Public consultation on 30kmph speed limits in Dublin 15

Fingal County Council is currently undertaking a statutory public consultation on whether to reduce the speed limit to 30kmph in a number of estates in Dublin 15. The following estates are included and if you click on the link, you will be brought to a map of the area covered in each one:

St. Mochtas

Castleknock Park

Waterville

Beechfield

Castlecurragh

Tyrrelstown

Littlepace

Should you wish to make a comment on the proposal, please contact:

Administrative Officer, Operations Department, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 or e-mailed to roads@fingal.ie.

The deadline is 4:30 pm on Tuesday, 24th October 2017.

Feel free to drop me a copy of your submission at rodericogorman@gmail.com.

Green Party holds annual ‘Think-In’ in Blanchardstown

Myself and Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD

Myself and Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD

I was delighted to welcome the Green Party to my own home town of Blanchardstown on Friday and Saturday for our two day pre-Dail ‘Think-In’ which took place in the Crowne Plaza at the Blanchardstown Centre. The Party discussed issues like the Housing Crisis, public transport and mental health, along with preparations for the next general election.

Dublin 15 is a microcosm for urban Ireland today. We have 3 of the 10 fastest growing electoral districts in the country, and the Housing Crisis has hit families in this area particularly hard. At our Think-In, we placed particular emphasis on how councils can do more to provide social and affordable housing throughout the country.

We also discussed how population growth in areas like is putting major pressure on services like education and public transport. The new national capital plan that the Government intends to publish must provide the financing for significant public transport investment in Dublin suburbs like Dublin 15.

The Think-In was also an opportunity to plan for the next general election, and also the 2019 Local Elections. Green Party representative from across north and west Dublin met during the event and we worked on plans to increase the number of Green councillors to be elected to Fingal County Council in 2019.

Housing Crisis Update:

Pic - Homelessness D15

New social housing provision in Dublin 15 since 2015

New social housing provision in Dublin 15 since 2015

Pic - Social Housing list

A quick update on the scale of the housing crisis in the Dublin 15 area, and some of the measures Fingal are taking to address it.

This September, there are 265 people in Dublin 15 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with 137 of these in emergency accommodation. Our Social Housing List continues to grow, with 4,792 people stating a preference for a home in Dublin 15 (out of a total Fingal Social Housing List of over 10,000).

On a daily basis, myself, other councillors and Fingal staff are dealing with families and individuals left in incredibly precarious situations, due to the failure to provide adequate social and affordable housing and the failure to adequately intervene in the private rental market.

Compared to other local authorities, Fingal is doing better when it comes to the provisions of social housing. 644 units have been delivered since 2015. These come from a range of sources: some are leased through the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme, some are bought or purchased by the Council. But it is still an inadequate amount compared to the need for social housing in area.

Locally and nationally, myself and the Green Party are continuing to work towards bringing forward practical solutions to the housing crisis. We brought forward a proposed law in the Oireachtas that would put a tax on people who hoard development land. In our Budget submission, we will be proposing extra money for investment in social housing.

The housing crisis will define politics over the next five years. We will work to ensure that the response is based on the needs of families and individuals, not those of land speculators and developers.

Tendered bus routes must provide same or improved level of service to D15 commuters

Today the National Transport Authority announced that the private bus company Go-Ahead has won the tender to operate a number of bus routes which used to be operated by Dublin Bus. It is now vital that both the NTA and the Government ensures that there is no deterioration of the standard of services on the tendered routes. The real test of this tendering process is whether services for commuters actually improve on these routes.

Around a third of the routes that will be operated by Go-Ahead pass through the Dublin 15 area (17a, 76a, 220, 236, 238, 239, 270). While most of the journeys are orbital, rather than going directly into the city centre, they provide a vital link between the outer suburbs and key locations such as the Blanchardstown Town Centre, Dublin City University, Beaumount Hospital and Connolly Hospital. They are especially important for students and elderly people.

As a daily user of the 17a, I’ll be watching closely to ensure there is no decrease in the frequency or reliability of the service provided to commuters. If this does happen, the NTA must intervene immediately.

Royal Canal Greenway extension must also protect natural environment

'Deep Sinking' section of Royal Canal between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations

‘Deep Sinking’ section of Royal Canal between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations

Today, I made a submission to the public consultation process on the development of a new Greenways Strategy, which was undertaken by the Department of Transport. In it, I highlighted that the protection of the natural environment has to be a key consideration in any extension of the Royal Canal Greenway from the 12th Lock to the Kildare County Council border.

Getting the greenway extended along the Royal Canal is something I have been working on consistently. While everyone accepts that the ‘Deep Sinking’ section between Castleknock and Coolmine train stations is currently extremely unsafe for walkers and cyclists, it is also an incredibly scenic area. Bringing a greenway through this section will involve change. But it is vital that any new development is balanced with maintaining the natural heritage of this section. A ‘chop and pave’ approach here would devastate a beautiful area”.

Separately, the period for tenders to draw up a design for the 12th Lock to the Kildare border has closed, and Fingal will now examine the applications and award the tender early in the autumn. The successful consultant will draw up a design for what this section of the greenway will look like and what route it will take. This will then go out to public consultation.

Balancing the next section of the Royal Canal greenway with the scenic importance of the area will be complex and may require some innovative solutions. But it is vital that this is done. The key selling points of greenways are their natural beauty. We must be careful that we do not sacrifice this in the process of opening up the Deep Sinking section.

Council supports my motion to use CCTV to tackle illegal dumping

Rubbish 1

I’m delighted that Fingal has confirmed that it has started using mobile CCTV units as part of the fight against illegal dumping. This was confirmed by Council management in response to a motion of mine that was passed at the full Council meeting last week. You can see the discussion at the Council meeting here.

The Council has confirmed that up to €30,000 has been spent on a service to install and monitor mobile CCTV units across Fingal. These have already been deployed at one particular dumping blackspot in the Dublin 15 area and will be used again.

Some of the money for this is coming from central Government initiatives to prevent dumping. Obviously there is a major financial cost for Fingal in having to clean up dumping, which means there are fewer resources for other services. But there’s also a significant social cost, in that sustained dumping can really undermine the fabric of a community.

I appreciate the support I received from other councillors for my motion. During the course of the debate, particular dumping spots in Dublin 15 such as the Powerstown Road and the Liffey Valley were highlighted.

I will be reviewing the success of these mobile CCTV units in conjunction with Council staff.

Good luck to Leo in his new job

I want to congratulate Leo Varadkar on his election as Taoiseach. It is a huge responsibly, but having known Leo for many years as a constituency rival in Dublin West, I know he is well capable of the job. I wish him, his partner and his family the very best today.

Leo has frequently aired views that are far to the right of most Irish voters. I’d remind him that he is now a Taoiseach for the whole country, not just for Fine Gael.  If he does seek to impose a right wing agenda on the country, I and the Green Party will vigorously oppose him.

Possible Road through St Catherine’s Park

St. Catherine's Park is a key resource within the Liffey Valley and must be protected

St. Catherine’s Park is a key resource within the Liffey Valley and must be protected

In recent weeks, I have been contacted by a significant number of people concerned about a possible road being built through a section of St. Catherine’s Park. There is an ‘indicative’ road marked through the Kildare County Council section of the park on the current Fingal Development plan. I discussed this with the Fingal County Council planners and they made it clear that an ‘indicative road’ on a development plan map merely showed the general direction that a road will travel, rather than any specific route.

Despite that assurance, I can fully understand why local residents would be concerned. As such, I had put down a motion the situation in St. Catherine’s Park which was debated at a Council meeting on the 1st June. A number of other councillors had also put down motions.

You can see a link to the video of these discussions here (there’s a small problem with the microphone’s at the start of the video, but it gets resolved):

As you can see, there is strong opposition from all local councillors to any attempt to build a road through any section of St. Catherine’s Park. We are working together to see what options are available to us to change the current development plan.

I will absolutely oppose any attempt to construct a road through St. Catherine’s Park and I know my Green Party colleague on Fingal will support me in this.