Monthly Archive for February, 2009

Fingal CC request for additional information on Diswellstown development welcome

Vacant site in front of St. Patricks NS, Diswellstown

Vacant site in front of St. Patricks NS, Diswellstown

I’m very pleased to see that Fingal County Council has submitted a very detailed request for additional information on the proposed development of 538 new residential units on a site behind St. Patricks National School in Diswellstow.

Additional information is being sought from the developers on twelve different grounds, focusing on many of the concerns that I and other residents raised in our objections to the development. The request for additional information can be seen on the PDF files linked at the bottom of this post.

The Council has highlighted the hugely inappropriate density of the development in an area which is not well served with public transport and called for the number of apartments to be reduced.

I’m particularly pleased to see that the Council has highlighted the limited capacity of local primary schools, including St. Patricks NS, to provide spaces for future residents of the development. This was an issue I raised in my own submission and one which now must be taken into account by local authorities due to recent changes in the Planning Guidelines by John Gormley, the Minister for Environment. As such, the Council has proposed that the vacant site in front of St. Patricks would be given over by the developer to the school.

The Council also highlighted my concern over the risks posed by having the development share its entrance with St Patricks NS through the roundabout on the Diswellstown Road. In order to address this, the Council have proposed that a set down area for pupils of the school could be constructed on the site in front of the school.

One negative aspect of the Councils call for further information is their request that the developer provide even more car-parking spaces for the commercial centre, on top of the 909 parking spaces already proposed. This can only serve to bring more traffic into the already congested Diswellstown area.

Obviously, I need to see what response the developer makes to this call for additional information. However I still remain very sceptical about the overall appropriateness of the development and its impact on existing residents of the area.

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Footpath at Castleknock Station needs to be widened

Narrow Foothpath at Granard Bridge - Blanchardstown

Narrow Foothpath at Granard Bridge - Blanchardstown

As someone who lives in Blanchardstown and gets the train from Castleknock every day, I think the footpath leading from the junction of the Roselawn Road and the Castleknock Road up the humpback bridge to the station is far too narrow. Obviously this is an extremely busy area for pedestrians, with commuters from Blanchardstown going to and from Castleknock Station.

In reality, there is only enough space for one person to walk on this section of the footpath. When two people meet, one is forced out onto the road in order to pass. Obviously, this creates a major danger for pedestrians and also for passing cars and cyclists. Added to this, visibility at this point is limited due to extremely bad lighting and the fact that cars and bicycles often cross the crest of the humpback bridge quickly.

I think it’s really important that Fingal County Council investigate means of improving safety at what is a very busy stretch of footpath. I was looking up the minutes of old Fingal County Council meetings and this issue was raised as far back as 2002. It’s time the Council took action to remedy a dangerous situation.

Spending limits will prevent big money buying influence in local government

I’m delighted to see that John Gormley has introduced spending limits for local election candidates. This is the first time we have ever had a cap on spending for a local election campaign and these limits are evidence of the efforts by the Green Party to keep big money out of politics. The Tribunals have shown the corrosive influence of money on politics and related decisions on planning – something we in Dublin 15 know all too well. These new spending limits will ensure that no one can buy influence in local government.

After the last local election in 2004, the Community Voice newspaper compared the spending of the different candidates in the Castleknock ward for the 4 weeks of the campaign. My total spend on that occasion was €900. One of my opponents declared spending a whopping €20,000.

This time around, the absolute maximum any candidate will be allowed spend in the Castleknock ward is €15,000. This figure applies during the 60 days running up to polling day, twice the length of time the spending restrictions apply during a general election campaign.

I think bringing in these spending limits can only enhance the quality of the campaign we will have across Castleknock and Blanchardstown. Too often, wealthy candidates feel they can buy up ads on bus shelters or pay to blanket drop glossy brochures. With these new restrictions, I think we will see this campaign fought more on the doorsteps. As someone who has been knocking on doors since last April, I obviously welcome a campaign which relies on interaction with the voters, rather than the American style ‘glamour campaigns’ that we have seen in Dublin 15 in recent elections.

Another item of interest in the area of electoral reform is the study on the establishment of an Electoral Commission for Ireland.
This is another aspect of the Green Party’s plans to completely overhall how elections are run in Ireland and to make it more transparent and independent.

Two interesting reports on Transport

The Department of Transport have published two intersesting documents on transport.

The first is Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future.
This sets out the Governments plan to reduce congestion, cut CO2 emissions and help car based commuters to leave their cars at home.

The second is the Deloitte efficiency review of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.

This report highlights some of the major problems with Dublin Bus such as the lack of real time information and a number of buses arriving at the same time.

Proposal to remove one-way system and introduce two-way traffic at Clonsilla Road

Fingal County Council are proposing to end the current one-way system on the Clonsilla Road between Blanchardstown Road South and Porters Road/St. Mochtas Estate.

These works will involve the removal of the existing bollards and build-outs, construction of a new road surface and footpath and some road widening.

There will also be a new signalised junction and pedestrian crossing at the junction of the Clonsilla Road, the Porters Road and St. Mochtas Estate.

The proposals can be viewed at the Fingal County Council offices at the Blanchardstown Centre. They can also be viewed on the Fingal County Council website here.

If you have any comments that you wish to make on this proposal, dealing with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area in which the development would be situated, they must be made in writing to:

Tommie Mc Manus, Administrative Officer, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

Submissions must be delivered by 4.30pm on Tuesday 31st March, 2009.

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for Blanchardstown residents to get involved in Village Development Strategy

Roderic O'Gorman at River Tolka, Blanchardstown

Roderic O'Gorman at River Tolka, Blanchardstown

16/02/09

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed Fingal County Council’s call for public submissions regarding the proposed Blanchardstown Village Development Strategy and has urged residents of the village to get involved in the process.

“I’m very pleased to see the Fingal County Council has taken out ads in local papers, calling on residents of Blanchardstown to make submissions on the ‘Village Development Strategy’ it is drawing up. While we have seen extensive development of the Blanchardstown Town Center over the last few years, the Village itself has been neglected to a certain extent. It’s good to see the Council is now devising a plan which I hope will lead to the regeneration of the village, but also the preservation of its character”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Some of the key aspects the Council is focusing on include the creation of safe pedestrian and cycle routes, gaining maximum benefit from the Tolka river and also protecting the historical features of the village”.

“Since the Development Strategy will be addressing the issue of ‘infill’ sites in the village, I think that those making submissions should include their views on what is the appropriate height of buildings in a village setting. Some of the land in the village could in the future be used for high-rise offices or apartments. If residents want to ensure this does not happen, they must make their views clear in their submission”.

“I think the Development Strategy should also examine whether there is space to provide more facilities for young people. In particular, I would like to see the Council investigate the possibility of create a Youth Café within the village”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
High resolution pictures of Roderic are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodericogorman/

Press Release – O’Gorman criticises Iarnrod Eireann’ inaction on Customer Information screens

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has criticised Iarnrod Eireann for its continued failure to implement ‘Customer Information Screens’ on the Maynooth line stations such as Castleknock, Coolmine and Clonsilla.

“I’m regularly asked by commuters in Dublin 15 why the screens in Castleknock, Coolmine and Clonsilla stations don’t work. I’ve contacted Barry Kenny, the Communications Manager for Iarnrod Eireann on this issue. He informs me that while the hardware for the screens was ordered a number of years ago at the same time that screens were ordered for the DART, it will not be installed until the signalling upgrade for the entire Maynooth line is undertaken”.

“I find this excuse unconvincing. It would appear that Iarnrod Eireann have had the necessary hardware for the last few years. It’s ridiculous that the company cannot manage to achieve something as basic as working information screens. During the recent cold spell, trains were regularly delayed and the loudspeaker system proved itself inadequate as its volume is very low and if there is any noise at the station – for example a train on the other line – it is practically inaudible”.

“I’m urging Iarnrod Eireann to act swiftly to install the Customer Information Screens so commuters can be fully informed about train arrivals and delays”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
High resolution pictures of Roderic are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodericogorman/

Press Release – Home Energy Saving Scheme will create jobs, fight climate change and save householders money – O’Gorman

08/02/09

Green Party Castleknock ward candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has warmly welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan of a major new Home Energy Saving Scheme.

“The new Home Energy Saving Scheme is a major initiative pursued by the Green Party which will create jobs in the building sector, help Ireland reduce its carbon emissions and save householders up to €700 per year”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“€100 million is being made available by the Minister for Energy in 2009 for people to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes through alterations such as roof or wall insulation, efficient boilers or room control heating systems. The money will be divided into two schemes, one directed at private homes and a second directed at local authority rented accommodation or private homes with low incomes (Warmer Homes Scheme). Grants from the Home Energy Saving Scheme will be available to householders from March, but those interested in availing of them can register with Sustainable Energy Ireland immediately”.

“In the current economic crisis, this new scheme makes real sense. Energy efficiency has a huge potential for our economy, and better insulation will lead to warmer and more comfortable homes, lower gas and electricity bills and many more jobs in our communities. There is also the major benefit that this scheme will allow us take a step to reducing our carbon emissions to meet our commitments under the Kyoto Protocol”.

“I would urge anyone interested in this scheme to look up the Sustainable Energy Website and register their interest in the grants now”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
See www.sei.ie

High resolution pictures of Roderic are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodericogorman/

Editors Note: measures and the fixed grant rate

Roof Insulation: €250
Cavity Wall Insulation: €400
Internal Wall Insulation: €2,500
External Wall Insulation: €4,000
High Efficiency Boiler with Heating Controls Upgrade: €700
Heating Controls Upgrade Only: €500
Building Energy Rating Assessment: €200