Clinics

Tralee (Meadowlands Hotel) Every Tuesday 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Listowel (Listowel Community Centre) Every Tuesday  5pm to 6pm

Killarney (Killarney Court Hotel) Every Friday 11am to 1pm

Dingle Office -Every Friday 3pm to 5pm

I also call to other locations throughout Kerry – please call (066) 97 95 666 to arrange.

Email: brendan.griffin@oir.ie

Constituency Office, Tralee Road, Castlemaine, Co. Kerry (Opposite Boyles Hardware)                  Open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm (lunch 1pm to 2pm) Telephone 066-9795666

25th May 2020 464 Kerry people respond to Govt call for community volunteers during COVID-19 crisis Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has commended the fantastic support of local volunteers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Since the call for people to sign up to support the community response to COVID 19 in Kerry went out in March, 464 people from the area have registered to volunteer through the I-VOL app. Minister Griffin said: “Volunteers in Kerry have been directly linked by the local Volunteer Centre(s) to local organisations responding to COVID-19, conducting a wide range of very important work – from delivering food and medicines to older people who are self-isolating, to volunteering in COVID test centres. “There are also many more volunteers on the ground, helping out family, friends and neighbours. “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the invaluable work being carried out by volunteers in Kerry during the Covid-19 emergency. “The response to the COVID crisis shows once again what a fantastic resource we have in our volunteers and the wonderful community spirit that prevails here in Kerry even during these challenging times.” Minister Griffin continued: “We have always depended greatly on the cohort of volunteers that give so generously of their time and energy year in year out. “Unfortunately, many of our volunteers are older people who have been confined to their homes as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. “Back in March as the crisis was emerging, we called on people to help meet the significant needs at community level and the response has been magnificent.” Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, said: “I am very happy to be in a position to provide the necessary supports to underpin this important work through my Department’s collaboration with Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres. Together, we will ensure that the work of these volunteers results in a permanent legacy for the benefit of our communities. “During the crisis, the Department has introduced a number of additional measures to provide extra support, including additional funding of €500,000 to Volunteer Centres to support the COVID-19 volunteer efforts, a COVID-19 Communication Pack for Communities, a collection of seven leaflets offering practical advice and information on topics ranging from sensible volunteering to vulnerable persons to the prevention of fraud and theft; a €2.5 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund for local authorities to administer to community groups partaking in the ‘Community Call’, as well as €40 million support package of supports for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Kerry enterprises urged to apply to Restart Grant for Small Business – Griffin Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has urged small and micro businesses across Kerry to apply for the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. Minister Griffin said: “The Grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30th June 2020. “It is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. “The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.” Minister Griffin continued: “I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing small businesses in Kerry during these challenging times. “The Restart Grant is designed to help these businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. “Small businesses, whether it be the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop, are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout Kerry. “In response to the very significant economic challenges posed by Covid-19, the Government has moved swiftly to introduce a range of measures to support enterprises of all sizes. “These measures have included supports for wage costs, liquidity supports and the deferral or waiver of payments. “The Restart Grant will further help to support activity and employment across Kerry,” Minister Griffin said. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said: “These businesses have made huge sacrifices to protect their employees and customers during COVID-19 and we want to help them get back up and running so that they can return to viability and contribute to the national economic recovery. “These are small grants but they can make a big difference in terms of giving businesses an extra helping hand to open their doors again.” Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to Kerry County Council from Friday 22nd May. Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap. This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs. ENDS Note to Editors About the Restart Grant • Micro and small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of Covid-19. Many businesses, even while closed, continue to incur costs including fixed costs without being able to generate revenues. It is recognised that businesses will also incur costs in preparing their businesses to reopen and meeting the needs of employees and customers. The Restart Grant is designed to alleviate the pressure on businesses in this context. • To avail of the Restart Grant, a business must be in the Local Authorities Commercial Rates Payment System and: 1. have an annual turnover of less than €5m and employ between 1 to 50 people; 2. have closed and/or suffered a projected 25%+ loss in turnover to end June 2020; 3. commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed; 4. declare the intention to retaining employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable. 5. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Brendan Griffin 8th May 2020 Choice of calculated grades or Leaving Cert exams at a later date for Kerry students – Griffin The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations have been postponed, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD has confirmed. Minister Griffin said: “Following a decision at Cabinet, all students are to be offered the option of receiving Calculated Grades for the subjects they are studying and the alternative of sitting the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is considered safe to hold the examinations. “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 has led to a decision that has never happened before. I fully appreciate the magnitude of this issue, for local students and their families, for the teachers and for school principals all across Kerry. “The decision has been taken following an assessment of public health advice and other information and the implications for holding the exams from the previously rescheduled date of 29 July 2020. “My colleague, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh, has made every effort to run the 2020 Leaving Certificate as close as possible to the way the examinations were originally intended to be held. “At a Government level, there was a great desire to allow students to undertake written and practical examinations in July and August but the compelling evidence, based on medical advice and other assessments, is that the Leaving Certificate examinations cannot be held in a reliable and valid manner, nor in a way that would be equitable for students. “This decision is taken with the best interests of students here in Kerry and all around the country at heart. I have a responsibility to find a fair way to address the disadvantage that some students are facing and the impact a lack of time in school has had in recent weeks. “The system being put in place will allow a young person to progress to the next stage of their life in a timely fashion. “The fairest and most equitable way to do that in the current circumstances is to offer students the option of Calculated Grades for the 2020 Leaving Certificate but also to guarantee them the right to sit the examinations at a later stage when it is safe to hold them in the normal way.” Minister Griffin added: “A Calculated Grade is a grade that can be provided to students following the combination of school information about a student’s expected performance in an examination and national data available in relation to the performance of students in examinations over a period of time.” Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, said: “The decision has to be taken now to remove the anxiety many students have been experiencing over how the exams would look later in the summer.” The following is a breakdown of the process to be applied for students to be given the option of Calculated Grades or to sit the examinations. 1. The 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations, previously scheduled to take place in late July and August, have been postponed. 2. There will be no Leaving Certificate fee this year. All exam fees which have been paid will be refunded. 3. Teachers will be asked to provide a professional judgment of each student’s attainment which will be subjected to a rigorous in-school alignment process to ensure fairness. 4. The school principal will approve the estimated scores being provided and the rankings of each student in each subject in the school. 5. A special unit is being established within the Department of Education and Skills to process the data provided by each school and operate national standardisation, again to ensure fairness amongst all students. 6. The Department will finalise the grades for each student which will be issued to each student as close as possible to the traditional date. Formal State certification will also be provided. 7. Students will retain the right to appeal. This will involve checks on school-entered data; correct transfer of that data to the Department; a review that it was correctly received and processed by the Department; and a verification of the Department’s processes by independent appeal scrutineers. 8. Students will also retain the right to the sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate examinations at a date in the future when it is deemed safe for state examinations to be held. ENDS Note to Editors • There are two main phases in the process of arriving at a calculated grade: School-based and national standardisation. • Both phases are underpinned by the principles of teacher professionalism, support for students, objectivity, fairness and equity, collaboration and timeliness. • In addition, and in the spirit of fairness to all Leaving Certificate students, the option of sitting the Leaving Certificate examinations when it becomes feasible to hold them remains open to all students. • The process of arriving at a Calculated Grade applies to: • Established Leaving Certificate – subjects • Leaving Certificate Applied – subjects, tasks and vocational specialisms • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme – Link Modules. Other materials being published include • A guidance document for the education system and others in relation to the system of Calculated Grades is available on the Department’s website here:https://www.education.ie/en/Learners/Information/State-Examinations/a-guide-to-calculated-grades-for-leaving-certificate-students-2020.pdf • A FAQs document is also being published on gov.ie/LeavingCertificate for students, teachers and parents • Advice from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in relation to the wellbeing and mental health of Leaving Certificate students in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ends, For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Suite of supports available to businesses impacted by COVID-19 – Griffin A suite of supports will be made available to businesses in Kerry impacted by COVID-19, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said: “I know that this is a worrying time for businesses and I want to assure them that my Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, her Department and agencies are working on their behalf to develop and deliver a range of supports to help them through this rapidly evolving situation. “Understandably, many businesses are very concerned about their cashflow in the coming weeks. I want to reassure them that there are a number of schemes that can help them meet their short-term working capital and liquidity needs. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have put a range of supports in place, including: • A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website https://sbci.gov.ie/ • A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business. • The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees) – are facing. Applications can be made through the MFI website https://microfinanceireland.ie/ or through your local LEO. • The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to 7 years.” Minister Griffin also highlighted the following supports for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks: • The Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions. • Firms that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short Term Work Support by contacting their local Intreo Office, see https://www.gov.ie/en/service/c20e1b-short-time-work-support/ • The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness. Minister Heather Humphreys said: “We are facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty, and businesses may want to access advice on how best to protect their businesses. A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews. “In addition, Local Enterprise Offices in every county will be providing vouchers from €2,500 up to €10,000 (with 50:50 match funding) to support business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity. I encourage businesses to take advantage of these supports.” The Minister also welcomed the package of reforms for sick pay, illness benefit and supplementary benefit that is designed to ensure that employees and the self-employed can abide by medical advice to self-isolate where appropriate. Minister Humphreys concluded: “This situation is changing from day to day, and I will continue to work across Government, with the representative bodies and with the banking system to respond to ongoing developments in order to protect and support Irish businesses.” ENDS Notes to Editor • To be eligible for the SBCI COVID19 Working Capital Scheme, businesses must satisfy one of the COVID 19 criteria and one of the innovation criteria set out for the scheme. There is a broad suite of innovation criteria and this offers a wide range of opportunity for businesses to engage in the scheme. Guidelines will be provided on the SBCI website to help businesses determine if they are eligible for the scheme. • The Department through its development agencies will continue to provide information support and to business on Continuity Planning Checklist, which includes a practical checklist as well as links to relevant COVID-19 advice developed in conjunction with the HSE and Department of Health. • Enterprise Ireland will provide an online portal of advice and business continuity tools and webinars for business. • Enterprise Ireland with the Local Enterprise Offices will activate advisory clinics and mentoring support for impacted firms. • DEASP and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are coordinating information for employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities in the case of employees being absent from work due to isolation and/or infection. • Minister Humphreys is engaging with business representative bodies through the Enterprise Forum on COVID-19, which met today. • The Department is leading across government and with key stakeholders to ensure continuity of food supply and Minister Humphreys is chairing a forum of large retail multiples, retail representative bodies and grocery distributors and food manufacturers. • The Department is working with the European Commission on additional changes to State Aid de minimis rules that may be required to ensure the enterprise development agencies can respond effectively. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

€1,271,960 funding for projects in Kerry under the latest round of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund – Griffin Local projects will benefit from € 1,151,960 in funding following the third call of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said, “I am delighted to see Firies Business Hub and Kerry Sci -Tech have been successful and will receive funding of €1,271,960 under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. “The fund is designed to support projects that support job creation and I am delighted to see our local area benefit in this way. Firies Business Hub DAC: Stream 1 Location / Region – Kerry, South West Approved Grant: €1,151,960 Overview The ‘Kerry Food Hub’ is a not-for-profit community project located in Firies, Co Kerry. The Hub was purpose-built on a greenfield site to provide food production facilities to start-up entrepreneurs and small but growth-oriented food businesses seeking the opportunity to expand and develop. The Hub currently has 100% occupancy. Current tenants range from Contract Food Producers to Private Label Artisan Producers targeting the retail market and employing 35 people such as; 1) Bally Goats Cheese – Private Label – Retail 2) Ballyhar Foods – Contract production – Food service. 3) Fruity Farm – Contract production – Food service 4) Leen’s Salads / Krave Lunches – Private Label – Retail. This project entails the expansion to the current facilities, plus the development of a new online sales tool designed to provide greater connectivity between the local/regional Artisan producers and buyers in one of their key target markets. The expansion will go from 4 x 1000 sq. ft units to 10 units with an addition of 6,000 sq. ft. – all of which will be food production grade incubation spaces. The second element of this proposal involves the development of an online e-commerce Artisan marketplace designed to connect both the Hub-based and regional artisan suppliers to key hotel buyers in Killarney. Killarney has 1 million visitor nights per year and sells €10m in food each year. This on-line tool will be a Cloud-based system, browser-accessed and fully scalable. It is a B2B marketplace which will be built on a platform provided by leading B2B solutions provider, Magento. Detailed discussions and agreements to use the system have been completed with a range of 4 & 5 star hotels and restaurants in the town who are seeking differentiated product offerings from a single source. Project Partners: Firies Community Food Enterprise & Innovation CLG, The Kerry Food Hub, Taste Kerry – Regional Food Network, Kerry County Council, Kerry Local Enterprise Office, Kerry Group Plc, Institute Of Technology Tralee, Killarney Technology Innovation Centre, KTI, University College Cork – Food Training Unit Cork Institute Of Technology, Taste Cork – Regional Food Network, NEWKD, Bally goats, Ballyhar Foods, Leens salads, Fruity Farm, Killarney Hotels, Clann Credo, Ring of Kerry Quality Lamb (Logistics partner), Justcooking.ie, Ruralfoodskillnet. Kerry Sci-Tech CLG: Stream 3 Location / Region – Kerry, South-West Approved Grant: €120,000 Overview This project is an expansion of an original approval under Call One of the REDF which has been very successful in delivering a strong local cluster of companies who have a shared purpose in attraction and retention of science and technology talent to the region. This project is a bottom up response to the global ‘STEM skills deficit’ which is impacting economic development in a rural regional constituency. It is building on the ability of the regional cluster to successfully mobilise stakeholders for productive collaboration to-date. The promoters have leveraged the resources and expertise of a group of individuals and companies whose active participation in and association with the project will significantly increase its chances of success. Currently there are almost 45 member companies within the cluster such as Portable Medical Technology, Sort My Books, and CodePak . Kerry Sci-Tech has also expanded their membership to companies who operate in the wider region (e.g. Kostal who have operations in both West Limerick and North Cork). Since previous REDF funding and appointment of cluster manager, this project has delivered in members and member subscriptions, having grown to 45 companies, with a target of 60 companies set for 2020. Minister Griffin added, “This news comes at a time when we now have the highest number of IDA-supported jobs in the regions ever. “Under the third call of the REDF, applications were invited to submit proposals under three Streams: • Strategic Change Projects – grant funding of €500k up to €5m; • Regional Strengthening Projects – grant funding of €100k up to €500k; and • Enterprise Clustering Projects – grant funding of €50k up to €350k. “The successful projects were selected through a rigorous multi-stage evaluation process managed by Enterprise Ireland, based on criteria which included: impacts and value for money; collaboration and participation; viability and sustainability; building regional strengths; and significance for innovation.” Minister Humphreys said, “The Irish economy has had a remarkable turnaround in recent years but we cannot rest on our laurels. Although we have made a lot of progress with six out of 10 jobs created outside Dublin since 2016, some parts of the country are not recovering as quickly as others. “The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is about supporting every region to build on its unique strengths and ultimately create sustainable jobs. Collaboration is at its core – among the public and private sectors, within and across regions. “The projects we are funding today are at the cutting edge of innovation. I am confident that they have the potential to make a real and lasting impact on enterprise development at both regional and national level.” Ends For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

€1m in funding to reduce the cost of school books in DEIS school – Griffin Additional funding of €1m to reduce the cost of books for primary school pupils in DEIS schools is welcome news for parents, according to Minister for State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD Minister Griffin said, “My colleague, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, has today announced a new €1 million fund which aims to provide free books in primary schools. “More than 15,000 pupils across more than 100 primary schools are to benefit from the increased investment which is extremely welcome for parents. “The investment is being made on top of the book grant provided to all schools in the country and follows a commitment to in Budget 2020 to introduce an extra support to reduce costs for families and school communities. “Around 15,500 children will benefit from the additional funding. “The new pilot which aims to provide free school books will be available to more than 100 primary schools which are part of the DEIS programme, in both rural and urban areas. “The pilot programme will see the book grant increase to €85 per pupil in the participating schools, all of which are in the DEIS programme. “Fine Gael is committed to education and helping families with their living costs wherever possible. Minister McHugh said: “The additional €1 million funding for these schools effectively means we are now investing four times as much money on book grants for next September. The aim is to provide school books for these children and their families and we hope to build on this. “The cost of school books is recognised as a significant element of back to school costs and in line with the overall aim of DEIS to ensure all learners have equal opportunity to fulfil their potential. “I have decided to focus this funding on DEIS schools, in both urban and rural areas, which cater for high concentrations of students from disadvantaged areas.” The Department of Education and Skills already provides a book grant of almost €17 million to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books, including book rental schemes and all schools are encouraged to operate book rental schemes to help alleviate costs to parents. Ends Notes to Editors 1. Purpose of the Book Grant. This Department already provides a book grant to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books including Book Rental Schemes. DEIS schools receive an enhanced rate. Under this scheme, the Department provides funding of €16.9 million annually to all of these schools. It is a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school to decide on its own policy in relation to the use of this funding in the school but they are expected to adopt a cost-conscious approach to the selection of books for use in their classes. The current arrangement relies on the local knowledge of the school in order to ensure a fair allocation of funds to those most in need. The arrangements in relation to this scheme are set out in Circular 0046/2013 which is published on the Department’s website at http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0046_2013.pdf 2. Schools to be included in the pilot. The 102 DEIS schools will be notified by email in the coming days informing them of their inclusion in the programme. While the criteria attached will be in line with the terms of the existing Book Grant Scheme further details will issue to these schools in due course. An additional €64 will be provided per student on top of the existing per capita book grant issued to the schools within the pilot. 3. How were school selected Schools were selected based on their levels of concentrated disadvantage using the data available and represent both urban and rural schools. 4. Funding level The additional funding allocation to schools is in line with the costings as set out in the 2019 Barnardos report on the Real Cost of School which states that €85 is the average cost of schools books at primary level and is one of the many measures undertaken by this Department to reduce school costs overall. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Brendan Griffin Kerry 24th June 2019 Kerry Civil Defence receives emergency vehicle boost – Griffin A new four wheel drive jeep that has the capacity to respond to national emergencies and extreme weather events will be added to the Kerry Civil Defence fleet, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin. Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, confirmed that the 16 Ford Ranger Crewcab Pickup Vehicles will be joining the Civil Defence fleet in the coming weeks. And Minister Griffin can reveal that Kerry is among the units that will receive a jeep. The purchase of the vehicles is part of a €500,000 allocation from the Dormant Accounts fund of the Department of Community and Rural Development. The vehicles, priced at over €31,000 each, will improve the four wheel capability of the Civil Defence fleet and further improve its ability to support the Principal Response Agencies. During national adverse weather events such as Storm Ophelia in October 2017 and Storm Emma in March 2018, the Civil Defence fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles were fully deployed. The vehicles were utilised in carrying out a variety of tasks, assisting local authorities, the HSE and the National Ambulance Service and An Garda Síochána. In a number of incidents, Civil Defence volunteers were involved in assisting vulnerable people including elderly who found themselves snowed in. They were also involved in transporting patients and carers, evacuating people from their homes and delivering meals. The decision to award these vehicles to the Civil Defence Units came following a transparent allocation process, which looked at several criteria including the ratio of civil defence four wheel drive jeeps to the population of the county and the age profile of the four wheel jeeps currently within the Civil Defence unit in the county Commenting on the decision, Minister Griffin said: “These new vehicles will be an additional resource for those who give their time and work so hard in times of emergency such as severe weather events to keep people safe. Their provision is also an important acknowledgement of the work of volunteers and their ongoing commitment to Civil Defence”. ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

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