Week’s events; #trailsofireland, Dáil and Seanad business, clamping & National Monument at Moore St

2nd April, 2015

With my tourism hat on I am always focused on ensuring that the growth we have seen in the sector in recent years continues. As Transport Minister, I am also always looking for innovative ways to encourage public transport and its increased use across the country. With this in mind, I meet up with award winning blogger, Timi Ogunyemi, on Monday morning as he received a ‘golden ticket’ from JJ Kavanagh & Sons that will allow him to travel around the nine counties serviced by the bus company and to promote less well travelled tourist trails via social media. The #trailsofireland initiative aims to inspire tourists to travel beyond our main urban hubs, using public transport options to do so. You can check out Timi’s progress at http://jjkavanagh.ie/category/travel/


The rest of the week was filled with meetings and Dáil and Seanad business. On Tuesday, I had two Commencement Matters in the Seanad; one on Aer Lingus and the other on funding for Local Improvement Schemes. I also had three Topical Issues Debates in the Dáil; on marine tourism in Youghal, on a cycling safety initiative and on the potential for industrial action at Dublin Bus following the proposed opening of 10% of the bus market to competitive tender.


On Wednesday, I took Report and Final Stages of the Vehicle Clamping Bill in the Dáil. This Bill aims to regulate clamping for the first time on both public and private lands. The body that will regulate clamping, once the Bill is enacted, is the National Transport Authority (NTA) and with maximum clamp release charges and the establishment of a two-tier clamping appeals process to be put in place, will ensure a more transparent and fairer system in operation than is currently the case.


I called in to see the people of East Wall this week to hear about what concerns them and in what way I can help. As the economy continues to recover, we need to retain a focus on the most effective ways to support job creation and to raise the standard of living for the people who have borne such a heavy brunt over the last number of years. Reports this week that the Live Register has fallen to 10% – the lowest rate in six years – was welcome but we must be cognisant of the fact that the recovery is still fragile and that the policies we pursue in the coming years centre on enshrining competitiveness and allowing the targeted sectors, such as tourism, to grow.


I was also pleased to hear that the issue of what is to happen to the National Monument at No. 14-17 Moore Street was finally resolved this week. The Government announcement that it is to be taken into public ownership and a 1916 Commemorative Centre developed on the site brings an end to this issue which has been the source of much contention for many years. It will also be a fitting tribute for those who fought for Irish freedom and will enable a lasting acknowledgment to be made in their honour in respect of the ultimate sacrifice they made for their country.