2 housing estates in Kerry will benefit from €401,588 in funding for water services – Griffin 2 housing estates in Kerry will benefit from €401,588 in funding for water services, Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said. Deputy Griffin said: “The Multi-Annual Developer Provided Water Services Infrastructure Resolution Programme is focused on housing estates which are not taken-in-charge by Kerry County Council and do not have their water services connected to the public water services network. These estates have relying on infrastructure, often temporary in nature, which was provided by developers. “With €401,588 of investment, 2 housing estates in Killarney will benefit from this capital investment programme. They are Old Killarney Village and Birch Hill Estates in Killarney “This funding will benefit many families in Kerry who have been relying on substandard developer provided wastewater or drinking water treatment plants. “Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has confirmed that the focus of this first multi annual programme is on estates in towns and villages where the resolution is to connect their water services to the public networks. The programme will also support a number of pilot projects where connection is not feasible in the immediate future. These pilot projects, together with a major study to be undertaken by Irish Water, will inform future policy on resolving sub-standard developer provided infrastructure in such areas. “The Department is also re-engaging with local authorities to see if there are additional estates which could be connected to the public network, and which could be included within the programme. “The allocation of this funding marks the first step in the taking-in-charge of these estates by Kerry County Council and so the work is due to take place as speedily as possible.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841 Table 1 – DPI projects/estates funded under the Multi-Annual Programme County Estate Name Location Estimated Cost (€) Approved Funding (€) Kerry Birch Hill Killarney 205,479 154,109 Kerry Old Killarney Village Killarney 329,972 247,479

€2.6 Million for Active Travel and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Kerry – Griffin A total of €2,606,000 has been allocated for Active Travel and Climate Change Adaption measures in Kerry, Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said. Deputy Griffin said the funding has been made available under the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus Plan and is part of the overall €115 million package for sustainable transport and the renewal of our transport infrastructure. Deputy Griffin said: “The Active Travel grant scheme is a very positive initiative which will see communities across Kerry benefiting from improved and more accessible walking and cycling infrastructure as well as stimulating local employment. “The projects included – Kerry County Council Road Number Location Description of Works LA Allocation R551 Tralee Town Centre Extension of pedestrian zone at The Mall. € 400,000 R876 Killarney Town Centre Improvement and widening of pedestrian facilities at Rock road (eastern side), which is the primary access route from large housing developments at Ballydribeen (north of the Killarney By-Pass) to the schools on New Road Killarney. Will also improve linkage from bus park on Rock Road to schools. € 210,000 L-3905 Killarney Town New Cycleway connecting Muckross Road to Ross road – existing footpath on this section of Muckross Road is substandard and road widths restrict development of cycling facilities. € 450,000 L-6728 Tralee Town Centre Construction of new pedestrian and cycling facilities through Island of Geese site from the junction of the R874 (Matt Talbot Road) and Strand Street to the town centre. THis is the main access route from the Marina Bus and Car Park to the town centre. € 350,000 R876, L3902, L3910 Killarney Town Design of an interconnected network of cycleway in Killarney town € 150,000 Killarney Town Provision of Cycle Parking facilities € 20,000 L-4102 Dingle / Daingean Uí Chúis Town Centre Widen existing footpath on the Northern side of Strand Street where temporary bollards have been provided to ensure adequate social distancing. € 130,500 R-553 Listowel Town Centre Improved crossing facilities in towns and villages including raised surfaces, zebra crossings and signalised crossings on Charles Street € 20,000 L-2035 Castleisland Town Feasibility Study a & design of pedestrian facility on Barrack Street to provide safe access to amenities, where existing bridge is very narrow € 40,000 L-4052-15 Kenmare Town Provision of new or widened footpaths to link Housing Estates to schools and to promote active travel measures € 10,000 R-551 Ballybunion Town Provision of new or widened footpaths or cycle tracks. € 47,000 R-551 Ballylongford Town Design work in respect of the provision of a future pedestrian / cycle bridge to provide safe access across the river Aghanagran River in the centre of Ballylongford Village. € 20,000 WAW Ballyheigue & Ballybunion Provision of cycle parking facilities € 30,000 R569 Kilgarvan Village Extension of footpath for vulnerable pedestrians in a Care facility and to provide access to local sporting amenities € 30,000 Total 14 € 1,907,500 “A total of €698,500 is being made available for climate change adaptation measures under the Department’s regional and local road maintenance and renewal grant programme Circular RW 09/2020 – Climate Change Adaptation Allocations 2020 Kerry County Council Road Number Location Description of Works LA Allocation R569 Morley’s Bridge Remedial Works to road embankment € 40,000 L-7539 Gortnamackanee, Waterville (Glenmore Road) A full bridge replacement is required on this road due to the existing structure collapsing as a result of the floods of 29th / 30th July 2020. € 20,000 L3024 Gort Road, Kilgarvan Replacement of Bridge damaged by flash flood on 15th August 2015 € 100,000 L-1023 Kilmorna Bridge Works at bridges to take account of increased hydraulic loads causing scour damage and undermining the bridge structure € 75,000 L-1021 Knockanure Works at bridges to take account of increased hydraulic loads causing scour damage and undermining the bridge structure € 60,000 R551 Dromkeen Bridge, Causeway Works at bridges to take account of increased hydraulic loads causing scour damage and undermining the bridge structure € 20,000 L11185 Gortlahard Road Remedial Works to road € 37,500 L11186 Coomoughla Road Remedial Works to Road € 75,000 L8036 Lispole Remedial works, the road was significantly damaged by severe weather events in August 2020. € 60,000 L3024 – 43 Inchees Road Remedial Works to Road € 50,000 L-10483 Carrahane, Ardfert, Tralee Repair Works; Sluice and embankment damaged during Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis in February 2020. Embankment protects residential property and extensive road network. Roads have been subject to prolonged and frequent flooding, impacting on access to Ballyheighue and surrounding area. € 80,000 L-4059-0 Ardea Tousist Remedial works where roads have been significantly damaged by recent severe weather events € 4,500 L-7050 Gortahoosh, Killarney Altering the level of the road to mitigate flooding and reduce road closure frequency € 30,000 R551/ L10583 Castlecountess, Tralee Works: Replacement of 2 (of 3) submersible pumps located along the main stormwater main serving the Castlecountess, Princes Quay area. € 41,500 L-3025 Flynns Forge, Killarney Preventative works such as drainage works to prevent flooding € 5,000 Total 15 € 698,500 “The recent severe weather has again highlighted the challenges presented by climate change on our road infrastructure. The Climate Change Adaptation grants now being provided will help Kerry County Council to deal with the essential repairs needed in the aftermath of the severe weather but also to take steps towards making their road networks more resilient in the longer term. Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton TD, said: “Families and businesses in our villages, towns and cities right across the country will benefit from these important ‘shovel ready’ projects as soon as November this year. The funding being announced today will go a long way in facilitating a secure environment for our children in their daily commute to school as part of our work on the Safe Routes to School initiative.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

€69,000 for Institute of Technology Tralee to support students’ mental health and wellbeing – Griffin €69,000 has been allocated by the Government to the Institute of Technology Tralee to support students’ mental health and wellbeing, Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said. Deputy Griffin was speaking after Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris, announced a national package of €5 million to support students’ wellbeing and mental health. Deputy Griffin said: “This significant funding for IT Tralee confirmed to me today by Minister Harris, comes at a time of great urgency around student support and re-opening planning for the next academic year.” The funding will be used to • Recruit additional Student Counsellors; • Recruit additional Assistant Psychologists; • Implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions; • Implementation of the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework. Deputy Griffin continued: “Mental health is probably the number one health issue for young people in Ireland today. The concerns and worries of young people around their mental health have been compounded by the isolation and uncertainly brought forward by the COVID-19 Pandemic. “For students, the college experience has been different this year from ever before. Students have had to adjust to remote learning and carried out without face to face support from their college or their peers. “For these reasons, Minister Harris has prioritised funding to support student counselling services, key mental health interventions and the provision of a safe, respectful, supportive and positive environment in our higher education institutions. “This important funding for Tralee IT will really help support students as they return to college in this Covid world.” Commenting on the announcement, Minister Harris said: “This additional support is a welcome boost to a higher education sector that enrols in the region of 55,000 new students each year. These young and not-so-young students engage in higher education at a sometimes-challenging time of change and progression in their lives. This is a sizeable proportion of our population, and while our health and community services work to support everyone, there can be environmentally specific or transitional issues that arise for both current and new students in higher education.” ENDS For further details please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

14th August 2020 Sole traders in Kerry urged to apply for Enterprise Support Grant – Griffin Self-employed people in Kerry should apply for the newly-revamped Enterprise Support Grant to help them get back on their feet after Covid-19, Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin TD has said. The grant, worth up to €1,000 per person, is aimed at sole traders such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, taxi drivers etc, who do not pay commercial rates and therefore do not qualify for the Government’s Restart Grant Plus Scheme. Deputy Griffin said, “My colleague, Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys, has today opened applications to people who need assistance in getting back on their feet and their businesses back up and running. “The Enterprise Support Grant previously supported entrepreneurs who were setting up new enterprises. But it has now been revamped to specifically provide once-off supports for self-employed people who have been severely impacted and have had to cease operations as a result of the pandemic. “I would strongly encourage self-employed people in Kerry to apply for this grant, whether it’s to assist with operating costs or salaries for their staff, so that they continue to provide the crucial services that our communities in Kerry depend upon. “Anyone wishing to apply for the grant can download the application form on www.welfare.ie and, when completed should be sent to their local Intreo Centre. “Many sole traders and small business owners in Kerry have in recent months been in receipt of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). “The PUP has been a crucial support for people who, through no fault of their own, found themselves out of work and that is why Minister Humphreys decided to extend the payment until April next year,” Deputy Griffin concluded. The Department of Social Protection has stated that this Grant will assist those people who transitioned from the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment into self-employment since May 18th, which marked Phase One of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. Once-off funding of up to a maximum €1,000 will be available to assist them with re-opening their business. The support is available to small business owners who employ fewer than 10 people, are not liable for commercial rates and have an annual turnover of less than €1 million – providing kick-start funding to those enterprises that do not have an entitlement to other business re-start grants. Announcing details of the grant, Minister Humphreys said, “Whether it’s paying wages, fuel costs, purchasing PPE or signage – this is an important grant to assist the self-employed to reopen their business and get back doing what they do best: Providing crucial and essential services in their communities. “So if you’re a plumber, carpenter, beautician, gardener or electrician who is transitioning back to work, or the taxi driver getting your car back on the road – this grant may be of interest to you.” ENDS Notes to Editors: The Enterprise Support Grant will be available to tax and PRSI compliant self-employed individuals who: • Have been in receipt of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment or a Jobseekers payment and have closed their claim on or after 18th May 2020; • Have been operating a business prior to March 2020; • Have reopened their business which was closed due to Covid; • Are not liable for commercial rates; and • Employ fewer than 10 people & have an annual turnover of less than €1 million; Funding may be sought for a range of costs incurred in reopening a business including: • Purchase of equipment including signage and personal protective equipment; • Repairs, maintenance and installation of safety measures; • Salaries; and • Vehicle running costs including fuel. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin urges students to apply for SUSI grants for the 2020/2021 academic year Fine Gael TD, Brendan Griffin has today urged students who have not yet applied for SUSI grants for the 2020/2021 academic year to do so before July 9th. Deputy Griffin has reassured students that the grant scheme is flexible and can address loss of income as a result of Covid-19. “Students and their families who have experienced a fall in income can seek to have their application reviewed under the change of circumstances provision within the scheme, provided they can demonstrate that any change in income is ‘likely to obtain for the duration of the approved course or for the foreseeable future’. “Fine Gael is committed to building an inclusive higher education system and SUSI grants are an excellent resource for eligible students to avail of. “Covid-19 has caused significant disruption across the country and students have had to deal with the closure of colleges and a disruption to their studies. “We are conscious this pandemic has also resulted in a loss of income for many families and created a time of financial worry in many households. I want to assure people that there is scope to address loss of income as part of the grant scheme,” Deputy Griffin concluded. As of Friday 3 July, SUSI received over 77,000 applications. Of these 77,000 applications over 38,000 were from renewal applicants and over 39,000 were from new applicants. Our latest figures show that over 46,000 students have now been awarded funding for academic year 20-21. Of these 46,000 students, 13,000 are new applicants. Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said: “I am conscious there are families that may not have qualified for SUSI grants previously could qualify this year due to Covid-19. “The deadline for priority applications is later this week and I would really encourage people to get the applications in. “SUSI grants are designed to help students and their families with the cost of returning to college. But we know fewer people are qualifying for them due to an improved economy. Student supports and how we help families will be a priority for me going forward.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-2549116

€1,535,192 for businesses in Kerry from the Government’s Restart Grant – Griffin A total of €1,535,192 has been approved and paid out to Kerry businesses under the Government’s Restart Grant to aid reopening after COVID-19, Deputy Brendan Griffin has said. Deputy Griffin said, “The Government’s Restart Grant involves direct grant aid to micro and small businesses of between €2,000 and €10,000, to help with the costs associated with reopening and re-employing workers following COVID-19 closures. “Business owners and their staff have been through incredibly difficult times recently and it is so welcome that the Government is doing everything possible to support them to open up again. “This work was begun by Fine Gael in the last government and it is welcome that the new Government is prioritising the recovery from the economic shock of Covid-19. They are working to repair the damage that has been done, and restore confidence and prosperity. Small businesses will play a huge role in that as they are the lifeblood of the local economy. “The latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, now headed up by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, show that €1,535,192 has been approved and paid to businesses in Kerry since the Restart Grant was formed. “These targeted supports that have been developed by the Department in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, will be available to companies of including micro enterprises, SMEs, and sectors most exposed with a focus on food, manufacturing and internationally traded services including exporters and importers. “This is in addition to a range of other supports for businesses to help them through the pandemic. The July Jobs Initiative, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will help to bolster our economy and get people back to work as quickly as possible. It will enhance and add to the existing measures totalling €12 billion in supports for Covid-19 impacted businesses already announced. For example this week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced that 183 retailers have been approved for €6.5 million in funding as part of the Online Retail Scheme, which is targeted at online retailers to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base. “Other measures include the Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), liquidity supports such as 0% finance for 6 months from MicroFinance Ireland, rates waivers from local authorities and the warehousing of tax liabilities of SMEs by Revenue. “The Restart Grant is being rolled out through the Local Authorities across the country so Kerry County Council has a crucial role here. “Impacted firms that are in rateable premises can apply to Kerry County Council for grant support of between €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000 equivalent to their rates bill of 2019. “The application form for the Restart Grant is available on the Council’s website. I encourage all micro and small business owners in Kerry to take a look at the website and apply for the grant to help them get back on their feet after COVID-19.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-2549116

Live-saving, innovative 24/7 text service launches in Kerry – Griffin If you can’t talk about it, text about it A free, anonymous and inclusive text service has been launched to provide support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has said. Minister Griffin said: “‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people who need it. “Many people – particularly young people – don’t feel comfortable making that call or reaching out for help. “This is a service that will offer a lifeline to people of all ages across Kerry and indeed across the country. “It’s been an exceptionally difficult time for our country, and this service is needed more than ever. There is no doubt the launch of 50808 by Crisis Text Line will save lives.” Minister Griffin continued: “50808 has been in development for some time, and it couldn’t launch at a more important moment. “The service’s trained Crisis Volunteers will help people through this current crisis and will continue to provide free, 24/7 support in the long term. “This life-saving service is part of the government’s strategy to protect the mental health of all members of the public. “I’d like to commend my Fine Gael colleagues, the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly for prioritising this essential service. “Since the initiative began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational. “Of the almost four thousand people supported; ● 832 people were thinking about suicide ● 360 people were self-harming ● The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), Depression/sadness (32%), Relationships (29%), Isolation/loneliness (23%) and Suicide (18%) ● 80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34 ● 65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary ● 30% of texters identified as LGBTI+ ● 35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition ● Reasons for texting: Didn’t have anyone else to talk to (50%), Wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me (48%), More comfortable texting than talking (40%), To embarrassed to talk on the phone or in person (31%), Didn’t have access to a therapist (31%) Minister Griffin continued: “The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texter’s at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue. “50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning in pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support. “The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.” Minister Griffin concluded: “The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenging time for us all. If you need to talk, please pick up the phone and text 50808 where you will be connected to a trained and compassionate volunteer. The service is available 24/7.” ENDS Notes to Editors: About ‘50808’: ● 50808 is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. From breakups or bullying, to anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, our Crisis Volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations. Our aim is to provide immediate support in the short term and connect people to resources that will help them in the future.

17th June 2020 Free and subsidised higher education places announced for people looking to upskill or reskill – Griffin Free and subsidised higher education places will be made available to Kerry people who are looking to upskill or reskill, according to Minister of State for Tourism Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said, “I welcome the announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD, and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister of State for Training Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan that almost 17,000 new places will be made available to people seeking to upskill or reskill. “In total, 13,000 places will be made available in 2020, with the additional 4,000 places coming on stream over the remaining 2 years under the Springboard+ 2020 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 programmes. “As part of Springboard+ 2020, a total of 418 places are available across 15 courses at Institute of Technology Tralee . Places are available on courses in a wide range of skills areas, including artificial intelligence, smart factory technology, sustainable energy, medical device technology and cybersecurity. “Approval has also been given for courses under HCI Pillar 1 to run for three academic years from 2020/21 to 2022/23. Here in Kerry, a total of 48 places are available across 1 course at the Institute of Technology Tralee . “2,129 places on both programmes are also being made available as a result of investment by the Government of an additional €10 million in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Fine Gael is committed to building a world-class education system from early years to Higher and Further Education, offering ladders of opportunity to people throughout their life. “Higher and Further Education have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and we will support the sector through these challenges, to ensure that educational opportunities remain and are made more accessible to the people of Kerry. “The National Training Fund Advisory Group has considered the principles and priorities of the National Training Fund (NTF) in light of the transformed economic and labour market landscape arising from COVID-19. These priorities were confirmed by the National Skills Council. Among these principles were: • the need for an immediate focus on providing relevant skills for those affected by the crisis underpinning their employability and access into sustainable and quality employment; • the need for focused and agile programmes consistent with the current priorities for skills provision. “To enable a skills-focused response to employment issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis, €10 million has been repurposed from HCI Pillar 3 to provide extra funding for upskilling and reskilling courses under Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1. “Courses are in areas that have been deemed by Government as being of critical importance: digital skills, soft skills, management and leadership, and the workplace of the future. “Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2020 or HCI pillar 1 courses will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website www.springboardcourses.ie” Commenting on the announcement, Minister McHugh said: “Springboard+ training programmes provide people who are unemployed, those looking to return to the workforce and those in employment with a great opportunity to upskill or reskill in areas in which employers need skilled workers. I am particularly pleased that we are able to provide additional places this year to enable an enhanced response to skills needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.” Minister Mitchell O’Connor added: “The higher education sector has responded swiftly and effectively to the challenges that have arisen over recent months. The courses we are launching today will form a further response to the impacts of the global pandemic, providing upskilling and reskilling places for those who have been most affected. HCI Pillar 1 will provide specialisation and conversion courses for graduates to ensure that they have the skills most needed by employers today.” ENDS Note for Editors Background to Springboard+ Springboard+, which is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, began in 2011 as part of the Government’s Jobs Initiative. It complements the core State-funded education and training system and provides free and heavily subsidised upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities in areas of identified skills need. The initiative’s primary target group when it was established was unemployed people with a previous history of employment. Over recent years with the decline in numbers on the live register the focus was changed to include more people in employment and those returning to the workforce. ICT skills Conversion Courses were introduced in 2012 as a means to address concerns by industry and the enterprise development agencies about continuing difficulties in sourcing ICT graduates with requisite skills. Springboard+ courses are at Level 6 (Certificate) to Level 9 (Masters) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country. Courses are not all a full award at each level – they may also be minor awards or special purposes awards. All courses provide job-readiness training and most offer the opportunity for work placement, project-based learning or industry site visits where appropriate. All courses approved for funding under Springboard+ are selected by an independent panel with experts from industry and education following a competitive tendering process. In particular, courses with a proven track record in getting people back into employment are recommended for funding. The majority of courses approved under Springboard+ 2020 commence in autumn 2020, however there are a number of courses that start later in 2020 and in early 2021. Full details on Springboard+ courses, the eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the website: www.springboardcourses.ie 91% of Springboard+ courses will be delivered in a more flexible format (blended learning, online/distance learning). As well as aiding participation for those in employment, increased provision will provide opportunities for people across the country to access programmes in regions other than where they reside and enable upskilling and reskilling even in circumstances where social distancing measures continue to be in place. Recent research undertaken by the HEA has shown that 90% of participants who were on the Live Register at the start of their courses are now in employment. Background to HCI The Human Capital Initiative (HCI) was announced as part of Budget 2019. This initiative will provide additional capacity across the Higher Education Sector to meet priority skill needs for enterprise, representing an additional investment of €300m (€60m per annum from 2020 to 2024) from the surplus in the NTF in line with recommendations contained in the independent review of the NTF on the use of the surplus and the development of labour market skills. Skills needs are identified through the detailed and comprehensive framework now in place under the National Skills Council, including publications from the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU), the work of the Regional Skills Fora, the NTF Advisory Group, and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, and direct involvement of employers. The HCI consists of 3 main pillars – graduate conversion and specialisation courses, additional places on undergraduate provision, and an innovation and agility fund. Pillar 1, Graduate Conversion Programmes extends the approach currently in place for ICT under Springboard+; these programmes will offer incentivised places for graduates to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings. €65.6 million has been allocated to HCI Pillar 1 for the duration of the Human Capital Initiative, with €13.12 million allocated for the courses recommended to commence in 2020. HCI Pillar 1 courses are open to all, regardless of employment status. Eligibility criteria have been aligned with the eligibility for ICT Conversion Courses under Springboard+. Those who are eligible for the DEASP Back to Education Allowance may undertake the courses free of charge, with all others paying just 10% of the course fee. Additional funding Additional funding of €10m has been approved as a response to upskilling and reskilling needs arising from the global pandemic. This provides for a total of 2,129 additional places across both programme, a 19% increase on planned funding. Courses and Places by Academic Category – Springboard+ Academic category Total Places ICT Skills Conversion (Level 8) 1 year Full-time 532 2 Years Part-time 769 SPRINGBOARD (part-time) Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary 50 Arts and Humanities 225 Business, Administration and Law 2,747 Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction 3,388 Generic programmes and qualifications 258 Health and Welfare 201 Information and Communication Technologies 2,103 Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics 347 Services 379 Social Sciences, Journalism and Information 75 Total 11,074 Courses and Places by Academic Category – HCI Pillar 1 over 3 years Academic category Total Places Recommended Arts and Humanities 70 Business, Administration and Law 690 Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction 1,292 Health and Welfare 212 Information and Communication Technologies 2,561 Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics 1,066 Total 5,891

Beef farmers in Kerry to benefit from a financial support package in response to Covid-19- Griffin A €50m support scheme will be made available to beef farmers in Kerry who have been financially affected by Covid-19, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said, “My colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced Cabinet approval for an allocation of €50 million for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19. “The Irish beef sector has suffered from ongoing market disturbance related to this pandemic which has had a substantial impact for beef farmers in Kerry and for the rural economy as a whole. “Fine Gael has been making every effort to assist people whose incomes have been affected by restrictions brought in to ensure the health and safety of all and by economic developments globally. I hope that the support package announced today will go some way to restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Kerry and their families. “This support for the beef sector is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock and to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises. “Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to the local economy here in Kerry, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining our communities as we recover from the economic effects of Covid-19. Farming is very important to Fine Gael and we will always work to represent farmers’ interests. “Minister Creed has confirmed to me his department will be engaging with stakeholders regarding the details of the scheme to be developed, which must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework. “A meeting of the Beef Taskforce will also be planned for the end of June, to take place by video conference in light of Covid-19 restrictions,” Minister Griffin said. Minister Creed said, “This is part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that all the appropriate support measures are put in place at national and EU level for our farming communities. I urge all actors in the supply chain to recognise their interdependence and work collaboratively towards our shared objective –a beef sector which is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.” Minister Creed concluded “I have now made over €200 million in new money available specifically to beef farmers over the past two years on top of the €300 million under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).” ENDS Notes to Editors: Covid-19 supports The delivery of essential services to farmers, fishermen and the food and forestry sectors has been prioritised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout the course of the pandemic; including services such as export certification, scheme payments, and protocols to allow mart services to continue on a limited and controlled basis. Following a campaign by Member States, spear-headed by Ireland, the European Commission introduced a scheme of aids to private storage under the CAP for certain dairy products, and certain beef and sheepmeat cuts. In May, the Minister announced the Covid-19 voluntary Temporary Fleet Tie-up Scheme for fishing vessels, to be implemented under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-20. Farming specific supports available include: an increase in the budget for the Calf Investment Scheme to €4 million; bringing forward of balancing payments under GLAS and the Organic Scheme; and various practical flexibilities for applications for the main farm schemes. Farmers, fishers and food businesses will also benefit from access to the Government’s liquidity and investment responses to Covid-19 impacts, including the expansion of the Future Growth Loan Scheme for capital investment and Microfinance Ireland loans for working capital. While the banks have extended their payment break from three months to six months for those directly impacted by Covid-19, the Government has announced an expanded Credit Guarantee Schemes, which will support working capital lending to SMEs, including farmers and fishers. In addition, food businesses are eligible for the Covid Working Capital Loan Scheme, as well as Enterprise Ireland supports to maintain business continuity and liquidity, and Bord Bia supports to accelerate eCommerce and expand marketing activities. For further information please contact Brendan 087-6528841