Hollywood-style film studio demonstrates need to maximise supports to the industry- Doyle

wicklow moviesFine Gael TD for Wicklow, and Minister of State, Andrew Doyle, says that plans to establish a large Hollywood-style film studio in Dublin will confirm Ireland’s status as a desirable film location and will help local authorities to raise the awareness of taking the necessary steps to bolster the industry in Co. Wicklow.
“I learned this week that plans to establish studios on the former Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend in Dublin, which would directly employ almost 3,000 people, are at an advanced stage and are likely to be announced shortly. Planning for this development has taken 5 years which shows the level of commitment and time to bring about such an investment.
“Wicklow has proven itself again and again to be a highly popular location for film production. Given the incentives that exist at national level, local authorities have a responsibility to improve the appeal of their own area for filming purposes. Wicklow County Council has shown great support for the industry ensuring that Wicklow provides an attractive location from a financial perspective.
“Ardmore Studios and Ashford Studios are now well known on the international stage, filming series such as The Vikings, The Tudors and Penny Dreadful. Both studios offer excellent opportunities for further development of the film industry in Wicklow.
“The Action Plan for Jobs for the Mid-East region emphasised the potential of the film industry and highlighted that Wicklow has the potential to be the home of the Irish film industry, borne out by the estimated €70 million annual value of the industry to the county.
“Ireland’s reputation as a key film location is going from strength to strength. What we need now is infrastructure to capitalise on this increasing popularity and international reputation for TV and movie production. We must continue to nurture the talent within the Irish film industry.
“Given the success of the industry in Wicklow, more now needs to done to secure Wicklow’s position and future in this regard. We must investigate securing continued tax credits and lifting restrictive limits for the industry, in order to be able to provide the necessary infrastructural studio space in this lucrative, yet highly mobile, sector. I’m continuing to support Wicklow County Council to achieve these goals.”


AndrewDoyle_BallotThe Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle T.D. today announced that €5.4 million in funding has been awarded to successful projects under the 2016 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector.

Announcing details of the grants awarded, Minister Doyle said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Minister with special responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture and I look forward to working with all the stakeholders involved in these key sectors of our economy. As outlined in Food Wise 2025, there is strong potential to grow and develop Ireland’s horticulture sector over the coming years.

The Minister continued by saying “This competitive grant aid scheme provides the main source of funding for Ireland’s horticulture industry.  By promoting efficient environmentally sustainable production, encouraging sustainable growth as well as facilitating production targeted at more quality conscious consumers ,this Scheme is well aligned with the objectives for Ireland’s agri-food sector set out in Food Wise 2025”.

Ireland’s horticulture industry, at farm gate level, contributed almost €350m to the value of agricultural output in 2015 and there is significant value-added and employment involved in Irish horticultural product processing, distribution and retailing.

The grant aid approved covers all areas of the horticultural industry; field vegetables, mushrooms, protected food crops, outdoor soft fruit and apples, nursery crops, cut foliage, Christmas trees, flower bulbs and beekeeping.  The awards announced will support investments by 154 commercial producers in specialist horticultural buildings and equipment costing approximately €13.5 million.

The objectives of the Scheme are to facilitate environmentally friendly practices, to promote the diversification of on-farm activities, to improve the quality of products and to improve working conditions in the sector.

Investments approved under the 2016 Scheme are due to be completed, with claims lodged to the Department, by 30th September 2016; however, a small number of projects where additional time is justified, have been granted an extension until 29th September 2017, to submit claims for completed approved investments.

Concluding Minister Doyle said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Minister with special responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture and I look forward to working with all the stakeholders involved in these key sectors of our economy.

Wicklow’s status as gourmet county of the Ancient East recognised, with success in restaurant awards

irish restaurants awards 2016Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, says the success this week for Wicklow in The Irish Restaurants Association awards proves that the county has a lot to offer food lovers and is a great gourmet destination.

“The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant Wicklow, The Pigeon House in Delgany and Chakra by Jaipur in Greystones are all receiving awards from The Irish Restaurants Association this week.
“This is great news for County Wicklow and means it is getting the recognition it deserves as the gourmet county of the Ancient East.
“The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant in Wicklow won best new-comer in Leinster, while Chakra won the Best World Cuisine in Ireland and the best customer service in Leinster and The Pigeon House won the best restaurant in Leinster.
“These are fantastic restaurants and I’m delighted to see that they’re being recognised for serving top quality food, that is often sourced in Wicklow and  for providing excellent service, a combination that  is so vital to the tourism industry here in Wicklow.”
This year was the eighth year for the Irish Restaurant Association awards and most successful year yet, with over 70,000 online nominations received.
Alan Hegarty from The Lighthouse Seafood Restaurant said that this award is down to the staff and great teamwork. He also pointed to the fact that all his fish is fresh from the sea and all the food is cooked to order.
Paul Foley  from the Pigeon House described his establishment as a local restaurant supported by locals, while Lilid Kumar, the head chef in Chakra, said that everyone is delighted with the award and they would like to thank their patrons for their support over the years.

Joined up thinking needed to rejuvenate towns while tackling housing crisis

AndrewDoyle_BallotTD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, is calling on Ministers for Housing Simon Coveney TD, Jobs Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD & Finance Michael Noonan TD to examine what measures can be taken to regenerate provincial & rural towns and to take a collaborative approach in terms of providing the necessary incentives and support for business growth and job creation & retention in towns and village centres in tandem with dealing with challenges in the housing sector.

Speaking about what he sees as priorities for Co. Wicklow, Deputy Doyle was referring to the critical need for re-vitalisation of towns in Wicklow and believes a new policy on town centre rejuvenation including a policy on housing in, and adjacent to our main streets is necessary. Initiatives like the ‘Living City Initiative’ which is administered by the Department of Finance, should be rolled out in towns across Ireland in order to bring new life back into the towns themselves while being part of an overall strategy to tackle the housing crisis.

“There have been a variety of schemes to address the issue of breathing new life into towns and cities including urban renewal projects, removal of obstacles to a ‘living city’ tax incentive scheme for renovating buildings constructed over 100 years ago, incentivising retailers to refit older shops as well as allowing scope to develop vacant units lying idle above shops.

“The Retail Consultation Forum set by Minister Richard Bruton as part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, provides a platform for a structured engagement between the retail sector and relevant Government Departments and agencies. The Forum allows key issues relevant to the retail sector to be discussed with a view to identifying practical actions that can be taken by Government or the industry itself to support the sector with the aim of looking at innovative ways to rejuvenate our towns and villages and create much needed employment.

“A report published in March 2015 on Business Growth Potential in Small Towns from the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs Enterprise and Innovation recommended that central Government support local authorities to introduce grant relief schemes in order to incentivise new businesses to take up vacant properties on main streets as well as addressing the issue of Upward Only Rent Provisions, among other recommendations.

“The issue of an effective parking management system across Wicklow is currently under review and coming towards conclusion stage and I am in contact Wicklow Co. Council to use this opportunity to support retail activity in the county.

I will be urging the Ministers to work collaboratively to devise a joined-up and innovative approach to this whole issue and I will be stressing the need in Co. Wicklow for such a policy”.


Our ambition is to build a fair society

andrew opinion piece

Last Friday was a historic day in Dáil Eireann. As I sat in the Dáil chamber and joined my colleagues in a round of applause to congratulate the Taoiseach on his reappointment I felt a range of emotions. I was both pleased and relieved to see Enda Kenny officially declared Taoiseach and I also felt a huge sense of pride that, after a difficult election and 70 tough days of negotiations, we finally had formed a government. A New Partnership Government, which is ready to embrace the opportunity that was presented by the Irish electorate on polling day, in February, and is ready to begin working for all the people of Ireland.

The recent election was not a good one for Fine Gael. We lost seats, but more importantly we lost good TDs, along with their talents and skills. But we did still emerge as the largest party in the Dáil and as a result, had a responsibility to make every effort to form a Government.

We took that responsibility very seriously and worked tirelessly over 70 days to form, what will hopefully be, a stable and lasting partnership Government. Many people engaged with us in this and for that they deserve respect. Others however, choose a different path, and refused to even enter formal negotiations.

I was particularly disappointed that my constituency colleague Stephen Donnelly TD of the Social Democrats refused to take part in formal government formation discussions. Stephen is a talented legislator and undoubtedly would have had many valuable contributions to make, but instead he chose the path of opposition.

Crafting policies, legislation and action plans takes skill, insight, intellect and vision. But choosing to enter Government and implement those changes takes more, it takes courage. The courage to choose action over words. The courage of your convictions. That is a courage which members of this new Partnership Government all share.

The New Partnership Government is unlike any other established in Ireland since the foundation of the State, made up of Fine Gael, members of the Independent Alliance, and a number of other independent TDs, all working together for the people.

I belief Government is not about having power. It is about using the mandate given by the electorate to effect the kind of change, opportunity and compassion we need and want in our society. In this situation, it’s about continuing with the work and progress of the previous Fine Gael led Government to ensure a fair and a sustainable economic improvement for all. I am proud to be part of this new Partnership Government and I will ensure that I do everything in my power to ensure this Government uses its power to make life better for every person in Wicklow.

Our ambition is to combine all our different talents to build a strong economy and to deliver a fair society, so that communities thrive, here in Wicklow and around the country. We are committed to tackling the most pressing challenges Ireland faces, in areas such as housing and health, while continuing to focus on increasing employment across the country.

Some priorities for Wicklow include; rejuvenating the towns of Bray,Arklow & Wicklow. In Wicklow town, for example, the centre of the town including re-development of the Courthouse, re-location of Wicklow library as well as establishing a future use for Wicklow Town Hall are critical to the revitalisation of the town centre. In general I believe we need a new policy on town centre rejuvenation including a policy on housing in and adjacent to our main streets. Initiatives like the “Living City Initiative” should be rolled out in our towns across the country, bringing back to live in towns can breathe new life into the towns themselves while being part of an overall strategy to tackle the housing crisis.

 Other prioities this new government have to tackle for Wicklow include: the rollout of proper and comprehensive rural broadband as soon as it can be delivered, tackling rural crime and focus on services for the elderly, developing Greenways; Blessington, in the south of the county and from Greystones to Wicklow, improving access to speech & language services across Wicklow; fostering a better awareness of mental health & the necessity of having adequate addiction services for all ages.

 Also building on our attractiveness as a tourism destination the “Ireland Ancient East” brand has the potential to increase visitor numbers significantly. A case in point is Avondale, in many ways the cradle of democracy and certainly the cradle of forestry in this country, if properly developed it can become a major destination, another must see attraction, linking the likes of Glendalough with the Vale of Avoca, where a mining heritage experience and walking trail can and should be developed.

The 32nd Dáil is diverse but need not be divided. We are all united in our common cause to make life better for every person in every part of Ireland. This shared ambition burns strong and bright in our agreed Programme for Government and in this new Partnership Government.

We will work closely with all of the Oireachtas, in recognition of the new political reality, to deliver in the interests of all of our people, here in Wicklow and around the country. In my role as chair of the Oireachtas committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the last Dàil, I sought and received the cooperation of all of my colleagues cross party and, as a result we completed a comprehensive and worthwhile body of work, ultimately making our committee both relevant and influential. I believe that spirit of cooperation can be repeated in the workings of the Dàil and Seanad, all that’s needed is goodwill on all our parts.

As part of this New Partnership Government, I’m now ready to tackle the many challenges facing the country and in doing this I pledge to work with anyone who shares my wish to create a fairer Ireland and in doing this to always put the people first.

Great victory for Wicklow RFC in the Provincial Towns Cup


Andrew Doyle, is congratulating Wicklow RFC on winning the Provincial Towns Cup.

“This is a great achievement and the first time that Wicklow has won this cup since the establishment of the trophy in 1888.

“The sun was shining on much of the country last weekend but it was definitely shining brightly down on Wicklow RFC, when they beat Enniscorty by 28-21 in an epic game in Ashbourne RFC. I was delighted to see that Niall Earls won man of the match.

“It was a truly nail biting game and the atmosphere was electric. My own family connection to Wicklow RFC made yesterday’s win very special for my family and I.

“This title came about through hard work and determination by the team, coaches and supporters from Wicklow. I wish Wicklow RFC continued success in the future.”

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.”