Week’s events: RSA back to school campaign, revised Bus Éireann routes, positive job and tourism figs

29th August, 2014

In a week where, for the first time in 18 months, we had no fatalities on our roads, reports from the Roads Safety Authority (RSA), that the number of children under the age of 14 who died on our roads so far this year, had more than doubled when compared to whole last year was extremely worrying. This is an issue I take very seriously and with this in mind, I joined Miriam O’Callaghan from RTE on Wednesday to help launch the RSA/Electric Ireland Back to School campaign. This campaign sees 85,500 high visibility vests being delivered to our kids who are starting school this year. ‘Back to School’ packs are also being distributed to primary schools, in a bid to encourage the prioritisation of road safety in our classrooms and among parents, with whom the responsibility lies in ensuring that our children’s safety is not left in their own hands.


The previous day, I was in Clare, at the Cliffs of Moher, to launch the new revised Bus Éireann routes between the Cliffs and Shannon Airport, some of which run along the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW). Stretching 2,500km in length, the WAW is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, and, at less than a year old, it is already acting as a huge draw for people to the west coast of Ireland. This offers a boon to towns and villages along the way who are benefitting from an increase in tourist numbers and a corresponding boost to the local domestic economy.


This week we also had the monthly overseas visitor numbers and the Quarterly National Household Survey figures from the Central Statistics Office. These showed a 9.9 % increase in overseas visits to Ireland for first seven months of the year and more than 8,000 additional jobs created in the Accommodation and Food Service Activities sector in Q2 2014 compared to the same period last year. We have developed an excellent product here in Ireland, which is being appreciated by foreign travellers like never before. The focus must now be on building on the success we have achieved and ensuring that value for money and competitiveness are retained as the economy continues to grow and prosper into the future.


Much of today (Friday) was spent meeting the people of Phibsborough and listening to what they had to say. In a further effort to resolve drainage problems in parts of the constituency that have experienced flooding in recent years, I was engaged with officials in Irish Water and Dublin City Council across the week. I also offer my heartiest congratulations to all those residents’ associations and community groups that won awards at Thursday evening’s Central Area Neighbourhood Awards. And, indeed, to all who took part.


A lot of exciting things happening over the weekend, with Electric Picnic taking place in Stradbally all weekend, the replay of the Mayo-Kerry GAA semi-final in Limerick on Saturday, the Dublin-Donegal semi-final in Croke Park on Sunday and the Croke Park Classic also taking place, which sees the University of Central Florida host Penn State in their 2014 season opener, and thousands of visitors from the US arriving for the event.