GMIT Castlebar report to be published in the coming days - O’Mahony

Fine Gael Senator, John O’Mahony, has welcomed news that the report from the GMIT working group on the Castlebar campus is to be published in the coming days.

Senator O’Mahony received the confirmation in the Seanad from Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Education Minister Richard Bruton established a working group in March to formulate a plan and a pathway for a sustainable future for the GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar.

Senator O’Mahony said: “I was delighted to hear of the Department’s commitment to implementing a viable development plan for the future of the Castlebar campus of GMIT.

“The Minister has confirmed to me that the report will be published before years end. This will provide a pathway to certainty for the campus.

“She has told me that there will be some certainty in place for the Castlebar campus before the CAO deadline in January.

“The campus was opened in 1994 and specialises in nursing and outdoor education, as well as offering courses in business, technology and health sciences courses.

“I am hopeful now that this commitment from Government will ensure that Castlebar campus is maintained and enhanced. This is great news for the community and indeed the whole North West,” Senator O’Mahony said.

 

SENATOR O’MAHONY WELCOMES SPORTS
 CAPITAL FUNDING OF €1.6million
 FOR MAYO

SENATOR O’MAHONY WELCOMES SPORTS
 CAPITAL FUNDING OF €1.6million
 FOR MAYO

Fine Gael Senator, John O’Mahony welcomes the announcement of the Sports Capital Grant’s funding to the Mayo region in excess of €1.6million to benefit 68 local clubs with the goal of improving the quality and quantity of sporting facilities in the locality.

“I am absolutely delighted to see our local clubs and organisations benefit from this funding. This grant will assist with the building and much necessary refurbishment of dressing room facilities, sports halls and gyms. This will certainly increase participation in sport as well as contributing to the improvement of current sporting performances”. 

This is good news not just for the clubs but for the local people. This additional funding can further transform young lives locally, build community and increase the standards of our local clubs.

“The Sports Capital Programme was re-instated by the last Fine Gael government in 2012, after it had been cut by Fianna Fáil in the wake of the economic crash. Fine Gael in Government is using our economic progress to invest in communities around the country and ensure that everyone can benefit. Sport is just one important element of this”.

“Investing in Sport and Health is critical to the living standards of our population. An indirect impact of this investment in sport is the tackling of obesity which is on the rise both in Ireland and in the EU. This investment is a healthy and economically sound choice for the future of our nation. “

Senator John O’Mahony

Allocation Mayo Sports Grant 2017.png

 

Contact:
Conor Cresham

0863988180

O’MAHONY CALLS FOR NATIONAL PLAN TO DEAL  WITH JAPANESE KNOTWEED

O’MAHONY CALLS FOR NATIONAL PLAN TO DEAL WITH JAPANESE KNOTWEED

As present initiatives not adequate

Senator John O’Mahony, raised the issue in the Seanad today , as this highly invasive plant has become a major problem rapidly spreading across Ireland, along watercourses, transport routes and unmaintained land.   He called on different agencies like the OPW, Waterways Ireland , Iarnrod Eireann to work together .  All state land within each agency needs to be surveyed for the presence of invasive plants  - especially land that might be required for building in the next ten years and state property that will be sold like old HSE  buildings or closed down Garda stations

Speaking in the Seanad he said  “This plant is one of the worst invasive species because its root system and rapid growth can damage concrete foundations and buildings.

My own county of Mayo has a huge problem with this species.  I am aware of a scheme to deal with some national routes – but other areas affected are not being treated – so overall – its not effective.   The National Park  in Ballycroy in Mayo will be overrun with Japanese knotweed if there is not an overall strategy.

 I believe that the Transport Infrastructure Ireland and  each county  council needs to start a full treatment program of all roads but I am told that its piece meal at present and a piece meal approach  will not work “ we need a NATIONAL STRATEGY to deal with this problem . 

In her reply Minister Humpreys stated that while “there is no national eradication plan in place at present there are a number of initiatives in place across Government departments and agencies, and local authorities that support measures  to tackle invasive alien species”.

Senator O’Mahony acknowledged that but said in his response to the Minister that it was not good enough and “ was like trying to keep the tide out with a hayfork”.

9 November 2017

Publication of Moran Report poses more questions than answers - O’Mahony

Publication of Moran Report poses more questions than answers - O’Mahony

The publication of the Moran Report poses more questions than answers a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Mayo Senator, John O’Mahony, said: “the Moran Report which was stablished to investigate alleged ticket touting at the Rio Olympic Games, confirms that corporate governance and democracy was non-existent in Olympic Council of Ireland.

“It seems that the OCI was driven by commercial considerations rather than  needs of athletes. We need to remember that the Olympic Games are an opportunity for our athletes to represent Ireland on the world’s biggest stage. Their needs should be the paramount concern of the OCI, not buying or selling tickets.

No applications were made by OCI for tickets in sports that Ireland was  expected to do well in, such as Boxing and Sailing. This beggars belief, and sums up what was wrong with this fiasco. The ticket seller appointed by the OCI as the report rightly says was 'not fit for purpose'.

In relation to the reporting process itself, Senator O’Mahony felt that greater  efforts need to be made to comply with Judge Moran’s requests for information.

He said, “Non-cooperation of many stakeholders with the notable exception of the OCI is highly regrettable.

“Reform of OCI is welcome; no sporting body in receipt of public funding  should be run in a ‘presidential style’. We need an OCI that is focused on developing our elite athletes and making sure that the conditions are in place for them to thrive at their respective sports. This must take place in an environment that is open and transparent,” the Mayo Senator said.


ENDS

Contact:
Conor Cresham

0863988180

Save time and renew your passport online

Save time and renew your passport online

O’Mahony advises everyone to check their passport is in date well in advance of travel

With many Mayo people planning trips abroad over the coming months, local Fine Gael Senator John O’Mahony is encouraging people to save time by renewing their passport online.

“Anybody planning a foreign holiday at this time of year needs to check their passport is in date well in advance of travel.

“Nobody wants to be caught out in the airport with a passport that has expired, and the last thing you need while planning your holiday is to be worrying about a passport application.

“Over 18s who are eligible for a passport can now apply for their passport online in a new fast convenient and secure process.

“You can apply at www.dfa.ie/passportonline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no need for a paper application form, witnesses or printed photos, and processing takes just 2 weeks plus postage.

“If you are not eligible to apply online and if you are travelling in more than three weeks you can use the Passport Express service operated in partnership with An Post. For details, visit

www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/passport-express or enquire at your local post office.

“If you’re travelling outside of the EU, it’s important to keep in mind that visa requirements differ from country to country. It’s best to check with the country’s embassy or consulate prior to making your travel arrangements.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides regularly updated travel advice for every country in the world and I strongly encourage you to visit it before making travel plans. This is all available on the website - www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice - and through a special free Smartphone App called TravelWise.

“In the meantime the message is, check your passport and apply online to save time.

“We must remember there is a lot of pressure on the passport application process at this time of year, something that has been exacerbated by Brexit with a significant number of British citizens applying for Irish passports.

“I remind all Mayo families heading off on holiday this year to check the expiry date of your passport and those of your children.”

 

ENDS

Contact

Conor Cresham

0863988180

Three strikes and you’re out with free legal aid - O’Mahony

Three strikes and you’re out with free legal aid - O’Mahony

Our free legal aid system needs to be reformed urgently, Fine Gael Senator John O’Mahony has said.

Mayo Senator, John O’Mahony, speaking in the Seanad, brought attention to the fact that the state has spent €428 million on free legal aid since 2009.

Senator O’Mahony said, “I firmly believe that everybody deserves a fair trial however I am worried that our system is open to exploitation. Criminals who have committed multiple crimes have been granted free legal aid on each occasion even though in some cases they have multiple assets. 

“In Ireland If you have been charged with a criminal offence and are due to appear in court, you can apply to the judge for legal aid on the day. 

“You will have to fill in a financial means form. If the judge says that you are eligible, you will be assigned a solicitor there and then.

“I believe there needs to be a thorough investigation of this process. There have recently been high profile cases of people who are on high wages and others who have substantial assets seem to qualify for free legal aid.

“In the UK legal aid is means tested and the assets of the accused person are then realised as part of it. Some US States also have a system whereby people get three uses of free legal aid and after that they have to make a financial contribution.

“I believe measures like these should be explored as they would result in considerable savings to the exchequer,” Senator O’Mahony said.


ENDS

Contact:
Conor Cresham

0863988180

€1.1 million in funding for Knock Airport – O’Mahony

€1.1 million in funding for Knock Airport – O’Mahony

“New Government funding of €1.1 million will help Ireland West Airport, Knock (IWAK) to develop further, and is good news for local enterprise and tourism”. That’s according to Senator John O’Mahony

This funding is part of is part of a €1.94 million Government allocation to regional airports, announced today (Friday).

“I welcome this funding allocation for Ireland West  Airport  Knock under the Government’s Regional Airports Programme. The grant is for safety and security related projects at the airport.

“As our most westerly airport, Knock is crucial for developing our tourism market in the region and is a key gateway for visitors to the very successful Wild Atlantic Way.

“I was also pleased to hear confirmation from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, that further capital and operational supports, will be announced for Knock Airport at a later date this year.”

 

ENDS

CONTACT

Conor Cresham

0863988180

New crime legislation will tackle repeat offenders – O’Mahony

New crime legislation will tackle repeat offenders – O’Mahony

“The passage of the Criminal Justice Bill through the Oireachtas is a major boost to crime fighting in Mayo”. That’s according to John O’Mahony Fine Gael Senator

“This Bill gives the Courts more powers in imposing bail conditions, including prohibiting an accused from contacting victims, prohibiting him or her from driving when charged with a serious road traffic offence, and the imposition of a night-time curfew.

“Courts will also be required to take additional factors into account when considering whether to refuse bail to serious offenders including the nature and frequency of previous offending.

“The Bill allows for people on bail to be monitored electronically to demonstrate compliance with bail conditions when requested by the prosecutor.

“This Bill also helps the victims of crime allowing for victim evidence at bail proceedings and the Bill also makes it a requirement that the court give reasons for bail decisions.

I am delighted to see these common sense measures being introduced; they will enhance the powers of our Justice System and should act as a deterrent to repeat offenders, thereby protecting <county> communities.

Commenting on the passage of the Bill, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, said:

“This Bill is an important piece of legislation which will strengthen the powers of the Courts, and of the Gardaí, in dealing with persistent serious offenders and persons on bail who pose an ongoing threat to the public. 

"The Bill places a greater emphasis on the rights and the safety of victims, and of the public, in bail decisions, while continuing to safeguard the rights of the accused. It provides increased guidance for the courts and greater transparency in the bail process.”

Fine Gael in Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. 2017 will see 900 trainees become members of An Garda Síochána.

This will bring Garda numbers to about 13,500 by year end, real progress towards the target of 15,000. Furthermore funding has been provided to recruit 500 civilians during 2017 to support the wide ranging reform plan in An Garda Síochána.

In 2016, some €10m was invested in new vehicles for the Garda fleet with 597 vehicles being allocated to the fleet.

 

ENDS

Conor Cresham

0863988180

€3 million in housing grants for older people and people with a disability in Mayo - O'Mahony

€3 million in housing grants for older people and people with a disability in Mayo - O'Mahony

Mayo Fine Gael Senator, John O'Mahony, said that over €3 million in funding has been made available in Mayo for housing adaptations form older people and people with a disability living in private houses.

Senator O'Mahony said: "I am delighted that this funding has been made available. It is great to see funding going to those who need it. This investment will allow extensions to be built for people with a disability. It will also allow for adaptations to be made to homes to help people get around the house more easily, with improvements like access ramps and stair lifts.

" Mobility is something that so many of us take for granted. It is important that everyone in our community is afforded dignity and respect, which is why funding to allow older people and people with disabilities the opportunity to continue independent living is so important.

"These grants are 80% funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The remaining 20% of the funding, some €606,546, will come from Mayo County Council.

" Grants of up to €30,000 are available for an adaptation, up to €8,000 for housing aid for older people and up to €6,000 for mobility aids.

"Over €59.8 million has been made available nationally and in addition to helping improve mobility the funding should have a knock on effect, providing a boost to the construction sector nationally, with the benefits being spread to local economies across the country."

Contact: 

Conor Cresham

0863988180

O’Mahony welcomes GMIT Castlebar Campus Working Group

O’Mahony welcomes GMIT Castlebar Campus Working Group

Fine Gael Senator, John O’Mahony, has welcomed the announcement by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, of a GMIT Working Group Plan to secure the future of the GMIT Campus in Castlebar.

“I met with Minister Bruton two weeks ago on this matter and again last week. I was able to impress on Minister Bruton the importance of the Castlebar campus to County Mayo. This announcement by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton is most welcome".

“This Working Group will formulate a plan for a sustainable future of the GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar and it will progress the options identified by the Higher Education Authority in relation to funding issues associated with GMIT and particularly the Mayo Campus". Its report will be due in approximately six months.

“GMIT has engaged Mr Michael O’Connell, former Secretary-Financial Controller at Limerick Institute of Technology to assist them in reviewing and addressing the financial challenges. 

“The report prepared by Mr. O’Connell has recommended a number of measures to reduce costs and generate income for GMIT and minimise its operating deficit in a timely manner.

“There are underlying issues as regards how the Institutes of Technology in general are funded compared to universities which sees them obtain a smaller portion from the government funding pot.

“I know that there has been much discussion on this issue locally, I hope this move will go some way towards allaying people’s fears and to remind them that Fine Gael is 100% behind the campus in Castlebar.”

ENDS

Contact:

Conor Cresham

0863988180

Self-employed people in Mayo to benefit from free dental and optical exams for the first time – O’Mahony

Self-employed people in Mayo to benefit from free dental and optical exams for the first time – O’Mahony

Self-employed people in Mayo can now benefit from free dental and optical exams through the Treatment Benefit Scheme for the first time ever.

That’s according to Fine Gael Senator John O’Mahony who has welcomed the move by Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to extend these PRSI benefits to 450,000 self-employed people and their spouses across the State.

“Thanks to our recovering economy, the Treatment Benefit Scheme covering free dental and optical exams has been restored to employees, and crucially is now also being extended to self-employed people for the first time ever".

O’Mahony welcomes launch of new on-line renewal for Passports

O’Mahony welcomes launch of new on-line renewal for Passports

Fine Gael Senator John O’Mahony had welcomed from this Thursday onward you will be able to renew your passport online. 

 The new service will allow adult Irish citizens around the world to apply to renew their passports via the Department’s website using their PC’s, tablets or smartphones.  

The facility is for adults who are over 18 only - first-time applicants and children will not be able to apply online.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the service will be convenient, secure and will offer faster and more predictable turnaround times. 

Irish Citizens can apply from Thursday 30th March 2017 onward via the Department of Foreign Affairs website www.dfa.ie using their desired electronic device. 

The initiative is part of the government's passport reform programme which aims to modernise Ireland’s passport systems and controls something which I have raised on many occasions in the past number of years.

Senator O’Mahony said it will bring further benefits to Irish citizens at home and abroad in the coming years.

 

Contact

Conor Cresham

0863988180

Increase in payments to Mayo social welfare recipients begin this week- O’Mahony

Increase in payments to Mayo social welfare recipients begin this week- O’Mahony

“The economic progress has been hard won over the last 6 years and we cannot afford to throw it all away on other parties who would risk our recovery. As your Local Fine Gael Senator, I am working day and night to ensure that every single family in Mayo sees the benefits of an economy that is growing strongly once again.” O'Mahony

Fine Gael will continue to support a strong CAP – O’Mahony

Fine Gael will continue to support a strong CAP – O’Mahony

Mayo farmers should make their voice heard
— Senator O'Mahony

Fine Gael Senator, John O’Mahony. has said that Fine Gael will continue to support a strong CAP in light of the European Commission’s new consultation process on the future of the CAP post-2020, which was announced this week by EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan.

“The European Commission has launched a new consultation process on the future of CAP post-2020. Mayo farmers can rest assured that Fine Gael will continue to support a strong CAP for the benefit of all. Mayo farmers can make their voice heard by completing the European Commission’s questionnaire at:

https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/FutureCAP

 “The Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed, is going to engage with the European Commission and with other Member States throughout this consultation process, to ensure that our farmers are well represented.

“Minister Creed’s Department is already conducting a detailed policy analysis on the future shape of the CAP, taking into account potential challenges ahead. These include: supporting the sustainable growth of food production; implementing modern and innovative measures to help mitigate the impact of increased global market volatility; and more effective promotion of and support for generational renewal.

As Minister Creed has highlighted, our Beef Data and Genomics Programme is a good example of how we can simultaneously enhance both sustainability and production efficiency for farmers here.  Similarly, our support for knowledge transfer initiatives, which help to encourage on-farm innovation in the drive towards more sustainable forms of production, is something that can be built upon by the future CAP. The use of more modern, and more innovative, measures should also be pursued, to help farmers make provision for volatile incomes, something I know has been difficult for some farmers here in Mayo.


“Commissioner Hogan intends to hold a stakeholder conference in July, and to present a communication on the future CAP in November of this year.

“In the meantime, Mayo farmers should get involved and have their say and they should note that the public consultation questionnaire is open on the European Commission website until the 2nd of May 2017.”

 

 

ENDS

Contact:

Conor Cresham

0863988180

Remember to make sure your passport is in order before you travel – Senator O’Mahony

Remember to make sure your passport is in order before you travel – Senator O’Mahony

With many Mayo people planning foreign holidays at this time of year, local Fine Senator John O’Mahony is reminding everyone to make sure their travel documents are in order before they travel.

“Before you book your trip it is important to look at your passport and check its expiry date. If you’re booking for your children, remember to check their passports too.”

 “When applying, allow at least six weeks for your passport application. Delays are often encountered when forms are incorrectly completed and the six weeks allows time for any issues to be dealt with.

 

“Turnaround times for passports can vary depending on demand volumes but the Department of Foreign Affairs recommends allowing 3 weeks for renewals & 4 weeks for first time applicants.

 

“For genuine emergencies there is a Rapid Renewal Service. Certain specific documentation is required for this and candidates have to go to the Passport Office on Lower Mount Street in Dublin. There are, however, limitations to this service, so it’s best to check your passport now and get your application in on time.

“It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the visa requirements of the country you are visiting.

“Visa requirements differ from country to country outside the European Union, so it’s best to check with the country’s embassy or consulate prior to making your travel arrangements.

“Remember, if something goes wrong when you’re travelling abroad and you need help, you can contact your local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

In general, in the provision of consular care, the Department of Foreign Affairs can:

·         Issue emergency passports/travel documentation (if certain criteria are met).

·         Advise and support you in the case of an accident, serious illness or death.

·         Help liaise with local police or other authorities, particularly if there is a language barrier.

·         Contact your family or friends on your behalf.

·         Visit you in prison if you have been detained.

·         Advance cash to you in an emergency situation provided that the amount you need has been lodged in advance with us at our offices in Dublin or Cork or at a Garda Station.

·         Provide a list of English-speaking lawyers, doctors or interpreters in a country.

·         Provide a list of local undertakers in the event of a death.

 

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides regularly updated travel advice for every country in the world and I strongly encourage you to visit it before making travel plans.

 

This is all available on the website - https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice - and through a special free Smartphone App called TravelWise.”

 

Contact:
Conor Creshan

0863988180