“The National Gallery upgrade is creating 300 jobs for Dublin and will be the pride of our city when it is finished”, says Fine Gael Dublin South- West Senator Cáit Keane.
“This €30 million project to upgrade the Gallery is being joint funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Office of Public Works and the National Gallery of Ireland itself.
“A great bonus of this project is that it is creating 300 full-time construction and specialist jobs. The works underway include the repair of the Milltown Wing roof, significant upgrading of the Dargan Wing (1864) (and) the Milltown Wing (1903) and the Merrion Entrance and the upgrading of the buildings to current gallery standards. Victorian features and spaces within the buildings are to be reopened for the optimum presentation the Gallery’s wonderful collection.
“Once the project is completed the National Gallery will once again be the pride of Dublin and will be a great attraction for Irish people and tourists alike.
“Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys visited the site today along with her colleague, Minister for the OPW Simon Harris. I am pleased to hear them report that the works are on track and the project is due to be completed in 2016.”
“With the creation of over 80,000 jobs since it was first launched in 2012, the Action Plan for Jobs has been a great success. However this year the plan is focused on spreading the recovery to all regions of the country and on building on the potential of local areas like our own area of South Dublin,” says Cáit Keane, Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West.
“The Action Plan for Jobs 2015 was launched this morning by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD. This is the next step in the multi-annual process which is working towards delivering full employment by 2018, two years ahead of schedule.
“Specific reforms will be launched this year that will impact on a range of sectors in all areas of the country:
· The Regional Enterprise Strategy will be rolled out shortly across the country. This strategy will include competitive funding initiatives of up to €25 million.
· There will be a national talent drive in which we will work towards increasing by 60% the number of ICT graduates by 2018.
· New measures will be introduced to support start-ups including a new Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs Scheme (SURE) tax incentive and a Start-up Gathering to be held in 2015.
· It will be easier to do business in Ireland as the Government will cut the red tape, fully utilise ICT, revoke outdated legislation and support 800 participants in Enterprise Ireland (EI) Management Development Courses.
· Measures will be introduced to improve competitiveness and productivity, including a €39 million fund for businesses to make savings in energy.
· There will be an increased focus on job creation in the domestic economy including measures to support the retail, construction and agriculture sectors.
“When the Action Plan for Jobs was first launched it was against a backdrop of emigration, job losses and a lack of credit for SMEs. Thankfully the economic landscape has changed. We are creating jobs and Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe. But this growth has not been evenly spread and many areas have yet to benefit.
“We need to see growth and improvement in all areas of the country. We need to support new business here in Dublin South-West and to provide opportunities for our young people. The Action Plan for Jobs is not just about creating jobs, it is about creating the right type of job in the places where they are most needed.”
Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has called on the Minister for Education & Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly TD, to introduce a strong cross departmental approach in order to improve standards in the childcare sector. The Senator made her comments in the context of the Seanad debate on ‘Improving the Quality of Early Years Education’ today (Thursday).
“With increased focus on the childcare sector in recent years, there is a great opportunity to achieve higher standards through a coordinated cross departmental approach.
“We need better coordination in childcare inspections in the early years childcare sector. For childcare workers we need to see the implementation of continuous professional development (CPD) programme.
“This Government is committed to improving childcare in the context of the early years education sector. It has been evident in the establishment of a new national policy framework; ‘Better Outcomes Brighter Futures: the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014 – 2020’ and the setting up of TUSLA, a new Child and Family Agency tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the health, safety and welfare of pre-school children attending childcare services. Since July 1st 2013, their inspection reports on early years services have been published on-line which is really positive and makes the information publically accessible.
“TUSLA also has remit over inspections of childcare facilities in the state as well as the DES section in the Department of Education and Skills who are currently developing an inspection programme. I am calling for the Department of Education and Skills and TUSLA to coordinate their inspection functions to enable a more streamlined approach to carrying out inspections with the goal of better outcomes for the sector. I support what the Government is doing in terms of pursuing better quality in the sector especially in light of recent media reports on malpractice in certain childcare facilities. I think it is vital that the Minister introduce a more progressive and fair pay structure along with a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for those working in this sector, similar to structures already in place in the primary, secondary and third level sector.
“It is paramount that all stakeholders comprehend the importance of early years education for personal development of individuals in society. We cannot have good childcare and early education with a satisfied and appropriately qualified and remunerated workforce when we do not have all of the necessary structures in place. Therefore, I am calling on Ministers Reilly and O’Sullivan to introduce single and more coordinated inspections, and the introduction of continuous professional development for early years workers.”
Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Senator Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, of 7 new building projects for Dublin South-West. This announcement is in addition to the 4 other building projects that were commenced or completed in Dublin South-West in 2014; Sancta Maria College, Rathfarnham (ongoing from 2014) St. Colmcille’s Junior NS, Knocklyon (completed in 2014), St. Colmcille’s Senior NS, Knocklyon (completed in 2014) and Bllcragh NS, Firhouse (completed in 2014). The 7 new building projects announced today are:
Scoil Caitlín Maude, Tallaght
Scoil Niamh, Citywest Community NS
Citywest ET, Tallaght
Gaelscoil Oldbawn, Tallaght
Scoil Aoife, Tallaght West CNS
Scoil Niamh, Citywest Community NS, Tallaght
“I welcome today’s announcement of 7 new school building projects for my constituency, Dublin South-West. This news is very positive and further demonstrates the Government’s commitments to delivering the ambitious school building programme announced after taking office in 2011. As the population of Dublin South-West continues to grow, there is a pressing need for more schools to serve the educational needs of a growing community.
“In total, there are 70 major school projects that are planned to proceed to construction in 2015 nationally including 44 new schools and 11 major extensions at primary level, 5 new schools and 8 major extensions at post primary level and 2 new special schools. These school projects will deliver over 27,800 permanent school places and of these over 23,700 are additional places. The remainder will be the replacement of temporary or unsatisfactory accommodation. 54 of these projects were included on the five year plan, and we had indicated they would proceed to construction in either 2014/15 or 2015/16. For these 54 schools, they are now being provided with certainty that their projects will proceed to construction during 2015.
“The Government recognises the need to find the funding to advance projects where school buildings are in poor condition, as well as those which have been required purely to accommodate demographic growth. These new projects will create employment for construction sector workers in the Dublin South-West area which will in turn have a knock on effect on service industries in the local communities. They will also provide much needed schools for our children in the education system and therefore, I fully endorse this announcement.”