Category Archives: News

The latest Fine Gael and Paul Kehoe news from the constituency and nationwide.

Funding for community text alert schemes to help prevent crime in Wexford.

The Government has allocated funding for community text alert schemes to help prevent crime in Wexford.

According to Minister Paul Kehoe, community groups working to prevent crime in the county can now apply for funding under the 2018 Text Alert Rebate Scheme, to assist them in their work.

€150,000 has been made available to local communities across Ireland with Minister Kehoe calling on groups in Wexford to apply.

“This scheme allows Text Alert Groups registered with An Garda Síochána to apply for a rebate towards the costs associated with running their local Text Alert Scheme,” Minister Kehoe said.

“This initiative has developed as an important crime prevention mechanism with over 600 local groups across the country involving in excess of 120,000 subscribers and with an estimated 200,000 text messages sent each month under the scheme.

“It’s an efficient way of tackling crime, allowing Gardaí to provide crime prevention information to community contacts who in turn forward the information to all members of a community group.

“Last year saw payments made under the rebate scheme almost double to €125,000 paid out to almost 450 groups. The majority of Text Alert Groups who applied in 2017 received a rebate of between €200 and €350 to assist them in their work, and I would encourage even more groups from <County> to apply for the funding this year.

“This funding is just one element of the Government’s work on crime prevention in rural communities.”

The Scheme will be operated by Muintir na Tíre again this year and details of how to apply are now available on their website www.muintir.ie.

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New pilot scheme to support Wexford businesses: €625,000 available to support retail businesses to strengthen their online offering

Minister Paul Kehoe is encouraging Wexford businesses to avail of a new €625,000 pilot competitive scheme aimed at boosting the retail sector.

The new scheme, to be delivered by Enterprise Ireland, will support retailers to strengthen their online trading capabilities in order to compete internationally.

The scheme involves grants of between €10,000 and €25,000.

Minister Kehoe said the new scheme is timely given the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

“With the retail sector becoming more online based, it’s essential Wexford businesses can compete at the highest level,” Minister Kehoe said.

The total fund size is up to €625,000. Applications for funding to include; Research, Strategy Development, Implementation, and Training will be considered on a competitive basis.

In recognition of the strong role the retail sector plays in supporting regional development and vibrant communities, at least 50% of the total number of grants awarded will be reserved for retail SMEs with their headquarters outside of county Dublin once the qualification threshold score is met.

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New Ross chosen as centre for removal of tyres on farms

Farmers in and around New Ross can avail of a scheme aimed at removing stockpiles of tyres from farms, according to Minister Paul Kehoe.

The Government has made €700,000 available for the plan , with New Ross being selected as a designated location.

The collection date takes place on Tuesday , October 9 at the New Ross mart.

The centre will be open from 9am-5pm.

Speaking this week, Minister Kehoe encouraged farmers to avail of the scheme.

“The issue of stockpiling of tyres on farms is one that has been highlighted in recent times and I am delighted that my colleague , Minister Denis Naughten, agreed to designate New Ross as one of four centres nationwide,” the minister said.

“The best way at ensuring Wexford remains in the plan is for this scheme to be utilised,” he added.

 

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€200,000 boost for New Ross under LEADER

 

Minister Paul Kehoe has confirmed the allocation of €200,000 for New Ross under the LEADER programme.

 

The funding will be allocated to the New Ross boat club to provide Dry dock cover.

 

The decision means there will be dry dock cover all year round , increasing the number of boats from 120-200.

 

“New Ross is strategically important to the south east ,” Minister Kehoe said. 

 

“This significant announcement will provide New Ross with a massive boost.

 

“I have been in touch regularly with Minister Michael Ring about the schemes under his department , such as LEADER and the town and village renewal project , and the need to ensure Wexford receives its fair share.

 

This funding demonstrates our commitment to ensuring areas outside of Dublin are not left behind when it comes to investment.”

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Minister encourages early stage female entrepreneurs in Wexford to apply for the ACORNS Programme

 

Early stage female entrepreneurs, living in Wexford, are invited to apply for a place on the ACORNS programme, according to Minister Paul Kehoe. 

 

The intention is to provide up to 50 entrepreneurs, based in rural Ireland, with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to meet and even exceed their current aspirations.

 

The programme will run from October 2018 until April 2019. Selected participants will be those who, on a competitive basis, best demonstrate their potential to advance their businesses and their commitment to fully engage in the initiative.

 

The deadline for application for this year’s cycle is the 21st September.

 

Minister Kehoe said:  “The ACORNS Programme is based on the principle that entrepreneurs learn best from each other.

 

“The ACORNS initiative is focused on interactive round table sessions that are facilitated by female entrepreneurs who have started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland.

 

“It is designed to help provide female entrepreneurs who are in the process of setting up a business, or have recently started one with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to meet and even exceed their current aspirations.

 

“The programme has proved very successful so far. Over 150 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date with many report increased sales, exports and job creation.” the Wexford TD added. 

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General Michael Collins and President Arthur Griffith remembered at 96th annual Collins Griffith commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery

This afternoon, Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Anthony Lavin, Chairman of the Collins Griffith Commemoration Society, William Lavelle, and Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green led proceedings at the 96th annual Collins/Griffith commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery.

The annual oration at the graveside of Michael Collins was given by former TD, MP and Minister Mr. Austin Currie. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Caledon protest, led by Austin Currie, which is regarded as marking the start of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights movement.

Ms. Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, also spoke at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of Bliain na mBan, when women first earned the right to vote.

The event was marked by the raising of the of the National Flag at the Sigerson Monument by the Defence Forces, and the laying of wreaths at the grave of General Michael Collins by Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, the grave of Arthur Griffith by Deputy-Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Major-General Kieran Brennan, and the grave of Eamon Duggan by Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Anthony Lavin.

Speaking at the event Minister Kehoe said:

 “This important occasion allows us to reflect on the outstanding contribution made to the State by two colossal figures of Irish politics.

“As Minister with responsibility for Defence, it gives me particular privilege to honour General Michael Collins, whose legacy includes the unrivalled leadership he displayed as Commander in Chief of the National Army during one of our darkest periods.

“Although less celebrated, Arthur Griffith’s legacy and indeed his role in achieving Irish independence provides a timely reminder to us all of the importance of strength and courage in politics.

At a time of uncertainty caused by Brexit, it should be remembered how Collins and Griffith, through dialogue and constitutional politics, ensured the interests of their people were best served. “ 

Following the wreath laying ceremony and readings, a minute’s silence was held. This was followed by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille. To close the commemoration, Soprano Anna Brady sang the national anthem without musical accompaniment.

Today marks the 96th Collins/Griffith commemoration organised by the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society. Chairman of the Collins/Griffith Commemoration Society William Lavelle said:

“For 96 years our Society has been organising a public commemoration at the gravesides of General Michael Collins and President Arthur Griffith, two heroes whose legacy was the establishment of an independent Ireland. As we approach the Centenary of their deaths in 2022, we are proud to honour this legacy and to celebrate the constitutional tradition and state they bequeathed us.”

To mark the ‘Decade of Commemorations’ the annual commemorations have been scaled-up in the recent years to include the active participation of the Irish Defence Forces. To that end, as part of the Defence Force’s participation, the Sliabh na mBan armoured car was also in attendance. The Sliabh na mBan formed part of the General Michael Collins’ convoy which was ambushed on 22nd August, 1922, at Béal na mBláth in West Cork, resulting in the tragic death of General Collins.

Commenting on the day’s events Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust, John Green stated:

“The Collins Griffith commemoration is one of the oldest continuous commemorations in Glasnevin and indeed in this State. The poignancy of Collins’ funeral taking place within two weeks of his oration at Griffith’s grave is never lost. Collins and Griffith were not immediate bedfellows, Collins was suspicious of Griffith’s motives early on, but they became extraordinary colleagues and firm friends after de Valera threw them together as plenipotentiaries in the Treaty talks. This commemoration recognises two giants of our struggle for independence; two legends brought together by that struggle and united annually in this observance.”

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16 Men’s Sheds in Wexford to benefit from over €23,000 in new funding

Over €23,000 has been set aside for funding aimed at 16 Men’s sheds in Wexford.

According to Minister Paul Kehoe, the money will be used to assist men’s sheds to purchase equipment or carry out minor works.

Nationwide, a funding pot of half a million euro is to be distributed by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Men’s Sheds provide a hugely important service in Wexford and create a space where men can discuss health issues while also engaging in purposeful activities.

Speaking today, Minister said it’s vitally important that the 16 men’s sheds apply for funding through the Local Community Development Committee by August 31 2018.

“From Enniscorthy to Wexford, from Gorey to New Ross, the sheds promote the health and wellbeing of members by combating issues such as loneliness and isolation, while creating a culture where men can discuss their thoughts and feelings without stigma,” Minister Kehoe said.

“They are a great example of a positive community based organisation that promotes good citizenship through good works.”

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Some very important changes to the treatment of farmers and business people who avail of ‘Fair Deal’ have been approved by the Cabinet.

Fair Deal, is a scheme under which the cost of nursing home care is managed through the HSE paying either the full or part of the cost. The scheme allows those responsible with paying the resident’s portion to defer the charges.

Please see the proposed changes below.

 If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me an email: Paul.kehoe@oireachtas.ie

  •  Approximately 22,000 people use the Nursing Home Support Scheme better known as Fair Deal, budget in 2018 is €962 million.
  • Participants in the scheme contribute up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held. A three year cap is applied to contributions based on the value of a person’s home, i.e. they contribute a maximum of 22.5% of the value of their home.
  • However all other assets inc. family farms or business assets are levied 7.5% of value every year the person is in the nursing home – no cap unless you can prove a sudden illness or disability that prevented successor planning, in this case you can also avail of three year cap
  • The review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, published in 2015, committed to reviewing how productive assets are treated under the scheme. The Programme for a Partnership Government committed to remove discrimination against small business and family farms under the scheme.

 Under the proposed changes:

  • People in nursing homes for longer than 3 years who currently contribute 7.5% of the value of their farm or business per year will no longer have to make this contribution. There will be no provision for recoupment of past payments.
  • People using the scheme for less than 3 years who currently contribute 7.5% of the value of their farm or business per year will continue to make this contribution until the 3 year cap is reached.
  • A 3 year cap on contributions based on the asset value of farms and businesses will apply for all new entrants to the scheme.
  • Rental income is treated the same as all other forms of income with people contributing up to 80% towards the cost of their care. Cash proceeds arising from the sale of any assets, including a person’s home, are counted as cash assets. It has been suggested that this approach should be changed to encourage the rental or sale of vacant homes.
  • The Department of Health is conducting an impact assessment to determine if any change to the treatment of rental income and proceeds from the sale of homes under the scheme would have an impact on housing supply.
  • This move is correction of an existing anomaly in the scheme and will and will bring about fairness to all families who need to avail of the scheme without the added stress of losing the family farm or business for long term care.
  • The farm has to be worked by a relative, lands leased out will not qualify.

 

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Wexford consumers urged to give views on gift vouchers

Wexford consumers are being called upon to take part in a public consultation to examine gift voucher fees.

According to Minister Paul Kehoe, the Government has agreed to enact new legislation for a minimum lifespan of five years for gift vouchers.

Under the new proposals the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, will have power to make regulations to set fees for the issue and replacement of gift vouchers, and for inactive balances on gift vouchers. These are commonly referred to as dormancy or maintenance fees.

The purpose of the public consultation is to gather information and views on gift voucher fees to assist the Minister in deciding on the level of fees, if any, that should apply. The first part of the consultation paper seeks the inputs of consumers on gift voucher fees and the second part seeks the inputs of businesses.

“Gift vouchers are widely used in Wexford and are popular because people assume they are transparent, but without laws to regulate them. This has been a grey area for too long. These proposals are about making things black and white,” Minister Kehoe said.

“With a solid regulatory foundation, we will see greater transparency with the fee’s on gift vouchers as well as a minimum lifespan of five years.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said: “In some cases, fees of up to €3 per month are applied to gift vouchers after a year. In effect, this means that a voucher for €25 can be worthless after 20 months. It seems clear that many consumers who receive gift vouchers are not aware of these fees.

“Understandably, consumers feel they should be able to redeem gift vouchers at their full face value, however, the businesses applying these fees claim that they are essential to meet the costs involved.

“I want to get the widest possible range of views on these issues. I would urge consumers, businesses and anyone else with an interest in this matter to respond to the consultation by the closing date of 31 August 2018.”

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Dedicated helpline set up to provide advice to Wexford farmers hit by drought

A dedicated headline has been put in place to provide advice to Wexford farmers affected by the on-going drought.

According to Minister Paul Kehoe, the agency Teagasc is providing round-the-clock assistance to farmers as the hot spell continues.

Farmers have had to contend with a very wet spring before enduring drought conditions from a heatwave throughout June and July.

The helpline will operate daily from 9 am to 9 pm – and can be reached at 087 7971377.

“This is being supplemented by a series of local meetings/clinics where farmers can obtain direct support from Teagasc advisors on the spot,” Minister Kehoe said.

“This helpline service and local clinics are open to all farmers, including non-Teagasc clients.”

I have been in constant communication with my Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, raising concerns from local farmers in Wexford on how this year’s weather events may impact fodder availability.

“As everyone in Wexford is well aware, farming is an integral part and key component of our local economy and listening and working with those in the frontline agriculture is a big part of the work I do.

“I can confirm that Minister Creed is already taking steps to mitigate any issue and ensure there is no shortage of fodder in the winter months.”

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