11,600 jobs created since 2016 in South East – Kehoe

11,600 jobs have been created in the South East since 2016, according to figures supplied to Minister Paul Kehoe.

The breakdown for the South East comes as the latest Labour Force Survey published by the Central Statistics Office shows that there are 2.3 million people at work in Ireland today.

Reacting to the news, Minister Kehoe commented.

The new figures show that there are 186,200 people at work in the South East.

This is a 7% increase since 2016.

The latest data shows that there are more than 45,000 more people at work since this time last year, with 850 jobs being created a week.

There are 2.3m people a week at work – surpassing the peak of 2007 by 47,800 jobs.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.2%.

The jobs recovery has been regionally balanced – with 136,000 new jobs created outside of Dublin since the beginning of 2016. This accounts for over 6 out of every 10 new jobs.

There is no room for complacency about the progress we have made.

This is why the Fine Gael-led Government has developed Future Jobs Ireland, a whole-of Government plan to secure Ireland’s economic success.

The strategy is about responding to the changing world of work ensuring that our economy is future-proofed, Minister Kehoe concluded.


Ground Broken on St Patrick’s Special School

A momentous day in Enniscorthy as the sod is turned on the site for the new St Patrick’s Special School. Work is set to commence straight away with the building to be completed in April 2020.

Huge credit must go to the whole school community for continuously keeping focus on this, led from the front by Lee Rogers, with whom I have been in close contact working to get this project over the line.

Special thanks to Judith and Shane, students of St Patrick’s, who undertook the hard work of the sod turning and have now handed over the shovels to Wexford company, Mythen Construction to complete this €11m state-of-the-art building which will provide the school that these children and their families deserve.

The progress is a huge credit to Lee Rogers and the school community, according to Minister Kehoe, who said the new school will be a welcome boost to Co Wexford.


€750,000 in funding to assist the repair of regional and local roads in Wexford

Some €750,000 has been allocated in funding to assist the repair of regional and local roads in Wexford.  That’s according to Minister Paul Kehoe, who noted that the amount allocated to Wexford from the Department of Transport is among the highest in the country.

Minister Kehoe said Wexford County Council has been actively engaged in road repair since Storm Emma hit earlier this year.

“Many of the regional and local roads Wexford have suffered significant damage as a result of severe weather events. Wexford County Council has been faced with damage caused by repeated severe weather incidents,” the Minister said.

“I warmly welcome the additional funding support of €750,000 to assist the council in progressing repairs to affected regional and local roads before year end.

“Extreme weather events over the last year, such as Storm Eleanor, Storm Emma, flooding incidents and the summer drought have had a major impact on the regional and local road network.

“These events combined with the extended period of reduced funding for road maintenance following the economic downturn have left the road network much more vulnerable to damage.

In addition, a €3m allocation is being provided to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to assist with winter operations and maintenance works on national roads. TII assists local authorities with maintenance funding for national roads.


Minister Kehoe contacts Social Protection over illness benefit issues

Minister Paul Kehoe has expressed concern over issues that have arisen in relation to the payment of illness benefit.

The Enniscorthy-based representative has been contacted by a number of constituents who have experienced difficulties with the payment system in recent days.

Speaking today, he called on any Wexford people affected to contact his office for further assistance.

In response to Minister Kehoe, the Department said a new system has been recently introduced which aims to speed up initial payments on new claims and provide a more efficient service to customers.

According to the Department, the transition from the old to the new model has involved moving from a system of payment one week in arrears to payment during the current week for claims and certificates received during that week.

Arising from this change a payment timing issue has arisen for a number of customers leading to higher than expected payments in some weeks followed by lower than expected payments being made in other weeks.

The Department emphasise that – where issues have arisen – these are issues of timing and that everybody will be paid the correct amount up to end of their certified illness.

In order to minimise any disruption to their payments customers are asked to make sure, in the case of a continuing illness, that they are certified not just for the past period of illness but for a future period of illness of at least one week or to their expected date of their return to work if sooner.

In addition to ensure prompt payment,  customers should ensure their claim/cert is submitted on the new IB1/IB2 forms to the Department directly to the  following address  Freepost : Social Welfare Services, P.O. Box 1650, Dublin 1.

Finally any customers who have  financial concerns arising from the move to the new system can apply to the Department’s Community Welfare Services to receive an interim payment.

If customers have any further queries with regard to their own payments, they are advised to call 1890 928 400 or email illnessbenefit@welfare.ie

Minister Kehoe concluded: “I immediately contacted the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection when I learned of the difficulties that some customers have encountered.

“I am confident these issues will be rectified as soon as possible and urge anyone impacted to follow the department’s advice.”


Wexford to play its part on National Women’s Enterprise Day

Wexford is one of 16 counties that will take part in the 12th annual National Women’s Enterprise Day, according to Minister Paul Kehoe.

The initiative, themed ‘From Local to Global’, will put a spotlight on the great strides made by Wexford’s female entrepreneurs.

An evening event with dinner will take place in Wells House and Gardens in Gorey on Thursday (October 18).

The event will feature Vanessa Tierney of Abodoo, Niamh Sherwin Barry of The Irish Fairy Door Company, Ciara Donlon, THEYA Healthcare, Sabine Rosler of Wells House and Gardens and Bláithín Ennis, Jewellery Designer

This is the 12th year of the National Women’s Enterprise Day.

It will see 16 events under the theme “From Local to Global” taking place across the country, with over 1,400 female entrepreneurs and business women taking part.

The theme, ‘From Local To Global’, seeks to encourage female entrepreneurs and business women to be ambitious and take their local idea and make it a global success.

This is a very significant day that puts female entrepreneurship in Wexford and Ireland into the spotlight and celebrates the huge strides Irish businesswomen have made both here and internationally,” Minister Kehoe said.

“It is also an opportunity to inspire the female entrepreneurs of the future, by showing them what is possible and why they should be thinking global.  Irish businesswomen have shown they can be the best in the world and we must continue in this frame of mind.”



A New Respite House for Wexford: state-of-the art House opened in Wexford today.

Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath, along with local Minister Paul Kehoe, will today formally open the facility at Windrock , Ard Aoibhinn Services.

“I was delighted to formally open the new respite facility today, which will support people with disabilities and their families.

The four bedroom house is one of eight now opened by the Government nationwide – with four additional facilities to be unveiled in the coming months.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Minister Kehoe said the facility is part of a €10m increase in the disabilities budget this year , aimed at improving respite services in Wexford.

“I have worked hard with Minister McGrath and my government colleagues to ensure Wexford is included in this latest investment,” he added.


“Brexit proofed” budget will put money back in people’s pockets

Budget 2019 will insulate Ireland against the prospect of a hard Brexit while at the same time putting money back into people’s pockets.

That’s according to Wexford minister Paul Kehoe who said the Budget will provide much needed relief for parents, business owners and social welfare recipients.

Speaking after attending Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Minister Kehoe said communities in Wexford will benefit directly from measures contained in the Budget, such the announcement of €40m in funding for roads and footpaths.

And he particularly welcomed the decision to increase the income threshold for the affordable childcare scheme from €22,700 to €26,000.

“As a father of three young children, I have consistently raised the burden placed on parents while at Cabinet,” Minister Kehoe said.

With the Brexit negotiations entering a crucial stage, Minister Kehoe said the measures contained in the Budget will insulate Wexford businesses , particularly those who export.

The budget provides for:

  • A Human Capital Initiative worth €300 million;
  • The launch of a Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and the agriculture and food sector;
  • The provision of over €110 million for Brexit measures across a number of Departments; and
  • Increase funding for the PEACE programme

Housing and health also featured heavily in the Budget , Minister Kehoe said.

“Significant investment in GP card provision and further reductions in prescription charges are important measures.

“And with housing representing one of the biggest challenges facing this government , I welcome the fact we are providing the largest ever investment in housing in a single year.”

Minister Kehoe said young professionals will see a modest but welcome boost in their pay packets through reductions in USC and a raising of the threshold at which workers pay the higher rate of income tax.

And in relation to small business owners and farmers, a €300m Future Growth Loan Scheme will be launched.

“Budget 2019 is about putting money back in people’s pockets, while ensuring we are well prepared for what’s on the horizon with Brexit,” the Enniscorthy representative added.


€1,334,798 for County Wexford from the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Scheme

I am delighted to announce €1,334,798 for County Wexford from the 2018 Town and Village Renewal Funding, the largest allocation for any county in Ireland.

I have been working closely with both Minster Michael Ring and Wexford County Council who administer the scheme whose officials – including County manager Tom Enright and Ger Mackey – have been instrumental in delivering on projects.

This scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000 – it is a major part of the government’s efforts to rebuild rural Ireland and ensure the recovery is felt outside of Dublin.

The towns and villages of rural Ireland are the heart and soul of our rural communities and it is crucial that we revitalise these areas. I know there are towns and villages in Wexford that don’t feel like the recovery has reached home and this scheme will go a long way to bringing the revovery to their doorsteps.


Over 30 Tidy Towns committees here in Wexford are to benefit from government grants, according to Minister Paul Kehoe. 


The grants, which range from €1,000-€4,000, are part of a €1.4m national grant scheme. 


The scheme is announced to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tidy Towns Competition.


“This investment by the Government will directly support the local Tidy Towns groups in Wexford. These volunteer led community initiatives bring out the best in our towns and villages,” Minister Kehoe said. 


“This competition really shows us the importance of participation. Our local Tidy Towns volunteers are a credit to our community. I encourage anyone who feels strongly about our community and our environment to get involved with Tidy Towns.


“I have no doubt that towns and villages across Wexford will benefit hugely from this investment. Wherever you have active Tidy Towns committees, it gives the place a real boost and creates the environment for tourism.”


“Tidy Towns groups have made our country as a whole a better place to live in and to visit. The work is carried out on a voluntary basis and we all benefit from it. This investment by the Government will further enhance our towns and villages and represents great value for money.”


Local youth projects in Enniscorthy receive funding boost

Local youth projects in Enniscorthy will receive over €22,000 in funding from new Government capital grants, according to Minister Paul Kehoe.  


The Fine Gael TD conformed that €16,754 has been approved for the Enniscorthy Community youth project , while €5,392 has been approved for the FYDS Information Centre. 


The grants approved support purchases of equipment and small scale projects, including the upgrade of bathrooms and kitchens in youth services.  


Eligible local services were invited by the Education and Training Board (ETB) to apply for support.


“Investing in and supporting young people is a key priority for this Government. Thanks to our strengthened economy, the Government is able to improve supports to the communities who need it most. Much of the upgrade works to take place under these grants will be in areas of disadvantage,” Minister Kehoe said. 


“I’d like to thank the staff our local ETB for their work in supporting local youth projects and I know that Minister Zappone has thanked them for their assistance to the Department of Children in the design and implementation of this scheme.”