Dáil Work Entries
Deputy Harris joins with Wicklow County Councillors in special meeting with IDA, Enterprise Ireland and MSD
Posted May 24th, 2013
Deputy Harris joins with Wicklow County Councillors in special meeting with IDA, Enterprise Ireland and MSD
MSD inform meeting they are actively pursuing a buyer for the Rathdrum plant and remain committed to finding one
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris joined with Members of Wicklow County Council in meeting with representatives of MSD who currently operate the plant in Rathdrum and representatives of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to discuss what efforts are being undertaken to secure the future of the plant and also address broader employment issues in County Wicklow.
Speaking after the meeting, Deputy Harris said, “I was pleased to attend this meeting and join with local representatives in an effort to help create employment strategies for County Wicklow. In the years of economic boom, County Wicklow was neglected by the Government of the day and its State agencies in trying to attract jobs to Wicklow. We were seen simply as a dormitory county or a commuter county. This
“County Wicklow has lots to offer for potential investors and even more now with the upgrade of the N11 about to commence. I am determined to send out the message loudly and clearly on behalf of County Wicklow,” stated Deputy Harris.
“The issue of the future of the Rathdrum plant in light of MSD’s intention to wind down its operation there in the coming years is a cause of significant worry and concern for our county. I have been in regular contact with the Minister for Jobs and the Head of the IDA on this issue. I am pleased to hear from MSD this week that they are actively promoting the site to find another buyer for the plant. The IDA is assisting in marketing this plant and has already had two site visits to Rathdrum. I was also encouraged to hear of the efforts being undertaken to assist MSD’s staff in Rathdrum in finding alternative employment over the coming years,” continued Deputy Harris.
“I will continue to work as hard as I can to promote Wicklow, to bring investment to our county and I will work with everybody involved in enterprise in Wicklow to achieve this,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted May 22nd, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has this afternoon (Wednesday) secured the opportunity to raise in the Dail the on-going crisis with the water supply in many houses in North Wicklow with the Minister for the Environment.
‘Whilst I am well aware that the responsibility for water supply rests with local authorities due to the serious disruption to such supply in Kilpedder, Delgany, Kilmacanogue, Glen of the Downs & Enniskerry, I wanted to raise this directly with the Minister for the Environment and ask that his department intervene to ensure that a full sense of urgency is applied by the local authorities to find a solution as quickly as possible.
‘This issue is the responsibility of Dublin City Council as the water is supplied from their Vartry Reservoir. Due to algal problems at Vartry, the capacity and output has been reduced by 50%. This has caused the current difficulties. The minister has now undertaken to have his department officials liaise with Dublin City Council and Wicklow County Council to ensure that absolutely everything possible is being done to resolve this matter. In addition to this he has also assured me that DCC now have crews working on the problem on a full-time basis with a view to increasing output as quickly as possible.
‘This situation is extremely upsetting for many residents and I want to assure them that I will be continuing to pursue this matter on a daily basis with the local authority and the departmentI am also working very closely with local Councillors to offer any and all assistance and I know that they are doing everything they can in relation to this matter.’ concluded Deputy Harris
Posted May 22nd, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has today (Wednesday) encouraged people from county Wicklow to apply for the positions on the N11 upgrade works.
Deputy Harris stated that ‘The N11 upgrade is a fantastic boost for the county and it would be a fantastic additional benefit for the county if local people would be given the opportunity to work on this project. The significant decline in the construction sector has left a large number of people seeking work. This is a major project and one which may provide an opportunity for many of those who have been involved in the construction sector.
‘There are a number of positions being advertised in relation to the project at the following link http://www.candidatemanager.net/cm/micro/joblist.aspx?mid=YUGTGT&sid=BEVCXB&a=uPz77yoH8jU%3D
‘I would encourage any person looking for work who might be eligible to apply for these positions.’
Posted May 20th, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement, by the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, of an €80,000 allocation to the Community Improvement Scheme in County Wicklow.
Deputy Harris stated that ‘This announcement is a welcome boost to the Arklow area. Investment in the Community Involvement Scheme is a significant investment in the future of Wicklow but also one that provides for real additional community engagement.
‘As a new pilot scheme, the Community Improvement Scheme provides for the engagement of the community in the projects for which resources are allocated. This project will provide for the alteration of roads in Coolbawn Lower and the local community will be investing the labour and JCB plant in the project. This ensures that this project has a distinctly local value and feel to it.
‘I am pleased that this announcement has come today and that the Minister has approved all validly submitted Wicklow applications under this scheme. As this is a new scheme I would also like to welcome its introduction and implementation and I look forward to future rounds of this strategic investment being engaged with across County Wicklow.’
Posted May 17th, 2013
Fine Gael Wicklow TD, Simon Harris, has today (Friday) said it is essential that parents and teachers play a central role in the working group set to be established to consider the report from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), which has been published by the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn TD.
“The report published today by the NCSE contains many positive and important recommendations, which will now be considered by a new working group. It is absolutely essential that the working group includes parents and teachers who know and understand the needs of children and pupils better than anyone else. This is a subject which I have felt passionately about since before my involvement in politics. A number of years ago I set up an autism support and lobby group, and I have closely involved in the issue ever since.
“This report is the most comprehensive review of educational provision for children with special needs in 20 years. The last time special education was reviewed was in 1993. During the boom, despite all of the additional resources at its disposal, the previous Fianna Fáil government did not see fit to look at how we provide special education, and consider what can be done to improve the system. In my view, this shows the low priority the previous government gave to catering for children with special education needs.
“The NCSE engaged in a wide consultation process while compiling this review; speaking to children, parents, teachers, voluntary bodies and advocacy groups. This inclusive ethos must not fall by the wayside now; if we want to get changes to the system right, parents and teachers must be part of the working group set up by the NCSE to examine the report’s contents.
“I particularly welcome the fact that the report recommends the full implementation of the EPSEN Act and that it supports a standardisation in the skills and training required for those working with children with special education needs. The report makes a number of other recommendations that clearly require closer examination; such as the need for a national system of assessment and how this might work. We cannot forget that this is an extremely sensitive topic, and one that, for parents, can be fraught with stress and concern.
“This report has the potential to make a very positive contribution to the way we provide special education in this country. It is essential that the working group now puts an implementation plan in place, with a realistic timeframe. The report presents a number of very important questions on how we should deliver these special education resources; if we want to get the answers right, parents must be represented on the working group.”
Posted May 16th, 2013
Yellow flag awarded to school in recognition of intercultural work and respect for diversity. 3 Wicklow schools now involved in Yellow Flag programme
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris has today (Wednesday) congratulated Arklow Community College at the ceremony in the school to raise their Yellow Flag.
The Yellow Flag is an awarded for schools who undertake significant work to promote intercultural development and support and respect diversity in their school community.
Speaking about this achievement for Arklow Community College, Deputy Harris said, “I was delighted to be in Arklow Community College today as the school was awarded the Yellow Flag. This flag will now fly outside the school as a reminder of the great work that goes on in the school community to promote tolerance and respect diversity.”
“There are now 3 schools in County Wicklow actively involved in the Yellow School project- Arklow Community College, Colaiste Cill Mhantain, Wicklow Town and Newtownmountkennedy National School and I am sure more will follow,” stated Deputy Harris.
“I would like to sincerely congratulate all in Arklow Community College – the students, the teachers, the Principal and the wider community for their great work and effort in arriving at this point,” concluded Deputy Harris.
New inspections and standards for residential services for people with disabilities now in place – Harris
Posted May 15th, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD and long-time disability rights activist, Simon Harris, has today welcomed the announcement of new standards for residential services for children and adults with disabilities. The new standards have been approved by HIQA and will ensure quality care for people with disabilities. They were a key commitment in the Programme for Government.
Speaking about this announcement, Deputy Harris said, “I am delighted that progress has been made on this issue and the first ever national standards for residential services for people with disabilities have been launched and can be enforced by HIQA. 10,000 people with disabilities live in about 1,200 residential centres throughout the country and these standards will provide them with protection and assurance that their care will be of a high quality.”
“The provision of these standards is a vital step in the right direction for the users of residential services. The standards will provide clear guidance on what the required standard of care is. This is a concrete step in the right direction and one which will ensure a universal standard for the provision of services,” continued Deputy Harris
“In my experience, the quality of residential care is generally very high, particularly what I have seen in County Wicklow. However, it is only right that such standards are put in place. Registration of residential care centres will commence in September and inspections will commence this year,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted May 3rd, 2013
Deputy Harris faciliates and chairs meeting between Arklow Chamber, a delegation from Arklow Town Council and the Head of Regional Business Development of the IDA
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris chaired and faciliated a meeting yesterday (Thursday) in the Arklow Business Centre between the Arklow Chamber of Commerce, a delegation of local Arklow Councillors and the Head of Regional Business Development in the IDA, Ms Breda O’Toole.
Speaking after the meeting, Deputy Harris said, “Since my election as a TD for County Wicklow, I have been determined to dismiss the notion that Wicklow is simply a commuter county. We have a skilled labour force, great towns and good infrastructure. For far too long all this was overlooked, as previous Government’s bypassed Wicklow. In recent weeks, I have met with IDA Chief Executive in Bray to discuss opportunities in the town and I have also met with the IDA delegation to discuss the lands they own in Greystones for the purpose of enterprise and job creation. We have seen progress in both these towns from the IDA in recent months but much more remains to be done. Yesterday, as part of my ongoing efforts to promote Wicklow for investment, I brought the Head of Regional Business Development with the IDA to Arklow so she could see the town and its possibilities first hand and so she could meet with the key stakeholders in both local government and local business in Arklow.”
“Many locals in Arklow informed me that this was the first time in years that an IDA official had visited the town and engaged with them and probably the most senior IDA person to have come to the town in many years. The meeting was about bringing people together involved in job creation, getting them in the same room and having an honest and frank discussion about what needs to be done to promote Arklow. This meeting was particularly timely owing to the fact that the N11 upgrade will commence at the end of this month, further improving the attractiveness of Arklow for investment,” stated Deputy Harris.
“It was great to see such positivity in the room and the message from the IDA was clear – they will promote Arklow as part of their Eastern Region strategy to investors but it is vital that stakeholders locally work with them to decide what specific industry they want to attract to Arklow, how they want to market the town, ensuring a good online presence of the benefits of working and living in Arklow and crucially linking in with existing IDA supported businesses in the area to see if further expansion opportunities are available,” continued Deputy Harris.
“Arising from the meeting, the IDA will now explore the possibility of putting in place a mentoring programme to help the Arklow community advance this and local stakeholders also have a body of work to do. For my part, I will continue to work closely with anyone and everyone willing to help promote Arklow and all of County Wicklow for investment and job creation. This meeting was a good, constructive start on this journey,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Deputy Harris to host meeting today between Arklow Chamber of Commerce, Arklow Town Council & the Head of Regional Business Development in the IDA
Posted May 2nd, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris will today (Thursday) facilitate a meeting between Arklow business and political representatives with a senior representative of the IDA to discuss what strategy is in place and what measures need to be put in place to promote Arklow as a location for investment and job creation.
Deputy Harris has arranged for the IDA Head of Regional Business Development to visit Arklow today. The Wicklow TD’s efforts follow on from a recent meeting he had with the IDA Chief in Bray and a meeting with IDA representatives about the IDA lands in Greystones.
Speaking on this issue, Deputy Harris said, “ I am determined to do everything I can to promote County Wicklow as a location for business investment and job creation. We are much more than just a commuter county. We have a skilled labour force, good infrastructure and soon we will have a very significant upgrade to the N11 road. We need to make sure that the IDA as the State agency charged with bringing investment to our country is actively marketing County Wicklow.”
“I will be doing all I can to promote all our towns for investment and have recently met with the IDA in relation to both Bray and Greystones. We have seen progress in both towns in terms of IDA activity and job creation in recent months. There is a lot more to do. Specifically in relation to Arklow, there is an excellent Chamber of Commerce in place and active public representatives in the town determined to do all they can to promote Arklow. We need the IDA to step up to the plate, hear from local stakeholders on their views and for the IDA to show their plan for promoting Arklow as a location for investment which will help bring jobs to the town,” stated Deputy Harris.
“I hope and expect that today’s meeting will be a positive step in these efforts,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted May 2nd, 2013
Wicklow TD meets with students from Norway, Spain & Greece that are linked into a two year Comenius project with Loreto Secondary School, Bray
Deputy Simon Harris, Fine Gael TD for Wicklow this week met with secondary school students from Norway, Spain and Greece that are visiting Bray as part of their Comenius project with Loreto Bray.
Deputy Harris hosted a visit to Leinster House for these students so they could see first-hand our national parliament in action.
Speaking to the students, Deputy Harris said, “It is great to see a Bray school engaging in such an exciting project which brings students from Bray together with a number of students from other countries to share experiences, cultures and work together on a project. Such ventures have huge benefit for all involved.”
“I was delighted to be able to spend some time this week with the students involved in this project and to meet with them in Bray and then to host a visit for them in Leinster House. As we all become more interdependent at a European and global level, it is essential that young people are provided with opportunities to meet with their peers for other countries and develop links,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Please see attached photo of Deputy Simon Harris at Leinster House with students from Norway, Greece and Spain who are involved in a Comenius project with Loreto Bray