Commenting on the latest figures from the back to ‘School Costs Survey 2016’ issued by the children’s charity Barnardos, Michael Lowry TD has said that the findings reflect what he is hearing from his constituents, that parents are struggling financially to pay for their children’s back to school needs despite so-called ‘free education’.
“This 11th annual ‘School Costs Survey’ highlights that many parents both locally and nationally are under severe pressure at this time of year, dreading how they will pay for all that is required for school.
The findings of the survey highlight that the overall cost of sending a child to primary school is €340 and to post primary school is €775. These estimates don’t even include the money needed by parents to pay for transport, extra-curricular activities, school bags and other accessories. These kinds of expenses are placing enormous stress on families who are already under pressure to pay everyday family costs and household bills. Parents in difficulty are facing awful dilemmas of having to forego home rental and mortgage payments or even borrowing to make ends meet. If education in Ireland is free, why are parents footing these huge bills?
With Budget 2017 approaching it is time for the Government to recognise that parents and schools alike are still straining under the weight of funding cuts. Austerity measures which resulted in cuts to social welfare rates, such as the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance being halved, negatively impacts upon parents’ abilities to fund the most basic requirements needed for their children. It must be remembered that these cuts come despite back to school costs remaining high or even increasing.
I welcome the proposed measures by our present government in relation to investing an extra €500m in education by 2021 and reviewing the School Transport Scheme with recommendations on concessionary school transport. More action is needed to implement measures that will effectively support struggling parents and put a halt to the dread they feel at the back to school time of year. Further investment needs to be prioritised to fund schools and support initiatives that will realistically and significantly reduce costs to parents” concluded Deputy Lowry.
Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed the decision by the Department of Education to formally approve funding for the construction of an additional mainstream classroom for St. Michael’s National School in Holycross.
Deputy Lowry stated “This new classroom will also facilitate the recent sanction of a 9th teacher for the school. Holycross National School has a strong reputation for the delivery of high quality education. The school is in great demand and has developed and expanded to the extent that it will have an enrolment of 240 students for the next September school term. Compliments are due to the management and staff of the school for their guidance and expertise which is acknowledged and appreciated by the local community”.
Mr. Ger Corbett, Principal of St. Michael’s National School said; “The school community are delighted to hear that we are getting a new classroom for our 9th classroom teacher which will be a very handsome addition to the excellent facilities we have at the moment, ranging from our Gort na nÓg facility to the full range of primary provisions. The school community has worked very hard to provide these and Michael Lowry T.D. has played a key role. From a small but famous school at the top of the Green we now have an excellent facility to cater for this growing community for many years to come.
I sincerely congratulate and thank the partners involved in the education of the young children of this community and we confidently look forward to the years ahead.
The enrolment currently stands at 240 pupils and is being catered for by an excellent staff of 9 class teachers and 5 Special Educational Needs (SEN) team members and all our valued ancillary staff”.
Deputy Lowry concluded, “Fr. Tom Breen, together with the Management Board and Parents Council have also welcomed this sanction and the approval to proceed with this project.”
Pictured here L to R: Ger Corbett Principal Holycross National School, Michael Lowry T.D., Rev Fr. Tom Breen, Mary Ryan and John Bourke
Independent TD Michael Lowry has welcomed the recent added financial investment to our health sector, including the €40m announced for home care services. Same comes as part of the extra €500 million which has been added to our already overall Health Service Budget nationally for 2016, by Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris.
However Lowry warned, “Despite this new welcome allocation, serious challenges still continue to remain within the service, with demands for home help and home care packages continuing to grow.”
In particular Lowry pointed out, “Patients who are medically ready for hospital discharge continue to remain waiting in much needed hospital beds, due to our inability to access and put in place home supports.”
“More access to home supports” stated Lowry, “could see patients living at home; instead of remaining in long-term residential care, should these appropriate services be made more readily available. This said problems are also arising in the number of older people already in receipt of home care, who have been identified as not receiving the number of help hours needed.
“It is readily acknowledged that many more patients could be at home”, continued Lowry, “where they themselves want to be; where their families want them to be; and where Government policy says they should be. However we are simply not providing these necessary homecare supports and this present situation goes completely against Governmental stated objectives of caring for individuals within our communities.
In particular over the past number of years Health Care in its entirety across Tipperary has faced utter devastation through serious financial cuts, e.g South Tipp General Hospital, Our Lady’s hospital Cashel, Dean Maxwell Roscrea, Mount Sion Tipperary, the effects of which can only be described as terrifying and a gross burden on our most vulnerable. To this end I will now be seeking an assurance from Minister Harris that a fair share of this much needed new funding will be made available to Co. Tipperary.
This new investment in our community care services is indeed a most positive development, however we now need to put in place a system that provides for more appropriate homecare services and packages. This will enable many more of our citizens to return to live in their own homes under a more tailored care plan, which in turn will be one step closer to solving our current hospital overcrowding”, concluded Lowry.
Michael Lowry TD welcomes the decision by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney, in cancelling plans to introduce a mandatory minimum pay-by-weight charge for Green Bin waste.
The charge had been part of a new nationwide pay-by-weight system and was due to come into force as and from July 1st, 2016. These minimum charges had been specified at 11c per kg for black bin waste, 6c for brown bin and 2c for green bin.
Michael Lowry stated “It made no logical sense to apply a charge by weight to a recycling bin. While regional waste authorities have predicted that landfill waste could be reduced by up to 25%, I believe that this 25% reduction would undoubtedly have contributed to even more illegal dumping on our rural roadsides and an even greater reduction in proper recycling.
Already problems regarding the cleaning up of illegal dumps are costing Tipperary County Council vast sums of money and are also greatly hampering the efforts of the many voluntary Tidy Towns and other groups in the county. WEEE Ireland’s recent visit to Thurles & Templemore gave an opportunity to bring along old redundant electrical appliances for recycling thus eliminating the temptation to dump illegally in our scenic countryside.
Anything that discourages recycling is unsound and even greater attempts to recycle needs to be further encouraged. If recycling is to succeed it needs to be free to all communities. I am delighted that the Government have fully recognised that introducing such proposed charges would have had a total detrimental effect on householders penalising them for disposing their waste responsibly. I now look forward to further positive support from all waste operators across the country”, concluded Deputy Lowry.
Independent TD Michael Lowry has called for an immediate, focused and balanced debate by all elected TD’s, with regard to planning a future for rural Ireland. Commenting on recent radical proposals for Ireland’s development by Mr John Moran (Former Secretary-General at the Department of Finance), Deputy Lowry stated that he disagreed with many of the views expressed by Mr Moran with regard to his future vision for rural Ireland.
Using the comparative example of Ireland versus France; Mr Moran had declared that France was “pulling back services from less efficient parts of their country and encouraging those areas to develop a different business model.”
“How can rural Ireland attract a “different business model”, when such areas have been totally stripped of infrastructure and investment, with little attempt at supporting regional development. To advance a ‘different business model’ would entail a modern rural road network as part of other required infrastructure. Mr Moran appears to be unaware that the National Roads Fund decreased from €608 million in 2008 to a current figure of €294 million in 2015. In 2011 Tipperary received €45 million for roads. In 2016 this had fallen to €25 million. Also in 2015 some €439 million was made available to the semi-State utility Irish Water; taken from motor tax payment and local property tax.
Deputy Lowry continued: “The IDA must immediately begin to invest in advance industrial infrastructure in places like Co. Tipperary, providing ready-to-go turnkey facilities with access to high-speed broadband being a priority. Neglect of infrastructure and investment in turn has had a domino effect in relation to the lack of job opportunities for a highly skilled and well educated workforce. The previous government and national agencies have done little or nothing to correct this current urban / rural imbalance. Young people are being forced to leave their homes, families and communities daily. Emigration has also had a massive impact on close local communities; particularly on sports clubs, who are suffering from decimation by the forced flight of its younger membership.
Back during the emergence of our Irish State; using our then fiscal capabilities, we established one industry after another. Ensuring not to make new developments simply localized affairs; we spread new factories as wide as possible throughout the State. This was done to avoid the problems of the over-centralization of industry; becoming part of a plan to make industry conform to the general well-being of rural areas. Same industries were predominantly placed in agricultural based areas, sharing in an industrial revival, offering work to those who otherwise would have departed via an emigrant ship. During this same period our Irish economy saw the net value of industrial products increased from over €18.25 million to over €28.25 million; while wages paid to production workers increased by €4.25 million and placed eighty thousand additional workers into steady regular employment.
Year after year, small shops, post offices and Garda Stations are shrinking. Fewer homes are being constructed, resulting in no work for builders and associated trades. Fewer children are being born; school numbers and teachers are reduced leading to inevitable school closures. The shortage of priests is leading to parishes becoming clustered with grave implications for church communities.
Urban centres must not forget that our valuable agricultural exports continue to emanate from a currently neglected rural Ireland” concluded Deputy Lowry
RURAL IRELAND IN CRISIS.
Deputy Michael Lowry Condemns The Latest Initiative To Regenerate Rural Ireland.
Deputy Michael Lowry has this week criticised the late late Government Initiative on a stimulus package to regenerate Rural Ireland. Labour Minister Ann Phelan has been Minister with specific responsibility for Rural Development for almost 5 years. We hardly knew she existed but hey presto a couple of months before an election she comes out of a slumber with a whopper of an empty promise. Since this Government was elected all we have heard is aspirational statements and hot air. This most recent announcement is a paltry €30m pre-election gimmick. Minister Ann Phelan has the audacity to allocate €4m of this fund to her own constituency of Carlow/Kilkenny leaving €26m for the rest of the country. The kind of schemes covered under the new proposal such as renovation of old buildings and improving local amenities are already covered under the terms of Leader Group and Lottery Funding. The real issue faced is that the funding available to Leader in Tipperary has been cut by €15 m. It’s ironic that the person who presided over that €15m cut is one and same Minister Kelly.
The root cause of the crisis in rural Ireland is the lack of job opportunity for young people. Thousands of our young people have had to emigrate, forced to leave home, leave their families, friends and community. Parents are denied the privilege of being close to their loved ones, denied the gift of seeing them mature into adulthood. There are many issues as a consequence of this emigration. Fewer houses being built, no work for builders and tradesmen, fewer children being born, schools losing numbers, putting teachers jobs at risk with small rural schools facing closure. We then have small shops, post offices and Garda Stations shut down. We also face the prospect, due to a shortage of priests we are going to have parish clustering with implications for rural churches and social contact. Emigration has had a massive impact on local communities and in particular sports clubs. Many GAA soccer and Rugby teams have been decimated by the flight of its young members.
The government and the national agencies have done nothing to correct the imbalance between city and rural regeneration. Access to a proper broadband service and information technology is a huge disadvantage. It is impossible for country towns to attract industry as it has little prospect of competing against the city locations that have the entire necessary infrastructure already in place. The IDA should immediately construct advance factories in places like Tipperary. It is inevitable that when a Company decides to set up business it will make a decision on the location based on a ready to go turnkey facility.
Deputy Lowry stated – we now have a two speed economy – one for Dublin and one for the rest, operating in a fast and slow lane. The closure of Garda Stations has left older people in particular feeling vulnerable at a time when city crime gangs are roaming the country causing fear and anxiety. The feeling of isolation is made worse by a combination of no local transport which makes it impossible for people to socialise.
Michael Lowry T.D. Welcomes The RSA and ESB ‘Back to School’ Road Safety Campaign
Deputy Michael Lowry welcomes the RSA and ESB Networks Back to School road safety campaign. The two organisation have teamed up to distribute 85,500 High Visibility Vests FREE to every child starting school this year. Schools can now register online for the RSA’s ‘Back to School’ road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.
To register online for your packs, or for further road safety information for parents, teachers and students, visit Back To School 2015
More information is available on the RSA Website
Irish Water to Issue Letters and Information Pack to Tipperary Homes where they suspect the usage of Lead Piping :
Lead was used in the plumbing of houses and buildings built up to and including the 1970s. Since then, the presence of lead in drinking water has been recognised as a health concern and the acceptable limit has been reduced a number of times. In December 2013 the limit dropped again. International research has shown that two out of three houses with lead pipes are now likely to exceed the new limit.
Irish Water has now begun a customer awareness campaign in Tipperary, in consultation with the HSE and the EPA, on lead pipes and how lead can be picked up by the drinking water as it passes through these pipes. As part of this, Irish Water is now matching the meter locations with its customer details and is writing to any property where the metering programme noted that there may be a lead pipe connection. This makes it more likely that the internal plumbing and pipes in this property are made of lead.
If you have any specific queries on the correspondence or on lead pipes, you can contact my office directly on (0504) 22022
GP Visit Card for children under 6
- Direct Download Link to Application Form: HERE
- Full List Of Signed Up Tipperary GP’s : HERE
- Link To Register for Free Under 6 Scheme: HERE
Children under the age of 6 are entitled to free visits to a participating GP.
In addition to free GP visits, the GP visit card for children under 6 covers specific assessments at age 2 and 5 and care for children with asthma.
These assessments are preventive checks that include charting age, weight and height and taking appropriate follow-up action.
The asthma checks will assess your child’s asthma and review their medications, including ensuring that your child is using inhalers correctly. A written plan will be given to you to help you manage your child’s asthma. The initial check takes place when asthma is diagnosed in a child over 2 years of age, followed by another check in the following 3 months and then annually until the child reaches the age of 6.
How can I get this new service?
Medical Card Holders – If your child or children have a Medical Card or GP Visit Card they will automatically be registered for this new scheme.
Non-Medical Card Holders – If your child or children does not have a Medical Card or GP Visit Card you must register them for this new scheme.
Direct Download Link to Application Form: HERE
Link To Register for Free Under 6 Scheme: HERE
Full List Of Signed Up GP’s Available: HERE
Tipperary 1916 – 2016 Rising Commemoration Fund for Communities In Tipperary.
Tipperary County Council Heritage Office has announced a new grants scheme to encourage public participation in the commemorations of the 1916 Rising. Closing Date For Applications is August 18th 2015.
Guidelines and Criteria
Download Application from Michael Lowry Website: HERE
Criteria for Funding:
This grant scheme is open to community and voluntary groups/organisations planning to organise a project/event to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
To be eligible for funding projects/events must:
- take place within or relate to the functional area of Tipperary County Council
- be organised by a community or voluntary group based in Tipperary
- be organised at community level and will either encourage or benefit participation in the commemoration of 1916
- be in keeping with at least one of the five themes of the National Plan for Ireland 2016
- be accessible to diverse audiences and participants and will be inclusive in theme and approach
- enhance the knowledge of the history of the 1916 Rising in a local area/community
- be designed on a realistic financial basis and provide good value for money
In addition the following details must also be supplied
- The anticipated target audience
- A breakdown of costs for undertaking the project
- Any additional supports and funding that may be required and have been secured
Items that are excluded from the fund include:
- Capital projects and infrastructural projects
- Spends on alcoholic beverages, food, fines, legal costs, penalty payments
- The cost of items for resale are ineligible
Particulars of Funding:
- Grant amounts up to a maximum of €1000 will be allocated for the purpose of this scheme.
- It is anticipated that additional funds will be made available later this year/early 2016 and details will be announced when available.)
- It is hoped that a small number of county wide projects will be considered subject to resources and any group that has an interest or proposal for this type of project should register their interest by 18 August 2015.
- All events and projects will be assessed on their own merit by an assessment panel
- Funding will be allocated based on the recommendations of this panel.
- Successful applicants will receive a letter of offer which will detail all conditions and requirements, this must be signed and returned by the date specified, failure to do so may result in funding being withdrawn and reallocated to another project.
- Due to resource constraints it may not be possible to allocate funding to all projects
- A list of successful projects will be published on the Tipperary County Council website.
How to apply:
Download Application: HERE
Please complete and sign the attached application form. Applications can be submitted by post to
Any queries can be directed to Mary Quigley on 0761 06 5000
The closing date is Tuesday 18 August @ 5 pm Download Application Here