Last week, the Minister for Environment wrote to the Chief Executive of the four Dublin local authorities, claiming that “viability of new development and therefore supply, will be placed at risk by insertion of unreasonable or excessive requirements in relation to the standard of housing g or ancillary services and facilities …”. This comes in response to a Green Party proposal in the Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown Development Plan to include provision for ‘passive housing’ standards in the development plan. A Green Party councillor on South Dublin County Council was able to insert a provision on rainwater harvesting in that areas plan.
Passive housing is a housing standard where by using thorough and precise building design housing can be constructed with an energy demand 90% lower than most buildings. These buildings become extremely cheap to heat and run in the medium to long term.
Minister Kelly is actually seeking to have councillors in local authorities enact lower building standards. He wants us to permit houses that will be colder, less efficient and more costly for home owners to run. He has provided absolutely no evidence to back up his claim that these houses are more expensive to build. Indeed, there is ample evidence that passive houses are now being built for the same cost as the usual, less efficient houses.
I’ve no doubt the Minister has been lobbied by vested interests like the Construction Industry Federation and NAMA. I’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department asking for all communication and lobbying that it has received on this issue. I think that housing standards should be set according to what is going to be best for home owners, not what suits big builders. This is how I will vote when this issue comes up for discussion in Fingal.
Letter from Min Kelly to Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal CC
I’m pleased to see that, following lobbying by myself and other councillors, the draft Fingal Tourism Strategy has been substantially altered to include more references to a significant number of new action points relevant to the Dublin 15 area. At the March meeting of Fingal County Council, I raised my concern that the original draft had very few concrete Action Points relevant to West Dublin, with the main focus of the document being on the North County and coastal areas of Fingal.
I particularly welcome the new Action Points that I called for on a potential Liffey Valley Greenway, a Liffey Valley Discovery Centre and the increased usage of the Royal Canal. I was also pleased to see the highlighting of the promotion of the Sports Campus as a high quality training centre.
I want to thank the Council officials and the team drafting the Strategy for responding to the concerns I raised when the first draft was placed before the Council. Tourism can be a key driver in providing employment across Fingal. In doing so, it can provide improved facilities for everyone in the area. It is important that the facilities in the Dublin 15 are properly recognised in the wider scope of Fingal and that the Council promotes this part of Fingal to the same extent as the rest of the county.
Two weeks ago there was a significant fish kill on the River Tolka, close to the Mulhuddart bridge. Over the last few years, the Tolka River Environmental Alliance (TREA) has been working with local angling groups to make the river a good habitat for a range of fish species. It is extremely disappointing to see the good work of these organisations being undermined.
I contacted Inland Fisheries Ireland to get an update on the investigation about the cause of the kill. No specific cause has been identified yet, but IFI are continuing to look into it in conjunction with Fingal County Council.
Ill post an update here when I know more.
Dear Mr. O’Gorman,
Thank you for your mail and apologies for the delayed response – your original communication got lost in our mail system and your query was only picked up yesterday. As per your email below, IFI staff initiated an investigation in response to a complaint of dead fish in the River Tolka in the vicinity of Mulhuddart Road Bridge on the evening of Tuesday August 6th, 2013. Approximately 300 adult and juvenile Brown trout, large numbers of stickleback and minnow and a small number of lamprey were killed over a section of main channel approximately 650m long. Live fish including Brown trout were recorded in the affected area during the investigation. The fish were judged to have died within approximately 12 hours of the report being received. Samples were taken for analysis however results did not identify any deleterious matter which may have caused the kill. IFI are currently liaising with Fingal County Council in an ongoing investigation of local surface water drainage systems in an effort to determine what may have happened and with a view to preventing similar events in the future.
Fingal County Council are undertaking a significant infrastructure project in building a cycle and pedestrian path along the bank of the Royal Canal between the bridge at Castleknock Train Station and Ashtown Train Station.
This will be accompanied by a range of supporting work, improving access to the canal, providing lightening and also landscaping. These works follow on from a public consultation undertaken by Fingal CC last year.
You can find a link to the details of these plans and relevant maps here.
Fingal CC will be accepting public submissions on this plan up until 5.00pm Thursday 14th March, 2013.
You can make a submission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
Senior Executive Officer,
Planning & Strategic Infrastructure Department,
Fingal County Council,
I’ll be making a submission, so feel free to get in touch with me if you wish me to include your views in my submission.
The Dublin West Green Party will be holding our annual Royal Canal Clean Up this Saturday, 26th May.
I’d like to extend an invitation to any residents across Castleknock, Blanchardstown and Carpenterstown to join us.
We will be meeting at 1:00PM at Castleknock Train Station. Volunteers will be provided with gloves and plastic sacks, but please bring litter-pickers or other implements if you have them.
The Canal Clean Up is a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the wonderful resource that the canal provides, and do something for our community in Dublin West.
I hope to see you there.
Fingal County Council are currently undertaking a public consultation on the use of the Royal Canal – the Royal Canal Green Way Study. The study is being undertaken to examine a range of potential uses of the Royal Canal covering amenity, environment and use as a cycleway.
The closing date for submissions is 25th May.
This study gives Dublin 15 residents an opportunity to have a say on how we want to see the Royal Canal used over the next years. The Canal is a significant resource, be it for walking, cycling or fishing. The opening up of the entire Canal to cruisers means that it now also has tourism potential, which should be encouraged.
Like any ecosystem, the Canal has a delicate balance and it is up to us to choose where this balance lies. The Canal pathway could be successfully used for transport, by upgrading it to a cycleway. However, this might reduce its potential use for walking and have some environmental effect. Decisions taken now will have a long term impact, which is why it is important that there is substantial public input into the study.
Full details on how to make a submission are included in the link above. If you don’t have time to make a full submission yourself, get in touch with me and I can include your views in the submission from the Dublin West Green Party.
There was some good news on the jobs front on Friday with the publication of a report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) showing that thousands of jobs had been created since 2009 through energy saving schemes. The report demonstrates the success of the initiative Eamon Ryan took in creating these energy saving schemes when he was Minister for Energy.
The report shows that over 6,000 jobs have been created through the Home Energy Savings Scheme and the Small & Medium Enterprise Programme. It demonstrates that the individual energy saving measures have resulted in householders saving an average of €450. Since the schemes were introduced in 2009, over 100,000 homes have upgraded insulation, boilers or heating controls. Almost 1,500 SMEs have received advice on how to reduce their energy costs. The measures have also resulted in significant cuts in carbon emissions where they have been applied.
The challenge now is to ensure that these successes are carried forward. As the report itself demonstrates, the schemes save much more than they cost. For every €1 spent by SEAI, there is a net €5 benefit to society”.
The Green Party has always argued that changing how we use energy can be good for the economy, the consumer and the environment. This report shows that measures we took in government are creating jobs, saving money and reducing emissions. Now it’s up to the current Government to commit to sustaining this green jobs success story. If I’m elected as the new TD for Dublin West, I will use my position to ensure that energy efficiency programmes are strengthened.