deputy Lisa Chambers

  • Boris Johnson has been elected as the new leader of the British Conservative Party.

    Mr Johnson defeated his rival Jeremy Hunt and will become the next British Prime Minister.

    The announcement was made in the last hour, after the counting of votes concluded.

     

    The Irish Government will now have to engage with the new Prime Minister to try and avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.

    That's according to Fianna Fail's Brexit spokesperson, Mayo TD Lisa Chambers.

    Speaking to Midwest Radio this lunchtime, Deputy Chambers says Boris Johnson has a very hardline approach to Brexit...

     

  • 57 percent of the electorate in Mayo voted Yes on Friday to remove the Eighth Amendment from our constitution.

    In the run up to the vote, during the eight week Referendum campaign the Fine Gael deputies in the county were less than forthcoming on whether they were for or against its repeal. Both Minister Michael Ring and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to indicate how they would be voting.

    However, the Fianna Fail deputies in Mayo were clear on where they stood on the issue, Lisa Chambers was saying Yes and deputy Dara Calleary was saying No on Friday last.

    Today Deputy Calleary told Midwest News that he remains opposed to abortion but says as a democrat he will vote for the legislation to allow it.

    Throughout the referendum campaign Midwest News sought the views of the Fine Gael deputies on the repeal issue, but we only succeeded in getting any response on Tuesday last.

    A spokesperson for the former Taoiseach Enda Kenny said on Tuesday that Deputy Kenny had not taken part in any interviews on the abortion debate, and was unlikely to do so before Friday. The spokesperson did not indicate Mr Kenny’s position on the referendum.

    On the same day in response to Midwest News, Minister Michael Ring said he was a member of the Dail which had facilitated putting the referendum on the Eighth Amendment before the people of Ireland. He pointed out that the Government has published draft legislation in relation to abortion, but insisted it is the people of Ireland that will make the decision in Friday’s referendum.

    Minister Ring said that, if the No vote won, then nothing would change. If people decide to vote Yes to repeal the Eighth amendment,  it will then be up to the Government and the Oireachtas to introduce legislation, and stated that he would make his views known then.

    Midwest News asked Minister Ring this morning how he will be voting on the legislation. He said he will be attending the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) - where the matter will be discussed and he will speak on the matter after that.

    The Fianna deputies in Mayo were very clear on how they would vote on Friday last.  Lisa Chambers was a definite Yes, and her colleague Dara Calleary was saying No.

    Lisa Chambers told Midwest News on Saturday that she hoped the legislation on abortion will be introduced as soon as possible in the wake of the clear mandate from the electorate.

  • If the planned national strike action by CE supervisors goes ahead on Monday next, then many vital services across county Mayo will not be provided on the day, as CE scheme workers in Udaras na Gaeltachta were last night informed not to show up for work, as they are not covered by insurance without a supervisor present.

    That’s according to Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Lisa Chambers.

    The deputy told Midwest News that it’s a bit late in the day yesterday (Thurs) for the Minister for Social Welfare Regina Doherty to look for an urgent meeting with the trade unions involved in the dispute over pensions

  • A Digital Safety Commissioner would need to have powers to sanction social media companies over inappropriate content. 

    That's according to members of an Oireachtas Committee who published a report into cyber safety for children this week.

    It recommended further training for teachers and noted more needs to be done by tech companies to protect users. 

    Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers called for a Digital Safety Commissioner with influence.

  • Corporate landlords benefit from a 13 and a half percent tax rate on multiple properties that they rent out while an individual who finds themselves with an extra property to let, is faced with a 50 percent tax rate on their rental income and that’s unfair, according to Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers.

    As a result many properties in our towns and villages across the region remain vacant as it simply doesn’t make financial sense for the owner to rent it out and that is further impacting on the present housing crisis, the Deputy says.

    In the upcoming budget Fianna Fail are insisting that individual property holders must be given a tax break on their rental income, particularly if that landlord is prepared to provide a tenant with a 5 or ten year lease.

    Deputy Chambers has been telling Midwest News why her party believes this incentive needs to be put in place.

  • Fianna Fail has introduced a Bill in the Dáíl which will allow parents to share maternity leave.

    It's hoped the legislation will give parents the flexibility to decide how to make their maternity leave work best for them.

    Mayo TD Lisa Chambers along with Kildare TD Fiona O'Loughlin have sponsored the Shared Maternity Leave and Benefit Bill 2018.

    Deputy Chambers says the Bill allows both parents of a child to share this 26 week period of paid maternity leave between them.

    She also says it won’t place any additional cost on the Exchequer as it does not extend the current timeframe that already exists.

  • A Mayo Fianna Fail TD has expressed her concern that serious regulatory breaches and poor hygienic conditions were found at the adult mental health unit in Mayo University Hospital following an inspection by the Mental Health Commission.

    Deputy Lisa Chambers says she was alarmed to read the report which identified risks to patients at the hospital. She said it is of concern that there were not enough therapeutic programmes in place and staff shortages were limiting occupational therapy, psychology and social work services.

    A report published yesterday shows the acute adult mental health centre was compliant with 61% of regulations, rules and codes of practice - down from 74% compliance in 2017.

    Of the 14 areas of non-compliance, 4 were deemed critical - including staffing and individual care plans for residents.

    The report says the premises was not clean, and rooms were not well-ventilated, while the walls had chipped paint with cigarette burns in the carpets.

    Numerous ligature risks were identified, and not all staff were trained in fire safety, basic life support, and management of aggression or violence.

    The standard of individual care plans for residents was very poor, according to inspectors.

    22 areas of inspection were compliant, according to the report, with ten of these areas rated excellent.

    Deputy Chambers told Midwest News that she is concerned about the findings and will be raising the matter with the Minister for Health.

  • The passage of the Technological Universities Bill will be a key milestone in the delivery of third level education across the country, according to Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Lisa Chambers.

    The Bill passed through the Seanad last week.

    Deputy Chambers says Fianna Fáil has submitted a significant number of amendments to the original Bill.
    The issue of a merger was a serious concern for both the staff and students in GMIT, she told Midwest News, but the legislation now protects ITs from mergers unless there is a simultaneous designation as a Technological University.  

    This means that no existing Institutes of Technology will have to merge as a pre-condition of seeking Technological University status which might not have been granted. This was a key precondition of Fianna Fáil support for this Bill.

  • The decision yesterday by the British Prime Minister Theresa May, to abandon the vote in the House of Commons on the agreed Brexit deal between the UK and the EU, has left Ireland in a very precarious situation with the UK more likely now to leave the EU on the March 29th next  - with no deal in place for its withdrawal. That’s the view of the Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit, Mayo deputy Lisa Chambers.

    The deputy says with or without a deal - Brexit is not good for Ireland but without a deal the impact on Ireland could be catastrophic.

    She is now urging the Irish government to intensify its preparations for a potential withdrawal of the UK from the EU without a deal in just a few months time.

    Deputy Chambers has been speaking to Midwest News about yesterday’s developments in the House of Commons

  • There's a call on the Health Minister Simon Harris to explain why he went against expert advice and announced extra free smear testing.

    Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers says he must immediately tackle the confusion over the latest developments in the CervicalCheck controversy.

    6,000 women will get letters next week asking them to take another smear test as their original one was made unreliable due to being delayed.

    Deputy Chambers says it's put pressure on the system and is taking too long.

  • A Mayo TD is calling on the Ministers for Health & Finance to work with SIPTU to try and avoid tomorrow' strike by health support staff.

    10,000 hospital staff will take part in a 24-hour strike tomorrow, with further strikes planned for the coming weeks, in a row over pay.

    Healthcare assistants, porters and catering staff are among the SIPTU workers taking the action.

    Mayo, Galway, Sligo and Roscommon University Hospitals will be impacted by the strike, as well as Merlin Park and Portiuncla Hospitals.

    Thousands of patients scheduled for surgery could have their appointments cancelled tomorrow, and there are also fears that some hospitals won't be able to provide regular meals and hot food to patients.

    The HSE says contingency plans are in place, but warns the strike will have a significant impact on services if it goes ahead.

    Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers says the hospital support staff are frustrated, because the Government is failing to follow through on a commitment made in advance of carrying out a job evaluation scheme.

     

    And Mayo Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has also called for the implementation of pay agreements for the hospital support staff, who she says "hold our health service together".

    Senator Conway-Walsh says these workers are on some of the lowest wages within the healthcare system, and should not have to wait so long for pay that's due to them.

     

     

     

     

  • A Mayo Fianna Fail TD has expressed concern about new proposals from the National Transport Authority to privatise another 10% of Bus Eireann routes from 2021. She’s warning that measures must be put in place to ensure a continuity of service for rural Ireland.

    Deputy Chambers says the NTA began privatising Bus Eireann routes a number of years ago and are now proposing to tender a further 10% from 2021. She says it is an extremely premature proposal, especially since no examination of the current arrangement has been undertaken.

    Deputy Chambers says she would like to see assurances from the NTA that there will be no downgrading of services in rural areas as a result of the proposal and staff concerns also need to be addressed.

    Fianna Fail has brought forward a Bill to prevent further privatisation of bus routes and the legislation allows for a delay in the awarding of any new contracts until a full review of previous tenders has been completed.

     

  • A Mayo TD has expressed her disappointment at the recent decision to suspend the Honours Course in Digital Media and Society course at the Castlebar GMIT campus.

    Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers says it was a shock to hear of the suspension of the course, as just last month Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor reiterated the Government’s commitment to the future sustainability of the Mayo campus.

    Deputy Chambers says it’s completely unacceptable and questions need to be answered as to why this decision was taken.

    The GMIT Working Group report was published in December 2017. This report listed key recommendations on how to secure the future sustainability of the campus. Deputy Chambers says as the situation currently stands, this report is yet to be implemented.

    She says there was two key points of the report. One was the appointment of an external facilitator to oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations and two, was the appointment of a head of campus. Neither of which has been done to date.

    Deputy Chambers says people are furious, and rightly so, as changes shouldn’t be made like cutting courses until the report has been implemented.

  • A Fianna Fail Bill, which would allow mothers to share their maternity leave with their partners if they so wish, was debated in the Dáil last week.

    The Bill was introduced by Mayo TD Lisa Chambers and her party colleague Fiona O'Loughlin, who say it's a progressive Bill that would allow parents to decide what works best for them in terms of raising their young children.

    Deputy Chambers says the 26 weeks maternity leave could be shared by a baby's parents in some circumstances, for example where the mother is self-employed.

  • A Mayo TD says that Tusla needs to increase investment in community based facilities in Mayo.

    Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers was responding to the recent HIQA report Into Tusla at a recent sitting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.
     
    Highlighting the challenges that the report identified, and the implications for children and families, Deputy Chambers reminded Tusla management of commitments that they have made to improving facilities delivered in communities across the county, and specifically in Co. Mayo, which could assist in addressing the resource shortages the report was highly critical of.
     
    Deputy Chambers highlighted the case being made in Co. Mayo for additional resources, citing the application submitted from Erris to establish a Family Resource Centre. The Mayo Children and Young Peoples Services Committee, which is resourced by Tusla, have, amongst others, identified the case for this FRC in Erris.

    Deputy Chambers said Tusla should listen to other parts of their organisations and open these facilities now.

  • A Mayo TD wants extra capacity immediately in the Cervical Check scheme, to deal with the backlog that is currently there.

    Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers was speaking after the revelations that up to 6,000 women are likely to be called for a retest after an issue at Quest Laboratories arose last November.

    The problem relates to standard HPV tests being carried out outside of the manufacturers recommended timeframe.

    The HSE has assured women who need a repeat smear following the issue, that they will be prioritised.

    Deputy Chambers broke the news of the latest issue with Cervical Check, following investigations which she began last November. Deputy Chambers is one of the women waiting on retest results for an extended period of time.

    As well as additional capacity, Deputy Chambers wants Minister for Health Simon Harris to come into the Dail and give answers on this latest controversy.

  • A Mayo TD has called on the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation along with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to address the disparity nationally in prices for a litre of petrol and diesel.

    Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers says it has been brought to her attention by numerous constituents that there is a huge disparity in the price for a litre of petrol and diesel around towns and villages in Mayo.

    She said it is completely unacceptable and unfair to people who already pay huge bills to own a vehicle.

    Deputy Chambers has contacted both Minister for Business Heather Humphries and the CCPC to ask for clarity on the matter.

  • Fianna Fail's confirmed its team of negotiators to review the Confidence and Supply agreement with Fine Gael.

    It will be made up of the Party's Deputy Leader, Mayo TD Dara Calleary, Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath, Brexit Spokesperson and Mayo Deputy Lisa Chambers and Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue.

    Discussions will begin next week.

    Yesterday Fine Gael confirmed Ministers Simon Coveney, Pascal Donohue and Regina Doherty along with the Parliamentary Party Chairman Martin Heydon, would lead the discussions for their party.

  • Nine months after the official opening, the new IDA technology park at the Breaffy Road in Castlebar is still lying idle, and the Jobs Minister has failed to give details of how many interested parties have visited the new facility.

    That's according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers, who has questioned Minister Heather Humphreys on what efforts are being made to secure a tenant for the new plant, but has received what she calls evasive answers.

    Deputy Chambers told Midwest News that millions of euro was invested in the new technology facility in Castlebar, but it's disappointing that it remains empty months after its official opening.

  • Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Lisa Chambers says the government’s Public Services Card scheme was flawed from the start, and is now deemed to have broken data protection laws

    The State has been told it must delete data held on 3.2 million citizens, which was gathered as part of the roll-out of the Public Services Card, as there is no lawful basis for retaining it.

    In a highly critical report on its investigation into the card, the Data Protection Commission found there was no legal reason to make individuals obtain the card in order to access State services such as renewing a driving licence or applying for a college grant.

    While the card will still be sought from people accessing some services directly administered by the Department of Social Protection, such as claiming social welfare payments, the commission’s report represents a major blow to the scope of the project, which has proved politically contentious and faced strong opposition from data-privacy campaigners.

    Deputy Chambers told Midwest News that the findings of the Data Commision Regulator is quite scathing on this scheme