Labour Party T.D. for Dublin North-West

Promoting the Labour Party values of Freedom, Community, Equality and Democracy

Monday, November 10, 2014

Response from Derek Nolan TD to recent Irish Times piece

Below is a response from my colleague Derek Nolan TD to an Irish Times piece on the recent Budget: 
"Sir, – The characterisation by columnist Fintan O’Toole of the recent budget as “the fourth regressive budget in a row” simply does not stand up to scrutiny (“The Irish Water debacle: why the State is heading towards being ungovernable”, Opinion & Analysis, November 5th) .
While the default setting of armchair generals like Fintan O’Toole is to criticise and denigrate everything that this Government, and particularly the Labour Party does, surely the general public has a right to expect a contribution that is somewhat more balanced and more factual than what I read.
Mr O’Toole claims that the combined impact of the tax and welfare measures and of water charges would reduce the income of the lowest income households by 1 per cent. Given that the Government has not yet completed the process of determining the precise details around charging for water – how much households will end up paying, how much they will receive in allowances, how it will be dealt with in terms of tax relief, what kind of supports they can expect from the Department of Social Protection, etc – I can only conclude that Mr O’Toole is in possession of some kind of crystal ball and that he knows more about the final outcome of these deliberations than any of the Government Ministers dealing with the matter!
Leaving that to one side, it seems to have conveniently escaped Mr O’Toole’s attention that as a result of this budget, the tax burden on high-earners has been increased, while the burden on lower earners has been reduced!
The facts are that as a result of Budget 2015: the 1 per cent of all earners on over €200,000 will account for 21 per cent of all taxes paid in 2015. This is up from 19 per cent in 2014. The 6 per cent of all earners on over €100,000 will account for 44 per cent of all taxes paid in 2015. This is up from 42 per cent in 2014. The 76 per cent of all earners on under €50,000 will account for 20 per cent of all taxes paid in 2015. This is down from 21 per cent in 2014. The benefit of decreasing income tax for high earners is capped at €70,000. A further 80,000 low-paid workers will be exempt from the universal social charge.
It also must have escaped his notice that as part of Budget 2015, there was a massive increase in investment in social housing. Alan Kelly announced that we would be investing €800 million in housing, so that we can begin delivering 7,500 family homes in 2015 and a total of 40,000 family homes in the coming years – the single biggest social housing announcement in the history of the State.
The social impact of initiatives like this may not be captured by the analytical models that think tanks, research groups and commentators have come to rely on, but in the real world they have a real impact on actual families.
In addition, spending on homelessness will increase by 20 per cent to €55 million, something that as a Labour TD I would warmly welcome.
Ahead of the budget, we said that we would take steps to reduce the pressure on working families, and to that end, we increased child benefit and introduced the new back-to-work family dividend, a scheme that will provide additional financial support to help jobseekers with families return to work. On top of that, all long-term welfare recipients will receive a Christmas bonus of 25 per cent of their weekly payment in light of the costs associated with this period.
While it may not chime with his consistently critical attitude to Labour, Mr O’Toole should out of fairness acknowledge these positive and progressive measures in a budget that took this country another step along the road to both economic and social recovery. – Yours, etc,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

'Recovery Budget' Supports Low and Middle Income Earners

The guiding principle of Budget 2015 is to cement our economic recovery and to restore the living standards for Irish people for the first time in many years.

More money in peoples’ pockets

This budget will ensure people start to see the real benefits of recovery with money in their pockets.

Low and middle income earners in particular will notice an increase in take-home pay as a result of changes to the Universal Social Charge bands, with a further 80,000 low paid workers removed from paying USC altogether. This means a total of 410,000 low-paid workers will pay no USC at all. 

Those on social welfare will see the return of the Christmas bonus, at a 25% rate, and all families will benefit from a €5 per child increase in Child Benefit. 

It’s hugely important to note increases in Child Benefit and the Living Alone Allowance for older people, have been brought about by savings in the Department’s 2014 Budget as more people go off the Live Register and back to work.

Good news for education and public service recruitment

As a teacher, I welcome the protection of class sizes again in Budget 2015 and the announcement that 1,700 new teaching staff will be hired next year. This includes nearly 1,000 teachers, 400 teaching assistants and 300 special needs assistants. This will allow our schools to keep pace with the demographic demands being placed on them over recent years.

Budget 2015 will also bring a targeted end to the public service embargo, with 200 further Garda recruits by the end of the year and the opportunity for each Government department to make their own decisions on recruitment for the first time. 

Measures to tackle the housing crisis

As a public representative, I deal with people who are facing very difficult housing situations. I welcome the €800 million for social housing in 2015, and €2.2 billion in total over the next three years.

These are the kind of measures that are urgently needed to tackle the housing crisis. Overall, this large-scale investment will fund 10,000 housing units by 2018. 

Budget 2015 marks the end of the austerity era. It is balanced and fair and, importantly, is not a return to the boom and bust economics of the past. We must continue to work so this economic the recovery is felt by all in our society.

More information and resources

You can read more about Budget 2015, view resources and infographs here:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

#Heart2Heart Campaign

#Heart2Heart Campaign Launch. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
This Saturday 11th October marks the 26th anniversary of National Coming Our Day, an internationally observed civil rights day, which highlights the benefits and opportunities that living openly offers to LGBT people.  

The fantastic LGBT Helpline deal with a lot of people who struggle face coming out. They've had about  23,500 contacts made to our service so far this year, seeking support and information on coming cut.

I was delighted to support the LGBT Helpline's #Heart2Heart campaign launch yesterday. 

You can watch the moving #Heart2Heart campaign here:

If you need support or information call 1890 929 539 or log onto 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Primary Health Care Centre Gets Green Light in Finglas

I welcomed Dublin City Council’s decision today to grant planning permission for a new primary health care centre in Finglas. 

Visiting Blanchardstown Primary Care Centre 
The new centre, located on Mellowes Road in Finglas West, will bring together a team of health professionals to meet the needs of the people living in the wider Finglas area. 

The state-of-the-art health facility will have space for 10 GP clinics, and will provide a single point of contact to a whole host of medical services such as nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and nutrition and dietician services

I also strongly welcome the inclusion of an adult mental health out-patient service at the facility and confirmation from the HSE that the centre will be the new base for the Finglas Community Mental Health Team. 

Providing more of our healthcare at primary level is a key part of the Government’s health policy and has been Labour Party policy for many years. 

Free access to primary care is a vital building block of a more equitable health service – treating patients in their own community, facilitating early diagnosis and less complicated treatments. It’s good for patients, and good for the healthcare budget. 

The HSE held a series of consultations with the local community and took on board several concerns, particularly from residents who live beside the new centre, before submitting their final planning application. 

Dublin City Council have now approved these plans, albeit with nine clear conditions for construction, which means the centre can proceed to construction after several delays. 

Along with my Labour colleague and Finglas South resident, John Redmond, I supported a primary health centre based in the community from the beginning as I believe it will make a huge difference to people’s health all across Finglas. 

Today’s decision brings a fantastic health facility for all Finglas residents a step closer and I hope it can progress to construction as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wage Rises for Low and Middle Income Earners

I appeared on the Last Word with Matt Cooper yesterday evening to discuss Labour calls for a conversation on increasing the minimum wage. Discussion starts from 1 min 30 seconds

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Northside People feature on Helpline this week

Ahead of tomorrow's Leaving Cert results, I am reminding local students and parents about a free helpline which offers advice and support on the CAO process.  

Run by the National Parents’ Council, this free service is there to help during this difficult and stressful time for students who are receiving their results. It is important that students know that help is available for them, for any query they may have once they receive their Leaving Cert results.  

The phone service will see experienced guidance counsellors ready to handle a huge volume of calls over the next two weeks from students who are wondering about their options. Last year the service dealt with thousands of queries from all over the country.  

With this helpline, students and parents should be reassured that expert advice is just a phone call away. The Freephone number to keep close to hand is 1800 265 165, and will be open from morning to evening for the next few days.

As a local teacher for over a decade, I know it can be a very stressful time for students and parents alike and resources such as the helpline from the National Parents’ Council can provide much-needed support and information.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Plans for old Smurfit Site - Consultation for Local Residents

I've been informed that a public consultation about plans for the old Smurfit site on Botanic Road will take place on:

Date: Tuesday* 29th July 2014

Time: 5-8pm (as a drop in session)

Venue: The Maples House Hotel, 79-81 Iona Road

The consultation is being organised by Westhill, a UK-based property development company who recently purchased part of the old Smurfit site. 

I'm informed this consultation is being held prior to a planning application being lodged by the company in question.

I hope the developer can take on board any concerns residents may have about their plans and work with them to resolve any issues that arise. 

Residents will be able to view detailed plans, drawings and talk to the architectural and planning team on a drop in basis from 5pm to 8pm on the evening of Tuesday 29th. 

Please drop me a line in the meantime if you have any questions about the planning process or your rights as a local resident.

*Edited: Originally had stated Thursday 29th. Correction: consultation is on Tuesday 29th July.