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.

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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

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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

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44 additional Rural Social Scheme places for Cork

Cork Senator and member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tim Lombard, has welcomed the addition of 500 Rural Social Scheme places.

“This is the first increase since 2006, bringing the total national number up to 3,100, and there are a number of RSS implementing bodies in Cork receiving a total of 44 additional places. This is a welcome expansion for our largely rural and coastal county.

“The RSS is aimed at supporting low-income farmers and fishermen/women by boosting social welfare payments for participation in providing services which benefit local communities. Involvement in the scheme is voluntary and dependent on the local vacancies available. Participants provide 19.5 hours a week in services to a local rural or community project, and in return they receive a top-up on their social welfare payments as well as an opportunity to develop new skills.

“This scheme provides critical assistance for our communities, supports countless sports clubs, amenities and rural facilities. Given the benefits of the scheme, both for those taking part and the local community, I would strongly encourage all eligible to apply.

“With the continued economic recovery, Fine Gael is determined to ensure that the benefits of this are experienced in every community across Ireland, thus I am delighted to see the expansion scheme here in Cork.”

21 January 2017

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Funding for Water Mains Replacement in Rosscarbery

Update for Rosscarbery residents regarding Irish Water’s plans to solve the water disruption issue in their locality.

Seantor Lombard said: “I have been communicating with residents of Rosscarbery who have had to contend with significant disruptions to their water supply the last year. The supply was not available on approximately 6-8 separate occasions during 2016 and on three separate instances between the 12th and 16th of January this year. This is totally unacceptable.

“These reoccurring disruptions are understandably causing a lot of frustration for the residents of Rosscarbery and cannot continue. Water is a necessary resource and a regular, reliable supply must be acquired as soon as possible.

“The cause of the disruptions has been identified as a significant amount of old asbestos pipes between Clonakilty and Rosscarbery which supply the local water. It is necessary to replace these old pipes in order to reconstruct the local water infrastructure.

“Irish Water have today confirmed to me that they have approved funding for extensive mains replacement for this area which will resolve the highlighted issue. At this point in time Irish Water was unable to confirm a specific timeline for when the works will be undertaken, but it is expected that they will commence in late 2017.

“Unfortunately for the residents of Rosscarbery, any project of this scale takes time for proper planning and preparation to be executed. I cannot imagine the frustrations of the people affected by this issue and I want to reassure them that I will continue to communicate with Irish Water as to ensure that this project is a priority and the issue is resolved as soon as possible.”

27 January 2017