Government must invest in Childcare – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the government to “allocate additional new resources in October’s Budget to reduce childcare costs.”

The Louth TD’s comments come following a recent survey carried out by Newstalk Radio which found that Louth was one of the top five counties with the highest childcare costs in the state.

Teachta Adams said: “In the survey of over 130 creches and childcare providers the survey asked for the cost of a two-year old child in full-time care for five days a week. It found that that the average monthly cost across the state is €745. Louth’s average monthly cost is €771.33.

That amounts to over €300 more annually for each child.”

Gerry Adams TD said:

“Childcare costs in this state are among the highest in the industrialised world. The provision of high-quality, affordable childcare is central to facilitating experienced workers, particularly women, from leaving the labour force. Too often high-childcare costs, which are frequently the equivalent of a second mortgage, are preventing a parent from returning to employment.

This week the National Recruitment Federation added its voice to the call for “proper investment in a structured childcare solution” and it said that in respect of subsidised childcare “this is expenditure that Government can’t afford not to make, if we are to resource our labour market needs and drive economic progress.”

Sinn Féin believes that quality, affordable childcare is socially and educationally advantageous to children. Sinn Féin wants an early years sector that we can truly be proud of.  In the upcoming Budget in October it is vital that the Government increases investment in the early years sector in order to reduce costs to parents, improve quality standards and arrive at a childcare regime which we can be proud of.”

Back To School Costs are A Burden: Eugene Garvey

Activist Eugene Garvey (Left) with Cllr Ruairi Ó Murchú and other activists

Dundalk Sinn Féin took to the streets today in along with Cllr Ruairi Ó Murchú to highlight ‘Back to School’ costs.

Local activist Eugene Garvey, a father of two, said “Education is a fundamental right for everyone and should be free and accessible to all but the current cost is an ever increasing burden on ordinary families with costs running at an all-time high.”

It is estimated that over 20% of parents need to take out loans to pay for their children’s school essentials.

Eugene Garvey pointed out that “the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a great help but falls short of what parents need. Sinn Féin is proposing an extra €50 to this grant which would help. We also need to look at expanding the Book Rental Scheme to ensure that all schools participate in it and help alleviate the burden on families.”

Currently only 65% of schools use a Book Rental Scheme.

On average schools get state funding of around €46,000 a year for operating costs, however, average bills actually total €91,000.

Eugene Garvey said “The shortfall of the school state funding has to be found be it in the form of fundraising throughout the school year or having to contribute directly to the school, and this is on top of the cost of sending a child to secondary school costing an average of €1,500 per year. It is too much for parents and that is why I am here today, to raise awareness and let other parents know that they are not alone in their struggle, Sinn Féin are on their side and have a list of proposals to help alleviate this burden.”

For more details on Sinn Fein proposals on Back to Schools costs and other policies please visit sinnfein.ie

 

Minister for Education must tackle unmanageable back to school costs for families- Gerry Adams TD

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams is calling on the Minister for Education to tackle back to school costs for families. Commenting on the Irish League of Credit Union school survey recently released Teachta Adams said;

“This year the Irish League of Credit Union school costs survey revealed that one third of parents are getting into debt to meet back to school costs . This is a worrying rise in the number of parents facing this challenge .

Worryingly the report also shows increasing numbers of families are turning to moneylenders in an effort to cope with unmanageable back to school costs.

The average back to school cost for a single primary school child is €999  and  €1379 for a child in secondary school. Families can often find these costs further compounded by the wider costs of living .

For many parents, this time of year is one of worry and stress as they face the prospect of the challenging costs associated with children returning to school in September. In addition many families are still waiting on confirmation or receipt of the Back to School Allowance.

Sinn Féin will be launching a policy document shortly to outline the detrimental impact a lack of services and funding is having on schools, parents and children around the state. We will be publishing a series of proposals and will be urging the Government to adopt these”.

 

Cllr Kenneth Flood Gets Tough on Illegal Dumping

With illegal dumping on the increase throughout Drogheda, Sinn Féin Cllr. Kenneth Flood has been raising the issue at Drogheda Municipal District Meetings over the past months.

Commenting Cllr. Flood said

“The director of services for operations confirmed to me that Louth County Council was disposing of 22 tonnes of waste left at council bins per month. That is an increase of 8 tonnes previously.

“The council have been proactive in attempting to catch offenders who illegally leave domestic waste at public bins by adding a weekend roster of litter wardens and by liaising with the waste disposal companies to ensure that every household in the county does in fact have their waste collected, as they are required to do by law.

“But they have also confirmed that although the litter wardens do examine as much of the illegally dumped waste as possible and fines have indeed been issued to offenders, the amount of illegally dumped domestic waste is just too vast for the litter wardens to examine fully.

“I contend that illegally dumping domestic waste is an affront to our town and countryside. I am aware that the introduction of domestic waste charges has added a financial burden on struggling families, but much of what is being dumped could be recycled at a minimal cost to the householder.

“Louth County Council should initiate a waste information campaign highlighting the fines and penalties that offenders will incur but also listing cost saving measures and Council Sites where recyclable domestic waste can be disposed of cheaply and legally.

“In the past, the council had a magazine called Eco News, that listed all the information any householder would need on properly disposing of their waste, but that was discontinued.

I have submitted a motion for May’s Drogheda Municipal District Meeting asking for this information campaign to be initiated and I intend to follow through until we turn the tide against illegal dumping”.

Link for newsletter

https://www.louthcoco.ie/en/Services/Environment/Forms/EcoNews-Issue-6.pdf

Here is the motion for upcoming Council meeting,

With illegal dumping on the increase in The Drogheda Municipal District, this council will initiate an information campaign, to run in tandem with The Councils increased enforcement efforts,  listing recycling and bring bank centres in The Drogheda Municipal District and what is allowed to be disposed of there, the reintroduction of Louth County Council’s Eco News, and a local media campaign listing the fines and penalties that offenders will incur and detailing Louth County Councils recycling points.

 

Imelda Munster TD: Commuter Price Costs Not Value for Money

With a growing population in the Laytown/Bettystown/Mornington area of the commuter belt, the more uncomfortable the daily journey into the capital becomes. Commuters heading to work in early morning rush or even worse, heading home in the evenings are airtight packed in standing room only carriages for the larger part of their journey, with the added insult being that they have to pay through the nose for it too.

Whereas last November those travelling to the city centre from Naas/Sallins and Kilcock stations were brought into the Short Hop Zone (SHZ), Laytown, Gormanston and Drogheda on the Northern line were once again left within the intercity fare structure.

‘It’s way past time for the boundaries between intercity and commuter areas on the railway network to be reviewed,’ says Deputy Imelda Munster TD for Louth and East Meath, areas that have seen big increases in population as legions of Dubliners have moved out of the city because of high priced housing to areas which offer more affordable housing over the last thirteen or fourteen years.

The current boundary for Short Hop Zones is 35km which means that a monthly ticket for an adult from Laytown to Dublin costs €222 whereas commuters travelling from Balbriggan only pay €152. That is a big difference for two stops and approximately 10km along the tracks. Furthermore, a student travelling to NUI Maynooth from Laytown will pay a weekly fare of €92.60 while their peers in Balbriggan can get a weekly ticket for €45.30…less than half the cost

‘My constituents are extremely angry about this difference in outgoings for travel between them and their near neighbours. They feel that it’s extortionate. Perhaps the commuter boundary of 35km was correct up to the year 2000. However, just as the population has spread out massively from Dublin into the surrounding counties in the years since then, thus that 35km boundary needs to be extended to realistically reflect that increase and I have written to Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority asking them to look into this grossly unfair system as a matter of urgency.’