Monthly Archive for November, 2008

Success! Mayor of Fingal agrees to reconvene Liffey Valley Advisory Committee

Good news.

Further to my request to the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Michael O’Donovan last week, calling on him to reconvene the Liffey Valley Advisory Committee which hasn’t met for the last 5 Years! (see here), the Mayor has emailed me and stated that he hopes to hold a meeting of the Committee in January.

Im delighted about this because, as I said in my press release, there are a range of important issues that have to be addressed about the Liffey Valley area (flooding in Strawberry Beds, possible Metro West bridge, extending the SAAO) and I think these need to be tackled on a cross county basis.

I look forward to hearing about the issues that the Committee will be addressing at its January meeting – maybe they might even be able to find the minutes from their last meeting in 2003 which are still missing!!

Text of Mayor of Fingals reply to me:

Roderic, a chara

Your point is well made.

However, I can assure you that we are still making progress on the Fingal side of the Valley.

We have, in the Development Plan, managed to maintain the Green Belt zoning on lands on the shoulder of the Liffey Valley and, of course, the SAAO remains in place in the core Valley area.

I have recently visited the Lucan Demesne/St. Catherine’s Park site and I’m happy that this parkland is developing well as a place for passive and active recreation. Fingal has invested €8 million there so far, and I’m confident we will preserve the wildlife areas there as well as developing sports fields on the lands.

We also have a plan to refurbish the old Metal Footbridge, although I’m not sure if funding is in place.

There is, of course, much more to be done, and it is important that we co-ordinate our efforts.

In the next week, I hope to bring officials and Councillors from the three local authorities together for a think-tank and to convene the Liffey Valley Committee in January.

We have good plans, including the development of the Shakleton Mills (now in Fingal ownership) as an interpretative centre for the Valley. We do, however, need OPW funding if we are to get the job done.

Perhaps you could prevail on your senior colleague John Gormley to release funding for the Liffey Valley National Park project. (This year, Fingal has been cut by 7% in our finance from the Government!).

I believe one of the reasons the Liffey Valley Committee meets so rarely is because so little funding is available for the Valley, even though we have the plans.

Le meas,

Cllr Michael O’Donovan

New law will make landlords responsible for the maintenance of their properties

I’m very pleased to see that this afternoon, John Gormley introduced new laws regarding the standard of rental accommodation. A really important aspect of these new rules is that they clarify that landlords are responsible for all the outside of their properties such as the garden and common areas.

This is an issue that I have raised with John on a number of occasions. On many of the streets I have called to when out canvassing, you can immediately see the houses that are being rented because they are unpainted, have overgrown gardens or have gutters etc hanging off the walls. This can be really dispiriting for neighbours in these estates who take time to look after their properties. Up to know, the law has been unclear as to whether it is the landlord or tenant who has responsibility for upkeep.

Many people who I have spoken to have asked me whether there is anything that can be done about this problem.

I am delighted to see that John Gormley is bringing in this change in the law which force landlords to take care of the properties from which they are making money. I think it is only fair.

The new standards will commence from 1 February 2009 for all new properties, while existing properties will have a four year phasing in period to allow for upgrade works. Fines for non compliance will be increased from €3,000 to €5,000 and daily penalties for non-compliance after conviction will increase from €250 to €400.

Local authorities will also be given the power to prohibit a dwelling from being let out until it is in compliance with the standards. This means that the new rules will have real teeth.

Theses new standards will also significantly improve conditions for those who rent by setting out strict criteria to improve the standard of all rented accommodation. There will be a ban on the sharing of toilet or washing facilities between different rental units, a requirement for central heating or an equivalent, and further, modern standards for food preparation, laundry, lighting and fire safety.

Standards for rented accommodation haven’t actually been altered since 1993, so these changes are long overdue, particularly when you consider that the renting culture is much stronger in Ireland now than it was 15 years ago.

This new law is another example of the real changes that the Green Party are introducing in Government which will improve peoples quality of life.

Press Release – O’Gorman demands that Liffey Valley Advisory Committee meet

13/11/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on the Mayor of Fingal County Council to swiftly convene a meeting of the Joint Fingal and South Dublin Liffey Valley Management Advisory Committee. O’Gorman made the call after the County Manager confirmed in a reply to Green Party councillor that the committee has only met 6 times since its formation in 1995 and has not met for the last 5 years.

“I have written to the Mayor of Fingal and called on him to rapidly convene a meeting of the Joint Fingal and South Dublin Liffey Valley Management Advisory Committee. I recently had a question asked at a Fingal CC meeting about how often this committee meets. When the County Manager replied, I was shocked to discover that this committee has only met 6 times since it was first established back in 1995. Indeed, the last time the committee met was in 2003. This means that the Committee hasn’t met once during the lifetime of the current Fingal County Council, which was elected in 2004”.

“The Liffey Valley is a huge natural resource for Fingal – particularly for those of us living in the Dublin 15 area. I would have thought it was plainly obvious that Fingal councillors should be working with members of South Dublin County Council on issues of joint concern relating to the management of the valley area. Why else was this committee set up in the first place?”

In answer to a question put on behalf of Roderic O’Gorman, Cllr Robbie Kelly, a Green councillor from Malahide, the Manager reported that the first meeting of the Liffey Valley Advisory Committee was held on 1st March, 1995 and that subsequent meetings were held on 9th January, 1996, 21st June, 1996, 6th June 2001, 22nd January 2002. The most recent meeting was held on 31st March, 2003.

“Not only has the committee hardly met at all, but the Manager also reported that he was unable to locate minutes for the few meetings it did have. Has the benefit of any work the committee actually achieved in its very few meetings now been lost”, asked Roderic O’Gorman.

“I can think of a range of issues that the committee could be dealing with. The possible extension of the Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO) to the south side of the valley, the impact of the Metro West crossing on the valley, recent severe flooding suffered in the Strawberry Beds area”.

“Further, I think the Liffey Valley Advisory Committee should be working to progress the Towards a Liffey Valley Park strategy document which was drawn up on the behalf of the Office of Public Works, after public consultations. This was a very wide ranging document looking at how the maximum public benefit could be obtained from the Liffey Valley in areas such as recreation and tourism, with the eventual aim of creating a Liffey Valley national park. I’d like to see Fingal County Council becoming the driving force behind this strategy and working with South Dublin CC to achieve its objectives”.

“If I am successful in the local elections in June next year, one of the first things I will commit to doing as a councillor for the Castleknock and Blanchardstown areas is to quickly seek to have the Liffey Valley Advisory Committee reconvened and meet on a regular basis. It’s vital that Fingal County Council is leading the fight to preserve the Liffey Valley and enhance its use as an amenity for people in Dublin 15”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Editors Note – Text of response to question from Cllr Robbie Kelly (Green Party)

Fingal County Council

13th OCTOBER, 2008

ITEM NO. 18

JOINT FINGAL AND SOUTH DUBLIN LIFFEY VALLEY MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

QUESTION: Councillor R. Kelly

“To ask the Manager when did the last meeting of the Joint Fingal and South Dublin Liffey Valley Management Advisory Committee take place, when is the next meeting of the Advisory Committee scheduled to take place, how many times has it met since its formation and are minutes of its meeting available?”

REPLY:

The last meeting of the Joint Fingal and South Dublin Liffey Valley Management Advisory Committee took place on 31st March, 2003.

The Inaugural Meeting was held on 1st March, 1995 and meetings were held on 9th January, 1996, 21st June, 1996, 6th June 2001, 22nd January 2002.

No future schedule of meetings has been arranged.
Minutes of the meetings are being sourced and will be made available as soon as possible.

Press Release – Construction work starts on Clonsilla – Dunboyne rail line – O’Gorman

12/11/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the announcement by CIE that it is commencing work on the Dunboyne – Clonsilla rail line. This section of railway, which will eventually be extended all the way to Navan, is expected to be operational by 2010.
“I’m very pleased to see Iarnrod Eireann breaking ground on this really important piece of infrastructure. This new line will lead to an increase in the number of services for Clonsilla, Coolmine, Castleknock and Phoenix Park stations. The service will start running every half an hour at peak times and hourly at off-peak. The peak times will eventually increase to every 15 minutes”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“The new train service from Dunboyne will all terminate in Docklands Station. The new Luas line C is currently being extended to Docklands with much of the track already laid. This will mean that those using the new Dunboyne service will be able to connect to Connolly and continue on the Red Luas line into the city. This will significantly increase the interconnectivity of the public transport links for the west of the city”.
“Recent reports by the Environmental Protection Agency have shown that Irelands carbon emissions from transport – mainly private cars – have continued to increase. It is vital that the Government continue to invest in major public transport projects such as this, both from the point of view of the environment but also so as to provide commuters with a convenient and cost effective alternative to their car”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends
Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
www.rodericogorman.com

Press Release – O’Gorman calls on VEC to clarify steps for establishment of Luttrellstown Community College

09/11/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has written to the CEO of the County Dublin Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) and asked him to clarify the next steps to be undertaken in order to establish the new Luttrellstown Community College. He has also called on the VEC CEO, Pat O’Conner, to rapidly meet with members of the Castleknock Schools Group to begin the establishment process.

“I have written to Pat O’Conner, the CEO of the County Dublin VEC asking him to clarify what will be the next steps in the process to establish the new Luttrellstown Community College. While everyone in the area are delighted that the Department of Education has confirmed that the school will be established, people want to see the VEC getting involved in the project as quickly as possible. While many parents in the area have been involved in setting up primary schools previously, this is the first secondary school established in the area in over 10 years. As such, guidance from the VEC as to what comes next in the process would be really useful”, stated Roderic O’Gorman

“I have also urged Pat O’Conner to quickly meet with the Castleknock Schools Group. This committee invested a huge amount of work in negotiating a document that the various primary schools signed up to and I feel it will have an extremely useful input to the process of setting up Luttrellstown Community College as it moves forward”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777

Press Release – Greens make submissions on Noise control – O’Gorman

01/11/08

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on the Department for the Environment, to create a new position of Noise Control Officer in each local authority, to deal with nuisance noise. The proposals form part of the Dublin West Green Party submission on the review of noise legislation, being undertaken by the Department of Environment.

“I’m delighted that John Gormley is acting on our commitment in the Programme for Government to tackle the problem of nuisance noise. Complaints about noise pollution is something that crops up regularly on the doorsteps, whether it’s house alarms going off for days at a time, noisy neighbours holding late night parties or disturbance from building works”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Our core suggestion would be the creation of a Noise Control Officer in each local authority area. Extensive powers granted to the Noise Control Officer (NCO) in order to allow him/her undertake the role. Rather than the current situation, where a wide range of different bodies have power to sanction various individual types of noise pollution, the Noise Control Officer would be able to deal with all complaints”.

“The NCO would be given the power to issue warnings and/or on the spot fines to those found to be in breach of noise control regulations. In the event of a warning being ignored, the NCO would be given the power to confiscate equipment that was creating the disturbance”.

“Another area we have made proposals in relation to is noise from construction work. Over the last 10 years, huge amounts of noise pollution have been caused by the large amount of building that was undertaken across Dublin 15. Currently, there is virtually no control over noise emanating from construction work”.

“We would propose regulations setting out general hours when building work is permitted without restrictions. Construction work outside of these hours will require an authorization from the local authority – this could be given as part of the planning process or could be applied for separately. Those adversely affected by the out of hours construction work noise would have to right to comment or object to the application. This provision should also apply to state or local authority construction work”.

“We also made proposals relating to noise from house alarms and car alarms”.

“I look forward to Minister Gormley reviewing the various submissions and quickly bringing forward proposals for legislation dealing with this area”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777

Press Release – O’Gorman calls on Minister for Education to swiftly obtain a permanent site for Luttrellstown Community College

response-o-keefe-kellystown-secondary-school

01/11/08
Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on the Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe to quickly obtain a permanent site for the newly sanctioned Luttrellstown Community College.

“Like everyone else, I’m delighted that the Department of Education has confirmed that it has sanctioned a new secondary school for the Carpenterstown area. This new school, to be called Luttrellstown Community College, will be run by the VEC”.

“I have been in communication with the Minister for Education to urge him to swiftly obtain a permanent site for this school. With the decrease in land prices, I think it is vital that Fingal County Council and the Department move quickly to obtain a permanent site on the Kellystown lands. While we have just undergone a very tough budget, there was significant increase in funding for school building projects and Luttrellstown CC is an ideal candidate”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“While the Minister, in his responses to me, makes the point that he cannot divulge commercial information during the procurement process, it is vital that parents are assured that the Department will act quickly to develop the new school and that students will not be left in pre-fabs for years”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777