Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I echo the comments of Senator Ahearn and wish everyone a very healthy and happy Christmas. I thank everyone for their work. Staff from across the House have been good to me and to all elected representatives and I thank them for the courtesy they have shown to us since we were elected. I wish them well and hope they have a happy Christmas.
I wish to raise a number of issues this morning, the first of which is the upcoming announcement relating to the urban regeneration and development fund, URDF, which is expected early in the new year. One of the towns in my constituency, Athlone, has submitted an application and I ask that it be given favourable consideration. The application is for funding to redevelop a strategic but derelict site beside the shopping centre in the town to improve facilities as well as to augment the successful shop front enhancement scheme. That scheme was introduced by Westmeath County Council a number of years ago and has been fantastic for every single town in that county. It has been introduced in Longford too and has been very successful. It enables businesses to upgrade the front of their premises.
On sport, I was speaking to representatives of my local Longford Rugby Club recently who are seeking clarification from the Minister regarding the guidelines on what sports can be played. Many local schools and the vast majority of club players have not played a game of rugby since 19 March. This is an extremely important issue. Participation in sport is difficult in these times but Longford Rugby Club has asked that school-age teams and clubs be allowed to play matches while adhering to all Covid-19 safety guidelines in level 3. That is a key request and it is only fair when both soccer and Gaelic games teams have been allowed to play at that level. I ask the Minister to consider this matter.