Monday, June 25, 2012

McDonald's Should Not Go Thru With Drive Thru Plans

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Monday, 25th June 2012

Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called on McDonald’s Restaurant in Artane Castle not to go through with plans to extend their ‘drive-thru’ service to 24 hours.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: “I have written to the manager of McDonald’s Artane and the Managing Director of McDonald’s Ireland to request that the branch not proceed with the 24 hour extension.

“Since McDonald’s made this application to Dublin City Council, a significant number of residents from St. David’s and Pinebrook estates have contacted me to express their concern about the knock on effect of the restaurant operating through the night. At a public meeting in the Goblet Public House which I facilitated, issues such as noise pollution and anti-social behaviour were raised with me. Following on from this I objected to the application by McDonald’s.

“However, even though this objection was ultimately unsuccessful, I have requested that McDonald’s not proceed with their plans in the interest of good community relations and instead, I have requested a meeting with the Managing Director of McDonald’s Ireland in order to reach a compromise which would be amenable to all parties concerned.”

Saturday, June 23, 2012


An Integrated Approach to Eradicating Educational Disadvantage

Skylon Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.
Friday, 13th July 2012 10am-1pm
Eleanor McClorey, Young Ballymun               
Josephine Bleach, Early Learning Initiative, NCI                
John Stewart, National Adult Literacy Agency                
Representatives from the Northside Partnership

The Oireachtas Education and Social Protection Committee are compiling a report dedicated to identifying strategies to combat educational disadvantage at the earliest stage of a child's development.

As a first step, I am inviting local groups, interested parties and educational leaders to participate in a Workshop on 'Empowering the Community to Teach the Child- An Integrated Approach to Eradicating Educational Disadvantage.' This is a chance to look at community based approaches to eradicating educational disadvantage - and decide how we can act on our ideas.

If you have an interest in attending the workshop, please make contact with my office on 01 857-4020 or

The Seminar will help to inform the report that will be adopted by the Oireachtas committee when completed and then forwarded to the Minister.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Best fans in the world but....

Roy Keane missed the point. The Irish support in Poland over the last week has won us admirers from all over Europe. The determination to remain in good humour and in good voice, regardless of sporting disappointments is a creditable disposition, not a failing. So impressed where the Italian side that defeated Ireland last Monday with the noise that rocked the stadium in Poznan, that some of their players crossed the pitch to applaud the Irish fans for the atmosphere they brought to the occasion.

That is not however to ignore a troubling aspect to the behaviour of some fans which deserves commentary. The vast majority of the travelling Irish support in Gdansk and Poznan showed the best of what our country has to offer. Not defined by negative scorelines, displaying resilience in the face of adversity, cheerful, engaging, charming and respectful. That is why any contradiction to that reality is so stark and deserves attention to ensure it doesn’t grow out of control. And it is the leadership from football authorities, role-models and reporters that can make all the difference.

Coverage of the European Championship Finals promised a lot with the excellent RTE four-part documentary series ‘Green is the Colour’ but descended to serious depths of poor taste with the crass laddish nonsense that was the undertone of every painful minute of ‘Craig Doyle’s Euro 2012’ programme. It was difficult for example to reconcile the boorish and sexually-loaded questioning of the so called football ‘WAGS’ with the empowering and inspiring game that I know.

Our national sporting sides proudly represent us all over the world and fly our national flag with honour wherever they go. The tricolour deserves better than to have the slogan ‘Pints, Tits, Ireland’ scrawled across it and hung proudly and prominently in a bar as fans gathered before the Spanish encounter in Gdansk. If that slogan was written across another national flag in the past we might have winced to ourselves and used it as an example as how we Irish are different. But unfortunately some of us now think it is simply good fun to encourage a highly embarrassed Italian girl to ‘get them out for the lads’ in a tram in Poznan. It is also disappointing that the Twitter account of a senior international player described as a ‘legend’ the Irish fan pictured kissing the naked breast of a female Croatian fan during the opening fixture of our Euro 2012 campaign.

This lack of leadership in high places was evident much earlier in the campaign to qualify in October 2010 when the priority of the Chief Executive of the FAI was to buy a trainload of Irish fans a round of drinks when travelling to the Ireland-Slovakia game in Zilina. The priority for some in that city on that occasion was to gesture apologetically to a policeman as he observed one drunken Irish fan stagger from one side of the street to another while vomiting on himself.

Irish football belongs as much to the 16 year old female fan, as it does to the ex-international with over 100 caps. It belongs to our most recent immigrant as it does to our die-hard League of Ireland Fan. The FAI have served diversity well with programmes such as ‘Soccer Sisters’, ‘Give Racism the Red Card’, ‘Football for All’ and the advent of Community Football Officers linked with local authorities. It is this leadership that can mould behaviour and shape good practice. The sight of Olivia O’Toole, a true international soccer legend carrying the Olympic Torch through her native Sheriff Street recently cheered on by local schoolchildren illustrates the true potential for good that only sport provides.

The political sphere is working hard with the community and voluntary sector to break the cultural link between alcohol and sport, to foster an appreciation of the value of participation, and to break social, national and racial stereotypes. Leadership must follow from the highest office holders in the FAI, our international players and our public service broadcaster to truly show what sport and particularly football can achieve.

The chorus of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ in Gdansk after the 4-nil defeat by Spain was the highlight of the trip for many and showed the entire tournament what a proud people we are. We owe it to ourselves to build a game for all, to be enjoyed by all, and to lead by example.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Topical Issues: Raising the issue of utilities disconnections in the Dáil

ESRI report on literacy levels amongst unemployed shows need for integrated Govt action

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Wednesday, 13th June 2012

Labour T.D Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has responded to a report issued by the ESRI and NALA (National Adult Literacy Agency) which states that unemployed people with literacy and numeracy difficulties who receive training are three times more likely to move out of unemployment within a year than others who receive the same training.

The report also states that there are no targeted responses to this group.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: 'It has long been my belief that Ireland's literacy levels are a matter of grave national concern and demand an integrated national plan as a response.'

'Literacy and numeracy are basic tools that empower an individual to fully engage not just in the labour market, but in society as a whole. The failure of government departments to look beyond the classroom to tackle the literacy crisis is an indictment of traditional territorialism which has only succeeded in allowing far too many Irish citizens to fall through the net.

'International statistics show that disadvantaged three year olds have a vocabulary of merely one-third of their more advantaged peers. National statistics show that 30% of children in disadvantaged areas have basic literacy problems and the PISA results have recently shown how poorly our 15 year olds compare in literacy standards.

'It is time for state agencies to realise the massive responsibility that falls upon them to tackle our long-term literacy levels, and also on the Department of Social Protection to engage with unemployed people with literacy difficulties so as to empower them with the skills they need.

'This requires a national movement with literacy and numeracy at its core which brings all agencies of the state on board to engage and empower families and communities at the earliest stage. We also need to respond to this report pro-actively and to use the report as a wake-up call to the state's responsibilities in this area.

'This report is timely and I will be sure to pursue this matter on the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education', Deputy Ó Ríordáin concluded.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ó Ríordáin welcomes government action on defence force personnel pardons

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Tuesday, 12th June 2012

Labour Party T.D. for Dublin North Central, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter that legislation is to be brought forward which will pardon Irish defence force personnel who left these shores and fought for the allied effort during World War II.

"I welcome the move made today by the Minister and I commend him and his departmental officials for listening to the concerns of the families and friends of these soldiers who fought tyranny with the allied war effort.

"The treatment these forces received from the Irish State when they returned home after the war was unjust, with many being barred from employment by the State. The Minister's announcement today on the floor of the House recognises the enormous contribution these soldiers made to the allied war effort and apologises on behalf of the Government for their treatment in the aftermath of the war.

"Further, I wish to commend the remarkable work done by Mr. Peter Mulvany and the Irish Soldiers Pardon Campaign. Peter has worked tirelessly for the 4,983 defence force personnel branded as deserters and today's announcement by the Minister is a testament to the hard work and dedication of his organisation.

"I look forward to seeing the introduction of this legislation into the House later this year."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Citizens encouraged to engage with 'Improving the lives of children and young people' consultation- Ó Ríordáin

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Vice-Chair of the Jobs, Social Protection & Education Committee
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Monday, 11th June 2012

Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is encouraging citizens, communities and interest groups across the country to engage with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs' public consultation on Improving the Lives of Children and Young People.

The Dublin North Central Deputy was speaking before the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs launched the consultation which seeks to develop plans to improve the lives of children and young people throughout the state.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: "I welcome the launch of the initiative by the Minister this afternoon and I hope communities and interest groups concerned with issues affecting children and young people engage with this consultation.

"Over the next five years, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will be taking suggestions and ideas in order to formulate a comprehensive approach to tackling the major problems facing our youth. Almost one-third of Ireland's population is under the age of 26, therefore it is crucial that we, as a society, put children's rights and child protection at the forefront of public policy in this country.

"I look forward to engaging with the Department's initiative over the coming months."