Build for new Coosan School project set to go to tender shortly – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that the build for the new 16 classroom primary school in Coosan is expected to go to tender shortly.

“This week, I’m delighted that the planning phase of the school has now cleared all hurdles. This long-awaited project was granted permission on September 29th last by Westmeath County Council and no appeals were submitted by the public to An Bord Pleanála during a standard four week period that followed.

“Once the successful contractor has been appointed following the tender process, I would expect that construction work will get underway in the summer of next year and take two years to complete.
“The buildings works and the logistical challenges of this multi-million euro project are of a large scale nature. It will involve the demolition of the existing school building in two phases. Some existing pre-fab classrooms will be re-located during construction in order to build two temporary pre-fab classrooms. All pre-fabs will then be removed from the site on completion of the new school building.

“I’m delighted that it’s full steam ahead to proceed with this state-of-the-art 34,000 square foot two-storey school and special needs unit. The project will also incorporate new ball courts, play-areas and new car-parking. The new school will have a capacity to cater for approximately 450 children and up to 30 staff.

“I want to again pay tribute to the years of hard work invested by so many people, not least my late sister Nicky and the Board of Management, which has ensured this wonderful development will now become a reality for teachers, children, parents and the wider community.

“The wait for a new school has certainly been a long time coming but thankfully everything is now fully on track to finally deliver the school that Coosan and surrounding areas so badly need.
“The economic benefits for the local community also cannot be underestimated; this project will support many construction jobs and create spin-offs for the local economy.”

New funding opportunity for SMEs – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has advised SMEs to apply for funding from their bank following news that €800 million in funding is being made available to lenders through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

“SMEs should know that there is a new opportunity for them to access credit that could help them expand and create jobs. The Government has announced that €800 million in funding is being made available to SMEs through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). This dates back to last year when the Government oversaw Ireland’s successful exit from the EU/IMF Bailout. It was decided then that Ireland would establish a State owned source of funding similar to the successful model operated in Germany.

“SMEs really stand to benefit from this increased funding being made available through the banks. Better still, this is low cost funding for businesses, meaning credit will be available at a better rate than they might currently get from their bank. The first loans should be available to SMEs by the end of this year, so businesses should really start thinking about their applications now.

“I encourage the Small Firms Association, Chambers Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and all other stakeholders to help promote this initiative to small businesses needing capital.

“It is also important that SMEs don’t just give up if they fail to receive the funding they seek from their banks. There is always the option of a review with the bank in question, and if this fails, they can approach the Credit Review Office, which is overturning over 50% of refused bank loans.

“With supports like this, the Government is really doing everything it can to support SMEs. They are a major focus of our successful Action Plan for Jobs which has seen over 70,000 people employed since its launch two years ago. The Local Enterprise Offices are a one stop shop for businesses to avail of information and credit such as the Micro Enterprise Loan Fund and the Seed Capital Scheme. The Government also recently highlighted opportunities for SMEs to win business thought the public procurement process.

Regional job creation drive must concentrate its focus on Longford – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that County Westmeath has been the beneficiary of recent job announcements, and energies must now be redoubled in attracting more investment to County Longford.

“The month of October was an extremely good one for Athlone and Westmeath. One hundred new jobs were announced by medical devices company Teleflex while Ericsson announced the signing of an €80m contract with Eircom. This is obviously good news generally for the Midlands but I want to make sure the Government’s regional job creation and investment programme brings sufficient benefits to Longford as well.

“The IDA has made very few sponsored visits to Longford in the last ten years and two weeks ago, I wrote to Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, expressing my concern as to why the county is not stronger on the IDA’s radar when it comes to potential job creation initiatives.

“In the last week, Mr Shanahan was in the United States on a 5-day trade mission with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton but I will be following up my correspondence on the CEO’s return.
“This recent jobs growth in Athlone clearly shows that the midlands region has the talent and skills base that companies are looking for, be it in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, technology or services sector.

“Of course, counties like Longford and Westmeath are also ideally placed for companies and future investment given they are ideally placed geographically.

“However, apart from foreign direct investment, I have consistently said that developing tourism products in rural areas and proper supports for small business can provide the key to ensuring the economic recovery is felt in places like Longford. I will certainly be playing my part in assisting every effort to boost investment in the county.”

Another 100 new jobs for Athlone – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said the news that 100 new jobs are to be created in Athlone by medical devices company Teleflex, is clear evidence that this Government is fulfilling its commitment to regional job creation and investment.

“The news that 100 new high skilled jobs are to be created by Teleflex in Athlone is really welcome for the town and surrounding areas. We all know that an economic recovery is underway in the larger urban areas but for some time I have been advocating the need to ensure this recovery is felt across the regions. Today’s announcement is clear evidence of the Government’s commitment to regional job creation and investment in the Midlands.

“I want to complement the Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton who is doing great work in encouraging companies to the country. Only three weeks ago, I arranged for Minister Bruton to be present in Athlone to announce the signing of an €80m contract between Ericsson and Eircom.

“Teleflex has been a great employer in Athlone since 2007 and this expansion demonstrates their commitment to the town for the future.

“All the economic indicators show our economy is growing again and people are getting back to work. CSO figures show that the Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) is working. Recent CSO figures show that since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in February 2012, the live register has fallen from 15.1% down to 11.1%. We are firmly on track to help create 100,000 jobs by 2016. Employment is now at its highest level since 2009.

“Minister Bruton has highlighted that the medical devices sector is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and it is great to see towns like Athlone benefitting from this. These 100 new jobs will also be good for the town in terms of the boost they will give to local shops, bars and restaurants, leading to indirect job creation in Athlone and surrounding areas.”

High speed broadband on the way for Athlone Mullingar and Longford – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that the approval by the European Commission of a joint project between ESB and Vodafone will ensure a new high speed fibre broadband network for rural towns across the country including Longford.

“This is a massive boost to Longford and will completely change the quality of broadband experienced in homes and businesses. It will also make these towns more attractive as business and investment locations.

“The project will use existing ESB power lines to carry fibre-optic cabling directly into homes and businesses. This is the first initiative of its kind in Europe and will involve the rolling out of high speed broadband to 500,000 homes and businesses across 50 towns in all 26 counties by 2018. I am delighted that Longford is included in the project and look forward to its implementation.

“This will benefit business and households in these areas which have been crying out for high speed broadband. This Government has set about ways of improving access, quality and the capacity of the broadband infrastructure in the State. We have seen this with the plan to roll out high speed broadband in every secondary school in the country.

“It is important to say here that the Government is also committed to investing significantly in fibre networks for rural communities outside town areas and I want to make sure rural communities benefit from this roll-out.

“The Government is committed to delivering high-speed broadband to half the population by 2015 and today’s announcement is a big step forward in that regard.”

Fibre network broadband on the way for Longford – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that the approval by the European Commission of a joint project between ESB and Vodafone will ensure a new high speed fibre broadband network for rural towns across the country including Longford.

“This is a massive boost to Longford and will completely change the quality of broadband experienced in homes and businesses. It will also make these towns more attractive as business and investment locations.

“The project will use existing ESB power lines to carry fibre-optic cabling directly into homes and businesses. This is the first initiative of its kind in Europe and will involve the rolling out of high speed broadband to 500,000 homes and businesses across 50 towns in all 26 counties by 2018. I am delighted that Longford is included in the project and look forward to its implementation.

“This will benefit business and households in these areas which have been crying out for high speed broadband. This Government has set about ways of improving access, quality and the capacity of the broadband infrastructure in the State. We have seen this with the plan to roll out high speed broadband in every secondary school in the country.

“It is important to say here that the Government is also committed to investing significantly in fibre networks for rural communities outside town areas and I want to make sure rural communities benefit from this roll-out.

“The Government is committed to delivering high-speed broadband to half the population by 2015 and today’s announcement is a big step forward in that regard.”

New statue, exhibition space, walkway tour and plaza duly recognise the legendary John Count McCormack – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that a range of excellent initiatives to mark the life and works of Athlone’s famous son, John Count McCormack, gives due recognition to a man who was the most celebrated tenor of his era.

“It was an honour and a privilege to be in attendance at a special commemorative event on Friday last, October 24th, for what was a very historic occasion. During successive Athlone Town Councils, lots of good work had been invested in efforts to recognise the legendary status of John Count McCormack, who in his day was a global superstar in the world of music.

“Over a number of years as a councillor, I proposed and called for a dedicated exhibition for John McCormack and I’m now delighted that we have such an exhibition space at Athlone Castle commemorating the singer’s life and work.

“This exhibition area along with a magnificent new sculpture of the tenor by Rory Breslin, the new walkway tour devised by Gearóid O’Brien and the newly named John Count McCormack Square outside the Civic Offices marks the culmination of hard work by many people in Athlone and beyond.

“These initiatives not only duly recognise the legendary but from a tourism perspective, they are sure to attract more visitors to the town and increase footfall into the Castle.

“I believe all of this is the start of bigger and better things. In the long-term, I would like to see an expanded standalone John McCormack audio-visual centre along with a summer school and festival, which could incorporate a ‘Voice of Ireland’ international tenor competition.

“I’m very proud as the local TD that we are now finally paying due tribute to a man whose musical prowess will not only continue to enthral us but generations to come.”

Funding for works at Taghmon NS, Mullingar – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed funding for essential works at Taghmon National School, Mullingar.

“I’m very pleased that funding has been approved for the necessary works at Taghmon NS which will now enable work to proceed once the tendering process has been completed.

“This welcome allocation has been sanctioned by the School Building Unit at the Department of Education.”

Funding for works at Clondra National School – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed funding for roof repair works at Scoil Mhuire primary school in Clondra.

“I’m very pleased that funding has been approved for the necessary works at Scoil Mhuire which will now enable work to proceed once the tendering process has been completed.

“This welcome allocation has been sanctioned by the School Building Unit at the Department of Education.”

€36,000 funding boost for Westmeath and Longford environmental projects – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed a total of €36,200 in funding awarded to almost 50 local environment projects in Longford and Westmeath under the 2013 Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund.

“This Environmental Partnership Fund promotes sustainable development by assisting small scale, non-profit environmental projects at a local level and I am delighted that these projects were among the successful recipients, as announced by Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

“€19,000 in total funding has been awarded to 30 Westmeath projects while €17,200 has been allocated to 19 Longford projects.

“The funding goes to a wide range of local initiatives including community gardens, waste reduction and biodiversity projects. The projects are being co-funded by the Department and local authorities; with close to €400,000 being provided by the Department and a similar amount by the local authorities.

“These 49 projects are among 697 projects being funded this year.”