Free books for children starting school

I was delighted to announce a really exciting initiative for children this week. The My Little Library initiative will see more than 60,000 children starting school in September invited to collect a free bag of books from their local library.

Children’s books open really important pathways to learning about friendship, love and adventure, and allow children to expand their worlds with wonder and curiosity. I hope this initiative will help to encourage a new generation on a life-long love of reading and stories. It is by introducing children to reading at an early age, that we can help to inspire young minds, and open them up to a world of possibilities. Full details here.

Historic ban on fur farming

I very much welcome the passing of the final stages of the Animal Health and Welfare and Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021, which took place in the Seanad on 29 March.

This Bill, once enacted, will implement a ban on fur farming – something which the Green Party has long campaigned for, along with many members of the public who believe in protecting animal welfare. I am especially pleased that the Bill had such strong cross-party support, signalling a progressive shift in how we view the treatment of animals in Ireland.

Under this new legislation, the three active farms in Ireland that still breed and rear mink for the purposes of pelting for the fur industry, will be closed. Those farms will receive compensation for their losses incurred as a result of this new law.

I’d like to thank my colleague Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Senator Pippa Hackett for her work on this really important legislation, and commend all those who have campaigned so passionately on the issue.

2022 Programme of Works

At the February Area Committee Meeting the Dublin 15 County Councillors approved the Castleknock/Mulhuddart Ongar operations areas programme of works for 2022.

Works totalling € 1,959,000 will be carried out in 2022. A summary of the work can be seen on the table below.

DescriptionBudget
Restoration Improvement Works & Maintenance€ 840,000
Minor Works Improvement Programme€ 403,000
Traffic Management Schemes€ 320,000
Parks and Open Spaces€ 335,000
Public Lighting€ 61,000

Restoration Improvement Works and Maintenance

The areas which will have restoration improvement works and maintenance in 2022 are – Rugged Lane, Tower Road, Ramor Park and Hazel Lawn, Coolmine Road, Ashfield Gardens and Grove, Charnwood Avenue, Maple Avenue and Lawn, Deerpark Road, The Boulevard in Tyrellstown and College Park.

Footpath Improvement Works

The following areas have been allocated € 25,000 each for foothpath improvement works – Dunsandle/Peck’s Lane, Park Drive/Avenue, Clonsilla Road, Hunter’s Run – Deerhaven, Hartstown – Oakview, Huntstown – Ashfield, Castlecurragh Road, Mulhuddart Village, St. Margaret’s Road, Ramor Park/Rushbrook, Carpenterstown – Laverna and Sycamore.

There has also been € 103,000 allocated to the repair of cycle paths in Littlepace (L3025), Laraghcon, Kilshane Way and Melville Way.

Traffic Management Schemes

The traffic management schemes for 2022 fall under five categories – traffic signals, traffic calming, traffic calming replacements, vehicle activated signs and bus disabled bay parking. I’ve set out the details in the table below.

LocationDescriptionBudget
   
Traffic signals  
Entrance to Allendale SquareRaised zebra crossing€ 60,000
Grove Road – Snugborough RoadUpgrade all signals to LED and MOVA. Upgrade civil works€ 110,000
Beechpark AvenueRaised zebra crossing€ 230,000
   
Traffic Calming  
St Mochta’s1 new ramp€ 3,000
Castleknock Avenue10 new ramps€ 30,000
Lower Road4 new ramps€ 12,000
Lohunda DownsRefuge island€ 9,000
   
Traffic Calming Replacements  
Mulhuddart Road – outside Saddlers EstateCushion replacement€ 13,000
   
Vehicle Activated Signs  
L3125 Littlepace Distributor Rd2 new VAS€ 7,000
Waterville Road2 new VAS € 7,000
   
Bus Disabled Parking Bay  
Mulhuddart VillageInstall disabled bay for bus€ 9,000

Parks and Open Spaces

Lots of work has been listed for 2022 in the parks and open spaces throughout Dublin 15. General improvement works which will be carried out throughout the area include tree planting, tree works, annual bulb planning, sowing of wildflower areas and maintenance, floral displays (replating in villages and new planters to be installed in new location, hot foam application (which replaces pesticide use), replacement/upgrade of bins in open spaces and the installation of benches.

Specific works have been listed for various areas in Dublin 15. This work include pollinator planning scheme, repairs of footpaths in open spaces, additional planting as well as installation of adult exercise equipment in Whitestown.

Public Lighting

New lighting will be installed in the following five locations this year – Woodvale Grove, Glenville Road to Brompton, Whitestown Avenue – Whitestown Park, Porterstown Road – Castleknock Hotel and Roselawn Drive – Hazel Lawn.

Public Meeting: Aircraft Noise Consultation

💻 I will be hosting an online Zoom public meeting on the Aircraft Noise consultation on Tuesday, 15 February 2022 at 7:30pm.

What’s this about?

🛫 Dublin Airport are building a new runway, and the Dublin Airport Authority has applied for permission to change some of the planning restrictions on how that runway and airport night-time flying will operate.

🛬 The Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA) has examined the proposed changes, and said that these changes would result in an increase in noise. 📈 In light of this, they are running a public consultation on its draft recommendations on limiting and reducing the impacts of night-time noise at the Airport.

📧 To register for my public meeting, email my office at Roderic.ogorman@oir.ie.

More info ℹ️ :

🗓 The ANCA’s public consultation will remain open until 28th February 2022. The ANCA’s draft recommendations are:

🛩 Introduce a Noise Abatement Objective for the airport, which would see aircraft noise halved by 2050

✈️ Give Dublin Airport a Noise Quota System or noise budget for night-time flying btween 11pm and 7am, including banning very loud planes from flying at night

🌃 Restrict flights on the new north runway between midnight and 6am

🏠 Provide a new insultation grant of up to €20,000 for residents most affected by night-time noise from Dublin Airport and who have not previously availed of a grant

For more information, visit: https://consult.fingal.ie/…/aircraft-noise-consultation

Bus Connects Update

I was in contact with the National Transport Authority to find out the planned timelines for the rollout of Bus Connects in the Blanchardstown area.

This year, we will see a number of routes introduced according to the provisional timeline for introduction. Some of these are enhancements on existing routes.

Western orbital routes:

🚏 W2 – Liffey Valley – Clondalkin – Tallaght: Q3 2022;

🚏 W4 – Blanchardstown Shopping Centre – Liffey Valley – Grange Castle Rd – Tallaght: Q3 or early Q4 2022;

🚏 W6 – Maynooth – Celbridge – Citywest – Tallaght: Q3 or early Q4 2022.

Northern orbital routes:

🚏 N4 – Blanchardstown Shopping Centre – Finglas – DCU – Collins Ave – Docklands: Q2 2022;

€80,000 in Disability Participation funding for the Not So Different Creative Ability Training Academy in Blanchardstown

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Dublin West TD, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the announcement that €80,000 in funding will go towards the establishment of a permanent Creative Ability Training Academy in Blanchardstown Library.

The project has been offered funding under the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund 2021, which will see a total of €2.5 million offered to 39 successful projects nationwide to promote community participation and integration for people with disabilities, and raise awareness around UNCRPD. The Fund is provided by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

The Creative Ability Training Academy will build on the current collaboration between Fingal County Council and Not So Different to establish Ireland’s first Neurodiversity Creative Ability Hub. The project aims to promote equality and inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in the community, and improve education and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The Academy will provide a creative and innovative space where people with disabilities can demonstrate their creative ability and showcase their creative talents to prospective employers and educators.

The Training Academy will provide direct access to the Creative Arts, Media and Film Production Industries, to potential educators and employers and to community organisations and service providers in a safe, sensory friendly environment.

Welcoming the funding, Minister O’Gorman said:

“I am delighted that Not So Different have been awarded funding for the Creative Ability Training Academy. The Academy will help to break down the barriers many people with disabilities face when accessing education, employment and the creative arts. The Not So Different Creative Ability Hub has been brilliant in helping industry, employers, education institutions and our community to become more inclusive, and this project will further increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of disabilities including neurodiversity.

I am excited to see this project continue to support individuals in harnessing their creative skills, exploring their career opportunities in the creative arts and media, and realising their full potential and the extent of their talents in an environment which supports their individual abilities.

It is fantastic to see the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund, which comes from my Department, being used to support such an innovative project here in Dublin West”.

Roderic O’Gorman TD and Cllr Pamela Conroy welcome Ireland’s first inclusive We-Go-Swing® to Millennium Park Playground

Dublin West TD and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman and Green Party councillor for Castleknock & Blanchardstown Pamela Conroy have welcomed the introduction of an inclusive We-Go-Swing® at Millennium Park Playground. The new addition is Ireland’s first inclusive wheelchair accessible swing, and was opened by Fingal County Council on Saturday, 18 December 2021.

The We-Go-Swing® is a revolutionary step forward in inclusive play experiences. Designed to be integrated into the playground setting, this swing lets kids of all abilities play together and experience the thrill of swinging. With no need to transfer, the We-Go-Swing opens up a whole new world of playground fun.

Roderic O’Gorman TD said:

“The new wheelchair accessible We-Go-Swing is a very welcome addition to Millennium Park, which will make the playground a place of fun and activity for all children, and for all abilities. The swing’s really innovative design allows children to swing together, helping them to play in an inclusive way that everyone can enjoy.

This new feature is another example of how accessibility and inclusion is becoming integral to the design of our public spaces and facilities, including children’s play areas. It is the first of its kind opened in Ireland, and I look forward to seeing playgrounds around the country mirroring what we have here in Blanchardstown.”

Cllr Pamela Conroy said:

“The need for accessible, inclusive play equipment in our parks is something I have been raising since my first Area Committee Meeting last year, and so I am delighted to see that Fingal County Council has sourced a piece of play equipment that is not only accessible for wheelchair users but one that is also inclusive.

The We-Go-Swing is designed so that multiple children of all abilities can swing together, helping to ensure that all children are included, and that no one child is singled out because they are different. It is a wonderful addition to the playground, that will further promote inclusion and acceptance in our community, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact the swing has on the experience of children and their families in the area.”