Apply Now for Youth Capital Funding Scheme

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Government has allocated funding to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for a Capital Funding Scheme. Under the scheme staff led youth projects and some youth organisations funded by the Department may apply for grants to undertake small to medium capital projects in 2014 and 2015.


€250,000 investment leads to record-breaking job creation in new Fingal businesses!

Friday, October 31, 2014

LEO Fingal has this week approved a record-breaking thirteen job-creation grants to Fingal businesses, the highest level of approvals since the economic downturn. These new and established businesses are creating 24 new jobs immediately with a total LEO investment package of almost €250,000. 43 further jobs are expected to be created by the end of 2015.

The businesses that have just been approved include three food companies, six manufacturing businesses (serving the construction sector, optical products, healthcare and beauty products), innovative filming services, jewellery, software and renewable energy. Stayhold Ltd., a Swords-based innovative business was also approved for second stage funding to accelerate this business’s ambitious global expansion plans.

In early October, LEO Fingal hosted the biggest Local Enterprise Week ever held in Ireland. Highlighting the significance of the grants announcement, Head of Enterprise at Fingal County Council, Oisín Geoghegan, said “We are seeing a significant increase in commercial activity in Fingal. Business confidence is growing and economic growth is translating into real investment in job creation.” “LEO Fingal will continue to foster this growth and help small businesses create new jobs and opportunities”, he said. “This funding we are providing to 13 Fingal businesses will result in 24 immediate new jobs and at least another 43 new jobs before the end of 2015”, he said.

Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid also welcomed this important announcement saying, “I am delighted Fingal’s focus on jobs and the local economy is paying dividends. Since the establishment of LEO Fingal just 6 months ago we are already creating real opportunities for businesses”. “This clearly shows that with the right supports, our small businesses can take centre stage leading economic growth and job creation", the Chief Executive said.

Since opening its doors at Fingal County Council in May 2014, the Fingal Local Enterprise Office (formerly Fingal County Enterprise Board) has become the “first stop shop” for all start-ups and businesses in Fingal seeking supports from state agencies.


Ireland 13th in The World Bank 2015 Doing Business Report

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The World Bank 2015 Doing Business Report which shows that Ireland’s overall doing business ranking has moved four places up to 13th this year. This report ranks Ireland as 2nd in the Eurozone and 5th in the EU overall behind Denmark, the UK, Finland and Sweden. Ireland is also amongst the top 10 counties in terms of the improvements achieved since last year; no other OECD or EU country made the best improvers list.

The World Bank's Doing Business project looks at domestic, primarily small and medium size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle. It presents quantitative indicators on business regulation that can be compared across economies and over time.
Doing Business goes beyond identifying that a problem exists and points to specific regulations or regulatory procedures that may lend themselves to reform.

However, there are certain indicators in which there is much room for improvement. Ireland is quite far behind the leaders in dealing with construction permits (115th), getting electricity (100th), registering property (57th) and enforcing contracts (62nd).

In response to the World Bank's Doing Business Report, the Government has put a process in place to ensure that
(i) all of the information captured by the World Bank is accurate and timely;

(ii) recent reforms to Irish regulations to enhance the ease of doing business are reflected in the index; and

(iii) relevant Government departments identity and implement reforms to improve Ireland's performance.
In addition, to continue the progress towards making Ireland the best small country to do businesses and to improve the ease of doing business, individual Government Departments have identified more than 50 specific actions which are currently in train, or which could be taken before the end of 2015, to make it easier for enterprises to transact their business with public bodies. The actions relate to headings such as streamlining administrative procedures; using technology to reduce the administrative burden; starting a business; reducing transaction costs; settling legal disputes; participation in public procurement.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD is engaged in a continuous process of reducing the timelines and burdens for starting and running a business.

Initiatives include enabling electronic filing of returns to the Companies Registration Office, with 82% of all Annual Returns e-filed in 2013, introducing measures to make examinership procedures less costly, making it easier to apply for an audit exemption, introducing a range of innovations though our overhaul of the Companies Acts, reducing processing times for employment permits, our Workplace Relations Reforms and improving communications with businesses through our 'Taking Care of Business' fora.

Since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs, over 70,000 jobs have been created across the country and the live register has dropped from a high of 15.1% to 11.1%.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, is currently working on Action Plan for Jobs 2015 and the Government is focused on further improving the business environment to ensure that Ireland is the best small country in the world to do business. Our ranking as 13th out of 189 countries in the Doing Business Report will assist in this goal.


New JobPath employment programme to help 115,000 jobseekers

· The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., yesterday announced the preferred tenderers for the provision of JobPath, the Government’s new employment programme. 
· JobPath will assist an estimated 115,000 long-term unemployed jobseekers return to work over its duration and produce significant expenditure savings. 
· Under JobPath, the two preferred bidders, Turas Nua Ltd and Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd, will provide additional employment services which will augment – not replace – the Department’s own employment services.  
· Between them, the preferred bidders will provide 1,000 additional staff in approximately 100 outlets across the country to assist the long-term unemployed in finding suitable employment and training options. 
· The two preferred bidders were selected following a public procurement competition conducted in accordance with EU and Irish public procurement rules.
· Turas Nua is a new business and is a joint venture between FRS Recruitment (a co-operative recruitment company based in Roscrea) and Working Links (a UK-based well-established provider of employment services to long-term unemployed people). Turas Nua Limited will operate in the southern half of the country including towns and cities such as Cork, Limerick, and Waterford. 
· Seetec is a private company delivering a wide range of employability and skills programmes across both urban and rural areas of England. Seetec will operate in the northern half of the country including towns and cities such as Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Dundalk. 
· Subject to successful finalisation of contracts, it is anticipated that JobPath will commence in the first half of 2015.
· JobPath contracts will be for four years with an additional two-year run-out period (to cater for jobseekers who are referred towards the end of the programme). Based on expected performance levels, JobPath will cost an estimated €340 million but will provide gross benefit savings of circa €525 million.


Budget measures to tackle social housing

Some very positive steps were taken in Budget 2015 to address the housing shortage and the homeless crisis.

While the biggest shortage of housing is in Dublin, there is a lack of supply around the country in general. Budget 2015 includes a range of measures to address the social housing shortage in particular. 

This will be done in three ways. Firstly, over €1.5 billion in Exchequer funding will be directly invested in housing between now and 2017.  Next year, over €800 million will be allocated for the housing programme. This is the biggest housing investment by the Government since 2009. 

Secondly, Public Private Partnerships will be used to invest €300 million in social housing units by 2017.  This will see a further 1,500 housing units built by 2017.

Finally, a new independent commercial body set up by the Government will provide at least €400 million to the Approved Housing Bodies from 2015 on wards. 

This significant investment will fund the provision of over 10,000 housing units by 2018.

An additional €10 million will be provided for accommodation and related services for homeless people. This will bring the annual spend towards tackling homelessness to €55.5 million in 2015, which is over €10 million more than the amount which was already committed.


Ongar murder not forgotten  SF councillor in IRA murder probe controversy on policing board

Sinn Fein's Daithi Doolan

A SINN Fein councillor who was embroiled in controversy over his cooperation with the investigation into an alleged IRA murder has been elected to a senior position on a policing board in Dublin.

Sinn Fein's Daithi Doolan was elected as the vice-chairman of the Citywide Policing Committee after being the party's nominee.

The move comes at a time when Sinn Fein's links to the IRA are under the spotlight again following Mairia Cahill's allegations of a cover-up of her rape.

Mr Doolan is now based in the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh area on Dublin City Council. He moved areas after losing his seat in the South East Inner City area following the controversy over the killing of Joseph Rafferty.

Mr Rafferty (29) was shot dead by a lone gunman outside his home in the Hayward apartment complex in Ongar Park in west Dublin on April 12, 2005.

Mr Rafferty's murder was immediately linked to a man believed to be a member of the IRA and Sinn Fein. The deceased had suffered six months of taunts that the IRA would kill him because he had confronted the man after he had assaulted a family member at a party.

Following his murder, Mr Rafferty's family embarked on a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of his death alleging that Sinn Fein members were protecting his killers.

Esther Uzell-Rafferty ran as an independent candidate in the 2007 general election and 2009 local elections to call on Mr Doolan to fully co-operate with the garda investigation into her brother's death.


Mr Doolan told the Irish Independent last night there was no conflict between his role on the policing board and the murder investigation. "That has no implications whatsoever. It was 10 years ago. I fully co-operated every step of the way and I want to say anyone who has any information should come forward," he said.

Mr Doolan said he had long championed a community response to anti-social behaviour.

"As a right, I am on the Policing Committee," he said.

Fianna Fail councillor Daithi de Roiste is the new chairman of the policing committee, which covers the whole city.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland has appointed two high-profile lawyers to review the legal issues arising from Ms Cahill's allegations.

Former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, Keir Starmer, and Australian-born lawyer, Katherine O'Byrne, have been appointed to the role by Northern Ireland's DPP Barra McGrory.

The lawyers will carry out their independent review of the prosecutorial systems used in the three interlinked cases involving sex abuse and terrorist related charges, including IRA membership. The five individuals were acquitted of all charges after Ms Cahill indicated she was not going to give evidence.

Fionnan Sheahan, Irish Independent


Rafferty family slams 'traitor' Andrews for move to Sinn Fein

Related story on Joseph Rafferty

DISGUSTED: Esther Uzell, sister of Joseph Rafferty

THE family of an innocent young man murdered by a former Provisional IRA member has condemned Chris Andrews's decision to leave Fianna Fail and join Sinn Fein.

Andrews, then a Dublin City councillor, assisted the family of Joseph Rafferty after he was shot dead on April 12, 2005.

Mr Rafferty had been the subject of threats from a known IRA member – who doubled as a Sinn Fein election worker – in the six months before his murder. Mr Rafferty's family made three appeals to the party to have the threats lifted.

Gardai questioned several Sinn Fein members whom they knew were aware of the circumstances surrounding the murder, but all refused to make a statement.

The man suspected by gardai of murdering Mr Rafferty, shooting him in the chest at point-blank range with a shotgun as he left his apartment at Ongar in west Dublin, was well known as a Sinn Fein worker in inner-city Dublin. Gardai believe Mr Rafferty was targeted because he had confronted relatives of the Sinn Fein/IRA man who had attacked a teenage member of the Rafferty family.

Mr Rafferty's sister, Esther Uzell, yesterday told the Sunday Independent that Chris Andrews had publicly supported the Rafferty family in the aftermath of her brother's murder and attended meetings with senior gardai during which the identity of the murderer and his associations with Sinn Fein and the IRA were discussed.

She said she was "disgusted" that, with this knowledge and the fact that Sinn Fein members with knowledge of the murder refused to speak to gardai, Andrews had made the decision to join Sinn Fein.

"We could not believe it when we heard the news. We are absolutely disgusted," Ms Uzell said.

"Loads of people have contacted us and said they were disgusted. He has no loyalty left in this area. If he runs here, he will see how people feel about this. They're really angry. He is seen as a traitor.

"He was supportive. He accompanied us to meetings in Leinster House and to Harcourt Square [Dublin Metropolitan Garda Headquarters] and he listened to very sensitive information about what happened to Joseph.

"I kind of trusted him and at those meetings he had that information about what happened to my brother and that a member of Sinn Fein was responsible. To think he is running for that party now, words can't describe it."

Ms Uzell said Mr Andrews betrayed her family's trust by joining Sinn Fein and said he was no longer welcome in their home.

"He knew we had gone to Sinn Fein about the threats to Joseph before he was murdered and he is running for that party now. It is absolutely vile. He would have been welcomed to my door but there are a lot of families around here where he will not be welcomed, definitely not.

"He knows what my family and the families of Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn have suffered. He knows that my car was smashed up when I ran in the [2007 General Election]. He was there when my sister Carmel was intimidated during the election by Sinn Fein people. He was there the night that happened.

"He knows that the murderer is a member of Sinn Fein and worked for them in elections and he still goes and joins them.

"He shook Gerry Adams's hand. He is running for the party that has information about who murdered my brother and who murdered Paul Quinn and Robert McCartney and who never ever gave up that information. How could he do that?"

Mr Andrews insisted his decision to join Sinn Fein did not conflict with his support for the Rafferty family.

When asked how he felt about Ms Uzell's criticism of him, he replied: "Obviously the murder was a tragedy for the family and the community. I am sorry that she does feel that way particularly as I worked closely with the family and attended meetings with the gardai.

"I have condemned the murder. Sinn Fein condemned it. We met the assistant commissioner on a number of occasions and I worked to ensure that the case would not be let slip."

Asked if he would call on his new party to assist in the investigation, Mr Andrews said: "Of course, absolutely, it should be supported by members of Sinn Fein and everybody in the community. I think the death is a tragedy for the Uzell and Rafferty family and for his friends."

He added: "This was a real blow for the community. I believe I worked particularly hard and closely with Esther. I am more than happy to meet Esther."

The dispute that led to Joseph Rafferty's murder began when a woman made passes at Mr Rafferty which he spurned.

This subsequently lead to a teenage cousin of Mr Rafferty's being attacked and badly beaten.

In response to this Mr Rafferty, who was 29 when he was murdered and the father of a young child, confronted one of the men who had attacked his cousin and, during a heated confrontation, punched him.

Mr Rafferty then began receiving public threats. They say the main threat came from a Sinn Fein and IRA member who was well known in the inner-city area.

Ms Uzell said yesterday she was in contact with and intended to meet the families of Robert McCartney, the 33-year-old father of two beaten and stabbed to death by IRA men who were also members of Sinn Fein in Belfast in January 2005 and of Paul Quinn, 21, who was beaten to death by an IRA punishment squad in north Louth in October 2007.

In both the Quinn and McCartney murder investigations, dozens of members of Sinn Fein were questioned by police and they also refused to make any statements.

Jim Cusack

Sunday Independent


10 sex abusers moved South


PUBLISHED26/10/2014 | 02:30

Mairia Cahill. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Mairia Cahill, the raped woman at the centre of the sex abuse scandal which has convulsed Sinn Fein and the IRA, has said she is "extremely fearful" of returning to Belfast following a speech made yesterday by Gerry Adams.

Mairia Cahill, the raped woman at the centre of the sex abuse scandal which has convulsed Sinn Fein and the IRA, has said she is “extremely fearful” of returning to Belfast following a speech made yesterday by Gerry Adams.

The Sunday Independent has separately learned from security and republican sources that as many as 10 men were moved southwards across the Border following allegations of rape and abuse against boys and girls, at least one as young as 12. And last night the Fianna Fail leader, Michael Martin, said he has been contacted by another person who claims to have been a victim of abuse within the republican movement. The person does not want to go public but is understood to have reported it to gardai.

Yesterday, Ms Cahill accused the Sinn Fein President of “cowing down” to the IRA which, she said, “tells me he no longer has control over them — and that’s a very dangerous situation.”

She told the Sunday Independent that Mr Adams’s speech “confirms that not one member of Sinn Fein is prepared to face down the IRA and those Belfast members for the shameful way in which they have treated me as a victim of sexual abuse.” 

She said: “These are scary individuals. They are not decent people and they have the weight of an armed movement and a political machine behind them.”

Ms Cahill said that if the online attacks on her last week were indicative of the way anger had been directed at her for lifting the lid on how the IRA treated sex abuse issues, “then I am extremely fearful of returning to Belfast.”

She said: “In his speech he has also failed to address that issue . . . he is continuing to cover for them.” Yesterday, Mr Martin also said Mr Adams’s speech left “Sinn Fein open to being asked if it is the case that the Belfast IRA still runs Sinn Fein’’. He said: “This is a question that Mr Adams and others, such as Mary Lou McDonald, must answer’’.

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty also accused Ms McDonald yesterday of “backing the Belfast authority” and of “not being willing to be her own woman”.

In his speech yesterday, Mr Adams challenged the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to provide any such information he had to gardai and the PSNI.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Kenny said: “The Taoiseach is fully aware of the law in this area and will act accordingly if required.”

The Sunday Independent understands that one man was moved South and escaped punishment by an IRA ‘court martial’ after he allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl in west Belfast. The man was subsequently appointed to a senior position within the ‘Southern Command’ and was responsible for organising and carrying out armed robberies, kidnappings and other forms of illegal fundraising for the IRA.
Following further allegations that this man abused children in the Republic, it is believed he was secretly moved out of Ireland to the Continent and then to the US where he is believed to have been given a new identity and helped to settle by IRA supporters unaware of the allegations against him.

There has been widespread condemnation of Mr Adams’s speech which was delivered, not in his County Louth constituency, but in the republican heartland of Belfast. The former Minister for Justice and Attorney General Michael McDowell in the Sunday Independent today, describes it as a “pathetic speech” which, he said, was a “cynical, threadbare and obvious attempt” by Mr Adams to avoid his personal issues. In the speech, the Sinn Fein President said that over the course of the past week Mairia Cahill had made “serious allegations” against him and named Sinn Fein members. “While I am very mindful of the trauma she has suffered, I and the others she has named reject those allegations,” he said.

He repeated that Sinn Fein had “not engaged in any cover-up” of abuse at any level of the party, an accusation which he described as a “vile slur”. He said those Sinn Fein members to whom Mairia Cahill had spoken have said that they believed that she had been a victim of abuse, and that she had suffered trauma. They assured him that they did all that they could to support her. “That is what I did also,” he claimed.

He claimed all the Sinn Fein members who had spoken to Mairia Cahill had “acted in good faith to support her”. He claimed: “They advised her to speak to her family, to seek counselling or to approach social services. Her uncle Joe Cahill at my request asked her to go to the RUC.”

Yesterday, Mairia Cahill’s father, Philip, a nephew of Joe Cahill, told the Sunday Independent: “He is making assertions that he told my Uncle Joe to tell his family to go to the police. That is absolutely ludicrous. Anyone who knows Joe Cahill — and he was my uncle, so I would imagine I knew him reasonably well — but anybody who knows him . . . to suggest that Joe Cahill would encourage anybody go to the RUC to report anything is laughable.”

And Ms Cahill told the Sunday Independent: “He hasn’t addressed the issue of the IRA investigation. He hasn’t admitted that I was brought into a room to face my abuser. He needs to do that. He is deflecting the issue . . . Not once has he refuted the claim that the IRA investigated my abuse or that I was forced to confront the abuser. He can’t refute it because he knows it to be true. So he should admit it.

“The issue that Sinn Fein has not engaged in any cover-up of abuse at any level of the party is disingenuous at best and a lie at worse. They are continuing to cover up on this issue by not admitting the full truth.”

In his speech, Mr Adams also sought to present sexual abuse as a “legacy issue” of the conflict in the North which, he claimed, the governments also had a responsibility to deal with. However, Ms Cahill has rounded on his assertion that her rape and the sexual abuse of others was such a “legacy issue”.

She said: “Sexual abuse is not a legacy issue because perpetrators will continue to abuse and the IRA has given them cover to do so. Gerry Adams has said that there is no way to verify IRA involvement because the IRA has left the stage. How then is Sinn Fein going to credibly deal with any issue in which the IRA were involved in in the past?”

Mr Adams referred to how the IRA had “acted in good faith” but were “not equipped” to deal with what he called “difficult matters”.

However, Ms Cahill said Gerry Adams had apologised publicly to every other victim except her. “He now needs to publicly apologise for the way in which his party has treated me in the last week and the way in which the IRA re-traumatised me by forcing an investigation into my sexual abuse,” she said. 

Mr Adams also criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, in particular, and the media — he cited the Independent Group — for “seizing upon” Ms Cahill’s allegations in “the most cynical, calculated and opportunistic” way. However, Ms Cahill said: “The Independent Group and the rest of the media, particularly the BBC Spotlight programme, gave me the voice that I was denied by Sinn Fein and the IRA over many, many years. I want to thank them for that.”

Yesterday, the Health Minister Leo Varadkar said in any other party the “men in grey suits” would be telling Mr Adams it was time to step down as leader.

Sunday Independent


"Sinn Fein always try to discredit victims of IRA crimes"

Even after the ceasefire, so-called republicans still believe their crimes are somehow not like other crimes - Jim O'Callaghan

Sinn Fein TD's Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams and Pearse Doherty

The response of the Sinn Fein leadership to Mairia Cahill's allegations should come as no surprise. The same type of response was given by the Sinn Fein leadership to other evil crimes committed by its supporters after the rape of Mairia Cahill in 1997.

The first characteristic of the Sinn Fein leadership's response is that crimes committed by members of what it refers to as "the Republican Movement" are to be treated differently than crimes committed by others.

We know that Mairia Cahill says she was raped in 1997 by a prominent member of the IRA. We know that in January 1999 Eamon Collins was murdered shortly after he had given evidence against a well-known IRA member in defamation proceedings. We know that in January 2005 Robert McCartney was murdered by an IRA gang because he came to the aid of a friend who had been attacked in a pub in the Short Strand in Belfast. We know that in April 2005 Joe Rafferty from Dublin's south inner city was murdered in Dublin by a prominent IRA member because he had refused to be intimidated by that member who had worked on a number of election campaigns for Sinn Fein.

All of these crimes committed since the IRA ceasefire resulted in no credible steps being taken by the leadership of Sinn Fein to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. The reason is that the leadership of Sinn Fein does not believe that crimes committed by members of the IRA at any time, whether before or after the ceasefire, are the same as other crimes.

In this self-protecting Sinn Fein world, the rape of Mairia Cahill and the murders of Eamon Collins, Robert McCartney and Joe Rafferty are not crimes that should be properly investigated; nor are they crimes they wish to see resolved so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice. Sinn Fein does not want them investigated or solved because they were carried out by members of "the Republican movement" who deserve to be protected and supported by the Sinn Fein leadership, in the same way as that leadership supported the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe after they were released from prison.

Having made the decision that the perpetrators of these crimes should be treated differently to others, the second characteristic of the Sinn Fein leadership in responding to these serious crimes is to deny involvement by "the Republican Movement".

We know that originally Mairia Cahill's allegations were denied by the Sinn Fein leadership, with it only recently accepting that she was subjected to an IRA kangaroo court inquiry. After Eamon Collins was beaten and stabbed to death in 1999 near his home in Newry, Gerry Adams stated the killing was "regrettable" but added that Collins had "many enemies in many, many, many places", thereby suggesting that his murder may not have been carried out by the IRA.

After the murder of Robert McCartney there was an elaborate and extensive cover-up and clean-up of the area outside the pub in Belfast where he was murdered in order to prevent a proper investigation. At the time the Sinn Fein leadership stated that "no-one involved acted as a Republican or on behalf of Republicans". The purpose behind that statement was to suggest that the murder had not been carried out with the sanction or authority of the IRA leadership.

A similar defence was made in respect of the murder of Joe Rafferty when Sinn Fein representatives told Joe Rafferty's family that his murder had not been sanctioned by the IRA leadership. The fact of the matter, however, was that he was murdered by a member of the IRA who had worked on numerous election campaigns for Sinn Fein.

It should also be remembered that after the killing of Jerry McCabe the IRA initially denied any involvement.

The third characteristic of the Sinn Fein response is to circle the wagons and defend their own. The people involved in the IRA kangaroo court that subjected Mairia Cahill to further abuse were described as "decent people" who were simply trying to help. The reality is that they were intimidating her and trying to brush her complaints under the carpet.

Similarly, in the cases of Eamon Collins, Robert McCartney and Joe Rafferty, the Sinn Fein leadership had as its primary objective the protection of the perpetrators who were part of the "Republican movement". By suggesting that these murders were either not carried out by the IRA, or that they were unsanctioned acts of the IRA, the hope of Sinn Fein was to deflect attention from the IRA as an institution and suggest that these were isolated events that did not emanate from "the Republican Movement".

A fourth and really reprehensible characteristic of Sinn Fein in relation to these crimes is its attempts to discredit the victim. We have seen recently how the leadership tried to discredit Mairia Cahill by undermining her story. They accept it in part but refuse to accept that part which suggests knowledge and awareness on the part of the Sinn Fein leadership.

After Eamon Collins was murdered a local Sinn Fein councillor stated "He will not be missed. I have no feelings for Eamon Collins." Collins was so brutally murdered whilst out for a walk that initially it was thought he had been hit by a car. When it was discovered that his tongue had been cut out it was clear this was no car accident. After Joe Rafferty was murdered, certain people publicly and falsely suggested that he had been involved in drug-dealing. Although we do not know who spread these rumours, the likelihood, based on what we know about his murder, is that these lies were spread by people seeking to protect the member of "the Republican Movement" who murdered Rafferty.

The final and most important characteristic of the Sinn Fein response is to get the story off the news agenda as quickly as possible. They succeeded in this with Eamon Collins, Robert McCartney and Joe Rafferty. People have forgotten about those heinous murders that were committed after the conflict concluded. The rape of Mairia Cahill, however, is not going away as quickly as the leadership had hoped. The Sinn Fein leadership has portrayed itself as seeking to represent the weak and the victimised in society. Its response to Mairia Cahill, however, reveals that it is prepared to let the story stay in the news rather than doing the responsible and decent thing which would be to stop protecting its own and start believing credible victims.

Politicians have a duty to hold Sinn Fein to account for its response to these heinous crimes. This is a party that wants to lead the next Irish Government; that wishes to have control of the Department of Justice where it will be responsible for the gardai and our criminal justice system. No doubt Sinn Fein would also like to be given ministerial responsibility for the Department of Children. It would be a gross dereliction of duty if politicians from other parties did not seek to point out Sinn Fein's appalling record on justice and victims of abuse.

Jim O'Callaghan is a Senior Counsel and Fianna Fail Dublin City Councillor and legal adviser to the Fianna Fáil front bench.

Sunday Independent


Fears suspected ex-IRA paedophile is in capital

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jim Cusack wrote this article over a year ago in the Irish Independent on June 2013.

Gardai have been alerted to the possible presence of a suspected paedophile ex-IRA man from Belfast, who has dissident republican associates in Dublin and may have fled there after a complaint to the PSNI by a teenage boy.

According to sources in Belfast, the youth, who is now in his mid-teens, attempted suicide but was saved by family members and has made a recovery in hospital. Local sources said the boy told family members he wanted to speak to police and that he had been raped by the man since he was a child.
Local people in the Catholic area of Belfast where the rape and abuse is said to have happened said the teenage boy had apparently convinced himself from childhood that he was in some form of relationship with the man but had grown distressed when he began to more fully realise what had been happening to him.
Following the complaint, the ex-Provisional IRA man, who is in his mid-forties and comes from a well-known republican family in the south of Belfast, disappeared. Local sources say it is suspected he travelled to Dublin or some other part of the Republic as he is known to have associates here.
The alleged rapist had been closely associated with Sinn Fein after the IRA ceasefires in the mid-Nineties.
He was formerly closely linked to the IRA gang responsible for the murder of innocent father Robert McCartney outside a Belfast pub in January 2005.
A relative of the suspected paedophile, who was also linked to this group, is also suspected of raping and abusing underage girls, according to local people.
The IRA in Belfast has had a record of covering up sexual abusers among its ranks. Two of the men present when Mr McCartney was murdered are well known locally as paedophiles but were protected by the IRA in Belfast.
One moved to north-west Dublin after the murder for a time and was found by gardai to be in the protection of prominent members of the IRA in Dublin.
Gardai say the IRA acted in much the same way that the Catholic Church acted over its paedophiles, moving well-connected members from the areas where they committed abuse but keeping them within the republican "family", usually in the Republic.
It has emerged in recent years that there were several paedophiles in senior positions in the Belfast IRA from the 1970s onwards and they may have operated a ring.
The organisation actively worked to dissuade victims, usually by issuing threats to victims and their families, to prevent them from contacting the police in Northern Ireland. During the Troubles and for some years after, while the IRA was still powerful in Catholic working-class areas, rapes by IRA men went unreported.
One very prominent republican in Belfast raped a young IRA woman in the mid-1980s.
When relatives and friends made a complaint, one of them was severely beaten by the IRA. After that, no further complaints were made and the rapist remained untouched and continued to be involved in the IRA.
Irish Independent


€88 million investment in education

Budget 2015 has provided for €88 million to be invested in education with 1,700 new full time posts to be created.

Among the estimated 1,700 additional new full time posts to be created are 920 new mainstream teaching posts, 480 resource teachers and 365 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs).
This is good news for graduates and those currently still studying. Parents will also welcome the news that there will be no reduction in the pupil teacher ratio, there will be no increase in class sizes and this investment will allow for a €530 million capital expenditure investment.

Over 150 new schools have been built since this Government came into power and over 100 schools have been refurbished. Further investment in buildings will be possible due to the Budget funding announced this week.

I am particularly pleased to see that funding has been made available to invest in high speed broadband in schools, to invest in the Junior Cycle and in literacy and numeracy. A new team of early years education inspectors will also be recruited to help improve the quality of the free pre-school. The development of our young children and commitment to their care has been a priority of this Government since it came into office.


Taking Care of Business: Over 500 attend free one-stop-shop event for small businesses in Dublin Castle

Friday, October 17, 2014

More than 27 State bodies come together to answer questions and provide advice to small business owners and managers

Over five hundred small business owners and managers today (Thursday) attended a one-stop-shop event for SMEs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, in The Printworks, Dublin Castle.

This free half-day event was organised by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to provide people thinking of starting a business and existing entrepreneurs with the information they need from across the public sector.

Taking Care of Business’ brought together more than 27 State bodies in two strands with presentations in one area and information stands in a separate area. The information stands were manned throughout the event by experts who spoke directly to attendees and answered questions in an informal setting; in the hall 18 concise presentations were given with a focus on key regulatory requirements and assistance available to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

Speaking at the event the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D., said

“Two thirds of all new jobs come from start-ups in their first five years of existence, and we are putting in place a range of measures through the Action Plan for Jobs to provide better supports in this area. Yesterday's Budget made a significant difference in this area. One crucial area is awareness – the Government has a range of great schemes to support start-ups and small businesses, however many businesses are simply unaware of them. As part of our drive to encourage more start-ups and support more SMEs, we are determined to better promote these schemes and encourage more businesses to take them up.

“Taking Care of Business” is part of a wider effort to communicate better with business and promote awareness and understanding of the full range of Government supports that are available for start-ups and the SME sector. This event will allow small business owners to informally ask questions and get advice from a diverse mix of government agencies.”

A number of representative bodies from industry supported the event and were available to talk to attendees on the day. ‘Taking Care of Business’ was opened by Donal de Buitléir, Director of Gina Quinn, CEO, Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Senator Feargal Quinn chaired the remaining sessions.

Minister for Business & Employment, Ged Nash TD, also visited the event in Dublin Castle today. He said, “Entrepreneurs and those starting their own businesses are busy people, so to have all the information, state bodies and advice available to them in one Taking Care of Business event makes good sense.

“Part of my agenda as Minister with responsibility for SMEs is to make it as easy as possible to start a business and create jobs. This event makes vital information on saving your business money, the State supports and tools available to SMEs and the regulations that affect businesses readily available.”

Today’s event builds on a pilot event in October 2013 in Dublin Castle, which was attended by 500 people. The feedback from the pilot was overwhelmingly positive, with 89% of attendees surveyed finding the format worked well and 80% agreeing that their business would benefit from having attended.

The 2014 events are expanding on the number of State bodies at the pilot and have brought ‘Taking Care of Business’ outside Dublin. Earlier this year TCOB events were held in Limerick, Galway and Cork and another event is planned for Waterford in early 2015.

For more details including the running order of presentations and the full list of State bodies attending, please visit


Fingal bucks the trend to support Poolbeg Waste to Energy project.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am pleased that Fingal County Council voted to support the decision of the Dublin local authorities to proceed with the waste to energy project at Poolbeg at our meeting this evening. Councillors voted 19 to 16 with three abstentions for my motion that Fingal support the decision to proceed with the €500 million project. Fine Gael, Fiannal Fail, Labour and some independents supported the proposal with Sinn Fein, the Green Party and Anti Austerity members voting against.

Digging holes in the ground and burying our waste is Stone Age technology. Waste to energy has become a preferred method of rubbish disposal in the EU, and there are now 420 plants in Europe equipped to provide heat and electricity to more than 20 million people. Almost every modern city is availing of this technology but opposition here is based on ignorance and political cowardice.

With all our landfills in Dublin now closed and no proposals to open new ones, all of our refuse is trucked to landfills down the country or shipped abroad. In fact we are exporting over 300,000 tons of waste each year to WtE plants in Denmark, Holland and Swedan. This is likely to increase significantly with the uptake in the economy.

The project has cost some €105 million to date much of which would have to be written off were the project to be abandoned. The project was granted planning permission in 2007 but was delayed when former Minister for the Environment John Gormley of the Green Party refused to grant a foreshore licence. Not alone did this add additional costs to the project but could have provided construction jobs at a time and place where they were so badly needed.

A motion to reject the project by Councillor David Healy of the Geen Party, a former government adviser to Minister Gormley, was defeated by the same vote.


Out of work but love football & fitness?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Are you over 18, out of work and love football and fitness? If so, then a new training course beginning this October in Dublin 15 could be for you! The FAI, Fingal County Council and Blanchardstown Area Partnership have teamed up to provide a unique opportunity for people who are unemployed and out of formal education to get involved in an innovative project designed to help them back into the workforce or onto further education.

Fingal Festival of Football
This career focused course aims to provide education and work opportunities for people who would like to pursue a career in Fitness Instruction and Football. The course is unique in Fingal and covers both ITEC Fitness Instructor and FAI coaching modules including; Anatomy & Physiology, Client Screening, First Aid, Diet And Nutrition, Resistance Training, Business Awareness, Studio Cycle, Kick Start 1Introduction to Coaching, Player/Personal Development, Pan Disability Certificate and an introductory Referees Course.

The ITEC Gym Instruction Certification delivered by Litton Lane Training centre is a major addition to this year’s course. This internationally recognised qualification will give participants the opportunity to join the workforce or set up their own fitness business.

Welcoming this new course, FAI Regional Manager, Gerry Reardan said: “This is a great opportunity for people in Fingal who are unemployed to get involved in a project designed to broaden their education and help them back into the workforce”. “The combination of ITEC Gym Instruction Certification and Football Coaching Badges included in the programme makes this course very attractive given the popularity of healthy pastimes and emphasis on healthy lifestyles”, he added. “The course is open to men and women and the qualifications and work experience it offers will provide a real boost to a person’s CV when looking for a job, a third level course or when setting up their own business”, he said.

The first courses begin on October 7th and applications are now being accepted.

To Apply contact or

Closing date for applications is Friday Sept 26th


Fingal leads the way in local authority procurement

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One of the key priorities set out in the Public Service Reform Plan is to reduce costs and achieve better value for money through reform of public procurement.

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) was officially launched in July 2013 and operates as an office of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. In due course it will take full responsibility for procurement policy and procedures and, together with the four key Sectors in Health, Defence, Education and Local Government, for the sourcing of all goods and services on behalf of the public service.
The OGP will work in collaboration with these key sectors to optimise benefits to the public service through the strategic aggregation of its buying power. It has been given a mandate to procure on behalf of the whole of the public sector with the aim of delivering savings of €500m between now and 2016. Local Government have been targeted to achieve €58.5m in savings.

In response to the changing landscape in procurement, the Local Government Sector through the City and County Managers Association (CCMA) have recently established a Strategic Procurement Centre based in Dublin which will be responsible for liaising with the OGP and Department of Environment, Community and Local Government on behalf of the sector; ensuring compliance with National, regional and sectoral frameworks; sharing good practice; the management of Operational Procurement Centre(s); nomination of Category Council representatives and most importantly spend analytics.

In addition to providing a quality level of public services to our citizens, we have a responsibility in our own local authority to ensure our procurement activity, which supports the provision of these services, is in compliance with legislative requirements. Furthermore, we must achieve value for money efficiencies and reductions in administrative costs by utilising National or regional procurement opportunities which will allow us deliver services within budgetary constraints.

A Procurement Section within the Finance Department in Fingal has been established to co-ordinate procurement activity within Fingal County Council and to keep the organisation informed in respect of the national and regional procurement agenda. The Procurement Section will be a key support to those who procure goods and services so together we can ensure our procurement objectives are achieved.

The recently established Procurement Steering Group comprising representatives from the various departments will also play a crucial role in strengthening our procurement processes and demonstrate our commitments to achieving the identified procurement savings.

This is an area of great change in the public service which presents a positive opportunity to change our procurement practices to yield savings and efficiencies for the shared benefit of the organisation, our suppliers and our citizens.


New Local Authority Strategy for literacy

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A ‘Right To Read’ campaign has just been launched which will radically enhance the role that local authorities play in promoting literacy in the community.

The strategy will ensure that literacy receives the priority and co-ordination it deserves at local authority level, especially through vital services such as libraries, sport and recreation and housing design.


Improvements to Senior Alerts Scheme:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Minister Phil Hogan has announced improvements to the Seniors Alert Scheme.

· The improvements are designed to facilitate greater community support and improved security for the elderly and are scheduled to come into effect in 2015.


Housing Minister approves €46 million for housing projects for homeless persons and people with special needs

Thursday, May 22, 2014

€29m in funding will support new Homelessness Implementation Plan

Minister for Housing and Planning, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, today (21 May 2014) announced a capital investment totalling over €46m for a range of housing projects which will provide a total of 416 units of accommodation for people with special housing needs including the elderly, persons with an intellectual or physical disability and homeless persons. The selection of projects now being advanced is based on the priority afforded by the local authority following a ‘Call for Proposals’ to approved housing bodies.
 I am pleased that Fingal is to receive €1.12 million for 6 units to cater for homeless and those with moderate intellectual disabilities.


€5 million in New Capital Funding for Childcare

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr. Charlie Flanagan T.D., today announced that his Department is receiving an additional €5 million in capital funding this year. The funding is expected to be used to support quality improvements to childcare services and is additional to the Department’s existing 2014 capital allocation for childcare of €3.25 million.


Roselawn Health Centre to get upgrade.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Statement from the HSE: 

The HSE are pleased to be able to report that we have secured some capital development monies to enable use to renovate and extend the existing Roselawn Health Centre, Roselawn Road, Dublin 15. Over the coming weeks it is our intention to lodge a planning application with Fingal County Council seeking planning permission approval for the works that we propose to carry out in the centre.


Proposed Plebiscite on the Office of Directly Elected Mayor for the Dublin Metropolitan Area.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Copied below is the letter from Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government regarding the proposed plebiscite on the office of Directly Elected Mayor for the Dublin Metropolitan Area.

The proposed plebiscite is not to decide for or against a directly elected mayor for Dublin but rather for a particular type of directly elected mayor with specific powers and responsibilities based on a resolution and statement. The Minister has not included any costings on the office of mayor, the cabinet or the assembly which would be added on top of an already expanding, costly and unwieldy local government system in our capital city and county.


HSE and Dublin Local Authorities Announce Review of Ambulance Service

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The HSE and the Dublin local Authorities have jointly commissioned a review of the current arrangements for the provision of emergency ambulance service operated by Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) in the Dublin City and County area.

The review will be conducted by;

· Mr Martin Flaherty, OBE, Managing Director, Associate of Ambulance Chief Executives, London
· Mr Derek Brady, former Deputy City Manager, Dublin City Council and County Manager, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

The review will compare the DFB service with that provided by the NAS and will examine the current arrangements for the provision of the emergency ambulance service in the Dublin Area. The review will be focussed on indentifying the optimal model for the provision of emergency ambulance services and patient care taking account of quality, patient safety and value for money.

The Review team will invite submissions for key stakeholders and it is anticipated that the review will be completed by mid 2014.


Pyrite Remediation Scheme Launched

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Minister Hogan yesterday welcomed the publication of the Pyrite Remediation Scheme and the announcement by the Board that its online application system will begin to accept applications from homeowners affected by pyritic damage from 26 February 2014.

· From the middle of next week affected homeowners will be able to submit applications under the scheme
· All homeowners who have registered an interest on the Pyrite Resolution Board’s website will be notified when the application system goes live.


Public consultation on credit unions

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Minister for Finance, Mr Michael Noonan T.D. yesterday announced the commencement of a public consultation process in advance of the introduction of a levy on credit unions to fund the provision of stabilisation support.

The levy was recommended in the agreed report of the Commission on Credit Unions and has been provided for in the Credit Union and Co-Operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012.
The Act enables the Minister for Finance to provide stabilisation support to a credit union where it has been approved by the Central Bank. 

The Central Bank can only approve the provision of stabilisation support to a credit union if

· the credit union’s regulatory reserve is equal to or greater than 7.5% of the total assets of the credit union.
· the credit union is in the opinion of the Central Bank viable as a credit union.
· the Credit Union Fund contains funds for the provision of stabilisation support. · 

The consultation period will last until 25 April 2014. Interested parties are invited to make submissions by email 


Working group report on citizen engagement with local government is published

Monday, March 3, 2014

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D. today  published the report of the working group on citizen engagement with local government, which makes recommendations on extensive input by citizens into the decision-making process at local government level.

The Working Group, which was set up in September 2013 under the chairmanship of Fr. Sean Healy proposes a mechanism to enable the community and voluntary and environmental sectors to take an active formal role in the policy making and oversight activities of the Local Authority.


Summary of New Building Control Regulations

How will the new system work?
Building Control Regulations require:
· Submission of compliance drawings and documentation to local authorities;
· Development of an inspection plan by an Assigned Certifier, who can be a registered architect, engineer or building surveyor;
· Signing of mandatory certificates of compliance by the designer prior to construction and by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder when a building is complete.

Local authorities in their oversight role, will now take a more practical risk-based approach to inspections. Given the incidences of serious failures in relation to apartment blocks in particular, they will be expected to prioritise compliance in relation to this category of buildings in future.


Plato Recruiting Now for New Small Business Programme

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Plato is commencing a 12 months Plato Small Business Development Programme in March 2014. PLATO is a non-profit initiative supported by the four Dublin Enterprise Boards and dedicated to the successful development of the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in the Dublin region.

At Code for Ireland launched in Dublin Castle,  Dominic Byrne, Deputy Head IT Fingal Co. Council; Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Kieran Dennison; Catherine Bracy, Code For America and Jonathan Reichental CIO City of Paolo Alto, USA
PLATO offers owner managers a business support forum where they can tackle the challenges and issues of today’s business world. Through a unique partnership with large “parent” companies, PLATO creates a confidential and safe environment where SMEs can benefit from facilitated group learning, business counseling and support so that you acquire the skills necessary to help your business grow and prosper. It provides an environment for owner managers to learn from one another and share their experiences at a monthly meeting for 12 months – facilitated by large company Managers from Ericsson, Diageo, Microsoft, Pfizer etc.


Jobs & Advice Fair in Blanchardstown Centre

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The International Employment Services Unit of the Department of Social Protection, together with Employment Services Dublin Central is working in association with Blanchardstown Centre to organise a Regional/National and Europ­ean Jobs and Advice Fair. 

Former US Congressman Bruce Morrison, Linda Curran CEO and Cllr. Kieran Dennison Chairman Blanchardstown Area Partnership
 The event will take place in the Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin on Friday 28th February 2014 from 12pm to 7pm. Admission is Free.


Irish Company start-ups at pre-recession levels

Friday, February 7, 2014

Irish company start-ups recorded this January matched pre-recession totals with over 1,500 new companies being incorporated according to Business Barometer.

As Mayor and a director of the Fingal County Enterprise Board I am not surprised by these figures. We are witnessing an increasing level of activity across the county among businesses of all sizes.

Karen Lawlor, Country Manager for Ireland at Regus; Cllr. Kieran Dennison, Mayor of Fingal; Siobhan O'Donnell, President Fingal Chamber; Austin McCabe, Vice President Symantec.
Latest figures show that 1,511 Irish company start-ups were incorporated in January 2014 – this is the first time start-ups have reached the 1,500 mark, in a calendar month, since April of 2008 when 1,541 were set up.


Innefficient Bus Company to run Dublin's new Rapid Transit

Monday, February 3, 2014

Three Bus Rapid Transit routes, costing up to €650 million, have been proposed for Fingal by the National Transport Authority.

The system, which will be called Swiftway, would operate as a Luas on wheels with the capacity to carry between 2,400 and 3,600 passengers per hour.

Dublin Bus to Run BRT
Each route could be put in place at about a third of the cost of a light rail line, and less than one tenth of the estimated cost of Metro North or Metro West. The lines would run from Swords and Dublin Airport to the city centre, Blanchardstown to UCD, and Clongriffin to Tallaght.

The Blanchardstown to UCD route will likely cost between €150 and €200 million to set up and would have a journey time of approximately 40 minutes. At a briefing for Fingsl County Council I asked Hugh Creegan of the National Transport Authority who would run the service and was told that Dublin Bus had been selected. This surely is bad news for commuters and the tax payer as Dublin Bus are not the most efficient operators of transport systems and this will be likely be reflected in the fares to be charged.


European Parliament and Local Elections to be held on Friday 23 May 2014.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, today announced that the Government has agreed that the European Parliament and Local Elections will be held on Friday 23 May 2014. Polling will be between the hours of 7am and 10pm on that day.

Every person aged 18 years or over is entitled to be registered as a local government elector for the local electoral area where they ordinarily reside - citizenship is not a requirement for voting at the local elections. Every person who is a citizen of Ireland or who is ordinarily resident in the State and has reached the age of 18 years and who is not subject to any disqualification is eligible for election to a local authority. At the local elections 949 members of 31 local authorities will be elected in 137 local electoral areas.


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