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

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