Green Party Dublin 15 spokesperson, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the extension of the ‘social-inclusion unit programme’ to Fingal County Council. The decision to include Fingal as one of nine new local authorities being funded for such units was made by the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley TD.
“I’m delighted that Fingal County Council will now be resourced with a ‘social inclusion unit’. As the fastest growing local authority in the entire state, it is vital that we receive all the support we can to deal with difficulties that arise from a large and diverse population. While Fingal has been successful in many aspects, there are still significant instances of poverty and exclusion that must be tackled”.
“This new unit will allow Fingal County Council perform tasks such as devise policies for social inclusion, ensure that individual departments within the Council are working towards this goal and raise awareness of the need for social inclusion at all levels within the Council. Each social inclusion unit is regarded as a key component in the operation of the National Anti-Poverty Strategy”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
I’d just like to take this oppertunity to congratulate John Gormley on his election as Party Leader.
I’ve worked closely with John over many years and I’ve seen at first hand his dedication to public service and environmental causes. As Minister for the Environment, John has key responsibility for areas that are of major concern to residents in Dublin 15 such as changing planning laws to ensure land is made available for schools, drawing up laws to deal with the rip-off of management companies and financing initiatives to keep our community clean. I look forward to him visiting Dublin 15 soon and learning from the experience of residents here on these and other matters.
On a national and international level, John’s position as Minister for the Environment will involve him tackling the huge problem posed by Ireland’s major emissions of carbon dioxide. Fighting climate change is the key priority for the Green Party and the main reason why we decided to enter Government. I’m looking forward to the creation of a Climate Change Commission to give the country guidance in facing this massive challenge.
I’d also like to pay tribute to the runner up in the leadership contest, Patricia McKenna. Patricia ran a very strong campaign and her high vote is a mark of respect from party members for the great work she has done nationally and as MEP for Dublin over 10 years. We are lucky in the Green Party to have such a fine choice when it comes to leadership candidates.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) has launched what is described as its ‘Emerging Preferred Route’ for Metro West (5th July Press Release).
This plan is the result of the first round of public consultation that occured in early 2007.
I am very glad that the possible location of a depot for the Metro on the pitches at Porterstown Park has been dropped from the latest plan. I joined hundreds of local residents in requesting that the RPA reconsider this proposal. Building a depot there would have resulted in the loss of an important community amenity – one that locals in the Carpenterstown and Castleknock area had to fight hard for. At the same time, we must continue to lobby to ensure that the Metro line itself is kept outside the Park as much a possible and does not result in the loss of pitches.
I’m also glad to see that the proposal to construct a Park & Ride facility at the new Porterstown Station has not been retained. Such a scheme would have been completely unworkable – traffic is bad enough in the Clonsilla – Diswellstown area at the moment without having hundreds of extra cars coming in every day from West Dublin and East Meath to park here.
However, there are a few negatives to the new document.
I was disappointed to see that the RPA has decided to pick the route going by the National Aquatic Centre, rather than the route that would have facilitated the Institute of Technology and the Blanchardstown Corporate Park. I think this second route would have been more useful as it would have served a major educational and employment centre in Dublin 15, along with residential estates in Castlecurragh and Corduff.
I’d also have some concerns about the direction the Metro will be taking through the Millennium Park and the possible impact on the Verona Sports pitches.
Looking at the plan in its entirety, Metro West definitely has the potential to massively improve quality of life for residents of Dublin 15 by providing us with links to public transport across the city. It’s for our own benefit, so it’s important that we get involved in shaping how it is planned. Over the next few months, there will be further public consultations on the design of the project. I urge everyone in Dublin 15 with an interest in where the Metro route goes to get involved in the process.
Two interesting articles in the Irish Times on Friday.
The first was the announcement by Dublin Bus that from next week, increased stretches of the quays in Dublin City Centre will be dedicated as Quality Bus Corridors (QBC’s). The improvements will occur on Ellis Quay, Aran Quay, Parkgate Street and St. John’s Road West.
I’m really delighted that extra road space is being dedicated to QBC’s in these traffic black-spots. The Blanchardstown QBC is one of the few in the entire city that hasn’t seen improvement in bus journey times. During the election campaign I was regularly using the 37 and 39 routes and I know exactly how long it takes to get up or down the quays during rush-hour. The 15-20 minute reduction in journey times that Dublin Bus predict will result from the new QBC’s will be of great benefit to thousands of bus commuters in Dublin 15. The next step has to be to target the Stoneybatter/Manor Street area, which also suffers major delays.
The other article was the coverage of new Census 2006 information released by the Central Statistics Office. They reveal a continued increase in the number of people commuting to work via car – up 2% to 57%. This is matched by a decline in the number of people commuting by bus from 6.7% to 6.1% and a fall in the number of people walking to work from 11.4% to 10.9% over the same period. Only 1.9% of workers cycle to their job.
Over the 5 years of the new government, it must be a priority to give people, whether the live in the city, suburban or rural areas, a real choice to use alternatives to the car. Not only is this an environmental necessity – transport being the fastest growing cause of CO2 emissions, there is also an economic need to move away from dependence on fossil fuel powered cars. The Future Shock programme on RTE a few weeks ago highlighted our absolute dependence on oil in this country. There’s no longer any argument but that it is running out. I’ve no doubt that dealing with both the environmental and economic consequences of our addiction to oil will be one of the top priorities of our new Minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan.