As your County Councillor, Mayor, and now Senator I have been a strong political voice for Cork the last decade. Investment in our communities and public services is essential and some of my priority local issues include a new hospital for Cork, sufficient long-term housing infrastructure and rural broadband connectivity.

More SNAs, teachers and funding for schools in Cork

Local schools will also benefit from upgraded ICT equipment

Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said schools in Cork will benefit from more SNAs, teachers and funding thanks to a caring, balanced and fair Budget.

Budget 2019 marks the third year of a major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to progress the Action Plan for Education, our plan to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. In 2019, the budget for the Department of Education and Skills will increase by €674 million, a 6.7% increase on last year.

This will bring Government expenditure on education and skills to its highest ever level of nearly €10.8 billion. This includes the highest ever capital allocation for education – €941 million, a €196m increase on 2018.

Senator Lombard said: “Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded, including 950 additional SNA posts and 372 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes.

“As a result of this year’s allocation, there will be 70,313 teachers and over 15,900 SNAs employed in our schools. All schools in Cork will receive a 5% increase in capitation from September 2019.

“Over the course of the school year 2019/20, an additional €10 million will be allocated to primary and post primary schools, of which €4 million will be allocated in 2019.

“Nearly €5 million is being allocated to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Review of the SNA scheme, which is intended to support a new school inclusion model to deliver the right supports at the right time to students with additional care needs here in Cork. The Government has significantly increased investment in special education in recent years.”

Senator Lombard continued: “€50 million will be allocated in 2019 to facilitate the further roll-out of the investment programme to upgrade ICT infrastructure in all schools in Cork – a 67% increase on 2018 – in line with our ambition to embed computer science and coding across the curriculum.

A package of €57 million in additional current funding will be invested in higher education initiatives in 2019. This will fund provision for 3,500 additional places, initiatives to support innovation and performance awards, teaching and learning capacity, 1,000 additional places on Springboard+, research funds for Institutes of Technology/TUs, part-time and flexible learning.

“Funding is also being made available to support for 7,000 apprenticeship registrations, 5,000 traineeship enrolments and 10 new apprenticeship schemes, in line with our overall commitment to double the number of apprenticeships.

“There is also significant investment in workforce learning and development with €6 million additional funding for Skillnet Ireland and €11 million for employee skills development initiatives,” Senator Lombard concluded.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton said: “Education is key to our ability to adapt successfully during a period of very rapid change and considerable new challenges.

“This Budget is making the investments we need to ensure we equip Irish talent with the capacity to shape their future. We are investing heavily in new pathways, skills, school leadership and local innovation.

“In particular, the €300m human capital initiative will have a big impact on addressing skills needs of enterprise, driving regional development and supporting key sectors in the face of Brexit.

“We also have the highest ever capital budget this year, as part of our plan to prepare for the future by investing in state of the art new schools, and in higher and further education.”

 

10 October 2018

€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

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

€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

Park & Ride for Inchydoney beachgoers

Cork Senator Tim Lombard is calling for a Park and Ride service to be established in Clonakilty in order to provide sufficient, alternative parking for Inchydoney beachgoers during the summer months.

Senator Lombard said: “The incredible summer we are experiencing has driven many to spend their time at the beach. Unfortunately, at Inchydoney, there is nowhere to park when they get there.

“The frustration of this has led to many misaligned or illegal parking manoeuvres that create congestion and, alarmingly, restrict vehicle access.

“Last weekend Gardaí issued public notice that they would tow cars that were badly or illegally parked on the approach to Inchydoney beach, and asked people to park responsibly as to ensure emergency vehicles were able to pass if need be.

“Enforcement of the current parking laws and regulations at Inchydoney is necessary to ensure the collective safety and enjoyment of all beachgoers, however we need to find a more productive, long-term solution to the issue of parking availability at this popular summer destination.

“The location of Inchydoney beach does not allow for adequate expansion of parking amenities at the beach front, so I have been in contact with both Cork County Council and Bus Eireann about establishing a Park and Ride system that would service the beach from nearby Clonakilty.

“This increase in available parking would reduce traffic congestion, but also remove vast numbers of inappropriately parked vehicles at the beach front as to ensure unobstructed vehicle access in case of emergency.

“Inchydoney is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in West Cork; we need to reduce traffic congestion and disorderly parking by providing alternative options that will ensure safety and access for all beachgoers.”

 

11 July 2018

Local link to pilot evening service for South West Cork

Cork Senator Tim Lombard is encouraging rural residents to avail of the new Local Link evening/weekend service being trialled between Kinsale and Clonakilty from this Friday onwards.

The Fine Gael Senator, who opened his constituency office in Kinsale earlier this year, has welcomed the pilot service saying it will empower our local communities, businesses, and rural residents.

“This new night bus scheme is a great result for rural Ireland. It is a welcome, practical solution to helping combat potential isolation in our rural communities.

“The extended evening/weekend service between Kinsale and Clonakilty, operating a pilot scheme from July to December, will facilitate social gatherings and activities.

“Residents, communities, and local businesses in our smaller, rural towns of Ballinspittle, Kilbrittain, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Butlerstown, Lislevane, Grange, Garretstown, as well as Clonakilty and Kinsale, will be able to organise new activities and events to attract residents in the evening, now that they know those residents will have this evening bus service available to them.”

More information about the service can be found online at locallinkcork.ie, or through the following enquiry lines: 027 52727, or Info@locallinkcork.ie.

 

10 July 2018

€63,072 funding for playgrounds in Beara

Cork Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, said children in Beara will benefit from a significant allocation of CLAR funding for local playgrounds.

Glengarriff Tourism and Development Association has been allocated €45,000 for the refurbishment of Glengarriff Playground, and Scoil Chaitigheirn €18,072 to extend the play area.

Senator Lombard said: “This is great news for children and families in and around Beara, it will ensure the local communities continue to enjoy high quality and safe playgrounds.

“At a time when outdoor activities are often overlooked for hi-tech games, we must ensure our playgrounds and areas are exciting, and engaging for young minds.

“This funding will ensure our children enjoy state-of-the-art facilities here in Beara.”

Senator Lombard continued: “Since 2016, the CLÁR Programme has provided funding to over 1,100 projects under various measures, including funding for 265 play and multi-use games area projects around the country.

“Communities throughout Cork have fundraised and worked with the Cork County Council to put forward these projects for funding, and this cooperation is to be acknowledged and welcomed.

“These projects are excellent examples of what can be done when everyone works together: new and improved recreational resources provided for children and communities in rural areas in Cork.

“This is a further testament to the passion and commitment of local communities to make rural Ireland and Cork a place where people want to live, work and prosper.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, said: “I am delighted to be in a position to announce funding under the CLÁR programme of €2.78 million for play areas in rural communities. This follows on from last week’s announcement of funding of €4.8 million for safety measures around schools and community facilities in CLÁR areas.

“I have again decided that all applications that qualify under the Play Areas Measure of the programme will receive funding this year.

“These projects will make the areas in which they are located more attractive places for families to live in and settle, in line with the aim of the CLÁR programme.”

“Partnership and community involvement is vital in all areas of life and that partnership and the community spirit that has been evident to me in the small rural towns and villages all across the country in recent years under my Department’s initiatives such as the CLÁR programme, the Rural Recreation Schemes and the Town & Village Renewal Scheme.”

 

06 July 2018

€74,000 in capital grants for West Cork childcare providers

Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed that over €74,000 in capital grants has been awarded to West Cork childcare providers. The announcement was made by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone. A total of €6.87m in Capital funding will be awarded to providers of Early Years and School Age Childcare across Ireland.

Senator Lombard said: “Today’s announcement follows on from the childcare measures we introduced last September, giving up to 70,000 children extra supports.

“This funding will contribute towards the creation of new childcare places, natural outdoor play areas and the essential maintenance and repair of services here in Cork.

“The capital funding has been awarded following the completion of a very competitive application and appraisal process. The approved Early Years and School Age Capital funding for 2018 has been made available to the following childcare providers here in West Cork:

  • Rosscarbery Community Playschool ltd; €4,711
  • Timoleague Community Playschool and Afterschool Club; €19,553
  • Gráinne’s Montessori School, Clonakilty; €6,920
  • Teach Na Nog, Bandon; €6,988
  • Happy Days Montessori Pre-school, Bantry; €6,697
  • Hillcrest Montessori School, Dunmanway; €7,000
  • Drimoleague Community Playgroup; €6,876
  • Caha Childcare, Adrigole; €15,451

“I am very pleased with the progress we are making with childcare. Fine Gael is delivering on its election commitment to support families and to help ease the financial cost of childcare.

“The extra supports announced last September included a universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, available for children aged from 6-months up to starting their free pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months.

“Families on lower incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, are eligible for supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15 years of age. The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, are now able to join the workforce.

“In addition the free pre-school year (ECCE scheme) we introduced and later extended to two free years has been hugely beneficial to families saving them on average €4,000 per child.

“We introduced two weeks paid Paternity Leave for new fathers for the first time in the history of the State.

“Under 6s now benefit from GP care and an extra 10,000 children now qualify for a medical card thanks to it being extended to those on Domiciliary Care Allowance.

“We have provided for 47,000 extra breakfast club places to benefit children and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance has increased by 25%,” the Fine Gael Senator said.

Minister Zappone said: “I am delighted to announce the €6.87m which will create over 2,000 new childcare places across the country.

“There was an unprecedented amount of applications this year which shows the appetite for expansion within the sector. I will continue to seek increased investment in this area in order to increase capacity and deliver the highest quality of childcare for families in Ireland.”

 

01 June 2018