Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has said that additional funding confirmed as part of the Budget last week could benefit key Kildare projects including new Family Resource Centres and Primary Care Centres.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone confirmed that her Department was allocating an additional €40.6m in funding for Tusla, the child and family agency. This 5.7% increase in funding will help to expand the services of Tusla which include the provision of Family Resource Centres. The Minister said that the additional funding will be used to develop facilities in existing centres as well as providing for 11 new centres.

“I have already raised with the Minister the need for more Family Resource Centres in Kildare. For our growing population we are severely under-represented in terms of the number of family resource centres with only 2 in the whole County in Newbridge and Curragh when others such as Donegal and Kerry have 9 and 12 respectively.

“The Newbridge and Curragh centers are great facilities which highlight what worthwhile services can be provided in our communities through these centres. Additional funding would allow them to offer increased services.

“Teach Dara in Kildare town in particular does the work of a family resource centre already on a limited budget. I will fight for Teach Dara to receive Family Resource Centre status and for the case to be progressed for family resource centres in towns like Athy Castledermot and Rathangan.

“The Minister has confirmed to me that she will soon announce a process where those looking to be considered as Family Resource Centres will be able to apply.

“An additional €1.5m will also be provided for youth services with priority given to Counties with growing youth populations. With one of the fastest growing youth populations in the Country I will be fighting for these services for Kildare’s youth.

“The Minister for Health confirmed a €25m primary care fund to allow for the development and expansion of community based therapy and services. With planning permission due to lodged shortly for the planned Athy Primary care centre to be built on the site of the former Shirt Factory on the Dublin Road, this funding is welcome and I will be fighting to ensure that Athy gets its fair share.

“As part of the Agriculture Budget an amount of €64m for 2018 was allocated to support the horseracing and breeding industry which supports the employment of thousands of people in Kildare.