Live Register falls to 10.1% but real good news is in the detail – McFadden

Long-term unemployed down by 9.8% and youth employed has dropped by 19.4%

“The Live Register has fallen for the 32nd consecutive month and now stands at 10.1%, but the real good news is the drop by almost 10% in the long-term unemployed and a decrease of just under 20% in the number of people under 25 who are signing on”, says Gabrielle McFadden, Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath.

“We know that while the unemployment rate has been dropping there are still people who have not felt the benefit of the recovery.

“There are people who have been stuck on social welfare and young people who have not been able to access the jobs market.

“The news that the long-term unemployment rate has fallen by 9.8% since this time last year and that there has been a 19.4% reduction in the number of people under 25 on the Live Register, says more about our economic situation and our prospects than the headline figure.

“The economic recovery is taking hold and with the launch of the Regional Enterprise Strategy, more positive change can be expected in all regions of the country in the coming months.

“Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done but we are making significant progress in continuing to bring down the Live Register figures.”

Community groups have access to €13m for energy upgrades – McFadden

“Westmeath and Longford community groups should apply for funding to upgrade their energy systems, now that €13m has been made available”, says Fine Gael Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden.

“The Better Energy Communities programme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on behalf of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

“I strongly encourage Westmeath and Longford community groups to apply for funding to upgrade their energy systems now that €13m has been made available for the upgrade of residential, public and community buildings around Ireland.

“Sustainable energy is in everyone’s interest. It is good for the environment and also helps businesses keep costs down.

“The scheme is open for applications until the March 20th and groups can apply online at: www.seai.ie/Grants/Better_Energy_Communities/.”

Extra inspection lanes at NCT Testing Centre in Mullingar will help address backlog – McFadden

Longford/Westmeath TD Gabrielle McFadden has welcomed the provision of extra test lanes at the National Car Testing (NCT) Centre in Mullingar to help reduce long waiting times being experienced by drivers.

“Yesterday, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe announced a number of measures aimed at tackling the backlog in the system right across the country. As part of a number of measures including 24 hour testing at some Dublin centres, additional inspection lanes for cars are also to be provided at centres in Mullingar, Portlaoise, Naas, and Blarney.

“While the NCT website is advising people to ring if they cannot get a test time within the necessary timeframe before their certificate expires, this is of little comfort to those affected and from talking to people, I know it is an issue of real concern for many drivers right across Westmeath and Longford.

“What has clearly added to an increase in demand is the changes in legislation, whereby failure to have a valid NCT certificate is now a fixed charge offence attracting a €60 fine and three penalty points.
“I am pleased now that Minister Donohoe has announced additional resources for NCT centres across the country to help cater for increased demand.

“The recruit of additional vehicle inspectors and changes to the online booking system making it easier for customers to book and pay for their test on-line, are also welcome new measures to tackle waiting times.”

HSE statement ends ill-founded speculation Athlone Hospice is closing – McFadden

Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden has welcomed a statement issued by the HSE which has put an end to the ill-founded speculation that the Hospice in Athlone was facing closure.

“I have been in constant contact with the Hospice and the HSE on this matter and today’s statement confirms the HSE’s previous assurance to me that this important facility is not closing.

“I also welcome the HSE’s commitment on the record today to the Hospice and St Vincent’s Hospital.
“Today’s news is widely welcomed and I also want to acknowledge the work of the Hospice Committee, the HSE and my colleagues, Cllr Tom Farrell and Cllr John Dolan in helping to put to an end these ill-founded rumours.

“As I have said before, the South Westmeath Hospice and St Vincent’s Hospital are of paramount importance to the town and surrounding areas and today’s reassurance from the HSE confirms this.”

McFadden welcomes funding for new classroom at Raharney National School

Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed funding for the construction of a new classroom at St Mary’s primary school in Raharney.

“I am delighted that the Department of Education has approved funding for a new 80 square metre classroom at St Mary’s school.

“The school has also received funding to build a principal’s office and work on both rooms will proceed once the tendering process has been completed.

“I also welcome Department funding for external works at Odhran Naofa National School in Sonna, Mullingar.
“Projects such as these help stimulate economic activity by supporting construction jobs in the local economy.”