Here you can find my Statements and Contributions to Seanad Éireann.

The statements are divided into different categories on the right-hand side of the page, for your convienence.

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God Has No Country - The US Travel Ban

Posted on February 1, 2017 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (38)

Coghlan repeats words of O’Flaherty – “God Has No Country”


Fine Gael Kerry Senator, and Seanad Leas Cathaoirleach, Paul Coghlan, speaking during the Seanad Order of Business today (Tuesday) said “We have witnessed a weekend of distress in the airports of the US and elsewhere as a result of President Trump banning travel to seven Muslim majority countries and turning his back on the plight of refugees.


“No matter what a person’s faith, they deserve to be protected from conflict and helped to find safety. I would like to add my voice to all those appealing to President Trump to show grace and understanding to these people.


“This ban does not target terrorists; it targets vulnerable people and disproportionately those of Islamic faith. This cannot be defended and it should not continue. Only with understanding and cooperation can we hope to end the conflict and discourage terrorism.


“Of course, the Taoiseach should travel to Washington on our National Day. He has a unique opportunity to meet President Trump face to face and deal with all of the issues, including that of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in his own inimitable way. He is truly Ireland’s “trump” card and we can have every confidence in him. The Taoiseach also stated clearly yesterday that he does not agree with President Trump’s Executive Order on travel and that he will raise this issue with the President when he goes to Washington.


“President Trump would do well to remember the words of the late great Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who worked so hard to protect and shelter those persecuted during World War II all over Rome. He helped save thousands of Jews, POWs and others. His saying is especially prevalent in this troubling time across the world - ‘God has no country’. We must show goodwill and be prepared to offer protection to all those in need.”


Office of the Seanad Leas-Cathaoirleach


Tuesday, 31st January 2017

 - ENDS -




Posted on July 8, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (1)

SENATOR PAUL COGHLAN SEANAD GOVERNMENT CHIEF WHIP SPEAKING IN THE SEANAD ON THE SPRING ECONOMIC STATEMENT Wednesday 6th May 2015. Apart from being a European requirement this is a very useful exercise as regards the management of our economy and charting as well as plotting our recovery from the brink of the collapse which this government inherited. Rescuing the economy and saving the country was of paramount importance. We did not want to default nor did we want to leave the Eurozone so a clear plan to secure the stabilization of the economy and keep the country pointed in the right direction was essential. There is no doubt that our people have shown great patience and resilience during the crisis and indeed we are indebted to them for all of their hardwork and sacrifices. We are all now glad that the Troika are gone from our shores and that the bailout is over. We must not forget however that the recovery still requires nurturing but it is heartening to know that we are now the fastest growing economy in the EU. Repairing the public finances is still a work in progress with the Government borrowing being radically reduced and thankfully interest rates at an all time low. We have however too many people out of work but it is good to know that unemployment has fallen to 10% from a high of over 15% and employment levels are now at their highest since 2009. The Spring Economic statement clearly sets out the governments five year plan to 2020 to further secure and strengthen the recovery. At the heart of this plan is a commitment to protect our national competiveness and stability in the public finances. This will ensure an improved climate for job creation which remains a top priority. More jobs will mean more resources to fund services and reduce taxes on those already at work. The Government commitment of targeting 100,000 jobs is about to be achieved a year ahead of target. This will lead to more Irish people returning to this country to take up employment here than those leaving. By 2018 every job lost by the previous government will have been replaced with more sustainable jobs in the pipeline and finally by 2019 there will be more people working in this country than ever before. The Government’s targets are ambitious and will only be achieved if we continue to make the right choices and we are committed to that path. A path that continues to reduce the burden of taxation on enterprise and employment. One that continues to improve our attractiveness both for investment and expansion and that ignores the calls from whatever quarter for a return to reckless tax and spending policies that destroyed the public finances in the past. The Plan targets steady growth of between 3% and 3.5% per year – not boom and bust. Steady growth of this nature will eliminate the remaining deficit and bring government debt down to below average European levels without any new taxes or charges. We have moved away from the “when we have it, we spend it” approach to budget management espoused by previous governments. Our small business sector needs more support and this please god is in the pipeline. Many people have not yet witnessed or seen the benefits of our recovering economy and some families are still struggling to make ends meet. However if we hold our heads things will continue to improve and we now know that the Minister for Finance will have more scope to assist matters further in the upcoming budget. The addition of an annual Spring economic statement sets out the broad directions needed for growing the economy and repairing the public finances. This will ensure a fair sharing of the benefits of recovery with those already at work. Private Sector employers are once again agreeing sustainable pay increases with their staff and Minister Howlin has announced the Government’s decision to commence discussions with the Trade Unions on the issue of Public Service Pay. We know that all Public Servants have had their pay cut significantly and most are also working longer hours. The size of the public service has been reduced by 10% at a time of growing demand on public services. But this was necessary in helping us to secure stability in the public finances and our national economic recovery. As further improvement takes place the right time is now approaching to open up the prospect of gradual, sustainable pay recovery for public servants from 2016 onwards linked to continuing reforms to efficiency and effectiveness. The Plan’s aim is to offer fair rewards for hard work and not quick profits for speculation. The USC introduced by the last government was an emergency penal tax on low and middle income families and this government intends to accelerate its phased abolition. Already 330,000 low income income families have been removed from the USC. In the least budget an additional 80,000 low income families were re moved from USC the two lower rates of which were cut and those on the minimum wage were removed from the higher USC rate. It is intended that in the upcoming budget to bring to 500,000 the total number of low income workers that will have been removed from the USC net. It is also intended to cut the 7% rate of USC on all those earning up to €70,000 per year. It is also intended to end the unfair tax treatment for the self employed and small business people. Strong growth in jobs is funding tax cuts on working people. Unless tax on work in turn means more jobs. The plan would reinforce a virtuous circle of rising living standards, lower taxes, job creation and improving public finances. Our plan will make sure that work pays more than welfare as well as reducing the numbers of working people and their families experiencing poverty. Once the low pay commission makes its recommendation in July, the government intends to respond with a package of measures in the October budget. There is renewed optimism in this country. This Government will continue to work night and day to secure the recovery. At the next election the people will have a clear choice between a stable and coherent government that will secure and strengthen the recovery, or chaos and instability. Populist promises to reverse every tough decision are nothing but empty rhetoric. They are not the solution to our problems. I have every confidence that whenever the next election comes the people will make the right choice. Ends.

Coghlan appeals to An Taisce to withdraw request for judicial review on N86

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Like all reasonable people, I am saddened and disturbed at what is happening regarding the upgrade of the N86 Tralee to Dingle road, one of the most important tourist routes in the country, and i would appeal to An Taisce to withdraw its request for a judicial review in order to allow this much needed development to go ahead, says Paul Coghlan, Government Chief Whip in the Seanad and Fine Gael Senator for Kerry.

In the interests of safety and sanity, I am calling on An Taisce to withdraw its judicial review opposing the decision of An Bord Pleanála, which is the final arbiter.  An Bord Pleanála makes its decisions based on the inspectorates reports and all relevant information, and they have given approval for the upgrade to go ahead.

This is an extremely important issue to the people of Tralee, Dingle and the entire Peninsula many of whom took to the streets at the weekend to protest.  Traffic on this route is increasing, there are more tourist coaches and cars, goods vehicles are travelling this road and with an increased emphasis on regaional jobs, more business traffic canbe expected to the new IDA buildings at Kerry Park in Tralee.

A €65 million plan has been approved to widen and straighten the N86 Tralee to Dingle road and to provide cycle lanes.  Removing hairpin bends will make travel easier and safer for tourists.  This work would also beneift locals whose road networks should be up to standard so they can get to work, travel to hospitals and go about their daily business.

Garda statistics show that this is a very dangerous stretch of road with a high number of incidents.  I am in agreement with locals who dispute An Taisce's claim that this upgrade will have a negative environmental impact.  The peopel of Kerry have maintained the heritage and landscape of the area for generations.  We recognise its importance and value.  However in this case it is clear that a safer road network is needed.

The N86 Tralee to Dingle road is not a new road.  it is already in place and all we want to do is to make it safer. An Bod Pleanála is happy with the plans and I again appeal to An Taisce to withdraw their request for judicial review and to allow the upgrade to go ahead without further delay.

Coghlan Condemns Shooting of Heather the Hen Harrier

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Fine Gael Kerry Senator and Seanad Chief whip, Paul Coghlan , has expressed concern in relation to the shooting down of a young female hen harrier in Co.Kerry.  Senator Coghlan was speaking about the matter on the Order of Business in the Seanad today (Tuesday).

"I was most concerned to hear it confirmed this week that a female hen harrier, named Heather, was shot down in the Waterville area in January.  Hen harriers are listed as a protected species with only 100 pairs of the birds left in Ireland.  As such it is an offence under the Wildlife Act to kill them.

"Heather was tagged with a statelite-tracking device shortly after she hatched in 2013 in east Kerry, as part of the hen harrier project run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and local community group IRD Duhallow.

"The NPWS said that thousands of people had followed the hen harrier's progress from Kerry to the Wicklow mountains through the project.  The tracking system tells us that she had visited Meath, Louth, Monaghan and Armagh on her travels before flying the long distance to the southern Cork Coast. Late last year Heather returned to south Kerry, most likely settling there to breed this summer.  Unfortunately this will now not come to pass as she was killed by a shot gun.

"it is unclear as to whether this was an accident or not and I am pleased that Gardaí are investigating".

Coghlan welcomes approval of N71 upgrade at Relagh

Posted on January 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Fine Gael Senator for Kerry and Seanad Chief Whip, Paul Coghlan, has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe that approval has been granted for the realignment of the N71 between Kenmare and Glengarrif.

"Works will begin on N71 at Releagh in January 2015.  The 1.6km stretch will be widened and resurfaced making the route safer and improving travel times.  It is hoped that all works will be completed by 2016.

"This is a very mountainous part of South Kerry and due to the challenging topography the project will be managed in conjunction with Kerry County Council.

"Improvements to the N71 will benefit local commuters and tourists in the area!.

NAMA's Success in Recouping Money for the State Welcome - Coghlan

Posted on December 5, 2014 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Fine Gael Senator for Kerry and Seanad Chief Whip, Paul Coghlan, has welcomed the progress of NAMA as it continues to sell property and repay debts.


“NAMA has paid off €16.1 billion in bonds to date, with €1 billion of that paid out just this week. NAMA has proven to be a great success in recovering a lot of the debt that was crippling the economy during the recession. It should be noted that it is expected that NAMA will have paid off all bonds by 2018, which is two years ahead of schedule.


“This week I was particularly pleased to hear about the development of the 400,000 square foot Boland's Mill site. This development will cost €150 million and will address shortfalls in office and rental accommodation in the city centre. The plans include the construction of a 14-storey office block and I am sure that due to the prime location of the Mill, these offices and homes will be snapped up without delay. Boland’s Mill is situated right at the centre of Dublin’s Silicon Dock; Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Google and many other tech companies are in the area and make this location extremely desirable.


“The development of Boland’s Mill, as well as the sale of hundreds of other properties by NAMA, is very much to be welcomed. I am hopeful that by the end of the process there will be a profit for the State and for the taxpayer.”


Funding for improvements to local routes will make our roads safer and better - Coghlan

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (2)

Fine Gael Senator for Kerry, Paul Coghlan, has welcomed the announcement today (Wednesday 3rd December) by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, that funding has been allocated for improvements to the N86 Tralee to Dingle road. This is part of a €60 million national funding package for minor works announced by Minister Donohoe.


“I’m delighted that funding has been approved for important works on roads in Kerry. This should result in shorter journey times on safer roads.


“Works will commence in 2015 on the N86 from Lispole Village to Ballynasare Lower and from Mountover to Camp. This is a 5.1km stretch and the money that has been allocated will be used to improve safety for all road users.


“These works will improve driving conditions for motorists, accessibility for local communities and boost economic activity.”


Coghlan Welcomes Credit Review Office's 14th Report

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I welcome the 14th report of the Credit Review Office and compliment the credit reviewer, Mr. John Trethowan. The report stated that in 56% of appeals, the Credit Review Office found in favour of the borrowers, which has resulted in €29.7 million of extra credit being made available to SMEs and farms, thereby helping to protect or create 2,090 jobs. Ensuring SMEs and farmers have access to credit is a key priority. They play a crucial role in economic and employment growth. In the recent budget, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, announced that Permanent TSB will shortly recommence actively engaging with and lending to the SME sector, and that it has agreed to participate in the Credit Review Office process. Ulster Bank is actively considering making a similar commitment.

The Credit Review Office was established to help SME and farm borrowers, as well as others, which have had an application for credit of up to €3 million declined or reduced and which feel they have a viable business proposition and have not been treated fairly. Where conditions are changed unfairly or where onerous, extra impositions are made on borrowers, they can use the office, which is vital. The process is confidential and the office has done great work and we should take it on board. Perhaps when we debate financial matters, hopefully in the near future, we could incorporate it. I compliment the office on its success.

Killarney House and Gardens to open to the public in 2015

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Last week I asked Minister Humphreys to outline her plans for Killarney House and Gardens, to say when they will open, how they will be managed and staffed and what they will showcase. I am very pleased that she has confirmed that Killarney House and Gardens will open to the public in 2015.

In her response, Minister Humphreys discussed her visit to Killarney House on 29th September where she saw the work underway on the final phase of restoration, refurbishment and new. The refurbished house, in its historic and very beautiful setting, will function as a national park visitor centre and will provide an added attraction for visitors to the town.

The visitor centre project includes a newly built extension to the house, an interpretative centre for the national park. Also, as part of the new build element, the provision of exhibition space will be included to cater for temporary exhibitions, displays and cultural events. The original ornamental grounds and gardens immediately surrounding the house will also be restored, creating spectacular landscaped areas that will merge into the natural areas of the park and provide vistas linking the town to the scenery of mountain, wood and water. Minister Humphreys was very impressed by the restoration of the garden which took place on a phased basis. Phase one was completed in February 2012 and consisted of essential repair works, mainly to the external fabric of the building, including repairs to the roof, chimney stacks, flues, gutters, down-pipes, windows and drains. Phase two was completed in February 2013 and consisted of the further repair and stabilisation of the main building. The final phase of works to the house, which began in early January, is expected to be complete by early December 2014. The new-build extension and hard landscaping works; paths, paving and stonework are progressing, with the soft landscaping works due to commence shortly. In addition, planning for the interpretation for both the house and its ornamental grounds and gardens is advancing with expressions of interest recently sought by way of competitive tender for the position of interpretative exhibition designer to the project.

In relation to staffing arrangements for Killarney House, the Minister explained that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is currently subject to the moratorium on public service recruitment. However, the staffing requirements for the house will remain the subject of ongoing.

Killarney House is a stunning venue located in the town of Killarney and in the national park at the Golden Gates. It has the potential to contain a most comprehensive introduction to Killarney national park and the gardens which are spread over 35 acres and will be a most attractive feature. The house, which was once home to the Earls of Kenmare and Lord Castlerosse has a rich and varied history.

For many years, I have campaigned to have this house restored to its former glory and like everyone in Killarney, I am delighted that it is now on the verge of opening, following a huge €7.1 million investment

Coghlan welcomes Rates Exemption for Non Profit Childcare Providers

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Seanad Government Chief Whip and Kerry Senator Paul Coghlan has welcomed the development that Community not-for-profit childcare providers will be exempt from commercial rates from early 2015.

An amendment has been introduced in the Seanad to the Valuation (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2012 which means not-for-profit community childcare providers will be exempt from rates. This will be a major boost for community childcare providers.

Community childcare facilities provide an extremely important service to children and parents alike. This change will mean that up to 1,000 community childcare providers will no longer have to pay for commercial rates, representing 30% of the sector.

The Government supports childcare and early education providers in a number of ways, most significantly through the free pre-school year scheme. Exempting not-for-profit childcare facilities from rates will provide further assistance to these extremely important facilities that need any money they may have to support the service they provide.

Enactment will happen early in the New Year in 2015. I welcome the introduction of this amendment as I believe that it will make a real difference to the community childcare schemes that are so valuable in the community and I have made representations to the Minister in this regard.