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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.

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.

Protective Services Unit will be in operation in Dublin 15 by middle of the year

I’m delighted that the Gardai have confirmed that a Protective Services Unit is to be located in the DMR West region by the middle of this year. This was confirmed to me in response to a question I had put down at last weeks meeting of the Fingal Joint Policing Committee.

Nationally, the Protective Services Bureau deals with a range of specialist crimes including sexual and domestic violence, the management of sex offenders prosecuting organised prostitution and investigating missing persons. It is an important development that Dublin 15 will now have a unit specialising in dealing with these crimes, located in the area.

  1. Councillor Roderic O’Gorman

Can the Superintendent provide an update on the roll out of a Divisional Protective Service Unit in DMR West?


The Protective Services Unit is scheduled to be in place during Q2 2017.

Disappointed by decision to grant planning for apartment block at Brady’s Pub

I’m deeply disappointed to see that Fingal has granted planning permission for for 38 two and three bedroom apartments on the Brady’s Pub site on the Old Navan Road. While we all understand that there is a need for more houses to be built, this does not mean that the Council should permit types of development that are clearly not suited to the area they are being proposed for.

What is proposed for the Brady’s Pub site is a four storey apartment building which will tower over the existing two storey houses that are immediately beside it. The shadow analysis provided by the developers proves that there will be a significant impact on existing homes when these four storey building are put into such a small site. People are going to lose sunlight and privacy.

While the Council has made a small reduction in the number of permitted apartments to 38 from the original 41 that were requested, the development still is not suitable. A traditional housing development would be both more appropriate on this site, and also help meet the demands for family homes in Blanchardstown.

I’ll keep working with affected residents in relation to appealing this decision to An Bord Pleanala.

Government must suspend all home repossession proceedings to clarify if they are fulfilling EU law obligations

At the Dail calling for a moratorium on all home repossessions

At the Dail calling for a moratorium on all home repossessions

Today I joined the Green Party TDs and Senator to call Government to immediately introduce a moratorium on home repossessions, as there is a risk that EU Law is not properly being applied in the repossession process and the State may be liable for illegal repossessions if EU law if this is the case.

On the 21st of December, the High Court ruled in the case of AIB v Counihan that European Consumer Law must be considered in the context of home repossessions. This means that Judges or County Registrars dealing with repossessions must carry out an assessment of whether the contract’s terms were fair and proportionate. Further to this, EU case law in Kušionová may also require such assessments be made with reference to the fundamental protection afforded to the ‘home’ under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. Failure to abide by EU law, where applicable, would render repossessions illegal – with the State liable.

This is a very serious situation. Prior to Christmas the County Waterford Registrar suspended all repossession cases until there is legal clarity – but all other areas are continuing as before. The Government must consult the Judiciary and County Registrars to ensure that the resources required to carry out the assessments, as laid down by EU law, are available. If cases continue to be processed without the necessary resources being allocated, the State is likely to be liable if repossessions occur for failing to afford consumers the protections they are entitled to.

We’re calling for the Government to introduce a moratorium on repossessions until they have consulted the Judiciary and County Registrars to ensure that there are adequate resources to fulfil the legal obligations under EU law, and legal clarity is restored. The Minister for Justice has agreed to debate the matter in the Dail this evening.

Coolmine Recycling Centre to open an extra 2 days per week

Response to question I put down last year seeking increased opening hours for Coolmine Recycling Centre

Response to question I put down last year seeking increased opening hours for Coolmine Recycling Centre

I’m delighted that Fingal Management have announced that the Coolmine Recycling Centre is now to open six days a week from 9am to 4pm. This will make it significantly easier for Dublin 15 residents to dispose of their recyclable waste.

Up to now, Coolmine was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Fingal’s other recycling centre in Swords is open six days a week. Considering the population of Dublin 15, I felt this was an unfair allocation of resources, so following the passing of Fingal’s 2016 Budget, I had put questions to Fingal’s management regarding increasing the opening hours at Coolmine. At the time, I was told that the cost of the extra opening hours would have been an extra €150,000 a year, which was considered excessive.

However, due to recent staff reassignments, the Council is now in a position to reopen Coolmine on Mondays and Tuesdays, along with the existing Wednesday to Saturday service.

This announcement about increased opening times follows on from the initiative taken before Halloween which allowed for the free disposal of combustible material at Coolmine Recycling Centre, to avoid such material ending up on bonfires. We should recognise these steps that Fingal’s Operations Department in Dublin 15 is taking to provide more effective services in our community.

I have written to Dublin Bus to request an increase in direct bus routes from Waterville to the city centre

I have written to the Chief Executive of Dublin Bus in relation to the lack of direct bus links to the city centre from the Waterville estate. Waterville is a new estate, built over the last 10 year and now has over 2000 homes, mainly made up of apartment and duplex units.

Currently, the 17A and 220 buses travel through the estate, but both of these routes do not serve the city centre. The only direct routes into the city are the 38, 38A and 38B, but these only stop at one point close to the estate along the Snugborough Road. This stop is a considerable distance away from the majority of the homes in the estate.

I am requesting that Dublin Bus review the provision of bus services in this area, with a view to providing a greater service for the entire Waterville estate. In particular, it could be possible for the 38B to run through the estate in the morning and provide residents with a direct route into the city centre. The recent Census 2016 figures showed that Waterville is in the 10th fastest growing electoral district in the entire country. It needs a bus service that matches its population growth.

I support Garda Management’s call for extra Community Gardai in Dublin 15


Reply to my question on Community Gardai numbers in Dublin 15

Reply to my question on Community Gardai numbers in Dublin 15

I submitted a number of questions about Garda number in the Dublin 15 area at the last Fingal Joint Policing Committee meeting.

I’m pleased to see that Garda Management in Dublin 15 are making an application to steadily increase the number of Community Gardai in the area over the next two years. The information I got from the question I put down shows that currently, Blanchardstown Station has 1 Sergeant and 10 Gardai assigned to Community Policing. In my view, this is too small a number, considering the size of Dublin 15.

However, Garda Management have put in an application to have this number increased over the next two years, with a goal of having 1 Sergeant and 18 Gardai by the end of 2017.

I think that it is absolutely essential that the Minister for Justice provide these necessary extra Gardai for the Dublin 15 area. The lack of visibility of Gardai on the ground is one of the issue most regularly raised with me on the doors.