It’s difficult sometimes in a few hundred words to sum up my work as a TD, and that of my office, on a monthly basis. Often, the work we do is in confidence and on a one-to-one basis or more reflective when we are formulating a policy position on particular issues of the day.
This past month though, I was glad to see several years work on one particular issue bear dividend. When Christine Callinan came to me some time back and talked me through the difficulties she has had for almost 10 years getting accommodation for adults with intellectual disabilities, I vowed to do all I could to help her. Her organisation, Action for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities, wanted to achieve independent and assisted living for those persons she represents. On a local level, I assisted her representations to Clare County Council, who subsequently pointed the group in the direction of the Banner Housing Association and the Brothers of Charity. An application for funding was later prepared and made through Clare County Council. This project has taken some time, but I was thrilled when my Government colleague, Minister Jan O’Sullivan, allocated €290,000 for the purchase of accommodation for four persons. It now means these people will continue to enjoy independent living in the village of Newmarket-on-Fergus where they were born and raised. I want to congratulate Christine for her perseverance and dedication.
It was important to have Minister Brian Hayes in the County where he visited a number of OPW sites and met with community groups and organisations in relation individual projects they are working on.
In Dáil Éireann, I spoke on the Second Stage of the Personal Insolvency Bill 2012. Personal debt has become such a major issue in our country. The drafting of legislation to deal with this whole issue has taken quite a long period of time but that’s understandable given the complexity. Never before do I recall a piece of legislation being so widely anticipated and I believe Minister Shatter has got it right. There has been a broad welcome for the Bill and I look forward to it becoming law later on this year.
Also in the past month, I was elected Chairman of a Dáil committee – the Joint Oireachtas Sub Committee on Administration. I was honoured to greet An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave in Ardnacrusha to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the setting up of that remarkable piece of infrastructure. I want to congratulate all those involved in organising festivals and shows in their villages and towns throughout the county, many of which I had the privilege to attended. Despite the poor weather, these events have made the summer and helped bring out the best in our communities.