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Leenane and Maam Ambulance Steering Group –

On a radio programme on Tuesday 27th of October 2015, Sean Kyne T.D. stated that the Minister for Health had indicated that he was willing to meet a delegation from Leenane and Maam Ambulance Steering Group. I have to say that I find this statement extraordinary, in view of the fact that on the 21st of October 2015, the Minister wrote to me in the following terms.   Dear Éamon, Thank you for your recent letter inviting me to meet a delegation from Leenane and Maam Ambulance Steering Group, to discuss the lack of ambulance services in Connemara I have passed your correspondence on to Martin Dunne, Director the National Ambulance Service in the HSE for his consideration and direct reply to you.   Yours sincerely, Leo Varadkar, T.D. Minister for Health.  I have now contacted the Minister as a matter of urgency, asking that he clarify whether he is indeed willing to meet a delegation as stated by Sean Kyne, T.D. and if he is, why he wrote to me saying that he had passed on the letter to Martin Dunne, Director of the National Ambulance Service, rather than indicating to me that he was indeed willing to meet a delegation. This matter needs clarification, as there is an absolute duty on the Minister to treat all public elected representatives equally and to also give them accurate facts.  ... read more

TAMS2 may provide solution to shed conversion costs – Ó Cuív

30th October 2015 Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has welcomed clarification that grants to convert existing sheds to slatted units is covered under the TAMS2 Scheme. The Galway West TD sought clarification on the issue from the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, who has confirmed that funding is covered under the TAMS2 programme. Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “I had been contacted by a number of farmers who were unsure if they could apply for a grant to convert existing hay sheds and other similar sheds to slatted units.  Having submitted questions to the Agriculture Minister, he has now confirmed that in the case of existing loose houses grant aid is available for installing both slurry tanks and slats. “This will be of major interest to many farmers, as the conversion of sheds could prove a much more cost economic way of converting sheds, than the building of new sheds.  It could also, in certain circumstances, be easier to get planning permission for a conversion rather than a new build. “I would encourage farmers thinking of taking up this option to apply for the TAMS2 scheme without delay to ensure you comply with the specifications laid out under the scheme.  However, the grant could provide an ideal solution for farmers who want to extend their available space without having to construct new... read more

Beef farmers reluctant to sign up to Beef Genomics Scheme – Ó Cuív

30th October 2015 Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív is putting renewed pressure on the Agriculture Minister to review the current Beef Data Genomics Scheme.  New figures released to the Galway West TD reveal that almost two-thirds of farmers have not submitted the relevant data to qualify for the programme. Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Following a series of questions, Minister Coveney has confirmed that only 10,542 herd owners have submitted genotype samples to the laboratory.  More than 27,000 farmers applied for the scheme but many have not followed up with the required lab and paperwork.  Not only has the Minister failed to meet his own target of 35,000 farmers on board with the scheme, those who have applied are being turned off because of the large volume of paperwork and specimen requirements. “It is quite obvious from this data that there are still a lot of farmers who are very sceptical about the scheme and are particularly concerned about possible penalties in years to come.  A budget of €300m has been allocated for the programme over the next six years; however, this information would indicate that less than €10m will be spent on the scheme this year. “Minister Coveney needs to seriously re-evaluate the programme.  It is not working in its current form.  Targets are already being missed and farmers are not being incentivised to take part in it.  These figures should act as a wake-up call for the Minister.  I am urging him to undertake a review of the scheme in order to get more farmers to participate and to ensure that it is... read more

Minister fails to get to grips with Aquaculture licences – Ó Cuív

3rd November 2015 Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has accused Minister Simon Coveney of having completely failing to deal with the issue of Aquaculture Licences during his time in office. According to the latest information supplied to Deputy Ó Cuív by the Department, the number of shellfish licences awaiting decision has risen by over 10% over the past five years. Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “After almost five years in office only 302 out of 408 applications for shellfish licences have been processed. There are now 61 fin fish licences awaiting decision, almost double the number that was outstanding when Minister Coveney arrived into the Department.  Thirty four finfish aquaculture applications have been lodged since then, but only 5 decisions have been made. “It is time for the Minister to start making decisions and to stop putting this matter on the long finger. He recently announced that he has undertaken to commission a review of the existing aquaculture licensing system.  He has promised that this will include all of the stakeholders involved, and will identify the current shortcomings and bottlenecks (legislative, resource and logistical) so that the necessary changes can be made as a matter of priority. “I have been pressing the Minister for three years to do this.  The fact that he is only initiating this review months before a General Election speaks volumes about the importance he attaches to this issue. I want to see a transparent, open and efficient applications and assessment process put in place so that licences can be granted or refused in a timely manner and to ensure that the huge delays... read more

#Respect1916

We welcome the input of party members & the public alike in commemorating the Easter Rising 1916 #Respect1916 pic.twitter.com/Dirgqdcu7s — Éamon Ó Cuív (@eamonocuiv) February 14,... read more

Government must prioritise implementation of new EU financial credit fund to Irish farmers – FF

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Éamon Ó Cuív TD has called on the Government to move swiftly to ensure that Irish farmers are given access to a new credit line, which has been announced by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. The EU financial credit mechanism aims to help ease access to finance for farmers and other rural businesses in EU member states. Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “We welcome any initiative at European level that will help Irish farmers secure an increased credit line. The government must immediately prioritise the implementation of this new EU financial instrument so that farmers across the country can draw down these funds. “It is vital that this funding source is used for new investments to generate jobs and growth in the Irish rural economy in the years ahead. The fund has the potential to regenerate the agriculture industry by encouraging young people back into the sector. It can also be used to help finance rural start-ups and agri-enterprises, which are vitally needed in the economic recovery of the rural Ireland. “Over the past four years, Fine Gael and Labour have set about dismantling a wide range of programmes and initiatives in rural Ireland, which had been established by the previous administration. It is now more important than ever that this new EU funding model is urgently implemented to help ease access to finance for Irish farmers and rural entrepreneurs, in order to grow employment in the... read more

Speech of Éamon Ó Cuív TD, FF Dáil Motion on the Magdalene Laundries

What happened at the Magdalene Laundries was wrong and should not have happened. We must ask whether anything happening today is also wrong and is not being dealt with. Every generation believes it has got it right and that the previous generation was wrong. It seems to be part of the human condition to be complacent about one’s own generation and to be very critical of previous generations. I have no doubt that, within society, there are issues we choose not to address because it is not popular to do so. I believe wrongs are being perpetrated on people in a totally different way but this does not in any way excuse what happened in the past, particularly in the case of the laundries. I welcome the McAleese report on the Magdalene Laundries. What has happened in the past few weeks has happened and I accept that the Government needs time to produce a detailed response. I will be happy if the Taoiseach comes to the House next week with a considered response. The report was commissioned to find out the State’s involvement in the Magdalene laundries. I am disappointed that a number of laundries, including one in my constituency, were not investigated for one reason or another. As far as I am concerned, it is not a question of how people ended up in the laundries. It would be very wrong if the Government, in its response, differentiated between the means by which women ended up in them. Whatever form of redress is put in place should be made available to all on an equal basis. Let us... read more

Ó Cuív congratulates new EU Agricultural Commissioner

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has congratulated Phil Hogan on his appointment as the new EU Commissioner on Agriculture but warned that he faces a huge task in resolving some of the issues that face Irish farming. He commented: “I would like to congratulate Phil Hogan on his appointment as the EU Agriculture Commissioner. It is very significant that an Irish person has been appointed to this important portfolio, especially considering that 40% of the EU budget goes to agriculture. “It is now extremely important that Commissioner Hogan put his stamp on the role and ensures an equitable and fair implementation of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) right across the country for all farmers. Commissioner Hogan must also ensure the commonage issue is resolved in relation to CAP and particularly in relation to the GLAS scheme. “Free trade in beef must also be facilitated and enforced so that artificial barriers to trade between the North and South of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain are eliminated. Commissioner Hogan must make this a priority so the current beef crisis affecting Irish farming can be tackled. The relative power of processers and multiples over farmers is disproportionate and has to be rebalanced across the EU, it is absolutely vital that farmers and primary producers receive a fair price for their product and a fair proportion of what the consumer pays. “Commissioner Hogan must also seek to adopt a comprehensive rural development plan to ensure the improvement and prosperity of rural Europe and in particular for peripheral countries like... read more

Efforts to undermine viability of rural Ireland continues unabated

Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has accused An Taisce and the Government of continuing to undermine the entire viability rural Ireland. He made the comments in response to the latest report from the heritage agency, which wants to stop the development of one-off housing and force families to move to villages and towns, rather than allowing them to settle in rural locations. Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Time and again An Taisce has tried to ride roughshod over the people of rural Ireland, in townlands and communities outside of towns and villages, with policies which are geared towards forced migration. “The agency has been persistent in its lobbying of the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, consistently putting forward plans which enforce specific settlement plans on rural communities. These “visions” serve only to dismantle rural living by limiting the ability of children to settle on the same land as their parents and making it more expensive to provide services to rural communities. The organisation is trying to force people into towns and villages rather than allowing them stay in their own areas. “An Taisce claims that rural Ireland is a critical resource for the post-carbon world, but at the same time it is completely undermining the point as it sets about dismantling communities, culture and sports clubs, leaving an ageing population with no supports for future generations. “Rural Ireland must take a stand and refuse to accept autocratic decisions which are destroying some of the best voluntary organisations in the country. An Taisce’s spatial planning strategy has only served to exacerbate problems in our... read more

Government’s termination of essential programme threatens future of Inishbofin island

Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has accused the Government of threatening the future of Inishbofin island through a lack of investment and development. He made the comments ahead of the termination of the Local Government Development Programme, which will be wound up at the end of the year. The programme provides core funding for essential services on non-Gaeltacht islands. Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The removal of this important scheme could have a potentially devastating impact on the lives of islanders. Vital services for young people, parents, the elderly and the unemployed will be threatened, essential facilities will be put at risk; and community buildings and grounds will fall into disrepair. Life on the islands as we know it will drastically change, and will see islanders effectively being left to fend for themselves. “The Government’s attitude towards the islands is completely unacceptable. Instead of nurturing and promoting island life, the Government is long fingering the decision on a programme which provides the core funding to projects that keep island life viable. The importance of our islands cannot be underestimated; they offer an additional cultural, heritage and artistic dimension to the country, as well as providing a major tourism boost. It is ironic that despite being an island nation our Government chooses to treat its own islands with disdain. “The needs of islanders differ greatly to those of people on the mainland, and these communities need to be properly resourced and financed. The Island Development Programme must be re-instated to ensure that front line services can continue to be delivered. Multi annual funding is essential to ensure... read more

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