Fine Gael Cork South West TD, Noel Harrington, has today [Wednesday] welcomed the latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which show that the number of people out of work in the Ireland has dropped by 25,770 over the last 12 months.
“These are yet more encouraging figures from the Live Register, which show that the national unemployment rate has fallen for the 17th month in a row, to 12.5%. While this rate remains too high, these figures clearly show that the downward trend in unemployment figures is well established, as more and more people get back to work.
Fine Gael TD for Cork South West, Deputy Noel Harrington, welcomed the announcement made today by The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D. that 70 school projects are scheduled for construction in 2014 and Skibbereen and Kinsale CS are two of these projects.
Deputy Harrington added that “the new-build for Skibbereen and the extension to Kinsale CS will not only provide additional school places in these areas, but will also give additional employment during the construction, which will be of added benefit to the local economies”.
Over 1,000 groups and clubs around Ireland have been included in the Go for Life Scheme, an Age & Opportunity initiative funded by the Irish Sports Council and announced this week by Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring.
Deputy Harrington said: “The Irish Sports Council has received €43.5 million nationally in funding this year from the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. I am very pleased to see a contribution from this funding going towards the Go for Life grants scheme again this year.
“A record number of 1,009 groups are sharing almost €300,000 in funding for activities of their own choosing. I am delighted to announce that Cork will benefit with over €33,500 in funding, and West Cork organisations benefitting a quite substantial amount of this. (see full list below).
“These grants allow people to decide for themselves how to be more active. They make a huge contribution to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of older people throughout the country. I am well aware of the huge potential of sport and physical activity to contribute to the development of a healthier society and of the vital role which sport plays in local communities throughout Ireland.”
List of Beara Organisations. Read the rest of this entry »
At the rate we’re going we will only hit our 2030 target in 2082
Speaking during the second stage debate on the Forestry Bill 2013 in Dáil Éireann yesterday (Wednesday), Fine Gael Cork South West Deputy, Noel Harrington said the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle to allow citizens to invest in a forestry development company managed by Coillte, would assist us in meeting our forestry land mass targets.
“Ireland has a target of covering 17% of the land mass in forestry by 2030 which some would consider unlikely when consideration is given to the fact that we are not reaching 50% of our present annual targets.
“If we were on target, we should have 870,000 hectares of forestry planted at present. As it stands we have just 744,000. We should be creating an additional 20,000 hectares per year but we are only planting 6,600 hectares. This means that at this rate we will reach our 2030 target sometime in 2082.
“The decision by the European Commission in 1999, which was subsequently upheld by the European Court of Justice, debarred Coillte from claiming afforestation grants. This had the effect of stagnating growth in the forestry sector with private landowners trying to make up the shortfall.
“What we now need is a new impetus to promote growth in the forestry sector. To remedy this situation we need to look at the possibility of creating a new investment vehicle that can attract European grants. I am asking the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes TD, to examine the possibility of creating a Special Purpose Vehicle/Entity which would allow citizens to invest in a forestry development company, managed by Coillte.
“I believe that this could be a very productive partnership for all concerned, in that it would allow for European funding through grant aid while allowing for the expansion of the forestry land cover, increasing employment, and reducing our carbon emissions. I also believe that much greater consideration needs to be given to the neighbours of our forests. We need to consult with those living beside forests, particularly when areas are about to be planted or about to be felled.”