€77,800 in funding for local animal welfare organisations – McFadden

Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed a total of €77,800 in funding for six local animal welfare organisations in Longford and Westmeath.

The funding was announced today by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

“The local beneficiaries of this funding are:

Hungry Horse Outside, Currygranny, Newtownforbes, Co. Longford €30,000.00
Longford SPCA, Unit 2, Market Square, Longford, Co. Longford. €21,000.00
Westmeath SPCA, C/o Jorristown Lodge, Killucan, Co. Westmeath €12,000.00
Athlone Animal Welfare, Connaught Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath €4,600.00
Cry for Help Cattery, 7 St Agnes Cottages, Mullingar, Co Westmeath €5,000.00
Friends of Animals, Greenpeace Cottage, Cullionbeg, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath €5,200.00

“I would like to sincerely thank Minister Coveney for making these funding allocations.

“The funding clearly recognises the excellent work that these organisations are doing.

“The Animal Welfare Helpline will be monitored regularly over the holiday period.

“The telephone number for the helpline is: Call Save – 0761 064408; Phone – 01 607 2379; Dedicated email address – animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie”

18 official complaints of petrol stretching made in Westmeath since May – McFadden

Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has been informed by Finance Minister Michael Noonan that 18 official complaints of petrol stretching in Westmeath have been made with authorities since May of this year.

“Raising this issue in the Dáil with Minister Noonan recently, I was informed that 11 of the petrol stretching complaints in Westmeath have been filed with Gardaí, six of which were made in November.

“I understand that that all of these reported incidents remain under investigation and that to date no charges have been brought nor files submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The other seven Westmeath complaints since May have been lodged with the Revenue’s Customs Service.

“Minister Noonan informed me in the Dáil that all reports of petrol stretching made to the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána are followed up as a matter of course and samples of fuel are sent to the State Laboratory for scientific analysis where there is reason to suspect excise duty fraud.

“The Minister said that Revenue officers have visited and taken samples from every filling station about which a complaint has been made about fuel contamination, and these samples have been referred to the State Laboratory for analysis. Enquiries into these complaints are on-going.

“Minister Noonan informed me that to date, 208 samples have been referred by Revenue to the State Laboratory for analysis. Despite extensive testing by the State Laboratory, no evidence of any prohibited stretching agent has been found in any of the samples, except two samples taken from one site. The conclusive results received in that particular case has resulted in the seizure of the product and a file is being prepared for prosecution.

“I understand that Revenue Commissioners are working closely with An Garda Síochána and share information and intelligence on this issue. Minister Noonan said he was satisfied the Revenue Commissioners are allocating resources to this issue and taking all possible actions to identify the problem and challenge any instances of identified fuel fraud including, where possible , pursuing prosecutions against offenders.”

530 more IDA and Enterprise Ireland supported jobs in Westmeath than in 2011 – McFadden

In 2013, there were 530 more jobs in Westmeath companies supported by IDA and Enterprise Ireland than was the case in 2011, according to Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden. The Deputy obtained the figures after submitting a parliamentary question in the Dáil to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.

“Minister Bruton is set to unveil a specific jobs actions plan for the Midlands region early in the New Year; however, I am glad to see that figures he has furnished to me show that the number of jobs in both IDA and Enterprise Ireland supported companies in Westmeath are on an upward trend since 2011.

“Latest data show there were 2,854 Enterprise Ireland supported jobs in Westmeath in 2013 while IDA supported jobs totalled 2,225 in the county. The comparative 2011 figures totalled 2,411 and 2,132 respectively, meaning that, in 2013, there were more than 530 more jobs supported by both Government agencies.

“Clearly, there are still too many people out of work but I’m delighted that Minister Bruton has selected the Midlands as the pilot for the first of his Department’s regional job action programmes.

“Indeed, a consultation process, which commenced a number of months ago, continued last Friday, December 19th in Athlone with the holding of a Midlands Regional Enterprise Forum.

“The forum brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from the retail sector, LEO clients, community-based enterprises, commercial state bodies and Failte Ireland. The forum discussed the strengths and opportunities that can be built upon to support enterprise and jobs growth in the region.

“This forum in Athlone and the wider consultation process will inform Department of Job’s Regional Enterprise Strategy for the Midlands which is due to be published early in the New Year.”

McFadden informed that National Broadband Plan process will look at prioritising broadband blackspots

Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has been informed by Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh, that the National Broadband Plan process will look at prioritising broadband blackspots.

“This week in the Dáil, I highlighted the importance of prioritising areas with the poorest coverage in this National Broadband Plan. This plan must focus on ensuring that rural Ireland enjoys similar opportunities to urban areas in terms of access to high speed connectivity; and that’s why I believe areas with poor or no broadband must prioritised.

“The Broadband deficit is huge in many rural areas. There are many areas in Longford and Westmeath which either have no broadband or patchy connectivity at best.

“Minister McHugh told me in the Dáil that part of the necessary analysis for the National Broadband Plan will be to examine the feasibility of identifying and prioritising particular parts of the country that might be considered black-spots in terms of overall quality of existing broadband coverage.

“Minister McHugh said that a detailed intervention strategy will be submitted to Government in mid-2015. A detailed procurement process will then be undertaken in order to select a potential preferred bidder or bidders towards the end of 2015.

“This national plan to deliver high-speed broadband to every corner of the country is very welcome. However, the broadband issue has almost become a toxic one for many rural communities who have heard about many national schemes over the years which have never materialised.

“High-quality affordable broadband is essential to the economic and social development of cities, towns, villages and townlands and I look forward to a time in the not-too-distant future when rural communities will no longer feel that having decent broadband coverage is nothing more than a pipe dream.”

Westmeath farmers received €39m in 2014 – McFadden

Fine Gael Longford-Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that beef and sheep farmers in Westmeath are to receive payments this week, bringing to almost €39m the total amount of funding received by Westmeath farmers this year.

“Beef and sheep farmers in the county are receiving payments in the last week under the Beef Genomics Scheme and the Grassland Sheep Scheme. Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has announced €771,880 for local beef farmers and €315,661 for local sheep farmers.

“This funding will no doubt be welcome in what has been a difficult year for beef farmers in particular.

“The payments going out this week bring to almost €39m the total amount of funding going to Westmeath farmers this year. This includes Single Farm Payments, the Agri-Environment Options Scheme I and II (AEOS), the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and the Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS).

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural economies and this Government is committed to supporting our farmers. We will continue to provide these crucial supports for farmers and incentivise increased productivity.

“2015 is set to be a really promising year for farmers with the abolition of milk quotas in April and the opening up of new markets for Irish beef including the United States. There is also great potential in the future for Irish famers in China, following a really successful Irish trade mission there this year.”

Longford farmers received €25m in 2014 – McFadden

Fine Gael Longford-Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that beef and sheep farmers in Longford are to receive payments this week, bringing to more than €25m the total amount of funding received by Westmeath farmers this year.

“Beef and sheep farmers in the county are receiving payments in the last week under the Beef Genomics Scheme and the Grassland Sheep Scheme. Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has announced € €590,520 for local beef farmers and € €136,297 for local sheep farmers.

“This funding will no doubt be welcome in what has been a difficult year for beef farmers in particular.

“The payments going out this week bring to almost €39m the total amount of funding going to Longford farmers this year. This includes Single Farm Payments, the Agri-Environment Options Scheme I and II (AEOS), the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and the Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS).

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural economies and this Government is committed to supporting our farmers. We will continue to provide these crucial supports for farmers and incentivise increased productivity.

“2015 is set to be a really promising year for farmers with the abolition of milk quotas in April and the opening up of new markets for Irish beef including the United States. There is also great potential in the future for Irish famers in China, following a really successful Irish trade mission there this year.”

€27,320 in National Lottery Grants awarded in Counties Westmeath – McFadden

“Young people in Westmeath are set to benefit from €27,320 in National Lottery Grants which have been awarded to a number of groups and organisations” says Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden for Longford/Westmeath after the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly announced the allocation of National Lottery funding for 2014.

“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has a National Lottery Discretionary fund which provides once-off grants to community groups and voluntary organisations involved in providing services for children and young people.

“The funding announced today is part of a national programme which will see €910,000 allocated towards providing services for young people. This year the scheme is particularly targeting small scale projects and it focuses on activities that involve culture and play, young people led initiatives, healthy lifestyle and those that provide access for marginal groups to extra circular activities.

“In Westmeath, a total of €27,320 was allocated to the following organisations:

• St Paul’s Afterschool Service, Westmeath Community Development, Athlone – €10,000 for new playground
• Monsignor McCarthy Family Resource Centre, Battery Heights, Athlone – €5,000 for library

• Midlands Regional Youth Service, Athlone – €4,000 for equipment to set up teen gym

• Mullingar EYE Youth Justice Project, Columb Barracks, Mullinga – €4,000 for a Youth health info app

• Involve Youth Services, Monksland, Athlone – €320 for Cyber bullying & social media safety course Westmeath

• Helium Arts Keoltown, Mullingar – €4,000 for a Play therapy project for babies/toddlers with disability

“The National Lottery Grants provide vital funding to extremely worthwhile groups and organisations that do very good work in Westmeath. I would like to congratulate those who were successful in securing funding and encourage other organisations to consider applying for this once off grant in 2015.”

Funding approved for works at St Colman’s School – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed funding approval for roof repair works at St Colman’s primary school in Mullingar.

“I’m very pleased that funding has been granted for the necessary works at St Colman’s national school 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.”

€43,470 in National Lottery Grants awarded in Counties Longford and Westmeath – McFadden

“Young people in Longford and Westmeath are set to benefit from €43,470 in National Lottery Grants which have been awarded to a number of groups and organisations” says Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden for Longford/Westmeath after the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly announced the allocation of National Lottery funding for 2014.

“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has a National Lottery Discretionary fund which provides once-off grants to community groups and voluntary organisations involved in providing services for children and young people.

“The funding announced today is part of a national programme which will see €910,000 allocated towards providing services for young people. This year the scheme is particularly targeting small scale projects and it focuses on activities that involve culture and play, young people led initiatives, healthy lifestyle and those that provide access for marginal groups to extra circular activities.

“In Longford, a total of €26,150 was allocated to the following organisations:

• Foróige Attic Youth Café, Longford – €15,000 for Equipment for music practice room & recording studio
• Lus na Gréine Family Resource Centre Granard – €3,500 for workshops in meal planning for young people
• Bridgeways Family Resource Centre – €1,900 for Dean Egan Library, Ballymahon; dinners for children at homework club
• Lenamore Foróige Club Killeen, Legan – €750 for Fitness equipment
• Longford Youth Service – €5,000 for programmes
“In Westmeath, a total of €17,320 was allocated to the following organisations:
• Monsignor McCarthy Family Resource Centre, Battery Heights, Athlone – €5,000 for library
• Midlands Regional Youth Service, Athlone – €4,000 for equipment to set up teen gym
• Mullingar EYE Youth Justice Project, Columb Barracks, Mullinga – €4,000 for a Youth health info app
• Involve Youth Services, Monksland, Athlone – €320 for Cyber bullying & social media safety course Westmeath
• Helium Arts Keoltown, Mullingar – €4,000 for a Play therapy project for babies/toddlers with disability

“The National Lottery Grants provide vital funding to extremely worthwhile groups and organisations that do very good work in in both counties. I would like to congratulate those who were successful in securing funding and encourage other organisations to consider applying for this once off grant in 2015.”

Minister Bruton to head up Midlands jobs action forum in Athlone on December 19th – McFadden

Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has been informed by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton that he will head up a jobs action forum on Friday, December19th next in Athlone as part of plans to roll out a specific Government enterprise strategy for the Midlands region.

“In reply to my Dail question regarding this planned regional jobs focus, Minister Bruton said the first of the regional strategies is to commence in the Midlands region and aimed at providing targeted supports for enterprise and job creation. He said this Midlands Regional Enterprise Strategy is due to be unveiled early in the New Year.

“As part of the consultative process, Minister Bruton explained that this Midlands Regional Enterprise Forum in Athlone will bring all the main stakeholder groups together to discuss the strengths and opportunities that can be built upon to support enterprise and jobs growth in the region.

“Minister Bruton informed me in the Dail last week that over the past number of months, officials from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Minister’s Bruton Department have been involved in a series of engagements with stakeholder groups in the Midlands region. The stakeholders have included representatives from the enterprise sector, skills and education providers, and public bodies operating in the region.

“Minister Bruton acknowledged that while employment has increased nationally by approximately 80,000 since the start of the Governments Action Plan process in 2012, not all regions are yet fully experiencing the full benefits of economic recovery.

“I am very pleased that the Midlands, which includes Longford and Westmeath, has now been selected as the first region under this co-ordinated Government regional strategy, and I commend the Minister’s commitment to looking strategically at how the Midlands can benefit from the economic recovery.”