Carol Nolan

Last updated on 2016-07-19T23:05+0300.

About this image

sign

Quotes... Extracted quotes from

Carol Nolan concluded : “The tractor protests last week provided a stark insight into the level of frustration that is building up among farmers. "That is why it is vitally important that the Beef Taskforce does not just descend into yet another talking shop. "Farmers are sick and tired of talk and empty promises. "They need to see real and permanent improvements in their standard of living, and they need to see them quickly. "They also want to see clear commitments on the part of Government to shift the balance of power away from the dominance of the processors and toward a fairer and more equal distribution of profits. "Unless these things happen and unless the real and legitimate concerns of all representative groups, including the Independent Farmers, are taken on board, then it will be difficult to see what value the Taskforce actually has. "I also want to acknowledge and welcome the lifting of the injunctions. It is just a pity that it took the kind of pressure we saw last week with the tractor protest to make C&D see sense,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, December 3, 2019 5:54:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The last thing farmers want to be engaged in is active protests. But many of them feel that they have once again been left with no option especially in light of the hyped expectations around the Beef Sector Agreement and the failure to deliver on the commitments contained within that. "There is also a definite sense that when it comes to the imposition of a carbon tax on the agriculture sector that not enough real on the ground analysis has been performed in terms of long term impacts. "Farmers feel they are being made environmental scapegoats and they are pushing back against that. "Even the Taoiseach admitted recently that the new carbon tax regime will increase the cost of transport for the haulage industry and have significant impacts on agriculture. "We need a more detailed and honest conversation around these issues. "The Taoiseach also accepted that the best way to get carbon tax done, would be on a cross-party basis and to agree on a trajectory over 10 years. "The reality is however that many farmers feel they will be out in business in ten years if cost mitigation efforts are not brought in to assist them. "The farmers who are protesting today are here to remind the government that the fabric of rural Ireland is under threat. "This is not something they will accept lying down, and I for one will be supporting them in that approach,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 26, 2019 5:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added : "In addition to this the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also shown that the annual number of patients who were without a bed at the national level has so far reached 100,457," External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Association ) : “I am deeply concerned about the nature of the challenges being faced by both patients and frontline staff at Tullamore Hospital. "It is clear to me, however, that the Minister and the HSE have not fully grasped the scale of the difficulties facing ordinary people as they wait for prolonged periods of time in Emergency Departments without access to a bed. "I was also alarmed to hear the Irish Hospital Consultants Association recently confirm to the Oireachtas Health Committee that a single nephrologist who specialises in kidney and paediatric kidney conditions is still carrying out the work of two people and that this has been going on for the past five years in Tullamore. "As I understand it, the post has been advertised three times but there are no eligible candidates. The waiting list for an outpatient appointment is now two and a half years, whereas the ideal is for patients to be seen within three to four months in order that urgent cases can be diagnosed. "All of this points to the numerous challenges facing our hospital and they must be addressed without delay. "How long more should the people of Tullamore, Offaly and the Midlands have to wait before the Minister gets that very simple message?” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Kieran Mulvey ) : “I am looking for an urgent and detailed engagement on this very important matter. It simply beggar’s belief that these power plants cannot be re-purposed or put to some other kind of use that will help to maintain vital employment in Offaly and the Midlands. "It was only in September that the ESB told the workers in Lanesboro that they were in a position to recommence generation at prudent levels to ensure compliance with environmental licence obligations. "How is it possible to have moved from that position to one of closure and dismantling in such a short period of time? "This raises deeply concerning questions around whether or not the intentions of ESB to actually commit to the region and the workers were genuine. "We are moving with alarming speed on this issue and I want to know what the reason for this. "My fear is that measures will be taken, such as the dismantling of the power plants, that will needlessly cost us hundreds of millions and close down future options for workers and their families. "I will also be asking the newly appointed Just Transition Commissioner, Kieran Mulvey, to prioritise the retention of the Plants and investigate if it is possible to place a moratorium on any proposals until a full public consultation on their future use can be conducted,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, November 15, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The workers and the people of Offaly and Longford deserved far better treatment than they have received to date in terms of how this entire process was handled. "I am also highlighting the fact that since the Minister for Finance introduced a solid fuel carbon tax, and this includes the tax on peat, in May 2013, significant sums of revenue have been generated. "Last year alone, the solid fuel carbon tax took in €25 million. "From 2013 to 2017 the solid fuel carbon tax raised €72 million in addition to the €25 million generated in 2018. "That is very close to €100 million, to say nothing of the additional amounts generated by the tax on gas, kerosene or petrol. "This gives some much-needed perspective on the commitments provided by Minister Bruton that government is setting aside a total of €50million in investment in the region including The Just Transition fund - of €11m and the retrofitting package of €20million," Deputy Nolan added. "I am calling for a significantly more ambitious and sustainable plan for the workers of Offaly, including a firm commitment to revisit the possibility of extending the phased closure of the plants at Shannonbridge and Lanesboro. "We are where we are in many respects because of this government's inability or unwillingness to move with a greater sense of urgency when it came to preventing this issue from lapsing into a crisis. "So, as things stand now they have allowed the axe to fall and, as usual, it is the ordinary workers and their families who will pay the dearest price for that if nothing meaningful is done,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 12, 2019 6:43:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I am not suggesting for one minute that we should disallow retired teachers to return to work, as very often they perform a vital stand in service when no other teachers are available," Deputy Nolan said. "What I am suggesting, however, is that we need to conduct a far more thorough analysis around why the numbers returning are so high, particularly at primary level, taking note of the fact that the numbers I have obtained do not even include retired teachers in the state’s Education and Training Boards (ETBs). "My own sense is that much of this is a product of the income inequality that new teachers were expected to put up until relatively recently which has undoubtedly contributed to teaching graduates emigrating or choosing another profession". In Offaly, there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six of those were principals with another two being deputy principals. The numbers are similar for Laois where there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six were principals and five were deputy principals. "We have to ensure that teachers and teaching graduates feel it is worth their while staying within our education system in order to avoid large scale absences that necessitate the return of retired teachers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I know that there is genuine anger and indeed upset in many schools throughout rural Ireland because of the devastating impact that comes with losing a valuable and much-needed teacher. I have met many frustrated principals and teachers who discussed this issue with me over the past few months. "As a former teacher and principal, I believe that the existing policy is not fit for purpose and needs a radical overhaul. That is why I was so frustrated with Government when no move was made on the matter earlier this month," Deputy Nolan added. "What we are seeing now however is a direct result of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael-Labour government in 2012 when it introduced changes to the staffing schedules in 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools in Budget 2012; "That policy decision directly targeted schools with less than 86 pupils and led to what was seen even then, as a move toward the forced amalgamation of rural schools. "That policy has continued in both spirit and letter and it is time for it to be urgently re-evaluated. "We already know there are major issues with pupil/teacher ratios-with Ireland having about 5 pupils more in our primary school classrooms than the EU average of 20. "When this is combined with a lack of teachers it leads to all sort of educational and health and safety concerns that are not simply going to go away. "I will continue to press the Minister until he recognises this and until he agrees to my request for an immediate and urgent review,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I made it clear to Minister Coveney that a date had to be provided in order for farming families to have the kind of clarity they deserve, especially around when the promised legislative reforms would take effect," she said. "I know of many farming families who are continuously struggling with the heavy costs of nursing home care despite pledges that such pressures would be minimised and addressed. "I also reminded him that Minister of State, Jim Daly, who is guiding the process of reform through, had already met a delegation from the IFA, along with a farmer who is very badly affected by this issue, Mr. Joe Carroll from Kilcormac. "Commitments were provided, and they must be honoured," Deputy Nolan concluded. As I understand it there was at least 26 people in Laois/Offaly on the Fair Deal waiting list at the end of June. That number has almost certainly increased since then. This is only a snapshot however of the broader health pressures that exist within County Offaly. That is why the date I received from the Tánaiste in terms of advancing the legal underpinning of the reforms we have worked so hard to bring about is so welcome. Farming families cannot afford, either financially or emotionally to have this issue put on the long finger. We must now work to ensure that the reform agenda makes it way quickly through committee so that the changes which are so urgently needed are given practical effect,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:12:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "This kind of thinking, while it certainly has some role to play, is simply unsustainable at present and if implemented would have a devastating impact on the hauliers which would also adversely affect rural Ireland," External link

offalyexpress Friday, October 25, 2019 5:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I have stood with NASRA members many times over the course of the last year as they sought to have their basic right to preferred union representation vindicated," she said. "Minister Harris, however, is still insisting that NASRA, which is affiliated with the Psychiatric Nurses Association is a group which is not recognised by the HSE and therefore does not have negotiating rights. "This is simply not acceptable, and the Minister must give urgent reconsideration to his continued adoption of this unhelpful stance. "I am therefore calling on him and the officials from his Department to maintain open channels for dialogue between representatives of the HSE and the management of National Ambulance Service to explore all possible options that might bring this matter to a fair and just resolution. "I would also remind the Minister and indeed the HSE that National Ambulance staff were asked to respond to over 34 thousand calls that were put through beyond their scheduled working time in 2018. "I have indicated previously that this clearly demonstrates the enormous strain that the service is under. "It is only appropriate then that given the fantastic and vital work these professionals perform that they are also given the right to choose their own form of union representation,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, October 24, 2019 2:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The Report by the HEA makes for deeply disturbing reading in the sense that we seem to have learnt nothing over the last number of years when it comes to increasing the educational opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds," Deputy Nolan said. "In March of 2017, I brought forward the Education (Disadvantage Committee) Bill 2017 specifically to tackle this problem which seems to be endemic in our system. "The purpose of my Bill was to re-instate the Educational Disadvantage Committee under the Education Act 1998. "This committee was in office from 2003-06 and its purpose was to advise the Minister for Education and Skills of the policies and strategies to be adopted to identify and correct educational disadvantage. "It was established on a statutory footing and it is my understanding that the Educational Disadvantage Committee was quite effective in its work. "It is clear that such a Committee now needs to be established without delay particularly light of the fact that the challenges that are being faced by students at the educational level are being translated into deep and highly unequal economic divisions. "Both Minister’s in the department must now accept that the measures they and the HEA have been taken to date have failed and that a new and imaginative approach is needed,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, October 22, 2019 4:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This is an issue that is creating serious levels of anxiety and uncertainty for rural families, and farming families in particular, who want to be able to develop and build a home on their land," Deputy Nolan said. "When I raised the matter with the Minister in June he [Minister Murphy] said that he expected the publication of the new Guidelines to be completed soon. "Yet despite the Minister's assurances and despite the fact that the Working Group examining the matter was established almost three years ago in 2017, we seem to be no closer to the date of publication and the kind of clarity people are asking for. "The Government's general housing trend in the last number of years and especially its vision contained in ‘Project Ireland 2040: National Planning Framework’ – has been to prioritise so-called ‘cluster living’ around towns and villages. "While this is fine, up to a point, it should not be used to create a blanket ban on one-off rural housing or the capacity of rural families to make their own choices around where they want to live; and especially if by doing so they can maintain the viability of the family farm. "So far we know that The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government intends to provide further guidance to local authorities later this year on the revisions it is making to the 2005 rural housing guidelines. "What I’m saying is that further delays are not acceptable given the impact and the uncertainty they are creating,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 16, 2019 5:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “All of the Fleadhanna run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann over the last number of decades have proven the professional capacity of the organisation in terms of maximising whatever public funding it receives," Deputy Nolan said. "We know that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is returning to the Midlands next year and I am sure that it will be just as much of a success as previous years. "In light of that, we must have clarity as to whether or not the Minister is contemplating removing the direct funding that her department provides, usually about €1.5 million. "The Arts Council has its own areas of concern, but Comhaltas is a world-renowned promoter of traditional Irish music and dance, and it should be allowed to direct its own fate without having to depend on the Arts Council with respect to applications for funding. "Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the Fleadh each year with the help of thousands more volunteers. "It is a model that has worked and will continue to work effectively. It does not require revising or reviewing. "That is why I will be calling on Minister Madigan, if she is thinking about introducing changes, to simply leave Comhaltas alone and to avoid creating unnecessary funding obstacles for an organisation that has brought delight to millions both here and abroad,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “There will be hundreds of thousands of families today who will be either be worse off or no better off following this Budget," Deputy Nolan said. "By failing to make the kind of ambitious leap that was required with respect to carers, the Minister has essentially done nothing to address the crisis despite his commitment to deliver an additional one million home help hours. "We know that it would have taken approximately 2.5 million additional hours just to clear the backlog in terms of waiting times. "It is almost incomprehensible that the Minister made no mention whatsoever of the Fair Deal Scheme or the need to urgently prioritise and deliver the promised reforms in that area. This demonstrates worrying political blindness to the scale of the problems facing the scheme. "With respect to schools, I can only imagine how angry and frustrated Principals and teachers will be today following the total lack of commitment to restore the Capitation Grant to €200 or address teacher/pupil ratios. "This means that organisations like The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) will continue to see about 40% of their requests for practical assistance being related to school costs for parents trying to make up the shortfall in school funding. "I do want to acknowledge the €1 million funding provided to farmers affected by Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Area (SPA). However, given that there are at least 493 such areas and given the impact that the Carbon Tax increases will make, it is still not sufficient and more needs to be done here. Continuing her criticism, Deputy Nolan said: "In terms of the package for the Midlands and the proposal for a so-called Just Transition Commissioner; that is something we need to see immediate detail on. "I have continually called on both the Minister for Communications and the Minister for Business to give this issue the kind of sustained and practical focus it deserves and to engage in more sustained and coordinated planning with respect to the just transition policy. "We have seen the potentially devastating impact that a failure to do this can bring about in terms of the threat to Bord na Mona. "As the detail of the Budget works itself out over the course of the next few days, I believe it will become clear that this was a Budget sorely lacking in a determination to place policy fairness at its core. "Where for example was the sense of urgency around the housing emergency? Nowhere to be seen in practical terms. "That is a matter of deep regret given the scale of the challenges that some of our most vulnerable people are facing,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 9, 2019 3:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What is clear from our experience, and I speak as a former Principal myself, is that there is no one size fits all educational model. "We need to ensure that we meet students needs and support them if and when they decide that they would prefer a post-secondary level training in a particular form of apprenticeship. "That is why I support the committee recommendations to introduce a system whereby transition year work experience programmes are developed to let students know what the day-to-day activities of an apprentice are. "There is also a recommendation that leaving certificate subjects and curricula should be evaluated to see to what extent they can lead to apprenticeships, in terms of motivation and content. "I also see an urgency around promoting apprenticeships in the context of re-skilling workers as part of the just transition strategy. "Many of the workers who will be affected under the strategy will have transferable skills and those need to be harnessed and directed into training that is personally appropriate for them. "To make these options more attractive I have called on the Minister to abolish the Annual Student Contribution, or apprenticeship fees, paid by students attending Institutes of Technology. "This is a significant financial barrier to those who would otherwise like to go on and take up a trade,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, October 4, 2019 6:49:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “In May of this year I described the governments delay in accessing significant amount of EU funding to assist job creation and investment for the Midlands region as lethargic and disjointed," she said. "This was against the background of the government’s failure to apply in a timely manner to the EU Commission’s Coal Region in Transition Platform, launched in early 2017, a full year before Bord na Mona made its original announcement of the 430 job losses. "The Midlands membership of the Platform was only confirmed to me in August when I pursued the matter yet again with two separate government Ministers. "We can now see the devastating impact of this kind of sluggish commitment by government to tap into EU funds-funds that could have escalated the implementation of the Just Transition strategy. "I am therefore renewing my call to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, and indeed the Minister for Business, Heather Humphries, to urgently engage with the concerns expressed today not only by the GOU, but also by the CEO of Bord na Móna itself. "We cannot tolerate any further delay in terms of a move toward a Just Transition especially since it is now absolutely clear what such a delay entails,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 27, 2019 9:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The research conducted by the Family Carers of Ireland, who represent 355,000 carers, is an astonishing indictment of the way in which Carers have been systematically neglected over the lifetime of this government," she said. "It is simply unacceptable that family carers who save the state a conservatively estimated €10 billion in unpaid care annually and who provide 15.8 million hours of unpaid care each week continue to be treated with such little regard. "I raised this matter on the floor of the Dáil earlier this week, where I challenged the Minister to radically address the scandalous deficit in services and support that Carers are expected to put up with. "We had the scandal around Home Help packages being significantly reduced in June and now we have confirmation that the governments own inaction is damaging the very health of Carers. "This is intolerable, and it must be addressed in the upcoming Budget by fully resourcing respite and granting Carers access to services that they need to enable them to continue looking after their loved ones, but also themselves,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Co Longford ) : “The loss of operations at Lough Ree in August was a deep concern for the 70 workers and their families who were threatened by action taken by An Taisce. "I made that point absolutely clear at the time. "However, it was also a worrying signal about our capacity to effectively manage a just transition for the Midlands region. "I spoke about this on Thursday during a lengthy Dáil debate on legislation brought forward by the Green Party. "We know that there will be those who say Lough Ree should not be re-opened. "I disagree. "As I said during my Dáil contribution, it is all well and good to have a grand vision of a decarbonised society. It is all well and good telling people that there is a plan and a strategy to compensate for the inevitable disruption that this process will bring. "But families, workers and communities cannot live on sentiment, however noble. "They need to see a clear, dedicated pathway toward employment stability. "That after all is the core of what a just transition is. "The families and workers of counties like Offaly, Longford and the wider Midland region are owed that given the scale of the challenges that we are going to have to face,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, September 23, 2019 1:17:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said ( about Joe McHugh ) : "the failure by the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, to comprehensively address the pay inequality and precarious work conditions that continue to impact school secretaries is the main reason they have decided to withdraw their services" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 20, 2019 1:19:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The last thing the patients of the Midlands Regional Hospital need to hear is that an even further reduction in operating capacity is about to occur following these bed closures," Deputy Nolan said. "Yet following confirmation from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, this looks exactly like what is about to happen, and people are very angry and deeply upset by the news". "There is also a growing sense emerging that the commitments provided in the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2027 published little over a week ago are already obsolete and largely meaningless". "We were given assurances that the MRH was set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "But if there is no parallel commitment to recruiting qualified staff then these commitments are at best meaningless and at worst deliberately misleading," Nolan claimed. "The people of Tullamore and the Midlands who rely on this hospital deserve far greater levels of transparency on this issue than they have received to date". "They will not tolerate being the victims of the Minister and the HSE’s propaganda campaign, especially where their need is so great". "We need absolute clarity from the Minister for Health, that services at MRH will be protected and that a renewed and more credible plan to both retain and recruit staff will be put in place,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "This is an extraordinary statement for him to make," "Effectively he is conceding that he has no idea how adversely the Credit Unions will be hit and so we will just have to wait and see how things pan out" External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:48:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Given that we are about to enter a period of significant instability with respect to Brexit; it is absolutely vital that we effectively manage and apply cost reduction measures to businesses and sectors that are already struggling to survive," Deputy Nolan said. "What Boris Johnson does may be outside our control; limiting insurance costs most certainly is not". "I have been contacted by groups like the Irish Inflatable Hirers Federation (IIHF) that has up to 250 businesses among its number, and these people are on a knife-edge trying to maintain employment. Many have had to close their doors after years of building up solid community relations". "We saw this in Tullamore in March of this year and marts across the country. There are literally hundreds of small businesses like that who simply unable to meet the rising costs of insurance". "As I understand it from information provided to me by the IIHF, even Endurance Sports such as Triathlons are facing uncertainty given that insurance for Tri Ireland increased from 59K to 120K in 2018". "I also understand that the cost of Insurance for a play centre in Spain is approximately €1,250 compared to €45,000 Euro in Ireland. How can people meet those brutal costs?" "All of this has been known since The National Competitiveness Council Costs of Doing Business Report 2016". "That landmark Report recognised that Ireland was a relatively high-cost location and, addressing our cost competitiveness should remain a key economic priority for enterprise and Government". "We need to see change and we need to see it now. This government has long enough to rein in the industry; now it needs to get on with it,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, September 9, 2019 2:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The Minister’s claim that I have acted irresponsibly in raising concerns around the proposed garda restructuring has no basis in reality and needs to be withdrawn" External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan told : "My role, which I fulfil unapologetically, is to advance the interests of my constituents and to highlight their concerns around the capacity of any new proposals to tackle issues like rural farm crime or incidences of crime in general," External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan remarked ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "That is the kind of confident and engaging attitude I would encourage Minister Flanagan to imitate, instead of throwing unfounded accusations my way," "Let me be clear; if the final form of the proposals definitively brings about higher rates of garda visibility, substantial increases in garda numbers for Offaly and Laois and a marked reduction in rural crime, then the Minister and indeed the Commissioner will have my unqualified support" External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The Minister’s claim that I have acted irresponsibly in raising concerns around the proposed garda restructuring has no basis in reality and needs to be withdrawn" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan told : "My role, which I fulfil unapologetically, is to advance the interests of my constituents and to highlight their concerns around the capacity of any new proposals to tackle issues like rural farm crime or incidences of crime in general," External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan remarked ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "That is the kind of confident and engaging attitude I would encourage Minister Flanagan to imitate, instead of throwing unfounded accusations my way," "Let me be clear; if the final form of the proposals definitively brings about higher rates of garda visibility, substantial increases in garda numbers for Offaly and Laois and a marked reduction in rural crime, then the Minister and indeed the Commissioner will have my unqualified support" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “It strikes me as very poor timing to be considering the single biggest garda restructuring plan since the foundation of the State at a time when existing garda resource levels are stretched to capacity," Deputy Nolan said. "To my mind, and indeed to the minds of many ordinary rank and file members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), these proposals need to be urgently reconsidered". "It was only in April that I had to highlight there had been an almost two-thirds reduction in the number of Probationer Garda allocated for Laois-Offaly from 2017-2018". "This was after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed to me that the most recent Divisional Allocation numbers from 2015 to the end of 2018 showed that Laois-Offaly was allocated a paltry 86 Probationer Garda from a total of 2,146 assigned nationally," she added. "How is that situation going to be improved if we actually expand the geographical size of the area for the gardai to cover?" "How is that going to benefit people in Offaly and Laois who are already crying out for a more visible garda presence?" "These are the kind of questions we need immediate answers to before any kind of permanent changes take effect,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, September 4, 2019 1:37:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While considerable challenges remain in terms of service provision in Laois/Offaly, it is only right that we welcome any advances that will make people’s lives somewhat easier," she said. "In terms of Social Inclusion & Community Health; I want to acknowledge that Capital Plan commits to bringing The Community Addiction Services building on St Fintan’s Campus, in Portlaoise to operational completion in Q1 2019. This will provide much needed counselling services to the affected community". "There is also a guarantee that capital will be allocated to a number of projects which specifically address infrastructural risk issues in 2019. These include Fire Alarm and Fire Safety works in Tullamore MRH," Deputy Nolan continued. "Tullamore is also set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "I am disappointed, however, that in terms of Social Care/Palliative Care, a new Hospice for the Midlands is still only at a very preliminary stage". "It was also confirmed in the Capital Plan that the proposed 100 bed Community Nursing Unit for Mountmellick is still only at design stage". "I remain absolutely committed to highlighting to the HSE and indeed to the Minister for Health, where the Capital Plan can be improved for Offaly and Laois and where urgent investment is required, for example in Speech and Language Therapy and access to appropriate levels of Primary Care,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:03:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “My main priority here is to ensure that as many farmers as possible are aware of the BEAM Scheme and also to ensure that they are aware they need to act fast in order to have their application processed in time," Deputy Nolan added. "From what we know there are at least 37,000 beef finishers and 55,000 suckler farmers who are eligible for the scheme". "Given those numbers, we should work to avoid any confusion around deadlines etc". "I am also anxious for farmers to know that applications for participation in the Measure shall be made online only". "In cases where an applicant is deemed ineligible to participate in the scheme they will be given ten working days after the closing date for receipt of valid application to seek a review by the Department,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made the point after the talks that while some movement has been made on issues like addressing the systemic unfairness embedded in the beef grid system and the commitment to introduce an appeal system for carcass classification in meat plants; we were still very far from achieving true parity of esteem for the farmer," Deputy Nolan said. "Today it is clear to me and to many farmers just how far we still have to travel, specifically in terms of the intransigence of Meat Industry Ireland around the 30-month rule". "What we need at this point is a robust charter outlining in a clear and unambiguous manner how transparency can be applied to the calculation of pricing for the product". "We cannot allow MII and indeed the Minister to push the agenda that great advances have been made in this regard given the clear level of discontent that still exists out there". "We need urgent statutory enforcement on the issue of pricing". "I also said after the talks that what we simply cannot have is a return to the status quo that existed prior to the negotiations. Yet that is exactly what will happen if measures like this are not introduced; otherwise, it is just light-touch regulation that will continue to disproportionately benefit the processors against the ordinary farmer,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added ( about Simon Harris ) : "What we needed was target care for the sickest children and their families. Instead, then Minister Varadkar and after him, Minister Harris, have continued to drive through access policies that are actually harming those most in need in Offaly and Laois," External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 26, 2019 6:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We know that the cost of developing the NCH is going to be at least a billion euro more than originally anticipated," she remarked. "This was confirmed by the Government's own Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) Report when it found that the current €1.43bn cost is set to increase by €290m, bringing it to €1.73bn. The original estimate for the cost was €650 million". "When you compare this with the total estimated cost that the Minister has provided to me for the implementation of the entire National Cancer Strategy, then we can really see the enormity of the challenges that are going to be confronted and the waste that has been incurred". The Cancer Strategy itself is set to be rolled out over the next number of years, until 2026. "That timeframe could have been significantly reduced if the department did not have to find funds to meet the exorbitant costs associated with the NCH," Deputy Nolan continued. "I also think these figures should be seen in the context of the refusal of the Minister to amend the Health Act 1970 in order to remove inpatient charges for cancer patients. This is another issue I questioned him about recently". "What cancer patients and their families now want is to be absolutely assured that the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy will not be affected by these out of control costs at the NCH. It is the least they deserve,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 22, 2019 12:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The work undertaken over the course of the last year by the fantastic team in the Clara Heritage Committee demonstrates what this week is all about". "It is about celebrating and preserving the rich historical and cultural legacy that we have on our own doorsteps often without even being aware of it". "That is why weeks like this are so important". "There are dozens of events available to the public in Offaly; everything from Follow the Flyboats at Shannon Harbour, to Craft Skills Days in Tullynisk, Birr and Wildlife Detective events for kids at Clara Bog". "There are also a range of events in Tullamore, Pallas Lake and Moneygall, to name but a few". "The same is true for Laois where Laois County Library is hosting a number of talks on various aspects of our shared heritage. There also tours being offered at Emo Court House and Abbeyleix Estate". "I would encourage everyone who can to go and take some time out to visit one of these events". "A full list of the huge number of celebrations is available on the National Heritage website where you will find a county by county breakdown of everything that is being organised,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 19, 2019 4:24:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I have been pursuing this matter for some time now with a number of Ministers after it became clear to me that the government’s approach to accessing the widest possible range of EU supports was somewhat lacking in urgency and follow-through," Deputy Nolan remarked. "I had put it to both the Minister for Communications and the Minister for Business that significantly more needed to be done, especially given that the entire purpose of the Regions in Transitions Platform was to assist areas like our own Midland counties who have suffered with the loss of jobs in Bord na Mona for instance". "Minister Bruton has now confirmed to me that at the most recent meeting of the Platform, on 15-16 July, the European Commission announced that the Midlands region has now been included in the Platform. The formal confirmation is expected shortly". "As I understand it from the Minister, membership of the Platform enables the Midlands region to avail of the support of a dedicated Country Team, comprised of Commission experts, to assist with the development of strategies and projects for the region, focusing in particular on the employment challenges faced by workers affected by decarbonisation". "The Team will also assist in identifying appropriate EU funding opportunities for the Midlands. The meetings of the Platform also enable the exchange of knowledge and ideas between carbon-intensive regions". "While no new EU funds have been set up under this initiative, the European Parliament has proposed a €5 billion budget line in the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 currently being negotiated to support the just transition," she added. "I will continue to pursue this matter to ensure that counties like Offaly and Laois will have immediate access to the funds that become available, particularly in light of the increasing threats to employment that we have seen very recently at Bord na Mona,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 15, 2019 12:38:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I accept that the remit of An Taisce is to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage, it must do so in a manner that is collaborative and fair," she said. "From what I can see from its most recent decisions with respect to Lough Ree and Shannon Bridge, this approach has been entirely ignored in favour of an increasingly aggressive and interventionist policy that is having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary workers". "The Environmental Protection Agency had already decided to grant Lough Ree a revised licence and that should have been sufficient to allow operations at the plant to be restored". "However, An Taisce are now saying said the EPA had 'not considered the impact of continuing peat extraction.' This is clearly absurd given the level of work that has gone in to achieve environmental compliance". "At this point, it is difficult to avoid the impression that An Taisce are willing to sacrifice the sustainability of the Midlands as a region in transition as part of its effort to push through its own narrow vision of what is environmentally acceptable". "It is now clear that the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, needs to intervene in order to assure the people of the Midlands that charities like An Taisce will not be allowed to act as a de facto threat to the growth and viability of our communities,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 14, 2019 4:14:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I accept that the remit of An Taisce is to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage, it must do so in a manner that is collaborative and fair," she said. "From what I can see from its most recent decisions with respect to Lough Ree and Shannon Bridge, this approach has been entirely ignored in favour of an increasingly aggressive and interventionist policy that is having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary workers". "The Environmental Protection Agency had already decided to grant Lough Ree a revised licence and that should have been sufficient to allow operations at the plant to be restored". "However, An Taisce are now saying said the EPA had 'not considered the impact of continuing peat extraction.' This is clearly absurd given the level of work that has gone in to achieve environmental compliance". "At this point, it is difficult to avoid the impression that An Taisce are willing to sacrifice the sustainability of the Midlands as a region in transition as part of its effort to push through its own narrow vision of what is environmentally acceptable". "It is now clear that the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, needs to intervene in order to assure the people of the Midlands that charities like An Taisce will not be allowed to act as a de facto threat to the growth and viability of our communities,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 14, 2019 4:14:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The Tullamore Show has proven, yet again, why it remains the premier agricultural show at Irish and European level," Deputy Nolan said. "Each year it manages to combine world-class livestock skill and the best in farm machinery with a genuinely family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. This year was no exception". "All of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes paid off on the day". "I was also delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with so many of our farming families and to listen once again, to the concerns that remain a huge part of their lives". "Many of those pressing issues were put to the Minister when he attended. He now needs to act on them in order to ensure the survival of our world-class agricultural heritage". "The rain may have stayed away from Tullamore, but the storm clouds are gathering for Irish farmers and they cannot be left defenceless by their own government,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 12, 2019 4:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There is a genuine sense that the atmosphere around the Tullamore Show this year is something exceptional. That in itself is a testament to the amazing work that is carried out by an army of volunteers who give up their time to make the event so welcoming for all those who visit," Deputy Nolan said. "It is also down to the extraordinary work that is put in by the Show Committee who go to great lengths to ensure that it remains a event of the highest possible quality". "My own sense is that Irish agriculture and Irish farming need a hugely positive occasion like this now more than ever. We need to say to ourselves and to Europe that we have the best farming produce and livestock in the world and that they deserve to be supported and championed". "I have spent the last year highlighting so many of the challenges that face the farming community and farming families, like generational renewal, unsustainable trade agreements and threats to local marts". "I want to continue that work while at the same time pushing our government to a greater appreciation of the huge and valuable resources we have on our own doorstep and which the Tullamore Show captures so brilliantly,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 8, 2019 5:42:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

agriland Wednesday, August 7, 2019 11:25:00 AM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While I acknowledge the difficult position that the protests are putting the factories in; we have to accept that what is happening to the beef and suckler sector in Ireland is going to have massive ramifications for every element of the sector," she said. "Last year, after the Minister spoke at the Beef Roundtable forum, he said it was more important than ever for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency". "He also urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development". "Yet as things stand, farmers, and beef farmers, in particular, are seeing little to no sense that government is recognising its role in terms of that inter-dependency that the Minister spoke about," Deputy Nolan said. "At the moment, beef farmers are being left to the whims of a factory pricing structure that is undermining their work, an international order that is flooding their markets with cheap and possible sub-standard product and finally, a government who are not defending indigenous interests against destructive EU trade deals". "All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 6, 2019 1:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The position adopted by Bord na Móna, and in particular the way in which it has treated its long-term employees, has been needlessly provocative and unfair," she claimed. "This does not bode well for the future of the Mountdillon plant not indeed for the entire Midlands". "All of us who have been active in seeking to put in place a robust and just transition to new forms of employment for the Midlands region always presumed that Bord na Móna would be a constructive and fair partner in that process," Deputy Nolan added. "That presumption has taken a battering recently in light of Bord na Móna’s willingness to casually set aside the duty of care it owes its workers". "I seriously hope that this does not indicate a more fundamental shift in attitude. Right across the Midlands the workers of Bord na Móna have given decades of service and hard work to build up the brand and sustain the viability of its entire operation. "That history cannot simply be set aside as we engage with the challenging work of finding alternative employment models for the region". "I am calling on Bord na Móna to listen to the Unions and the workers and to engage with full openness to any suggestion that will allow us to maintain the maximum amount of employment,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 22, 2019 2:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The scale of the levy increases and the pressure it will place on Credit Unions is totally unacceptable. As I understand it, Minister Donohue has sanctioned a Central Bank request to raise the levy that will be due from approx. €1.5 million per annum to approx. €7.8 million by the end of 2022". "As yet it is still unclear if the Minister consulted with the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC), the statutory body established to advise the Minister on credit unions, in advance of this announcement". "This is a question that the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) have rightfully demanded answers to". "I want to state that I fully oppose this drastic increase and that I share the view of the ICLU that Minister Donohoe has shown a very poor understanding of the cooperative and community-driven nature of the credit union movement," Deputy Nolan said. "The Credit Union movement is a deeply responsible and trusted part of the community. It has maintained this reputation when other lending or financial organisations were crashing or were finding their duty of care to customers was severely compromised". "We need the Minister and indeed the Central Bank to back off and simply allow the Credit Unions the space and financial flexibility they need to continue providing the excellent service they have given communities over the years". "That is why I will be writing to the Minister requesting a meeting on this issue as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:56:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “At the outset, I want to acknowledge the enormous and indeed heroic efforts that parents and schools put in place in terms of working with the NCSE to improve Special Class provision," she said. "That being said it is deeply concerning to note that only five new classroom spaces will be provided this September in Offaly and a further five in Laois. This becomes even starker when you consider that Offaly has almost 40 Primary and Post Primary Schools that have a requirement for Special Classes". "So, the allocation that has been provided is clearly insufficient and will not match the level of need that currently exists". "I am aware that The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 can assist in addressing this issue where the NCSE is of the opinion that there is insufficient education provision for children with special educational needs in an area". "That is why I will be asking the Minister to review the situation in Laois/Offaly and the Midlands under the relevant sections of the Act". "As a parent and former Gaelscoil Principal, I absolutely believe that all children, including children with special educational needs, have a right to an education in line with their abilities, in order to live full and independent lives,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, July 11, 2019 12:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “From the information I have been given, it appears that no Senior Social Worker in Mental Health is currently assigned to CHO Area 8. There also vacancies for two Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists in our Area. "Of the three Clinical Nurses Specialists that are assigned, two are at the MHS Mental Health Day Hospital Portlaoise, while the other is assigned to Navan". "This is clearly an insufficient level of mental health staff given that CHO Area 8 consists of six counties, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Louth, and has a population of 615,258". "It is also the second largest CHO in terms of geographical area". "What is frustrating about this situation is that the need for enhanced mental health services was clearly identified almost three years ago with the publication of the HSE’s 2017 Plan for CHO Area 8," Deputy Nolan said. "That plan recognised that the people of Laois/Offaly needed early intervention and integrated care pathways between CAMHS, Primary Care and voluntary groups such as Jigsaw". "It also aimed to develop and integrate specialist clinical responses through the mental health clinical programmes". "The question I have for the Minister is how can these objectives be reached if we still have a lack of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Senior Social Workers to deliver them?" "That is the question I will be putting to the Minister as a matter of priority,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 9, 2019 1:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is a deeply alarming, and almost incomprehensible move by the EU Trade Commissioner given the scale of the damage it will inflict on Ireland’s beef sector," Deputy Nolan said. "It also stands in stark contradiction to the alleged EU support we are receiving in terms of the Brexit beef plan package. This move will essentially make that plans support completely meaningless". "The Irish beef sector and Irish beef farmers will not be the sacrificial victims offered up the Commissioner to push this through". "We need a clear statement of strategy from the Government on we propose to obstruct its agreement, mitigate or halt its implementation". "Yesterday we heard the Minister for Agriculture say we will have to build alliances with France and Poland to mitigate the Deal, yet today there are reports that the Taoiseach is saying the Trade Deal must be assessed in the round". "This sounds very much like mixed messages at a time, more than ever before when the Irish farmer needs a unified front". "We need to remind people that at the national level, suckler farmers play a key role in generating more than €2.4 billion in beef exports each year". "At the local level, the point has been well made that for every €1 we provide to suckler farmers, more than €4 of economic activity is generated in local economies". "This clearly demonstrates the potential damage that this awful Trade Deal will bring about if it is not effectively challenged,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 1, 2019 6:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The last thing the Irish beef sector needs now is the imposition of a whole new set of complicating conditions when it comes to accessing this vitally important income support," Deputy Nolan said. "Farmers will already have enough complication in trying to come to terms with the shape and size of the market in a post-Brexit scenario". "There is also a sense that the European Commission, in calling this beef package, a temporary adjustment scheme, have not really appreciated the long term nature and scale of the problem". "This has been a continuous crisis for at least the last number of years. Therefore the beef sector needs far more than ‘adjustments.’" "It needs fundamental reform to equalise the balance of power between supplier and producer". "That is something which is going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later if the long-term viability of the sector is to continue once the funding under this current scheme runs out,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 26, 2019 5:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The difficulties facing those who wish to engage with the Domestic Adoption process has been known for many years now, as can be seen by the single digit numbers of those adoptions that are successfully concluded here almost every year," Deputy Nolan said. "In fact, most prospective Irish parents who want to domestically adopt will tell you that the obstacles within the system are far greater than those that are faced when they pursue international adoption". "The Adoption Amendment Act 2017 Act was supposed to signal a cultural shift in how we saw adoption-moving it from the private to the public sphere and the care system, and therefore making it somewhat easier for domestic children to be adopted, but this has not happened". "As I understand it, the major pattern here is still that of international adoptions, which really took off in the 1990s and which has not been matched in scale or success by domestic adoptions," Carol added. "I am of the view that significantly more needs to be done to reform the system so that we can present domestic adoption as a positive option for couples who wish to give a child a secure and loving home". I will, therefore, be requesting that Minister Zappone establish a Policy Review Group within her department to see where we need to be going to make that a reality,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “It is now absolutely clear that all of the measures that the government have proposed to deal with this issue have not succeeded," Deputy Nolan said. "This clearly means that alternatives that were previously rejected by the Minister, such as the State-backed insurance schemes available in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada for instance, must be reconsidered". "In Australia for example, it is the law that every car on the road is registered and state insured and this includes a minimum third-party personal insurance cover, which is compulsory. Anything above that you can buy from a private insurance company". "This would allow the vast majority of young drivers to access affordable levels of insurance with the option of buying more comprehensive cover where it can be afforded". "We simply cannot allow the situation to continue where insurance companies are effectively being given free rein to charge whatever premiums they like to drivers, and young drivers in particular," the Offaly TD added. "It must also be pointed out that measures contained in the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s 2017 Report have failed to make any material difference in people’s pockets". "This highlights the necessity of the Minister re-examining the State-backed insurance option for drivers,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:53:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What has become very clear following the Dáil debate last night is the scale of the government’s denial on this issue". "Indeed, the Minister gave two directly contradictory statements that highlight the mixed messages that people are receiving," Nolan claimed. "First, the Minister acknowledged that the home support service is not demand-led and is therefore operated in line with agreed budgetary limits, but he then went on to say, not two minutes after this that the allocation of new hours will be demand-led based on clients' needs. Which is it?" "I put it to the Minister that It was shameful to see approximately 600 people in Laois-Offaly alone are waiting for home help and home care packages". "I also informed him that on Monday I attended a meeting in Mullingar which was organised by the Carers Association and that their message to him was that many carers are just fed up". "Many of the carers to whom I spoke on Monday are caring not only for one family member but for a number of them. They are at their wits' end". "It is absolutely shocking to realise that we pay just €219 in respect of carer's allowance, which is €16 more than the basic rate of social welfare. Yet the average contribution for nursing home care of €824. Something is radically wrong with this arrangement". "We need an urgent root and branch examination of where the funds are going in order to cut out totally unjustifiable and excess payments, especially when more cost-effective and preferred home care solutions are available,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, June 14, 2019 5:45:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “If this decision goes through it will have an absolutely devastating impact on the future of CE Schemes right across the state," Deputy Nolan said. "As I understand it, it will also be in direct breach of the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation that the state make pension provision for CE Scheme Supervisors". "The vast majority of the companies involved in the delivery of CE Schemes are extremely limited in the resources and will not be able to meet these demands". "We have already had a full 24-hour strike, and that caused significant inconvenience to many services like Meals on Wheels and Tidy Towns-which are CE Scheme supported". "The Minister for Finance is also aware of the potential damage this could do since he was informed of the results of the High-Level Forum that debated this matter in 2017". "Since then he has repeated the line that implementing the Labour Court recommendation of 2008 will leave the state with a potential cost exposure. What I would say to that is that we must examine that further in light of the savings that the CE Schemes are making for the state". "This is a point backed up by the CE Supervisors unions, Forsa and SIPTU,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 11, 2019 5:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is great news, even if it is years overdue," Deputy Nolan said. "I have made repeated representations to the Minister on the need to escalate this process given the discriminatory nature of the current Scheme, especially as it relates to farming families". "We can only hope at this stage that the government will see fit to prioritise this crucially important and reforming work before the summer recess and not subject it to further delays". "I am certain that efforts to bring it over the line so that families can feel the impact will receive wide cross-party and independent member support". "I am also very heartened to see that the Minister appears to have taken on board suggestions that I and farming family representative organisations have been making with respect to making aspects of the reform’s retrospective," Carol said. "As I understand it, under the new regime, if a resident has been living in a nursing home for one year, their family will only have to pay the 7.5% for another two years and if a resident is in a nursing home for more than three years, those 7.5% payments will cease immediately". "That is certainly a significant advance forward". "I will wait to see the fully fleshed out detail but if what is being reported is accurate then it looks like we are moving in the right direction at last,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, June 10, 2019 12:27:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The response of this and previous governments to the crisis has resulted in an unmitigated policy failure with respect to retention levels," Deputy Nolan said. "The Minister says the issues surrounding staff turnover are down to the unique and demanding nature of military life, without once accepting that his government is effectively guaranteeing that it is far more demanding than necessary". "The families and in particular, the wives of PDF personnel have lost all faith in the willingness or the capacity of government to increase pay and conditions. Many are simply unable to survive financially which in turn is contributing to the mass exodus from the forces right across the board". "As I understand it, the crisis of recruitment and retention is directly responsible for ensuring that at a minimum, soldiers, sailors and aircrew conduct two 24-hour security duties in each week along with a further 16 hours of routine duties. This amounts to an average 64-hour working week on low rates of pay". "This has to change especially in light of the fact that the government has committed to increase defence spending including more than €250 million in a ship replacement programme and a capital budget of €416 million for the period 2018-2021,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “According to Teagasc, there are now at least 30,000 farming families who are highly exposed to serious levels of income deprivation". "This is very concerning, particularly in light of the fact that we have yet to see how the Brexit scenario is finally going to play out and the extent of the adverse impact it is going to have," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply frustrating to many farmers who are struggling with low or volatile income levels, is the decision by the Department of Housing and the Department of Agriculture to choose this as the time to review the regulations around the nitrates derogation". "Many farm families are just dismayed that the department is engaging in this process especially when it had given prior commitments to keep the derogation in place until 2021". "This can only mean greater levels of unnecessary uncertainty for farming families," Carol added. "I am therefore calling on the Minister to immediately engage with farming organisations and families in order to identify and address the causal factors that are giving rise to such sustained low-income levels". "Whatever about the international context; there is certainly more than can be achieved at the national level to alleviate these difficulties for farm families,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 12:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This move by the HSE is an insult to those who provide vital home help services and the over 6000 currently on the waiting list for such services," Deputy Nolan said. "What the HSE have effectively said is that the entire home help scheme is now closed to new applicants for the next five months". "This is an astonishing development that directly contradicts this government's repeatedly stated policy of ensuring that people are kept in their homes under the care of their loved ones for as long as possible". "I accept that there has been a significant increase in demand for the services, but this is something that has been on the cards for at least the last eight years when it became clear that we were moving toward an increasingly ageing demographic of older persons". "I will also be seeking clarity from the Minister form State, Jim Daly, on his additional proposal that the Home Help Scheme is set to move toward the inclusion of some form of co-payment". "This will need to be urgently clarified to ensure that we do not increase the lack of access to the service beyond the unacceptably high level that it is at present,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 4, 2019 12:19:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The conditions that members of Nasra are being forced to operate under are entirely unacceptable, as is the bewildering refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised". "We know that Nasra has already held six minor protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE". "That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could have recognised the gravity of the situation and worked to avoid this 24-hour national strike," Nolan added. "In that context is it any wonder that the ambulance staff feel ignored and patronised by their employer-the HSE?" "In addition to these challenges it has also been confirmed to me that the National Ambulance Service has been converting decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment". "This in itself is an absolutely extraordinary admission which only serves to underscore the lack of resources available to our ambulance fleet". "Have we really arrived at the stage where despite a €17 billion health budget the ambulance service is being forced to reuse unsafe vehicles for emergency equipment transport?” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 31, 2019 4:50:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The information provided to me shows that within Co. Offaly, 33 schools will see some small addition to their SNA posts. However, 26 schools in Offaly will, unfortunately, have the exact same provision as they did last year with 5 schools actually seeing a decrease". "I think what this shows is that while there are relatively minor improvements, the pace of SNA allocations is simply not happening fast enough to meet the needs of parents, children and schools," Deputy Nolan added. "We need to implement policies that will allow for far greater recruitment and retention of these vital members of staff". "Clearly, this is not happening, which in itself is deeply concerning as the former Minister for Education, Richard Bruton and the NCSE had initiated a review of the SNA policy as far back as 2016,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The experience of a significant number of people who were effectively forced to take part in Turas Nua and Seetec related engagements has been overwhelmingly negative," Deputy Nolan claimed. "The majority of TDs and elected representatives will tell you that no matter where in the country Turas Nua were operating, their ‘clients’ would raise the same concerns around a sense of being threatened and being pressured to take up unsuitable work". "So in that sense, I am delighted that this model of employment assistance is being closed down. We need models and ways of engaging with people that respect their dignity and their intelligence". "We also need job assistance programmes that represent value for money. Clearly, Turas Nua and Seetec did not offer this". "In fact, we know that out of the 190,000 people referred to JobPath, just nine per cent (17,100 people) had secured employment which had been sustained for at least one year, at a cost of €3,718 per person". "The total gain that these private companies have made amounts to €149 million of taxpayers’ money between them," Nolan claimed. "Surely that money could have been far better spent especially in light of the fact that the effectiveness of the schemes has been called into question for a number of years now,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Lymphoedema is a progressive, chronic disease that causes swelling of body tissue that can affect people of all ages. It can develop following damage due to cancer treatment, vascular disease, trauma or chronic infection," she said. "In light of that, I am delighted that the Minister has now confirmed that a community demonstration site will be rolled out in Community Healthcare Organisation 8 (Laois/Offaly) this September". "We know that approximately 12,500 people in Ireland suffer from this chronic condition, so it is urgent that they receive all the help they can get". "This is especially important because left untreated or if treated too late, this condition can compromise quality of life through physical limitations and disability". "This is concerning from my perspective because I am aware that when it comes to Offaly, 11,154 people have at least one disability, of which 4,479 of those experience difficulties with basic physical activities". "In Laois, the number of people with disabilities is 11,393 people, of which 4,558 are experiencing ongoing difficulties with basic physical activities". "It is in that context that I will be questioning the Minister further around the need to provide clear information on the number of people within that category who may also suffer from Lymphoedema in Laois/Offaly and what his plans are to further extend service provision within the counties,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 27, 2019 6:08:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I was delighted to support this critically important briefing on Tuesday that was also attended by Rehab representatives from Laois/Offaly," she said. "They have made it clear that the work of Rehabs 147 services in 117 locations around the country will be threatened due to a funding gap of €2million. This is beyond belief given the scale of the service provision that Rehab engage in on the state's behalf". "I acknowledge that HIQA has found there needs to be improvements in the organisation's national governance structure, but most of the current challenges arise from the escalating cost associated with the kind of care that Rehab provides". "The Minister and this government must accept that families and service users are being severely and negatively affected by this uncertainty". "It would, therefore, be a significant and indefensible blow to families and communities if the work of Rehab was to cease at this point especially given the level of dependency that many families have on it for relief and assistance on a daily basis,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Strategy ) : “The people who I engaged with on this protest had one clear message that they wanted government to hear; and that is that the current approach to the provision of respite care and Home Care Packages is a fragmented, geographical lottery which is not fit for purpose," she commented. "While some parts of the country are doing their best to respond to care needs-most areas simply do not have even adequate levels of service, never mind the kind of consistent quality service that people deserve". "The government’s response is always the same. They point to the publication of the first ever Carers Strategy that was published in 2012 while assuring us that they are committed to implementing it in full". "Well, the reality is that it is seven years on and people are still waiting for what the government promised in terms of greater involvement of family carers in the preparation of care plans and aiding the provision of care with more accessible training and respite care". "The disability community feel utterly betrayed by the lack of progress on meeting these objectives and that is why they were forced to protest". "Indeed the fact that they must come to Dáil Éireann to plead for things like ceiling hoists and accessible transport and catering facilities is in itself a damning indictment of this government’s persistent refusal to assist these courageous people in moving beyond the experience of being treated like second class citizens,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I made it clear to the Minister that initiatives like the Midlands Enterprise Plan are welcome and important, I also told her that there appears to be a lack of joined-up thinking by various Government departments when it comes to addressing the problems we have in the Midlands," Deputy Nolan said. "I specifically asked her to explain why there was no mention in the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan of the EU Commission’s Coal Region in Transition Platform. This particular Platform was launched in early 2017, a full year before Bord na Mona made its announcement of the 430 job losses". "The whole reason for its existence is to promote funding and structural investment in areas exactly like the Midlands which traditionally relied on carbon-intensive industries". "Yet her colleague, the Minister for Communications, has only recently written to them asking for funding and policy support," Deputy Nolan claimed. "I certainly feel that we have lost valuable years here when jobs could have been created given that that Coal Platform is already delivering tailor-made assistance to 13 pilot regions in seven Member States". "We also know that regions in Greece, Slovakia, Poland and Germany have benefited from its support". "This is to say nothing of the fact that in the region of Silesia, which was the EU’s largest coal region, €120 million has been ring-fenced to provide support to projects in the area of urban infrastructure, clean air and to prepare former mining sites for investment". "This is exactly the type of funding that the government should have been applying for on the midlands behalf in 2017. Unfortunately, it has only been applied for in the last few weeks, as confirmed to me in a parliamentary question". "This is unacceptable and points to a clear lack of connected thinking within various government departments that should be working together to maximise the jobs potential of the Midlands region,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:13:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The average rent in Offaly has now risen by 8.5% to €884 while the average rent in Laois has jumped by 10.7% to €921". "This will cause massive levels of anxiety to those dependent on the rental market for a roof over their heads," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply disturbing is the finding that as on May 1, there were just 2,700 properties available to rent nationwide on Daft.ie". This is the lowest ever figure for stock on the market, in a series that goes back to the start of 2006". "Clearly, these findings are a damning indictment of government policies aimed at containing massive rent escalations and prove pretty definitively that a completely new direction in thinking is needed". "The findings for Offaly are pretty stark. They show that the average mortgage for three-bed house is between €501 and €633. However, the rent for the same type of property is €849". "For Laois, the average rent for a three-bed is between €498 and €629 while the average rent is €900". "This Report is certain to cause enormous concern and rightly so,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 13, 2019 7:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Addressing the issue of so-called hidden ‘Top-Up’ fees that are being applied to nursing home residents is one that has been left on the political back-burner for years now". "That was always totally unacceptable as it effectively provided a regulatory vacuum within which various kinds of financial exploitation could take place". "That is why this move by the CCPC is to be welcomed as a positive first step. I certainly welcome the fact that the language around how and when a Nursing Home can apply fees is to be tightened up and made much clearer than it is at present". "I have already indicated that I was going to ask the Comptroller and Auditor General to investigate separate claims that Nursing Home residents in HSE-run facilities in Laois and Offaly are being charged almost 200% above the cost of Private and Voluntary Nursing Home Care". "I can now confirm that I have done this and I am awaiting the C&AG’s reply". "What I am disappointed about around the launch of the CCPC guidelines is the lack of detail on the retrospective nature of the proposals". "I would hope that families could have some recourse to being reimbursed for fees that were inappropriately charged before these guidelines come into force. Hopefully, that is an aspect of the new regulations that we can look at this issue progresses,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 10, 2019 3:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "why there has been an almost two-thirds reduction in the number of probationer gardaí allocated to Laois-Offaly from 2017-2018. Deputy Nolan was speaking after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed the most recent Divisional Allocation numbers from 2015 to the end of 2018: “I find it absolutely astonishing that from 2015 to 2018; Laois-Offaly was allocated a paltry 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146 assigned nationally," "This distribution is grossly inadequate and must be explained. From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, a drop of almost two thirds from a base of 42 assigned in 2017" External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "We know that tackling rural crime is a real and persistent problem in our counties given the significant geographical spread that the Gardaí must cover," "That is why we must see a dramatic increase in numbers as a matter of urgency. Instead of this, Minister Flanagan has again confirmed that he is set to further reduce the intake of new recruits this year from 800 to 600" External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “If the minister does continue to encourage a transition away from CAN then he must make clear what supports are available should crop or yield productions fall as a direct result of this,” External link

agriland Thursday, May 2, 2019 6:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This reply from the Minister underscores a tragic lack of ambition for our older and vulnerable communities here in Offaly and Laois," Deputy Nolan said. "Minister Daly has now put on record that while there are 11 specialist inpatient palliative care units or hospices, with four in Dublin and one each in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick and Sligo; not a single Unit is planned for our counties for the foreseeable future". "This is despite the fact that as the Minister himself accepts, we have a definite trend toward a more ageing population where the level of care need is only set to increase". "More recently we have also seen the Offaly Hospice Foundation launch another amazing fundraising effort. They have been doing this for the last 20 years. Is the Minister seriously going to tell us that it will be another 10 or 20 years before Offaly or Laois gets the Specialist Palliative Care Unit it deserves?" If the Minister can commit to delivering three new inpatient palliative care units that are scheduled to open later this year, in Mayo, Waterford and Wicklow, then he must explain why he thinks it is appropriate to leave Laois-Offaly waiting for years before we even reach planning stage,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, May 2, 2019 11:48:00 AM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I am asking for the minister to clarify why he has agreed to this level of budget allocation-especially as he was the first to accept that the impact of the Community Enhancement Programme has been considerable,” External link

agriland Friday, April 26, 2019 5:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There can be no doubt that the people of rural Ireland, and particularly those who have been left behind by commercial operators, will welcome proposals to finally bring connectivity to their homes and communities," Deputy Nolan said. "That being said, there will also be huge concern at the cost and the fact that from what we are hearing, the state will still not own the broadband infrastructure despite the billions of euros we will all be paying for it". "When you see that the Revised Estimate allocation in 2019 for the likes of LEADER, National Rural Development Schemes, Local Improvement Schemes etc, only amounts to a combined total of €141 million; then you realise just how enormous the proposed cost of €3 Billion really is and the impact it could have on rural Ireland in the long term". "Rural Ireland needs and demands better broadband. I fully support that and always have done," Carol added. "It is vital for our development and economic growth; but if it is delivered at the expense of closing down critically important schemes and programmes, which we also depend on, then serious questions have to be asked around whether or not the government is adopting the most beneficial approach for rural communities,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 26, 2019 12:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “As a former teacher and principal I have made this issue a core element of my representations to the Government over the last number of years; in particular to both the Minister for Education and the Minister for Public Expenditure". "I have long maintained that there was sufficient flexibility within The Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) to accommodate the very reasonable claims that teachers were making". "Indeed, it was always completely unsustainable to expect post-2011 entrants to the profession to stand idly by while incurring a loss of earnings of anywhere from €53,000 to €105,000 over their career". "It now seems that the government have finally woken up to this reality and that is to be warmly welcomed". "The only things that I hope do not emerge from this negotiation process are requests to accept the imposition of additional or onerous work practices as a kind of quid pro quo for pay equality," Deputy Nolan said. "This has always been about fairness, justice and respect for our teachers; a point that many of us have been working to convey to this government for some considerable time,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:07:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I want to welcome this additional €1.5 million for 2019 which will bring the total national fund to just over €18million". "We have four excellent family resource centres here in Laois-Offaly who provide dedicated and incredible service to what are often termed disadvantaged communities". "As I understand it, the additional €1.5 million in funding will be used to increase core funding by 5% to the four FRCs at Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Tullamore and Clara". The Minister in her announcement did say she is also allocating one additional family support worker in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas. "I have asked her to clarify if she will consider extending this to each of the FRCs that require it," Carol said. "I am also asking her to confirm that the FRCs will be able to ringfence this money so as not to have to divert it in order to meet operational expenses such as escalations in insurance costs,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The situation is just as concerning for nursing home residents in Offaly; where Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) claim families are paying up to 107% above the private and voluntary sector fee," "NHI also claims that within neighbouring Westmeath the differential is 135% - with two HSE operated nursing homes averaging €1,899 per week as opposed to average €808 for the 12 private voluntary providers" External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The publication of these comparative fees demonstrate that the HSE is either wilfully engaged in the financial exploitation of elderly people or it is utterly indifferent to the appropriate market price for nursing home care," Carol continued. "Either eventuality is unsustainable and demands answers. It is for that reason that I will write to the C&AG, whose statutory remit is to improve the use of public money and resources and strengthen public accountability". "We must have accountability on this matter from the HSE especially in light of the fact that as I highlighted recently, the operational reform of the entire Fair Deal Scheme and the broadening of its services is already under threat". "In the legal profession, if a solicitor or barrister charges exorbitant and unjustifiable fees, then the matter can be referred to the Taxing Master who provides an independent and impartial assessment of legal costs and recommendations to refund fees," Nolan claimed. "The same should happen here. If farming families, or any family for that matter, has been the victim of profiteering by the HSE then they should be immediately reimbursed,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “We know that when the UK government introduced the FIT Scheme in 2010, it led to farmers who installed a small 3kW solar system, earning up to 1,700 a year," Nolan explained. "The way it worked in the UK is that the Government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid; usually over a 25 year period". "This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option but also economically stable one too," Nolan added. "We know that dairy and poultry farm production is extremely energy intensive and that because of that it adds significantly to the operational costs of the farm". "Under this Scheme, farmers would be rewarded for generating power for the national grid instead of being unduly burdened by completely unavoidable energy use that is necessary for the farm's survival". "I am also aware that in the UK there is the option of entering an agreement that allows farmers to purchase back the electricity generated on-site at a pre-agreed rate. As I understand it this was around half of what UK farmers would normally pay their existing energy supplier," Carol explained. "We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of Scheme as an option". "If there are flaws in the UK model then at least we have the benefit of learning from their mistakes, thereby allowing us to create a bespoke energy and cash-generating option for our own farmers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan explained : “The way it worked in the UK is that the government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash-back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid, usually over a 25-year period,” “This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option, but also economically stable too,” External link

agriland Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan argued : “We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive, and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of scheme as an option,” External link

agriland Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The fact is that farmers in Laois-Offaly and beyond remain mired in a beef crisis that is becoming more and more deeply embedded with each passing week," "We have a factory pricing system that is bordering on cartel-like behaviour and that continually leaves suckler farmers feeling manipulated and shortchanged" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan claimed : "Apart from being a slightly patronising reply, surely this is the function of government and the department especially in terms of their role in monitoring and removing anti-competitive factory price practices or making more effective representation at the European level with respect to CAP," External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "For some time now I have been calling for the need to introduce a more flexible and accessible programme of funding for farm families who may not have access to high levels of loan security," "This Scheme recognises that with the inclusion of a provision for loans of under €500,000 to be made on an unsecured basis" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added : "That level of approval to payment ratio will have to dramatically increase if this Scheme is to have the kind of supporting impact we desperately need it to have," "In addition to this, we urgently need targeted and specific interventions for the beef sector which is being fundamentally undermined by Brexit related instability" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What we have here is direct confirmation that the people of Laois-Offaly, and in particular the children of Laois-Offaly, are being categorically failed by both this government and the senior management of the HSE. "What does this say about the willingness or even the capacity of our Republic to cherish all the children of the nation equally?" "Only recently I had to highlight how 559 children in Laois-Offaly have yet to receive an assessment of need despite being on the waiting list for that service well in excess of the three-month statutory deadline". "This combination of service collapse is having a significantly detrimental impact and it must be addressed," Deputy Nolan continued. "To do this the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, must make it clear that the reported moratorium on further recruitment within the HSE, is immediately re-considered". "At the political level, we must begin to have credible and meaningful accountability for these appalling outcomes". "It is simply unacceptable for all those TDs who are currently propping up this failed Minister to continually shout and roar and then do absolutely nothing when it comes to actively holding him accountable". The children of Laois-Offaly and the parents who fight for them to access basic services demand nothing less,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, April 8, 2019 12:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The failure to reform the Fair Deal Scheme is continuing to result in inaction that is having immediate, dramatic and totally avoidable consequences for farming families in particular," Nolan said. "There is particular anxiety around the delay in implementing urgent reforms aimed at ensuring that the applicant’s principal private residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three-year cap". "What I am concerned about, however, is that while the Minister told me that he expects to bring the Heads of a reform Bill to Cabinet in May; he also says this is subject to legal advice". "That is very far from the kind of solid commitments that farming families in Laois/Offaly need at this time of massive agri-sector uncertainty". "In fact, it sounds very much like ‘government speak’ aimed at justifying further delay. That is something we must have absolute clarity on if the reforms are to have any impact at all". "We have already waited long enough". "Commitments to reform the huge inequalities in the Fair Deal Scheme for farmers have been repeated every year since 2016 and still nothing concrete has happened," Carol said. "The Minister in his reply says that delays are down to the focus on Brexit". "At best that is a partial and weak excuse given that work on the legal basis for the reforms should have started 3 years ago when commitments were provided in the Programme for Government". "Otherwise, the government is simply saying that it promised all kind of things without doing any kind of legal analysis as to whether they could, in fact, be delivered. Some people would call that spin". "If the government thinks it can string farmers and service users of the Nursing Home Support Scheme along for another three years then it is in for a rude awakening because rural Ireland, in particular, has endured enough inequality in treatment to last a lifetime,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 5, 2019 2:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Commission ) : “Bord na Mona has made it very clear that its pursuit of a decarbonisation strategy is going ahead and that this will have a direct impact on jobs and industry in the midlands region, specifically in Co Offaly," she said. "This has caused significant concern for those families and workers affected by the rolling closure of our bogs, which, as I understand it, is now up to 21 bogs despite an initial announcement that 17 would close". "Yet despite these consequences being well known for a number of years, it has now emerged that the Minister has ‘only recently’ written to the European Commission Coal Transition Platform, which regardless of its name is mandated to deal with energy-intensive industries like Bord na Mona". "The people of the Midlands need to know why it has taken this long considering the fact that the Commission launched the Platform in December 2017 in order to help areas like our own midlands region to modernise their economies in line with a clean energy transition that focuses on social fairness, new skills and financing for the real economy". "If this government is serious about supporting reskilling and employment opportunities in Offaly, Laois and across the Midlands region then we need clarity on why this obvious area of support was not pursued sooner,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 4, 2019 5:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I was surprised to find in the Minister’s reply that there has not been a single application for this funding from either Laois or Offaly". "What this tells me is not that there is no interest for this funding among our farming community, but that more needs to be done by the Department to highlight the availability and accessibility of the Scheme". "It is pointless to have funding opportunities like this without a parallel and robust system of advertising measures being put in place". "The message must be brought to the farmers who are already over-worked and underpaid in so many instances". "As I understand it, the new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening on April 5," Nolan said. "Under the terms of the Scheme, Solar PV Installation grant aid in the initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost which will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system. "So I would encourage every farmer who even thinks they may be eligible to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight". "The Minister in his reply indicated that the grants would be also available to our Pig, Poultry and Egg producing farmers. This is absolutely vital In a post-Brexit scenario," the Offaly deputy added. "Only recently we had the IFA informing us that in the event of a hard Brexit, factories in the North of Ireland may be in no position to buy pigs from the south, with the additional concern that Ireland will not be able to process the extra pig numbers that will automatically arise". "This highlights the stark nature of the threat to the sector, which in turn makes it even more important that cost reduction measures like these be availed of in Laois-Offaly,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, March 29, 2019 7:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan outlined : “The new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS, opening on April 5” External link

agriland Friday, March 29, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : “I would encourage every farmer, who even thinks they may be eligible, to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight” External link

agriland Friday, March 29, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made it absolutely clear to the Minister that while these delays are a breach of the Programme for Government and our Disability law, they are, more importantly, an insult to the families and children of Laois-Offaly," Nolan added. The legal timeframe outlined in the Disability Act 2005 is that an assessment of need should be carried out within three months. "Despite this, the deadline is routinely missed and families are then left to suffer the long term negative impact". "What is particularly frustrating to me is that I have been highlighting disability and Special Needs related issues with the Minister since I introduced my Education (Inspection of Individual Education Plans for Children with Special Needs) Bill in 2017". "So, it is not a case that this is a problem that has come out of nowhere. The government and the Minister have had years to deliver a robust and efficient Assessment of Need framework". "Instead, they have left the issue to degrade to such a point where despite an investment of €17 billion in the HSE, children in Laois-Offaly cannot access basic services". "The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health was absolutely clear in its own Report on the New Standard Operating Procedure for Assessment of Need under the Disability Act 2005 issued in January of this year," she said. "It confirmed that when it comes to the assessment of need, we are really talking about the ‘golden window of opportunity’". "This is the critical period of a child’s development during pre-school and early-school years". "It is therefore essential that assessments and services are provided for in this period to avoid have a ripple effect that will require additional funding and support at a later stage, as well as having a knock-on effect with our educational services, our healthcare system and the child’s welfare,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The designation of these towns as rent pressure zones would ensure that rents could only be increased by up to 4% a year which would help to create more sustainable rents for families who are currently struggling to keep up with month on month rent increases," External link

offalyexpress Monday, February 25, 2019 3:46:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "It was made absolutely clear that the current provisions of The Private Security Services Act 2004, which is the primary legislation under which the Private Security Authority operates, is grossly inadequate and needs to be urgently revised or amended," "We are aware that the Board of the PSA contains representatives from an Assistant Garda Commissioner as well as the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Justice and Equality" External link

offalyexpress Thursday, February 14, 2019 5:17:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "If this situation is allowed to continue it this will have serious implications for nurses' health and also for patient safety. These nurses are working in a system which, like this government, is not fit for purpose and it is appaling to think that the Taoiseach of this state worked in the health service himself and saw first hand the difficulties that persist and yet he, along with you Minister, is presiding over a serious crisis," External link

offalyexpress Thursday, February 7, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I find it absolutely incredible that from 2015 to 2018, Laois/Offaly was allocated only 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146". That means the division has only received 4% of all gardaí to leave Templemore in the last three years. "This distribution is entirely inadequate and must be explained," Deputy Nolan said. "From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, from an already low base of 42 assigned in 2017". "We know that rural and urban crime is a real and persistent concern within the county, and that is why we must see a dramatic increase in the numbers assigned as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:04:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "These nurses are striking in order to highlight the need for a health service that is fit for purpose. As we all know, the health service we currently have is of third-world standard in many regions where we have an unacceptably high number of children and elderly people languishing on long waiting lists for essential and life-changing treatment," "We have overcrowded A&E departments, hundreds of patients languishing on hospital trollies every week and the cancellation of surgeries as a result of this ongoing situation. The Minister for Health has no vision for our health service and his inaction in relation to this crisis speaks volumes" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 1:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "Nurses have been more than reasonable and patient with this government for too long and have held the shattered pieces of a broken health service together through their incredible resilience, commitment and dedication. I commend them for their service and acknowledge the excellent care that they give to patients despite the ongoing unacceptable pressures and dire working conditions that they endure daily. I fully support the nurses and stand in solidarity with them today," External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 1:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "In many rural schools without adequate broadband, children are not able to avail of the same opportunities as their peers in rural settings and are therefore disadvantaged," "The ongoing issue, which requires an urgent resolution, is another example of the neglect by this Government of rural Ireland, and how the people of rural Ireland have once again been let down by a disconnected Government that does not represent them or rural communities" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "I am supporting our paramedics in Birr, who like hundreds of their colleagues, have been forced to strike. HSE top brass and the Minister for Health need to engage with these workers and afford them their basic right to union recognition and the right to choose to become part of a union of their choice" "Our paramedics provide an excellent and vital frontline service in our communities," External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:24:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We will be meeting again within the month and we expect further progress on all the issues we raised today and for the good faith on both sides to continue,” External link

offalyindependent Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:45:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "We did put across our views and we don't want a repeat of Irish history and we certainly don't want scenes that go back to the Black and Tan era. " External link

eecho Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "We did put across our views and we don't want a repeat of Irish history and we certainly don't want scenes that go back to the Black and Tan era. " External link

irishexaminer Wednesday, January 9, 2019 9:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We took part in the peaceful protest in December in order to receive assurances from the KBC CEO, Wim Verbraeken, that senior management would meet with us to discuss our concerns. Happily, we achieved that outcome," Carol said. "What we will be looking for today is substantive follow up on those concerns, specifically the manner in which mortgage accounts and farm loans in distress are being dealt with". "As we said at the time, many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies that are being employed and this must stop". "There has to be explicit policy recognition that where people are making genuine efforts to repay their debts, breathing space is then afforded to them". "As TD for Offaly where over 540 mortgages are deemed to be currently in distress, I'm receiving an increasing number of calls and correspondence related to mortgage distress, farm loans in distress, the sale of loan books and fears around changes to restructured agreements". "We look forward to today’s meeting and hope that it will produce some worthwhile commitments for all concerned,” External link

leinsterexpress Wednesday, January 9, 2019 3:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We took part in the peaceful protest in December in order to receive assurances from the KBC CEO, Wim Verbraeken, that senior management would meet with us to discuss our concerns. Happily, we achieved that outcome," Carol said. "What we will be looking for today is substantive follow up on those concerns, specifically the manner in which mortgage accounts and farm loans in distress are being dealt with". "As we said at the time, many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies that are being employed and this must stop". "There has to be explicit policy recognition that where people are making genuine efforts to repay their debts, breathing space is then afforded to them". "As TD for Offaly where over 540 mortgages are deemed to be currently in distress, I'm receiving an increasing number of calls and correspondence related to mortgage distress, farm loans in distress, the sale of loan books and fears around changes to restructured agreements". "We look forward to today’s meeting and hope that it will produce some worthwhile commitments for all concerned,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 9, 2019 3:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The increase from 9%to 13.5% will have an adverse impact on businesses in small towns and villages throughout Offaly and Laois. You cannot compare a business in Dublin City centre with one in a small town or village in Offaly or Laois," "It must be highlighted that many of these businesses have already had to endure extortionate rates hikes and insurance hikes, and to expect them to pay an increase in VAT is adding insult to injury" External link

offalyexpress Monday, January 7, 2019 7:33:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “A meeting has been agreed for January 9 at 2pm in Dublin. At that meeting Michael,Mattie and myself will be demanding that the bank immediately review the protocols it has in place with respect to debt resolution processes. We want to make it absolutely clear that we fully accept the legitimate right of the bank to recoup losses that it has incurred in terms of mortgage distress. What we are saying however is that this right must be proportionate and it must be fair". Deputy Nolan said that it must not be implemented in such a way that it is then used to walk all over people that are making sincere and hard won attempts to engage constructively with their debt repayment obligations. "The vast majority of the people we are dealing with want to repay their debts," she commented. "They are deeply responsible people who do not have an ‘everything for nothing’ approach and who profoundly resent being characterised in that light. Where people are making sincere attempts, a reciprocal attitude needs to be adopted with respect to the banks". The Offaly TD said they should avoid this 'endless and stressful merry-go-round' that people experience when they are asked to constantly provide the same or similar documentation and who cannot speak to a dedicated person who is actually looking after their case. "People feel like they are being worn down by the tactics of some of the banks and that has to stop. There has to be respect. That is what we are saying. We received similar commitments in March but nothing materialised despite our good faith acceptance that something positive would emerge. In this coming year we will not be allowing the bank to get away that kind of approach,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, December 21, 2018 1:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : “I welcome the minister’s apparent shift in position and his intention to examine this issue,” External link

irishecho Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:10:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan stated : “Partition has impacted and stunted development on this island and has been an obstacle in terms of developing agriculture and tourism. It doesn’t make sense to have two legal systems and two currencies on such a small island” External link

thejournal Saturday, December 17, 2016 11:30:00 AM EAT



Key Titles and Phrases Count Lang Last Seen
deputy44.44%EN02/14/201714/02/2017
colleague11.11%EN12/17/201617/12/2016
spokeswoman11.11%EN12/09/201609/12/2016
education spokeswoman11.11%EN12/09/201609/12/2016
spokesperson11.11%EN07/12/201612/07/2016
education spokesperson11.11%EN07/12/201612/07/2016
Names Lang Count
Carol NolanEN100.00%


 
Show/hide duplicate news articles.
<<10<12345678910>>>10
 
Show/hide duplicate news articles.
<<10<12345678910>>>10

Tools

Load latest edition

Saturday, December 7, 2019

1:51:00 AM EAT

Languages Collapse menu...Expand menu...

Select your languages

af
am
ar
de
en
es
fr
ha
pt
rw
sw
all
Show additional languagesHide additional languages

Interface:

Legend Collapse menu...Expand menu...


Quotes... Explore Relations


EMM Visual Explorer


Quotes... Extracted quotes about

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I am not suggesting for one minute that we should disallow retired teachers to return to work, as very often they perform a vital stand in service when no other teachers are available," Deputy Nolan said. "What I am suggesting, however, is that we need to conduct a far more thorough analysis around why the numbers returning are so high, particularly at primary level, taking note of the fact that the numbers I have obtained do not even include retired teachers in the state’s Education and Training Boards (ETBs). "My own sense is that much of this is a product of the income inequality that new teachers were expected to put up until relatively recently which has undoubtedly contributed to teaching graduates emigrating or choosing another profession". In Offaly, there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six of those were principals with another two being deputy principals. The numbers are similar for Laois where there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six were principals and five were deputy principals. "We have to ensure that teachers and teaching graduates feel it is worth their while staying within our education system in order to avoid large scale absences that necessitate the return of retired teachers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I know that there is genuine anger and indeed upset in many schools throughout rural Ireland because of the devastating impact that comes with losing a valuable and much-needed teacher. I have met many frustrated principals and teachers who discussed this issue with me over the past few months. "As a former teacher and principal, I believe that the existing policy is not fit for purpose and needs a radical overhaul. That is why I was so frustrated with Government when no move was made on the matter earlier this month," Deputy Nolan added. "What we are seeing now however is a direct result of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael-Labour government in 2012 when it introduced changes to the staffing schedules in 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools in Budget 2012; "That policy decision directly targeted schools with less than 86 pupils and led to what was seen even then, as a move toward the forced amalgamation of rural schools. "That policy has continued in both spirit and letter and it is time for it to be urgently re-evaluated. "We already know there are major issues with pupil/teacher ratios-with Ireland having about 5 pupils more in our primary school classrooms than the EU average of 20. "When this is combined with a lack of teachers it leads to all sort of educational and health and safety concerns that are not simply going to go away. "I will continue to press the Minister until he recognises this and until he agrees to my request for an immediate and urgent review,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The last thing the patients of the Midlands Regional Hospital need to hear is that an even further reduction in operating capacity is about to occur following these bed closures," Deputy Nolan said. "Yet following confirmation from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, this looks exactly like what is about to happen, and people are very angry and deeply upset by the news". "There is also a growing sense emerging that the commitments provided in the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2027 published little over a week ago are already obsolete and largely meaningless". "We were given assurances that the MRH was set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "But if there is no parallel commitment to recruiting qualified staff then these commitments are at best meaningless and at worst deliberately misleading," Nolan claimed. "The people of Tullamore and the Midlands who rely on this hospital deserve far greater levels of transparency on this issue than they have received to date". "They will not tolerate being the victims of the Minister and the HSE’s propaganda campaign, especially where their need is so great". "We need absolute clarity from the Minister for Health, that services at MRH will be protected and that a renewed and more credible plan to both retain and recruit staff will be put in place,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While considerable challenges remain in terms of service provision in Laois/Offaly, it is only right that we welcome any advances that will make people’s lives somewhat easier," she said. "In terms of Social Inclusion & Community Health; I want to acknowledge that Capital Plan commits to bringing The Community Addiction Services building on St Fintan’s Campus, in Portlaoise to operational completion in Q1 2019. This will provide much needed counselling services to the affected community". "There is also a guarantee that capital will be allocated to a number of projects which specifically address infrastructural risk issues in 2019. These include Fire Alarm and Fire Safety works in Tullamore MRH," Deputy Nolan continued. "Tullamore is also set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "I am disappointed, however, that in terms of Social Care/Palliative Care, a new Hospice for the Midlands is still only at a very preliminary stage". "It was also confirmed in the Capital Plan that the proposed 100 bed Community Nursing Unit for Mountmellick is still only at design stage". "I remain absolutely committed to highlighting to the HSE and indeed to the Minister for Health, where the Capital Plan can be improved for Offaly and Laois and where urgent investment is required, for example in Speech and Language Therapy and access to appropriate levels of Primary Care,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:03:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “My main priority here is to ensure that as many farmers as possible are aware of the BEAM Scheme and also to ensure that they are aware they need to act fast in order to have their application processed in time," Deputy Nolan added. "From what we know there are at least 37,000 beef finishers and 55,000 suckler farmers who are eligible for the scheme". "Given those numbers, we should work to avoid any confusion around deadlines etc". "I am also anxious for farmers to know that applications for participation in the Measure shall be made online only". "In cases where an applicant is deemed ineligible to participate in the scheme they will be given ten working days after the closing date for receipt of valid application to seek a review by the Department,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made the point after the talks that while some movement has been made on issues like addressing the systemic unfairness embedded in the beef grid system and the commitment to introduce an appeal system for carcass classification in meat plants; we were still very far from achieving true parity of esteem for the farmer," Deputy Nolan said. "Today it is clear to me and to many farmers just how far we still have to travel, specifically in terms of the intransigence of Meat Industry Ireland around the 30-month rule". "What we need at this point is a robust charter outlining in a clear and unambiguous manner how transparency can be applied to the calculation of pricing for the product". "We cannot allow MII and indeed the Minister to push the agenda that great advances have been made in this regard given the clear level of discontent that still exists out there". "We need urgent statutory enforcement on the issue of pricing". "I also said after the talks that what we simply cannot have is a return to the status quo that existed prior to the negotiations. Yet that is exactly what will happen if measures like this are not introduced; otherwise, it is just light-touch regulation that will continue to disproportionately benefit the processors against the ordinary farmer,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The Tullamore Show has proven, yet again, why it remains the premier agricultural show at Irish and European level," Deputy Nolan said. "Each year it manages to combine world-class livestock skill and the best in farm machinery with a genuinely family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. This year was no exception". "All of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes paid off on the day". "I was also delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with so many of our farming families and to listen once again, to the concerns that remain a huge part of their lives". "Many of those pressing issues were put to the Minister when he attended. He now needs to act on them in order to ensure the survival of our world-class agricultural heritage". "The rain may have stayed away from Tullamore, but the storm clouds are gathering for Irish farmers and they cannot be left defenceless by their own government,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 12, 2019 4:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There is a genuine sense that the atmosphere around the Tullamore Show this year is something exceptional. That in itself is a testament to the amazing work that is carried out by an army of volunteers who give up their time to make the event so welcoming for all those who visit," Deputy Nolan said. "It is also down to the extraordinary work that is put in by the Show Committee who go to great lengths to ensure that it remains a event of the highest possible quality". "My own sense is that Irish agriculture and Irish farming need a hugely positive occasion like this now more than ever. We need to say to ourselves and to Europe that we have the best farming produce and livestock in the world and that they deserve to be supported and championed". "I have spent the last year highlighting so many of the challenges that face the farming community and farming families, like generational renewal, unsustainable trade agreements and threats to local marts". "I want to continue that work while at the same time pushing our government to a greater appreciation of the huge and valuable resources we have on our own doorstep and which the Tullamore Show captures so brilliantly,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 8, 2019 5:42:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While I acknowledge the difficult position that the protests are putting the factories in; we have to accept that what is happening to the beef and suckler sector in Ireland is going to have massive ramifications for every element of the sector," she said. "Last year, after the Minister spoke at the Beef Roundtable forum, he said it was more important than ever for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency". "He also urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development". "Yet as things stand, farmers, and beef farmers, in particular, are seeing little to no sense that government is recognising its role in terms of that inter-dependency that the Minister spoke about," Deputy Nolan said. "At the moment, beef farmers are being left to the whims of a factory pricing structure that is undermining their work, an international order that is flooding their markets with cheap and possible sub-standard product and finally, a government who are not defending indigenous interests against destructive EU trade deals". "All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 6, 2019 1:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The position adopted by Bord na Móna, and in particular the way in which it has treated its long-term employees, has been needlessly provocative and unfair," she claimed. "This does not bode well for the future of the Mountdillon plant not indeed for the entire Midlands". "All of us who have been active in seeking to put in place a robust and just transition to new forms of employment for the Midlands region always presumed that Bord na Móna would be a constructive and fair partner in that process," Deputy Nolan added. "That presumption has taken a battering recently in light of Bord na Móna’s willingness to casually set aside the duty of care it owes its workers". "I seriously hope that this does not indicate a more fundamental shift in attitude. Right across the Midlands the workers of Bord na Móna have given decades of service and hard work to build up the brand and sustain the viability of its entire operation. "That history cannot simply be set aside as we engage with the challenging work of finding alternative employment models for the region". "I am calling on Bord na Móna to listen to the Unions and the workers and to engage with full openness to any suggestion that will allow us to maintain the maximum amount of employment,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 22, 2019 2:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “From the information I have been given, it appears that no Senior Social Worker in Mental Health is currently assigned to CHO Area 8. There also vacancies for two Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists in our Area. "Of the three Clinical Nurses Specialists that are assigned, two are at the MHS Mental Health Day Hospital Portlaoise, while the other is assigned to Navan". "This is clearly an insufficient level of mental health staff given that CHO Area 8 consists of six counties, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Louth, and has a population of 615,258". "It is also the second largest CHO in terms of geographical area". "What is frustrating about this situation is that the need for enhanced mental health services was clearly identified almost three years ago with the publication of the HSE’s 2017 Plan for CHO Area 8," Deputy Nolan said. "That plan recognised that the people of Laois/Offaly needed early intervention and integrated care pathways between CAMHS, Primary Care and voluntary groups such as Jigsaw". "It also aimed to develop and integrate specialist clinical responses through the mental health clinical programmes". "The question I have for the Minister is how can these objectives be reached if we still have a lack of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Senior Social Workers to deliver them?" "That is the question I will be putting to the Minister as a matter of priority,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 9, 2019 1:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is a deeply alarming, and almost incomprehensible move by the EU Trade Commissioner given the scale of the damage it will inflict on Ireland’s beef sector," Deputy Nolan said. "It also stands in stark contradiction to the alleged EU support we are receiving in terms of the Brexit beef plan package. This move will essentially make that plans support completely meaningless". "The Irish beef sector and Irish beef farmers will not be the sacrificial victims offered up the Commissioner to push this through". "We need a clear statement of strategy from the Government on we propose to obstruct its agreement, mitigate or halt its implementation". "Yesterday we heard the Minister for Agriculture say we will have to build alliances with France and Poland to mitigate the Deal, yet today there are reports that the Taoiseach is saying the Trade Deal must be assessed in the round". "This sounds very much like mixed messages at a time, more than ever before when the Irish farmer needs a unified front". "We need to remind people that at the national level, suckler farmers play a key role in generating more than €2.4 billion in beef exports each year". "At the local level, the point has been well made that for every €1 we provide to suckler farmers, more than €4 of economic activity is generated in local economies". "This clearly demonstrates the potential damage that this awful Trade Deal will bring about if it is not effectively challenged,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 1, 2019 6:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “It is now absolutely clear that all of the measures that the government have proposed to deal with this issue have not succeeded," Deputy Nolan said. "This clearly means that alternatives that were previously rejected by the Minister, such as the State-backed insurance schemes available in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada for instance, must be reconsidered". "In Australia for example, it is the law that every car on the road is registered and state insured and this includes a minimum third-party personal insurance cover, which is compulsory. Anything above that you can buy from a private insurance company". "This would allow the vast majority of young drivers to access affordable levels of insurance with the option of buying more comprehensive cover where it can be afforded". "We simply cannot allow the situation to continue where insurance companies are effectively being given free rein to charge whatever premiums they like to drivers, and young drivers in particular," the Offaly TD added. "It must also be pointed out that measures contained in the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s 2017 Report have failed to make any material difference in people’s pockets". "This highlights the necessity of the Minister re-examining the State-backed insurance option for drivers,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:53:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “If this decision goes through it will have an absolutely devastating impact on the future of CE Schemes right across the state," Deputy Nolan said. "As I understand it, it will also be in direct breach of the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation that the state make pension provision for CE Scheme Supervisors". "The vast majority of the companies involved in the delivery of CE Schemes are extremely limited in the resources and will not be able to meet these demands". "We have already had a full 24-hour strike, and that caused significant inconvenience to many services like Meals on Wheels and Tidy Towns-which are CE Scheme supported". "The Minister for Finance is also aware of the potential damage this could do since he was informed of the results of the High-Level Forum that debated this matter in 2017". "Since then he has repeated the line that implementing the Labour Court recommendation of 2008 will leave the state with a potential cost exposure. What I would say to that is that we must examine that further in light of the savings that the CE Schemes are making for the state". "This is a point backed up by the CE Supervisors unions, Forsa and SIPTU,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 11, 2019 5:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is great news, even if it is years overdue," Deputy Nolan said. "I have made repeated representations to the Minister on the need to escalate this process given the discriminatory nature of the current Scheme, especially as it relates to farming families". "We can only hope at this stage that the government will see fit to prioritise this crucially important and reforming work before the summer recess and not subject it to further delays". "I am certain that efforts to bring it over the line so that families can feel the impact will receive wide cross-party and independent member support". "I am also very heartened to see that the Minister appears to have taken on board suggestions that I and farming family representative organisations have been making with respect to making aspects of the reform’s retrospective," Carol said. "As I understand it, under the new regime, if a resident has been living in a nursing home for one year, their family will only have to pay the 7.5% for another two years and if a resident is in a nursing home for more than three years, those 7.5% payments will cease immediately". "That is certainly a significant advance forward". "I will wait to see the fully fleshed out detail but if what is being reported is accurate then it looks like we are moving in the right direction at last,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, June 10, 2019 12:27:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The response of this and previous governments to the crisis has resulted in an unmitigated policy failure with respect to retention levels," Deputy Nolan said. "The Minister says the issues surrounding staff turnover are down to the unique and demanding nature of military life, without once accepting that his government is effectively guaranteeing that it is far more demanding than necessary". "The families and in particular, the wives of PDF personnel have lost all faith in the willingness or the capacity of government to increase pay and conditions. Many are simply unable to survive financially which in turn is contributing to the mass exodus from the forces right across the board". "As I understand it, the crisis of recruitment and retention is directly responsible for ensuring that at a minimum, soldiers, sailors and aircrew conduct two 24-hour security duties in each week along with a further 16 hours of routine duties. This amounts to an average 64-hour working week on low rates of pay". "This has to change especially in light of the fact that the government has committed to increase defence spending including more than €250 million in a ship replacement programme and a capital budget of €416 million for the period 2018-2021,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “According to Teagasc, there are now at least 30,000 farming families who are highly exposed to serious levels of income deprivation". "This is very concerning, particularly in light of the fact that we have yet to see how the Brexit scenario is finally going to play out and the extent of the adverse impact it is going to have," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply frustrating to many farmers who are struggling with low or volatile income levels, is the decision by the Department of Housing and the Department of Agriculture to choose this as the time to review the regulations around the nitrates derogation". "Many farm families are just dismayed that the department is engaging in this process especially when it had given prior commitments to keep the derogation in place until 2021". "This can only mean greater levels of unnecessary uncertainty for farming families," Carol added. "I am therefore calling on the Minister to immediately engage with farming organisations and families in order to identify and address the causal factors that are giving rise to such sustained low-income levels". "Whatever about the international context; there is certainly more than can be achieved at the national level to alleviate these difficulties for farm families,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 12:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The conditions that members of Nasra are being forced to operate under are entirely unacceptable, as is the bewildering refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised". "We know that Nasra has already held six minor protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE". "That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could have recognised the gravity of the situation and worked to avoid this 24-hour national strike," Nolan added. "In that context is it any wonder that the ambulance staff feel ignored and patronised by their employer-the HSE?" "In addition to these challenges it has also been confirmed to me that the National Ambulance Service has been converting decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment". "This in itself is an absolutely extraordinary admission which only serves to underscore the lack of resources available to our ambulance fleet". "Have we really arrived at the stage where despite a €17 billion health budget the ambulance service is being forced to reuse unsafe vehicles for emergency equipment transport?” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 31, 2019 4:50:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The experience of a significant number of people who were effectively forced to take part in Turas Nua and Seetec related engagements has been overwhelmingly negative," Deputy Nolan claimed. "The majority of TDs and elected representatives will tell you that no matter where in the country Turas Nua were operating, their ‘clients’ would raise the same concerns around a sense of being threatened and being pressured to take up unsuitable work". "So in that sense, I am delighted that this model of employment assistance is being closed down. We need models and ways of engaging with people that respect their dignity and their intelligence". "We also need job assistance programmes that represent value for money. Clearly, Turas Nua and Seetec did not offer this". "In fact, we know that out of the 190,000 people referred to JobPath, just nine per cent (17,100 people) had secured employment which had been sustained for at least one year, at a cost of €3,718 per person". "The total gain that these private companies have made amounts to €149 million of taxpayers’ money between them," Nolan claimed. "Surely that money could have been far better spent especially in light of the fact that the effectiveness of the schemes has been called into question for a number of years now,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The average rent in Offaly has now risen by 8.5% to €884 while the average rent in Laois has jumped by 10.7% to €921". "This will cause massive levels of anxiety to those dependent on the rental market for a roof over their heads," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply disturbing is the finding that as on May 1, there were just 2,700 properties available to rent nationwide on Daft.ie". This is the lowest ever figure for stock on the market, in a series that goes back to the start of 2006". "Clearly, these findings are a damning indictment of government policies aimed at containing massive rent escalations and prove pretty definitively that a completely new direction in thinking is needed". "The findings for Offaly are pretty stark. They show that the average mortgage for three-bed house is between €501 and €633. However, the rent for the same type of property is €849". "For Laois, the average rent for a three-bed is between €498 and €629 while the average rent is €900". "This Report is certain to cause enormous concern and rightly so,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 13, 2019 7:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There can be no doubt that the people of rural Ireland, and particularly those who have been left behind by commercial operators, will welcome proposals to finally bring connectivity to their homes and communities," Deputy Nolan said. "That being said, there will also be huge concern at the cost and the fact that from what we are hearing, the state will still not own the broadband infrastructure despite the billions of euros we will all be paying for it". "When you see that the Revised Estimate allocation in 2019 for the likes of LEADER, National Rural Development Schemes, Local Improvement Schemes etc, only amounts to a combined total of €141 million; then you realise just how enormous the proposed cost of €3 Billion really is and the impact it could have on rural Ireland in the long term". "Rural Ireland needs and demands better broadband. I fully support that and always have done," Carol added. "It is vital for our development and economic growth; but if it is delivered at the expense of closing down critically important schemes and programmes, which we also depend on, then serious questions have to be asked around whether or not the government is adopting the most beneficial approach for rural communities,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 26, 2019 12:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “As a former teacher and principal I have made this issue a core element of my representations to the Government over the last number of years; in particular to both the Minister for Education and the Minister for Public Expenditure". "I have long maintained that there was sufficient flexibility within The Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) to accommodate the very reasonable claims that teachers were making". "Indeed, it was always completely unsustainable to expect post-2011 entrants to the profession to stand idly by while incurring a loss of earnings of anywhere from €53,000 to €105,000 over their career". "It now seems that the government have finally woken up to this reality and that is to be warmly welcomed". "The only things that I hope do not emerge from this negotiation process are requests to accept the imposition of additional or onerous work practices as a kind of quid pro quo for pay equality," Deputy Nolan said. "This has always been about fairness, justice and respect for our teachers; a point that many of us have been working to convey to this government for some considerable time,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:07:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I want to welcome this additional €1.5 million for 2019 which will bring the total national fund to just over €18million". "We have four excellent family resource centres here in Laois-Offaly who provide dedicated and incredible service to what are often termed disadvantaged communities". "As I understand it, the additional €1.5 million in funding will be used to increase core funding by 5% to the four FRCs at Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Tullamore and Clara". The Minister in her announcement did say she is also allocating one additional family support worker in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas. "I have asked her to clarify if she will consider extending this to each of the FRCs that require it," Carol said. "I am also asking her to confirm that the FRCs will be able to ringfence this money so as not to have to divert it in order to meet operational expenses such as escalations in insurance costs,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The publication of these comparative fees demonstrate that the HSE is either wilfully engaged in the financial exploitation of elderly people or it is utterly indifferent to the appropriate market price for nursing home care," Carol continued. "Either eventuality is unsustainable and demands answers. It is for that reason that I will write to the C&AG, whose statutory remit is to improve the use of public money and resources and strengthen public accountability". "We must have accountability on this matter from the HSE especially in light of the fact that as I highlighted recently, the operational reform of the entire Fair Deal Scheme and the broadening of its services is already under threat". "In the legal profession, if a solicitor or barrister charges exorbitant and unjustifiable fees, then the matter can be referred to the Taxing Master who provides an independent and impartial assessment of legal costs and recommendations to refund fees," Nolan claimed. "The same should happen here. If farming families, or any family for that matter, has been the victim of profiteering by the HSE then they should be immediately reimbursed,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “We know that when the UK government introduced the FIT Scheme in 2010, it led to farmers who installed a small 3kW solar system, earning up to 1,700 a year," Nolan explained. "The way it worked in the UK is that the Government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid; usually over a 25 year period". "This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option but also economically stable one too," Nolan added. "We know that dairy and poultry farm production is extremely energy intensive and that because of that it adds significantly to the operational costs of the farm". "Under this Scheme, farmers would be rewarded for generating power for the national grid instead of being unduly burdened by completely unavoidable energy use that is necessary for the farm's survival". "I am also aware that in the UK there is the option of entering an agreement that allows farmers to purchase back the electricity generated on-site at a pre-agreed rate. As I understand it this was around half of what UK farmers would normally pay their existing energy supplier," Carol explained. "We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of Scheme as an option". "If there are flaws in the UK model then at least we have the benefit of learning from their mistakes, thereby allowing us to create a bespoke energy and cash-generating option for our own farmers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The failure to reform the Fair Deal Scheme is continuing to result in inaction that is having immediate, dramatic and totally avoidable consequences for farming families in particular," Nolan said. "There is particular anxiety around the delay in implementing urgent reforms aimed at ensuring that the applicant’s principal private residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three-year cap". "What I am concerned about, however, is that while the Minister told me that he expects to bring the Heads of a reform Bill to Cabinet in May; he also says this is subject to legal advice". "That is very far from the kind of solid commitments that farming families in Laois/Offaly need at this time of massive agri-sector uncertainty". "In fact, it sounds very much like ‘government speak’ aimed at justifying further delay. That is something we must have absolute clarity on if the reforms are to have any impact at all". "We have already waited long enough". "Commitments to reform the huge inequalities in the Fair Deal Scheme for farmers have been repeated every year since 2016 and still nothing concrete has happened," Carol said. "The Minister in his reply says that delays are down to the focus on Brexit". "At best that is a partial and weak excuse given that work on the legal basis for the reforms should have started 3 years ago when commitments were provided in the Programme for Government". "Otherwise, the government is simply saying that it promised all kind of things without doing any kind of legal analysis as to whether they could, in fact, be delivered. Some people would call that spin". "If the government thinks it can string farmers and service users of the Nursing Home Support Scheme along for another three years then it is in for a rude awakening because rural Ireland, in particular, has endured enough inequality in treatment to last a lifetime,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 5, 2019 2:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I was surprised to find in the Minister’s reply that there has not been a single application for this funding from either Laois or Offaly". "What this tells me is not that there is no interest for this funding among our farming community, but that more needs to be done by the Department to highlight the availability and accessibility of the Scheme". "It is pointless to have funding opportunities like this without a parallel and robust system of advertising measures being put in place". "The message must be brought to the farmers who are already over-worked and underpaid in so many instances". "As I understand it, the new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening on April 5," Nolan said. "Under the terms of the Scheme, Solar PV Installation grant aid in the initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost which will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system. "So I would encourage every farmer who even thinks they may be eligible to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight". "The Minister in his reply indicated that the grants would be also available to our Pig, Poultry and Egg producing farmers. This is absolutely vital In a post-Brexit scenario," the Offaly deputy added. "Only recently we had the IFA informing us that in the event of a hard Brexit, factories in the North of Ireland may be in no position to buy pigs from the south, with the additional concern that Ireland will not be able to process the extra pig numbers that will automatically arise". "This highlights the stark nature of the threat to the sector, which in turn makes it even more important that cost reduction measures like these be availed of in Laois-Offaly,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, March 29, 2019 7:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made it absolutely clear to the Minister that while these delays are a breach of the Programme for Government and our Disability law, they are, more importantly, an insult to the families and children of Laois-Offaly," Nolan added. The legal timeframe outlined in the Disability Act 2005 is that an assessment of need should be carried out within three months. "Despite this, the deadline is routinely missed and families are then left to suffer the long term negative impact". "What is particularly frustrating to me is that I have been highlighting disability and Special Needs related issues with the Minister since I introduced my Education (Inspection of Individual Education Plans for Children with Special Needs) Bill in 2017". "So, it is not a case that this is a problem that has come out of nowhere. The government and the Minister have had years to deliver a robust and efficient Assessment of Need framework". "Instead, they have left the issue to degrade to such a point where despite an investment of €17 billion in the HSE, children in Laois-Offaly cannot access basic services". "The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health was absolutely clear in its own Report on the New Standard Operating Procedure for Assessment of Need under the Disability Act 2005 issued in January of this year," she said. "It confirmed that when it comes to the assessment of need, we are really talking about the ‘golden window of opportunity’". "This is the critical period of a child’s development during pre-school and early-school years". "It is therefore essential that assessments and services are provided for in this period to avoid have a ripple effect that will require additional funding and support at a later stage, as well as having a knock-on effect with our educational services, our healthcare system and the child’s welfare,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I find it absolutely incredible that from 2015 to 2018, Laois/Offaly was allocated only 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146". That means the division has only received 4% of all gardaí to leave Templemore in the last three years. "This distribution is entirely inadequate and must be explained," Deputy Nolan said. "From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, from an already low base of 42 assigned in 2017". "We know that rural and urban crime is a real and persistent concern within the county, and that is why we must see a dramatic increase in the numbers assigned as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:04:00 PM EAT

AfricaBrief

Carol Nolan

Last updated on 2016-07-19T23:05+0300.

About this image

sign

Quotes... Extracted quotes from

Carol Nolan concluded : “The tractor protests last week provided a stark insight into the level of frustration that is building up among farmers. "That is why it is vitally important that the Beef Taskforce does not just descend into yet another talking shop. "Farmers are sick and tired of talk and empty promises. "They need to see real and permanent improvements in their standard of living, and they need to see them quickly. "They also want to see clear commitments on the part of Government to shift the balance of power away from the dominance of the processors and toward a fairer and more equal distribution of profits. "Unless these things happen and unless the real and legitimate concerns of all representative groups, including the Independent Farmers, are taken on board, then it will be difficult to see what value the Taskforce actually has. "I also want to acknowledge and welcome the lifting of the injunctions. It is just a pity that it took the kind of pressure we saw last week with the tractor protest to make C&D see sense,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, December 3, 2019 5:54:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The last thing farmers want to be engaged in is active protests. But many of them feel that they have once again been left with no option especially in light of the hyped expectations around the Beef Sector Agreement and the failure to deliver on the commitments contained within that. "There is also a definite sense that when it comes to the imposition of a carbon tax on the agriculture sector that not enough real on the ground analysis has been performed in terms of long term impacts. "Farmers feel they are being made environmental scapegoats and they are pushing back against that. "Even the Taoiseach admitted recently that the new carbon tax regime will increase the cost of transport for the haulage industry and have significant impacts on agriculture. "We need a more detailed and honest conversation around these issues. "The Taoiseach also accepted that the best way to get carbon tax done, would be on a cross-party basis and to agree on a trajectory over 10 years. "The reality is however that many farmers feel they will be out in business in ten years if cost mitigation efforts are not brought in to assist them. "The farmers who are protesting today are here to remind the government that the fabric of rural Ireland is under threat. "This is not something they will accept lying down, and I for one will be supporting them in that approach,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 26, 2019 5:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added : "In addition to this the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also shown that the annual number of patients who were without a bed at the national level has so far reached 100,457," External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Association ) : “I am deeply concerned about the nature of the challenges being faced by both patients and frontline staff at Tullamore Hospital. "It is clear to me, however, that the Minister and the HSE have not fully grasped the scale of the difficulties facing ordinary people as they wait for prolonged periods of time in Emergency Departments without access to a bed. "I was also alarmed to hear the Irish Hospital Consultants Association recently confirm to the Oireachtas Health Committee that a single nephrologist who specialises in kidney and paediatric kidney conditions is still carrying out the work of two people and that this has been going on for the past five years in Tullamore. "As I understand it, the post has been advertised three times but there are no eligible candidates. The waiting list for an outpatient appointment is now two and a half years, whereas the ideal is for patients to be seen within three to four months in order that urgent cases can be diagnosed. "All of this points to the numerous challenges facing our hospital and they must be addressed without delay. "How long more should the people of Tullamore, Offaly and the Midlands have to wait before the Minister gets that very simple message?” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 19, 2019 9:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Kieran Mulvey ) : “I am looking for an urgent and detailed engagement on this very important matter. It simply beggar’s belief that these power plants cannot be re-purposed or put to some other kind of use that will help to maintain vital employment in Offaly and the Midlands. "It was only in September that the ESB told the workers in Lanesboro that they were in a position to recommence generation at prudent levels to ensure compliance with environmental licence obligations. "How is it possible to have moved from that position to one of closure and dismantling in such a short period of time? "This raises deeply concerning questions around whether or not the intentions of ESB to actually commit to the region and the workers were genuine. "We are moving with alarming speed on this issue and I want to know what the reason for this. "My fear is that measures will be taken, such as the dismantling of the power plants, that will needlessly cost us hundreds of millions and close down future options for workers and their families. "I will also be asking the newly appointed Just Transition Commissioner, Kieran Mulvey, to prioritise the retention of the Plants and investigate if it is possible to place a moratorium on any proposals until a full public consultation on their future use can be conducted,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, November 15, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The workers and the people of Offaly and Longford deserved far better treatment than they have received to date in terms of how this entire process was handled. "I am also highlighting the fact that since the Minister for Finance introduced a solid fuel carbon tax, and this includes the tax on peat, in May 2013, significant sums of revenue have been generated. "Last year alone, the solid fuel carbon tax took in €25 million. "From 2013 to 2017 the solid fuel carbon tax raised €72 million in addition to the €25 million generated in 2018. "That is very close to €100 million, to say nothing of the additional amounts generated by the tax on gas, kerosene or petrol. "This gives some much-needed perspective on the commitments provided by Minister Bruton that government is setting aside a total of €50million in investment in the region including The Just Transition fund - of €11m and the retrofitting package of €20million," Deputy Nolan added. "I am calling for a significantly more ambitious and sustainable plan for the workers of Offaly, including a firm commitment to revisit the possibility of extending the phased closure of the plants at Shannonbridge and Lanesboro. "We are where we are in many respects because of this government's inability or unwillingness to move with a greater sense of urgency when it came to preventing this issue from lapsing into a crisis. "So, as things stand now they have allowed the axe to fall and, as usual, it is the ordinary workers and their families who will pay the dearest price for that if nothing meaningful is done,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, November 12, 2019 6:43:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I am not suggesting for one minute that we should disallow retired teachers to return to work, as very often they perform a vital stand in service when no other teachers are available," Deputy Nolan said. "What I am suggesting, however, is that we need to conduct a far more thorough analysis around why the numbers returning are so high, particularly at primary level, taking note of the fact that the numbers I have obtained do not even include retired teachers in the state’s Education and Training Boards (ETBs). "My own sense is that much of this is a product of the income inequality that new teachers were expected to put up until relatively recently which has undoubtedly contributed to teaching graduates emigrating or choosing another profession". In Offaly, there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six of those were principals with another two being deputy principals. The numbers are similar for Laois where there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six were principals and five were deputy principals. "We have to ensure that teachers and teaching graduates feel it is worth their while staying within our education system in order to avoid large scale absences that necessitate the return of retired teachers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I know that there is genuine anger and indeed upset in many schools throughout rural Ireland because of the devastating impact that comes with losing a valuable and much-needed teacher. I have met many frustrated principals and teachers who discussed this issue with me over the past few months. "As a former teacher and principal, I believe that the existing policy is not fit for purpose and needs a radical overhaul. That is why I was so frustrated with Government when no move was made on the matter earlier this month," Deputy Nolan added. "What we are seeing now however is a direct result of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael-Labour government in 2012 when it introduced changes to the staffing schedules in 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools in Budget 2012; "That policy decision directly targeted schools with less than 86 pupils and led to what was seen even then, as a move toward the forced amalgamation of rural schools. "That policy has continued in both spirit and letter and it is time for it to be urgently re-evaluated. "We already know there are major issues with pupil/teacher ratios-with Ireland having about 5 pupils more in our primary school classrooms than the EU average of 20. "When this is combined with a lack of teachers it leads to all sort of educational and health and safety concerns that are not simply going to go away. "I will continue to press the Minister until he recognises this and until he agrees to my request for an immediate and urgent review,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I made it clear to Minister Coveney that a date had to be provided in order for farming families to have the kind of clarity they deserve, especially around when the promised legislative reforms would take effect," she said. "I know of many farming families who are continuously struggling with the heavy costs of nursing home care despite pledges that such pressures would be minimised and addressed. "I also reminded him that Minister of State, Jim Daly, who is guiding the process of reform through, had already met a delegation from the IFA, along with a farmer who is very badly affected by this issue, Mr. Joe Carroll from Kilcormac. "Commitments were provided, and they must be honoured," Deputy Nolan concluded. As I understand it there was at least 26 people in Laois/Offaly on the Fair Deal waiting list at the end of June. That number has almost certainly increased since then. This is only a snapshot however of the broader health pressures that exist within County Offaly. That is why the date I received from the Tánaiste in terms of advancing the legal underpinning of the reforms we have worked so hard to bring about is so welcome. Farming families cannot afford, either financially or emotionally to have this issue put on the long finger. We must now work to ensure that the reform agenda makes it way quickly through committee so that the changes which are so urgently needed are given practical effect,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:12:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "This kind of thinking, while it certainly has some role to play, is simply unsustainable at present and if implemented would have a devastating impact on the hauliers which would also adversely affect rural Ireland," External link

offalyexpress Friday, October 25, 2019 5:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I have stood with NASRA members many times over the course of the last year as they sought to have their basic right to preferred union representation vindicated," she said. "Minister Harris, however, is still insisting that NASRA, which is affiliated with the Psychiatric Nurses Association is a group which is not recognised by the HSE and therefore does not have negotiating rights. "This is simply not acceptable, and the Minister must give urgent reconsideration to his continued adoption of this unhelpful stance. "I am therefore calling on him and the officials from his Department to maintain open channels for dialogue between representatives of the HSE and the management of National Ambulance Service to explore all possible options that might bring this matter to a fair and just resolution. "I would also remind the Minister and indeed the HSE that National Ambulance staff were asked to respond to over 34 thousand calls that were put through beyond their scheduled working time in 2018. "I have indicated previously that this clearly demonstrates the enormous strain that the service is under. "It is only appropriate then that given the fantastic and vital work these professionals perform that they are also given the right to choose their own form of union representation,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, October 24, 2019 2:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The Report by the HEA makes for deeply disturbing reading in the sense that we seem to have learnt nothing over the last number of years when it comes to increasing the educational opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds," Deputy Nolan said. "In March of 2017, I brought forward the Education (Disadvantage Committee) Bill 2017 specifically to tackle this problem which seems to be endemic in our system. "The purpose of my Bill was to re-instate the Educational Disadvantage Committee under the Education Act 1998. "This committee was in office from 2003-06 and its purpose was to advise the Minister for Education and Skills of the policies and strategies to be adopted to identify and correct educational disadvantage. "It was established on a statutory footing and it is my understanding that the Educational Disadvantage Committee was quite effective in its work. "It is clear that such a Committee now needs to be established without delay particularly light of the fact that the challenges that are being faced by students at the educational level are being translated into deep and highly unequal economic divisions. "Both Minister’s in the department must now accept that the measures they and the HEA have been taken to date have failed and that a new and imaginative approach is needed,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, October 22, 2019 4:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This is an issue that is creating serious levels of anxiety and uncertainty for rural families, and farming families in particular, who want to be able to develop and build a home on their land," Deputy Nolan said. "When I raised the matter with the Minister in June he [Minister Murphy] said that he expected the publication of the new Guidelines to be completed soon. "Yet despite the Minister's assurances and despite the fact that the Working Group examining the matter was established almost three years ago in 2017, we seem to be no closer to the date of publication and the kind of clarity people are asking for. "The Government's general housing trend in the last number of years and especially its vision contained in ‘Project Ireland 2040: National Planning Framework’ – has been to prioritise so-called ‘cluster living’ around towns and villages. "While this is fine, up to a point, it should not be used to create a blanket ban on one-off rural housing or the capacity of rural families to make their own choices around where they want to live; and especially if by doing so they can maintain the viability of the family farm. "So far we know that The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government intends to provide further guidance to local authorities later this year on the revisions it is making to the 2005 rural housing guidelines. "What I’m saying is that further delays are not acceptable given the impact and the uncertainty they are creating,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 16, 2019 5:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “All of the Fleadhanna run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann over the last number of decades have proven the professional capacity of the organisation in terms of maximising whatever public funding it receives," Deputy Nolan said. "We know that Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is returning to the Midlands next year and I am sure that it will be just as much of a success as previous years. "In light of that, we must have clarity as to whether or not the Minister is contemplating removing the direct funding that her department provides, usually about €1.5 million. "The Arts Council has its own areas of concern, but Comhaltas is a world-renowned promoter of traditional Irish music and dance, and it should be allowed to direct its own fate without having to depend on the Arts Council with respect to applications for funding. "Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the Fleadh each year with the help of thousands more volunteers. "It is a model that has worked and will continue to work effectively. It does not require revising or reviewing. "That is why I will be calling on Minister Madigan, if she is thinking about introducing changes, to simply leave Comhaltas alone and to avoid creating unnecessary funding obstacles for an organisation that has brought delight to millions both here and abroad,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “There will be hundreds of thousands of families today who will be either be worse off or no better off following this Budget," Deputy Nolan said. "By failing to make the kind of ambitious leap that was required with respect to carers, the Minister has essentially done nothing to address the crisis despite his commitment to deliver an additional one million home help hours. "We know that it would have taken approximately 2.5 million additional hours just to clear the backlog in terms of waiting times. "It is almost incomprehensible that the Minister made no mention whatsoever of the Fair Deal Scheme or the need to urgently prioritise and deliver the promised reforms in that area. This demonstrates worrying political blindness to the scale of the problems facing the scheme. "With respect to schools, I can only imagine how angry and frustrated Principals and teachers will be today following the total lack of commitment to restore the Capitation Grant to €200 or address teacher/pupil ratios. "This means that organisations like The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) will continue to see about 40% of their requests for practical assistance being related to school costs for parents trying to make up the shortfall in school funding. "I do want to acknowledge the €1 million funding provided to farmers affected by Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Area (SPA). However, given that there are at least 493 such areas and given the impact that the Carbon Tax increases will make, it is still not sufficient and more needs to be done here. Continuing her criticism, Deputy Nolan said: "In terms of the package for the Midlands and the proposal for a so-called Just Transition Commissioner; that is something we need to see immediate detail on. "I have continually called on both the Minister for Communications and the Minister for Business to give this issue the kind of sustained and practical focus it deserves and to engage in more sustained and coordinated planning with respect to the just transition policy. "We have seen the potentially devastating impact that a failure to do this can bring about in terms of the threat to Bord na Mona. "As the detail of the Budget works itself out over the course of the next few days, I believe it will become clear that this was a Budget sorely lacking in a determination to place policy fairness at its core. "Where for example was the sense of urgency around the housing emergency? Nowhere to be seen in practical terms. "That is a matter of deep regret given the scale of the challenges that some of our most vulnerable people are facing,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 9, 2019 3:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What is clear from our experience, and I speak as a former Principal myself, is that there is no one size fits all educational model. "We need to ensure that we meet students needs and support them if and when they decide that they would prefer a post-secondary level training in a particular form of apprenticeship. "That is why I support the committee recommendations to introduce a system whereby transition year work experience programmes are developed to let students know what the day-to-day activities of an apprentice are. "There is also a recommendation that leaving certificate subjects and curricula should be evaluated to see to what extent they can lead to apprenticeships, in terms of motivation and content. "I also see an urgency around promoting apprenticeships in the context of re-skilling workers as part of the just transition strategy. "Many of the workers who will be affected under the strategy will have transferable skills and those need to be harnessed and directed into training that is personally appropriate for them. "To make these options more attractive I have called on the Minister to abolish the Annual Student Contribution, or apprenticeship fees, paid by students attending Institutes of Technology. "This is a significant financial barrier to those who would otherwise like to go on and take up a trade,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, October 4, 2019 6:49:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “In May of this year I described the governments delay in accessing significant amount of EU funding to assist job creation and investment for the Midlands region as lethargic and disjointed," she said. "This was against the background of the government’s failure to apply in a timely manner to the EU Commission’s Coal Region in Transition Platform, launched in early 2017, a full year before Bord na Mona made its original announcement of the 430 job losses. "The Midlands membership of the Platform was only confirmed to me in August when I pursued the matter yet again with two separate government Ministers. "We can now see the devastating impact of this kind of sluggish commitment by government to tap into EU funds-funds that could have escalated the implementation of the Just Transition strategy. "I am therefore renewing my call to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, and indeed the Minister for Business, Heather Humphries, to urgently engage with the concerns expressed today not only by the GOU, but also by the CEO of Bord na Móna itself. "We cannot tolerate any further delay in terms of a move toward a Just Transition especially since it is now absolutely clear what such a delay entails,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 27, 2019 9:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The research conducted by the Family Carers of Ireland, who represent 355,000 carers, is an astonishing indictment of the way in which Carers have been systematically neglected over the lifetime of this government," she said. "It is simply unacceptable that family carers who save the state a conservatively estimated €10 billion in unpaid care annually and who provide 15.8 million hours of unpaid care each week continue to be treated with such little regard. "I raised this matter on the floor of the Dáil earlier this week, where I challenged the Minister to radically address the scandalous deficit in services and support that Carers are expected to put up with. "We had the scandal around Home Help packages being significantly reduced in June and now we have confirmation that the governments own inaction is damaging the very health of Carers. "This is intolerable, and it must be addressed in the upcoming Budget by fully resourcing respite and granting Carers access to services that they need to enable them to continue looking after their loved ones, but also themselves,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Co Longford ) : “The loss of operations at Lough Ree in August was a deep concern for the 70 workers and their families who were threatened by action taken by An Taisce. "I made that point absolutely clear at the time. "However, it was also a worrying signal about our capacity to effectively manage a just transition for the Midlands region. "I spoke about this on Thursday during a lengthy Dáil debate on legislation brought forward by the Green Party. "We know that there will be those who say Lough Ree should not be re-opened. "I disagree. "As I said during my Dáil contribution, it is all well and good to have a grand vision of a decarbonised society. It is all well and good telling people that there is a plan and a strategy to compensate for the inevitable disruption that this process will bring. "But families, workers and communities cannot live on sentiment, however noble. "They need to see a clear, dedicated pathway toward employment stability. "That after all is the core of what a just transition is. "The families and workers of counties like Offaly, Longford and the wider Midland region are owed that given the scale of the challenges that we are going to have to face,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, September 23, 2019 1:17:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said ( about Joe McHugh ) : "the failure by the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, to comprehensively address the pay inequality and precarious work conditions that continue to impact school secretaries is the main reason they have decided to withdraw their services" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 20, 2019 1:19:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The last thing the patients of the Midlands Regional Hospital need to hear is that an even further reduction in operating capacity is about to occur following these bed closures," Deputy Nolan said. "Yet following confirmation from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, this looks exactly like what is about to happen, and people are very angry and deeply upset by the news". "There is also a growing sense emerging that the commitments provided in the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2027 published little over a week ago are already obsolete and largely meaningless". "We were given assurances that the MRH was set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "But if there is no parallel commitment to recruiting qualified staff then these commitments are at best meaningless and at worst deliberately misleading," Nolan claimed. "The people of Tullamore and the Midlands who rely on this hospital deserve far greater levels of transparency on this issue than they have received to date". "They will not tolerate being the victims of the Minister and the HSE’s propaganda campaign, especially where their need is so great". "We need absolute clarity from the Minister for Health, that services at MRH will be protected and that a renewed and more credible plan to both retain and recruit staff will be put in place,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "This is an extraordinary statement for him to make," "Effectively he is conceding that he has no idea how adversely the Credit Unions will be hit and so we will just have to wait and see how things pan out" External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:48:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Given that we are about to enter a period of significant instability with respect to Brexit; it is absolutely vital that we effectively manage and apply cost reduction measures to businesses and sectors that are already struggling to survive," Deputy Nolan said. "What Boris Johnson does may be outside our control; limiting insurance costs most certainly is not". "I have been contacted by groups like the Irish Inflatable Hirers Federation (IIHF) that has up to 250 businesses among its number, and these people are on a knife-edge trying to maintain employment. Many have had to close their doors after years of building up solid community relations". "We saw this in Tullamore in March of this year and marts across the country. There are literally hundreds of small businesses like that who simply unable to meet the rising costs of insurance". "As I understand it from information provided to me by the IIHF, even Endurance Sports such as Triathlons are facing uncertainty given that insurance for Tri Ireland increased from 59K to 120K in 2018". "I also understand that the cost of Insurance for a play centre in Spain is approximately €1,250 compared to €45,000 Euro in Ireland. How can people meet those brutal costs?" "All of this has been known since The National Competitiveness Council Costs of Doing Business Report 2016". "That landmark Report recognised that Ireland was a relatively high-cost location and, addressing our cost competitiveness should remain a key economic priority for enterprise and Government". "We need to see change and we need to see it now. This government has long enough to rein in the industry; now it needs to get on with it,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, September 9, 2019 2:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The Minister’s claim that I have acted irresponsibly in raising concerns around the proposed garda restructuring has no basis in reality and needs to be withdrawn" External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan told : "My role, which I fulfil unapologetically, is to advance the interests of my constituents and to highlight their concerns around the capacity of any new proposals to tackle issues like rural farm crime or incidences of crime in general," External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan remarked ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "That is the kind of confident and engaging attitude I would encourage Minister Flanagan to imitate, instead of throwing unfounded accusations my way," "Let me be clear; if the final form of the proposals definitively brings about higher rates of garda visibility, substantial increases in garda numbers for Offaly and Laois and a marked reduction in rural crime, then the Minister and indeed the Commissioner will have my unqualified support" External link

leinsterexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The Minister’s claim that I have acted irresponsibly in raising concerns around the proposed garda restructuring has no basis in reality and needs to be withdrawn" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan told : "My role, which I fulfil unapologetically, is to advance the interests of my constituents and to highlight their concerns around the capacity of any new proposals to tackle issues like rural farm crime or incidences of crime in general," External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan remarked ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "That is the kind of confident and engaging attitude I would encourage Minister Flanagan to imitate, instead of throwing unfounded accusations my way," "Let me be clear; if the final form of the proposals definitively brings about higher rates of garda visibility, substantial increases in garda numbers for Offaly and Laois and a marked reduction in rural crime, then the Minister and indeed the Commissioner will have my unqualified support" External link

offalyexpress Friday, September 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “It strikes me as very poor timing to be considering the single biggest garda restructuring plan since the foundation of the State at a time when existing garda resource levels are stretched to capacity," Deputy Nolan said. "To my mind, and indeed to the minds of many ordinary rank and file members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), these proposals need to be urgently reconsidered". "It was only in April that I had to highlight there had been an almost two-thirds reduction in the number of Probationer Garda allocated for Laois-Offaly from 2017-2018". "This was after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed to me that the most recent Divisional Allocation numbers from 2015 to the end of 2018 showed that Laois-Offaly was allocated a paltry 86 Probationer Garda from a total of 2,146 assigned nationally," she added. "How is that situation going to be improved if we actually expand the geographical size of the area for the gardai to cover?" "How is that going to benefit people in Offaly and Laois who are already crying out for a more visible garda presence?" "These are the kind of questions we need immediate answers to before any kind of permanent changes take effect,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, September 4, 2019 1:37:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While considerable challenges remain in terms of service provision in Laois/Offaly, it is only right that we welcome any advances that will make people’s lives somewhat easier," she said. "In terms of Social Inclusion & Community Health; I want to acknowledge that Capital Plan commits to bringing The Community Addiction Services building on St Fintan’s Campus, in Portlaoise to operational completion in Q1 2019. This will provide much needed counselling services to the affected community". "There is also a guarantee that capital will be allocated to a number of projects which specifically address infrastructural risk issues in 2019. These include Fire Alarm and Fire Safety works in Tullamore MRH," Deputy Nolan continued. "Tullamore is also set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "I am disappointed, however, that in terms of Social Care/Palliative Care, a new Hospice for the Midlands is still only at a very preliminary stage". "It was also confirmed in the Capital Plan that the proposed 100 bed Community Nursing Unit for Mountmellick is still only at design stage". "I remain absolutely committed to highlighting to the HSE and indeed to the Minister for Health, where the Capital Plan can be improved for Offaly and Laois and where urgent investment is required, for example in Speech and Language Therapy and access to appropriate levels of Primary Care,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:03:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “My main priority here is to ensure that as many farmers as possible are aware of the BEAM Scheme and also to ensure that they are aware they need to act fast in order to have their application processed in time," Deputy Nolan added. "From what we know there are at least 37,000 beef finishers and 55,000 suckler farmers who are eligible for the scheme". "Given those numbers, we should work to avoid any confusion around deadlines etc". "I am also anxious for farmers to know that applications for participation in the Measure shall be made online only". "In cases where an applicant is deemed ineligible to participate in the scheme they will be given ten working days after the closing date for receipt of valid application to seek a review by the Department,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made the point after the talks that while some movement has been made on issues like addressing the systemic unfairness embedded in the beef grid system and the commitment to introduce an appeal system for carcass classification in meat plants; we were still very far from achieving true parity of esteem for the farmer," Deputy Nolan said. "Today it is clear to me and to many farmers just how far we still have to travel, specifically in terms of the intransigence of Meat Industry Ireland around the 30-month rule". "What we need at this point is a robust charter outlining in a clear and unambiguous manner how transparency can be applied to the calculation of pricing for the product". "We cannot allow MII and indeed the Minister to push the agenda that great advances have been made in this regard given the clear level of discontent that still exists out there". "We need urgent statutory enforcement on the issue of pricing". "I also said after the talks that what we simply cannot have is a return to the status quo that existed prior to the negotiations. Yet that is exactly what will happen if measures like this are not introduced; otherwise, it is just light-touch regulation that will continue to disproportionately benefit the processors against the ordinary farmer,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added ( about Simon Harris ) : "What we needed was target care for the sickest children and their families. Instead, then Minister Varadkar and after him, Minister Harris, have continued to drive through access policies that are actually harming those most in need in Offaly and Laois," External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 26, 2019 6:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We know that the cost of developing the NCH is going to be at least a billion euro more than originally anticipated," she remarked. "This was confirmed by the Government's own Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) Report when it found that the current €1.43bn cost is set to increase by €290m, bringing it to €1.73bn. The original estimate for the cost was €650 million". "When you compare this with the total estimated cost that the Minister has provided to me for the implementation of the entire National Cancer Strategy, then we can really see the enormity of the challenges that are going to be confronted and the waste that has been incurred". The Cancer Strategy itself is set to be rolled out over the next number of years, until 2026. "That timeframe could have been significantly reduced if the department did not have to find funds to meet the exorbitant costs associated with the NCH," Deputy Nolan continued. "I also think these figures should be seen in the context of the refusal of the Minister to amend the Health Act 1970 in order to remove inpatient charges for cancer patients. This is another issue I questioned him about recently". "What cancer patients and their families now want is to be absolutely assured that the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy will not be affected by these out of control costs at the NCH. It is the least they deserve,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 22, 2019 12:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The work undertaken over the course of the last year by the fantastic team in the Clara Heritage Committee demonstrates what this week is all about". "It is about celebrating and preserving the rich historical and cultural legacy that we have on our own doorsteps often without even being aware of it". "That is why weeks like this are so important". "There are dozens of events available to the public in Offaly; everything from Follow the Flyboats at Shannon Harbour, to Craft Skills Days in Tullynisk, Birr and Wildlife Detective events for kids at Clara Bog". "There are also a range of events in Tullamore, Pallas Lake and Moneygall, to name but a few". "The same is true for Laois where Laois County Library is hosting a number of talks on various aspects of our shared heritage. There also tours being offered at Emo Court House and Abbeyleix Estate". "I would encourage everyone who can to go and take some time out to visit one of these events". "A full list of the huge number of celebrations is available on the National Heritage website where you will find a county by county breakdown of everything that is being organised,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 19, 2019 4:24:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I have been pursuing this matter for some time now with a number of Ministers after it became clear to me that the government’s approach to accessing the widest possible range of EU supports was somewhat lacking in urgency and follow-through," Deputy Nolan remarked. "I had put it to both the Minister for Communications and the Minister for Business that significantly more needed to be done, especially given that the entire purpose of the Regions in Transitions Platform was to assist areas like our own Midland counties who have suffered with the loss of jobs in Bord na Mona for instance". "Minister Bruton has now confirmed to me that at the most recent meeting of the Platform, on 15-16 July, the European Commission announced that the Midlands region has now been included in the Platform. The formal confirmation is expected shortly". "As I understand it from the Minister, membership of the Platform enables the Midlands region to avail of the support of a dedicated Country Team, comprised of Commission experts, to assist with the development of strategies and projects for the region, focusing in particular on the employment challenges faced by workers affected by decarbonisation". "The Team will also assist in identifying appropriate EU funding opportunities for the Midlands. The meetings of the Platform also enable the exchange of knowledge and ideas between carbon-intensive regions". "While no new EU funds have been set up under this initiative, the European Parliament has proposed a €5 billion budget line in the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 currently being negotiated to support the just transition," she added. "I will continue to pursue this matter to ensure that counties like Offaly and Laois will have immediate access to the funds that become available, particularly in light of the increasing threats to employment that we have seen very recently at Bord na Mona,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 15, 2019 12:38:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I accept that the remit of An Taisce is to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage, it must do so in a manner that is collaborative and fair," she said. "From what I can see from its most recent decisions with respect to Lough Ree and Shannon Bridge, this approach has been entirely ignored in favour of an increasingly aggressive and interventionist policy that is having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary workers". "The Environmental Protection Agency had already decided to grant Lough Ree a revised licence and that should have been sufficient to allow operations at the plant to be restored". "However, An Taisce are now saying said the EPA had 'not considered the impact of continuing peat extraction.' This is clearly absurd given the level of work that has gone in to achieve environmental compliance". "At this point, it is difficult to avoid the impression that An Taisce are willing to sacrifice the sustainability of the Midlands as a region in transition as part of its effort to push through its own narrow vision of what is environmentally acceptable". "It is now clear that the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, needs to intervene in order to assure the people of the Midlands that charities like An Taisce will not be allowed to act as a de facto threat to the growth and viability of our communities,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 14, 2019 4:14:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I accept that the remit of An Taisce is to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage, it must do so in a manner that is collaborative and fair," she said. "From what I can see from its most recent decisions with respect to Lough Ree and Shannon Bridge, this approach has been entirely ignored in favour of an increasingly aggressive and interventionist policy that is having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary workers". "The Environmental Protection Agency had already decided to grant Lough Ree a revised licence and that should have been sufficient to allow operations at the plant to be restored". "However, An Taisce are now saying said the EPA had 'not considered the impact of continuing peat extraction.' This is clearly absurd given the level of work that has gone in to achieve environmental compliance". "At this point, it is difficult to avoid the impression that An Taisce are willing to sacrifice the sustainability of the Midlands as a region in transition as part of its effort to push through its own narrow vision of what is environmentally acceptable". "It is now clear that the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, needs to intervene in order to assure the people of the Midlands that charities like An Taisce will not be allowed to act as a de facto threat to the growth and viability of our communities,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 14, 2019 4:14:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The Tullamore Show has proven, yet again, why it remains the premier agricultural show at Irish and European level," Deputy Nolan said. "Each year it manages to combine world-class livestock skill and the best in farm machinery with a genuinely family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. This year was no exception". "All of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes paid off on the day". "I was also delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with so many of our farming families and to listen once again, to the concerns that remain a huge part of their lives". "Many of those pressing issues were put to the Minister when he attended. He now needs to act on them in order to ensure the survival of our world-class agricultural heritage". "The rain may have stayed away from Tullamore, but the storm clouds are gathering for Irish farmers and they cannot be left defenceless by their own government,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 12, 2019 4:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There is a genuine sense that the atmosphere around the Tullamore Show this year is something exceptional. That in itself is a testament to the amazing work that is carried out by an army of volunteers who give up their time to make the event so welcoming for all those who visit," Deputy Nolan said. "It is also down to the extraordinary work that is put in by the Show Committee who go to great lengths to ensure that it remains a event of the highest possible quality". "My own sense is that Irish agriculture and Irish farming need a hugely positive occasion like this now more than ever. We need to say to ourselves and to Europe that we have the best farming produce and livestock in the world and that they deserve to be supported and championed". "I have spent the last year highlighting so many of the challenges that face the farming community and farming families, like generational renewal, unsustainable trade agreements and threats to local marts". "I want to continue that work while at the same time pushing our government to a greater appreciation of the huge and valuable resources we have on our own doorstep and which the Tullamore Show captures so brilliantly,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 8, 2019 5:42:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

agriland Wednesday, August 7, 2019 11:25:00 AM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While I acknowledge the difficult position that the protests are putting the factories in; we have to accept that what is happening to the beef and suckler sector in Ireland is going to have massive ramifications for every element of the sector," she said. "Last year, after the Minister spoke at the Beef Roundtable forum, he said it was more important than ever for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency". "He also urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development". "Yet as things stand, farmers, and beef farmers, in particular, are seeing little to no sense that government is recognising its role in terms of that inter-dependency that the Minister spoke about," Deputy Nolan said. "At the moment, beef farmers are being left to the whims of a factory pricing structure that is undermining their work, an international order that is flooding their markets with cheap and possible sub-standard product and finally, a government who are not defending indigenous interests against destructive EU trade deals". "All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 6, 2019 1:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The position adopted by Bord na Móna, and in particular the way in which it has treated its long-term employees, has been needlessly provocative and unfair," she claimed. "This does not bode well for the future of the Mountdillon plant not indeed for the entire Midlands". "All of us who have been active in seeking to put in place a robust and just transition to new forms of employment for the Midlands region always presumed that Bord na Móna would be a constructive and fair partner in that process," Deputy Nolan added. "That presumption has taken a battering recently in light of Bord na Móna’s willingness to casually set aside the duty of care it owes its workers". "I seriously hope that this does not indicate a more fundamental shift in attitude. Right across the Midlands the workers of Bord na Móna have given decades of service and hard work to build up the brand and sustain the viability of its entire operation. "That history cannot simply be set aside as we engage with the challenging work of finding alternative employment models for the region". "I am calling on Bord na Móna to listen to the Unions and the workers and to engage with full openness to any suggestion that will allow us to maintain the maximum amount of employment,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 22, 2019 2:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The scale of the levy increases and the pressure it will place on Credit Unions is totally unacceptable. As I understand it, Minister Donohue has sanctioned a Central Bank request to raise the levy that will be due from approx. €1.5 million per annum to approx. €7.8 million by the end of 2022". "As yet it is still unclear if the Minister consulted with the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC), the statutory body established to advise the Minister on credit unions, in advance of this announcement". "This is a question that the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) have rightfully demanded answers to". "I want to state that I fully oppose this drastic increase and that I share the view of the ICLU that Minister Donohoe has shown a very poor understanding of the cooperative and community-driven nature of the credit union movement," Deputy Nolan said. "The Credit Union movement is a deeply responsible and trusted part of the community. It has maintained this reputation when other lending or financial organisations were crashing or were finding their duty of care to customers was severely compromised". "We need the Minister and indeed the Central Bank to back off and simply allow the Credit Unions the space and financial flexibility they need to continue providing the excellent service they have given communities over the years". "That is why I will be writing to the Minister requesting a meeting on this issue as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 16, 2019 4:56:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “At the outset, I want to acknowledge the enormous and indeed heroic efforts that parents and schools put in place in terms of working with the NCSE to improve Special Class provision," she said. "That being said it is deeply concerning to note that only five new classroom spaces will be provided this September in Offaly and a further five in Laois. This becomes even starker when you consider that Offaly has almost 40 Primary and Post Primary Schools that have a requirement for Special Classes". "So, the allocation that has been provided is clearly insufficient and will not match the level of need that currently exists". "I am aware that The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 can assist in addressing this issue where the NCSE is of the opinion that there is insufficient education provision for children with special educational needs in an area". "That is why I will be asking the Minister to review the situation in Laois/Offaly and the Midlands under the relevant sections of the Act". "As a parent and former Gaelscoil Principal, I absolutely believe that all children, including children with special educational needs, have a right to an education in line with their abilities, in order to live full and independent lives,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, July 11, 2019 12:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “From the information I have been given, it appears that no Senior Social Worker in Mental Health is currently assigned to CHO Area 8. There also vacancies for two Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists in our Area. "Of the three Clinical Nurses Specialists that are assigned, two are at the MHS Mental Health Day Hospital Portlaoise, while the other is assigned to Navan". "This is clearly an insufficient level of mental health staff given that CHO Area 8 consists of six counties, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Louth, and has a population of 615,258". "It is also the second largest CHO in terms of geographical area". "What is frustrating about this situation is that the need for enhanced mental health services was clearly identified almost three years ago with the publication of the HSE’s 2017 Plan for CHO Area 8," Deputy Nolan said. "That plan recognised that the people of Laois/Offaly needed early intervention and integrated care pathways between CAMHS, Primary Care and voluntary groups such as Jigsaw". "It also aimed to develop and integrate specialist clinical responses through the mental health clinical programmes". "The question I have for the Minister is how can these objectives be reached if we still have a lack of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Senior Social Workers to deliver them?" "That is the question I will be putting to the Minister as a matter of priority,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 9, 2019 1:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is a deeply alarming, and almost incomprehensible move by the EU Trade Commissioner given the scale of the damage it will inflict on Ireland’s beef sector," Deputy Nolan said. "It also stands in stark contradiction to the alleged EU support we are receiving in terms of the Brexit beef plan package. This move will essentially make that plans support completely meaningless". "The Irish beef sector and Irish beef farmers will not be the sacrificial victims offered up the Commissioner to push this through". "We need a clear statement of strategy from the Government on we propose to obstruct its agreement, mitigate or halt its implementation". "Yesterday we heard the Minister for Agriculture say we will have to build alliances with France and Poland to mitigate the Deal, yet today there are reports that the Taoiseach is saying the Trade Deal must be assessed in the round". "This sounds very much like mixed messages at a time, more than ever before when the Irish farmer needs a unified front". "We need to remind people that at the national level, suckler farmers play a key role in generating more than €2.4 billion in beef exports each year". "At the local level, the point has been well made that for every €1 we provide to suckler farmers, more than €4 of economic activity is generated in local economies". "This clearly demonstrates the potential damage that this awful Trade Deal will bring about if it is not effectively challenged,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 1, 2019 6:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The last thing the Irish beef sector needs now is the imposition of a whole new set of complicating conditions when it comes to accessing this vitally important income support," Deputy Nolan said. "Farmers will already have enough complication in trying to come to terms with the shape and size of the market in a post-Brexit scenario". "There is also a sense that the European Commission, in calling this beef package, a temporary adjustment scheme, have not really appreciated the long term nature and scale of the problem". "This has been a continuous crisis for at least the last number of years. Therefore the beef sector needs far more than ‘adjustments.’" "It needs fundamental reform to equalise the balance of power between supplier and producer". "That is something which is going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later if the long-term viability of the sector is to continue once the funding under this current scheme runs out,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 26, 2019 5:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The difficulties facing those who wish to engage with the Domestic Adoption process has been known for many years now, as can be seen by the single digit numbers of those adoptions that are successfully concluded here almost every year," Deputy Nolan said. "In fact, most prospective Irish parents who want to domestically adopt will tell you that the obstacles within the system are far greater than those that are faced when they pursue international adoption". "The Adoption Amendment Act 2017 Act was supposed to signal a cultural shift in how we saw adoption-moving it from the private to the public sphere and the care system, and therefore making it somewhat easier for domestic children to be adopted, but this has not happened". "As I understand it, the major pattern here is still that of international adoptions, which really took off in the 1990s and which has not been matched in scale or success by domestic adoptions," Carol added. "I am of the view that significantly more needs to be done to reform the system so that we can present domestic adoption as a positive option for couples who wish to give a child a secure and loving home". I will, therefore, be requesting that Minister Zappone establish a Policy Review Group within her department to see where we need to be going to make that a reality,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:36:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “It is now absolutely clear that all of the measures that the government have proposed to deal with this issue have not succeeded," Deputy Nolan said. "This clearly means that alternatives that were previously rejected by the Minister, such as the State-backed insurance schemes available in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada for instance, must be reconsidered". "In Australia for example, it is the law that every car on the road is registered and state insured and this includes a minimum third-party personal insurance cover, which is compulsory. Anything above that you can buy from a private insurance company". "This would allow the vast majority of young drivers to access affordable levels of insurance with the option of buying more comprehensive cover where it can be afforded". "We simply cannot allow the situation to continue where insurance companies are effectively being given free rein to charge whatever premiums they like to drivers, and young drivers in particular," the Offaly TD added. "It must also be pointed out that measures contained in the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s 2017 Report have failed to make any material difference in people’s pockets". "This highlights the necessity of the Minister re-examining the State-backed insurance option for drivers,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:53:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What has become very clear following the Dáil debate last night is the scale of the government’s denial on this issue". "Indeed, the Minister gave two directly contradictory statements that highlight the mixed messages that people are receiving," Nolan claimed. "First, the Minister acknowledged that the home support service is not demand-led and is therefore operated in line with agreed budgetary limits, but he then went on to say, not two minutes after this that the allocation of new hours will be demand-led based on clients' needs. Which is it?" "I put it to the Minister that It was shameful to see approximately 600 people in Laois-Offaly alone are waiting for home help and home care packages". "I also informed him that on Monday I attended a meeting in Mullingar which was organised by the Carers Association and that their message to him was that many carers are just fed up". "Many of the carers to whom I spoke on Monday are caring not only for one family member but for a number of them. They are at their wits' end". "It is absolutely shocking to realise that we pay just €219 in respect of carer's allowance, which is €16 more than the basic rate of social welfare. Yet the average contribution for nursing home care of €824. Something is radically wrong with this arrangement". "We need an urgent root and branch examination of where the funds are going in order to cut out totally unjustifiable and excess payments, especially when more cost-effective and preferred home care solutions are available,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, June 14, 2019 5:45:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “If this decision goes through it will have an absolutely devastating impact on the future of CE Schemes right across the state," Deputy Nolan said. "As I understand it, it will also be in direct breach of the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation that the state make pension provision for CE Scheme Supervisors". "The vast majority of the companies involved in the delivery of CE Schemes are extremely limited in the resources and will not be able to meet these demands". "We have already had a full 24-hour strike, and that caused significant inconvenience to many services like Meals on Wheels and Tidy Towns-which are CE Scheme supported". "The Minister for Finance is also aware of the potential damage this could do since he was informed of the results of the High-Level Forum that debated this matter in 2017". "Since then he has repeated the line that implementing the Labour Court recommendation of 2008 will leave the state with a potential cost exposure. What I would say to that is that we must examine that further in light of the savings that the CE Schemes are making for the state". "This is a point backed up by the CE Supervisors unions, Forsa and SIPTU,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 11, 2019 5:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is great news, even if it is years overdue," Deputy Nolan said. "I have made repeated representations to the Minister on the need to escalate this process given the discriminatory nature of the current Scheme, especially as it relates to farming families". "We can only hope at this stage that the government will see fit to prioritise this crucially important and reforming work before the summer recess and not subject it to further delays". "I am certain that efforts to bring it over the line so that families can feel the impact will receive wide cross-party and independent member support". "I am also very heartened to see that the Minister appears to have taken on board suggestions that I and farming family representative organisations have been making with respect to making aspects of the reform’s retrospective," Carol said. "As I understand it, under the new regime, if a resident has been living in a nursing home for one year, their family will only have to pay the 7.5% for another two years and if a resident is in a nursing home for more than three years, those 7.5% payments will cease immediately". "That is certainly a significant advance forward". "I will wait to see the fully fleshed out detail but if what is being reported is accurate then it looks like we are moving in the right direction at last,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, June 10, 2019 12:27:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The response of this and previous governments to the crisis has resulted in an unmitigated policy failure with respect to retention levels," Deputy Nolan said. "The Minister says the issues surrounding staff turnover are down to the unique and demanding nature of military life, without once accepting that his government is effectively guaranteeing that it is far more demanding than necessary". "The families and in particular, the wives of PDF personnel have lost all faith in the willingness or the capacity of government to increase pay and conditions. Many are simply unable to survive financially which in turn is contributing to the mass exodus from the forces right across the board". "As I understand it, the crisis of recruitment and retention is directly responsible for ensuring that at a minimum, soldiers, sailors and aircrew conduct two 24-hour security duties in each week along with a further 16 hours of routine duties. This amounts to an average 64-hour working week on low rates of pay". "This has to change especially in light of the fact that the government has committed to increase defence spending including more than €250 million in a ship replacement programme and a capital budget of €416 million for the period 2018-2021,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “According to Teagasc, there are now at least 30,000 farming families who are highly exposed to serious levels of income deprivation". "This is very concerning, particularly in light of the fact that we have yet to see how the Brexit scenario is finally going to play out and the extent of the adverse impact it is going to have," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply frustrating to many farmers who are struggling with low or volatile income levels, is the decision by the Department of Housing and the Department of Agriculture to choose this as the time to review the regulations around the nitrates derogation". "Many farm families are just dismayed that the department is engaging in this process especially when it had given prior commitments to keep the derogation in place until 2021". "This can only mean greater levels of unnecessary uncertainty for farming families," Carol added. "I am therefore calling on the Minister to immediately engage with farming organisations and families in order to identify and address the causal factors that are giving rise to such sustained low-income levels". "Whatever about the international context; there is certainly more than can be achieved at the national level to alleviate these difficulties for farm families,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 12:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This move by the HSE is an insult to those who provide vital home help services and the over 6000 currently on the waiting list for such services," Deputy Nolan said. "What the HSE have effectively said is that the entire home help scheme is now closed to new applicants for the next five months". "This is an astonishing development that directly contradicts this government's repeatedly stated policy of ensuring that people are kept in their homes under the care of their loved ones for as long as possible". "I accept that there has been a significant increase in demand for the services, but this is something that has been on the cards for at least the last eight years when it became clear that we were moving toward an increasingly ageing demographic of older persons". "I will also be seeking clarity from the Minister form State, Jim Daly, on his additional proposal that the Home Help Scheme is set to move toward the inclusion of some form of co-payment". "This will need to be urgently clarified to ensure that we do not increase the lack of access to the service beyond the unacceptably high level that it is at present,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 4, 2019 12:19:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The conditions that members of Nasra are being forced to operate under are entirely unacceptable, as is the bewildering refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised". "We know that Nasra has already held six minor protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE". "That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could have recognised the gravity of the situation and worked to avoid this 24-hour national strike," Nolan added. "In that context is it any wonder that the ambulance staff feel ignored and patronised by their employer-the HSE?" "In addition to these challenges it has also been confirmed to me that the National Ambulance Service has been converting decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment". "This in itself is an absolutely extraordinary admission which only serves to underscore the lack of resources available to our ambulance fleet". "Have we really arrived at the stage where despite a €17 billion health budget the ambulance service is being forced to reuse unsafe vehicles for emergency equipment transport?” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 31, 2019 4:50:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “The information provided to me shows that within Co. Offaly, 33 schools will see some small addition to their SNA posts. However, 26 schools in Offaly will, unfortunately, have the exact same provision as they did last year with 5 schools actually seeing a decrease". "I think what this shows is that while there are relatively minor improvements, the pace of SNA allocations is simply not happening fast enough to meet the needs of parents, children and schools," Deputy Nolan added. "We need to implement policies that will allow for far greater recruitment and retention of these vital members of staff". "Clearly, this is not happening, which in itself is deeply concerning as the former Minister for Education, Richard Bruton and the NCSE had initiated a review of the SNA policy as far back as 2016,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The experience of a significant number of people who were effectively forced to take part in Turas Nua and Seetec related engagements has been overwhelmingly negative," Deputy Nolan claimed. "The majority of TDs and elected representatives will tell you that no matter where in the country Turas Nua were operating, their ‘clients’ would raise the same concerns around a sense of being threatened and being pressured to take up unsuitable work". "So in that sense, I am delighted that this model of employment assistance is being closed down. We need models and ways of engaging with people that respect their dignity and their intelligence". "We also need job assistance programmes that represent value for money. Clearly, Turas Nua and Seetec did not offer this". "In fact, we know that out of the 190,000 people referred to JobPath, just nine per cent (17,100 people) had secured employment which had been sustained for at least one year, at a cost of €3,718 per person". "The total gain that these private companies have made amounts to €149 million of taxpayers’ money between them," Nolan claimed. "Surely that money could have been far better spent especially in light of the fact that the effectiveness of the schemes has been called into question for a number of years now,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Lymphoedema is a progressive, chronic disease that causes swelling of body tissue that can affect people of all ages. It can develop following damage due to cancer treatment, vascular disease, trauma or chronic infection," she said. "In light of that, I am delighted that the Minister has now confirmed that a community demonstration site will be rolled out in Community Healthcare Organisation 8 (Laois/Offaly) this September". "We know that approximately 12,500 people in Ireland suffer from this chronic condition, so it is urgent that they receive all the help they can get". "This is especially important because left untreated or if treated too late, this condition can compromise quality of life through physical limitations and disability". "This is concerning from my perspective because I am aware that when it comes to Offaly, 11,154 people have at least one disability, of which 4,479 of those experience difficulties with basic physical activities". "In Laois, the number of people with disabilities is 11,393 people, of which 4,558 are experiencing ongoing difficulties with basic physical activities". "It is in that context that I will be questioning the Minister further around the need to provide clear information on the number of people within that category who may also suffer from Lymphoedema in Laois/Offaly and what his plans are to further extend service provision within the counties,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 27, 2019 6:08:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I was delighted to support this critically important briefing on Tuesday that was also attended by Rehab representatives from Laois/Offaly," she said. "They have made it clear that the work of Rehabs 147 services in 117 locations around the country will be threatened due to a funding gap of €2million. This is beyond belief given the scale of the service provision that Rehab engage in on the state's behalf". "I acknowledge that HIQA has found there needs to be improvements in the organisation's national governance structure, but most of the current challenges arise from the escalating cost associated with the kind of care that Rehab provides". "The Minister and this government must accept that families and service users are being severely and negatively affected by this uncertainty". "It would, therefore, be a significant and indefensible blow to families and communities if the work of Rehab was to cease at this point especially given the level of dependency that many families have on it for relief and assistance on a daily basis,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Strategy ) : “The people who I engaged with on this protest had one clear message that they wanted government to hear; and that is that the current approach to the provision of respite care and Home Care Packages is a fragmented, geographical lottery which is not fit for purpose," she commented. "While some parts of the country are doing their best to respond to care needs-most areas simply do not have even adequate levels of service, never mind the kind of consistent quality service that people deserve". "The government’s response is always the same. They point to the publication of the first ever Carers Strategy that was published in 2012 while assuring us that they are committed to implementing it in full". "Well, the reality is that it is seven years on and people are still waiting for what the government promised in terms of greater involvement of family carers in the preparation of care plans and aiding the provision of care with more accessible training and respite care". "The disability community feel utterly betrayed by the lack of progress on meeting these objectives and that is why they were forced to protest". "Indeed the fact that they must come to Dáil Éireann to plead for things like ceiling hoists and accessible transport and catering facilities is in itself a damning indictment of this government’s persistent refusal to assist these courageous people in moving beyond the experience of being treated like second class citizens,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “While I made it clear to the Minister that initiatives like the Midlands Enterprise Plan are welcome and important, I also told her that there appears to be a lack of joined-up thinking by various Government departments when it comes to addressing the problems we have in the Midlands," Deputy Nolan said. "I specifically asked her to explain why there was no mention in the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan of the EU Commission’s Coal Region in Transition Platform. This particular Platform was launched in early 2017, a full year before Bord na Mona made its announcement of the 430 job losses". "The whole reason for its existence is to promote funding and structural investment in areas exactly like the Midlands which traditionally relied on carbon-intensive industries". "Yet her colleague, the Minister for Communications, has only recently written to them asking for funding and policy support," Deputy Nolan claimed. "I certainly feel that we have lost valuable years here when jobs could have been created given that that Coal Platform is already delivering tailor-made assistance to 13 pilot regions in seven Member States". "We also know that regions in Greece, Slovakia, Poland and Germany have benefited from its support". "This is to say nothing of the fact that in the region of Silesia, which was the EU’s largest coal region, €120 million has been ring-fenced to provide support to projects in the area of urban infrastructure, clean air and to prepare former mining sites for investment". "This is exactly the type of funding that the government should have been applying for on the midlands behalf in 2017. Unfortunately, it has only been applied for in the last few weeks, as confirmed to me in a parliamentary question". "This is unacceptable and points to a clear lack of connected thinking within various government departments that should be working together to maximise the jobs potential of the Midlands region,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:13:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The average rent in Offaly has now risen by 8.5% to €884 while the average rent in Laois has jumped by 10.7% to €921". "This will cause massive levels of anxiety to those dependent on the rental market for a roof over their heads," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply disturbing is the finding that as on May 1, there were just 2,700 properties available to rent nationwide on Daft.ie". This is the lowest ever figure for stock on the market, in a series that goes back to the start of 2006". "Clearly, these findings are a damning indictment of government policies aimed at containing massive rent escalations and prove pretty definitively that a completely new direction in thinking is needed". "The findings for Offaly are pretty stark. They show that the average mortgage for three-bed house is between €501 and €633. However, the rent for the same type of property is €849". "For Laois, the average rent for a three-bed is between €498 and €629 while the average rent is €900". "This Report is certain to cause enormous concern and rightly so,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 13, 2019 7:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “Addressing the issue of so-called hidden ‘Top-Up’ fees that are being applied to nursing home residents is one that has been left on the political back-burner for years now". "That was always totally unacceptable as it effectively provided a regulatory vacuum within which various kinds of financial exploitation could take place". "That is why this move by the CCPC is to be welcomed as a positive first step. I certainly welcome the fact that the language around how and when a Nursing Home can apply fees is to be tightened up and made much clearer than it is at present". "I have already indicated that I was going to ask the Comptroller and Auditor General to investigate separate claims that Nursing Home residents in HSE-run facilities in Laois and Offaly are being charged almost 200% above the cost of Private and Voluntary Nursing Home Care". "I can now confirm that I have done this and I am awaiting the C&AG’s reply". "What I am disappointed about around the launch of the CCPC guidelines is the lack of detail on the retrospective nature of the proposals". "I would hope that families could have some recourse to being reimbursed for fees that were inappropriately charged before these guidelines come into force. Hopefully, that is an aspect of the new regulations that we can look at this issue progresses,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 10, 2019 3:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "why there has been an almost two-thirds reduction in the number of probationer gardaí allocated to Laois-Offaly from 2017-2018. Deputy Nolan was speaking after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed the most recent Divisional Allocation numbers from 2015 to the end of 2018: “I find it absolutely astonishing that from 2015 to 2018; Laois-Offaly was allocated a paltry 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146 assigned nationally," "This distribution is grossly inadequate and must be explained. From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, a drop of almost two thirds from a base of 42 assigned in 2017" External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added ( about Charlie Flanagan ) : "We know that tackling rural crime is a real and persistent problem in our counties given the significant geographical spread that the Gardaí must cover," "That is why we must see a dramatic increase in numbers as a matter of urgency. Instead of this, Minister Flanagan has again confirmed that he is set to further reduce the intake of new recruits this year from 800 to 600" External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “If the minister does continue to encourage a transition away from CAN then he must make clear what supports are available should crop or yield productions fall as a direct result of this,” External link

agriland Thursday, May 2, 2019 6:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “This reply from the Minister underscores a tragic lack of ambition for our older and vulnerable communities here in Offaly and Laois," Deputy Nolan said. "Minister Daly has now put on record that while there are 11 specialist inpatient palliative care units or hospices, with four in Dublin and one each in Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick and Sligo; not a single Unit is planned for our counties for the foreseeable future". "This is despite the fact that as the Minister himself accepts, we have a definite trend toward a more ageing population where the level of care need is only set to increase". "More recently we have also seen the Offaly Hospice Foundation launch another amazing fundraising effort. They have been doing this for the last 20 years. Is the Minister seriously going to tell us that it will be another 10 or 20 years before Offaly or Laois gets the Specialist Palliative Care Unit it deserves?" If the Minister can commit to delivering three new inpatient palliative care units that are scheduled to open later this year, in Mayo, Waterford and Wicklow, then he must explain why he thinks it is appropriate to leave Laois-Offaly waiting for years before we even reach planning stage,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, May 2, 2019 11:48:00 AM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “I am asking for the minister to clarify why he has agreed to this level of budget allocation-especially as he was the first to accept that the impact of the Community Enhancement Programme has been considerable,” External link

agriland Friday, April 26, 2019 5:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There can be no doubt that the people of rural Ireland, and particularly those who have been left behind by commercial operators, will welcome proposals to finally bring connectivity to their homes and communities," Deputy Nolan said. "That being said, there will also be huge concern at the cost and the fact that from what we are hearing, the state will still not own the broadband infrastructure despite the billions of euros we will all be paying for it". "When you see that the Revised Estimate allocation in 2019 for the likes of LEADER, National Rural Development Schemes, Local Improvement Schemes etc, only amounts to a combined total of €141 million; then you realise just how enormous the proposed cost of €3 Billion really is and the impact it could have on rural Ireland in the long term". "Rural Ireland needs and demands better broadband. I fully support that and always have done," Carol added. "It is vital for our development and economic growth; but if it is delivered at the expense of closing down critically important schemes and programmes, which we also depend on, then serious questions have to be asked around whether or not the government is adopting the most beneficial approach for rural communities,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 26, 2019 12:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “As a former teacher and principal I have made this issue a core element of my representations to the Government over the last number of years; in particular to both the Minister for Education and the Minister for Public Expenditure". "I have long maintained that there was sufficient flexibility within The Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) to accommodate the very reasonable claims that teachers were making". "Indeed, it was always completely unsustainable to expect post-2011 entrants to the profession to stand idly by while incurring a loss of earnings of anywhere from €53,000 to €105,000 over their career". "It now seems that the government have finally woken up to this reality and that is to be warmly welcomed". "The only things that I hope do not emerge from this negotiation process are requests to accept the imposition of additional or onerous work practices as a kind of quid pro quo for pay equality," Deputy Nolan said. "This has always been about fairness, justice and respect for our teachers; a point that many of us have been working to convey to this government for some considerable time,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:07:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I want to welcome this additional €1.5 million for 2019 which will bring the total national fund to just over €18million". "We have four excellent family resource centres here in Laois-Offaly who provide dedicated and incredible service to what are often termed disadvantaged communities". "As I understand it, the additional €1.5 million in funding will be used to increase core funding by 5% to the four FRCs at Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Tullamore and Clara". The Minister in her announcement did say she is also allocating one additional family support worker in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas. "I have asked her to clarify if she will consider extending this to each of the FRCs that require it," Carol said. "I am also asking her to confirm that the FRCs will be able to ringfence this money so as not to have to divert it in order to meet operational expenses such as escalations in insurance costs,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The situation is just as concerning for nursing home residents in Offaly; where Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) claim families are paying up to 107% above the private and voluntary sector fee," "NHI also claims that within neighbouring Westmeath the differential is 135% - with two HSE operated nursing homes averaging €1,899 per week as opposed to average €808 for the 12 private voluntary providers" External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The publication of these comparative fees demonstrate that the HSE is either wilfully engaged in the financial exploitation of elderly people or it is utterly indifferent to the appropriate market price for nursing home care," Carol continued. "Either eventuality is unsustainable and demands answers. It is for that reason that I will write to the C&AG, whose statutory remit is to improve the use of public money and resources and strengthen public accountability". "We must have accountability on this matter from the HSE especially in light of the fact that as I highlighted recently, the operational reform of the entire Fair Deal Scheme and the broadening of its services is already under threat". "In the legal profession, if a solicitor or barrister charges exorbitant and unjustifiable fees, then the matter can be referred to the Taxing Master who provides an independent and impartial assessment of legal costs and recommendations to refund fees," Nolan claimed. "The same should happen here. If farming families, or any family for that matter, has been the victim of profiteering by the HSE then they should be immediately reimbursed,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “We know that when the UK government introduced the FIT Scheme in 2010, it led to farmers who installed a small 3kW solar system, earning up to 1,700 a year," Nolan explained. "The way it worked in the UK is that the Government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid; usually over a 25 year period". "This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option but also economically stable one too," Nolan added. "We know that dairy and poultry farm production is extremely energy intensive and that because of that it adds significantly to the operational costs of the farm". "Under this Scheme, farmers would be rewarded for generating power for the national grid instead of being unduly burdened by completely unavoidable energy use that is necessary for the farm's survival". "I am also aware that in the UK there is the option of entering an agreement that allows farmers to purchase back the electricity generated on-site at a pre-agreed rate. As I understand it this was around half of what UK farmers would normally pay their existing energy supplier," Carol explained. "We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of Scheme as an option". "If there are flaws in the UK model then at least we have the benefit of learning from their mistakes, thereby allowing us to create a bespoke energy and cash-generating option for our own farmers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan explained : “The way it worked in the UK is that the government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash-back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid, usually over a 25-year period,” “This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option, but also economically stable too,” External link

agriland Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan argued : “We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive, and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of scheme as an option,” External link

agriland Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The fact is that farmers in Laois-Offaly and beyond remain mired in a beef crisis that is becoming more and more deeply embedded with each passing week," "We have a factory pricing system that is bordering on cartel-like behaviour and that continually leaves suckler farmers feeling manipulated and shortchanged" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan claimed : "Apart from being a slightly patronising reply, surely this is the function of government and the department especially in terms of their role in monitoring and removing anti-competitive factory price practices or making more effective representation at the European level with respect to CAP," External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 17, 2019 2:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "For some time now I have been calling for the need to introduce a more flexible and accessible programme of funding for farm families who may not have access to high levels of loan security," "This Scheme recognises that with the inclusion of a provision for loans of under €500,000 to be made on an unsecured basis" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan added : "That level of approval to payment ratio will have to dramatically increase if this Scheme is to have the kind of supporting impact we desperately need it to have," "In addition to this, we urgently need targeted and specific interventions for the beef sector which is being fundamentally undermined by Brexit related instability" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 10, 2019 5:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “What we have here is direct confirmation that the people of Laois-Offaly, and in particular the children of Laois-Offaly, are being categorically failed by both this government and the senior management of the HSE. "What does this say about the willingness or even the capacity of our Republic to cherish all the children of the nation equally?" "Only recently I had to highlight how 559 children in Laois-Offaly have yet to receive an assessment of need despite being on the waiting list for that service well in excess of the three-month statutory deadline". "This combination of service collapse is having a significantly detrimental impact and it must be addressed," Deputy Nolan continued. "To do this the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, must make it clear that the reported moratorium on further recruitment within the HSE, is immediately re-considered". "At the political level, we must begin to have credible and meaningful accountability for these appalling outcomes". "It is simply unacceptable for all those TDs who are currently propping up this failed Minister to continually shout and roar and then do absolutely nothing when it comes to actively holding him accountable". The children of Laois-Offaly and the parents who fight for them to access basic services demand nothing less,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, April 8, 2019 12:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The failure to reform the Fair Deal Scheme is continuing to result in inaction that is having immediate, dramatic and totally avoidable consequences for farming families in particular," Nolan said. "There is particular anxiety around the delay in implementing urgent reforms aimed at ensuring that the applicant’s principal private residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three-year cap". "What I am concerned about, however, is that while the Minister told me that he expects to bring the Heads of a reform Bill to Cabinet in May; he also says this is subject to legal advice". "That is very far from the kind of solid commitments that farming families in Laois/Offaly need at this time of massive agri-sector uncertainty". "In fact, it sounds very much like ‘government speak’ aimed at justifying further delay. That is something we must have absolute clarity on if the reforms are to have any impact at all". "We have already waited long enough". "Commitments to reform the huge inequalities in the Fair Deal Scheme for farmers have been repeated every year since 2016 and still nothing concrete has happened," Carol said. "The Minister in his reply says that delays are down to the focus on Brexit". "At best that is a partial and weak excuse given that work on the legal basis for the reforms should have started 3 years ago when commitments were provided in the Programme for Government". "Otherwise, the government is simply saying that it promised all kind of things without doing any kind of legal analysis as to whether they could, in fact, be delivered. Some people would call that spin". "If the government thinks it can string farmers and service users of the Nursing Home Support Scheme along for another three years then it is in for a rude awakening because rural Ireland, in particular, has endured enough inequality in treatment to last a lifetime,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 5, 2019 2:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Commission ) : “Bord na Mona has made it very clear that its pursuit of a decarbonisation strategy is going ahead and that this will have a direct impact on jobs and industry in the midlands region, specifically in Co Offaly," she said. "This has caused significant concern for those families and workers affected by the rolling closure of our bogs, which, as I understand it, is now up to 21 bogs despite an initial announcement that 17 would close". "Yet despite these consequences being well known for a number of years, it has now emerged that the Minister has ‘only recently’ written to the European Commission Coal Transition Platform, which regardless of its name is mandated to deal with energy-intensive industries like Bord na Mona". "The people of the Midlands need to know why it has taken this long considering the fact that the Commission launched the Platform in December 2017 in order to help areas like our own midlands region to modernise their economies in line with a clean energy transition that focuses on social fairness, new skills and financing for the real economy". "If this government is serious about supporting reskilling and employment opportunities in Offaly, Laois and across the Midlands region then we need clarity on why this obvious area of support was not pursued sooner,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 4, 2019 5:40:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I was surprised to find in the Minister’s reply that there has not been a single application for this funding from either Laois or Offaly". "What this tells me is not that there is no interest for this funding among our farming community, but that more needs to be done by the Department to highlight the availability and accessibility of the Scheme". "It is pointless to have funding opportunities like this without a parallel and robust system of advertising measures being put in place". "The message must be brought to the farmers who are already over-worked and underpaid in so many instances". "As I understand it, the new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening on April 5," Nolan said. "Under the terms of the Scheme, Solar PV Installation grant aid in the initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost which will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system. "So I would encourage every farmer who even thinks they may be eligible to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight". "The Minister in his reply indicated that the grants would be also available to our Pig, Poultry and Egg producing farmers. This is absolutely vital In a post-Brexit scenario," the Offaly deputy added. "Only recently we had the IFA informing us that in the event of a hard Brexit, factories in the North of Ireland may be in no position to buy pigs from the south, with the additional concern that Ireland will not be able to process the extra pig numbers that will automatically arise". "This highlights the stark nature of the threat to the sector, which in turn makes it even more important that cost reduction measures like these be availed of in Laois-Offaly,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, March 29, 2019 7:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan outlined : “The new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS, opening on April 5” External link

agriland Friday, March 29, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : “I would encourage every farmer, who even thinks they may be eligible, to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight” External link

agriland Friday, March 29, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made it absolutely clear to the Minister that while these delays are a breach of the Programme for Government and our Disability law, they are, more importantly, an insult to the families and children of Laois-Offaly," Nolan added. The legal timeframe outlined in the Disability Act 2005 is that an assessment of need should be carried out within three months. "Despite this, the deadline is routinely missed and families are then left to suffer the long term negative impact". "What is particularly frustrating to me is that I have been highlighting disability and Special Needs related issues with the Minister since I introduced my Education (Inspection of Individual Education Plans for Children with Special Needs) Bill in 2017". "So, it is not a case that this is a problem that has come out of nowhere. The government and the Minister have had years to deliver a robust and efficient Assessment of Need framework". "Instead, they have left the issue to degrade to such a point where despite an investment of €17 billion in the HSE, children in Laois-Offaly cannot access basic services". "The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health was absolutely clear in its own Report on the New Standard Operating Procedure for Assessment of Need under the Disability Act 2005 issued in January of this year," she said. "It confirmed that when it comes to the assessment of need, we are really talking about the ‘golden window of opportunity’". "This is the critical period of a child’s development during pre-school and early-school years". "It is therefore essential that assessments and services are provided for in this period to avoid have a ripple effect that will require additional funding and support at a later stage, as well as having a knock-on effect with our educational services, our healthcare system and the child’s welfare,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The designation of these towns as rent pressure zones would ensure that rents could only be increased by up to 4% a year which would help to create more sustainable rents for families who are currently struggling to keep up with month on month rent increases," External link

offalyexpress Monday, February 25, 2019 3:46:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "It was made absolutely clear that the current provisions of The Private Security Services Act 2004, which is the primary legislation under which the Private Security Authority operates, is grossly inadequate and needs to be urgently revised or amended," "We are aware that the Board of the PSA contains representatives from an Assistant Garda Commissioner as well as the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Justice and Equality" External link

offalyexpress Thursday, February 14, 2019 5:17:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "If this situation is allowed to continue it this will have serious implications for nurses' health and also for patient safety. These nurses are working in a system which, like this government, is not fit for purpose and it is appaling to think that the Taoiseach of this state worked in the health service himself and saw first hand the difficulties that persist and yet he, along with you Minister, is presiding over a serious crisis," External link

offalyexpress Thursday, February 7, 2019 5:28:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I find it absolutely incredible that from 2015 to 2018, Laois/Offaly was allocated only 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146". That means the division has only received 4% of all gardaí to leave Templemore in the last three years. "This distribution is entirely inadequate and must be explained," Deputy Nolan said. "From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, from an already low base of 42 assigned in 2017". "We know that rural and urban crime is a real and persistent concern within the county, and that is why we must see a dramatic increase in the numbers assigned as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:04:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "These nurses are striking in order to highlight the need for a health service that is fit for purpose. As we all know, the health service we currently have is of third-world standard in many regions where we have an unacceptably high number of children and elderly people languishing on long waiting lists for essential and life-changing treatment," "We have overcrowded A&E departments, hundreds of patients languishing on hospital trollies every week and the cancellation of surgeries as a result of this ongoing situation. The Minister for Health has no vision for our health service and his inaction in relation to this crisis speaks volumes" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 1:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : "Nurses have been more than reasonable and patient with this government for too long and have held the shattered pieces of a broken health service together through their incredible resilience, commitment and dedication. I commend them for their service and acknowledge the excellent care that they give to patients despite the ongoing unacceptable pressures and dire working conditions that they endure daily. I fully support the nurses and stand in solidarity with them today," External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 1:00:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "In many rural schools without adequate broadband, children are not able to avail of the same opportunities as their peers in rural settings and are therefore disadvantaged," "The ongoing issue, which requires an urgent resolution, is another example of the neglect by this Government of rural Ireland, and how the people of rural Ireland have once again been let down by a disconnected Government that does not represent them or rural communities" External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "I am supporting our paramedics in Birr, who like hundreds of their colleagues, have been forced to strike. HSE top brass and the Minister for Health need to engage with these workers and afford them their basic right to union recognition and the right to choose to become part of a union of their choice" "Our paramedics provide an excellent and vital frontline service in our communities," External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, January 22, 2019 6:24:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We will be meeting again within the month and we expect further progress on all the issues we raised today and for the good faith on both sides to continue,” External link

offalyindependent Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:45:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "We did put across our views and we don't want a repeat of Irish history and we certainly don't want scenes that go back to the Black and Tan era. " External link

eecho Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:29:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "We did put across our views and we don't want a repeat of Irish history and we certainly don't want scenes that go back to the Black and Tan era. " External link

irishexaminer Wednesday, January 9, 2019 9:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We took part in the peaceful protest in December in order to receive assurances from the KBC CEO, Wim Verbraeken, that senior management would meet with us to discuss our concerns. Happily, we achieved that outcome," Carol said. "What we will be looking for today is substantive follow up on those concerns, specifically the manner in which mortgage accounts and farm loans in distress are being dealt with". "As we said at the time, many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies that are being employed and this must stop". "There has to be explicit policy recognition that where people are making genuine efforts to repay their debts, breathing space is then afforded to them". "As TD for Offaly where over 540 mortgages are deemed to be currently in distress, I'm receiving an increasing number of calls and correspondence related to mortgage distress, farm loans in distress, the sale of loan books and fears around changes to restructured agreements". "We look forward to today’s meeting and hope that it will produce some worthwhile commitments for all concerned,” External link

leinsterexpress Wednesday, January 9, 2019 3:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “We took part in the peaceful protest in December in order to receive assurances from the KBC CEO, Wim Verbraeken, that senior management would meet with us to discuss our concerns. Happily, we achieved that outcome," Carol said. "What we will be looking for today is substantive follow up on those concerns, specifically the manner in which mortgage accounts and farm loans in distress are being dealt with". "As we said at the time, many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies that are being employed and this must stop". "There has to be explicit policy recognition that where people are making genuine efforts to repay their debts, breathing space is then afforded to them". "As TD for Offaly where over 540 mortgages are deemed to be currently in distress, I'm receiving an increasing number of calls and correspondence related to mortgage distress, farm loans in distress, the sale of loan books and fears around changes to restructured agreements". "We look forward to today’s meeting and hope that it will produce some worthwhile commitments for all concerned,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 9, 2019 3:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : "The increase from 9%to 13.5% will have an adverse impact on businesses in small towns and villages throughout Offaly and Laois. You cannot compare a business in Dublin City centre with one in a small town or village in Offaly or Laois," "It must be highlighted that many of these businesses have already had to endure extortionate rates hikes and insurance hikes, and to expect them to pay an increase in VAT is adding insult to injury" External link

offalyexpress Monday, January 7, 2019 7:33:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded : “A meeting has been agreed for January 9 at 2pm in Dublin. At that meeting Michael,Mattie and myself will be demanding that the bank immediately review the protocols it has in place with respect to debt resolution processes. We want to make it absolutely clear that we fully accept the legitimate right of the bank to recoup losses that it has incurred in terms of mortgage distress. What we are saying however is that this right must be proportionate and it must be fair". Deputy Nolan said that it must not be implemented in such a way that it is then used to walk all over people that are making sincere and hard won attempts to engage constructively with their debt repayment obligations. "The vast majority of the people we are dealing with want to repay their debts," she commented. "They are deeply responsible people who do not have an ‘everything for nothing’ approach and who profoundly resent being characterised in that light. Where people are making sincere attempts, a reciprocal attitude needs to be adopted with respect to the banks". The Offaly TD said they should avoid this 'endless and stressful merry-go-round' that people experience when they are asked to constantly provide the same or similar documentation and who cannot speak to a dedicated person who is actually looking after their case. "People feel like they are being worn down by the tactics of some of the banks and that has to stop. There has to be respect. That is what we are saying. We received similar commitments in March but nothing materialised despite our good faith acceptance that something positive would emerge. In this coming year we will not be allowing the bank to get away that kind of approach,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, December 21, 2018 1:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan said : “I welcome the minister’s apparent shift in position and his intention to examine this issue,” External link

irishecho Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:10:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan stated : “Partition has impacted and stunted development on this island and has been an obstacle in terms of developing agriculture and tourism. It doesn’t make sense to have two legal systems and two currencies on such a small island” External link

thejournal Saturday, December 17, 2016 11:30:00 AM EAT



Key Titles and Phrases Count Lang Last Seen
deputy44.44%EN02/14/201714/02/2017
colleague11.11%EN12/17/201617/12/2016
spokeswoman11.11%EN12/09/201609/12/2016
education spokeswoman11.11%EN12/09/201609/12/2016
spokesperson11.11%EN07/12/201612/07/2016
education spokesperson11.11%EN07/12/201612/07/2016
Names Lang Count
Carol NolanEN100.00%


<<10<12345678910>>>10
<<10<12345678910>>>10

Tools

Load latest edition

Saturday, December 7, 2019

1:51:00 AM EAT


Quotes... Explore Relations


EMM Visual Explorer


Quotes... Extracted quotes about

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I am not suggesting for one minute that we should disallow retired teachers to return to work, as very often they perform a vital stand in service when no other teachers are available," Deputy Nolan said. "What I am suggesting, however, is that we need to conduct a far more thorough analysis around why the numbers returning are so high, particularly at primary level, taking note of the fact that the numbers I have obtained do not even include retired teachers in the state’s Education and Training Boards (ETBs). "My own sense is that much of this is a product of the income inequality that new teachers were expected to put up until relatively recently which has undoubtedly contributed to teaching graduates emigrating or choosing another profession". In Offaly, there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six of those were principals with another two being deputy principals. The numbers are similar for Laois where there were 15 retirees in 2018. Six were principals and five were deputy principals. "We have to ensure that teachers and teaching graduates feel it is worth their while staying within our education system in order to avoid large scale absences that necessitate the return of retired teachers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, November 7, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I know that there is genuine anger and indeed upset in many schools throughout rural Ireland because of the devastating impact that comes with losing a valuable and much-needed teacher. I have met many frustrated principals and teachers who discussed this issue with me over the past few months. "As a former teacher and principal, I believe that the existing policy is not fit for purpose and needs a radical overhaul. That is why I was so frustrated with Government when no move was made on the matter earlier this month," Deputy Nolan added. "What we are seeing now however is a direct result of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael-Labour government in 2012 when it introduced changes to the staffing schedules in 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools in Budget 2012; "That policy decision directly targeted schools with less than 86 pupils and led to what was seen even then, as a move toward the forced amalgamation of rural schools. "That policy has continued in both spirit and letter and it is time for it to be urgently re-evaluated. "We already know there are major issues with pupil/teacher ratios-with Ireland having about 5 pupils more in our primary school classrooms than the EU average of 20. "When this is combined with a lack of teachers it leads to all sort of educational and health and safety concerns that are not simply going to go away. "I will continue to press the Minister until he recognises this and until he agrees to my request for an immediate and urgent review,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, October 30, 2019 6:09:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The last thing the patients of the Midlands Regional Hospital need to hear is that an even further reduction in operating capacity is about to occur following these bed closures," Deputy Nolan said. "Yet following confirmation from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, this looks exactly like what is about to happen, and people are very angry and deeply upset by the news". "There is also a growing sense emerging that the commitments provided in the HSE Capital Plan 2019-2027 published little over a week ago are already obsolete and largely meaningless". "We were given assurances that the MRH was set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "But if there is no parallel commitment to recruiting qualified staff then these commitments are at best meaningless and at worst deliberately misleading," Nolan claimed. "The people of Tullamore and the Midlands who rely on this hospital deserve far greater levels of transparency on this issue than they have received to date". "They will not tolerate being the victims of the Minister and the HSE’s propaganda campaign, especially where their need is so great". "We need absolute clarity from the Minister for Health, that services at MRH will be protected and that a renewed and more credible plan to both retain and recruit staff will be put in place,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:32:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While considerable challenges remain in terms of service provision in Laois/Offaly, it is only right that we welcome any advances that will make people’s lives somewhat easier," she said. "In terms of Social Inclusion & Community Health; I want to acknowledge that Capital Plan commits to bringing The Community Addiction Services building on St Fintan’s Campus, in Portlaoise to operational completion in Q1 2019. This will provide much needed counselling services to the affected community". "There is also a guarantee that capital will be allocated to a number of projects which specifically address infrastructural risk issues in 2019. These include Fire Alarm and Fire Safety works in Tullamore MRH," Deputy Nolan continued. "Tullamore is also set to receive funding for another Ultrasound machine and the retention of the MRI scanner". "I am disappointed, however, that in terms of Social Care/Palliative Care, a new Hospice for the Midlands is still only at a very preliminary stage". "It was also confirmed in the Capital Plan that the proposed 100 bed Community Nursing Unit for Mountmellick is still only at design stage". "I remain absolutely committed to highlighting to the HSE and indeed to the Minister for Health, where the Capital Plan can be improved for Offaly and Laois and where urgent investment is required, for example in Speech and Language Therapy and access to appropriate levels of Primary Care,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:03:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “My main priority here is to ensure that as many farmers as possible are aware of the BEAM Scheme and also to ensure that they are aware they need to act fast in order to have their application processed in time," Deputy Nolan added. "From what we know there are at least 37,000 beef finishers and 55,000 suckler farmers who are eligible for the scheme". "Given those numbers, we should work to avoid any confusion around deadlines etc". "I am also anxious for farmers to know that applications for participation in the Measure shall be made online only". "In cases where an applicant is deemed ineligible to participate in the scheme they will be given ten working days after the closing date for receipt of valid application to seek a review by the Department,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:44:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made the point after the talks that while some movement has been made on issues like addressing the systemic unfairness embedded in the beef grid system and the commitment to introduce an appeal system for carcass classification in meat plants; we were still very far from achieving true parity of esteem for the farmer," Deputy Nolan said. "Today it is clear to me and to many farmers just how far we still have to travel, specifically in terms of the intransigence of Meat Industry Ireland around the 30-month rule". "What we need at this point is a robust charter outlining in a clear and unambiguous manner how transparency can be applied to the calculation of pricing for the product". "We cannot allow MII and indeed the Minister to push the agenda that great advances have been made in this regard given the clear level of discontent that still exists out there". "We need urgent statutory enforcement on the issue of pricing". "I also said after the talks that what we simply cannot have is a return to the status quo that existed prior to the negotiations. Yet that is exactly what will happen if measures like this are not introduced; otherwise, it is just light-touch regulation that will continue to disproportionately benefit the processors against the ordinary farmer,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 27, 2019 6:39:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The Tullamore Show has proven, yet again, why it remains the premier agricultural show at Irish and European level," Deputy Nolan said. "Each year it manages to combine world-class livestock skill and the best in farm machinery with a genuinely family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. This year was no exception". "All of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes paid off on the day". "I was also delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with so many of our farming families and to listen once again, to the concerns that remain a huge part of their lives". "Many of those pressing issues were put to the Minister when he attended. He now needs to act on them in order to ensure the survival of our world-class agricultural heritage". "The rain may have stayed away from Tullamore, but the storm clouds are gathering for Irish farmers and they cannot be left defenceless by their own government,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, August 12, 2019 4:58:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There is a genuine sense that the atmosphere around the Tullamore Show this year is something exceptional. That in itself is a testament to the amazing work that is carried out by an army of volunteers who give up their time to make the event so welcoming for all those who visit," Deputy Nolan said. "It is also down to the extraordinary work that is put in by the Show Committee who go to great lengths to ensure that it remains a event of the highest possible quality". "My own sense is that Irish agriculture and Irish farming need a hugely positive occasion like this now more than ever. We need to say to ourselves and to Europe that we have the best farming produce and livestock in the world and that they deserve to be supported and championed". "I have spent the last year highlighting so many of the challenges that face the farming community and farming families, like generational renewal, unsustainable trade agreements and threats to local marts". "I want to continue that work while at the same time pushing our government to a greater appreciation of the huge and valuable resources we have on our own doorstep and which the Tullamore Show captures so brilliantly,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, August 8, 2019 5:42:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “While I acknowledge the difficult position that the protests are putting the factories in; we have to accept that what is happening to the beef and suckler sector in Ireland is going to have massive ramifications for every element of the sector," she said. "Last year, after the Minister spoke at the Beef Roundtable forum, he said it was more important than ever for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency". "He also urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development". "Yet as things stand, farmers, and beef farmers, in particular, are seeing little to no sense that government is recognising its role in terms of that inter-dependency that the Minister spoke about," Deputy Nolan said. "At the moment, beef farmers are being left to the whims of a factory pricing structure that is undermining their work, an international order that is flooding their markets with cheap and possible sub-standard product and finally, a government who are not defending indigenous interests against destructive EU trade deals". "All this adds up to a mixture of inaction, ineptitude and indifference that must be countered with a more sustained and energetic response on behalf of the Irish farmer and farming families,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, August 6, 2019 1:59:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The position adopted by Bord na Móna, and in particular the way in which it has treated its long-term employees, has been needlessly provocative and unfair," she claimed. "This does not bode well for the future of the Mountdillon plant not indeed for the entire Midlands". "All of us who have been active in seeking to put in place a robust and just transition to new forms of employment for the Midlands region always presumed that Bord na Móna would be a constructive and fair partner in that process," Deputy Nolan added. "That presumption has taken a battering recently in light of Bord na Móna’s willingness to casually set aside the duty of care it owes its workers". "I seriously hope that this does not indicate a more fundamental shift in attitude. Right across the Midlands the workers of Bord na Móna have given decades of service and hard work to build up the brand and sustain the viability of its entire operation. "That history cannot simply be set aside as we engage with the challenging work of finding alternative employment models for the region". "I am calling on Bord na Móna to listen to the Unions and the workers and to engage with full openness to any suggestion that will allow us to maintain the maximum amount of employment,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 22, 2019 2:52:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “From the information I have been given, it appears that no Senior Social Worker in Mental Health is currently assigned to CHO Area 8. There also vacancies for two Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists in our Area. "Of the three Clinical Nurses Specialists that are assigned, two are at the MHS Mental Health Day Hospital Portlaoise, while the other is assigned to Navan". "This is clearly an insufficient level of mental health staff given that CHO Area 8 consists of six counties, Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Longford, Meath and Louth, and has a population of 615,258". "It is also the second largest CHO in terms of geographical area". "What is frustrating about this situation is that the need for enhanced mental health services was clearly identified almost three years ago with the publication of the HSE’s 2017 Plan for CHO Area 8," Deputy Nolan said. "That plan recognised that the people of Laois/Offaly needed early intervention and integrated care pathways between CAMHS, Primary Care and voluntary groups such as Jigsaw". "It also aimed to develop and integrate specialist clinical responses through the mental health clinical programmes". "The question I have for the Minister is how can these objectives be reached if we still have a lack of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Senior Social Workers to deliver them?" "That is the question I will be putting to the Minister as a matter of priority,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, July 9, 2019 1:55:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is a deeply alarming, and almost incomprehensible move by the EU Trade Commissioner given the scale of the damage it will inflict on Ireland’s beef sector," Deputy Nolan said. "It also stands in stark contradiction to the alleged EU support we are receiving in terms of the Brexit beef plan package. This move will essentially make that plans support completely meaningless". "The Irish beef sector and Irish beef farmers will not be the sacrificial victims offered up the Commissioner to push this through". "We need a clear statement of strategy from the Government on we propose to obstruct its agreement, mitigate or halt its implementation". "Yesterday we heard the Minister for Agriculture say we will have to build alliances with France and Poland to mitigate the Deal, yet today there are reports that the Taoiseach is saying the Trade Deal must be assessed in the round". "This sounds very much like mixed messages at a time, more than ever before when the Irish farmer needs a unified front". "We need to remind people that at the national level, suckler farmers play a key role in generating more than €2.4 billion in beef exports each year". "At the local level, the point has been well made that for every €1 we provide to suckler farmers, more than €4 of economic activity is generated in local economies". "This clearly demonstrates the potential damage that this awful Trade Deal will bring about if it is not effectively challenged,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, July 1, 2019 6:06:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “It is now absolutely clear that all of the measures that the government have proposed to deal with this issue have not succeeded," Deputy Nolan said. "This clearly means that alternatives that were previously rejected by the Minister, such as the State-backed insurance schemes available in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada for instance, must be reconsidered". "In Australia for example, it is the law that every car on the road is registered and state insured and this includes a minimum third-party personal insurance cover, which is compulsory. Anything above that you can buy from a private insurance company". "This would allow the vast majority of young drivers to access affordable levels of insurance with the option of buying more comprehensive cover where it can be afforded". "We simply cannot allow the situation to continue where insurance companies are effectively being given free rein to charge whatever premiums they like to drivers, and young drivers in particular," the Offaly TD added. "It must also be pointed out that measures contained in the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s 2017 Report have failed to make any material difference in people’s pockets". "This highlights the necessity of the Minister re-examining the State-backed insurance option for drivers,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:53:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “If this decision goes through it will have an absolutely devastating impact on the future of CE Schemes right across the state," Deputy Nolan said. "As I understand it, it will also be in direct breach of the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation that the state make pension provision for CE Scheme Supervisors". "The vast majority of the companies involved in the delivery of CE Schemes are extremely limited in the resources and will not be able to meet these demands". "We have already had a full 24-hour strike, and that caused significant inconvenience to many services like Meals on Wheels and Tidy Towns-which are CE Scheme supported". "The Minister for Finance is also aware of the potential damage this could do since he was informed of the results of the High-Level Forum that debated this matter in 2017". "Since then he has repeated the line that implementing the Labour Court recommendation of 2008 will leave the state with a potential cost exposure. What I would say to that is that we must examine that further in light of the savings that the CE Schemes are making for the state". "This is a point backed up by the CE Supervisors unions, Forsa and SIPTU,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, June 11, 2019 5:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “This is great news, even if it is years overdue," Deputy Nolan said. "I have made repeated representations to the Minister on the need to escalate this process given the discriminatory nature of the current Scheme, especially as it relates to farming families". "We can only hope at this stage that the government will see fit to prioritise this crucially important and reforming work before the summer recess and not subject it to further delays". "I am certain that efforts to bring it over the line so that families can feel the impact will receive wide cross-party and independent member support". "I am also very heartened to see that the Minister appears to have taken on board suggestions that I and farming family representative organisations have been making with respect to making aspects of the reform’s retrospective," Carol said. "As I understand it, under the new regime, if a resident has been living in a nursing home for one year, their family will only have to pay the 7.5% for another two years and if a resident is in a nursing home for more than three years, those 7.5% payments will cease immediately". "That is certainly a significant advance forward". "I will wait to see the fully fleshed out detail but if what is being reported is accurate then it looks like we are moving in the right direction at last,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, June 10, 2019 12:27:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The response of this and previous governments to the crisis has resulted in an unmitigated policy failure with respect to retention levels," Deputy Nolan said. "The Minister says the issues surrounding staff turnover are down to the unique and demanding nature of military life, without once accepting that his government is effectively guaranteeing that it is far more demanding than necessary". "The families and in particular, the wives of PDF personnel have lost all faith in the willingness or the capacity of government to increase pay and conditions. Many are simply unable to survive financially which in turn is contributing to the mass exodus from the forces right across the board". "As I understand it, the crisis of recruitment and retention is directly responsible for ensuring that at a minimum, soldiers, sailors and aircrew conduct two 24-hour security duties in each week along with a further 16 hours of routine duties. This amounts to an average 64-hour working week on low rates of pay". "This has to change especially in light of the fact that the government has committed to increase defence spending including more than €250 million in a ship replacement programme and a capital budget of €416 million for the period 2018-2021,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “According to Teagasc, there are now at least 30,000 farming families who are highly exposed to serious levels of income deprivation". "This is very concerning, particularly in light of the fact that we have yet to see how the Brexit scenario is finally going to play out and the extent of the adverse impact it is going to have," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply frustrating to many farmers who are struggling with low or volatile income levels, is the decision by the Department of Housing and the Department of Agriculture to choose this as the time to review the regulations around the nitrates derogation". "Many farm families are just dismayed that the department is engaging in this process especially when it had given prior commitments to keep the derogation in place until 2021". "This can only mean greater levels of unnecessary uncertainty for farming families," Carol added. "I am therefore calling on the Minister to immediately engage with farming organisations and families in order to identify and address the causal factors that are giving rise to such sustained low-income levels". "Whatever about the international context; there is certainly more than can be achieved at the national level to alleviate these difficulties for farm families,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, June 6, 2019 12:34:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The conditions that members of Nasra are being forced to operate under are entirely unacceptable, as is the bewildering refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised". "We know that Nasra has already held six minor protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE". "That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could have recognised the gravity of the situation and worked to avoid this 24-hour national strike," Nolan added. "In that context is it any wonder that the ambulance staff feel ignored and patronised by their employer-the HSE?" "In addition to these challenges it has also been confirmed to me that the National Ambulance Service has been converting decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment". "This in itself is an absolutely extraordinary admission which only serves to underscore the lack of resources available to our ambulance fleet". "Have we really arrived at the stage where despite a €17 billion health budget the ambulance service is being forced to reuse unsafe vehicles for emergency equipment transport?” External link

offalyexpress Friday, May 31, 2019 4:50:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The experience of a significant number of people who were effectively forced to take part in Turas Nua and Seetec related engagements has been overwhelmingly negative," Deputy Nolan claimed. "The majority of TDs and elected representatives will tell you that no matter where in the country Turas Nua were operating, their ‘clients’ would raise the same concerns around a sense of being threatened and being pressured to take up unsuitable work". "So in that sense, I am delighted that this model of employment assistance is being closed down. We need models and ways of engaging with people that respect their dignity and their intelligence". "We also need job assistance programmes that represent value for money. Clearly, Turas Nua and Seetec did not offer this". "In fact, we know that out of the 190,000 people referred to JobPath, just nine per cent (17,100 people) had secured employment which had been sustained for at least one year, at a cost of €3,718 per person". "The total gain that these private companies have made amounts to €149 million of taxpayers’ money between them," Nolan claimed. "Surely that money could have been far better spent especially in light of the fact that the effectiveness of the schemes has been called into question for a number of years now,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:41:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The average rent in Offaly has now risen by 8.5% to €884 while the average rent in Laois has jumped by 10.7% to €921". "This will cause massive levels of anxiety to those dependent on the rental market for a roof over their heads," Deputy Nolan said. "What is also deeply disturbing is the finding that as on May 1, there were just 2,700 properties available to rent nationwide on Daft.ie". This is the lowest ever figure for stock on the market, in a series that goes back to the start of 2006". "Clearly, these findings are a damning indictment of government policies aimed at containing massive rent escalations and prove pretty definitively that a completely new direction in thinking is needed". "The findings for Offaly are pretty stark. They show that the average mortgage for three-bed house is between €501 and €633. However, the rent for the same type of property is €849". "For Laois, the average rent for a three-bed is between €498 and €629 while the average rent is €900". "This Report is certain to cause enormous concern and rightly so,” External link

offalyexpress Monday, May 13, 2019 7:18:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “There can be no doubt that the people of rural Ireland, and particularly those who have been left behind by commercial operators, will welcome proposals to finally bring connectivity to their homes and communities," Deputy Nolan said. "That being said, there will also be huge concern at the cost and the fact that from what we are hearing, the state will still not own the broadband infrastructure despite the billions of euros we will all be paying for it". "When you see that the Revised Estimate allocation in 2019 for the likes of LEADER, National Rural Development Schemes, Local Improvement Schemes etc, only amounts to a combined total of €141 million; then you realise just how enormous the proposed cost of €3 Billion really is and the impact it could have on rural Ireland in the long term". "Rural Ireland needs and demands better broadband. I fully support that and always have done," Carol added. "It is vital for our development and economic growth; but if it is delivered at the expense of closing down critically important schemes and programmes, which we also depend on, then serious questions have to be asked around whether or not the government is adopting the most beneficial approach for rural communities,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 26, 2019 12:35:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “As a former teacher and principal I have made this issue a core element of my representations to the Government over the last number of years; in particular to both the Minister for Education and the Minister for Public Expenditure". "I have long maintained that there was sufficient flexibility within The Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) to accommodate the very reasonable claims that teachers were making". "Indeed, it was always completely unsustainable to expect post-2011 entrants to the profession to stand idly by while incurring a loss of earnings of anywhere from €53,000 to €105,000 over their career". "It now seems that the government have finally woken up to this reality and that is to be warmly welcomed". "The only things that I hope do not emerge from this negotiation process are requests to accept the imposition of additional or onerous work practices as a kind of quid pro quo for pay equality," Deputy Nolan said. "This has always been about fairness, justice and respect for our teachers; a point that many of us have been working to convey to this government for some considerable time,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, April 24, 2019 3:07:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I want to welcome this additional €1.5 million for 2019 which will bring the total national fund to just over €18million". "We have four excellent family resource centres here in Laois-Offaly who provide dedicated and incredible service to what are often termed disadvantaged communities". "As I understand it, the additional €1.5 million in funding will be used to increase core funding by 5% to the four FRCs at Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Tullamore and Clara". The Minister in her announcement did say she is also allocating one additional family support worker in each of the 17 Tusla geographical areas. "I have asked her to clarify if she will consider extending this to each of the FRCs that require it," Carol said. "I am also asking her to confirm that the FRCs will be able to ringfence this money so as not to have to divert it in order to meet operational expenses such as escalations in insurance costs,” External link

offalyexpress Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:26:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The publication of these comparative fees demonstrate that the HSE is either wilfully engaged in the financial exploitation of elderly people or it is utterly indifferent to the appropriate market price for nursing home care," Carol continued. "Either eventuality is unsustainable and demands answers. It is for that reason that I will write to the C&AG, whose statutory remit is to improve the use of public money and resources and strengthen public accountability". "We must have accountability on this matter from the HSE especially in light of the fact that as I highlighted recently, the operational reform of the entire Fair Deal Scheme and the broadening of its services is already under threat". "In the legal profession, if a solicitor or barrister charges exorbitant and unjustifiable fees, then the matter can be referred to the Taxing Master who provides an independent and impartial assessment of legal costs and recommendations to refund fees," Nolan claimed. "The same should happen here. If farming families, or any family for that matter, has been the victim of profiteering by the HSE then they should be immediately reimbursed,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 19, 2019 7:16:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “We know that when the UK government introduced the FIT Scheme in 2010, it led to farmers who installed a small 3kW solar system, earning up to 1,700 a year," Nolan explained. "The way it worked in the UK is that the Government, through a so-called feed-in-tariffs offer, guaranteed cash back to every farmer on every unit of electricity generated for the national grid; usually over a 25 year period". "This has the benefit of being not only an environmentally sustainable option but also economically stable one too," Nolan added. "We know that dairy and poultry farm production is extremely energy intensive and that because of that it adds significantly to the operational costs of the farm". "Under this Scheme, farmers would be rewarded for generating power for the national grid instead of being unduly burdened by completely unavoidable energy use that is necessary for the farm's survival". "I am also aware that in the UK there is the option of entering an agreement that allows farmers to purchase back the electricity generated on-site at a pre-agreed rate. As I understand it this was around half of what UK farmers would normally pay their existing energy supplier," Carol explained. "We need to be creative if our farms are to survive and thrive and that is the key reason why we should at least examine this kind of Scheme as an option". "If there are flaws in the UK model then at least we have the benefit of learning from their mistakes, thereby allowing us to create a bespoke energy and cash-generating option for our own farmers,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:20:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “The failure to reform the Fair Deal Scheme is continuing to result in inaction that is having immediate, dramatic and totally avoidable consequences for farming families in particular," Nolan said. "There is particular anxiety around the delay in implementing urgent reforms aimed at ensuring that the applicant’s principal private residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three-year cap". "What I am concerned about, however, is that while the Minister told me that he expects to bring the Heads of a reform Bill to Cabinet in May; he also says this is subject to legal advice". "That is very far from the kind of solid commitments that farming families in Laois/Offaly need at this time of massive agri-sector uncertainty". "In fact, it sounds very much like ‘government speak’ aimed at justifying further delay. That is something we must have absolute clarity on if the reforms are to have any impact at all". "We have already waited long enough". "Commitments to reform the huge inequalities in the Fair Deal Scheme for farmers have been repeated every year since 2016 and still nothing concrete has happened," Carol said. "The Minister in his reply says that delays are down to the focus on Brexit". "At best that is a partial and weak excuse given that work on the legal basis for the reforms should have started 3 years ago when commitments were provided in the Programme for Government". "Otherwise, the government is simply saying that it promised all kind of things without doing any kind of legal analysis as to whether they could, in fact, be delivered. Some people would call that spin". "If the government thinks it can string farmers and service users of the Nursing Home Support Scheme along for another three years then it is in for a rude awakening because rural Ireland, in particular, has endured enough inequality in treatment to last a lifetime,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, April 5, 2019 2:47:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I was surprised to find in the Minister’s reply that there has not been a single application for this funding from either Laois or Offaly". "What this tells me is not that there is no interest for this funding among our farming community, but that more needs to be done by the Department to highlight the availability and accessibility of the Scheme". "It is pointless to have funding opportunities like this without a parallel and robust system of advertising measures being put in place". "The message must be brought to the farmers who are already over-worked and underpaid in so many instances". "As I understand it, the new grants will be available for farmers from the next tranche of TAMS opening on April 5," Nolan said. "Under the terms of the Scheme, Solar PV Installation grant aid in the initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost which will be available to fund a 6kWp solar system. "So I would encourage every farmer who even thinks they may be eligible to apply, especially in light of the fact that TAMS II is only set to run until December 2020, making the window of opportunity very tight". "The Minister in his reply indicated that the grants would be also available to our Pig, Poultry and Egg producing farmers. This is absolutely vital In a post-Brexit scenario," the Offaly deputy added. "Only recently we had the IFA informing us that in the event of a hard Brexit, factories in the North of Ireland may be in no position to buy pigs from the south, with the additional concern that Ireland will not be able to process the extra pig numbers that will automatically arise". "This highlights the stark nature of the threat to the sector, which in turn makes it even more important that cost reduction measures like these be availed of in Laois-Offaly,” External link

offalyexpress Friday, March 29, 2019 7:23:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I made it absolutely clear to the Minister that while these delays are a breach of the Programme for Government and our Disability law, they are, more importantly, an insult to the families and children of Laois-Offaly," Nolan added. The legal timeframe outlined in the Disability Act 2005 is that an assessment of need should be carried out within three months. "Despite this, the deadline is routinely missed and families are then left to suffer the long term negative impact". "What is particularly frustrating to me is that I have been highlighting disability and Special Needs related issues with the Minister since I introduced my Education (Inspection of Individual Education Plans for Children with Special Needs) Bill in 2017". "So, it is not a case that this is a problem that has come out of nowhere. The government and the Minister have had years to deliver a robust and efficient Assessment of Need framework". "Instead, they have left the issue to degrade to such a point where despite an investment of €17 billion in the HSE, children in Laois-Offaly cannot access basic services". "The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health was absolutely clear in its own Report on the New Standard Operating Procedure for Assessment of Need under the Disability Act 2005 issued in January of this year," she said. "It confirmed that when it comes to the assessment of need, we are really talking about the ‘golden window of opportunity’". "This is the critical period of a child’s development during pre-school and early-school years". "It is therefore essential that assessments and services are provided for in this period to avoid have a ripple effect that will require additional funding and support at a later stage, as well as having a knock-on effect with our educational services, our healthcare system and the child’s welfare,” External link

offalyexpress Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:30:00 PM EAT

Carol Nolan concluded ( about Carol Nolan ) : “I find it absolutely incredible that from 2015 to 2018, Laois/Offaly was allocated only 86 probationer gardaí from a total of 2,146". That means the division has only received 4% of all gardaí to leave Templemore in the last three years. "This distribution is entirely inadequate and must be explained," Deputy Nolan said. "From the numbers provided to me, only 15 probationer gardaí were assigned to Laois-Offaly in 2018, from an already low base of 42 assigned in 2017". "We know that rural and urban crime is a real and persistent concern within the county, and that is why we must see a dramatic increase in the numbers assigned as a matter of urgency,” External link

offalyexpress Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:04:00 PM EAT