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THOMAS

Independent Donegal

PRINGLE T.D. Spring 2014 The provider for the rural broadband scheme, 3, wants to build 160 masts to provide its broadband service across the country. We know the tension this creates in communities across the country when masts are erected, and this legislation gives us the opportunity to avoid all that. In Ireland approximately 2-3% of households have access to a fibre connection. It has been estimated that the creative industries in the north-west region alone could create approximately 18,000 jobs simply by improving access to the internet in order for them to sell their wares on it. We now need to ensure as wide a roll-out as possible of the fibre-optic network and we should look to invest in this as a state to assist the ESB in providing this service because it would pay huge dividends in the long run and, as a stimulus, make a significant difference to people’s lives across the country.

PRINGLE CALLS FOR FIBRE BROADBAND FOR EVERY HOUSEHOLD I called on the government to roll-out fibre broadband to all households in the country recently in the Dáil. A Bill to allow the ESB to develop and use its existing infrastructure to provide fibre optic internet is at an advanced stage and is a progressive step to enable the ESB to provide fibre on its networks and in respect of broadband it is probably one of the most progressive steps that could have been taken. But we need to ensure it will be available in all households across the country. The ESB is a company that already has a relationship with every household and business in the country, and so it is a perfect fit for it to be able to provide fibre-optic broadband by wrapping fibre on its existing networks. The ESB already has fibre wrapped on its network nationwide which has linked the metropolitan area networks around the country. While this is useful, the real difference and impact can be made as the company starts to roll-out fibre onto the connections to houses and businesses nationwide. The existing policy up to now on providing broadband has been to rely on the market and has left many areas behind, including rural areas as we well know, but also areas where people are trying to operate businesses and create and maintain jobs. In recent years we have relied on mobile companies to provide broadband and bridge the gap; this has failed and is not capable of providing the service people need. Dáil Éireann,

Phone: 01 618 3038 Fax: 01 618 4118

Constituency Office, Killybegs Phone: 074 974 1880 Fax: 01 618 4118

Independents working with Thomas Pringle T.D. Councillor John Campbell, Independent Mobile: 087-6574885 Email: john@johncampbell.ie Mountcharles-DunkineelyKillybegs-Donegal Town-Kilcar-LagheyInver-Glen-Carrick-PettigoBallintra-BundoranBallyshannon Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig Mobile: 085-804 2050 Email: michealcholm@ hotmail.com Gweedore-Glenties-ArdaraThe Rosses-FintownCloughaneely

Constituency Office, Ballybofey & Dungloe. Phone: 087 216 8719

Contact:

Email: thomas.pringle@oir.ie Web: www.thomaspringle.ie


News

Killybegs Community Hospital- the fight continues After I brought this matter up in the Dáil recently, I contacted both Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin calling on them to lift the current recruitment embargo which as many of you know is having a negative impact on Killybegs Community Hospital. I was informed that it is under the remit of the HSE to deal with this matter and to expect a full response from them on the issue. It is unacceptable that two cabinet ministers, one of which is responsible for the cuts that have led to the embargo, are attempting to brush this matter under the carpet, but I can assure you that I will not let this matter lie. If we want these health services to work for the benefit of our community, we need to ensure that beds in community hospitals are kept operational. Staff should be allocated on a temporary basis to ensure that this happens. Bed closures have a domino effect which in turn ties into the problems Letterkenny General Hospital is experiencing, whereby patients cannot move out of the general hospital into community hospitals where many beds have been closed because of staffing shortages and the ongoing embargo. In the next ten years the number of people over 65 will double and hospitals such as Killybegs Community Hospital will need to double the number of beds. We are already seeing the impact of staff shortages in our community hospitals, and this problem will worsen if it is not addressed.

Thomas outside Killybegs Community Hospital

This government needs to seriously consider lifting the staffing embargo at Killybegs Community Hospital and allow it to operate at full capacity, to the benefit of the patients, the surrounding communities and Letterkenny General Hospital itself. I will be sure to keep you all updated on this matter.

SUSI CONFIRMS THAT FULL-TIME DENTAL NURSING AND HYGIENE COURSES ARE APPROVED FOR STUDENT GRANTS SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) announced recently that full-time dental nursing and dental hygiene courses in Trinity College Dublin (as well as the dental hygiene course in UCC) have been approved for student grants. Following a review of awarded grants, SUSI had suspended grant payments to students under the Scheme, while they awaited clarification from the Department of Education and Skills. The Department has now stated that the courses have been approved on the basis that they were eligible for student grants before SUSI. Payments will now be restored to eligible students and any arrears paid as soon as possible. Anyone wishing to apply to these courses will now also be able to apply for a student grant. The SUSI helpline number is 0761 08 7874; Email: support@susi.ie Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.00am – 6.00pm You can apply for your SUSI grant in May and I strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible. Feel free to contact my office on 074 974 1880 if you need any assistance with your SUSI application.


Independents Working Together

LONG AWAITED BRIDGE IN FINTRA APPROVED Myself and Councillor John Campbell welcome the recent news that a new bridge is to be approved to be constructed at Fintra in Killybegs.

Thomas and John has been granted for Fintra Bridge.

Donegal County Council approved the carrying out of this construction on the R263 which is a vital link giving access to Kilcar, Carrick and Glencolmcille at their meeting in recent weeks, and it is very welcome news to see that the Part 8 planning

This bridge is a vital link for the communities of Killybegs, Kilcar and Glen. It is also the main access to the world renown Slieve League Cliffs that Donegal County Council want to see develop into a major tourist attraction in the southwest. During my time on the council I kept this bridge on the priority list for the Donegal Electoral Area but unfortunately we were not able

Thomas at Fintra Bridge to secure funding for it. I wish to commend Cllr John Campbell for keeping the bridge on the agenda and getting it to the point where there is now planning for the bridge. We must now ensure that the funding is secured so that this much needed improvement can begin as soon as possible for the benefit of everyone in the surrounding communities.

OUR LOCAL POST OFFICE MUST STAY OPEN The death knell has been ringing over post offices in communities across Donegal and rural Ireland. In late February myself and my technical group colleagues put forward a motion in the Dáil to maintain our rural post offices and set out viable steps with clear timeframes for how this can be achieved, and was backed by the Irish Postmasters’ Union. Unfortunately, the government TDs from Fine Gael and Labour would not accept this motion, but the fight isn’t over and myself Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig and Cllr John Campbell will be on the ground in Donegal working to maintain our local post offices. It is the responsibility of this government to create a long-term plan for the future of the postal service. Despite this, they are effectively washing its hands of its obligation to do anything to save the post office network. There has been a 15% decline in the network since 2006 and the revenue from mail continues to decrease. However, the post office is about more than mail services, the local post office is at the heart of communities across the country; it offers a vital connection and source of human contact for elderly people, those dependent on social welfare and others. I recognise the potential of post offices to deliver more services to the community and fully support that, but the post office is not a commercial entity and should not be treated as such. But with the approach this Fine Gael/Labour government is taking, their failure to works towards social clauses in public tendering and the roll-out of the standard bank account will ensure the closure of many post offices if they don’t act fast.

Bunbeg PO I have been working alongside Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig over the last few months calling on An Post to ensure the continued service by the Bunbeg Post Office to the local community following the recent proposal to close it. I attended a meeting recently between community representatives and officials from An Post to discuss the on-going public consultation regarding the future of Bunbeg Post Office, and reiterated the importance of this service continuing into the future. The public consultation ended in February and at the time of printing we are awaiting a decision on the matter.

Thomas and Micheál

Myself and Micheál will be working to ensure that Bunbeg PO continues to serve the local people long into the future.


Out and About About Out and

Myself and Cllr John Campbell with Donegal Person of the Year Liam Ó Cuinneagáin

At the launch of the MAN-UP campaign, LYIT to tackle domestic violence

Visiting class 3B at the Abbey Vocational School as part of their Junior Cert CSPE exam

At the Fintra Beach clean-up in January

To keep up to date on the work I’m doing on your behalf, visit: My website: thomaspringle.ie Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/ThomasPringleTD ‘Like’ my Facebook page: facebook.com/ThomasPringleTD

THOMAS

Independent Donegal South West

PRINGLE T.D. Constituency Office, Killybegs Phone: 074 974 1880 Fax: 01 618 4118

Constituency Office, Ballybofey & Dungloe Phone: 087 216 8719

Dáil Éireann,

Phone: 01 618 3038 Fax: 01 618 4118

Contact:

Email: thomas.pringle@oir.ie Web: www.thomaspringle.ie 0612


Thomas Pringle TD Newsletter Spring 2014