Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Euope Day

Cllr Emer Costello pictured with Joe Costello TD, Labour Spokesperson on European Affairs, Proinsias de Rossa MEP, Mick Keegan, Labour Candidate for Cabra Glasnevin, and Labour Party suporters, canvassing on Grafon Street for Europe Day, Friday 9th May, 2008

Friday, 9th May was Europe Day (more information on Europe Day here) and as part of our campaign for a yes vote in the forthcoming Lisbon Reform Treaty members of the Labour Party went leafletting on Dublin's Grafton Street.From now until the campaign Labour will be leafletting on Henry Street and Grafton Street every Saturday as well as in other venues throughout the country.More photographs from today can be viewed on Flickr at this link.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lighthouse Cinema brings some long-awaited culture to Smithfield.

As the Chairperson of the Historic Area Rejuvenation Programme (HARP) Integrated Area Plan which was established to rejuvenate the Smithfield and Markets Area of Dublin City, I welcome the forthcoming opening of the new Lighthouse Cinema at Smithfield on 9th May 2008.

While the HARP has many achievements, it has long been a source of concern to us that many of the promised cultural activities for Smithfield did not materialise.

There was huge disappointment when the Science Museum for the Square did not materialise and the proposed site is now occupied by the Motor Tax Office.

The Lighthouse Cinema had earned a reputation for being an arthouse cinema while it was on Abbey Street. It was demolished in 1996 to make way for developments at Arnotts. The new Lighthouse at Smithfield will bring a variety of independent, foreign language and classic films.

I understand that the promoters will be organising film workshops and have indicated that they will work with the local community. This will provide a marvellous opportunity for the young people from the area to become involved in film and cinema. The Bradog Youth Service in the area has done much work with young people in the area of film and multimedia.

I hope that the arrival of the Lighthouse Cinema to the area will broaden the vision and enhance the skills of young people from the area.

It will also provide hours of culture and entertainment for local residents and indeed all Dubliners as it will bring visitors from all quarters of the City to Smithfield.

The Cinema will host four screens, 600 seats and will have a café and bar. Further information can be obtained from their website:

I look forward to the opening of this cinema and as a local resident hope to become regular patrons.

Grangegorman Development Agency - Public Meeting on 24th May and Call for Submissions for Strategic Plan

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 Grangegorman Development Agency was established in November 2006 with responsibility for the management of the entire project. Cllr Emer Costello is a member of the Agency.
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 next public meeting to discuss progress on the Masterplan for Grangegorman will take place on Saturday 24th May in the offices of the Grangegorman Development Agency at St Brendan’s Hospital Grangegorman from 2.30 p.m to 5.30 p.m.
The proposal is to have an opening plenary session and then break into smaller groups and conclude with a final plenary/Q&A session.
The Agency has also issued a call for submissions on the development of the Strategic Plan for the lands at Grangegorman. The closing date for submissions is 18th June. A copy of the call and a briefing document can be downloaded from the Grangegorman Development Agency Website (click on link)

We would be interested in receiving feedback from residents on the consultation phase of this development. We are particularly anxious that all residents and groups who wish to have an input into this development would have the opportunity to so do. We have requested the Grangegorman Development Agency to arrange public meetings in different locations throughout the “Grangegorman Neighbourhood” to ensure as many people as possible have an opportunity to contribute. We have also requested the Agency to examine different ways of taking and responding to submissions from the public.
Copies of the presentations from previous public meetings can be downloaded from the Agency’s website.

We would welcome your feedback on any aspect of this development.

Residents Only Parking for Croke Park - Public Consulation

Dublin City Council has announced a Public Consultation on draft bye-laws for Residents Only Parking for major events taking place in Croke Park. The consultation period is from 1st May to 19th June 2008.

The proposed area for restricted parking includes the all public roads in the area bounded by, but not including, the following roads: North Strand Road, Amiens Street, Talbot Street, Gardiner Street, Parnell Street, Parnell Square East, Frederick Street North, Berkley Street, Berkley Road, North Circular Road, Phibsborough Road, Prospect Road, Botanic Road, St. Mobhi Road, Griffith Avenue, Malahide Road, Fairview, Annesley Bridge Road. (See map)

It should be noted that the proposed area excludes much of Phibsborough, Berkeley Road area and also much of the North Strand and East Wall Areas. This is a source of major concern to us and we will be proposing to extend the restricted area to include these communities.

The major events covered by the proposed bye-laws include:
§ All Ireland Senior Football Finals, Semi Finals, and Quarter Finals.
§ All Ireland Senior Hurling Finals, Semi Finals and Quarter Finals.
§ All International professional Rugby matches played at Croke Park.
§ All International Soccer matches played at Croke Park.
§ All concerts at Croke Park for which an event licence has been granted by Dublin City Council.

Permits will be issued for a period of three years to residents who own cars within the restricted parking area. Dublin City Council is also considering issuing visitors permits.

The proposed Bye-Laws are available for inspection during normal office hours during the period 1st May 2008 to 3rd June 2008, inclusive, at the offices of the Roads and Traffic Department, Block 2, Floor 4, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. Copies of the Draft Bye-Laws, a briefing note and a map of the proposed Restricted Area are available free of charge from Dublin City Council Traffic Department, (Tel. (01) 222 2771) and can be downloaded from the City Council Website (click on links)

Submissions must be made in writing to Mr. Tim O’Sullivan, Executive Manager, Roads and Traffic Department at the above address or by email to before 4.30pm on 19th June 2008.

We have asked Dublin City Council to hold a public information meeting/workshop to explain the implications of the bye-laws and they have agreed to so do. We will let you know when we have full details.

Traffic News

Luas to Grangegorman – A Step Closer
The plans for the Luas Line to Grangegorman and Liffey Junction received a major boost in recent weeks.
The Minister for Transport has written to CIE and the Railway Procurement Agency to confirm that he will be proceeding with the Transport 21 Plan: Luas to Broadstone and Liffey Junction. The RPA now plan to combine Luas Line BX (from Stephen’s Green to Parnell Square and Line D (Parnell Square to Liffey Junction) into one project. They plan to hold a public consultation on Line D during the Summer of 2008. It is planned that the preferred route will be published in the autumn of 2008. It is envisaged that the Luas Railway Order will be published by the Autumn/Winter 2009.

Metro North
It is envisaged that the RPA intend to apply for a Railway Order for Metro North in the autumn of 2008. Some preparatory work will take place in 2009 with the main works starting in 2010. The project is due to be completed by 2014.
The Minister for Transport recently announced that he would support tunnelling taking place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have requested the Minister to clarify his position and to guarantee that tunnelling will not take place in residential areas 24/7

Mater Station
As you are aware the RPA announced that they plan to have only one entrance to the Mater Station on the North Circular Road. The entrance at Eccles Street which was originally proposed now has been discarded. The RPA say that they cannot plan for an entrance on Eccles Street as the footprint of the National Paediatric Hospital has not yet been determined. We are continuing to campaign with local residents for a second entrance at Eccles Street. The Mater Project Team, Mater Campus Hospital Development, have written to the RPA requesting them to reverse their decision and ensure an entrance at Eccles Street.

Bakery Site – Additional Information Requested

On 21st February Dublin City Council requested additional information in relation to the Bakery Site Planning Application. The Additional Information requested reflects the concerns of residents in their submissions. The information requested includes the following points:

Traffic: Additional information has been requested regarding a)the drop off point for the crèche, b) the pedestrian/vehicular access along the access road as it is so narrow, c)access route for emergency vehicles, d)potential for pedestrian link through existing laneway to the south, e)number, designation of car-parking spaces and design of ramps, f)details of the entrance with the Phibsborough Road.

Drainage: The Drainage Department stated that there was insufficient information to assess this application and requested significant additional information.
Archaeology: The Archaeologists Department requested an archaeological assessment be carried out on the site as soon as possible.

Photomontages: The applicant was requested to submit photomontages of the proposed scheme viewed from the following locations: the north bank of the Royal Canal adjacent to the 6th Lock; from the junction of Whitworth Road and Prospect Road; from the junction of Ulster Street and Munster Street; computer generated imagery from within the scheme.
Shadow Analysis; A shadow analysis of the scheme using the standard date and time models was requested.

Medical Facility: Additional information was requested on the rationale for the proposed economic consultants. An economic appraisal along with supporting documentation from one or more primary medical facilities was also requested.
Height of Tower: The applicant was requested to justify the location, height and design of proposed 13 storey tower.

Development Standards: A number of the proposed units fall below the development plan standards and the applicant is requested to revise these accordingly. The layout of the decking and lack of privacy of bedroom windows at the eight storey unit is raised as being an issue of concern to the local authority.

Eight Storey Block: The applicant was asked to revisit the design of the eight storey block to allow for more interactivity between the canal walk and the interior of the scheme and to allow for sunlight penetration to the canal side. A break of at least two apartments wide is recommended and the open area to be landscaped accordingly.

Location of Bin/Recycling Area: The applicant has been asked to re-examine at the location of the recycling and bicycle storage areas.

Impact on surrounding houses: Dublin City Council has expressed its concern at the impact of the townhouses on Shandon Road and Shandon Mills and suggests the design of these is amended to take account of these concerns.

The applicant has six months from the date of the request (i.e. to 21 August) to respond to this request.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Watch City Council Meetings Live from Your own Home!

Dublin City Council is now broadcasting City Council Meetings live on the Internet. The City Council meeting is held the first Monday of every month (except on bank holidays) when it is held on the second Monday. You can tune into to watch live or to review debates at previous meetings.

Litter Management Plan - Code of Conduct for Landlords

There is huge concern among residents regarding the large number of landlord “multi-occupancy” units throughout the Central Area. The issue of waste management in landlord houses is a recurrent theme at most community fora. Two recent developments will hopefully bring about some improvements in this area.

Firstly, Dublin City Council recently reported three significant victories in the Courts against landlords under the Litter Pollution Act. Two of the three cases related to properties in the Central Area. Waste Management report that they are now confident of further prosecutions in the coming months.

Secondly as part of the review of the Litter Management Plan, Dublin City Council was committed to introducing a protocol for landlords of multi-occupancy units in relation to waste management. At the request of Cllr Emer Costello the protocol is to be adopted at the same time as the Litter Management Plan. Dublin City Council has produced a Code of Conduct for Landlords of multi-occupancy units. The City Council has agreed to circulate it to Residents’ Associations and to request the PRTB to circulate it to landlords of multi-occupancy units.

Friday, May 02, 2008

City Council Report calls for Action on Promoting Women in Decision Making Roles

Cllr Emer Costello, Chairperson of Dublin City Council’s International Women’s Day Working Group has called on the Government to take positive action to ensure women’s equal participation in the decision making processes at all levels of political life.

Speaking at the launch of the Group's research report “Every Step of the Way – Women Accessing Power in Dublin City” which was held in the Civic Offices on the eve of International Women’s Day, Cllr Costello called for positive action to ensure that more women would be in a position to stand for election in winnable electoral wards. Cllr Costello noted that of 188 countries Ireland ranks joint 87th with Barbados and Jamaica in terms of women’s representation in democratic structures.

The Dublin City Council report highlights that just 20% of the members of local authorities throughout the country are women. While Dublin City Council fares slightly better at 29% this figure is still woefully short of equal participation of 50%. Moreover, Cllr Costello stated that it was both astonishing and lamentable that the City Council’s Corporate Policy Group (CPG) is currently entirely comprised of men.

Cllr Costello noted that 15 Councillors (6 women and 9 men) resigned from the Council since the Local Elections in 2004. However, the six women accounted for a whopping 40% of the women elected to the Council, while the 9 men accounted for just 24% of the men elected.
The International Women’s Day Working Group was established by Dublin City Council to “promote women’s participation in the political, economic and social life of Dublin City”. The Working Group commissioned research into the role of women in the decision-making structures in the City – at political, management and community level.
The findings of the report make interesting reading.
§ Women comprise 29% of the Councillors on Dublin City Council
§ Women are not currently represented on the important Corporate Policy Group
§ Women account for just 31% of the membership of Strategic Policy Committees
§ Women make up just 29% of the professional grades in Dublin City Council
§ While 54% of the administrative grades are women, just 30% of the Executive Managers are women (and there is just 1 Assistant City Manager out of 8).
§ Women account for just 12% of General Operative Staff and just 3% of the Fire Brigade.

Cllr Costello has called on Dublin City Council to establish the IWD Working Group on a permanent footing to oversee and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the report, which include conducting a gender audit of employment within the City Council, funding women’s groups and promoting participation of women in local decision-making structures, encouraging women councillors to become political role models in their local areas and developing an educational programme for schools.

The IWD Working Group needs to be established on a permanent basis to oversee the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report and to ensure that International Women’s Day is permanently etched into the political, social, economic and cultural calendar of the City, concluded Cllr Costello

If you would like a hard copy of the report, please contact me and I will send it out to you.