Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has urged Cork businesses to apply for funding to help them save 30% a year on energy costs.
The Cork Senator said that applications to the SEAI Excellence in Energy Efficient Design (EXEED) Scheme are now open. A fund of up to €6 million is available for projects delivering best practice in the design, construction and management of buildings for optimum energy efficiency.
Senator Lombard said: “5 Cork businesses saved a combined €255,861 on energy costs thanks to this scheme last year.
“Recognising increased potential and growing appetite for investment in this area, a total of €6m has been allocated funding for this programme this year – almost about double the value of the demand in last year’s scheme.
“Successful applicants will be currently in the design phase of planning capital projects for new or existing buildings.
“In order to qualify for a grant, participants must follow the SEAI EXEED standard and embed energy efficiency measures in the design of their projects.
“The grant is open to public and private organisations who are planning an investment project of any scale or complexity.
“Energy savings in excess of 30% are common and in addition to the energy and climate impacts, the SEAI EXEED certification will assist businesses to become more efficient, competitive and resilient.
“The government are committed to making Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Minister Bruton is currently developing an all of government plan, which will have actions across all sectors according to strict timelines. Ensuring our built environment uses energy efficiently is critical to delivering on this ambition,” Senator Lombard said.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton said: “A huge range of bodies ranging from local GAA clubs to Data Centres and from hospitals to agribusiness have made savings of over 30% in their energy costs through the scheme.
“The certification it yields is a great selling point for climate aware leaders.”
The SEAI EXEED grant application process is now open. For further information on the scheme and details on how to apply visit https://www.seai.ie/energy-in-business/training-and-standards/exeed-certified-program/.
04 March 2019
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed that youth clubs in Cork are set to benefit from €214,555 in funding.
Senator Lombard said: “I am delighted that Cork will benefit from a new funding increase of 12% for the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme for 2019.
“The increased funding will bring the overall allocation for Cork up to €214,555 and will provide our small volunteer-led youth clubs with greater capacity to reach more young people in during 2019.
“The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme supports youth work activities at a local level by providing grant aid towards the cost of running clubs and groups and is part funded by the proceeds from the National Lottery.
“The primary focus of the scheme is to assist volunteer led youth clubs that provide a programme of youth work activities for young people.
“Clubs that work with young people but are not specifically providing youth work may also be eligible to apply under the scheme.”
Senator Lombard continued: “The scheme, which is open to new entrants, will be advertised locally and applications for funding will be invited by our Education and Training Board from local groups in their respective areas.
“Our ETB will be advertising the scheme on its website over the coming months.
“The impact of small clubs working on the ground here in Cork is huge, reaching practically every community in the country – and is deserving of Government support.
“Through their efforts young people in Cork are developing their talents, skills and experiences which will make them leaders of the future.
“This additional funding will mean a greater volume of volunteer-led youth activities over the next year. I encourage every volunteer club or group to check locally for application details and see how it can benefit their work.”
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, said: “The scheme is open to over 1,600 youth groups and clubs, with an estimated 90,000 club members around the country.
“In every part of the country which I have had the opportunity to visit, I have seen at first hand the important impact that youth clubs have on local communities and the lives of young people who attend these clubs.
“These clubs are providing adventure, activities and opportunities for our young people.”
04 March 2019
Last week Cork Senator Tim Lombard attended a number of community meetings during the tour of West Cork by Minister for Justice and Equality, and stated he was delighted by the community response but also the confirmation of increased An Garda Síochána services for the area.
Senator Lombard said: “My colleague, Minister Flanagan, confirmed on Friday 15th that the Ballinspittle Garda station will be re-opened in early July this year. This is great news for the local community; this Garda station was closed during the recession and for a number of years I have been campaigning for its reopening.
“Ballinspittle and the surrounding region includes a large coastline. Reopening this local Garda station will not only provide increased security and services for residents but also strengthen Ireland’s coastal boarder security.
“Additionally, it was confirmed that the Kinsale Garda station will be manned 24 hours, 7 days a week as of April 2019. This station services a wide hinterland and the increased hours will enable local Gardaí to be much more actively involved and visible in the area, providing increased emergency cover and security.
“These announcements are a sign of healthy regeneration of An Garda Síochána; over recent years the national numbers of Gardaí have built up sufficiently that we are now able to strengthen and enhance these vital services.”
18 February 2019
Cork Senator Tim Lombard has stated that specific agriculture emissions need to be addressed in Ireland in order to combat Climate Change.
Senator Lombard said: “As a member of the Special Oireachtas Committee for Climate Action I have been involved in numerous discussions and briefings the past year which have examined carbon emissions in Ireland.
“Agricultural emissions account for a disproportionately large portion of Ireland’s total emissions due to the fact that our agricultural sector forms the majority of our overall economy.
“It is important to acknowledge that in terms of food production Ireland is internationally recognised as a very efficient, low-carbon producer of high quality beef and dairy. The European Union Joint Research Centre verified Ireland as the EU’s most carbon-efficient beef producer and the 5th most carbon-efficient dairy producer.
“Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions do however continue to be a genuine cause of concern, particularly with livestock based farming.
“The Citizens’ Assembly recommended imposing a tax on agriculture GHG emissions; however I believe this would be detrimental to the agricultural industry as a whole.
“The GHG emissions tax suggested by the Citizens’ Assembly has been made, according to Justice Mary Laffoy, without a thorough examination of the relationship between agriculture and climate change. It is imperative that farmers are included in efforts to reduce carbon emissions but more time needs to be spent assessing the impact of an emissions tax on our agriculture.”
Senator Lombard continued, “I believe that the desired results of the Citizens’ Assembly recommendation can still be attained by using funding support mechanisms, but I do not believe a tax is the most effective solution for lowering GHG emissions.
“Firstly, carbon taxes are currently globally applied at the point of consumption rather than at the point of production. If we apply a separate tax at the production level as well this would create significant concern about the economic competitiveness of our agriculture sector.
“Secondly, there is no complete way to accurately measure GHG emissions on any given farm, and no such capability is foreseen for the near future. This raises practical concerns around equal-measure and enforceability.
“Thirdly, farming is by and large a low margin business – the National Farm Survey indicates that an average family farm income was €31,374 in 2017 – and any additional taxes would raise serious concerns about the appropriately gradual transition to carbon-efficiency for the agriculture sector.
“I believe there are a number of other viable options which would see a reduction of Ireland’s agricultural emissions. One such option is increasing the focus EU funding, e.g. GLAS, on the implementation of environmentally-friendly practises. Another is to increase the profitability of carbon-efficient agriculture production which will encourage the entire sector into more environmentally-friendly practises.
“Farmers and landowners, as curators of the land, have a critical role to play in instituting necessary Climate Action changes. Ireland has a very proud agricultural tradition; it is vital that the State safeguard and strengthen our agricultural sector in its transition into a more sustainable, low-carbon sector.”
17 February 2019
Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot will receive €20 million funding in 2019 and is encouraging all eligible Cork farmers to apply to funding.
The scheme will target the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves – measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow’s live weight.
Senator Lombard said: “Prior to the Budget I made continued representations to the Department on behalf of farmers and I am very pleased my Fine Gael colleague Minister Creed has responded and shown his understanding that this sector is under terrible financial pressure.
“Participating farmers will also get detailed feedback on the performance of individual animals and this will allow them to identify the most productive cows in their herd.
“Building on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the data collected will also be a valuable addition to Ireland’s already impressive cattle breeding database. Breeding improvement through the Economic Breeding Index is identifying the most efficient animals for grass based production system.
“I am very conscious that 2018 was a very difficult year for beef farmers in Cork, in terms of weather, fodder issues and market volatility. This is the sector most exposed to Brexit, given its reliance on the UK market. The BEEP is designed to provide an injection of investment at a critical time for farmers navigating the challenges ahead, while delivering in real terms on our climate objectives.
“I would encourage all beef suckler herd owners in Cork to apply for the scheme, applications will be accepted by the Department of agriculture between 4 and 22 February 2019.”
Application forms are available on https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/beep/. The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot was announced in Budget 2019 as part of the €78m Brexit package for the agri-food industry. As well as clear environmental and climate benefits, the BEEP will provide farm gate investment at a time of market volatility and uncertainty relating to Brexit.
04 January 2019
Over €600,000 was provided to disadvantaged communities in rural and urban areas in Cork County through the Community Enhancement Programme, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Lombard said: “This Community Enhancement Programme provided funding to enhance facilities in disadvantaged areas. It was great to see the wide variety of local projects supported. This programme helps support important work by communities across Cork County by allocating funding worth €618,516 to local projects.
“Varied examples of work funded locally in Cork South West includes: €500 for Bandon Girls Basketball Club for training and match gear; €17,035 for Bere Island Projects Group to upgrade the community centre kitchen; €1,669 for lighting upgrades in Innishannon Parish Hall; €1,000 for Ardgroom Tidy Village to purchase equipment for public area maintenance; €60,000 for Tidy Towns c/o Bantry Project Group for the installation of a multi-use games area.
“Fine Gael is committed to ensuring that rural Ireland is given the support it needs, so that it can achieve its full potential across a wide-range of areas.”
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring said: “Having allocated over €12.5 million under the Community Enhancement Programme in 2018, I am delighted to be able to announce the more than 3,000 projects which are set to benefit from it.
“A relatively small amount of money can go a long way and this investment will greatly benefit local community projects throughout the country.
“The funding has been allocated in a way that takes deprivation levels into account and I am confident that those communities who need it most, whether in cities, towns or rural areas, will benefit.”
The application process for the CEP is administered by Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each Local Authority area. There was an open application process when the CEP was originally launched in May.
24 January 2019
Senator Tim Lombard has welcomed the planned extension of the pilot local link evening rural bus service.
“My colleague, the Fine Gael Party Chair, Martin Heydon, proposed the extension of evening rural bus services around the country to encourage increased connectivity in our communities and to tackle rural isolation, an issue that many people have raised with me locally.
“It is so important we ensure that people have mobility around their area at night time as well as during the day, be it to local events, sports clubs, shopping centres, restaurants, or visiting friends and relatives.
“Since last summer additional evening bus services have been running in Cork, and indeed all counties, on Friday and Saturday. This pilot scheme has proven very successful and I am glad that the Minister has confirmed it will continue until at least March 31st, until a full review is complete.
“Originally, it was intended that the pilot would end on the 31st of December 2018, after which the National Transport Authority would review the results and ongoing viability. It has been confirmed to me that the NTA will now conduct a further review of the performance of these services in March 2019 after which a decision will be taken regarding future funding for these services.
“As we have seen now with the pilot scheme, the more it is used, the better chance it has of being retained. I encourage the many people benefitting from this service in Cork to continue using it now that it has been extended, and within Fine Gael I will continue to push for this evening service to be made permanent.”
23 January 2019
Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed that €5,796 in Government funding has been granted to local Men’s Sheds in West Cork.
Senator Lombard welcomed the funding announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, and which will benefit 4 Men’s Sheds in West Cork.
Senator Lombard said: “It is really positive to see the Government supporting the The Irish Men’s Sheds Association which does fantastic work. I have seen first-hand the positive impact of their activities here in Cork.
“Last Summer, my colleague Minister Ring allocated €500,000 under the Men’s Sheds stream of the Community Enhancement Programme to enable individual Sheds to update their facilities by purchasing equipment or by carrying out minor works to improve their shed.
“Each Local Authority area was then allocated funding and the application process was overseen by Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) around the country.
“I am delighted to say that Men’s Sheds in Kinsale, Skibbereen, Allihies, and Bandon were successful in their applications for funding to update and improve their facilities.
“€1,449 has been allocated to each of the follow projects: tools and equipment (drills, saws, and timber) for Skibbereen Men’s Shed; panel heaters and kitchen equipment for Kinsale; a new log cabin shed in Allihies; and tools (mitre saws and band saw stands) for Bandon.
“Men’s Sheds are a great outlet for men in Cork to connect with each other in their locality, to share their skills and to work together on community projects.
“Not only is this good for the health and wellbeing of the men themselves but it’s also of great benefit to the wider community. I will continue to support our local Men’s Shed’s, and I strongly welcome the Government funding to assist their work.”
16 January 2019
Cork South West Senator Tim Lombard has confirmed that the number of self-employed people availing of dental treatment, optical exams, and medical appliances is on the increase across Cork.
Senator Lombard encouraged self-employed people to continuing using the scheme, which is proving to be a major success.
“In 2017, Fine Gael extended the Treatment Benefit Scheme to self-employed persons for the first time. This was a major milestone in terms of the equal treatment of small and medium business owners who are often the backbone of our local economy in towns and villages.
“In 2018 alone, 27,571 self-employed people in Cork took up the treatment benefit scheme, availing of dental treatment, eye exams and medical appliances. Dental Treatments were most popular amongst the self-employed, with 17,913 people taking it up.
“The introduction of this new benefit for the self-employed creates greater fairness in the system of welfare provision and reflects the Government’s commitment to creating the best possible environment for business to thrive.
“2019 will bring new supports for self-employed people who will become eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit for the first time.
“Fine Gael’s ‘New Deal for the Self-Employed’ as outlined in our plan ‘Taking Ireland Forward Together’ envisages a totally reformed social insurance system. It will work to provide the self-employed and those in the ‘gig’ economy with a safety net in circumstances where their business or careers are interrupted.
“We also plan to expand other benefits, such as carer’s benefit, in the years ahead. The equalisation of the Earned Income Tax Credit with the PAYE Tax Credit is also part of this agenda to ensure the self-employed are properly recognised. For the 150,000 self-employed workers who make up an important part of our economy, the Earned Income Credit will be increased by a further €200 to €1,350.
“The Government wants to encourage enterprise and support those who drive job creation. We now have more people at work in the State than ever before and Fine Gael will continue to support those who create jobs and rejuvenate local economies.”
08 January 2019