Cork North West Fine Gael T.D. Michael Creed has described the Government approach to tackling the problem of alcohol abuse as borderline shambolic. Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Sport Ireland Bill, Deputy Creed said:
“At present, the Government’s approach to this issue is borderline shambolic. It is stumbling around proposals for minimum pricing and is now long-fingering proposals in that regard. Abusive alcohol consumption is a cancer in Irish society and is closely associated with sporting organisations, which is very regrettable.
“I believe that at the stroke of a pen in the morning, the Government could reinstate the ban on below-cost selling of alcohol as was provided for in the groceries order that was abolished in 2006. The Government appears to have abdicated its position on minimum pricing until such time as the European Commission rules on the Scottish proposals, which are now under appeal there. The Minister of State should be in no doubt but that we are dealing with a powerful vested interest in the form of the drinks industry. Members have seen the tobacco industry flexing its muscles on plain packaging, but equally I have no doubt Members are witnessing arm twisting behind the scenes by the drinks industry with regard to minimum pricing.
“According to figures provided by the National Off-Licence Association before an Oireachtas committee hearing, incredibly Irish taxpayers subsidise the below-cost sale of alcohol to the tune of €21 million per annum through refunds to the multiples that have grossly offensive advertisements in the daily newspapers every day of the week, as well as in every Sunday newspaper, which are designed to increase footfall in order that they may sell other products to consumers”.
Fine Gael Cork North West TD Michael Creed has today (Wednesday) welcomed the announcement by Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Simon Harris TD,that an amendment is to be made to ease the rates burden on many local sports clubs. Commenting on the amendment Deputy Creed said:
“An amendment to the Valuation (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2012 will mean sports clubs that previously paid rates on its bar and on sporting buildings, will now only pay rates for the part of the building that generates income i.e. the bar in most cases. In practical terms this will reduce significantly the size of the building for which sports clubs must pay rates and it will provide a welcome boost for clubs provided by volunteers for volunteers.
“Local sports clubs are the backbone of the community in this constituency. These clubs are run by people giving freely of their time and many are largely financed from fundraising in the local community.
“Buildings that are used for the sale of alcohol or food, retail outlets etc. will be rated but buildings that are used for community sport will be exempt. If a sports club’s only commercial facility is the bar then it is only the bar and ancillary facilities that will be rated.
“This is an example of a piece of legislation that will have a very real impact on local communities. The Government is committed to improving facilities and services in all regions of the country. The economy is improving because the policies pursued are working and changes such as the amendment announced today are another indication of our dedication to supporting local communities across the country.”
“I was delighted to be invited to turn the sod for the Ballincollig Men’s Shed Project on Saturday last. The objective of the Men’s Sheds is to maintain and enhance the well being of the participating men. Men’s Sheds are a worldwide organisation. In Ireland there are over 170 sheds with over 5000 members. For more information visit http://www.menssheds.ie I’d like to wish the Ballincollig Movement the very best with their project”.
Cork North West TD Michael Creed has called on the Minister for Finance and his Cabinet colleagues to prioritize a staged reduction in the USC over the coming years. Commenting on the publication of the latest Exchequer figures Deputy Creed said:
“While it is crucial that we continue to meet our targets in terms of reducing the deficit, it is now clear that there is a real recovery taking hold in our economy. The forthcoming budget must map out a strategy for bringing this recovery to every household in the Country between now and the end of this Governments term. Laying out a timeline for the reduction of the USC is one clear initiative which can spread the rewards of recovery wider and farther than other measures such as public pay increases”.
“The USC has been the tangible burden of the economic crisis visible in all pay packets over the past number of years. It is important that Government can signal a return to ‘normal’ economic circumstances by reducing the burden of the USC which was first introduced as a solidarity contribution to the economic recovery. Reducing the USC would be a positive initiative that would put money back in the pockets of hard pressed families. This in turn can lead to increased consumption in the domestic economy and act as an economic stimulus”.
“Calls from some quarters to consider increasing public sector pay are premature at this juncture. As an economy we must remain competitive and attractive to investment. A push to inflate wage demands does not help. Cutting the punitive USC goes further in increasing everybody’s wages without placing an extra burden on employers”.
Cork North West TD, Michael Creed has called on NAMA to fund the completion of a roadway on NAMA lands in Macroom which would provide direct access between St Colman’s Boys National School, St Joseph’s National School and St Mary’s Secondary School. Commenting on the proposal Deputy Creed said:
“There would be a significant community gain in NAMA funding this work as it would provide an alternative road linkage between the two Primary Schools and a secondary school in Macroom Town and in so doing removes the necessity for parents collecting children from these Schools having to travel along the busy N22. It would also assist with improved access to a new supermarket which has opened and Macroom Church.
“I have been in contact with NAMA directly and the receivers who are responsible for the site and I’ve stressed to them the benefits of constructing this roadway which would extend from The Orchard housing estate in Sleaveen East. I have been in contact with all relevant parties in order to further this issue as quickly as possible”.
DONOUGHMORE, BALLINGEARY & CHARLEVILLE TO BENEFIT FROM IMPROVED FACILITIES
Cork North West TD Michael Creed, has welcomed the provision of funding to three schools in Cork North West to develop new classrooms. Commenting on the allocations Deputy Creed said;
“I am pleased that funding is to be provided to Scoil Naomh Laichtín Donoughmore, CBS Secondary School, Charleville, and Scoil Mhuire, Beal Athan Ghaorthaidh for the development of additional classroom accommodation”.
“This Government have endeavoured to continue investment in our educational infrastructure despite the difficult economic climate. I am confident that this funding will greatly benefit pupils and the staff of these three schools”
Cork North West TD Michael Creed, has urged the incoming Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphries T.D. to urgently engage with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney T.D. in order to finally seek a resolution to the difficulties being faced by farmers in areas designated as Special Protection Area’s for the preservation of the hen harrier. Commenting on the matter, Deputy Creed said:
“Farm families throughout the Country – through no fault of their own, are being denied the opportunity to earn a livelihood from their land due to the State’s obligation to meet habitat preservation directives from the EU. These families have been in limbo since the suspension of a compensation scheme in 2010”.
“The appointment of a new Minister provides the perfect opportunity to add new momentum for finding a suitable resolution for the farm families involved. It is important that Minister Humphries engages with this issue as a matter of priority”.
“Suggestions that this matter can be resolved in the context of GLAS (green, low carbon agri-environment scheme) fall short of what is required. The restrictions on farmers in these SPA’s cannot be compared to the obligations on farmers in the rest of the Country to meet the terms of GLAS. Furthermore the payment available under GLAS is not adequate to compensate farmers in SPA’s for the curtailment of their activities and earning capabilities”.