Tag Archive for 'fingal'

Cuts to council expenses at national level are welcome

 

I am very pleased that the Minister for the Environment John Gormley TD has acted to put a cap on the amount of money being spent on trips abroad by councillors across the country. Recent freedom of Information requests and figures obtained by the Department of the Environment show extremely high amounts being claimed by certain local authorities.


For example, county councillors claimed on average €6,769, with the highest claim being on Longford County Council where the elected reps were claiming a whopping €12,333 average [see press release below]


In Fingal, the Sunday Tribune recently discovered that just over €52,000 was spent by councillors – at that time the highest figure in the country – on 40 trips.


While no doubt some of these trips have value, at a time when the Council is cutting back on vital services, surely the first reductions should be in the area of travel expenses for conferences? A number of local authorities were not making the necessary reductions, which is why John Gormley has taken this action.


The high level of claims being made for so many conferences raises the wider question of the need to reform the huge range of committees and policy groups that spring up around councils. The directly elected Mayor of Dublin, combined with the proposals contained in the soon to be published White Paper on Local Government, will bring us closer to a slimmed down and more effective system of local government in this country.

 

 

Expenditure by Councillors on Conferences

The maximum limits are –

·      Counties and cities – €4,700

·      Boroughs and certain large towns that were formerly UDCs – €3,000

·     Towns that were formerly UDCs and certain large former town commissioners – €2,000

·      Towns that were formerly town commissioners – €1,000

Where the expenditure of a local authority is currently below the maximum limit, any increase in expenditure will be prohibited.

The limits will be imposed by way of Regulations made by the Minister.

 

Councillors’ travel and subsistence rates, in keeping with all public servants, were reduced by 25% in early 2009. This cut will in itself reduce the cost to local authorities of sending Councillors to conferences.

General guidance stresses:  

·         That the limits are maxima, i.e. local authorities will be encouraged to adopt the utmost care and prudence in providing for and incurring expenditure, particularly in the current difficult budgetary and economic circumstances 

·         While the limits are not to be interpreted as giving each councillor an individual entitlement to expenditure up to that average amount.  

·         The general need for a greater level of discretion, oversight and control to be applied by local authorities to expenditure on attendance at conferences and seminars. This would cover the points raised by the Associations in their submission, including –  

§  the choice of events to be attended 

§  increased focus on the use of the allocation for education and training type activities as opposed to conferences and seminars

§  proper practice by councillors in relation to attendance at events 

§  the strict adherence by councillors to their requirement to report back to their council following events.

 

Details for each type of local authority

County Councils

Position in 2009 Budget

Average expenditure per councillor – €6,769, ranging from €3,588 (Kilkenny) to €12,333 (Longford), and with two other local authorities having an average in excess of €10,000, i.e. Carlow and Cork 

City Councils

Average expenditure per councillor – €5,454, the range being from €2,780 (Dublin) to €12,558 (Limerick) 

Data received from all 5 city councils

City Councils 

Average per councillor – 2009 (€)

Cork

7,061

Dublin

2,780

Galway

4,467

Limerick

12,558

Waterford

4,333

County/City Councils combined

Average expenditure per councillor – €6,576

Boroughs and certain large towns (former UDCs)

Average expenditure per councillor – €4,591, the range being from €1,700 (Kilkenny) to €9,964 (Sligo).

Data received from all 5 boroughs                                                                                                                                                                                   

Borough Councils

Average per councillor – 2009 (€)

Clonmel

4,833

Drogheda

2,416

Kilkenny

1,700

Sligo

9,964

Wexford

4,042

 

Towns (former UDCs)

Average expenditure per councillor – €3,288, ranging from €89 (Trim) to €13,333 (Longford).   The other town councils exceeding €5,000 are Carlow (€6,433), Letterkenny (€7,500) and Mallow (€6,944).

It is suggested that this limit would also apply to the town councils (former town commissioners) of Droichead Nua (average expenditure per councillor in 2009 – €1,432), Greystones (€674), Leixlip (€556), Portlaoise (€111), Shannon (€1,056), and Balbriggan and Mullingar (data not available), to maintain consistency with the banding of towns used for the purposes of determining the Annual Expenses Allowances paid to councillors.

Town Councils (former Town Commissioners)

Data received from 13 of 26 towns, three key ones being as follows:  

Towns (former Town Commissioners)

Average per councillor – 2009 (€)

Droichead Nua

1,432

Greystones

674

Leixlip

556

For the remaining 10 former town commissions, the average provision per councillor is €626, the range being from €56 (Mountmellick) to €1,076 (Edenderry).

 

 

 

Fingal CC Development Plan meeting on Tuesday

You may know that Fingal County Council is currently beginning the process of reviewing the County Development Plan. The new Development Plan will last from 2011 – 2017.

 

The Council is beginning its public consultation process in the Dublin 15 area with a meeting in the Blanchardstown Crowne Plaza Hotel at 7:30 PM this Tuesday (19th).

 

The new Development Plan will have a huge influence on planning and all policies followed by Fingal County Council up to 2017. It’s hugely important that the residents of Dublin 15 get involved and have their say in this process.

 

Hope to see you at the meeting.

 

 

Register to Vote!

 

I’m calling on all   those residents of Dublin 15 who have not already registered to vote to do so by 18th May.

 

Registering to get onto the Supplemental Register is easy – just download the form (RAF2) from the Fingal County Council website, get is signed in a Garda station, and get it back to the Register of Electors in Fingal County Council by next Monday, the 18th May.

 

Anyone ordinarily resident in Dublin 15 and not registered elsewhere is entitled to register and vote in the Local Elections. This includes people who are not Irish citizens. Citizens of countries that are members of the EU will also be entitled to vote in the European Elections, held on the same day.

 

Fingal County Council deals with a range of issues, from planning in the Dublin 15 area, to the management of waste collection, the maintenance of roads and the upkeep of parks and green spaces. Voting in the Local Election allows you have your say in how you want to see your community develop. If you haven’t already registered, make sure you send off the form by the end of the week.

 

 

Kellystown Rezoning

As you may know, Fingal County Council is currently proposing a ‘Draft Variation of the County Development Plan’, otherwise known as a rezoning, of 59.5 hectares of land at Kellystown, Dublin 15.
This is an extensive proposal and I summarize the main aspects of it below. The full extent of the plan, including maps, are available for inspection at the Fingal County Council Offices at the Blanchardstown Centre, and also on the internet:
www.fingalcoco.ie/Planning/PlanningItemsOnDisplay/KellystownDublin15DraftVariation-ends5608/

This proposal is of major significance for the Dublin 15 area. The Dublin West Green Party will be making a submission on the proposal – I would be very interested in hearing your views. Please email me at rodericogorman@gmail.com

Should you wish to make your own submission on the proposal, you must do so before end of business on Thursday 5th June. Submissions can be made to Senior Executive Officer, Planning Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Swords, Co. Dublin or be emailed to devplan@fingalcoco.ie

All submissions must include your name, address and the name of any group or organisation you represent.

Key aspects of Kellystown Rezoning

Land to be rezoned

o 24.4 hectares to be rezoned from Green Belt to Residential
o 2.8 hectares to be rezoned from Open Space to Suburban Centre
o 32.2 hectares to be rezoned from Green Belt to Open Space

It is proposed to include a number of objectives for the rezoned lands as part of a Local Area Plan (LAP)

1. Create a pedestrian/cyclist bridge connection to enable access to the local facilities in Clonsilla village.
2. Create district level services and employment generating uses (shopping, commercial and office) centred on a high quality public transport interchange.
3. Create a new Public Park of minimum 10ha. in size. This park shall be linked to Porterstown Park, Luttrellstown Road and Beech Park by dedicated pedestrian and cyclist facilities.
4. Development of a linear pedestrian/cyclist link between Clonsilla and Porterstown Stations via open space lands.
5. Protect the rural character and setting of the Luttrellstown Road and enhance its use for pedestrians and cyclists.
6. Facilitate re-location of St Mochtas FC grounds to a new site adjoining the Luttrellstown Road.
7. Programme for development of a railway station to be included as part of the LAP.
8. Provide integrated school and community/recreational facilities which may be developed in advance of the LAP.
9. Prior to the occupation of any development within the Kellystown lands, essential infrastructure shall be completed and be operational.
10. To provide for a burial ground within the Kellystown area.

Before any residential developments are occupied, the following must be completed:

o New distributor road and bridge over the Royal Canal and railway
o Development of public open space of minimum 15 ha. at Beechpark
o Development of a 32 classroom primary school, 1000 pupil post primary school and integrated community recreational facilities at Porterstown Road

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for clarification from Fingal regarding the removal of abandoned cars

17th May 2008

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman, has urged Fingal County Council to provide clarification for the public regarding its powers and responsibilities in dealing with abandoned cars.

“I have recently been contacted by residents in the Dublin 15 area regarding the policy of Fingal County Council in relation to the removal of abandoned cars. The Council website currently advertises that it will remove abandoned cars from public property “subject to conditions”. However, one Carpenterstown resident I spoke to contacted the Council’s Environment Department regarding an abandoned car parked outside their house on the public road and were given conflicting and inaccurate advise on a number of occasions between early October and late December 2007 when the car was eventually removed”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“In light of the apparent confusion on the part of Council officials, I would make two suggestions. Firstly, the Council needs to clarify for itself the procedures that it must go through before it can remove an abandoned car (issues surrounding the responsibility of the Guards versus the Council, out of date tax and insurance, contacting the owner etc). Secondly, I would suggest that the Council amend its website and set out the procedures in full, so residents know and understand the situation”.

“I will be asking my Green Party colleagues on Fingal County Council to put these issues to the Environmental Department and the County Manager and I look forward to clarification on the situation”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Editors Note
The current information on removing abandoned cars can be found on Fingal County Councils website – www.fingalcoco.ie/EnvironmentAndWater/Litter/Litter/#Vehicle

Press Release – New land for allotments is welcome news for Dublin 15 growers – O’Gorman

02/05/08

Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed plans by Fingal County Council to set aside new land for allotments on the Powerstown Road, near Tyrrelstown.

“I welcome this move by Fingal County Council to provide new allotment space for Dublin 15 residents within the Dublin 15 area. The existing allotments in Cappoge have to be moved due to development in that area. Initially, the Council were proposing that allotment holders would be relocated as far away as The Naul, but thankfully a much more suitable local alternative has been found on Council property off the Powerstown Road, near Tyrrelstown”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Fingal County Council has a long waiting list for allotment spaces. Indeed, two years ago the Council took a decision to close the waiting list, but was forced to reopen it and engage in a search for new land as a result of a Green Party motion tabled by Cllr David Healy. On behalf of the Dublin West Green Party, I had suggested that some of the land around Abbotstown could be used as a site for allotments. However, the proposed Tyrrelstown site looks ample, with an initial 250 individual allotments and the possibility of up to 100 more if demand increases”.

“I see allotments as being important in areas like Dublin 15 where the huge growth in apartments means that many homeowners no longer have a garden to themselves. As such, allotments give them the opportunity to exercise their green fingers. However allotments also have a practical benefit in that those who grow their own food will be able to some extent to avoid the dramatic food inflation that has occurred over the last year”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – O’Gorman welcomes new allocation of funding for social housing in Fingal

02/05/08

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the allocation of €40 million for Fingal County Council from the National Housing Programme, overseen by the Department of the Environment.

“I’m very pleased to see €40 million has been allocated to the Fingal area for social housing, as part of the National Housing Programme 2008, overseen by the Department of the Environment. This sum includes € 8 million for voluntary housing initiatives and € 4 million for traveller specific accommodation”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“As regards improvements to existing social housing, Fingal has been granted € 1 million to improve central heating in existing social housing stock”.

The €40 million granted to Fingal is part of overall national spend of over €1.4 billion being allocated for new social housing, improving existing housing and regeneration schemes.

“While the slowdown in the economy has resulted in a decrease in house prices, the dream of owning a home is still out of many peoples reach. The scale of this €1.4 billion investment demonstrates the commitment of the Government to continue supplying new social housing units while at the same time improving and regenerating existing housing stock”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information

Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777
rodericogorman@gmail.com

Press Release – O’Gorman calls for repairs to Riverwood Playground

05/04/08

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman has called on Fingal County Council to undertake repairs to the swings in the playground at Riverwood, Dublin 15.

“Residents in the Riverwood area have contacted me to complain that the swings in the playground beside Riverwood Chase have been ripped down. I visited the playground and indeed the swings have been removed and other acts of minor vandalism have occurred”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“I have contacted Fingal County Council and raised the issue with them. They have informed me that they are currently awaiting delivery of a new set of swings and when these arrive, the repairs will be undertaken”.

“The Riverwood playground is one of a very small number of neighbourhood playgrounds in the D 15 area. It is vital that community facilities like this are maintained to the highest standard. I’m calling on Fingal County Council to act quickly to resolve this problem”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

Ends

Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777