Speaking at the Dáil Committee on Adolescent Mental Health

Today I spoke at the Dáil committee on Adolescent Mental Health.  Groups and organisation who made presentations to the committee were the HSE, Jigsaw and CAMHS.

I spoke about a number of important mental health issues affecting our young people and highlighted the lack of local mental health services in Dublin North West.

I emphasised that early intervention is essential and such intervention should begin at primary school level.

Ballymun Shopping Centre

I raised under Topical Issues in the Dáil the Ballymun shopping centre site. I empasised to the Minister that the future development of the site should have at its core the idea and philosophy that this site is crucial to making this area once again the heart of the community of Ballymun. Dublin city council should deliver on the promises and aspirations of the Regeneration Project and central to that is making this site once more the centre of a vibrant and growing community.

Ballymun Tidy Towns are organising an event for World Clean Up Day and on Saturday 21st September 11am – 1pm at Ballymun Civic Plaza, beside Ballymun Civic Offices, Main Street, Ballymun.

Issues moving from Rent Supplement to HAP

Today I raised with the Tánaiste in the Dáil a problem in the legislation for those moving from Rent supplement to HAP. The Tánaiste seemed to be unaware of unforseen consequence which are causing big problems for many people and families. If someone is moving from rent supplement to HAP they are often finding that landlords do not want to sign up to HAP and it is also impossible to find another HAP property. So people are left in a situation where the welfare officers are not giving them the rent supplement which means they often owe months of rent and face the possibility of being made homeless.

Speaking in the Dáil Joint committee on the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands

A small extract from my contribution in the Dáil at the Joint committee on the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.  The committee for the Ghaelcholáiste for a second level Irish school in Ballymun appeared before the Dáil committee to answer questions and outline their plans for a Ghaelcholáiste in Ballymun as well as a Gaeltacht quarter.

I said there is a hunger for the Irish language in Ballymun and surrounding areas.  There is a big demand for Irish schools in Ballymun as you can see for new Gael scoil Baile Munna in Coultry and also Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch for which there is a great demand.  I told the committee that 16 years ago there was no Irish School in Finglas and at that time there was also a hunger for the Irish Language in Finglas just like Ballymun.  Myself and Seán Ó Donaile the Principal of Scoil Naomh Barra were able to source a building which ultimately became the location for the new Irish School Gaelscoil Ui Earcain which has since grown and developed and is now situated in bigger premises at the former De La Salle school on Glasanaon Road.

Sliocht beag as mo chuid oibre sa Dáil ag an gComhchoiste ar an nGaeilge, an Ghaeltacht agus na hOileáin. Tháinig coiste an Ghaelcholáiste do scoil dara leibhéal Gaeilge i mBaile Munna os comhair choiste na Dála chun ceisteanna a fhreagairt agus a bpleananna do Ghaelcholáiste i mBaile Munna chomh maith le lár ionad Gaeltachta a leagan amach.

Dúirt mé go bhfuil ocras ar an nGaeilge i mBaile Munna agus sna ceantair máguaird. Tá éileamh mór ar scoileanna Gaeilge i mBaile Munna mar a fheiceann tú le Ghaelscoil nua Baile Munna i gCoultry agus Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch a bhfuil éileamh mór air. Dúirt mé leis an gcoiste nach raibh aon Scoil Gaelach 16 bliana ó shin i bhFionnghlas agus ag an am sin bhí ocras don nGaeilge i bhFionnghlas díreach cosúil le Baile Munna. Bhí mé féin agus Seán Ó Donaile, Príomhoide Scoil Naomh Barra, in ann foirgneamh a aimsiú a bhí mar shuíomh don Ghaelscoil Uí Earcain atá tar éis fás agus forbairt ó shin agus tá sí suite anois in foirgneamh níos mó in iar-scoil De La Salle ar Bhóthar Glas an Éin.

 

PMB on the Mental Health Commission Annual Report

The annual report from the Mental Health Commission shows that there is a crisis in mental health services in this country. We need proper funding and resources so that decent and appropriate mental health services can be provided.
It is unacceptable that children under the age of 16 are still being placed in adult services.
Often the services that are available can be poor in quality or have variable standards.
Progress in improving these services has been very slow or has not happened at all.
The existing services are badly funded and they are not responding adequately to the needs either of the children or of their families.
This needs to be urgently addressed by government. There is no health without mental health.

Raising once again the scourge of Quads and Scramblers on parks and greens and in estates with the Minister.

We are still waiting for the cross agency report on quads and scramblers from the committee set up by the government over a year ago.  How long does it take to find a solution to this problem.  The bill I brought to the Dáil in 2018 which would have solved the issue was voted down by Fianna Fáil and the government.  Yet we are still waiting for the government to offer a solution to this major problem.

Sinn Féin Bill on Tips and Gratuities

My speech in the Dáil on the Sinn Féin bill on Tips and Gratuities. If our bill becomes law then it would make it illegal for an employer to withhold, deduct, or demand the return of a tip from an employee without a lawful excuse.
It would also require businesses to display their tipping policy on a menu or in a similarly prominent manner.

None of these payments should be used to make up the national minimum wage or should be kept by the employer to cover breakages, or the cost of those who have done a runner or as additional profit for the employer or owner of the restaurant, bar and so on.

The tip is a recognition of a job well done. An employer taking the tip off the staff member is effectively telling them that they don’t matter. Sinn Féin believes that hard working staff do matter and the tip for their service shows that the customer also think that they matter. They deserve to keep the tips and gratuities that they have earned.

Private Members Motion on the Drugs Task Forces.

Speaking in the Dáil on the Private Members motion on Drugs Task Forces.

In my speech I highlighted issues around the lack of proper funding and provision of resources to Drug task forces and those involved in Drug Projects.  Funding was cut from 2008 to 2014 and has been frozen since 2014.  I also spoke about the intimidation of families over drug debts and my concerns about grooming children to act as drug couriers.

I also paid tribute in my speech to a great anti-drug and community activist John ‘Whacker’ Humphries who passed recently.   ‘Whacker’ Humphries and those who worked in the anti-drug movement showed great courage and were an inspiration to their local communities.

Stardust Tragedy

On the Anniversary of the Stardust Tragedy myself and Sinn Féin TD’s Sean Crowe and Denise Mitchell spoke in the Dáil about the urgent need for a new inquest into the tragedy and justice for the families who have been waiting all these years for the truth of what happened that night. A vigil was being held at the gates of the Dáil at the same time by families and friends of the victims in remembrance of all those who died on that tragic night.