Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Costello Calls on Council to Halt Erection of Any Further J C Decaux Signs

Dublin’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Emer Costello today called on Dublin City Council to halt the erection of any further J C Decaux signs pending a full Road Safety report on the proposed locations.

Her call comes in the wake of the statement by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland highlighting the safety issues in relation to these signs. Cllr Costello expressed her serious concern that visually impaired people who have enough to contend with on the streets of Dublin, now find that they have to negotiate the major obstacles of the large Decaux signs.

Cllr Costello has consistently opposed the erection of these structures and alerted the City Council on numerous occasions to the safety concerns of a number of groups representing disabled people and also the safety concerns raised by the Dublin Transportation Office.
In March of this year, An Bord Pleanala refused permission for each of the metoropole structures which were under appeal, citing public safety grounds. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the proposed Metropoles were appealed to An Bord Pleanala. In view of the Bord’s findings, Cllr Costello called on the City Council to halt all works on the JC Decaux metropoles and to conduct a full and independent review of the health and safety issues of the proposed sites, and report on the findings to this Council before any further work is carried out. However, the Council persisted with the erection of the signs, despite the fact that the safety concerns were never fully addressed.

The problems posed in recent weeks to visually impaired people and pedestrians and the Council’s decision to remove the sign on Dorset Street last week is evidence that the signs are posing a danger to public safety as stated by An Bord Pleanala. At the July City Council meeting, Councillor Costello once again called on the manager to halt the work until a full safety audit had been conducted but to no avail.

Cllr Costello has also called on Dublin City Council to produce a full report on the locations of the Decaux signs granted permission, a progress report on the promised "wayfindng" system and "free bike scheme" which were supposed to be rolled out in tandem with the advertising, and a report on the number of billboards which have been removed as part of the overall package with J C Decaux.

"It seems to me that the citizens of Dublin are getting a raw deal, we have dangerous and visually obtrusive street signs littering our footpaths on the one hand and yet none of the promised benefits of these signs have been delivered. Even the 500 bicycles promised have been reduced by 50, and still have not been delivered!
I believe that the work should now stop pending a full safety audit before any further signs are erected." Said Cllr Costello

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cllr Emer Costello Elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin

“It was a great honour to be elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin at the City Council meeting on 30 June.

I believe it is a unique achievement that both the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor are women, and hope that this event signals an increasing trend of women in decision-making roles in the City. I am currently the Chairperson of the International Women’s Day Working Group, which earlier this year commissioned a report “Every Step of the Way – Women accessing Power in Dublin City” The recognition of positive role models for women in political life was identified as a means of increasing women’s participation in political life. I believe that the election of two women from two distinct political parties as Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor marks a significant step for women in the City and hopefully will encourage more women to become active in political life.

The soul of any City is its people and my main concern will for the people of Dublin. My priority will be to help make Dublin a safe, secure, clean and enjoyable place for the people of Dublin to live and work.

I represent the North Inner City Local Electoral Area, which embodies so much of the City – it is home, the wonderful shopping environs of Henry Street and Moore Street, to the Spike, the GPO, and the beautifully restored O’Connell Street. But sadly while Dublin City Council has made every effort to restore it to the past splendour, their best efforts have been stymied over the last fifteen years by selfish property interests As we prepare for the centenary of the 1916 Rising it is essential that the street be restored to its former glory and that the National Monuments on the street and its environs be developed appropriately.
The North Inner City is also home to four of the five Public Private Partnership Projects which have all but collapsed and have occupied much of our time of late at council meetings. The public private partnership model we were told would solve our housing problems and was a “win-win” situation for all concerned as it would be the developer who would take the risk. We have learned to our cost that developers don’t take risks and in the end it was the tenants who believed in the process who took the risk and are now paying the price.
Unfortunately, the good years of the Celtic Tiger and the construction boom did not produce a housing boom for those people who were most in need of housing. Now that the boom is over and the developers are scaling down their plans, it is so important that our hard pressed tenants and the thousands families on our waiting lists are not the first to suffer.
It will be a priority of mine to work with the Lord Mayor, City Manager and the City Council to find new ways to increase new housing output, speed up the refurbishment of existing housing stock and restructure the social and affordable projects that have foundered.
I want to thank the City Councillors for the confidence they have shown in me. I am very much looking forward to the year ahead and to working with the Lord Mayor, the City Manager and City Council for the betterment of all the people of Dublin.