This evening I have learned the appalling news that the Rosminian Order located at the St Josephs Centre for the Visually Impaired and the HSE are to close Clonturk House, a residential facility for elderly blind men.
This closure means that 13 elderly blind men between the ages of 70 and 90 will have to be re-located and 24 staff will have to lose their jobs, as the HSE state they do not have the funds to upgrade the facility.
Only last month, I attended a public meeting where the Rosminian Order explained in great detail their plans to lodge a planning application for the construction of apartment blocks on a seven-acre site within the campus to fund the upgrading of their school. The application is for 7 blocks of 362 apartments ranging in height from four to eight storeys. It is hoped that this development will fund the school building costs of approximately €35million - only €15 million of which was provisionally promised by the Department of Education five years ago with no firm commitment.
No mention was made at any meeting, and I attended two such meetings, of any intention to change the status of the long-serving residents, or that they weren't to be included in the long term plans for the centre. Some of these residents have lived in Clonturk House for 50 years.
I am demanding immediately a full statement from the HSE and the Rosminian Order in relation to this matter and a reversal of this appaling decision, made in a cruel and underhanded fashion with little regard to the residents their carers or the families that care for them.
Aodhan O’Riordaín, principal of St Laurence O’Toole primary school for girls in Sheriff St, Dublin, believes that the programme will be supportive to parents of children attending the school.
“Courses like these acknowledge that parenting is difficult. Parents often think that they don’t need help and that they have a good relationship with their children but society is changing so rapidly that every parent needs to know how to maximise the potential of their children. And children react more to parents than to anyone in a school. They love their parents so when education becomes part of the relationship between a parent and a child, the effect is unstoppable.”
The motion proposed tonight by members of the Fianna Fáil group on Dublin City Council is hypocritical in the extreme and classic cheap electoral politics.
The proposal that each member of Dublin City Council should take a 10% pay cut has been referred to the Protocol and Selection Committee however it goes nowhere to uncovering the real scandal of payments to Councillors at the taxpayers expense?
Will the Fianna Fáil members agree to a root and branch review of Councillor Expenses? Why are councillor mobile bills paid to the tune of €30,000 per year? Why are lavish expenses paid to councillors who attend meaningless conferences around the country? How many councillors in the Fianna Fáil group have taken lifts in colleagues cars to meetings in other counties and then claimed travel expenses? Why is there no attempt to take 10% or more from the tax-free expenses afforded to councillors which would amass a greater saving for the council. Fianna Fáil representatives attempts to distance themselves from the mess that their government colleagues have made and to present themselves as guardians of the solution is pathetic and unworthy of council support.
Politicised by his experiences as a teacher in Sheriff Street, Aodhán was first elected to Dublin City Council for the North Inner City Ward in'04. Re-elected with a huge vote in the Clontarf Ward in '09, Aodhán is a consistant advocate of the most vulnerable in society with a track record of strong representation and practical solution-driven politics. In the 2011 General Election, Aodhán was one of 17 new Labour TDs elected to serve in Dáil Éireann.