Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has said the publication of a new Government policy will help raise awareness of skin cancer.
“I am very pleased that Minister Harris has published the new policy on skin cancer. I have been petitioning the Government to reduce the VAT rate on sun cream products for months.
“Hopefully now the policy is in place the Government will be able to reduce the VAT rate for sun cream and launch an awareness campaign to help drive down the 11,000 diagnoses we have here annually.
“Early detection is vitally important for treatment of skin cancer. The Irish Cancer Society says that If spotted early, up to 90% of cases are curable.
“I believe that if we made sun cream cheap and plentiful we can go some way to changing Irish people’s approach to the care of their skin.
“We all know that prevention is better than cure, it is essential that people are armed with the knowledge and the tools to help them combat skin cancer.
“From farmers working in the field to people sitting out in their back gardens, you need to make sure you are wearing the appropriate factor for your skin type.
“This new policy is very important to me as I lost my own brother Ger to skin cancer in 2009. I hope it leads to less families having to go through similar loss.
“Remember it is vital that you check your skin regularly and bring it to the attention of your doctor if you’re concerned, “Senator Lombard said.
27 May 2019
Kinsale and its environs needs a heritage strategy to help make the most of its unique potential, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has said.
Following the news that wreck of the Lusitania has been gifted to the Old Head of Kinsale Lusitania Museum Committee, Senator Lombard said: “The town of Kinsale is blessed with an incredibly rich cultural heritage.
Always strategically important, it has witnessed battles and events that have shaped the history of these islands and indeed the rest of the world.
“I was delighted by the generosity of Gregg Bemis in gifting the wreck of the Lusitania to the Old Head of Kinsale Lusitania Museum, and I want to thank him profusely. The sinking of the Lusitania was a defining moment of the first World War, the wreckage represents the incredible historical significance of the area and is an invaluable gift to our community.
“The Lusitania is just one example of the offerings of Kinsale, I believe the town and its environs needs an overarching heritage strategy to help us make the most of what the town has to offer.
“I intend to invite all local stakeholders to a public meeting to come together to create a unified vision for our heritage town.”
09 May 2019
Local authorities must take action to deal with the scourge of derelict buildings in our towns and villages, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard raised the matter in the Seanad this week highlighting public health concerns arising from dereliction of privately owned buildings and noting a particular example in Bandon Co Cork which presented a local health and safety risk.
Senator Lombard said: “Dereliction of urban areas is an issue we all need to address and local authorities play a key role. When we have a dereliction or safety issue, it is important that local government acts appropriately and responsibly.
“Exactly 11 weeks ago, a building collapsed at about 2 am in Oliver Plunkett Street, Bandon. Thankfully nobody was hurt however the street is still closed off which is having negative impact on rate paying local businesses including the hotel, which of course also impacts visitors.
“This street closure has had a major effect on economic activity within Bandon town and it cannot be allowed to go on any longer. I also know I know of a street in Innishannon, County Cork, where there are 11 idle houses; an unacceptable situation
“I raised the issue in the Seanad to ascertain the role of local authorities in relation to this.
“The Minister responding on behalf of the Government, John Halligan, confirmed to me that local authorities have in fact been given substantial powers under the Derelict Sites Act 1990 in relation to any such sites. These powers include requiring owners or occupiers to take appropriate measures which, in the opinion of the local authority, are necessary to prevent the land in question from becoming or continuing to be a derelict site. This applies to the initial stages of dereliction. A local authority can also acquire derelict sites, either by agreement or compulsorily, and apply a derelict site levy on the registered owners of derelict sites which should be applied annually for as long as a site remains on the local authority derelict sites register.
“Furthermore the Minster confirmed to me that the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act 1964 deals with dangerous structures, and empowers local authorities to give notice to an owner or an occupier of a dangerous structure to carry out works, including the demolition of the structure or the clearing and levelling of the site to prevent it from being a dangerous structure. Where a local authority is obliged to undertake any works in relation to a dangerous structure, the local authority can seek to recover any costs or expenses incurred by it in undertaking such works from the owner of the property concerned.
“The Act also imposes duties on the local authority to maintain a register containing the details of all such orders made in relation to dangerous structures and this register must be available for public inspection. In the case of both the Derelict Sites Act and the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, failure to comply with a notice issued by a local authority is a prosecutable offence.
“The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 also made a significant change to the Derelict Sites Act 1990 to provide that the derelict sites levy will increase from 3% to 7% of the market valuation of relevant sites with effect from January 2020. This increase is intended to ensure that the measure can have more meaningful impact and incentivise owners to bring derelict sites back into productive use at an early stage.
“So it is time for the owners of such derelict sites to consider the consequences of this significant change to the law and start preparing now to bring their buildings back into use. The Government has made it in their financial interest to do and of course it is in the interests of the local communities affected.
“It is so important we get these derelict sites on our main streets back into circulation part of the economic success of our towns and villages.
“Local authorities have the power to ensure our main streets are vibrant and functioning as part of flourishing communities. I want to see them taking action to avoid this kind of dereliction. I have asked that the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government engage directly with Cork County Council on the particular example I have cited, but I also I want to see all local authorities stepping up their work to tackle the scourge of dereliction.”
27 February 2019
Facebook ads promoting a website designed to target and discredit European Election candidate Maria Walsh on the grounds that she is an LGBTQI activist, need to be fully investigated, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Tim Lombard, who sits on the Oireachtas Communications Committee, was responding to sponsored posts from an individual promoting a website that targets the Midlands North West candidate.
Fine Gael has contacted Facebook to request the ad be removed.
Senator Lombard said: “Social media is a powerful tool for political debate and we have seen that throughout this debate. However ads like this are supposed to be subject to very specific transparency rules – which don’t seem to have worked in this case.
“We hear a lot of talk from Facebook about their commitment to protecting elections here and around the world but they need to put their money where their mouth is now and take decisive action.
“Maria has put in a great campaign and is exactly the type of fresh voice Ireland needs in the European Parliament. This website, which is designed to misconstrue her hard work as an LGBTQI activist, is not what Irish elections are about.
“The website’s content is hardly worth talking about but the way it has been promoted on Facebook needs a full explanation from the company.
“The Joint Oireachtas Committee has already done a lot of work in this area and this shows that we need to meet with Facebook on these issues again as soon as possible.”
22 May 2019
The approval of access to Spinraza for children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is such welcome news for families and children affected.
Cork Senator Tim Lombard has welcomed the decision of the HSE to approve access for Nusinersen (Spinraza) for children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I, II or III on an exceptional and individualised basis, stating: “Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed the decision was made by the HSE leadership team on Tuesday morning.
“This is such welcome news. Families have fought a long journey to get here, and I am so pleased children will now have access to this drug.
“Minister Harris has confirmed to me there will be no delay in accessing the drug. I want to commend the families for their campaign and the HSE for approving access.”
It is estimated that there are approximately 25 children living with SMA in Ireland.
12 June 2019
Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said that 12,685 carers in Cork will benefit from the Carer’s Support Grant.
“The Carer’s Support Grant is worth €1,700 and is available to all carers providing full-time care to an older person or a person with a disability, regardless of their means or social insurance contributions.
“Furthermore, carers who are providing care for two or more people will receive a grant in respect of each person being cared for, to take account of the additional costs and challenges of providing care to more than one person.
“My colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, TD, has allocated €218 million for the Carer’s Support Grant this year which will benefit some 116,000 carers nationally and 12,685 locally here in Cork.”
The Carer’s Support Grant is paid automatically to carers who are receiving Carer’s Allowance (whether full rate or half rate), Carer’s Benefit, or Domiciliary Care Allowance. Other full-time carers who are not receiving any of these payments may also apply for the Carer’s Support Grant.
Senator Lombard continued: “Another very positive development for carers in recent years is the funding provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, as part of the Dormant Accounts Action Plans, to support training for carers.
“Under the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2018 in excess of €1.7m has been allocated to 12 projects across the country which will provide training, information and related support services for family carers.
“The purpose of this measure is to assist carers to provide the best care possible to the care recipient, to reduce the risk of injury to the carer and care recipient and, to help family carers cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of their role.
“Carers do such valuable work and are a huge benefit to our society. I urge carers in Cork to apply for the Carer’s Support Grant to make life a little easier. It is not means-tested and is assessed on the level of care being provided by the carer. The closing date for receipt of applications for the 2019 Grant is 31 December next year (31 December 2020).”
10 June 2019
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed that South-West Cork is set to benefit from €151,782 funding for pier and harbour projects. The significant allocation will help Cork County Council to carry out developments on the following projects:
- Baltimore Harbour; €14,344 for new power supply facilities, and €22,500 to provide adequate waste oil collection facility and other waste collection facilities on quay side
- Kinsale Harbour; €14,344 for new power supply facilities, and €22,500 to provide adequate waste oil collection facility and other waste collection facilities on quay side
- Union Hall Harbour; €14,344 for new power supply facilities
- Crookhaven; €30,000 for upgrade works to existing pier and slipway
- Snave Pier, Ballylickey; €33,750 to reconstruct section of existing slipway, steps, repairs & install hand rail
Senator Lombard said: “The Cork County Council owned harbours in receipt of funding under this year’s programme play a critical role in the social and economic wellbeing of rural coastal communities.
“In addition to an immediate employment spin off during the works, this funding contributes to the ongoing development of fishing related activities, increasing participation in marine leisure and supplementing measures to attract greater numbers of tourists which ultimately create the environment for sustainable job creation opportunities in rural locations”
The Local Authority programme forms part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marines’ 2019 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, whereby the Department co-funds up to 75% of the total cost of approved projects with the Local Authority providing the balance.
02 April 21019
Fine Gael Senator for Cork South West, Tim Lombard, has said that the publication of the €20 million Sláintecare Integration Fund will support the delivery of community healthcare in Cork.
The Fund will be open to applications from both the public and voluntary sectors and will focus on testing new models of care with a focus on community care. Successful applications will facilitate a shift in care to the community or provide measures to help people avoid hospital.
Senator Lombard said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for our local Cork health and social care sectors to pitch their ideas to Slaintecare. The Integration Fund is looking for initiatives that help support us in meeting our ultimate goal of reducing waiting lists and reducing waiting times.
“The entirety of the €20m Integration Fund has to be spent in 2019, and I would encourage local interested parties to check out the guide to the application process on the Department of Health website – to demonstrate leadership and help realise the aims of Sláintecare implementation.”
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Sláintecare is our ten year cross party plan to significantly improve and modernise the health service. However, we certainly don’t think we have a monopoly on good ideas, and we now want to hear directly from health and social care providers on how we can better provide care in the community.
“Through this €20m Integration Fund, we can put good ideas into action and share best practice to help care for people closer to home and keep them out of hospital.”
Minister for Health, Simon Harris said: “Sláintecare will reform Ireland’s health and social care service to create a modern, responsive service that offers the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Central to this is our goal to shift the majority of care from the acute to the community setting in order to bring care closer to home for service users.
“Today, we are asking those within the health and social care sector at large to pitch their ideas to help deliver this Sláintecare goal. Finding, supporting and scaling innovative new ways of providing care is fundamental to delivering Sláintecare,” the Fine Gael Minister said.
Applications are to be submitted via email to PitchToSláintecare@health.gov.ie.
02 April 2019
The transition to Electric vehicles (EVs) is being made easier thanks to a range of Government supports, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Cork Senator Tim Lombard said, “For a country of our size, we have one of the more comprehensive charge point networks currently in place across Europe.
“The latest numbers for Cork show we have 58 standard charge points and 7 fast chargers.
“The majority of the existing network of publicly accessible charge points was rolled out by the ESB through its eCars programme. A real-time map showing the charge points, including the status and availability of the charge points, is available on the ESB’s website at www.esb.ie/ecars. The management of these charge points is an operational matter for the ESB.
“An electric vehicle home charger grant was introduced in early 2018 to assist homeowners install an electric vehicle charge point on their property. This scheme will provide a grant up to the value of €600 towards the purchase and installation of a home charger unit. The scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
“This Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in conjunction with the SEAI, is currently working on how best to support the provision of greater levels of on-street public charging.
“In May 2017, the Government approved and published the National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure for Transport in Ireland 2017 to 2030. This policy framework sets an ambitious target that by 2030 all new cars and vans sold in Ireland will be zero emissions (or zero emissions capable).
“Electric vehicles offer an increasingly realistic solution to the challenge of reducing the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy in transport and reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels.
“SEAI is also offering grants of up to €5,000 for a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) purchased and registered in Ireland,” the Fine Gael Senator said.
19 March 2019