Political news in brief

Dillon welcomes confirmation of National Broadband Plan roll-out for Ballina and Castlebar

Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Alan Dillon, TD, has received confirmation of progress being made around Mayo on the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan. Surveying works in the surrounding townlands around Ballina and Castlebar have now been completed. As a result, National Broadband Ireland are now in a position to confirm the anticipated connection dates for these areas. It is expected that connections will be available to commence throughout townlands in the wider Castlebar area from August 2021 to October 2021. A total of 2,139 premises will be ready for connection in townlands around the Castlebar area this year. Connections throughout townlands in the Ballina area will commence from September 2021 to February 2022. A total of 2,678 premises will be ready for connection in townlands around the Ballina area this year. The timeline in the Ballina area is slightly longer as a result of a greater number of premises being connected. In total, over 4,800 premises around Mayo will be available for connection to high-speed broadband before Christmas.

70 Mayo County Council homes refurbished - Calleary

Mayo Fianna Fáil TD, Dara Calleary, has welcomed the news that 70 Mayo Council owned properties have been refurbished and brought back into use across the county under the 2020 Voids Stimulus Programme. Deputy Calleary said: "The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has informed me that 70 properties owned by Mayo County Council have been refurbished to date with over €773,637 invested by the Department. I want to pay tribute to Mayo County Council Housing Unit who responded to the Department’s call with great enthusiasm and with a commitment to get as many properties refurbished as possible before the end of the year. The shutdown in construction activity in the first half of last year had a big impact on delivery of new build social housing but this scheme allowed for some ground to be made up with over 3,600 vacant Local Authority houses being brought back to use throughout the country. The money provided for this scheme in the July Stimulus, has been spent locally with local contractor, plumbers, electricians, painters and carpenters benefiting from the work it created. Fianna Fáil is committed to providing social and affordable housing – the new Affordable Housing Scheme will come on stream this year – it is imperative that Mayo receives its fair share of the national allocation so that the existing housing lists can be alleviated. I am committed to working in tandem with the Council and local councillors to ensure this happens."

Works at Ballyvary Central NS go out to tender - Ring 

Michael Ring, TD has been informed that approval has now been granted to enable projects at Ballyvary Central N.S., Ballyvary, Castlebar to go out to tender. This school, which has enrolment numbers of over two hundred pupils, was approved funding for additional accommodation consisting of two x 80m2 mainstream classrooms including ensuite toilets plus one x 10.5 m2 WC for Assisted Users. The school also fundraised locally to build a GP room as well and approval was sought for both projects to go tender. Deputy Ring said: "I am delighted that this matter is now progressing. It is more beneficial from a value for money perspective for these projects to be combined and I am pleased that the approval has now issued for these works to go to tender. I would also like to compliment the school Principal, Mary Cunningham, the teachers, the parents and the local community for fundraising for the GP room which will ensure that the needs of the children attending Ballyvary Central NS will be met for some time to come."

Conway-Walsh Calls for urgent re-opening of Ballina Footbridge

Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh has called for the urgent re-opening of Ballina Footbridge, saying it is no longer acceptable that the necessary repairs are still to be carried out. Deputy Conway-Walsh said: "For months now the people in Ballina, particularly in Moy Heights and Childers' Heights, have waited patiently for this bridge to be fixed and reopened. We are now into another new year and the bridge remains closed. I have engaged with Mayo County Council for several months now and I understand engineers' reports had to be sought and that there is an issue with the tension bars of which at least 24 need to be replaced. A final inspection was to be completed last month. It is perplexing and unacceptable that tension bars constructed and designed to ensure the functioning of a river bridge would not be corrosive proof in the first place. The apportionment of responsibility and accountability must be established. However, in the meantime, the actual work must be done to enable the reopening of the bridge for the hundreds of people in the local area who need to use it, particularly now with the COVID restrictions. I am calling on Mayo County Council to prioritise the bridge, get the works done, make it safe and give it back to the people of Ballina."

Dillon welcomes disability funding of over €518,000 for GMIT

Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Alan Dillon, has welcomed over half a million Euro being allocated by the Higher Education Minister, Simon Harris, TD, to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The funding is being allocated from the Fund for Students with Disabilities and includes plans to put five packages in place at GMIT to provide an improved and more inclusive student experience for those who may require additional education supports. Deputy Dillon said: "This represents a major injection of funding by Minister Harris with over half a million Euro allocated to GMIT. It is part of a €5.4million allocation to the Higher Education sector around Ireland. This funding is aimed at supporting students and staff in our third level colleges who may require additional learning supports and equipment. It is very clear that inclusion is one of the central themes running at the core of projects to be allocated funding at GMIT. I know from working with Simon Harris for a number of years that he has a very keen interest in promoting inclusion and investment into supports for the disability and special education sectors. This funding represents a significant contribution from the Government to our third-level educational infrastructure in the western region, as well as in Mayo. I look forward to seeing this funding being put to use in advance of students returning onsite to colleges."


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