Cork North West TD Michael Creed, has highlighted that many Irish people returned from a lifetime of work in the UK could be eligible for the UK Winter Fuel Payment Allowance – even if they did not receive the payment while living there.
“To be eligible for this fuel payment, the only requirement is that a claimant was born on or before July 5th, 1951, and have a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ with the UK. Having a British Pension is not a strict qualifying factor but of course, it will be of enormous help when applying. Undoubtedly, many Irish people can easily prove they have lived or worked in the UK for most of their working lives.
“The UK Winter Fuel Payment Allowance continues to be paid to thousands of eligible Irish people who moved back to Ireland from the UK and had already been receiving the payment while living there.
“Since 2002, the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions has paid out more than £8.2m (€9.5m) under this scheme to Irish people who returned to these shores after living and working all their lives in the UK. The annual payment ranges between £100 and £300 sterling tax-free depending on circumstances.
“Up to last year, these monies were only paid to Irish people who essentially transferred their Winter Fuel Payments from the UK to Ireland. However, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2012, the qualifying criteria can now be extended to returned Irish people who worked all their lives in the UK but did not avail of the allowance when living there.
“This significant ruling means eligible Irish people who did not apply for the payment before leaving the UK may now claim while living in Ireland if they meet the qualifying criteria.
“I am keen to highlight the significant change in the qualifying criteria given that it’s likely to positively affect many Irish people who have returned from the UK and who are not aware of this payment. Further details on the scheme can be obtained by accessing https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/how-to-claim or contacting my constituency office,” concluded Deputy Creed
Cork North West TD, Michael Creed has called for balance in the way state agencies engaged in the forestry sector engage with each other and stakeholders in the industry. Speaking during a Dáil debate on the future of the forestry sector in Ireland, Deputy Creed made a broad ranging speech which made particular reference to issues being faced in Cork North West;
Commenting on problems being faced with potential growers in the Mullaghareirks Deputy Creed said; “there is an inter-agency impasse involving the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service with regard to the hen harrier. If one mentions the hen harrier in some parts of my constituency, certain individuals become very angry. There is a need to remove the artificial impediments that exist in order that people might get on with the job. I am not in favour of any diminution of our obligations in respect of biodiversity, etc., but a balance must be struck. I am of the view that such a balance does not exist at present”.
Addressing the broader issue of the future of Coillte Deputy Creed continued; “I refer to the issues of legitimate concern, one of which is that any future arrangement would not impede the annual flow of timber to sawmills because this would be a significant concern as it relates to the downstream employment opportunities. The Minister has clearly indicated that there is no point in the State getting a ball of cash with the consequences being that the cash would be absorbed in dealing with job losses and unemployment payments. It must make sense under all the other headings. These are not all economic issues because there are also social, recreational, environmental issues and issues of access, which are important also”.
“The Coillte public park in Gougane Barra in my constituency is widely recognised as one of the great recreational forestry areas. Many of these forestry estates do not have a commercial crop and buyers will not be interested in bidding for them. The quality of the wood is not as good. Some will say that a minority of Coillte’s forestry holdings have timber of significant commercial value. The proposal must be evaluated against a whole series of objective criteria such as the replanting obligation which is critical; the flow of timber to sawmills; the recreational open access issues”.
“We need to make haste slowly with regard to afforestation. Serious deliberation about the process is being undertaken. All the stakeholders will be consulted, including employees. I bring to the attention of the Minister a small cohort of former Coillte employees who have been disgracefully short-changed by the company’s pension policy. I am aware of someone who spent more than 30 years working with Coillte, who has a pension of less than one euro for every year he worked. That issue needs to be addressed because it is a festering sore on Coillte’s corporate image. Coillte had very highly paid executives and also people who gave blood, sweat and tears to build the company to what it is today but who are in receipt of disgracefully small pensions. That needs to be investigated and those issues need to be addressed in advance of a sale”.
Cork North West TD Michael Creed has welcomed the provision of funding of €199,290 to Clondrohid Community Recreational Facility Ltd. to develop a recreational facility consisting of a community walkway with site landscaping and furniture, an outdoor gym and a 250 metre running track in Clondrohid. This is the second phase of a two-phase development, and the funding is being provided under the Village Renewal and Development measure of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. Commenting on the announcement Deputy Creed said:
“I am delighted to see the hard work of the community in Clondrohid being rewarded, by this funding being made available through West Cork Development Partnership. There has been incredible work done in recent years by the community in developing top class sporting facilities in Clondrohid. This project will add further to the already impressive facilities, and will not only benefit the people of Clondrohid but also the entire mid cork area”.
“Those involved with the Clondrohid Community recreational facility group should be proud of their achievements to date. I wish them well with this ambitious project. I am confident that the €199,290 will go a long way to meeting the €265,730 overall cost of the scheme. I would also like to recognise the contribution of West Cork Development Partnership and my colleague the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan TD to development in rural areas such as Clondrohid.”
DEPUTY CREED & CLLR CREED WELCOME INCLUSION OF NEW WATER MAIN IN COACHFORD WATER SUPPLY SCHEME PROJECT.
Cork North West TD Michael Creed and his colleague in Cork County Council Michael Creed MCC, have both warmly welcomed the approval of the replacement of 1200m length of 100mm asbestos cement water main associated with Coachford water supply scheme. Commenting on this approval Deputy Creed said:
“This issue has been a matter of huge concern for residents in the area for some time. I am pleased that having engaged with the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan on the matter that approval has now been given to include this new main in the Coachford water scheme project”.
Cllr Creed added: “I welcome this approval and the associated budget approval for the works. There has been significant effort on the part of the Council to have this proposal incorporated into the water scheme. It is hoped that these works will ensure a sustainable safe and clean water supply for residents in the Coachford area long into the future.
Cork North West TD, Michael Creed, has welcomed the approval of €3.2 million of funding for the Ballincollig Sewerage scheme wastewater treatment plant upgrade contract, by the Minister for the Environment Community & Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD. Commenting on the announcement Deputy Creed said:
“This funding is being provided for the purposes of continuing the advance works on the sewage scheme ahead of the main scheme. This is a significant investment in developing Ballincollig’s water treatment capacity and follows on from a previous investment of €844,200 in emergency upgrading works at Ballincollig Treatment plant”.
“Ballincollig has witnessed significant development in terms of residential and commercial properties over the past decade or more. There is significant work needed to develop the waste water sewage scheme to meet the demands created by this development. I am pleased that this funding will contribute to developing an infrastructure of benefit to Ballincollig long into the future”.
“I warmly welcome this announcement and I would like to acknowledge the commitment of my colleagues in Cork County Council, Cllr Derry Canty and indeed the Minister for their commitment to this project”.