Clarity needed on plans for Wicklow Courthouse and Library

wicklowcourthouseFine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, is seeking clarity on plans for Wicklow Courthouse, and the re-location of Wicklow Library, as well as pursuing a timeframe on improving the appearance of the Town Hall building.
“The plans for the Courthouse, Library and Town Hall building are an effort to enhance and regenerate the historic centre of Wicklow town and boost the appearance and attractiveness of this part of the town. This is a very important initiative.
“In a Topical Issue debate in the Dáil in late 2015, at which I raised the issue of the need to upgrade Wicklow town Courthouse, it was confirmed to me once again that the Courts Service is committed to the development of the courthouse and was reviewing capital investment proposals.
“In an Oireachtas Committee meeting in late 2015, Mr Brendan Ryan from the Courts Service, reported that progress was being made on the Courts Service capital building programme, following six years of funding and staffing reductions in the Courts Service. He alluded to the five remaining provincial city and county town venues in need of significant improvement, which included Wicklow. In this context I am now awaiting an update from the Minister and the Courts Service on the current situation in relation to Wicklow Courthouse.
“Directly related to the development of the improved court service, is the location and future location of the library in Wicklow town. I hope that the opening of the new library in Wicklow town announced early in 2016 will progress without delay, after €1million of library capital funding was allocated.
“Progressing both of these projects would have a big impact on improving this central part of Wicklow town. I am also aware that Wicklow County Council is currently working on a plan to paint and improve the exterior appearance of the Town Hall building, which would contribute much in terms of the overall perception of the town for visitors and residents alike.”

Funding boost for 13 schools in Wicklow and East Carlow to carry out vital electrical upgrades and gas works

ClassFine Gael TD Andew Doyle for Wicklow and East Carlow said that 13 schools in the constituency are to benefit from funding to improve and upgrade school buildings for students and teachers.

“It’s very welcome news that Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Delgany NS Delgany, Sn Nicolais Naofa , Jonathan Swift NS Dunlavin, Scoil San Eoin Redcross, Shillelagh No 1 N S and Scoil Mhuire Na Naird Shillelagh, Annacurra NS Annacurra, Scoil An Choroin Mhuire Wicklow Town, Crossbridge NS Crossbridge, Blessington Educate Together, St John’s Senior School Arklow, Scoil Chonglais Baltinglass will get funding to carry out vital electrical upgrades and gas works

“Funding of €30 million will see major improvements in 197 primary and post primary schools around the country under the Summer Works Scheme for 2016 and 2017.

“The majority of works in schools in Wicklow and East Carlow will be carried out in schools over the summer months, to minimise disruption to students, teachers and other school staff.

“I’m very aware of the great work being done in schools across Wicklow and East Carlow and this funding will help Boards of Management and school principals in Wicklow and East Carlow to carry out priority gas and electrical projects, which are necessary to improve and upgrade school buildings for both pupils and teachers.

“In my view it is vital that students and teachers in schools across Wicklow and East Carlow spend their days in an environment that is comfortable and conducive to study. This Government is committed to funding improvement and upgrading works in schools across Wicklow and East Carlow to help improve the learning environment for students.

“This Summer Works Scheme is also welcome news for the local economy in Wicklow and East Carlow as it will support jobs in the construction sector and stimulate economic activity.”

More awareness needed around mental health issues, as well as continued investment

Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, says more awareness is needed around mental health issues and continued investment in the area is essential.

“I was fortunate to be able to make a contribution to the Dáil debate on mental health this week as there is a lot of interest in this issue. I used my speech to compliment the excellent work done in Wicklow by organisations dealing with mental health services.

“Mental health is still considered a taboo, yet it’s often as commonplace as alcoholism. I believe that there needs to be more awareness around mental health issues and that negative stereotypes surrounding mental illness should be banished. I think this is particularly important in relation to young adults, who are often at a high risk of developing mental health problems.

“This year Pieta House launched the Darkness into Light Walk in a Wicklow secondary school and on the 7th May I, along with many others, will be participating in the event in Wicklow town at 4.15 am. This walk is a great initiative, which has gathered momentum over the past number of years and deserves support.

“As a member of the Wicklow Drug Task Force I also feel that we need to examine the links between drug use, alcoholism and mental health issues. These issues must be highlighted to both parents and pupils in schools in Wicklow.

“Mental Health is a very important issue for us all and I will continue to work to raise awareness and to help to ensure that mental health services are properly resourced.”
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Doyle concerned about possible implications for walking routes after €40,000 court award to injured hillwalker

Wicklow Way GlendaloughFine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, says he’s very concerned about the possible negative implications for walking routes after a court award of €40,000 in damages to a hillwalker, who was injured when she fell on a boardwalk on the Wicklow Way.
“Here in Wicklow we have worked very hard to develop an open trails policy. Walking as a freely available recreational activity is one of the bedrocks of our tourism industry in the county and crucially important to the local economy.  
“County Wicklow Partnership has a Trails Officer who has worked with landowners, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Coillte to develop a range of great walking routes throughout the upland area.
“Just this morning I attended the launch of the Avonmore walk. It’s a strikingly beautiful route that links Laragh village to Rathdrum, along the sides of the Avonmore river. I have no doubt that this walking route will prove extremely popular and it’s planned to extend this trail, eventually linking from Kilmacanogue to Arklow and Shillelagh, utilising old railway lines on some parts of the route.
“A walk such as this has huge potential for the local economy. Part of the trails however pass over private lands and I would be very concerned if the court award to a hillwalker this week had any negative implications for the future of walks such as this in Wicklow. The Mountaineering Council of Ireland share my concern and have said they’re very disappointed by the award, which they’ve described as not helpful. They’ve also pointed out that it does not recognise that risk is inherent in hillwalking or the simple fact that accidents do happen.
“In this beautiful county our countryside is one of our greatest assets and it’s vital for both walkers and locals that the open trails policy continues and everyone is free to enjoy all that Wicklow has to offer.”

Tiglin Day Service provides safety and support for those fighting addiction

tiglin day service in arklowTiglin Day Service provides safety and support for those fighting addiction – Doyle

Fine Gael TD for Wicklow/ East Carlow Andrew Doyle spoke about the vital work being done in the provision of addiction support services by Tiglin as he attended the launch of Tiglin Day Service in Arklow this week.

“Tiglin Day Service, which is located in Arklow, is a community based project run by Tiglin and funded in the main by the Department of Social Protection. The service is available from 10 am to 2pm from Monday to Thursday and from 10 am to 1.30 on Friday. Places are limited as participants take part in the programme at various stages of the addiction process from those in immediate addiction stage, to education and training; in the rehabilitation phase.

“The project provides comprehensive assistance to those who have left residential rehabilitation centres, but are still in the process of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.

“The day service actively encourages participants to pursue education. The programme provides them with information and resources to help them achieve their personal goals and return to employment through a community employment scheme.

Deputy Doyle, who has been involved in the East Coast Regional Drugs Task Force for many years; highlighted the importance of a service such as this being made available in Co. Wicklow. He praised the input from Wicklow Co. Council, Springboard in Arklow for providing support to the programme as well as the input from the Kildare &Wicklow Education Training Board (KWETB) on the educational side.

“The Task Force continues to work exceptionally hard to provide rehabilitation services to those who are struggling with addiction problems in Co. Wicklow. The Tiglin Day Service in Arklow is a vital initiative, which gives added support to those who are bravely breaking free from drug and alcohol dependency” said Deputy Doyle.

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Emerald Enduro World Series returns to Wicklow in 2016

Greg Callaghan on stage two.
Greg Callaghan on stage two.
Andrew Doyle, Fine Gael T.D., for Wicklow/Carlow East has welcomed the news that Wicklow is once again to feature on the 2016 Enduro World Series calendar and believes that this will again significantly boost County Wicklow as one of the top mountain biking destinations in Europe.
“Carrick Mountain in Wicklow was a new addition to the Enduro series calendar in 2015 and it proved to be a hugely successful event. The 2016 event will again consist of eight rounds across three continents and will include four completely new venues in Chile, Argentina, France and the USA. The event will attract several thousand spectators and dozens of journalists, photographers as well as film crews to Co. Wicklow.
“The event will take place 13-15th May at Carrick mountain in the Wicklow mountains. It is really great news for Wicklow and for all mountain biking enthusiasts in Ireland. Considering the locations of the other rounds of the competition such as volcanic terrain and Patagonian coastline in Chile, the Andes mountains, ski resorts in South America, Colorado, Canada and Europe; one realises that this is a really prestigious event to host and it speaks volumes for both terrain and the character of the location in Wicklow as well as for the mountain biking community and organisations of Wicklow, to be selected two years in a row.
“The 2015 event was an incredible experience for participants and spectators alike. The Wicklow round with it’s spectator–friendly route will likely host a similar number of riders in the 2016 event with a similar route to last year where the best bike riders in the world will complete seven timed technical downhill stages, in a rally style format called ‘Enduro’ and the rider with the fastest combined stage times on the day shall be crowned the winner.
“The sport of enduro has a long history in Ireland, and the race will follow the classic Irish format – single day, plenty of climbing and a high number of shorter stages. It’s a chance for riders and spectators alike to experience at first hand the terrain that marks Wicklow as the perfect Mountain Bike location, with its stunning views, rolling hills and mountain trails, showcased on a world stage.
“This event further emphasises the need to develop a better cycling network in the County. Wicklow is ideal for both greenways cycle based tourism; which is generally flat or undulating and are suitable for beginners, families and all participants and also for mountain biking. I am continuing to seek commitment to develop both the mountain bike trail network and greenway cycle networks around Wicklow.
“Enduro 2016 will provide a huge benefit for County Wicklow from an economic and a tourist perspective. It’s an opportunity to showcase the stunning backdrop of the Wicklow mountains to an international audience as well as an opportunity to recognise the potential and develop a strategy to provide better cycling facilities in the county of Wicklow.”

Doyle urges everyone to check their passports are up to date

irish_passport_coverFine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, is encouraging people to check their passports are up to date if they’re planning a trip in the coming weeks or months, as it’s taking up to 3 weeks at the moment for a passport to be issued.

“I’ve had numerous requests from constituents in recent weeks, who are worried that they won’t receive their passports on time.

“I’ve raised this with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who’s informed me that from the beginning of the year to the start of April over 180,000 passports were issued. This represents a significant increase in applications, compared to the same period last year.

“Figures reveal that the Passport Service has processed almost 120,000 applications via the Passport Express service so far this year and of these over 60,000 have taken more than the ten day target to process. I’ve been informed that Passport Express applications are currently being processed within 11/12 working days. All applications which were submitted in person at the Passport Offices met the guideline turnaround times.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs has informed me that to respond to the anticipated increase in seasonal demand the Passport Service has recruited additional temporary Clerical Officers. The Minister has assured me that the Passport Service will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure that the impact of the high volume of demand on turnaround times is minimised.

“This is the time of year when many of us start thinking about holidays and I would encourage everyone who is planning to travel aboard in the coming months to apply for passports at least six weeks in advance of any planned trip to avoid disappointment.”

Doyle supports planning application for new social housing units in Bray

andrewhousingbrayFine Gael TD for Wicklow/East Carlow, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed a Wicklow Country Council planning application to build 42 social housing units on Kilbride Lane, Bray.

“Public housing is in great demand in County Wicklow and I have been working closely with the Minister for Housing to ensure that Wicklow County Council was able to fill 2 positions, a Senior Executive Architect and Executive Architect. Since these appointments have been made the county council has had the capacity to prepare this land for development.

“I look forward to Wicklow County Council, in association with a number of housing trusts, announcing more social housing projects in County Wicklow in 2016.

“In 2011 when Fine Gael entered government there was no prospect for the building of public housing. Now Wicklow County Council has over €35 million to spend on housing over the next 4 years under the 2020 Social Housing Strategy.

“This week 32 new housing units will be opened in Glenbrook Heights, Newtownmountkennedy provided by Tuath Housing Association. Tuath Housing has worked closely with the Department of the Environment to acquire these units under the Capital Assistance Scheme 2015.

“The increased cooperation between the Department of the Environment, Wicklow County Council and Housing Trusts will result in an increased number of social housing units and a reduction in the number of people on the housing list.”