Spread The Recovery by Creating Regional Digital Hubs

Last year I wrote a policy document on supporting the Technology Sector with some fellow Fianna Fáil members who were also working in that area. One of my main proposals within that document has now been announced as part of the Fianna Fáil manifesto under Creating Jobs and Supporting Enterprise. Fianna Fáil have committed to the “Development of Regional Digital Hubs”.

Cllr Rob Power speaking at the Ogra conference which supported the development of Regional Digital Hubs

Cllr Rob Power speaking at the Ogra conference which supported the development of Regional Digital Hubs

My proposal tackles two issues which I’ve spent a lot of time on over the last few years; reinvigorating town centres and supporting the tech sector. It proposes to:

“Provide up to €1m of funding to each local authority to develop Regional Digital Hubs. This will support entrepreneurship throughout the country, bring businesses back to the main street and enable tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to grow businesses and jobs in their home county.”

Through my work in Digital Marketing and in Kildare County Council I know the benefit this proposal could bring. Not only does this have the potential to create 7,000 jobs and hundreds of new companies over the next ten years, it will also give county councils a role in their own local economies and revitalise empty shop units bringing this so called ‘recovery’ out of the capital and into the town centres that continue to struggle.

The Regional Digital Hub will act as an office space for digital focused firms. Having a hub allows for a concentration of necessary resources such as high speed broadband, meeting rooms, office facilities, mentoring workshops and so much more that is currently out of reach for many “kitchen table” entrepreneurs.

Running this programme through the network of local authorities has additional benefits; it allows for a close link to existing Local Enterprise Office expertise and resources and encourages councils to incentivise business start-ups in their area.

While this is something that will be managed by County Councils, it will require government to kick start the fund. Just like I worked to see the policy published ahead of the election, I’ll continue working to ensure it’s implemented after the election!

The Fianna Fáil manifesto is available at: fiannafail.ie/an-ireland-for-all/

Posted in Naas | 1 Comment

Kildare Gets Less of the Pot Again…And Your Local Fine Gael TDs “Welcome it”

On Tuesday Januray 26th, Minister Paschal Donohoe announced €298million of funding for regional and local road maintenance and improvement. This money is distributed to county councils around the country and once again Kildare has lost out.

Although the total amount available has increased by €4m nationally, Kildare’s allocation has dropped from €10.7m in 2015 to €9.9m for 2016. That €800,000 drop is equivalent to 95% of the budget for footpaths in 2015.

But we have to ask, is it any wonder we lose out on funding when our government TDs are asleep at the wheel? On the back of Tuesday’s announcement we have press releases from Tony Lawlor, Emmet Stagg, Bernard Durkan and Fiona McLoughlin-Healy (clearly not a subscriber to this site) all stating their delight and welcoming the funding.

Fine Gael TDs Welcome funding - when in fact it's a drop of €800,000 on last year

Fine Gael TDs Welcome funding – when in fact it’s a drop of €800,000 on last year

Not one of them mentioned the fact that the funding is down from the 2015 allocation.

In particular, I’ve called Tony Lawlor out on this before. Last year he welcomed Leader funds with open arms only to find out afterwards that Kildare was at the bottom of the table!

It’s becoming increasingly clear that these guys have been resting on their laurels since elected. There’s been no effort to promote our county nor even the slightest attempt to influence the senior decision makers.

Perhaps there’s a very valid reason for Kildare to lose out on funding to Mayo (where Michael Ring was able to announce increases in Road Maintenance & Improvements five days before the Minister officially announced it! – see picture below).

Is Mayo getting special treatment ahead of the General Election?

Is Mayo getting special treatment ahead of the General Election?

But the fact remains, our “representatives” in Kildare are far more worried about getting their press releases out than asking the tough questions when they need to be asked.

Kildare deserves better representation than this.

Update: Of the 2,000+ people that saw my social media updates on this and heard my comments aired on KFM, it seems Fiona McLoughlin Healy was not one of them. She has also “welcomed” this drop in funding: 


We shouldn’t be surprised of course, with a general election due in just four weeks we can expect plenty of politicians falling over themselves to get their press release or Facebook post out well before they check their facts!

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Caragh Bridge – November Update

Caragh Bridge over the River Liffey - Repairs will restrict HGV use of the bridge.

Caragh Bridge over the River Liffey – Repairs will restrict HGV use of the bridge.

The good news is that the end of the bridge repair works is finally in sight. Kildare County Council expect the contractors to complete on schedule and should be re-open within the next two weeks. An official re-open date will be announced as soon as possible.

The works have caused huge disruption to the village and to residents throughout the Caragh area, including of course, residents in Raheens, Yeomanstown and Thomastown who have seen a huge increase in the level of traffic travelling their road over the last three months. Last night I attended a meeting organised by residents living along the detour route where we discussed what’s happening. To keep as many people informed as possible, I’ve provide an update below focusing on three things:

  1. What’s happening at Caragh Bridge?
  2. What impact will these new measures have?
  3. What happens next?

Continue reading

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Meeting to Plan for Christmas 2015 in Naas

Time to plan for Christmas 2015 In Naas (Pic via Paul O'Rourke Photography)

Time to plan for Christmas 2015 In Naas (Pic via Paul O’Rourke Photography)

Brown Thomas already have their store up so it’s not before time we start working on how our town should look around the Christmas period. With little over three months to go I’m holding an open meeting to get a few heads together to drum up some ideas and get working on making Naas a great place to visit in December!

Open meeting at Kavanaghs Pub at 6:30pm (Tonight!) Monday 21st September to put some ideas on paper for the festive season. Topics include (but not exclusive to):

– Marketing ideas (why come to Naas this December?)
– A Christmas Market
– Including youth groups charities in the festivities
– Santa’s annual visit to Naas
– How retailers can get in on the festivities
– etc….

Attendance does not mean you’ll be forced to join a committee of any kind – getting ideas is most important here, so pop along and throw your thoughts into the pot!

Spread the word!

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Caragh Bridge – Update September 5th

Caragh Bridge over the River Liffey

Caragh Bridge over the River Liffey

As the closure of Caragh’s Liffey Bridge continues to disrupt our village and surrounding areas I aim to keep you informed of all developments. Please see below for the most recent updates and as always, do get in contact with any questions, suggestions, observations or comments.

Work Schedule

Kildare County Council have been working on this issue as a priority. Following a meeting with KCC and Cradock engineers yesterday, I can now share some further insight into the planned works: Continue reading

Posted in Caragh, Kildare, Maintenance, Naas LEA, Road Works | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Update on Caragh Bridge – Closed Until December

It’s with great frustration I can confirm that repair works on Caragh Bridge may take until December to complete. We still can’t have an exact time frame but I’m told three months is at the upper end of the estimates.

The Council statement  on the bridge closure in Caragh issued yesterday is as follows:

For safety reasons it was necessary to close Carragh bridge last Saturday evening (22nd August). The bridge sustained substantial damage when an agricultural vehicle struck the parapet and Kildare County Council had no option but to close the bridge until repairs can be carried out.

Carragh Bridge is a very old bridge and is actually classified as a protected structure and a recorded monument (ref KD019-012). The Council has to have regard for this status in order to get the necessary approvals to carry out the required repairs and it is likely that this will lengthen the duration of the closure. It is expected that it could take 3 months before the bridge will be fit to re-open. In the meantime the Council will consider options whereby some pedestrian / cyclist access could be offered during the closure.

The Council appreciates that the closure of the bridge is an inconvenience to road users and to the community in Carragh and surrounding areas. Please be assured that every effort will be made to reopen the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so.

Although the work is tricky and intricate, I believe the big unknown in this timeline will be the red tape that needs to be cut at the Department of Environment. I’ll make every effort possible to see they’re treating this emergency work as a priority (and I genuinely hope they prove me wrong on the red tape comment!)

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MEANTIME:

Safety is number one concern

I am in continuous contact with KCC engineers and will meet or chat with anyone who has a concern over any safety aspect of these arrangements. Already several additional saftey enhancements have been made at the request of myself or local residents e.g. Traffic lights at Malone’s Bridge and additional signage on the detour route. If you have an opinion on how the safety of these routes could be improved, please let me know.

Traffic Management efforts are ongoing

We continue to ask drivers to take alternative routes where possible (e.g. I’ve encouraged Mondello traffic to approach track from North end to alleviate some traffic coming through the village). Lights have been established on the route and KFM/AA Roadwatch will be informed of any changes/issues.

In less than a week, the National Roads Office have already confirmed increased traffic levels on arterial routes coming into Naas. This is before schools are back, highlighting further the need for repairs to be done as soon as possible.

For any parents bringing children to school from the Naas direction, you now also have the option to walk across the bridge. Fencing has been put in place to allow pedestrian access across the bridge. Given the increased journey time along the detour route this may be a viable option for some parents. For others who might not have the time to walk their children the distance from bridge to school you might consider setting up a “walking bus” with other parents.

We Need to Support Our Local Businesses

Businesses in Caragh will be under serious pressure as a result of the bridge closure. These are our neighbours and friends who are facing reduced sales, staff hours being cut and bills not being paid. Please make every effort to spend locally where possible over the coming weeks!

This disruption doesn’t suit anyone. Around Caragh there is increased frustration, worry and even anxiety about the impact this will have on our community. Let’s support each other and act with one voice in calling for every effort to be made in getting the bridge re-opened and keeping our roads safe in the meantime.

(If anyone would like to speak to me, if you have an idea to improve this process or even if you just want to vent your frustration you’ll reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Email or mobile all available on this website).

Posted in Caragh, Kildare, Maintenance, Naas, Naas LEA, Road Works, Rural | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Caragh’s Liffey Bridge Potentially Closed For Months

Sever damage caused to the bridge on Saturday evening may see it out of action for weeks or even months

Sever damage caused to the bridge on Saturday evening may see it out of action for weeks or even months

Following a collision on Saturday evening the oldest bridge over the river Liffey has been closed until further notice. The impact of a tractor to the parapet of the bridge has left a long section of the bridge dangerously unguarded from the drop to the river below.

Kildare County Council engineers assessed the damage on Saturday evening and quickly established a detour route.

I’ve been in contact with the area engineer and we’ve been to see the damage to the bridge which is considerable. The bridge was subject to safety works only last year but the impact was so severe Continue reading

Posted in Caragh, Kildare, Maintenance, Naas LEA, Road Works | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Time To Tackle Renting in Ireland

Fianna Fáil Policy on Rental Market

Fianna Fáil Policy on Rental Market

Every day radio shows and newspapers carry more evidence of our latest crisis. It’s plain to see; rent prices around the country are skyrocketing, accommodation standards are slipping and unfortunately for many, a total lack of housing is resulting in a homeless crisis the likes of which our councils have never experienced before.

Fianna Fáil have unveiled a policy which tackles the crisis in the rental market.

The Fianna Fáil plan focuses on three areas: Rights, Quality and Supply…

Continue reading

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Government Must Take These 4 Steps on Property Tax Now

Data from The Economist shows how Ireland is once again leading the world in property inflation. This will impact property tax costs for homeowners.

Data from The Economist shows how Ireland is once again leading the world in property inflation. This will impact property tax costs for homeowners.

Currently, the property tax is set in relation to the value of a property. This measure was introduced by Fine Gael last year with no consideration of people’s ability to pay. With Ireland once more heading up countries globally in terms of property price increases, this tax is due to rise.

To ensure there isn’t a further undue impact on homeowners, the government need to tackle four aspects of this tax immediately.

Continue reading

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Fianna Fáil Set Out Energy Policy

Energy PolicyToday Fianna Fáil party spokesman on Energy, Michael Moynihan, outlined the party’s energy policy. This is the culmination of much work and consultation over the past few months. It builds on some of the measures which the party introduced a number of years ago but most importantly, it tackles directly, the issues which have become very prominent in recent times i.e. the controversial roll-out of large scale pylon and wind turbine projects.

As a country, Ireland is still excessively dependent on energy importation to power our homes and businesses.  This is a precarious position to be in and makes the need for strong energy policy and frameworks immediately important. Continue reading

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