Jim Higgins MEP
A North West MEP has claimed Ireland could lose up to half its MEPs by the year 2019 because of the allocation of seats to new countries likely to join the EU. Fine Gael Jim Higgins MEP warned that unless the government develops a negotiating strategy for retaining the maximum number of seats, Ireland risks a serious loss of power and influence on EU policy over the next few decades.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr Higgins said Ireland could start by using its veto to block the planned loss of one MEP seat in the 2014 elections.
“If you look at the population of the seven countries most likely to join over the next decade, there will be a need to allocate roughly 60 of the current 751 seats to these new member states. It means that Ireland could go from a situation of having had 15 MEPs in 2004 to just seven or eight by 2019, unless the government sets out its stall clearly,” he warned. Read more
Homeowners in Mayo and across the country could see a 15% hike in their property tax bills from next summer, according to Fianna Fáil Deputy Dara Calleary.
Despite the widespread assumption that the family home tax would be fixed until 2016, it’s now been confirmed to Fianna Fáil that the Government is allowing local authorities to impose a 15% increase after the local elections in 2014.
“This will come as a complete shock to the vast majority of homeowners who were given the clear impression that they would face no increase in the family home tax until at least 2016,” said Deputy Calleary. Read more
Families across Co Mayo will soon begin to feel the pain of a range of cutbacks and new taxes in Budget 2013, Fianna Fáil Deputy Dara Calleary has warned.
According to Deputy Calleary, it is lower and middle income families, and particularly those with young children, who will bear the brunt of the cuts that begin to take effect from this month.
“The reality of a budget that was riddled with broken promises and deeply unfair cuts will hit home in households across Co Mayo in the coming weeks,” said Deputy Calleary.
Ireland is on course to become the second safest state in the EU for road users behind Sweden, following the release of garda figures tracking the number of fatalities resulting from crashes.
Nine people were killed on Irish roads in November just gone – exactly half the number who lost their lives during the same month last year. Overall, 154 people have died in traffic collisions this year up to the first week in December, compared to 169 during the same period in 2011.
Praising the downward trend in road deaths, Northwest MEP Jim Higgins noted that last month was the safest November ever recorded. “This is a massive turnaround, and the Road Safety Authority deserves great tribute for their work.”
Ireland West Airport Knock, this week appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications to put a case for greater recognition of the strategic importance of the airport for Ireland’s aviation infrastructure.
Following a full and successful engagement in which Chairman, Liam Scollan and CEO, Joe Gilmore gave presentations about the airport and their serious concerns about the quality and level of engagement with the Government, Committee Chairman, Tom Hayes TD, following a proposal by Senator Pascal Mooney, confirmed that the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, would be called before the Committee, to discuss his aviation policy, and to consider how best to ensure both Ireland West Airport Knock and Shannon Airport can thrive in a spirit of co-operation.
“We very much welcome that Minister Varadkar is to be called before the Transport Committee, as it will provide a number of Committee members, who have serious concerns around his treatment of Knock Airport to challenge him on his policies,” said Liam Scollan, Chairman, Ireland West Airport Knock.
“We were provided, with the opportunity to clearly articulate our concerns at the package announced, this week in support of Shannon Airport, without any clear strategic vision for the whole of the West of Ireland,” said Joe Gilmore, CEO, Ireland West Airport Knock. “Although it was Budget Day we received the full attention of the Committee and its Chairman, and we very much appreciate that.”
Dara Calleary TD
The HSE has confirmed plans to close the psychiatric unit at St Joseph’s District Hospital in Ballina this year, according to local Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary.
Deputy Calleary has described it as a ‘dark day’ for mental health services in north Mayo. “These damaging cuts were confirmed in the HSE West Service Plan published on Friday. Read more
Gardaí in Ballina Co Mayo are investigating the circumstances of a fatal road traffic collision which occurred last night (22/7/11). At approximately 8pm a male motorcyclist (39yrs) was fatally injured when his motorcycle collided with a wall on the Shore Road, Killala, Co Mayo.
He was taken to Castlebar General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. No other person was involved. The scene of the collision remains closed pending a Garda forensic collision examination.
Anyone who may have witnessed this collision is asked to contact Ballina Garda Station on 096-20560, the Garda Confidential Line 1-800-666-111 or any Garda Station.
Jim Higgins MEP
New regulations on cross-border traffic offences agreed at the European Parliament this week will be implemented by the government here, according to a Northwest MEP.
Ireland is one of three countries, along with the UK and Denmark, to have opted out of the legislation until now. Other member states have been given two years to apply the new rules, which will mean that drivers who commit road offences abroad will no longer be able to evade prosecution when they return to their home country. Read more
Dara Calleary TD
Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson and Mayo based Deputy Dara Calleary has welcomed proposed legislation published by the Government today that will see a reduction in the term of bankruptcy from 12 to 5 years.
The decision to reduce the bankruptcy terms was originally brought forward by the previous Government in the Civil Law Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2010. However the Dáil was dissolved before the Bill passed through all stages. Read more
MIchael Ring TD
Mayo based Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring has suggested a voluntary price charter for hotels and other accommodation providers in order to prevent prices being raised significantly for rooms during major events.
Minister Ring said Ireland has worked hard to regain its status as a value-for-money destination, but must now work equally hard to protect that status. “It’s great to be able to tell the world that Ireland now has some of the best value hotel rooms in western Europe. Read more