Defence Forces and Civil Defence played vital role during Storm Emma

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, is praising members of the Defence Forces and Civil Defence for the vital roles they played throughout the country in response to Storm Emma.

Nationwide, over 1,332 members of the Defence Forces were deployed in response to over 300 separate requests for assistance by primary response agencies such as the HSE, An Garda Síochána, the ESB and local authorities. Defence Forces operations staff also liaised with their counterparts at National and Regional Emergency Coordination Group level advising on capabilities and resources available during the emergency period.

According to Senator Lombard the activities of the defence forces personnel included transporting patients and medical staff, transporting meals, clearing paths and generally assisting the emergency services.

The Civil Defence, which is made up of 3,500 volunteers, also played an integral part in keeping our communities safe. Some the activities of the Civil Defence here in Cork included: numerous patient transfers and transportation of district nurses and essential staff to vulnerable clients; providing support to vulnerable persons; transported people from adult disability centre in Skibbereen to their homes in Dunmanway, Bantry, and Clonakility; activated a severe weather resilience desk which provided a focal point for Voluntary Emergency Services to support the PRAs.

Senator Lombard commended the work of both the Defence Forces and Civil Defence in response to Storm Emma, saying: “We cannot list all the ways in which these personnel assisted our communities during the recent snow storm. Both the Defence Forces and Civil Defence showed tremendous leadership during this severe weather period; from assisting the national ambulance service to our ESB crews, their contribution to our community deserves the utmost of recognition.

“Personnel worked night and day, supported by many of their local colleagues in the national ambulance service and coastguard.  What we saw during Storm Emma was incredible collaboration between all the state agencies.

“I know I speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank you to the Defence Forces, Civil Defence, and all state bodies that were involved in the response.

“While the storm may be over, the clean-up must now take place. Our local council will work with other agencies to ensure all life returns to normal in all communities across the county.

“We have seen recently, with both Storm Ophelia and Storm Emma, that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. That’s why it is important we invest in climate action. The New National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040, contains provision for €22bn of investment in this area.”

Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe was actively involved in coordinating the overall response to Storm Emma.

Minister Kehoe said: “Our personnel have worked round the clock throughout the past number of days as part of the response efforts to Storm Emma. The Defence Forces and Civil Defence always remain on standby to assist in cases of emergency.  I want to again thank them for their tremendous service in keeping our communities safe.”

 

05 March 2018

Increased funding will help tackle illegal dumping in Cork

Over €40,000 has been allocated to 23 projects in Cork County to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping following work by Cork-based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard.

Senator Lombard said: “Illegal dumping is a massive blight on our communities. It shows a complete lack of respect for other people and for the environment.

“Fine Gael’s priority, with this recent funding increase, is to build on the progress we have made in protecting our natural environment to ensure we preserve it for future generations.

“Covert surveillance and smart technology including aerial imagery from drones and satellites, as well as the installation of CCTV cameras will form a central part of this crackdown. We will also see better enforcement of anti-dumping measures and stronger prosecutions being made.”

The following projects will be funded here in Cork:

  • Ballincollie Road
  • Bantry Bay Shoreline Clean Up
  • Blackstone Bridge
  • Blackwater Community Clean Up
  • Carrigduff Mallow Clean Up
  • Courtstown Little Island
  • Glengarriff Community Clean Up
  • A local Solution to a Local Problem
  • Rathcooney & District
  • Rathpeacon Area
  • Anti-Dumping Initiative at Bring Sites
  • Oilean Chleire (Cape Clear Island) Project
  • Sherkin/Heir Islands Project
  • Nashs Boreen, Fairhill Project
  • Covert Monitory of Lay-Bys Project
  • Blarney/Macroom MDC
  • Tools to Support Community Based Initiatives & Projects
  • Cobh/Glanmire MDC
  • Kantury / Mallow MDC Projects 1-3
  • Tools to Support Bring Site CCTV Monitoring

Senator Lombard added: “The response to last year’s anti-dumping initiative from the public and local authorities was unprecedented. 230 black spots across the country were cleaned up and measures put in place to protect against a return of illegal dumping in these areas.”

Speaking at the launch of the 2018 Anti-Dumping Initiative Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D said: “As the Minister responsible for rural development, I am acutely conscious of the threat that illegal dumping poses to jobs, incomes and investment on those areas of our country whose growth is dependent on the preservation and protection of our magnificent landscapes, and our clean waterways.

“Community groups that engage in local clean-ups, motivated purely by a love of place and pride in parish, have been the bulwark against those who engage in this deplorable practice.

“We owe these volunteers a debt of gratitude. Last year I provided a once off allocation of €1.4 million to Tidy Towns groups around the country to support their voluntary work to make their communities better places.”

 

16 February 2018

6% increase in Cork employment opportunities

 

Job creation in Cork is up by 6% in the last year – an increase of 1,372 jobs throughout the county.

“This is excellent news for all of us here in Cork, and is consistent with the strong employment performance across the economy.

“I am very pleased to see this strong level of job creation delivered by Government-backed companies; the employment boost from Enterprise Ireland backed companies shows the Regional Action Plans for Jobs is delivering for Cork.

“Fine Gael’s priority is to support companies across the entire country to continue to build on a strong national job creation performance. We are committed to strengthening our communities through employment creation, and building a sustainable future for all our citizens.

“Over 19,000 jobs were created across Ireland by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2017, with every county seeing job increases. We have seen particularly strong jobs growth in the Construction, Engineering, Lifesciences, Digital Technology, Electronics, Food and ICT sectors across the country.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations it is vital that we are prepared, and the Government continues to take initiatives to bolster the capacity of our enterprise agencies to drive exports and support investment.”

 

15 January 2018

Lombard opens Constituency Office in Kinsale

 

Yesterday morning (Monday) Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, opened his new constituency office in Kinsale.

Senator Lombard welcomes the public to visit his new constituency office

 

“I am very excited about this new venture. I feel it is very important that people in and around Kinsale have access to an Oireachtas member because this community, which is very much the beating heart of Cork tourism, should be well represented in Dublin.

“I will host an official opening early in the New Year, but as of next week my new office, at 71 Lower O’Connell Street, will be open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday.

“If you’re in or around Kinsale please feel free to drop by if you have any queries or concerns that you’d like to discuss with me. Equally you can contact my office by phone or email.”

 

12 December 2017

Lombard declares for Cork South West

 

Senator Tim Lombard has voiced his intention to declare for the Cork South West Fine Gael convention.

Senator Lombard said: “The current precarious political situation has emphasised the need for clarity regarding Fine Gael candidates for the next general election, whether that will be this year, next year, or 2021.

“I have previously indicated but am now declaring my intention to put my name forward to contest the Fine Gael convention for the Dáil Éireann in Cork South West.

“As a former Mayor of Cork County Council, and having served 13 years as a local councillor, I have spent more than a decade working directly with the people of Cork to improve and support the quality of life for our local communities.

“In 2016 I was elected as a member of the 25th Seanad, and have used my time as an Oireachtas member to present to Dublin the concerns of people all the way down here in Cork.

“I feel that my political experience along with my background in farming has provided me with a unique understanding of the core issues that need to be address for West Cork.”

Senator Lombard concluded by stated his belief that his convention candidacy will ensure that Fine Gael can secure two Dáil seats in the impending general election.

 

27 November 2017

Designation of ladies finals as free-to-air an important step

Seanad spokesperson on Communications, Senator Tim Lombard, said the designation of these events is an acknowledgment of the valuable contribution that the representative associations make to women’s sport throughout Ireland.

Cork-based Senator Lombard said: “The ladies’ senior finals deserve this special recognition that is already afforded to the men’s senior finals.

“The designation of these events is an acknowledgment of the valuable contribution that the representative associations make to women’s sport throughout Ireland.

“Ladies football and camogie players are hugely valuable role models for girls around the country who they inspire to get involved in their local clubs.

“In some cases but definitely in hurling, the camogie and ladies football championships have been far more entertaining than the men’s championships.  As a result, both attendance and viewing figures continue to increase for these events.

“This year alone as many as 46,286 people attended the senior and intermediate ladies football finals in Croke Park. This is an increase of approximately 13,000 on the 2016 final and makes it the best attended female sporting event in Europe this year.

“Not only that, attendance at the event was on a par with a number of other top sporting occasions this year such as the Munster senior hurling final, which had an attendance of over 45,000 or the PRO12 final between Munster and Scarlets that had an attendance of 44,000 people.

“A draft order designating these events was referred to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

“The committee fully supported the designation of these events.  Earlier this week, Dáil Éireann passed this motion recognising the importance of the senior ladies finals, and now it has been passed by the Seanad this week.

“This is a good news story.  Participation in women’s sports has to be a priority for the Government.

“It is positive and ground-breaking to have these important finals designated as free-to-air.

“In my part of the world, both sports have great following.  This year, in particular, we had great success in camogie but traditionally, the ladies football final would be a great source of pride in Cork.

“This is an acknowledgement of the progress these sports have made and of where the recognition of female sports has to go.  This is an important step and we have to push the boundaries in other parts of the country and the world.”

20 October 2017

Additional Incentives for Electric Cars

Budget 2018 has allocated €17 million towards incentivizing the uptake of electric vehicles and the roll-out of the renewable heat incentive.

Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, said: “As a member of the joint Oireachtas committee for Communications, Climate Action, and the Environment I was delighted that Budget 2018 is addressing climate change through a number of positive, environmentally driven policies and funding of energy efficiency programmes.

“One such programme the Government is very supportive of is the transition of our car fleet to zero emissions technology, especially electric vehicles. It is encouraging to see strides being made towards this ambition, with such substantial funding allocated towards alleviating the cost of purchasing electric cars.

“Even as the cost of ownership of electric cars goes down, many still choose traditional diesel or petrol engines because they are believed to be more economical. This new funding will help offset this cost and allow more people to access a sustainable, and more cost-effective, method of transportation.

Test driving an electric vehicle at the Soceity of the Irish Motor Industry pre-budget breifing 2017

“While there are current grants offered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and reduced VRT (to a maximum of €5,000), additional funding was made available through introducing a proposed 0% rate of benefit-in-kind (BIK) in 2018.

“This scheme is to run for a year to encourage organizations to switch to zero emission fleet.

“To meet the required reduction in CO2 levels as agreed to with the EU and the Paris Agreement more people need to use environmentally friendly methods of transportation such as the electric car. Electric cars allow drivers the freedom that they are familiar with along with the environmental benefits of a zero emission vehicle.

“Ireland has already begun to develop infrastructure to support the further demand of electric cars. The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has over 1,200 free public charging stations across Ireland allowing for freedom of movement without fear of access to areas to recharge. This network of charging stations allows electric car owners to travel the country with ease.

“As a local I am pleased that Cork has begun to set the tone for a more sustainable Ireland by encouraging pursuit of zero emission transportation. Drive4Zero is one group with a pilot program based in Cork that provides additional incentives for transitioning to an electric car, such as free parking and reduced tolls.

“This additional funding allocated for the promotion of election cars will be instrumental in helping to develop a zero emission Ireland.

“I applaud my Fine Gael colleague Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe, for including such a policy to help promote a more sustainable Ireland, and I look forward to seeing additional legislation continuing to support this goal in the future.”

16 October 2017

National strategy required for solar farm developments

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, is continuing to fight for national guidelines regarding the development of solar farms.

Senator Lombard said: “The last few years have seen huge increases in applications to build solar farms here in Ireland. It is worrying that no national strategy currently exists to ensure this industry develops in a sustainable manner.

“I have brought this issue to the attention of Seanad Eireann, and to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, and his Department a number of times.

“Last week I again brought a debate forward about creating a national strategy for solar farms, as I have been disappointed with the lack of progress towards what I believe is a very real concern.

Senator Lombard, Seanad Debate: national planning guidelines required for solar farm development

“At the moment solar farm applications are being approved for sites next to substations due to proximity. This however is not taking into account other necessary factors and logistics.

“Issue such as proximity to housing, gradient of the site pertaining to water runoff, and appropriate elevation of the site regarding visual aesthetics, all affect the environment surrounding solar farms. These issues and more need to be assessed and accounted for in a national strategy that would guide appropriate planning and ensure the sustainability of the environment as well as the developing industry.

“Because there is no nation-wide focus to the development of this industry, we have an ad-hoc approach currently in place where each separate local authority makes different decisions based on their own geographical area.

“Developing solar farms is a national issue. There needs to be guidelines in place that enable a co-ordinated and sustainable, nation-wide development of this industry.

“When wind farms were first proposed in Ireland there was no framework to guide local authorities in planning their development, and the Government recognised the need to provide in this manner. The situation was assessed, guidelines designed and implemented, and now under review.

“Solar farms present the same challenge. Lacking a standard means that the industry will develop in a disorganised and unsustainable manner. I am hopeful that the need for national solar farm guidelines is soon recognised, assessed, and a strategy implemented.”

02 October 2017

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Proposed upgrade of Lee Road Water Treatment Plant

Irish Water have submitted a planning application which proposes enhanced security of water supply to over 100,000 in Cork city by upgrading the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant.

Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, said: “Roughly 70% of Cork city’s total water supply is provided through the Lee Water Treatment Plant so I think this proposal will be beneficial in futureproofing the efficiency and reliability of water supply and service to Cork city.

“The proposal is intended to provide for a 40,000 cubic meters per day capacity water treatment facility. This will involve the upgrading of existing sedimentation tanks, construction of new raw water tanks and pumps, filters, ultraviolet treatment and sludge treatment facilities. Also included will be new chemical dosing, monitoring and control systems.

Delegation visting Lee Road Water Treatment Plant

“Providing Cork city with a reliable water supply is a priority, and I am confident that this new proposal will improve the efficiency of the Lee Road facility and subsequently deliver a more secure water supply for the city.

“There are a number of additional benefits. One is the enhanced protection of water supply during flooding events, and another is that the upgrade proposed would facilitate the removal of the Cork City Water Supply from the Environmental Protection Agency’s remedial action list.

“Further investment is also planned for the upgrade and expansion of the Inniscarra Water Treatment Plant, which also provides water supply to Cork city. The enhanced connections between Inniscarra and Lee Road Treatment Plants will improve the resilience and security of water supply, as well as establishing capacity for future growth.

“Water supply is critical for the public and private functioning of any city. The proposed works will be greatly beneficial for Cork city and I hope to see such benefits reach wider localities in the future.”

07 December 2016

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Rural Cork benefits from Eir’s rural rolllout

Cork based Senator Tim Lombard is pleased to announce that the exchange in Minane Bridge, Co. Cork has been fibre enabled which means that premises within the required 1.5km distance that are served by the exchange can now access a high speed fibre broadband network with speeds up to 1Gbs. Approximately 140 premises around Minane will benefit from this development, which comes as a great boost for the local community.

“As a resident of Minane Bridge I can say that this is of huge benefit to our community. We are a largely farming community, and modern day technology and connectivity is crucial for development and survival of our livelihoods.

As part of its 300K rural extension Eir is rolling out in a number of other areas in Cork, enabling a high speed fibre broadband network by the end of 2016 for many more Cork residents and businesses. Whitegate for example is expected to have 840 premises enabled with a high speed fibre network, while 530 in Midleton can expect the same.

“This is great news for Cork residents; modern and reliable broadband has been highlighted by the Government as crucial for the progression of modern-day Ireland, for both residential and commercial premises.

“As a member of the Joint committee on Communications, Climate Change & Natural Resources I am pleased with the ongoing improvements being made with regard to broadband connectivity in rural Ireland. It is crucial for the development and modernisation of our rural communities and businesses that fast and reliable broadband be accessible for all citizens and businesses no matter their location.”

12 September 2016