The confirmation of the LIS for 2021 of € 289,254 is marginally up on the € 269,240 allocated in 2020 under the same scheme by Minister Humphreys is more than disappointing. The allocation will barely keep pace with construction inflation and is cold comfort to the over 220 applicants on the waiting list at present.
We have a lot of talk on this issue from the Fine Gael membership of the Council. The latest stunt is to deflect attention from the failure of Minister Humphreys is to try to bring the Minister for Agriculture into the mix. Funding for the LIS, for lanes serving agricultural holdings with residential properties thereon have always been funding by the Department of Transport until the Minister Varadkar abolished the funding entirely and the current stream of funding from the Department of Community & Rural Affairs has only arisen with former Minister Ring started making allocations in 2017.
Despite strong cases made to Minister Ryan and Minister Humphreys nothing meaningful has been done. It is incumbent now on Oireachtas members to make the case for proper sustained funding to address the massive backlog.
Cavan County Council estimate that it would take in the region of € 11 million to clear the list. We need action and a plan for consistent funding this year and over the coming years to get this list down, € 289,254 won’t do much if anything to solve the issue.
Given the recent confirmation that McCarron’s have closed their operation in Cavan Town and very high incidents of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population in the Cavan-Belturbet Municipal District, I am calling on the HSE to urgently open a Walk-in Testing Centre in the Cavan area to help address these high numbers.
The current situation is of huge concern to everyone in the community not just those working directly in McCarrons. The health and well being of all residents is of paramount importance. Urgent action is now needed from the HSE to work with the local community to get these high numbers under control.
Covid-19 Vaccines will be available for patients over 85 in the Swanlinbar GP. The first delivery has been made this morning. IT is hoped that most of those over 80 will also get vaccinated in this round. The practice will start arranging appointments as a matter of urgency.
This is very welcome news for the patients of this practice and their families who have been anxiously waiting for confirmation of the availability of the Vaccine.
It is unfortunately amongst the last practices to get the Vaccine but now that the issues have all been addressed the flow of vaccines should now progress for patients on the same basis as all other practices over the coming weeks.
The HSE have worked closely to address the requirement for the practice to administer the vaccine including upgrading the defibrillator in the surgery and arranging an agency nurse for the practice to complete the inoculation of patients. I thank the relevant officials for their work on this important issue.
The people who contacted me over recent weeks have naturally felt left behind waiting for the vaccine to arrive with reports of others in the general locality getting their injections. These most vulnerable people can now look forward to the protection the vaccine gives and the hope in the coming weeks of getting back to some normality. The patients from Swanlinbar, Corlough, Glangevlin and Bawnboy areas will be relieved and delighted with this confirmation.
I know that my colleague Cllr. Sean Smith has also been in contact with the HSE on this matter and he too welcomes this news.
Over the past week to ten days, I have spoken to Brendan Smith TD on at least a daily basis on this matter. He has been in constant contact with the HSE and the Office of the Minister for Health to get this matter resolved. His work has been critical in getting this matter resolved.
The announcement, by Minister Daragh O’Brien of over € 14.49 million to Cavan County Council under the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund will together with the matching funding of € 4.83 which Cavan County Council must provide will help transform this historic area in Cavan Town.
An investment of just short of € 20 million in the heart of our County Town will be truly transformative. Cavan County Council have worked closely with local property owners and brought in expert consultants to develop this plan. This funding allows for detailed design and construction. This plan takes account of the historic core of Cavan, centring on the Tower of the Franciscan Abbey. The concept is to develop a pedestrianised plaza with two key buildings, one a remote working centre the other a community services hub bringing under one roof a host of community organisations such as Citizen’s Information, MABS, Teach Oscoil and Breifne Integrated. The Council have acquired several buildings in and around the Abbey to create pedestrian links to Townhall Street, Main Street, Bridge Street and Abbey Street and have worked with a number of property owners to develop concepts as to how businesses can face out into the new core of the town.
The increased footfall, creative use of space, pedestrian areas all should create the environment for business to flourish and be a catalyst for further activity and life in the heart of Cavan Town, reduce vacancies and increase residential and business activity in the centre of the town.
This investment will create a truly people friendly core to Cavan Town. It must in addition to the investment by the Council generate investment from the private sector. It is very much in keeping with the Town Centre First and Regional Spatial Strategy.
I want to acknowledge the input of the consultants employed by Cavan County Council, the cooperation of local property owners, the interest of groups such as the Cavan Town Team and the Chamber of Commerce, the enthusiasm of the local community who have engaged in the plans to date but most importantly the hard work in making this application done by a small but dedicated team in Cavan County Council.
The next steps will involve detailed design, further detailed public consultation, the planning process and tendering for construction.
These are exciting times for Cavan Town, but this announcement is of significance for the entire County. The funding is the largest ever investment in urban regeneration in the County if not the region.