Week’s events; Great Dublin Bike Ride, Transport Council, tourism stats & Luas safety

12th June, 2015

The week started and ended with visits to local primary schools in my constituency. On Monday I attended Gardiner St Primary School, alongside President Michael D Higgins, for the official opening of what is being called ‘Extension 2015’. The new building provides additional and much needed classroom space, which everyone is delighted about – most of all the children who spent weeks doing projects on the EU, which now decorate and adorn the new classroom walls.


Later in the week I visited Gaelscoil Bharra and Christ the King in Cabra with the Luas Cross City Team who were talking to the pupils about site safety. There’s great excitement about the place over the arrival of the Luas to Cabra and Phibsborough and what that will mean for local residents when it comes.


On Tuesday, I attended Cabinet, as usual. Much of the discussion this week centred on lead piping and the Government’s national strategy to reduce people’s exposure to lead in their drinking water. A grant scheme is to be put in place to assist people in replacing affected pipes, the full details of which will be announced shortly.


I launched the inaugural Great Dublin Bike Ride this week with the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and the Irish Sports Council. It takes place on Sunday 13th September and has two scenic routes on offer; a 60km and a 100km route, both of which start and finish in the heart Smithfield. With National Bike Week kicking off tomorrow it’s a fitting time to give participation in such an event some serious consideration.


I also attended the Irish Hotel Federation’s Third Annual Hotel Investment Conference. This is a great event and a good way to hear from the industry about their concerns and opportunities that lie ahead.


On Thursday I travelled to Luxembourg to attend the Transport Council, which meets four times a year. Topics discussed were passenger rights, railways, waterways and road safety.


We also had positive tourism figures from the CSO this week. The sector is playing a strong role in our recovery, in job creation and in our economic growth. Figures released on Thursday show that spending by overseas visitors for the first quarter of the year rose by 10.5% compared with the same period in 2014 (which means spending of an estimated €590 million). The number of trips to Ireland by holidaymakers also rose by 13.3%. While the performance of the sector has been excellent in recent years on the back of a lot of hard work and pursuit of the right policies by Government, we have to ensure that this growth continues so that we can get more people off the dole and back into work.


This evening I will be watching Bohemians against Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park which promises to be a great game and tomorrow I’ll be at the Aviva Stadium for the Ireland Scotland Euro 2016 qualifying match.