Mercosur and Ireland

resized-4.jpgThe Mercosur deal has potential benefits for some areas of the Irish economy.  This should not be to the detriment of other sectors, especially where there is an obvious environmental impact in addition to the economic impact.

The recent publication of the Climate Action Plan brought the challenge facing Ireland into sharp focus.  By 2020 we were meant to have de-carbonised by 20%.  Current projections suggest we will only have achieved 1%, which means we will need to reduce our emissions by up to 30% in the next 11 years. Continue reading

Shortage of Farm Labour

IMG_8287[1]As I continue my canvass across North Cork I regularly meet farmers who raise the issue of a shortage in the availability of labour for the agricultural sector.

Dairy farmers in particular have raised the issue with me, outlining how they find it difficult get access to both regular and relief labour for their farms. They have placed adverts for vacancies, and in some cases have received no replies.

 

In May 2018 a pilot scheme was introduced for the horticulture, meat processing, and diary sectors, allowing workers from non-EU countries to access employment in these sectors. 

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Future of History

IMG_2613The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, will soon have to decide on the future of history in the secondary school system. For many people, history was a core subject when completing their Junior Certificate. The experience was no doubt mixed but talking to people there seems to be a general agreement that the study of history is important. A study of history gives people a sense of their place in the world, and an appreciation that our country (indeed all countries) have a past that holds as much hope as grief and has as much to celebrate as to be questioning of. The basic skill of history is to question. Considering the recent experience of the two countries on either side of us, it surely is clear that providing access to historical knowledge and a questioning mind is integral to life in the 21st century. Continue reading

Funding for Education Welcome, but Procedures Must Change

IMG_2613I welcome the commitment of the Minister for Education Joe McHugh, that the extension to Coláiste an Chraoibhín will be open for the new school year.

There are flaws in the tendering process that led to this debacle.  I was a member of the Board of Management of Coláiste an Chraoibhín when the contract for the extension was awarded in 2015.  I did not expect that we would be waiting four years for the extension to be finished.  These four years has been a testing time for everyone involved in Coláiste an Chraoibhín.  It is good that the commitment has been made, but lessons must be learned by the Department of Education. Continue reading

O’Driscoll welcomes investment in rural Ireland

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John Coughlan IFA, Minister Michael Creed, Pa O’Driscoll and Jim Wolfe Dairygold CEO

I welcome the announcements of different streams of funding for projects in North Cork. There has been a series of announcements from government ministers of funding for local organisations, to help them develop and provide facilities for local people.  These are welcome as they allow local groups and organisations to improve on their facilities as well as expand the services they offer to local communities. Continue reading