First two phases of universal GP care underway
“West Cork children are set to benefit from free GP care for under 6’s”, says Fine Gael TD for Cork South West Deputy Noel Harrington was speaking after the announcement this week that free GP care for children under 6 years of age has been agreed by the Department of Health, the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation.
“This summer will see the commencement of free GP-care for under 6’s thanks to an agreement reached this week between the Department of Health, the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation. This is another important step towards universal healthcare and follows the recent agreement on free GP care for over 70s. The two initiatives are part of the Government’s plan to enhance the primary care system in this country and will make a real difference to the lives of both the youngest and oldest in our society. From this summer more than 300,000 children and senior citizens who currently have to pay to see their GP will no longer have to.
Noel Harrington, Fine Gael TD for Cork South West welcomes the review of building regulations announced last week by Minister for Housing, Paudie Coffey, who confirmed that it is to take place.
“The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 which have been in operation now for twelve months are to be reviewed, focusing particularly on the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings. I submitted a Parliamentary Question to Minister Coffey on this issue and received the following reply on Thursday last” Deputy Harrington added.
“My Department has given preliminary consideration to the arrangements in place for oversight of new single dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings in advance of the anticipated full formal review of the broader operation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014).
While costs are determined by market forces and are therefore outside of the scope of my regulatory powers, I recognise the importance of ensuring that the regulations do not impact unduly on one-off housing and extensions to dwellings, particularly in relation to cost. I announced the commencement of the review today.”
“Home owners in my Constituency of Cork South West are currently incurring inspection costs of up to €6,000 due to restrictions on who can carry out inspections. I am therefore very pleased that Minister Coffey has confirmed that he is willing to consider broadening the pool of people who can design, inspect and certify.
“Plans for the statutory registration of architectural technologists are at an advanced stage. A working group to identify a common standard for architectural technology in line with the National Qualifications Framework is to be set up by Quality Qualifications Ireland. Government will do everything possible to fast-track the new register, in keeping with domestic legal arrangements and those at EU level, to ensure that the routes to registration are fair, open and broadly-based.
The option of establishing a “Ministers’ List” is also being considered for practically trained architects, whereby they could be facilitated to continue in their work, subject to defined criteria.
“There is no question around the reasons for introducing the building regulations; the Government wanted to ensure competence and professionalism in construction, and to bring accountability to the industry. It is essential that those building homes are guaranteed the highest quality. Another Priory Hall will not be accepted.
“However, while the regulations are necessary, in reality it has been found that the regulations as they stand are overly stringent and result in high costs for those in rural Ireland and in West Cork, building one off houses, or for people extending their home.
“Consumers must get a fair price for the actual inspection work they require, they should not have to pay an inflated rate for excessive inspection services.
“Building regulation is very much needed. However I know from my own constituency, which is a rural constituency, most developments are carried out by direct labour, it had the greatest impact for renovations, single unit constructions etc. Also, people who have built up years of experience in the industry, but who do not have the required professional qualifications, were excluded.
“This is an issue that is particularly relevant to rural people building one-off homes. For the individual constructing their own home, they are taking on all the risk on their own, as they want to ensure the house is properly built so they work closely with their builder to make sure this happens.
“I applaud Minister Coffey for taking on board the downfalls of the current regulation and to supporting those in rural Ireland by following through on this review.”
“Improvements to school buildings will make a big difference in ensuring West Cork pupils are comfortable and safe while at school”, says Fine Gael Noel Harrington TD for Cork South West was speaking after the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan TD, announced a €36 million investment in 559 schools across the country as part of the Summer Works Scheme in 2015.
“In West Cork, 11 schools are set to receive state funding under the Summer Works Scheme. This is great news for children, parents and teachers rights across Cork South West
“The funding is to be used for improvements to the external environment of the schools, structural improvements, window repairs and curricular requirements.
“The schools set to benefit include :
|Primary School||Ballyheeda NS||Ballinhassig, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||Adrigole NS||Adrigole, Beara, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||S N Clogach||Cloglach, Timoleague, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||S N Baile Muine||Ballineen, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||Togher NS||Dunmanway, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||Castletownsend Mixed NS||Skibbereen, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||S N Oir Cheann||Eyeries, Beara, Co Cork||Windows|
|Primary School||Timoleague NS||Bandon, Co Cork||Structural Improvements|
|Primary School||Sn Fhiachna||Gleann Garbh, Co Chorcai||External Environment|
|Primary School||S N Chobh Chionn Tsaile||Cionn Tsaile, Co Chorcaigh||External Environment|
|Post Primary School||St. Brogan’s College, Bandon||Kilbrogan, Bandon, Co Cork||Windows|
“It is important that we invest in our children’s education and this means looking after their environment as well as the curriculum. Children should be learning in surroundings that are comfortable, safe and fit for purpose.
“Injecting capital such as this into our school system also allows for greater job creation locally as we see the works on the schools get underway. The construction sector in West Cork was very badly hit during the recession so the Summer Works Scheme for schools is no doubt very welcome for local builders.
“In 2015, the Department of Education will invest more than €450 million in school infrastructure. I am delighted we are taking the opportunity presented by the economic recovery to invest in our children’s education and welfare.”
Fine Gael TD for Cork South West, Noel Harrington has welcomed the news that the Live Register has fallen for the 33rd consecutive month with a drop of 11,048 in the number of people signing on in Cork.
“Yesterday’s CSO figures show that the Live Register in Cork has dropped by 25.14% since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in February 2012. The economic recovery has really taken hold now, and is starting to be felt in Cork.
“I know not everyone is feeling it quite yet, and that not everybody has regained the job they lost in the crisis, but the Government has a comprehensive plan to achieve full employment by 2018. With the success of Minister Richard Bruton’s Action Plan for Jobs so far, I am sure we can achieve this target and that West Cork will really feel the benefits. Read the rest of this entry »