Monday, October 27, 2008

Destruction of the Old Methodist Church on Jones' Road is Deliberate Act of Vandalism

Statement by Cllr Emer Costello & Joe Costello TD

The destruction of the old Methodist Church on Jones’ Road, Dublin 3 was a scandalous act of vandalism.
It was demolished at 6.00 a.m. in 15 October by a “teleporter” or giant forklift despite the fact that Dublin City Council had placed an enforcement order on the building last night, directing that no further demolition work take place. Dublin City Council officials have confirmed to us that the Forklift was not on the site the previous night but was there at 6.00 a.m the following morning. We understand that the party which hired the forklift has been identifed and and Dublin City Council and the Gardai will be pursuing a definite line of enquiry in this regard.
Local residents had been extremely vigilant in contacting planning enforcement and the Gardai to prevent the destruction of the Church last night and are aghast that such an act of destruction could be perpetuated in their community in the early hours of the morning.
According to eye-witnesses the driver of the forklift ran away when the Gardai approached the church this morning. The Gardai will forward a report of the incident to the Chief Superintendent of Store Street.
It was thought that this type of deliberate vandalism of our architectural heritage had ended long ago.
The Church has now been all but destroyed. Dublin City Council have taken responsibility for securing the building and assure us that they will do their best to ensure that this work takes place without any further destruction or demolition.

The culprits must be pursued through the courts for this wanton and illegal act of vandalism. The maximum possible penalties should be imposed in this case, including a prison sentence and part of the sanction should be to require the guilty party to reconstruct the Church brick by brick.

Friday, October 17, 2008

UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty - Launch of World Poverty Commemorative Stone

Speech by Cllr Emer Costello, Deputy Lord Mayor on 17th October 2008

I am delighted to be present here today in my capacity as Deputy Lod Matyor.
Dublin City Council is proud to be associated with the annual commemoration and the Lord Mayor is always represented at this ceremony In 2004 I had the honour of deputising for the Lord Mayor at the 17th October event. I was so moved by the ceremony that I proposed that Dublin should follow the lead of other European Cities and erect its own World Poverty Stone at the Famine Memorial, the location of the annual 17th October commemoration. The motion was passed unanimously by the City Council. Following the adoption of the motion at City Council, I brought the proposal to the Council of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, as one of the City Council representatives on that Council.

The support of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority was crucial and there was a strong and excellent collaboration between Dublin City Council and the DDDA to ensure the successful delivery of the project. Special thanks must go to Jack Gilligan, the Dublin City Council Arts Officer and Mary McCarthy, Arts Officer with the DDDA who both embraced the project with enthusiasm, and directed the project in an extremely efficient and professional manner.

The annual commemoration of the UN World Day for the Eradication of Poverty gives expression to the thousands of people who are living in poverty.

As a Councillor for the North Inner City in Dublin I work on a daily basis with many communities which did not benefit from the excesses of the Celtic Tiger and are now suffering the effects of the recent economic downturn. I never fail to be impressed by their resilience, their ability to cope with their situations, and hope for the future.

The erection of the World Poverty Stone at this location will link the struggles of Irish people living in poverty today with the struggles of the past. It will serve as a reminder to Dublin’s citizens that poverty knows no borders, is timeless and enduring, and is a global issue.
The stone crafted by Irish artist Stuart McGrath bears the following inscription in in English, Irish and French:

"Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated.To come together to ensure that these rights are respected is our solemn duty."

After this event, I will be proposing to the Association of City and County Councils that all other local and municipal authorities throughout the country follow the example of Dublin by commemorating the 17th October event on an annual basis and that they too would erect their own World Poverty Stones at appropriate locations.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

City Council Adopt Phibsborough Local Area Plan

The Phibsborough Local Area Plan (LAP)was adopted by Dublin City Council at City Council meeting on Monday 6th October.

The Phibsborough LAP is the first Local Area Plan to be adopted by Dublin City Council and is the product of careful and successful co-operation and negotiations residents’ associations, individual residents, public representatives and the City Council.

This plan sets out a vision for Phibsborough which when fully implemented will transform the area and enable Phibsborough Village at last realise its true potential. Unfortunately, over the years, the area has been very much neglected by the authorities.

The LAP will provide a framework for all future development in the Phibsborough area. It will form a statutory basis for all planning decisions in the area for both Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanala

Phibsborough is one of the most historic and vibrant villages of Dublin. It also contains some of the City’s more strategic sites which are due for redevelopment such as the Mater Hospital, Dalymount Park, Mountjoy Prison, Phibsborough Shopping Centre, Cross Guns Bridge and the Smurfit Printworks. The Local Area Plan will ensure that Phibsborough is developed on a planned basis, retaining its rich architectural and residential character and that all future developments are carefully planned and monitored.

Cllr Emer Costello successfully proposed over 40 amendments to the draft plan in order to address the concerns of residents and ensure that the plan addressed the needs of the local community.

A steering committee comprising representatives of all the stakeholders is to be established and chaired independently to oversee the implementation of the plan over the next six years.
It is extremely important that the vision enunciated in this plan is now delivered. Residents have invested much their time and energy into the plan and hopes are high that Phibsborough can once again be a thriving modern urban village.

Main Issues Covered by Phibsborough Local Area Plan

Masterplan for Development Sites
The LAP provides for detailed objectives for each of the development sites:
Mater Hospital, Dalymount Park, Mountjoy Prison, Phibsborough Shopping Centre, Cross Guns Bridge and the Smurfit Printworks
Developers will have to draw up a masterplan which should be consistent with the objectives laid down for each site in the LAP.

Building Heights
The LAP also sets out that the maximum height on each of the development sites in the area should not normally exceed five to six storeys (20 meters in height).

New Architectural Conservation Areas
Three Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) are to be designated at Great Western Square, Monck Place/ the Borough; Royal Canal Bank/Blessington St Basin/Primrose / Fontenoy Street and Phibsborough Centre.

Mixed Use Developments & Quality Retail Outlets
Dublin City Council will encourage high quality retail uses within Phibsborough Shopping Centre and the North Circular Road in an effort to reverse the trend of adult shops, bookmakers, take-aways, off-licenses and charity shops, in the area.

Social/Community/Cultural Infrastructure
The Local Area Plan will ensure that all development will bring much-needed social/community and cultural infrastructure to the area. Planned community facilities will include a 2,500 m2 multi-purpose sports centre, a swimming pool, a cinema/theatre/auditorium, a new public library, three new schools, new playgrounds and much improved public parks etc. There is a commitment to ensuring that the community sporting facilities on the site of Dalymount Park will be an equivalent area to that of the pitch.

Public Realm Improvements
Moreover, Dublin City Council has committed to working with the local residents to improve the public realm such as Mount Bernard Park, the Royal Canal, introduce new north south and east west pedestrian routes and the introduction of “homezones” and traffic calming measures in the area.

Subdivision of existing dwellings
Dublin City Council have undertaken to ensure strict enforcement of the planning and waste regulations on subdivided properties. They have also given assurances that they will conduct an audit of rental properties in the area.