February Update from Paschal Donohoe TD

21st February, 2012

Dear Resident,

A note to update you on recent developments and to ask that you contact me with any questions or comments in relation to the Government and our community. It is my job to represent you, I am very lucky to do so and I hope this is of help for staying in contact. If you do not want to receive such updates please let me know by return.

Personal Insolvency Bill 2011

Ministers Shatter and Noonan recently published proposals to help respond to our personal debt crisis. The Personal Insolvency Bill includes options such as Personal Insolvency Arrangements, Debt Relief Certificates and Debt Settlement Arrangement. The final element contained in this plan is the reform of our bankruptcy laws. Our plan is to cut the length of time someone can be considered bankrupt from 12 years to 3. This Bill will be the subject of great debate and I would welcome your views on the proposals contained within it. For information on the Government’s plans in this area, check out http://bit.ly/ylG05U.

My work in the Oireachtas
In recent weeks, I contributed to a number of debates in the Dail including the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2011, the HSE’s Health Services Plan 2012, the Finance Bill 2012 and the Jobs Action Plan. Many residents continue to contact me about difficulties they have been experiencing with either the tenants or landlords of privately rented accommodation. I sought an update from the Taoiseach last week on the status of the Landlord & Tenant Bill 2012 and the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill and he informed me that these proposals will be published towards the summer. I will keep you further updated on the content of these measures.

Through my membership of two Oireachtas Committees, I am able to question Government Ministers, State Agencies and other bodies about how taxpayers’ money is spent and what factors are helping to shape government policy. Matters raised by me on the Public Accounts Committee include rostering arrangements within An Garda Siochana, corporate governance with VECs, the performance of the Department of Transport and waste management policy across local authorities. The European Affairs Oireachtas Committee, of which I am vice-Chairman, has met with the Tanaiste, the Minister for European Affairs and other experts to discuss the negotiations that took place within the European Union on the drafting of the Treaty on further economic integration. I recently appeared on TV3’s Vincent Browne show to discuss the issues surrounding the Treaty and the proposals contained in it. You can watch this episode at http://bit.ly/wVepmg.

My work across Dublin Central
I continue to work hard to represent the communities of Dublin Central in the Dail. The issues I have worked on in the last month include the provision of school buildings, the status of DEIS schools, the role of Greyhound in waste collection services, the status of the Luas BXD line and a huge variety of individual constituent matters. A further presentation will be made to City Councillors early next month on flood relief/prevention measures to be put in place across Dublin Central, if you wish to receive more information on this, please contact me.

Konrad Adenauer Foundation address
At the end of last year, I visited the Konrad Adenauer Foundation to participate in a conference on the Euro Debt Crisis. In this conference I argued that Ireland is making massive efforts to rebuild our economy but that we need more recognition of this in a volatile and uncertain external environment. To see my contribution please go to http://bit.ly/Ad3qW4.

I was also delighted to be recognised by the Irish Times as their ‘Back Bencher of the Year’ for 2011. This was a nice surprise at the end of a busy year.

If you have comments on these or any other matter please get in touch with me.

I’m privileged to serve you.