I am asking for your support in this election so that I can continue to represent you in Dáil Éireann. Together, we have made great progress – more people are at work, the public finances are back in order, and record investment is being made in transport, housing, healthcare, families and communities. However, we have to do more especially in the areas of health and housing. And we have to tackle challenges such as Brexit and Climate Action too.
It is a privilege to be your TD and if re-elected I pledge to continue to work for you locally and in Dáil Éireann. Please Vote Seán Kyne No. 1 on Saturday, 8th February. Go raibh míle maith agat.
The €15.39 million allocation in 2019 for the N59 will continue the substantial improvements that are underway on this busy route. The 2020 funding includes allocations of €10 million for the Maam Cross to Bunnakill section, €1.3 million for the widening project at Letterfrack, €1 million each for the Clifden to Oughterard section and the Moycullen Bypass, as well as pavement works near Letterfrack, Gowlan West near Clifden, Moyard and Recess.
Bunakill – Maam Cross re-alignment works are presently underway on this 5km section of the N59. The new road will improve safety for all.
Letterfrack Widening Scheme
A total of €800,000 has been allocated to widen a 400m stretch of the N59 near the entrance to the National Park. This section is extremely narrow, and the new widening will improve driver and pedestrian safety at this location.
Tender documents are finalised and will go to tender in the coming weeks. The bypass is critical to allow Moycullen develop and allow easier access to Connemara.
Working with my colleague Michael Ring TD, we reintroduced the Local Improvement Scheme with over €4 million allocated to Galway. This Scheme has enabled improvement works to a significant number of local roads that are much-used by communities.
Since December there are extra bus services – particularly in the evening – on two Connemara bus routes, Route 419 – Galway-Moycullen-Oughterard and Route 424 – Galway-An Cheathra Rua-Leitir Mealláin/Carna. The new services bring to 13 per day from the City to Moycullen into Oughterard and 11 per day on Route 424 in South Connemara. However, I believe more services are needed and will continue to work on this issue.
With the publication of the National Greenway Strategy a further €2.6 million was allocated to Galway County Council to continue the development of the Connemara Greenway with work progressing on a 21km stretch.
This funding and co-operation of landowners will allow for the development of a wonderful amenity for locals and tourists alike. €500,000 has been provided for a bridge at Ballinahinch, funded by Michael Ring’s Department and is due to be installed at the end of January.
I have supported the Greenway from the start but unfortunately there is some landowner opposition between Galway City and Oughterard. RPS Consultants are trying to finalise the route with consultation with landowners.
Clár/ Town and Village Scheme has enable improvements in many areas including footpaths in Claddaghduff, Tullycross and Maam.
Clifden Community School
Officially opened by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in 2019. The school is hugely important to all of North Connemara. I would like to thank Cllr Eileen Mannion for her trojan work politically and on the Board of Management to get this project over the line.
The Budget for Education is the highest it has ever been. Since 2016 we have invested over €160 million on school buildings and equipment for pupils in Galway. All schools in Galway have received funding under the Minor Works Scheme and for IT equipment.
The budget to support pupils with additional or special educational needs is at its highest level. In Galway, over 830 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are supporting pupils with a further 41 Special Education Teachers working in mainstream schools.
Tullycross Education Project
Minister Michael Ring approved €1.7 million towards the cost of delivering this project which Connemara West now wish to focus on the renovation of the cottages.
This funding under the Rural Regeneration Fund is a competitive process and clearly the quality of the project helped to secure the funding.
Lough Corrib and Western Lakes
I spearheaded a new bye law to designate Lough Corrib and the other Western Lakes as recognised brown trout lakes. Though this became law for a number of months there were legal challenges that resulted in the bye law being withdrawn. Work is underway to reinstate that bye law.
Under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan over 2,300 new homes have been built in Galway.
House building in Galway is increasing with new homes built or underway in communities including Roundstone and Letterfrack, Ros an Mhíl, Moycullen, Bearna, An Cheathru Rua among others.
State owned land is being used for housing with Government funding to service sites.
Rent Pressure Zones are helping to control rents.
The “Help to Buy” Scheme and Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans introduced and working and will be expanded.
Legislation passed to provide more certainty for renters.
Over €10 million allocated to Galway for housing adaptation grants to help older people and people with a disability.
Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC)/ Sheep Scheme
Cuts to the ANC in 2008 have now been fully reversed and increased funding of 24% over 2018 and 2019 have been sanctioned. The ANC is a hugely important scheme for marginal lands. The sheep welfare scheme was introduced in 2016 as a support for the scheme sector at a total budget of €25 million.
Connemara National Park
Agreement and funding were secured for year-round opening of Connemara National Park. The year round opening will assist the local economy as well as sustaining employment in the area. €1.9 million was announced to allow better accessibility and access to the Park in the future, creating 10.5km of new trails allowing access to higher areas of the Park. Funding was also granted to provide a children’s natural play area, visitor carpark at Mweelin and a new Lime Kiln Trail to enhance access to more areas of the Park.
I was delighted to be involved in the Clonbur Playground project which is a credit to the local community. The new playground is co-funded under Clár and Leader programmes and is a wonderful amenity for Clonbur and the wider area.
Connemara Therapeutic Riding
Connemara Therapeutic Riding does excellent work with children with special needs. I was particularly pleased that the company has now been accepted into the Community Services Programme by Michael Ring’s Department. This means funding for a manager and employees which will secure the future of a very worthy service in North Connemara.
€969,387 for the development of a Geopark in the Joyce Country and Western Lakes Area of Mayo and Galway
Families and Community
Supporting families and communities is a key priority and, through sensible and responsible economic policies, investment continues to be made across Galway. Key supports include:
- New Universal Childcare Scheme, supporting all families;
- Increased Paid Parental Leave and expanded Unpaid Leave;
- Funding for childcare providers with extra places;
- Targeted increases in social welfare supports such as the State Pension and fuel allowance;
- For the first time ever, social welfare supports, such as Jobseekers and Treatment Benefits, for the Self-Employed including local business-owners and farmers;
Under the Sports Capital Programme we have allocated funding for many projects that are benefiting communities across Connemara including:
- Clifden Community School Astroturf
- Clifden GAA
- Connemara Rugby
- Naomh Feichin GAA Club Clifden artificial pitches
- Diamond Hill Housing Association Ltd
- Walking track in Oughterard
- Gurthreeva Golf Course Ltd
- Killannin Pitch Committee
- Oughterard AFC Ltd
- Oughterard GAA Club
- Corribdale Grounds Committee Ltd
- Oughterard Amateur Boxing Club
- Cumann Liathróid Láimhe Mhaigh Cuilinn
- Oughterard Leisure Centre Ltd – Upgrade of Sports Hall and Fitness Centre (€17,087)
- Oughterard Rugby Football Club – Pitch Development Rugby (€66,890)
- Connacht Rugby – €10 million from the Large Scale Sports Capital Fund and a further €10 million which I secured from the Government to support this transformative project at the Sportsground.
Fine Gael is the only party or group committed to bringing broadband to all parts of Ireland. The contract for the National Broadband Plan has been awarded and will see an investment of €153 million in Galway bringing high-speed broadband to every home, farm and business in the county, some 36,202 premises. During 2020, 21 broadband connection points will be set up across Galway to help provide access quickly.
Jobs and Business
Employment – up by over 20% in the West since 2016.
30,000 people in Galway are working in IDA and Enterprise Ireland backed companies.
Fine Gael has introduced Jobseekers, invalidity and treatment benefits for the self-employed people.
Paid Parental Leave and Paid Paternity Leave have been introduced and Parental Leave extended.
Over €10 million has been invested in Galway City based organisations including the PorterShed, Galway Technology Centre, Comhoibriú Creative Enterprise West at GMIT and SCCUL Enterprises to support job creation.