Sunday, May 25, 2008


Visit to Ratoath School

There's been much debate nationally as to whether the HSE is fit-for-purpose. The Labour Party launched a six-point plan for how it could be improved. I spoke on the matter in the Seanad on Thursday.

HSE needs to be re-structured

The roadworks to prepare for the new sewerage scheme at Duleek continue. After the Council closed roads a few weeks back we sought confirmation that there would be no more closures without advance notification.

However, I got calls again this week about further closures. People were complaining that they had not received adequate notification.

Station Road, Duleek

Station Road Duleek, closed again with little notification

My understanding from talking to some essential service providers is that they also received no notification. I have raised the subject again with the local council office and subsequently received a draft letter from them which will be sent to all residents outlining them of the closures.

I met with Dick Fearn, Chief Executive of Irish Rail on Wednesday to talk about rail services. I brought up the subject of crowded commuter carriages, something he is working to improve, and also we discussed the issue of fares from Laytown and Gormonston stations. From what Mr Fearn said I'd be confident that the fares anomaly (whereby people from Laytown and Gormonstown pay more per passenger mile than commuters from Balbriggan) will reduce in the future.

In the Seanad the next day I brought up the subject of train car parks. Although it's possible to reclaim tax on rail fares to work, the car parking charges incurred at train stations do not fall within the tax rebate structures.

I asked the Minister would he consider the matter during the preparation for the next budget.

Car parking charges at Stamullen station

Minister Martin Mansergh from the Department of Finance came into the House. Here's his response.

On Friday I went into Ratoath Primary school to talk to the senior classes about politics. The students have their own government structure in the schools, and I was introduced to their Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and the Cabinet. They have several Ministries, including a Minister of Entertainment and a Minister of Culture. I spent an hour debating local and national issues with the class.

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