Local Minister and TD for Dublin-Fingal Darragh O’Brien has received confirmation from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly that funding of over €6m will be provided in the Health Capital Plan for projects in North County Dublin.
Under the plan to be announced in the coming weeks €100,000 has been allocated to Lusk Primary Care Centre for refurbishment, reconfiguration and extension works and €150,000 for Skerries Primary Care Centre, also for refurbishment, reconfiguration and extension works. €2.2 million has been allocated to St. Ita's in Portrane for upgrade and refurbishment works of the 123 block while €3.62 million has also been allocated for the National Forensic Mental Health Services Hospital.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “I am delighted to receive this confirmation of much needed funding. Our entire health service has been through the most difficult 16 months and are still under severe pressure with the ongoing pandemic.
“Skerries and Lusk Primary Care Centres cater for a large proportion of our population here in North County Dublin, a population which continues to grow. Investment in Primary Care is key to building a better health service. We need to ensure that more people can be treated close to home, in the communities where they live.
“Communities in Donabate and Portrane will be only too aware of the decline of St. Ita’s which came about as a result of the very welcome move to de-institutionalisation in our mental health services. Generations in the area have close ties with St. Ita’s, whether working in the hospital, visiting residents, or caring for the grounds. The investment being made in the capital plan is very important.
“As we come out the other side of what has been a most gruelling period, where so much has been asked of our health services, I’m glad to see continued Government investment and I will continue, as a local TD, to push for further investment in North County Dublin,” he concluded.
Department confirms extension to the Working Group on the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage have confirmed an extension to the Working Group on the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme following a request from members of the working group.
In response to concerns raised by homeowners in relation to the Defective Concrete Block Scheme, Minister Darragh O’Brien established a representative and time bound working group to review and address issues with the scheme. The group were due to report back to the Minister by July 31st.
At the request of homeowner’s representatives on the working group, the report will now be completed and presented to the Minister by September 30th.
Talks in relation to all issues within the scope of the review are ongoing and no final positions have been taken.
The terms of reference for the working group are available here.
Local Minister and TD for Dublin-Fingal, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the recommendation of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be offered to those aged 12-15.
Minister O’Brien said there had been a number of parents, particularly those of children with underlying conditions, who had highlighted the need for their children to be vaccinated. He said this latest development would offer parents some peace of mind.
Commenting he said, “The European Medicine Agency (EMA) has given the green light for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be used in 12-15 year-olds. NIAC considered the EMA approval and recommended to Cabinet that the vaccine rollout be extended to those aged 12 and upwards. NIAC conducted focus sessions with children and their parents ahead of making their recommendation.
“A lot of preparatory work has been done over recent weeks and the NIAC recommendation will be implemented without delay. The uptake of vaccines here has been phenomenal and Government are doing all we can, along with our fantastic vaccination teams, to make the vaccination rollout as quick and as seamless as possible.
“That we are now in a position to open up vaccination centres for walk in appointments for those over the age of 16 is testament to the efforts of the public health and vaccination teams across the country,” he concluded.
Government approves proposals for termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development planning arrangements
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has today received Government approval for the termination and replacement of Strategic Housing Development (SHDs) planning arrangements.
New streamlined arrangements for large-scale residential developments (LSRDs) which restore decision-making to local authorities will be introduced to replace SHDs.
It is intended that the new arrangements will come into effect on enactment of the Bill in the autumn. Subject to Oireachtas approval and the timely enactment of the Bill, it is anticipated that the following dates will apply to the wind up of the SHD arrangements and the introduction of the new arrangements for LSRDs:
Minister O’Brien welcomed Government’s decision saying that it provided for planning applications for large scale residential developments to be dealt with in the first instance at the local level by local planning authorities.
Commenting he said, “These are very significant changes, restoring the primary decision-making function to local authorities, while also introducing mandatory timelines to ensure an efficient process for large scale residential developments.
“The new two stage planning process being provided for these types of planning applications will involve an initial application to the relevant local authority with the possibility of subsequent appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
“This will allow for enhanced public participation on these local developments. Given the restoration of the appeal mechanism for such proposed developments to the Board, the new arrangements should also reduce the number of judicial review challenges being taken against such proposed developments going forward, as is happening under the current SHD arrangements.
“We need to rapidly increase the supply of homes to get to a place where 33,000 homes are being built each year to meet demand. I am confident that these new arrangements will ensure a speedy determination of large scale housing development proposals in the planning system and ultimately get new developments off the ground.
“I look forward to engaging with the Oireachtas on these proposals and progressing the Bill in the Oireachtas in the autumn,” concluded Minister O’Brien.
Note for Editors:
The proposals are set out in the General Scheme for the Planning and Development (Amendment) (LSRD) Bill 2021 which is available on the Department’s website here.
Background to SHD
Covid-19 Vaccination Centre Update
update on changes to our Covid-19 vaccination services which are operating across Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC). I am pleased to inform you that our Community Vaccination Centre is opening at the National Show Centre in Swords on Monday, 12th July, 2021. The Community Vaccination Centre is relocating from The Helix, DCU to allow for the return of university students in September.
The National Show Centre, Swords is one of two Community Vaccination Centres operating in the Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin North City and County (CHO DNCC) area, alongside Croke Park.
With 50 vaccination booths available, the National Show Centre, Swords has capacity for up to 5,000 vaccinations a day, and will operate from 8am to 8pm as required. Vaccination will continue by appointment only and registration is currently available at vaccine.hse.ie. A PPS Number, Eircode, mobile phone number and email address are required for registration.
One important aspect of the move will be to highlight to members of the public who received their first doses at The Helix, that they will receive their second doses at the National Show Centre in Swords. In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new venue, I would be grateful if you would share these details with your constituents to ensure that they are aware of the changes, particularly those who are due to receive their second dose at the National Show Centre in Swords.
Minister O’Brien visits ICON – successful applicant under €1m pilot Community Development Programme
Today (1st July 2021) Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development visited Inner City Organisations Network (ICON) Ltd, one of seven successful organisations taking part in a recently announced pilot Community Development Programme.
The €1m pilot programme is aimed at trialling community led interventions that address poverty, social exclusion and inequality, and promote human rights.
ICON has been working with marginalised individuals and groups in Dublin’s North East Inner City using community development principles since its inception in 1990. The project put forward by ICON as part of the pilot Community Development Programme will continue this theme by building an awareness among marginalised women in Dublin’s north east inner city regarding the right to adequate housing in the private rented sector.
Minister O’Brien said:
“I am delighted to visit ICON today, one of the organisations that have been successful in receiving funding under the pilot Community Development Programme. I know, and ICON’s previous work underpins this, that communities themselves are best placed to identify needs and to work collaboratively to develop pathways to fully access their rights. It is hugely important that those voices that are most marginalised in society are given opportunities to engage and help develop activities that they know will help enhance their lived experiences and bring their voice to the table when decisions are being made.
“I hope that the work completed by ICON under this project will benefit not only marginalised women in this area, but will also serve as a wider example of how community led interventions can address important issues affecting the marginalised in society such as access to adequate housing.
“As we emerge from COVID-19 we must focus on supporting those most marginalised in order to ensure that the social recovery is as effective as possible in ensuring that nobody is left behind. The launch of this CDP Pilot is a clear signal from government that we are intent on building a recovery from COVID-19 with the most social excluded to the fore.”