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19th November 2020 | Green Gazette

Oireachtas briefing: Minister Noonan launches investment scheme for built heritage as Party welcomes Community Safety Partnerships

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Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has launched the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund for 2021. With €6m in funding across both schemes, they represent a significant boost to the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. It is expected the schemes will support hundreds of projects while also creating over 30,000 days of employment.

“Now, more than ever, our communities must be supported in their efforts to repair, preserve and restore our built heritage,” Minister Noonan said. “The importance of our built environment cannot be overstated. It is an integral part of our culture, our sense of pride and is of huge importance to our local economies. I am therefore delighted to be able to announce an increase in investment for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures fund for 2021. The increase in funding to €6 million across both schemes underlines this Government’s commitment to the continuing protection and preservation of our built environment.” 

“This additional funding will not only benefit an increased number of structures in 2021 but will also significantly increase the number of days’ employment leveraged by the two schemes. Today’s announcement is an indication of the Government’s continued commitment to improving our built environment.”

Green Party TD for Waterford Marc Ó Cathasaigh is encouraging parents to avail of the Child Flu Vaccine which is free of charge for children aged 12 and under and is presented in nasal spray form. He spoke in the Dáil on the issue this week in the context of the country coming to the end of our Adult Flu Vaccine supply for 2020 and the need to keep flu numbers down this winter as we deal with the COVID crisis.

We all know that children can be reservoirs for viruses and the seasonal flu is a prime example of this. By giving the Child Flu Vaccine to our children, we protect them, we protect their friends and family and we protect the wider population, thereby minimising the impact on vulnerable people and our health service,” Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said.

“The Child Flu Vaccine is in plentiful supply. It is free of charge for all children aged 12 and under and is administered by nasal spray. My own children have had it and the pharmacist even came out to the car with the nasal spray and the obligatory lollipops!”

Deputy Ó Cathasaigh also this week welcomed the inclusion of Waterford in the Community Safety Partnership pilot scheme which was announced today and will also include Dublin North Inner City and Longford.

It is envisaged that every local authority area will have a Community Safety Partnership, with dedicated funding and staff once the policy is rolled out nationally as part of reforms outlined by the Commission on the Future of Policing. The Partnerships will replace and will be more community led than the existing Joint Policing Committee structures.

Speaking after the announcement, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh said, “I am pleased to see that Waterford has been included in this pilot which will also include Dublin North Inner City and Longford. Waterford has an opportunity now to shape community policing into the future as this scheme will be rolled out nationwide once the pilot plans have completed and been evaluated.”

“Participating in this pilot will be a new approach and can only yield positive results for our city and county. This initiative is rooted in the community and will see Waterford community interests come together to work with state services to draw up local plans to prevent crime in Waterford.” 

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, this week welcomed the opening of new pedestrian and cycleway facilities at Dunkettle Interchange in Cork. This 1.2km section of shared pedestrian and cycleway has been delivered by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), and Cork City and County Councils as part of advance works being undertaken on the Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade Scheme.

“The opening of this pedestrian and cycleway crossing will provide safe and segregated infrastructure for walkers and cyclists at Dunkettle, one of the busiest interchanges in the country. I am delighted that this will open on Monday, and that needs of cyclists and walkers have been prioritised, as we work to alleviate traffic congestion with this major project,” Minister Ryan said:

“This is a significant milestone, and will eventually link the city with Little Island, Glounthane, and Carrigtwhoill. Our goal is to make it easier for people to choose sustainable transport and this project helps to make that a reality.”

Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, has welcomed the announcement that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is investing in the establishment of a National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory. Through this investment, Teagasc, on behalf of the Department, will commence intensive monitoring of carbon emissions and removals across a range of Irish soils, putting Ireland at the forefront internationally in terms of understanding, supporting and rewarding farmers for practices that build carbon stores in our soils.

“This soil carbon observatory will provide hugely valuable data on the carbon content of our soils and should complement the data which will be collected from soil sampling and biodiversity studies next year,” Minister Hackett said. “In addition, a new EIP project on rewetting farmed peatlands due to begin next year, will also provide us with important information. All of this data will help us to inform new agri-environmental schemes of the future, which can deliver for climate action and biodiversity.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, has launched the 2019 Annual Report of the Public Participation Networks. This is the fourth Annual Report on the Public Participation Networks (PPNs), which were established to facilitate active citizen participation in policymaking at local authority level. The report provides a positive reflection of the variety of work done as well as showing continued growth throughout the country.

Speaking about the launch of the annual report, Minister O’Brien said:

“This report shows that PPNs are having the desired impact and have achieved a huge amount in the short space of time since they were founded in 2014. The report also shows that there were 15,599 voluntary groups registered with the Network in 2019. At a national level, 928 PPN representatives gave volunteer-led groups a voice on 424 local authority boards or committees. This clearly demonstrates that PPNs are growing in strength.”

“PPNs have been pivotal in organising the community response and ensuring that the needs of vulnerable people were met during this period of uncertainty. I am grateful for their work in this area and I am committed to make sure that the Public Participation Network in this country goes from strength to strength.”