Equal Pay Day-28th February 2013

Fine Gael Press Office Senator Martin Conway Clare

Thursday, February 28th 2013

Gender equality should be centre stage in Ireland’s EU Presidency – Conway

Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability, Martin Conway, has said that gender equality should be centre stage during Ireland’s Presidency of the EU. Senator Conway’s made his comments today (Thursday) on European Equal Pay Day.

“Equal Pay Day presents an opportunity, every year, to highlight the unequal pay conditions women still face in the labour market. The EU-wide event marks the extra number of days that women would need to work per year to match the amount earned by men; currently 59 days, meaning this year the day falls on 28th February.

“The principle of equal pay for equal work is one of the founding doctrines of EU and has formed part of EU Treaties since 1957.  However there is still more work to do as the latest figures show that across the EU, the average gender pay gap is 16.2%.

“In Ireland the difference between women and men’s hourly earnings is 13.9%.  While the gap has reduced in recent years, it is still far too big.  We need to become ‘gender blind’ in our approach to employment and we need to help employers in their efforts to tackle the gender pay gap.

“Ireland already has a strong reputation on promoting gender equality, and I believe the EU Presidency provides us with an opportunity to improve our reputation even further.”

Changes to property tax for people with disabilities

Fine Gael Press Office Senator Martin Conway Clare

Wednesday, February 13th 2013

Conway welcomes changes to property tax for people with disabilities

Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has welcomed the announcement today (Wednesday) by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, that special exemptions for the property tax will apply to homes where works are carried out for people with disabilities.

Minister Noonan confirmed, with the publication of the Finance Bill, that any rise in value as a result of improvements carried out to the homes of people with disabilities will be written off when calculating the property tax.

“I am delighted that the Minister of Finance has recognised that works to properties necessitated by a person’s disability should not be taken into account when valuing the property for the property tax.

“This move recognises that people with disabilities have unique requirements in terms of housing and access, and that any works carried out to properties are necessary improvements.

“This Government is committed to supporting people with disabilities in adapting their home environment to suit their needs and to improve their quality of life. I would like to commend the Minister for responding to this need and providing this relief.”

ENDS

Plans to overhaul US immigration law

Fine Gael Press Office Senator Martin Conway Clare

Wednesday, January 30th 2013

Conway welcomes plans to overhaul US immigration law

Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, has welcomed fresh moves in the US to overhaul America’s immigration laws. Yesterday, President Barack Obama backed proposals to change immigration laws, a day after a group of US Senators unveiled details of immigration reforms they hope to have passed this year.

“These plans, put forward by a bipartisan group of US Senators, would help lay the foundation for citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. I am delighted that this proposal has been agreed, and I hope that this plan will result in the long overdue reform of immigration law which will give thousands of undocumented Irish in the US the opportunity to apply for US citizenship.

“For those Irish immigrants in the US who live in the shadows, afraid to return home to Ireland, this plan offers hope that they will not only have certainty in the future, but that they will also be able to return home to Ireland to visit their families. The illegal status of so many undocumented Irish is a great hardship on the individuals involved, and their families who have been deprived of their loved one for so long.

“Having personally marched in solidarity at a rally for the undocumented Irish in Washington in 2007, I know how much this proposed reform would benefit and enhance the day to day lives of immigrants and their families.  It was a tremendous pity that the Kennedy McCain Bill, which was proposed in 2007, did not become law. Hopefully this new plan will herald a new dawn for the Irish immigrants in the US.

“I eagerly anticipate further developments in the progress of this long awaited reform.”

ENDS

Conway welcomes publication of report on disability and the labour market

Fine Gael Press Office

Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Thursday, January 17th 2013

Conway welcomes publication of report on disability and the labour market

Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has welcomed the publication of a new report on disability and the labour market by the ERSI and the Equality Authority. The report focuses on people of working age with a disability and examines the challenges they face participating in the labour market.

“I am delighted that this significant piece of work has been carried out, so that we as policy makers now have authoritative evidence on the nature and extent of discrimination rates for people with disabilities in participating in the labour market.

“The report finds that just 28% of people with disabilities of working age are in employment compared with almost two-thirds of people without a disability. Furthermore, people with a disability are more likely to have experienced discrimination. However, the report shows that there have been improvements in the area of discrimination, with a significant fall in the percentage of people with a disability who experienced discrimination between 2004 and 2010.

“The Government is committed to supporting people with disabilities to participate more fully in the labour market. Funding for the Disability Activation Project, which helps people with disabilities to access employment, has recently been increased. The initiative, which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Department of Social Protection, involves creating links between employers and people with disabilities to enable full participation in the labour market.

“This is one of a range of initiatives which are available to people with disabilities to help them gain much needed mainstream work experience in real jobs and real communities. The Willing Able Mentoring programme, which is also funded by the Department of Social Protection, is seeking to make employment practices disability friendly, and has to date provided work placements for over 175 graduates with disabilities with major employers in the Irish labour market.

“The findings of the report from the ESRI and the Equality Authority will inform the formulation of further policies in this area. While I have no doubt that there is considerable room to further improve participation rates, this Government is committed to supporting people with disabilities to participate fully in society and to facilitate the building of inclusive workplaces.”

ENDS

Funding for construction of new coast guard station in Doolin approved

Fine Gael National Press Office
Senator Martin Conway


Wednesday, 16th January 2013

Conway welcomes approval of funding for construction of new coast guard station in Doolin

Fine Gael Clare Senator Martin Conway, welcomes the announcement today (Wednesday) by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, that funding has been approved for the construction of a new volunteer coast guard station in Doolin, Co. Clare. The project will be overseen by the Office of Public Works and will be tendered within a matter of weeks with construction expected to commence by May.

“I am delighted that the funding has been sanctioned for this project. The new station will provide a garage area for the boats, cliff rescue and personal equipment and transport as well as changing facilitates and an operations room.

“Having lobbied successive governments and Ministers for Transport to get this facility built in the interests of public safety I am delighted to see that this is now about to be realised.

“As one of the busiest coast guard units in the country, this new facility will be of huge benefit to the Doolin Coast Guard Unit, whose volunteers risk their lives on a weekly basis, carrying out search, rescue and recovery operations off the coast of County Clare.

“The building in which these volunteers have worked in for the last twenty years can only be compared to a garden shed and were wholly inadequate, with volunteers even storing essential rescue equipment in their own homes. They had no washing or changing facilities and nowhere even to make a cup of tea.

“This new facility should have been constructed years ago and I am glad that it is finally being delivered by this Government. I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of Mattie Shannon and the volunteers who selflessly give their time to help others in some of the most appalling weather conditions.”

ENDS

 

 


National Famine Commemoration Day 2013 in Kilrush

Conway welcomes National Famine Commemoration Day 2013 in Kilrush

Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, welcomes today’s announcement that Kilrush will host the main commemoration event on National Famine Commemoration Day in 2013.

“I am delighted that the National Famine Commemoration is taking place in Kilrush as it has historically been very closely linked with, and was greatly affected by, the Great Irish Famine. Whilst all of Clare suffered grievously, no part of the county endured as much as Kilrush town. Through this respectful remembrance of those who suffered during the famine, we can also help those who are suffering from hunger in today’s world.

“It is a huge honour for the town to host this event particularly in this the year of the Gathering and I hope that many visitors from near and far will visit Kilrush during this commemoration.

“I would like to congratulate Clare County Council and the Kilrush Famine Commemoration Committee for what is already a remarkable achievement. Their dedication, time and effort are already paying huge dividends for the tourism industry in Clare and I am very excited about the real possibilities which will follow this remarkable event.

“I would like to see many more events throughout Clare built around this great commemoration and the Gathering. We all have a unique opportunity to do something special in 2013 and at the same time protect and create jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry.”

ENDS

Conway expresses sorrow at the death of publisher and broadcaster Eamonn O’Loughlin

Fine Gael Press Office

Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Monday, January 7th 2013

Conway expresses sorrow at the death of publisher and broadcaster Eamonn O’Loughlin

Clare Fine Gael Senator, Martin Conway, has today (Monday) expressed his condolences to the family of broadcaster, publisher and advocate for the Irish community in Canada, Eamonn O’Loughlin, following the announcement of his untimely death over the weekend.

“Eamonn was a personal friend of mine and I was deeply shocked to learn of his sudden death. Eamonn left Ireland in the 1970s for Toronto and since then has developed a very successful career both in the print and broadcast media. He founded and published a number of magazines which were distributed throughout Canada, and presented an Irish themed weekly radio programme.

“Eamonn also organised and facilitated a number of trade missions between Ireland and Canada, most recently participating in a very successful trip in which Canadian investors travelled to Northern Ireland, seeking opportunities there.

“I will remember Eamonn most fondly for his tireless work on behalf of the thousands of young people from Ireland, many from Clare, who had to emigrate due to the recession. I have heard countless stories of assistance he gave people, from organising accommodation to arranging job interviews. For many years, he was the point of contact for all things Irish in Toronto; from music to sport, and young people seeking employment.

“The last time I met Eamonn was at his 60th birthday party last summer in Clare, when he told me about the Irish-Canadian emigration centre he was helping to develop in Toronto. I was delighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs was in a position to commit some funding to this vital project.

“Eamonn will be sadly missed by everybody who had the pleasure to know him. May he rest in peace.”

 

ENDS

Conway welcomes reform of law on mental capacity

Fine Gael National Press Office

Statement by Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Thursday, December 20th 2012

Conway welcomes reform of law on mental capacity

Fine Gael Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has today (Thursday) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, that he expects to submit the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2012 to Government for approval to publish early in the New Year.

“The enactment of this Bill will bring about the long awaited reform of the law on mental capacity and will be an important step towards ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which gives explicit recognition to the human rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.

“The Convention aims to remove barriers and create favourable conditions for the equal enjoyment of rights. Most of the substantive articles in this Bill tackle these obstacles by creating targeted obligations. For example, article 24 on the right to education effectively requires inclusive education.

“The Convention also establishes disability, not only as a social welfare matter, but as a human rights issue and a matter of law. The core elements of the Government’s disability strategy – which combines anti-discrimination, equal opportunities and active inclusion measures – are reflected in the Convention. The rights recognised by the Convention cover almost all policy fields from justice to transport, employment to information technology, and social to health policy. Accordingly, implementation of the Convention needs to be part of a strategic approach to disability.

“I welcome the Government’s approach to ensure that all key reforms necessitated by the Convention are in place in advance of ratification of the Treaty so that the reforms introduced will make a real difference in the lives of persons with disabilities. It also fulfils a key commitment by Fine Gael and Labour in the Programme for Government.”

ENDS

Human rights should take centre stage during Ireland’s EU Presidency

Fine Gael Press Office

Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Wednesday, December 12th 2012

Human rights should take centre stage during Ireland’s EU Presidency

Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability, Martin Conway, has said that human rights should be centre stage during Ireland’s upcoming Presidency of the EU. Senator Conway’s comments coincide with Human Rights Week 2012, which is running until Sunday, December 16th.

“Human Rights Week presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights and to advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone, everywhere. This year the focus is on making sure the voices of women, young people, minorities, people with disabilities, the poor and the marginalised are heard in public life.

“The human rights of freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government have been at the centre of the historic changes throughout the world and particularly in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change.

“Ireland is contributing to this worldwide event by staging numerous events around the country to celebrate Human Rights Week which just shows how diverse and important human rights are to people countrywide. Ireland’s upcoming Presidency of the European Union is an ideal opportunity for the Government to put human rights centre stage.

“Ireland has a very proud record in advocating for human rights in a very practical way through our thousands of citizens who participated in missions in impoverished countries for decades.  Our Defence Forces have an excellent reputation in defending the human rights of people in conflict regions through its peacekeeping missions.

“Ireland already has a strong reputation on human rights, and I believe the EU Presidency provides us with an opportunity to improve our reputation even further.”

ENDS

Conway calls on Ryanair to invest in new independent Shannon Airport

Fine Gael Press Office

Senator Martin Conway

Clare

Monday, December 3rd 2012

Conway calls on Ryanair to invest in new independent Shannon Airport

Following the announcement today (Monday) that Shannon Airport is being separated from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) as part of new plans from the Government to develop the airport, Fine Gael Clare Senator, Martin Conway, has called on Ryanair to invest in Shannon by opening new routes.

“Since 2008, Ryanair has reduced the number of aircraft based in the Mid-West from six to one, with twenty-four fewer routes and, crucially, 1.5 million fewer passengers. Today, we have had the announcement that Shannon is to form part of a new entity, independent of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). So, surely now that Shannon will be able to set its own charges, there has never been a better time for Ryanair to invest in the future of the airport?

“Ryanair is one of Europe’s largest airlines, and as a result it is a major buyer of airport services. So why doesn’t Michael O’Leary negotiate with the new Shannon Airport Authority to bring new routes into the airport, increasing passenger numbers and revenues in the process.

“Considering the difficult economic climate, it is very encouraging that this major development in Shannon, including a new international aviation services centre, has been announced. Today is an extremely positive one for the future of both Shannon Airport and the wider region. Ryanair could play a part in the future regenerated Shannon, and I would encourage the airline to do so.

“The separation of Shannon Airport from the DAA is a huge boost for the area and I look forward to seeing the commencement of the plan without delay.”

ENDS