Sunday, October 18, 2009


Community Alert Scheme Launched in Ashbourne

The Ceann Comhairle resigned his position on Tuesday. RTE put together a political panel to comment on the proceedings in the Dail and because all of the TDs were needed in the Dail Chamber to vote for his successor, RTE chose three Senators to sit on the panel. Myself, Cecilia Keaveney and Eugene Regan were all plastered in make-up and marched into their Montrose studio for the 2:30pm start.

The programme flew by and it was reasonably enjoyable. I wasn’t hugely surprised that Seamus Kirk got the position. Rumours had been going around to that effect for days and it made a lot of political sense as well. I bumped into ex-Senator Jimmy Mulroy of Fianna Fail Drogheda branch on Tuesday morning in Leinster House and was chatting to him for a while. He said nothing about the Ceann Comhairle position, but I took it from his presence that he was there to celebrate with his party and county colleague. In my dealings to date with Seamus Kirk I have always found him to be very pleasant and I wish him well in his role.

I was surprised by the reaction I got afterwards. It seemed like the whole country must have been watching. I suppose it was the only piece of drama on telly that afternoon and as a result it got a high viewership.

On Wednesday evening I went to the Ashbourne GAA Clubhouse to attend the launch of Ashbourne Community Alert. The event was well attended, even though it clashed with Ireland’s match against Montenegro.

The scheme is part of a town-wide initiative from residents of various estates in Ashbourne (Garden City/Crestwood, Killegland, Huntsgrove/Tudor Grove and Racehill Manor). It was addressed by the local Gardai and by a representative of Muintir na Tire. The aim of the event is to involve local residents in the prevention of crime.

I made a few points to the meeting and updated them on the position in relation to new by-laws on drinking. Cllr Niamh McGowan of the Ashbourne Labour Party is mid-way through introducing new by-laws to prevent drinking a Millennium Park and at Killegland beside Crestwood. The by-laws have already been passed at local level and are now going for debate at the full council. From speaking to local residents over the years I am sure there is huge support for this position.

If anyone would like further information on hoe to get involved then call my office and I will put you in touch with the organisers.

The Irish Exporters Association came before the Foreign Affairs Committee during the week. They believe that one way to get out of the economic crisis is to increase our exports. They are very concerned about the proposals to close missions abroad, as suggested by the McCarthy report. In their view our embassy and trade missions abroad are a huge benefit when it comes to achieving export sales. I asked them if there was any evidence they can provide to support this assertion, because this subject will come up in the coming months and I’d like to be able to argue the case on the basis of evidence available. In my view our embassies give us great value for money and cutting them makes little sense.

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