Debates

Seanad Debates present the opportunity to raise important and relevant issues and request time to discuss them. As a Senator this is one of the many ways I can bring the concerns of the people of Cork South West to the attention of the Government as well as my Oireachtas colleagues.

Below are relevant articles pertaining to this work, additionally you can find out more about my daily contributions to Seanad debates here: www.kildarestreet.com/senator/tim_lombard

Sustainable rural housing will help develop our rural communities

Sustainable rural housing will ensure that rural communities can thrive, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Tim Lombard said: “After a comprehensive debate in the Seanad, Minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed to me that once-off rural planning will be safeguarded under the forthcoming national Planning Framework. This is great news for communities in rural Ireland.

Seanad debate regarding once-off planning in rural Ireland

“The National Planning Framework will offer a real opportunity to achieve real balanced regional development. There has been extensive consultation with stakeholders in rural Ireland to ensure that their concerns are listened too.

“I am delighted to see that the Minister has clarified the position of Government that the NPF won’t see a dramatic clampdown on housing in rural Ireland.

“Housing in rural Ireland will continue to be considered on the basic of social, economic and occupational links to the rural areas in question.

“There have been two formal phases of public consultation regarding the NPF; this time last year and then again in October and November.

“There have been over 40 regional events and workshops, four engagements with various Oireachtas Joint Committees, feedback from an expert Advisory Group and detailed submissions from a range of stakeholders.

“It heartening to see the Government taking the concerns of rural Ireland on board as this will help preserve our rural communities,” the Cork Senator said.

 

08 February 2018

Fine Gael Press Office

Bandon Southern Relief Road advances to preliminary design stage

 

“I am delighted to announce that Cork County Council has been advised by Transport Infrastructure Ireland [TII] to proceed in producing a preliminary design for the Bandon Southern Relief road.

“The need for a traffic diversion around Bandon has been recognised and proposed for many years. The excessive daily volume of traffic travelling through the town is creating immense congestion, particularly as a significant portion of this traffic are heavy goods vehicles, whose size and capacity are not suited to the current infrastructure.

“The proposal is to extend the Bandon Southern Relief Road by constructing a bridge over the R63, overriding the existing steep terrain, after which a 2.5 km single carriageway would be built connecting to the western side of the town.

“I have campaigned for this project during numerous debates in the Seanad; the approximate cost of the project is €7.5 million and would represent a major investment in facilitating the development of all of West Cork.

“I have made numerous appeals to the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, to prioritise and develop this project and I am delighted that these requests have been heard and followed up on.

“The Bandon Southern Relief Road is a key infrastructural project for the development, sustainability, and connectivity of all of West Cork. Bandon is the gateway to this area; increasing the ease of traffic flow in and around the town will be of significant economic benefit to the whole of West Cork.

“Expected population increases for West Cork, and Bandon in particular, will only escalate the current issues. I hope that this green light from TII will enable Cork County Council to progress this project swiftly so that Bandon and the rest of West Cork can develop in accordance with its potential.”

 

20 November 2017

27th March 2017 Comments are off admin_exsite
Share:

Legislative support for our vital Coast Guard Services

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, raised the issue in the Seanad today of the lack of legislation regarding Coast Guard Services in Ireland.

“The Irish Coast Guard Service is an invaluable and essential emergency service for our island nation. Each year its 950 volunteers manage roughly 2,500 marine emergencies and assist other primary response agencies with nearly 4,500 treacherous situations. The highly trained Coast Guards volunteer an average of 10,000 combined man hours every year and the work they do is critical for the livelihoods of all Irish people as well as the visitors to our shores.

“There is a growing concern that this primary response agency is not legislated for in an effective and meaningful way. Along with the fire service, ambulance service and the Garda the Coast Guard Service is one of our four emergency services assisting in precarious situations, however the Coast Guard Service is the only primary response agency not legislated for in this State.

“I have recently spoken to Coast Guard volunteers throughout Cork who are concerned that decisions about their operations are currently being made by a Department that has no direct involvement with their service. This means that the Coast Guard Service do not receive suitable or substantial support from the Government consequently leaving this organisation of highly trained volunteers unable to reach its full potential.

“Concerns pertaining to the lack of management officials have also been raised. Currently there are only three sector managers for the entire country. Three people responsible for overseeing operations of all coastal units is totally insufficient to maintain consistent and effective services. Legislation needs to be introduced and funding provided to enable a command structure from experienced and qualified Coast Guard personnel that will provide practical support for this service.

“The implications of legislating a volunteer service need to be thoroughly deliberated and I have called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, to come into the Seanad and debate this issue. We need to establish a legislative framework and funding model that will safeguard our vital Coast Guard Service.

“Due to the critical nature of the service provided we need to see immediate action on this issue. Going forward, in order for the Coast Guard Services to function efficiently they need to be afforded the same legal footing as other emergency services.”

09 November 2016

27th March 2017 Comments are off admin_exsite
Share:

National Task Force required to deal with Japanese Knotweed

Senator Tim Lombard has called for a national task force to deal with the invasive plants currently causing problems in Ireland.

“Invasive plants, in particular Japanese Knotweed, have become very prevalent in Ireland over the last few years. It is presently a substantial financial and labour-intensive burden that will continue to endure and will only accrue a much larger future obligation if not dealt with now.

“To give an international example of the cost involved, £70 million was required to clear Japanese Knotweed from the Olympic village site in London 2012. Appreciating the magnitude of the issue, the UK today has allocated a national budget of £5 billion per year towards addressing this problem.

“Local authorities in Ireland have struggled to deal with the issue of Japanese Knotweed because the current strategy of all state agencies working individually is not extensive enough to eradicate such invasive plants. A local social housing project, which has the potential to deliver 56 housing units in Beechgrove Clonakilty, has been delayed because invasive plant eradication works are required on site. The resulting financial consequence is high. The estimated cost of construction for the Clonakilty housing project is €8.7 million, which will only increase due to these eradication delays. To save the future cost, which will only increase incrementally the longer it is left, action must be taken now.

“The responsibility of dealing with invasive plants comes under the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht and this issue needs to be dealt with directly by the Department of Environment, which would have the ability to coordinate the local authorities, the NRA, the Inland Fisheries, and Iarnród Éireann in a national task force.

“To gain an understanding of the magnitude of this issue, all local authorities should carry out a survey on all their lands to record the prevalence of invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed. Once the size of the undertaking is known, a national strategy can be put in place to eradicate this issue so that crucial infrastructure projects, such as the Clonakilty housing project, are not delayed in future.”

09 August 2016