Department of Social Welfare and applies automatically when the beneficiary reaches age 80. • Free Travel: is available to those over 66, and to those who get carers’ allowance, or specific social welfare payments.This allows for free public travel on bus, rail, luas and dart and can also apply to an accompanying partner. Application forms are available
from your local Social Protection Office. • Mobility Aids Grants Scheme: is means tested and follows an assessment from an Occupational Therapist. This is awarded by the Housing Department in South Dublin County Council. • Community Care/Home Care Supports: are under the HSE’s remit and allow for care at home for those who may need it, including services such as Home Help and Meals on Wheels. The process of application is dealt with by your local health centre. • Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability - the maximum grant is €30,000 or up to 95% of the cost of the
works, whichever is the lesser. • Housing Aid for Older Persons provides grant aid for improvements to the homes of older people. The age limit has been increased from 60 to 66 but the local authority has discretion to award grants to people under 66 in cases of hardship or where there is an identified medical need. The maximum grant under this scheme is €8,000. Grants are awarded on a tapered scale where household income is between €30,000 and €60,000. If you have any questions on any of the above schemes please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Details on those and many other schemes are available from my office.
Good News for South Dublin SMEs as Council announces fund of €1.2 million to assist with rates burden Businesses in South Dublin are to be boosted following the establishment of a €1.2 million fund to reduce commercial rates for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector. The fund is potentially open to 4,700 (70%) of all commercial ratepayers in the South Dublin. The recent reduction of Development levies in
the South Dublin County Council area by 26% in January 2014 is also an incentive to business development. I would urge further reductions taking into consideration that such decisions of course have to ensure sufficient funding is reserved for Capital Projects in our County.
Senator Keane pictured with the Templeogue Sculpture Committee in 2005 when she initiated the sculpture project. Pictured from left- Orla Scannell, Art Officer SDCC, Geraldine Lee, member of the Templeogue Sculpture Committee.
YOUR LOCAL TEAM IN DUBLIN SOUTH-WEST MINISTER BRIAN HAYES TD
TALLAGHT SOUTH: DAVID YEATES 2, Corbally Avenue, Westbrook, Citywest, Dublin 24 Phone: 087 3909477 Email: davidyeates2014@ gmail.com.
GAY KELLY 16, Treepark Drive, Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24, firstname.lastname@example.org, 087 9318893
CLLR ANNE-MARIE DERMODY 11 Butterfiled Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, email@example.com, 087 3672030
KAREN WARREN 3, Bawnville Close, Tallaght, Dublin 24. firstname.lastname@example.org. 087 7679304
PAULA DONOVAN Phone: 087 2200741 Email: email@example.com Address: 18, Pinewood Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.
TEMPLEOGUE-TERENURE: COUNCILLOR COLM BROPHY firstname.lastname@example.org, 086 2509223 SIOBHAN BUTLER 48, St. Joseph’s Road, Dublin 12. email@example.com. 087 6290941
ALAN GALLAGHER 13, Beverly Lawns, Knocklyon, Dublin 16. Phone: 087 9752513, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.alangallagher.ie
COUNCILLOR BRIAN LAWLOR email@example.com, 087 6445472
If there is a particular issue that you would like to raise with me - local or National - please contact me on the details below. SENATOR
Find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cait.keane.5 Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/sencaitkeane Phone: 01-6183179 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.caitkeane.ie
Dáil Éireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, 01-6183567, email@example.com, www.brianhayes.ie, Facebook: Brian Hayes TD