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.

€1million for Cork’s Local Improvement Schemes

Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, is pleased to announce the allocation of €1million for Local Improvement Schemes (LIS) here in Cork.

“LIS funding provides for the repair and improvement of small roads and laneways leading to local people’s homes and businesses that are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities. The scheme will also support improvements in private roads that lead to public amenities such as beaches or lakes.

“I have been communicating with my Ministerial colleagues on the importance of the Local Improvement Schemes for people who live in rural Ireland in particular.

“The Government hasn’t been in a position to adequately fund the LIS’s for the last number of years, but we made a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government that we would reinstate the scheme.

“I am delighted to now be in a positon to honour that commitment. The scheme will be funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and delivered through the Local Authority.

“For people who live in rural areas, like many here in Cork, road connectivity is hugely important.

“The ability of people to access their own premises, a farmyard or a neighbour’s house is compromised when roads are in a bad state of repair.  For emergency services, too, bad road surfaces can lead to delays in accessing sites and can damage their vehicles.

“An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar along with Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring have announced the Government is providing a total of €10 million to fund this scheme across the country.

“This will be combined with a small contribution from householders (10-15% of total costs) and Local Authorities, and will allow for the maintenance and improvement of many local roads all over Ireland.

“The re-introduction of the LIS is an important part of the delivery of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.  One of the Pillars of the Action Plan focuses on improving rural infrastructure and connectivity.

“The Government’s vision for rural Ireland is very simple when it comes down to it – We want rural Ireland to be a better place in which to live and work by creating new opportunities, improving connectivity between rural and urban areas, and by protecting and enhancing services in the community.

“We want to offer the opportunity for young people to have access to good-quality jobs so that they can continue to live in rural Ireland if they so choose.  And the Action Plan for Rural Development provides the framework to achieve this.”

22 September 2017

Local Link: connecting our Cork communities

Local Link is an invaluable resource for connecting our communities in Cork, local Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said.

Minister for Community and Rural Affairs Michael Ring officially launched the Local Link brand at the National Ploughing Championships today, Wednesday September 20th.

Local link, Kinsale to Clonakilty timetable

Local Link provides both demand-responsive, door-to-door services on request, as well as scheduled bus services on fixed routes here in Cork. The services are run on behalf of the NTA’s ‘Transport for Ireland’, by 17 groups throughout the country and are funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Senator Lombard said: “Local Link is in many ways the unsung hero of our public transport system and an invaluable resource for us locally.

“In launching the Local Link brand, we want to make sure people all over Ireland are aware that these fantastic local bus services exist and of the work being done at local level.

“Local Link Cork delivers rural community transport services through a combination of private providers and its own vehicles. The new service in 2017 connects Clonakilty through to Kinsale.

“Local Link is enabling people in remote rural areas to go shopping, get to hospital appointments and avail of services in their local towns and villages.

“With over 1.7 million such journeys taking place last year, it is providing an invaluable service to rural Ireland. The creation of the Local Link brand is an effort to increase awareness of the service as it continues to grow.

“The message is also that Local Link is very much open for business for everybody, including people going to work, families, students, tourists and visitors.

“I would like to welcome the move to bring rural transport services under the Local Link banner. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that, thanks to Transport for Ireland and the National Transport Authority, these services have been going from strength to strength in rural areas across the country.”

20 September 2017

Lombard welcomes €95,245 EMFF investment in Cork aquaculture

“EMFF [European Maritime and Fisheries Fund] funding of €95,245 has been granted to four of our local aquaculture companies here in Cork, to be invested in equipment and research for increasing production and facilities at local mussel and oyster farms.

“This very welcome grant is part of a €240 million investment over six years in the industry nationally. It is great to see such investment in Cork’s local economy and aquaculture industry; I welcome the continued and increasing level of capital investment in our aquaculture sector which will underpin our ambitions to significantly grow our production in the coming years.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “The grants are made under the EMFF Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme and EMFF Knowledge Gateway Scheme. Both schemes remain open for new applications. These grant awards contribute to the Action Plan for Rural Development.

“I am delighted to see recent efforts by my Department and BIM to encourage our third level institutions to become involved in the research agenda for the sector coming to fruition with three of our best third level institutions receiving approval for applied research to assist our sector in innovating and developing new technical knowledge to support the sustainable growth of the sector, together with two further industry research projects.”

06 September 2017

€3,959,700 helping local families with back to school costs

31 August 2017

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed that some €3,959,700 in Government funding has been paid to help meet the back to school costs of 12,470 local families. The Back to School allowance is paid to parents to assist them in purchasing uniforms and footwear for the return to school this week.

Senator Tim Lombard said: “I am delighted with the announcement; it is encouraging to see so many families here in Cork taking up the initiative and benefitting from this funding.

“We parents face significant expenses at the start of every school year. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is one of the single most effective ways for the Government to help our families manage school costs.

“This year some 194,000 children around the country will benefit from an increase to the payment of up to €50.

“Fine Gael is committed to ensuring that the Government offers a helping hand when it’s needed, to ensure everyone gets a fair chance and reaches their full potential.

“By helping parents with back to school costs, providing 2,800 extra teachers and 1,000 extra SNAs in our schools around the country, we will create a Republic of Opportunity and a brighter future for the children of Ireland.”

 

Notes:

  • The Back to School allowance was previously paid at a rate of €100 for children aged 4-11 and €200 for children aged 12-17.
  • From July 2017 onwards, it is paid at a rate of €125 for children aged 4-11 and €250 for children aged 12-17.
  • Almost €43 million has been paid nationally for this academic year.

31 August 2017

€1.3 million for towns and villages in rural Cork

“Cork has today been allocated €1,347,826 under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 15 projects in Cork County.

“This scheme, launched in April this year, is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, and focuses on funding projects that can help rejuvenate and revitalise rural Ireland.

“Here in Cork we have placed a particular emphasis on projects which have the capacity to support the economic development of rural town and villages as well as their neighbouring townlands. The scheme will also support improvements to public amenities in our town and village centres, to help make them more attractive places in which to live and work and to visit.

“Cork has received substantial funding under this year’s scheme, which will have a significant impact on towns and villages across the county. West Cork in particular has been allocated generous funding, with the following projects being allocated a total of €769,426.

  • Allin Institue Renovations, Bandon: €32,000
  • Develop and brand Bantry Market, Bantry: €76,800
  • Carpark and street enhancements, Castletownbere: €100,000
  • Cycleway and pedestrian access route, Clonakilty: €100,000
  • Plaza, public lighting, and footpath, Drinagh: €80,000
  • Life-size bronze commemorating Maureen O’Hara: €48,000
  • Renovate local museum, Kinsale: €80,000
  • New pontoon facilities – commercial and leisure vehicles, Schull: € 100,000
  • Ludgate Hub Innovation cluster, Skibbereen: €152,626

“I want to thank the Cork County Council for their efforts and co-operation in engaging with local and business communities to identify these projects. Most of the funding will benefit towns and villages, with populations of less than 5,000 people.”

 

Notes:

The Town and Village Renewal scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a suite of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland. It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is administered by the Local Authorities.

The delivery of an enhanced Town and Village Scheme was a commitment in the Programme for A Partnership Government and the Action Plan for Rural Development. Under the 2017 scheme, up to 80% of the total cost for each approved project will be provided by the Department, with the remaining 20% being provided either through community contribution and/or the Local Authority.

Under the 2017 scheme a wide variety of projects have been approved.  These projects have been identified by local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with their Local Authorities.  Projects approved range from employment initiatives to tourism amenities, and other measures aimed to help make small towns and villages a more attractive and more sustainable places in which to live and work.

A full list of recipients is available on www.drcd.gov.ie

04 October 2017

Include West Cork’s hidden gems on Wild Atlantic route

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has been in Union Hall and Courtmacsherry discussing with local community members and public representatives the proposal to have these charming coastal towns, and the drive between them, included in the Wild Atlantic Way.

“Tuesday started with a scenic drive to Union Hall to meet with locals who have been campaigning to have their town included in the Wild Atlantic Way. Driving into the town you can see why; the landscape is beautiful and the place is so unique. Union Hall has a lot to offer visitors, from beaches and woodland walks, to kayaking and world renowned angling, to restaurants and art galleries.

The picturesque Union Hall, Ireland’s angling hot spot

“The day continued with another lovely drive, this time into Courtmacsherry where again you can see why locals are calling for a review of the Wild Atlantic Way. This seaside village has a phenomenal view across the bay and boasts an active community that hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. It offers a lot of history and is also the gate to another West Cork attraction; the Seven Heads Peninsula.

“At both towns the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, attended meetings with local community members and public representatives where we discussed the value of rerouting the Wild Atlantic Way to include these towns and all these things they have to offer.

The seaside village of Courtmacsherry

“Members of both of these communities feel strongly in the value of their locale. The preview early this week demonstrated that an alteration of the Wild Atlantic route to include hidden gems like these towns would really showcase all that West Cork has to offer. Not only would this contribute greatly to Ireland’s touristic appeal but also to our local economies and communities here in the heart of West Cork.

“Minister Griffin expressed his intention to review the Wild Atlantic Way, which hopefully proves positive for the proposals of these villages.

“Over the next few months we must engage with the local authority to ensure that road infrastructure is assessed and, if necessary, redeveloped, to ensure it could accommodate the increased volumes of traffic associated with tourist numbers.”

27 July 2017

Huge Public response to the Affordable Childcare Campaign

Parents have been encouraged to inform themselves about childcare supports that will help them financially, and figures indicate a positive public response. Over 173,000 page visits were recorded last month to an information website – affordablechildcare.ie – which details the childcare supports available from September this year.

“I strongly encourage all parents in Cork who have not yet done so to log on to the website and get informed. While the figures show a fantastic response to the nationwide campaign, nearly two thirds of the people visiting the site come from the Dublin area.

Senator Lombard at the AffordableChildcare.ie launch

“The total spending on child care programmes this year is €466m, a 79% increase on figures in 2015, and I want to ensure that all eligible families here in Cork will benefit from such expenditure.

“At the start of the pre-school year up to 70,000 children nationwide will have extra supports, as negotiated in this year’s budget, with some children receiving childcare benefits up to €7,500.

“We are enhancing existing targeted childcare supports by as much as 50% and there will be improved access to subsidies for providers, with the traditional Community Childcare Scheme (CCS) being extended to both community and private providers.

“Families will benefit in two ways. Firstly, the changes will see a universal benefit for every child under 3-years old. Universal subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum, which will be available for all children aged between 6 and 36 months in full time childcare.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“This is the first big step but there is still much work to be done in this area. I am assured that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, is focused on the quality and accessibility of childcare here in Ireland, but also recognition for the workers who provide these services.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents. We introduced the free pre-school year, subsequently extending it to a second year, and it is estimated that the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave, so for the first time Irish Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Cork can avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they need it. An important step is knowing what childcare supports are available, so again I urge Cork parent to log on to the affordable childcare website and see what financial support is being offered.”

11 July 2017

27th March 2017 Comments are off admin_exsite
Share:

New low cost loan scheme will help Cork farmers deal with Brexit challenge

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said that a newly launched low cost loan scheme will be extremely beneficial for farmers in Cork, particularly to help them mitigate against the impact of Brexit. The ‘Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme’, which was developed in co-operation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), was launched by Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed today (Tuesday).

“My Fine Gael colleague, Minister Michael Creed, has launched the Government’s new low cost agriculture loan scheme. This is going to be really beneficial to farmers here in Cork who are looking for income stability in a period of price volatility due to Brexit. Cork farmers will be able to avail of low-cost interest rate loans of 2.95%, which represents excellent value compared to market rates.

“A major priority for Fine Gael in Government is to assist farmers in mitigating against the impact of Brexit. I know from talking to local farmers that some of them are experiencing cashflow difficulties due to recent changes in the sterling exchange rate, as well as lower commodity prices in certain sectors.

“Minister Creed has a ‘three pillar strategy’ in response to income volatility and pressures caused by the uncertainty around Brexit, including this low cost loan scheme, tax measures and farm payments.

“Cork farmers will be pleased to hear that as well as being good value, these loans will be flexible, with the possibility of optional interest only repayments at the start of the loan. Six year loan terms will be available.

“This loan scheme will allow farmers here in Cork to pay down more expensive forms of short-term debt, such as merchant credit or overdrafts, contributing to the ongoing financial sustainability of their farming enterprise.

“AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will distribute the loans, making €150 million available to farmers throughout Ireland. This is supported by €25 million being provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, including €11 million in EU exceptional adjustment aid.”

31 January 2017

27th March 2017 Comments are off admin_exsite
Share:

New TAMS II measure will help tillage farmers to modernise and cut costs

The new and specialised Tillage Measure under TAMS II is going to help Cork tillage farmers to modernise and cut costs Cork Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said.

“The newly launched and specialised Tillage Measure, worth approximately €26 million, is the seventh of a suite of measures available to farmers under TAMS II. I know from talking to tillage farmers here in Cork that many of them were disadvantaged by the poor harvest last year. Minister Creed is all too aware of this thanks to the Tillage Stakeholder Forum.

“This new initiative includes capital investment measures which will support tillage farmers to use the most modern and efficient equipment and facilities. Specific areas of investment include Minimum Disturbance Tillage Equipment, Sprayers, Rain Water Harvesting, Grain Storage and Grain dryers.

“I encourage all Cork tillage farmers to examine the provisions of TAMS II and this new measure to improve efficiency and cut costs. Applications must be made on-line, either by the farmer or by their authorised Advisor. Further details are available at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/tams/

“The closing date for applications under the first tranche of the new measure will be Friday 30 June 2017.”

Note: the Targeted Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) is part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

09 March 2017

27th March 2017 Comments are off admin_exsite
Share:

Aid required for Grain Sector

The plight of the farming community has been a recurring issue brought up this year, one sector that really requires focus and support is the grain industry and our grain growers.

Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, said: “Over the past few years the grain sector in Ireland has been declining and unfortunately is now on the verge of collapse. A fourth year of bad weather, mediocre prices and reduced volume has been severely detrimental to the grain industry.

“We are looking at a situation from Cork to Donegal where grain has not been harvested, prices are as low as €135 per tonne, and moisture content is anything up to 30%. It is a massive issue for all those involved in the agriculture sector; the grain industry has always been an important sector for Irish agriculture and we cannot let it continue to slip through our fingers. We must act now, before Irish grain growers and our grain industry can no longer persevere.

“Last weekend I met with grain farmers from all around West Cork and all of them presented the same predicament. Years of struggle and adversity are paying its toll; grain farmers are at the end of their tether and they need assistance.

“During a debate in the Seanad last week I called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, to come to the Seanad and discuss this issue as I believe we need to go to Europe for an aid package that will help support and resuscitate Irish grain farmers and industry. A package of €11.2 million has been put in place for the livestock sector this year but none has thus far been allocated for the grain sector.

“There needs to be funding available for this collapsing industry. If aid is not forthcoming soon we will face a situation that the grain sector may not survive, and the resulting loss would be an awful shame for Ireland’s agricultural sector and our farming community.”

03 October 2016