Some progress on dangerous scrambler bikes

Cllr Roderic O’Gorman and Neasa Hourigan have been working to highlight the need to bring in new laws to help the Gardai tackle dangerous driving of scrambler bikes

Myself and my colleague Neasa Hourigan (Green Party rep in Cabra-Glasnevin) have been highlighting the dangers caused by recklessly driven scrambler bikes. It has become a significant issue in Dublin 7 and Dublin 15, with the Royal Canal Towpath, Tolka Valley Park, Pelletstown, Clonsilla and Blakestown all impacted.

Over the summer, the Green Party raised the issue with the Minister for Transport in the Dail, who had stated at the time that “no deficiencies have been identified in road traffic legislation regarding the use of such vehicles in a public place”!! We were pretty surprised to see this response, as from our engagement with Community Gardaí and with Council officials in both Fingal and Dublin City, it is clear that the current laws do not give the Gardaí the appropriate powers, particularly if the scramblers are being driven by someone under the age of 16.

Reports in the papers today suggest that the Minister for Justice is now consulting with the Attorney General about what changes need to be made to legislation to deal with this problem. Finally, we are seeing some progress.

A key weakness for the Gardaí is that their power to enter private property and seize scramblers that they know are being driven dangerously is very limited. One option is to amend or mirror Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, to give Gardaí some seizure powers on private property.

Public open spaces like the Royal Canal towpath and the Tolka Valley Park, and residential areas like Pelletstown and Clonsilla, are being badly impacted by the dangerous use of scramblers. There is absolutely no issue when scramblers are used safely, but a number of recent serious incidents and many more near misses show that the Government needs to act and amend the law in this area.

Royal Canal Greenway Update

Coolmine bridge, part of the route of the Royal Canal Greenway

Since I got elected to the Council, I’ve been working to progress the Royal Canal Greenway between the 12th Lock and Fingal’s border with Kildare County Council.

I had a motion about it at Thursday’s local area committee meeting and the Executive also provided an update on the process. The written report to my motion is attached and there is a link here  to the section of the meeting on the webcast.

The video is worth watching as it gives us a clear indication of where we are on the process.

DBFL Engineers have been appointed to design the route. You can find out more about the firm here, but they have a track record delivering some really big developments like the new Criminal Courts of Justice, Kilmainham Jail and the Phibblestown education campus in Dublin 15 where Pobail Setanta and Scoil Grainne are located.

DPFL will do a design, which will go out for a public consultation, probably some point late this year. Then, assuming that capital funding has been provided (looking at you Shane Ross!), the design goes through the planning process.

As this project evolves, I’ll be working hard to ensure that it is delivered, but in a way that is respectful to the delicate and unique environment along the Canal, particularly the Deep Sinking section.

If you’ve any questions, get in touch.

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.

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.

Flood Risk Management Plan for Strawberry Beds / Liffey Valley

 

On Wednesday, I attended a briefing for local councillors regarding the OPW Preliminary Flood Risk Management Options document for the Strawberry Beds.

This document highlights 8 flood risk areas along the River Liffey between Lucan and Chapelizod, and sets out potential alleviation measures for each area, along with costings. In most of the areas, the preferred option is the construction of a flood wall.

The document is solely in draft stage at the moment, which is why the public consultation process is being run. Once the final strategy has been determined, the document will be published.

If you have any queries on this, please get in touch.

Dublin West Green Party holds successful Royal Canal Clean-Up

Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up
Volunteers with some of the rubbish collected on the annual Dublin West Green Party Royal Canal Clean-Up

I want to thank all the volunteers who were out with us this evening for our Annual Royal Canal Clean-Up. We worked a stretch of the Canal between the 12th Lock and Coolmine Train Station, picking up cans, glass, plastic bottles and other rubbish. We got a significant amount of waste collected, which Fingal County Council is now going to dispose of.

What is particularly positive is that, in the eight years we have been doing this, I’ve never seen the canal bank so lightly littered. There was significantly less waste this year than on previous occasions. This is a good sign and suggests people are valuing the Canal more

The Royal Canal continues to be a significant amenity for Dublin 15 residents and a potential tourist attraction for visitors interested in walking or cycling holidays. In the context of the new Fingal County Development Plan, I’m going to continue to work to ensure that it is protected for everyone’s enjoyment.