Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Launching the Education Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2012

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Vice-Chair of Jobs, Social Protection and Education Committee
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

Labour TD for Dublin North Central Aodhán O Ríordáin launched the Education Welfare Amendment Bill 2012 in the AV Room in Leinster House this afternoon with Ciara Conway TD, John Lyons TD and Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay.

The Bill aims to amend the Education Welfare Act 2000 which established the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) but which only applies to children aged 6-16 years. Currently children enrolled in a recognised school aged 4 or 5 years of age do not come under the remit of the Act.

'It is essential that schools and the NEWB are empowered to intervene at the earliest stage to ensure that patterns of poor school attendance can be addressed so that they do not become embedded. The vast majority of parents understand the power of education, and that excellent school attendance is the key to maximising a child's educational potential. It is essential therefore that we ensure that all children enrolled in primary schools of all ages, come under the remit of the Education Welfare Act to ensure that in the small number of cases where poor attendance patterns are evident, interventions can take place.

'Often when a child reaches the age of six, it is too late to turn the tide of school absenteeism. Children deserve an excellent education, and an educational system that works in partnership with their parents to ensure they can get the most out of their schooldays. My Bill which I am launching in conjunction with my Dáil colleagues Ciara Conway and John Lyons will address this and I am encouraged by the support we have received from many children's advocate groups including Barnardos.'

Monday, May 21, 2012

Report in Today's Irish Times about My 'Education Welfare Amendment Bill 2012' Published this week

School attendance Bill extends age rule
THE GOVERNMENT is to examine proposals to legally oblige parents of children under the age of six to ensure their children attend school regularly.
Under existing laws, parents of children aged between six and 16 may be prosecuted for not doing enough to make sure their children go to school. As a result, the vast majority of the estimated 67,000 children who start primary school each year are not covered by school attendance laws.
This week, Labour TD and former school principal Aodhán Ó Riordáin will publish a Bill that would extend this responsibility to parents who have enrolled children aged under-six in school.
He said the powers of the State body responsible for ensuring every child attends school or receives an education – the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) – were limited in dealing with very young children.
Extending these powers to intervene with parents of those under- six would help ensure there was earlier intervention in addressing issues of school non-attendance.
“A problem which I experienced as a principal, and which has been repeated to me by colleagues, is the difficulty intervening before these problems become entrenched. By giving the NEWB greater legal muscle to intervene with those under-six, we can begin to change that.”
Latest figures from the board show about one in 10 primary school pupils miss at least 20 days of school each year.
Research shows long absences from school in early years can be particularly damaging and have long-term negative consequences for literacy and numeracy skills.
Children’s charity Barnardos, which has numerous programmes to encourage school attendance, welcomed the proposed move.
Norah Gibbons, its director of advocacy, said any measures aimed at improving frequency of school attendance were good for children. “The principle must be that you intervene early and ensure parents don’t get into the habit of leaving the children out of school,” Ms Gibbons said.
In a statement, the board said such a move may require constitutional and legislative changes, and may also impact on its resources.
While it did not have legal responsibility to take action against parents of those under-six, the board noted it was able to support families of young pupils where there were attendance issues. Schools were required to report concerns over attendance of all pupils to education welfare officers. These officers can work with the family, the school and other services where appropriate to improve attendance.
Mr Ó Riordáin said while his proposed Bill may increase the workload for welfare officers, in the longer term it could reduce pressure on the system as a result of earlier intervention.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Job Opportunities in Croke Park for Local Residents

Issued : Friday 18 May, 2012

Fitzers Catering is holding open interviews for residents in the Croke Park area on Wednesday the 23rd of May 2012.

Any resident who would like to apply for a position must contact Fitzers HR department on 01 819 2379 to register in advance. Unfortunately, walk up interviews cannot be accommodated on the night. Applications should be marked "Croke Park".

When: Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Where: Fitzers Offices, Cusack Stand, Croke Park (Entry via St Josephs Avenue)

Time: 5.30 - 7.30 pm

Contact: Marti in HR on 01 819 2379 /

Labour's Director of Elections discussing the Stability Treaty with students in Holy Faith Clontarf

Minister Joan Burton and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin discussing the Treaty and the need for a strong and stable Euro with pupils in Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf.

Minister Joan Burton discussing the Stability Treaty with Clontarf Business Association

Minister for Social Protection and Director of Elections Joan Burton T.D., meeting with the Clontarf Business Association to discuss the Stability Treaty and its importance for SMEs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Public services protected by a 'Yes' vote

Vice-Chair of Jobs, Social Protection & Education Committee
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Monday, 14 May 2012

Dublin North Central TD, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said that a 'Yes' vote in the upcoming referendum on the Stability Treaty is the only result to guarantee the protection of our public services.

'The Irish state currently borrows €44million a day to keep our public services operating, to finance our social protection programmes and to pay the wages of our valued public servants.

'It is the vision of every responsible socialist and social democratic party across Europe to have secure funding models in place to secure and maintain valued public services. A 'Yes' vote in the upcoming Referendum will ensure that Ireland will have access to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in the event that further funding is required. A 'No' vote, as the Independent Referendum Commission have clearly stated, will lock Ireland out of that potential funding stream.

'It is incredibly irresponsible for those who pretend to position themselves on the political left, to propose that we gamble with the livelihoods of our public-servants, those who depend on social protection payments, and on the vital services that the state provides for all the people of this Republic.

'It would be an unconscionable betrayal of the ordinary hard working families, on the unemployed, on public servants and on those who need public services to lock them out of the European Stability Mechanism for nothing more than naked party political gain.

'Waiting is not an option. Our public services, our public servants and payments made from the public purse need certainty, a certainty that only a 'Yes' vote on the 31st of May can provide.'


Contact Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: 086-819-0336
Twitter: @AodhanORiordain

Ó Ríordáin welcomes €39.7m upgrade for St. Patrick's College

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Vice-Chair of the Jobs, Social Protection & Education Committee
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central
Monday, 14th May 2012

Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has today welcomed the announcement that €39.7 million is to be provided for the upgrade of structural facilities at St. Patrick's Teacher Education College, Drumcondra.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: "Minister Quinn's announcement today is a welcome development for St. Pat's and this funding will do a lot to improve and upgrade facilities at the College. St Patrick's College is an extremely important educational Institution on the Northside of Dublin and this investment is a huge vote of confidence in its future.

"This investment will do a lot to ease over-crowding and when these works are complete the College will be able to accommodate 2,500 students. In addition, lecture theatres, science labs and disabled facilities will also be upgraded in order to provide the best learning environment for our student teachers.

"Coupled with this, the extra funding announced today by the department will provide approximately 400 direct and indirect jobs over the next two years.

"It is a testament to the Minister that even with our difficult fiscal situation; he is prioritising funds where they are needed most in our education system. This major refurbishment project will do a lot to enhance the learning experience of our student teachers and ensure that they have the best facilities to progress their studies."

Wednesday, May 02, 2012