Friday, May 27, 2011

STATEMENT: Ó Ríordáin welcomes new rules for employing registered qualified teachers

Ó Ríordáin welcomes new rules for employing registered qualified teachers

Issued : Friday 27 May, 2011

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD

Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed the new rules relating to the employment of registered qualified teachers. Deputy Ó Ríordáin was speaking on foot of the announcement made today by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn which outlined the new rules for employing registered qualified teachers from 1st September of this year.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin states: "I greatly welcome the announcement made today by the Minister as this addresses a vital issue regarding the employment of teachers in the education sector. Under these new guidelines, only appropriately qualified registered teachers will be given priority when it comes time for schools to fill vacant positions.

"The figures released by the Department last month showed that large numbers of teaching positions were occupied by unqualified or retired teachers. This situation was completely untenable when there are so many qualified teachers leaving our colleges every year and not being able to find suitable employment.

"Now, thanks to the actions taken by Minister Quinn, schools will have to choose a qualified teacher from a list of available candidates. This will allow newly qualified teachers to gain much needed experience in the classroom, and thus protect the standard of education for children in schools.

"I must applaud the Minister for taking this action and I believe it is further evidence that The Labour Party in government is tackling key problems which have been allowed to fester for too long."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Mental Health - from Vision to Action'

'Mental Health - from Vision to Action'
Labour Equality
Open Event

Thursday 2nd June 8pm

The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell St, Dublin 1

Dan Neville TD, President of the Irish Association of Suicidology: 
Suicide in Ireland

Shane Butler, Senior Lecturer TCD & Expert in addictions and Mental Health social work: 
Alcohol - will we finally tackle the national drug?

Dr Austin O'Carroll, GP Mountjoy Street Medical & Founder of SafetyNet (mobile clinic for the homeless): 
Deprivation and Mental Health

Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People : 

Programme for Government Mental Health commitments and Action

  • How prevalent is suicide in Ireland and how can we prevent it?
  • How can we tackle the problem of alcohol - or do we want to?
  • What is the link between deprivation and Mental Health?
  • What action is the new Government going to take on Mental Health?
The event is hosted by Labour Equality and chaired by Bernard Cantillon Chair Labour Equality.
The Programme for Government policy on Mental Health incorporates the recommendations of A Vision for Change. Come and hear the speakers discuss various aspects of Mental Health. Wheelchair accessible.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Garda Information regarding VIP visits and Events during May 2011

Garda Information regarding VIP visits and Events during May 2011:

A number of high profile VIP visits and major events are due to take place at various locations around the country during the month of May.

These will primarily be focused on Dublin City, Cork City, and Counties Tipperary, Kildare and Meath and include:

Please plan your journey and check these website for further updates
Irish Rail
Dublin Bus
Bus Éireann
Dublin City
Cork City

Comprehensive policing plans are in place for all of these events to meet the public safety, security and traffic requirements associated with them.

Over the next two weeks Gardai will issue information to the public on an ongoing basis in respect of each event and location, including details of any traffic and parking restrictions, diversions and/or road closures and crowd safety advice.

Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of all individuals and members of the public attending events as well as keeping commuters and general traffic moving and commercial activity operating as normal. We are working with local traders and businesses to minimise disruption to their workers and customers and are liaising closely with all of our partner agencies, including local councils and public transport companies.

In addition to providing specific detail on each location at the appropriate times, An Garda Síochána is issuing the following general information and advice to members of the public:

The visits of HM Queen Elizabeth II and of the President of the United States will involve substantial security operations. As a result the public can expect traffic and parking restrictions, diversions and/or road closures in the vicinity of any location which is on their respective itineraries. These restrictions will commence in advance of the visits. Following on from local consultation with business and residents in the key areas, a process of public notification of affected areas commences today and will continue over the next ten days.

Commuters should use public transport where possible. There will be changes and modifications to some public transport routes and these will be notified by the public transport operators. The public is asked to check information available from the public transport companies (Dublin Bus, Luas, Irish Rail, Bus Éireann) for updates on routes and timetables closer to their journey times.

Any private and commercial vehicles seeking to access Dublin city centre may face delays and they may also encounter parking restrictions when they reach their destination. Private and commercial vehicles seeking to cross the city are encouraged to use the existing orbital routes and also to follow diversions.

Pedestrians in city centres will be limited to crossing streets and roads at designated crossing points due to the erection of barriers along key routes. In addition, pedestrians may for security reasons be subject to search by members of An Garda Síochána at specific points.

In addition members of the public should confirm appointments or check opening hours of any destinations in public buildings prior to travelling.

Gardaí will maintain a high, visible presence across the next two weeks to assist members of the public who wish to view the visits and/or attend events and to minimise disruption to workers, shoppers, students and visitors to the city centre. We would ask members of the public to heed the advice and instructions of gardaí and we thank them in advance for their cooperation.

Saturday, May 14, 2011



'College Green Ideal Location for Central Library'

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD has launched an online survey to gauge the reaction of Dubliners to the proposed transfer of the Bank of Ireland site on College Green to the state for cultural purposes.

'I understand that the proposed move of the Dublin City Central Library to the Ambassador site is now off the table because of the limitations of the Parnell Square location, so to me College Green would be a fantastic proposal.'

'If this site is to be acquired by the state, then the use of the building as the City Library would be extremely appropriate considering that Dublin City is now a UNESCO City of Literature.'

“Dublin is the City of Beckett, Joyce, Yeats and Stoker. We have a rich literary heritage that other cities would give anything for, therefore we should celebrate such achievements with an iconic dedication to literature such as the historic former Parliament Building at College Green.'

'As a library with an interpretive centre detailing the history of literary Dublin, it would be a huge tourist attraction for visitors to Ireland. It would be something that all Dubliners would be extremely proud of.'

'My survey can be accessed by following this link through my twitter page:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011



A Cheann Comhairle,

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak on the issue of suicide. There have been many excellent contributions from all sides of the house on this matter, and I will not repeat points previously articulated. However, I wish to particularly focus on children and what we as a society are failing to do to protect their mental health, and what we must change to ensure that we intervene at the earliest opportunity to protect our most vulnerable of young people.

As everyone in this chamber is only too well aware, this country has returned to the days of high unemployment, mass emigration and social despair. And the most tragic by-product of this is the increasing rates of suicide that we are seeing amongst our citizens.

This tragedy is not confined to one particular class or corner of this island, but it is one that is affecting rich and poor, old and young, male and female. In 2009, there was a 24% increase in the rates of people taking their own lives. That is a startling and frightening statistic.

These are people who see no way out from their despair. Whether it be negative equity, addiction, unemployment, emigration or discrimination, the people who are taking their own lives can see no hope for their future.

So how do we tackle this national emergency facing us? Obviously in the long term we tackle it by creating a better society for people to live in. We do it by ensuring that people are provided with the best services in education, social protection and health care (in particular mental health services).

But what of our children? What of those who are victims of circumstance, who are going up in those households of despair. Who are fragile, impressionable, easily corruptible, and who can be damaged almost permanently by the environment in which they grow.

What interventions do we have in place to care for delicate minds, whose childhoods are now filled with nights where heated words are exchanged by financially crucified adults, so close to the brink that they see no way out.
What of children who live in areas where the only viable economic activity is the drugs trade, where older siblings get sucked into a hopeless spiral of street-corner loitering, to low level anti-social behaviour and often onward to full-scale membership of violent gangs, incentivised by easy money, street credibility and a perverse sense of empowerment. Communities such as these are rarely understood, chronically under-resourced and frequently stigmatised by outlandish generalisations by media outlets.

If we accept that it takes a village to raise a child is it any wonder therefore that children of such a village would grow up with a poor sense of self-esteem, negative self-image, feeling totally disempowered and disconnected from the mainstream of Irish society.

Our educational system is charged with the responsibility of identifying, diagnosing and treating children who display a variety of emotional behavioural disorders. Yet the system as it is currently constituted, outrageously misplaces resources in a manner which inevitably benefits children from middle class backgrounds, and not those who are more in need. Our educational supports for those who need help are misplaced and poorly structured.

This happens in two main ways

Firstly, the allocation of resource teachers is based on the General Allocation Model, introduced by the previous government, allocates teachers on the basis of number and not on the basis of need. As a result children who attend schools with a smaller enrolment do not receive the same level of supports no matter what the level of need. This is a crude, blunt and indeed cruel arrangement which must be amended to ensure that our most vulnerable children are supported.

Secondly in the allocation of resource hours sanctioned by the Special Educational Needs Organiser or SENO, the reality is that those schools who have access to private psychological or clinical assessments receive more resource hours, and those who depend solely on the under-resourced NEPS service, receive less.

School leaders, teachers and school principals are left in an almost impossible position when attempting to provide supports for children who present with specialised care-needs. They have to juggle referral forms and representations to the NEWB, NEPS, Agencies such as the Mater Child Guidance Clinic, the relevant social worker, the HSCL links service and if they are fortunate, supportive parents.

However If a parent or parents prove obstructive or difficult, the school is powerless to proceed. This is just one more glaring example as to why our Children's Rights Referendum is so sorely needed. Bizarely at present the remit of the 2000 Educational Welfare Act does not stretch to children aged under six years of age no matter how chronic their level of absenteeism.
Our children now live in a society that is a breaking point, in a culture that shortens childhood to maximise corporate profit, in a country that only purports to cherish every child equally but only punishes our vulnerable rather than liberating them.

We must liberate our children from the dark clouds that hang over their minds. We must empower them with the ability to express their feeling, to understand their circumstances, and to encourage them to believe that they truly are more powerful than they could ever contemplate.

We cannot fail them at the earliest stage. At the stage when they depend onBecause the risk of internalising the hurt permanently is too great, and the potential of becoming another suicide statistic too real.

Go raibh mile maith agat a Cheann Comhairle.



Newly elected Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has insisted that the Dublin Port Company must heed the concerns raised by many residents of the surrounding Dublin Bay area in relation to the proposed expansion of the Port.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin's comments come on foot of a recent public meeting which was held to gauge the views and concerns of residents in the Clontarf area. This meeting, which was organised by Deputy Ó Ríordáin, was held on Tuesday, 26th April in St. Anthony's Hall in Clontarf. The consensus reached by attendees at the meeting was that a protest should take place on Thursday, 28th April at 6:30pm outside the Clontarf Rugby and Cricket Club, where Dublin Port are having their consultation day.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said: "I believe that the Dublin Port Company must take on board the serious concerns residents in the Clontarf and surrounding Dublin Bay areas have in relation to the proposed expansion of the Port.

"The proposed expansion would obviously have huge consequences for the ecology of the Bay area which would in turn, seriously affect our ability to attract tourism. Moreover, if the expansion were to go ahead, this would negatively affect the vibrant and cherished recreational activities in the Bay such as fishing, sailing, etc.

"That is why I can fully appreciate why residents and environmental groups wish to stage this protest on Thursday, 28th. Furthermore, it is my belief that the Dublin Port Company must take on board the purpose of this protest and adhere to the wishes of the residents concerned.

"This issue has been on-going since the 1980s and it is really unfair that residents in the surrounding areas of Dublin Bay are put in this position every few years. I believe it is time that this issue is brought to suitable conclusion."