Alesha Clarke

€107,000 for South and West Cork Tidy Towns committees

Cork South West Senator, Tim Lombard, has welcomed the allocation of €107,000 for 74 Tidy Towns committees here in South and West Cork.

The Fine Gael Senator said: “Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, has announced a €1.4 million national grant scheme to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tidy Towns Competition. Such investment by the Government will directly support our local Tidy Towns groups.

“These volunteer led community initiatives really bring out the best in our towns and villages, and what this competition really shows us the importance of participation. Our local Tidy Towns volunteers are a credit to our community. I encourage anyone who feels strongly about our community and our environment to get involved with Tidy Towns.

“I have no doubt that towns and villages across Cork will benefit hugely from this investment. Wherever you have active Tidy Towns committees, it gives the place a real boost and creates the environment for tourism,” Senator Lombard said.

Minister Ring said: “This funding is recognition from the Government of the huge contribution made by citizens in their own communities.

“Tidy Towns groups have made our country as a whole a better place to live in and to visit. The work is carried out on a voluntary basis and we all benefit from it. This investment by the Government will further enhance our towns and villages and represents great value for money.”

 

05 October 2018

Funding for mobility and Cancer Care transport in West Cork

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed that €45,000 has been secured for Cancer Connect in West Cork.

Senator Lombard said the CLÁR programme funding will support the acquisition of an accessible 8-seater vehicle that will help the volunteer-run service to transport people living in rural communities to their necessary medical services.

“Having access to a wheelchair accessible vehicle in your area can mean the difference between being able to avail of day care, respite and other services, or being confined to home.

“The difference this vehicle will make to the lives of our local families in remote rural areas of Cork, who have to attend day care or medical services, are incalculable.”

 

02 October 2018

€69,000 for rural recreation projects will boost tourism in West Cork

Fine Gael Cork Senator, Tim Lombard has welcomed the allocation of €69,000 for rural recreation projects in West Cork under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

West Cork has been allocated € 69,000 for rural recreation projects, which is extremely welcome and will help to boost tourism here in West Cork and in the surrounding region.

“This funding is part of €1.8 million in funding for 128 projects nationally under Measure 1 of the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, announced by my colleague Michael Ring, Minister for Rural and Community Development,” Senator, Tim Lombard said.

The Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways, blueways and other trails.

The grants being awarded today relate to small local projects, with funding of up to €20,000 being provided for maintenance.

West Cork projects receiving grants include Clonakilty, Goleen Village, Union Hall, The Seven Heads Walks, Bantry and Killbrittian

“Recreational tourism is growing year on year and so it is crucial we continue to improve facilities and encourage more visitors. Figures from Fáilte Ireland show that the hiking and cycling tourism markets are worth approximately €1.2 billion to the Irish economy.

“Aside from the obvious tourism benefits, it’s also hugely important that we maintain and develop our outdoor infrastructure to encourage everyone to keep fit and live a healthy active lifestyle.

“These projects will enhance existing recreational facilities for the benefit of the communities who use them every day, and also for the many tourists who enjoy visiting our rural areas.

“The scheme will primarily be run by Local Development Companies, Local Authorities and State Agencies, and funding will be provided to a maximum of 80% of total project cost, with the balance to be provided from other sources,” Senator, Tim Lombard said.

Minister Michael Ring said: “Recreational tourism is a growing sector in Ireland’s tourism offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and overseas visitors enjoying the many greenways, blueways and walking trails which have been developed around the country in the last few years.”

 

19 September 2018

9% VAT rate must be retained

Cork Senator Tim Lombard has stated that the 9% VAT Rate is essential for continued growth in the tourism and hospitably sectors across rural Ireland.

Senator Lombard said: “There is no doubt that some people believe Dublin is generally overpriced even though Fáilte Ireland argue it is a medium priced city destination by European standards.

“Many overseas visitors spend part of their stay in Dublin as it is viewed as a gateway to the rest of the country. This has created an imbalance between Dublin and the rest of the country.

“The success of Dublin hotels should not be allowed to dominate the discussion on the VAT rate which has proved so helpful to the hospitality sector. It was an exceptional boost to jobs growth, providing more taxation funding for the Exchequer.

“The 9% VAT rate continues to be a most important tool in enabling the sector, especially in rural areas, to maintain value for money for our visitors. We must not forget how vital it continues to be in sustaining the continued growth of our tourism sector.

“We have witnessed a slight decline in UK visitors due to the weakness of Sterling. Maintaining the 9% VAT rate will see us continue to be a competitively priced option for holidaymakers.

“Given all of the uncertainty around Brexit it would be imprudent to risk damaging the hospitality and tourism sector by making it less attractive for visitors. Many of our regional areas are still a long way from achieving sustainability and are totally reliant on seasonal business.

“This rate was introduced by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when he was the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. It was an exceptional boost to jobs growth, providing more taxation funding for the Exchequer,” Senator Lombard said.

 

10 September 2018

The Best of Irish Cuisine

The annual Foodie Destinations awards have recently announced Kinsale as Ireland’s Foodie Town of 2018.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard, who opened his constituency office in Kinsale earlier this year, has commended the town on this success.

“Kinsale is a thriving town that works hard and is deserving of its many accolades. This recent award is another acknowledgement of the community’s collective effort and achievement.

“Our small town has much to offer in terms of foodie experiences and will help to boost the profile of Irish cuisine, both at home and abroad.

“I congratulate all those who have contributed towards this accomplishment, and am confident that more shall follow in future.”

 

03 September 2018

Let’s help drive change with electric vehicles

The new Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action will consider ways in which the Government can further support the transition to electric vehicles, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Seanad spokesperson on Climate Action, Senator Lombard, said: “We all know the cost of running a car to our pockets with fuel, tax and insurance. But what is the cost to the environment?

“Earlier this year, 96% of the members of the Citizen’s Assembly recommended that the State should immediately take steps to support the transition to electric vehicles.

“I would like the Climate Action Committee to explore what else we can do to support motorists choosing electric vehicles, who are driving change every time they turn on the ignition.

“From last month, drivers of electric cars have seen their toll charges halved in a nod to their environmental impact.

“Motorists can avail of grants of up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new electric vehicle and up to €5,000 VRT relief.

“They will also benefit from the lowest road tax band at €120. A home charge point grant of up to €600 is also available.

“Businesses should be aware that there is zero Benefit in Kind for company battery electric vehicles, while taxi drivers can avail of a purchase grant of up to €7,000.

“Many still choose traditional diesel or petrol engines because they are believed to be more economical – even as the cost of ownership of electric cars goes down.

“This new funding is helping to offset this cost and allow more people to access a sustainable, and more cost-effective, method of transportation.

“There are currently over 6,000 electric vehicles registered in the State – over 60% more than we had last year. We must look at how we can encourage this uptake further.”

Senator Lombard continued: “Public charging has been free since 2010 and there are well over a thousand charging points around the country.

“But I believe there should be more and even faster charging points to make electric cars more convenient for customers, especially in rural areas.

“The more visible and plentiful charging points are – the more realistic an option the change to electric vehicles becomes for people.

“This is something we will explore further on the Committee, as well as other new policies to protect our environment and ensure Ireland becomes a leader in this area.”

Senator Lombard concluded: “The National Development Plan commits the Government to no new non-zero emission cars to be sold in Ireland post 2030.

“In effect, there will be a ban on tailpipes on new cars from 2030. We will become the first EU country to do so. It is intended that no NCT certificate will be issued for non-zero emission cars post-2045.

“That is one of the most ambitious commitments on zero emissions on passenger cars in the entire EU.

“There will also be a transition to a low emission urban bus fleet, including electric buses, with no diesel-only buses purchased from 1 July 2019.

“The low-carbon, climate resilient transition ahead will require a societal transformation and engagement with wider society on an ongoing basis will be vital as we drive change.”

 

23 August 2018

Extended WIFI4EU scheme

Cork Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed the extension of the EU funded free public Wi-Fi scheme. The European Parliament announced the WIFI4EU scheme last year, whereby it would fund public Wi-Fi hotspots across EU towns and villages.

The scheme proposed funding high speed internet connection in public areas, with one voucher for equipment and installation to be provided to each Local Authority.

Senator Lombard said: “I welcomed the initiative in the Seanad earlier this year but also questioned whether one location was enough; many other EU Member States have Local Authority equivalents that are smaller in size and greater in number, thus Ireland would have been restricted in benefitting as greatly from this scheme as other states.

“Recent communication from Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, has verified that the EU has agreed to increase funding for Ireland from 1 to 4 towns per Local Authority.

“This is a positive and unique opportunity for West Cork; free public Wi-Fi in four of our local towns is a welcome step in bolstering connectivity in rural Ireland, and would be particularly good for tourism in Cork as tourists will be able to connect to local Wi-Fi hotspots when visiting our towns and villages.”

 

14 August 2018

€685,904 investment in Cork aquaculture

Cork Senator and member of the joint Oireachtas committee for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Tim Lombard, has welcomed Government EMFF grants of €381,342 towards a total €685,904 investment in 4 of our local aquaculture companies.

Cormorant Mussel Ltd is to receive €22,928 towards a total investment of €57,321 for the introduction of a continuous rope mussel system; Seal Harbour Enterprises Ltd is to receive €21,469 (total investment of €53,674) for the upgrade of mooring system and engine; Bantry Bay Premium Seafoods is to receive €20,000 (total investment of €40,000) to develop microwavable product for the French retail market; and Castletownbere Fishermens Co-operative Society Ltd is to receive €296,945 (total investment of €494,909) for landing obligation infrastructure, as well as €20,000 (total investment of €40,000) for developing an oven ready product for the Spanish market.

Senator Lombard said: “I want to thank my colleague Minister Michael Creed for this very welcome grant aid for our local aquaculture companies, which are so critical to the sustainability of Cork’s economy.

“Fine Gael believes the marine economy can be a major contributing factor to new growth in an overall Irish economic context and we will prioritise the sector accordingly.

“This recent funding is part of a €240m investment over six years in the industry nationally.

“The continued and increasing level of capital investment in our aquaculture sector will underpin our ambitions to significantly grow our production in the coming years, which is of course good news for those working in the seafood sector here in Cork.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “I am delighted to announce a further tranche of grant awards to 20 seafood enterprises that will support a €4m of investment in fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing.

“It is very encouraging to see a continued increase in investment in aquaculture and these investments will positively contribute to our sustainable growth targets for the sector.  It is also reassuring to see our fisheries cooperatives continuing to invest to position themselves to handle unwanted catches under the new Common Fisheries Policy discards ban,” the Fine Gael Minister said.

 

24 July 2018

Hedge cutting measures to be implemented for August

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard welcomed the passing of the Heritage Bill through the Seanad this evening.

Senator Lombard said the new law will enable road-side hedges to be cut during August.

Senator Lombard said: “I welcome the passing of this Bill this evening and I am hoping that the President will sign it in to law shortly so the measures of cutting hedges on roadsides can be implemented for the month of August

“This has been an issue for many years and this new proposal will increase safety for road users but also for pedestrians who want to enjoy our rural environment.

“This is a valuable and practical piece of legislation for rural communities across Ireland.”

 

11 July 2018