Friday, 16 July 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
On behalf of Fine Gael, I thank the Cathaoirleach. I also thank Mr. Martin Groves, Ms Bridget Doody, Mr. Eden McLaughlin and the rest of the team in the Seanad Office for their diligent work over recent months in what has been a particularly difficult session, which has involved us alternating between Leinster House and the convention centre. I am referring to all the back-and-forth and late nights. We should thank and pay tribute to the staff for their work.
As Government Whip, I thank my colleagues in Fine Gael and all other Members for their support over recent months. I thank Ms Deirdre Chambers of the Whip's office for her late nights, for keeping us informed and for all the work she does. I also thank Senator Gallagher, assistant Government Whip.
One of the most frustrating things in politics is the time it takes to deliver projects. In this regard, we can all list a thousand projects we have been involved with over years. This day week, I will welcome the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to Galway to turn the sod on the PorterShed development on Market Street. It is a co-working innovation space over two levels. Funding has been granted to fit it out and do associated works. This project has been ongoing since 2018. It is great to see it being delivered. PorterShed started on the Ceannt Station grounds in Galway as an innovation hub. It has been a great success. It has encouraged start-ups, supported job creation and attracted significant investment to the west. It received support from the Government under the regional enterprise development fund. It is great to see the project coming to fruition. The PorterShed has to move to a new location to facilitate the development of lands at Ceannt Station, which is part of a strategic site within Galway city. There is to be a new development there.
I have raised on several occasions the issue of planning and requested a debate thereon. Perhaps that can be prioritised in September. Fuaireamar droch-nuacht inné maidir le tionscadal tábhachtach i gConamara, Páirc na Mara. Bhí airgead ceadaithe don togra seo ach dhiúltaigh Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe an t-iarratas cead pleanála. Is droch-lá do cheantar Iorras Aithneach i gConamara freisin é agus teastaíonn díospóireacht faoi chúrsaí pleanála sa tír seo. We had bad news during the week with the refusal of planning permission for the Páirc na Mara development at Cill Chiaráin, Connemara, an area that is crying out for jobs. It is an unemployment blackspot. The day of the refusal was a dark day. I hope there will be an appeal to An Bord Pleanála. This is part of the long process of getting anything built and developed in this country. My concern is that the problem is getting worse, which will deter Irish and foreign investors. Therefore, we need to prioritise planning in the autumn.