Monday, March 31, 2008

Health Protests Continue

Every Saturday the Labour Party maintains a presence outside the A&E unit of the Mater Hospital to protest about conditions in the Health Service, particularly A&E unitls throughout the country. On Saturday 29th March, we commemorated the fifth anniversary of our protest , the same day as the massive monster public health march that brought over 5,000 on to the streets. The Party Leader, Eamon Gilmore TD, joined our protest at the Mater Hospital prior to joining the rally at Parnell Square
No matter how the HSE try to massage the figures the situation at A&E units throughout the country remains deplorable as seriously ill and often elderly people wait on chairs or if they are lucky enough on trolleys for hours and even days. The shortage of hospital beds combined with the embargo on recruitment are the main reasons for the scandalous condition.
There isn't one family in the country who hasn't been touched by the failure of the HSE to deliver a quality health service for someone close to them. As we protest each Saturday outside the Mater Joe and I listen to what can only be called horror stories of how elderly and very sick people are left on chairs and trolleys, sharing their space and toilet facilities with drunks and drug addicts.
Following the protest at the Mater Hospital we joined the Dublin Council of Trade Unions march at Parnell Square. Over 5,000 people turned up and the anger on the street was truly palpable. Again everybody we met had a story and everybody has somebody who has suffered at the hands of the HSE.
On the same day the IMO came out and condemned the policy of building private hospitals on public land and expressed their concern that rather than free up the promised 1,000 beds that it would lead to the downgrading and a lack of funding for these beds.
The current Governnment appear to have neither the will nor the ability to deal with the problems in the health service.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Phibsborough Draft Local Area Plan – Public Consultation

The Phibsborough Draft Local Area Plan has now been put out to public consultation.
A copy of the proposed Draft Local Area Plan and Environmental Report is on display from Friday 7th March 2008 to Tuesday 22nd April 2008 (both dates inclusive) in the Phibsborough Library, Blackquire Bridge, North Circular Road Dublin 7 during the Library’s normal opening hours which are as follows:
o Monday, Wednesday: 12.45pm - 4.00pm and 4.45pm - 8.00pm
o Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 5.00pm

A planner from Dublin City Council Planning Department in attendance at Phibsborough Library each Wednesday evening from 5.00pm to 8.00pm during the display period for the Local Area Plan, to answer queries or to explain the plan to members of the public, starting Wednesday.

The plan is available for inspection during the same period at the Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 from Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) between the hours of 9.00am and 4.30pm.

The plan can also be viewed on line
Phibsborough Draft Local Area Plan

We understand that Dublin City Council has also acquired a unit in Phibsborough Shopping Centre and the plan will be put on public display there. Dublin City Council will have to carry out some work to adapt the unit before the display goes on public view. We will let you now as soon as we have a date.

Information Sessions will be held in Croke Park Conference Centre in the Ash Suite on Saturday, 29th March and Saturday the 5th April 2008 between the hours of 10.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.
Dublin City Council plans to run buses from Phibsborough to Croke Park.

Submissions or observations should be addressed to Tom Vaughan, Planning Department, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, or by email to before 4.30p.m. on Tuesday 22nd April 2008.

Submissions can be as long or as short as you wish. You may just wish to focus on one issue or you may wish to focus on a number of issues. It can be as valuable to indicate your support for aspects of the plan as it is to indicate your concern on other aspects. Submissions can be hand-written or typed and sent by post, by hand or by email.

Indicative Timescale for LAP
Public Notice and Plan Display – (six weeks - 7th March to 22nd April)

  1. Preparation of Manager's Report on submissions/observations (within 12 weeks of public notice,
  2. Plan should be considered at City Council meeting on 7th July)
  3. Display of Proposed Amendments (Not less than 4 weeks, on public display in July/August – depending on when notice goes in paper)
  4. Preparation of Manager's Report on Submissions on Proposed Amendments (within 8 weeks of notice going in paper – should be considered by City Council meeting of 3rd November)

Grangegorman - Planning the new Educational and Health Campus

The 73 acre site at St Brendan’s Hospital at Grangegorman has been designated as the site for the unified Campus for the Dublin institute of Technology, the permanent home for Dublin 7 Educate Together Primary School and a range of new mental health and community and continuing care facilities.

This project is one of the most exciting projects in Dublin City and has the potential to bring enormous benefits to the local community in terms of educational opportunities, sporting, cultural and leisure facilities, health provision and local employment.

The planning and design of the campus will have major implications for the local community and so it is extremely important that local residents have an input into the planning and design of the new campus.

The Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) was established in November 2006 with responsibility for the management of the entire project. Cllr Emer Costello is a member of the Agency.

The GDA has appointed an American company Moore Ruble and Yudell (MRY) as the Masterplanners. The team is headed by Joseph Mary O’Connor, who is originally a native of Phibsborough.
The GDA held a public meeting in St Paul’s School, Brunswick Street with the Masterplanners, the DIT and the HSE. The Masterplanners gave an outline of their Initial concepts and the DIT and HSE gave presentations on their requirements for the campus.

Copies of all presentations and handouts from the public meeting are available from the GGDA's website here (click on link)

Issues of concern to the local community raised at the meeting included:
  • Height and density of buildings
  • Security and policing
  • Connectivity to local community
  • Transport links and future of Transport 21
  • Community facilities on the site
  • Preservation of built and natural heritage on the site
  • Energy and sustainability
  • Links with other Local Area Plans such as Phibsborough LAP and Markets Framework Plan
  • The location and type of HSE service provision
  • Security and care of HSE patients on the campus
  • Process for community consultation

The planners have commenced work on detailed plans for the site and will be consulting with local stakeholders over this period.

EPS Consulting have responsibility for the Community and Stakeholder consultation. The key contact for the consultation is Peter Brennan, telephone (01) 2845528 email

A further meeting will be held on 24th May 2008 (at a venue to be decided) when the Masterplanners will unveil a first draft of the proposals.

If you would have any questions on this development, please do not hesitate to contact me

I will be keeping you informed of developments.

O’Devaney Gardens Update

Dublin City Council is undertaking a major regeneration project for O’Devaney Gardens. Castlethorn McNamara was selected as the “preferred bidder” and the project agreement was signed in the first half of 2007.
The proposals included the following:
  • The demolition of the existing 276 flats in O’Devaney Gardens.
  • Their replacement with
  • 250 social housing units
  • 30 senior citizen social housing units
  • 250 affordable housing units
  • 299 private units
  • A 2,000 square metre community centre with a rooftop football pitch to be built in the first phase
  • 3 defined play areas for a variety of age groups

A planning application was due to be submitted by September 2007. However, Dublin City Council increased the minimum size and standards of apartments in the City, as part of their policy of promoting "family friendly" apartment living. As a result, Castlethorn McNamara had to review the O’Devaney Gardens proposal in light of the new apartment sizes and standards. They are still in negotiations with Dublin City Council.

In the meantime, Dublin City Council has now completely detenanted the first four blocks to be included in the first phase. These blocks are due to be demolished in June.

Once the planning application is prepared, the Regeneration Board plans to engage in a comprehensive information campaign including, public meetings, briefing sessions and newsletters giving much more specific information in relation to the development.

In addition, Castlethorn/McNamara will be obliged to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposal.

I hope that there will be more concrete news in the coming weeks and will keep you informed of developments.

D7 Planning Applications News

Development at Grangegorman Lr/N Brunswick Street
Planning Ref: 4876/06
An application was lodged in September 2006 for a mixed use development at Brunswick Street/Lr Grangegorman. The development was initially for 222 apartments in six blocks ranging in height from two to eleven storeys. This application was the subject of extensive requests for further information. Permission was granted for 138 apartments in six blocks ranging in height from two to seven storeys. Both the residents and the developer Albion Properties have appealed this to An Bord Pleanala.

An Bord Pleanala requested the developer to make significant alterations to the proposal. They had originally given the developer until 3rd March to submit the revised proposals. Following a request from the developer they have extended the time for submitting the revised proposals until 31st March.

The Bord’s decision is now due by the 20th April 2008. We will keep you informed of developments.

Bord Pleanala Grant Permission for Development at Nephin Road
Planning Ref: 5631/06
An Bord Pleanala recently granted permission to the development on the Nephin Road. The original proposal was for the demolition of the existing house and the construction of an apartment block comprising 25 apartments. Dublin City Council granted permission for 22 apartments. An Bord Pleanala granted permission subject to a further amendment, requiring a reduction in building height by the omission of one floor of accommodation comprising six apartments and in the number of basement level parking spaces.

Bord Pleanala Refuse Permission for Development at Hedigans – Brian Boru
In July 2007 a planning application was lodged for a mixed use development at Hedigan’s Brian Boru Pub at Cross Guns Bridge comprising 57 apartments in three blocks, a commercial unit and a new extension to the Public House. Residents of Phibsborough and Glasnevin believed that this development as premature in advance of the Local Area Plan for Phibsborough.

Dublin City Council granted permission subject to a number of revisions to the initial plan. Both the residents and the developer appealed to An Bord Pleanala.

An Bord Pleanala refused permission for this development on the grounds that “the proposed development would give rise to an unacceptable degree of overshadowing of two-storey residential properties, would be overbearing and ………would represent overdevelopment of the site, would fail to provide an adequate level of residential amenity for its occupants and would seriously injure the amenities of property in the vicinity.

The Bord also ruled that the proposed new extension to the public house “would fail to respect the character of the existing building and would be a discordant element in the