Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas and New Year with Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello

As part of her Christmas schedule, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, will attend a number of engagements with her husband, Joe Costello TD, on Friday 25th December, Christmas Day.
“Christmas is a joyful time when families gather to celebrate the wonderful festival. Unfortunately some people have to spend the Christmas period in hospital because they are ill. Others miss out on Christmas because they are homeless or alone. We should remember them at this time.
Because children are so central to the Christmas festivities and the Christmas message, I am delighted to have the opportunity of visiting the children who are patients in Temple Street and Crumlin Children’s Hospitals on Christmas Day morning. Also the Christmas Day Dinner for the homeless in the RDS organised by the Knights of Columbanus will be a highlight of the day as will the senior citizens Christmas Day Dinner in McKee Army Barracks on Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7.
I want to thank all those wonderful volunteers, nurses, firemen and Gardaí who will be out and about on Christmas Day providing food, essential services and security for the citizens of this City.
Finally I want to take this opportunity of wishing all the citizens of Dublin a wonderful, happy and safe Christmas.

Notes to the Editor
List of engagements
9:30 -10:15: Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin
10:30 -11:15 : Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin
11:30 -12:30: Christmas Day Dinner for the Homeless, RDS Ballsbridge
12:45 -1:45. Our Lady's Hospice, Harolds Cross
2:00 -3:00. McKee Barracks, Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner
3:00 -3:45. Mater Hospital

11:30 -12:30: Christmas Day Dinner for the Homeless, RDS Ballsbridge
12:45 -1:45. Our Lady's Hospice, Harolds Cross
2:00 -3:00. McKee Barracks, Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner
3:00 -3:45. Mater Hospital

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lord Mayor and National Women's Council Pay Tribute to Mary Robinson

Lord Mayor Councillor Emer Costello and the National Women's Council were delighted to host a reception in honour of Mary Robinson to celebrate the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday 17 December. The reception takes place at City Hall, Dame Street at 19.00hrs on Thursday 17th December.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Emer Costello said "Mary Robinson is an inspiration to so many people both in Ireland and all around the world. For many years she pioneered awareness of human rights in Ireland including, in particular, women's rights. Her election as Ireland's first female President was a genuinely historic moment in Irish history and signalled real change in our political and social landscape. Subsequently, as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002 she was a voice for the vulnerable and the marginalised all over the world. She has continued to be that voice in many different roles since then. This was recognised by President Obama when she was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in July this year, the highest civilian honour awarded by the US.”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lord Mayor's Gala Christmas Concert






Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, hosted the annual Lord Mayor’s Christmas Concert on Sunday 20th December 2009 at 3pm in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

The event was a magical, festive and entertaining mix of Gospel Choir singing, beautiful Orchestral Music provided by secondary school students and readings from Christmas poetry. The evening was in aid of the “Mansion House Fuel Fund” which is the Lord Mayor’s only personal charity and can trace its roots back to 1870 and is thus one of the oldest charities in Dublin. The Mansion House Fuel Fund helps charities such as the SIMON Community, St. Vincent DePaul and the Rialto Social Centre to name but a few.

“It gives me great pleasure to be hosting this years’ Christmas Concert at the Mansion House. I know that the money raised tonight will go directly to charities that will ensure that those most in need will receive the assistance and care they require in a dignified and sensitive manner. I want to thank everyone who has participated this evening in making this event possible, from the kind people who have attended to the performers who have entertained us with their musical and poetic talents, your support is much appreciated” said the Lord Mayor.

Ends Notes to the Editor:Listed below are Charities whom the Mansion House Fuel Fund currently assist during the winter Months:Abbey Presbyterian Church Hamper Fund Dublin Parochial Society Little Sisters of the Assumption, Finglas Rialto Social Centre St Agatha’s Parish (Daughters of Charity, North William Street) St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral St. Vincent DePaul St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Jobstown, Tallaght SIMON Community

Background:Dublin City Council’s archives show that the Mansion House Fund for Relief of Distress in Ireland can trace its roots back to the 1870’s Ireland was beset by harvest failure during the 1870’s and in 1880 Famine threatened the country. To prevent this the Mansion House Fund was set up to collect money from Irish Emigrants all over the world Mansion House Fuel Fund, as we know it today, was set up by Sir John Arnott in 1891. It was originally set up to assist the needy during a particularly hard winter. At the end of that winter the surplus was carried over to the next year and the Mansion House Fuel Fund has continued to aid the needy in Dublin since. It is one of the oldest charities in Dublin The Lord Mayor is Chairperson of the Fund and is assisted by the Secretary and Treasurer. The committee meets twice a year with the Lord Mayor to determine the level of grants to be allocated to the recognised Charitable Bodies during the winter months Mansion House Fuel Fund distributes cash grants through a number of Charitable Societies, without any distinction of creed. It was one of the first truly Ecumenical Charities in the City There are no paid staff running the Charity and all donations go the needy. The only costs incurred are postage and administration costs Preas Eisiúint

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Filipino Christmas Lantern - 18.12.09 091

The Philippines Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ariel Y. Abadilla presented a ‘Parol’ (traditional Filipino Christmas lantern) to Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello.

The lantern shines in the front window of the Mansion House for the Christmas period and is a symbol of home to all Philippinos living in Dublin.

Presenting the parol to the Lord Mayor Ambassador Abadilla said: “As a symbol of the Filipino people’s friendship and gratitude to the City of Dublin and the Irish people, the first resident Embassy of the Philippines in Ireland is delighted to mark the historic significance of its establishment in June of this year by presenting to the Lord Mayor, a ‘parol’ or traditional Philippine Christmas lantern. The lantern that we present to the Lord Mayor is the most recognizable Christmas ornament for Filipinos wherever in the world they may be. The “parol” is intricately designed and handmade with “capiz” or shells. The ‘parol’ reminds Filipinos of the star of Bethlehem that guided the Magi on their way in search of the Infant Jesus,”

Accepting the Lantern on behalf of the people of Dublin, the Lord Mayor Cllr Emer stated "One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about being Lord Mayor is meeting people from every walk of life and from all parts of the city. People from all over the world now live in Dublin and the Filipino community are very prominent in social, cultural, business and community circles. It’s a pleasure to accept this beautiful lantern which says to the many Filipinos here that although they are far from their birth home this Christmas they have a home here in Dublin,”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Samuel Beckett Bridge Opening - 10.12.09 096

Fellow Dubliners, Fellow City Councillors, Ministers, Members of the Oireachtas, City Manager, Members of the Beckett family and other Distinguished Guests, you are all very welcome here today to the Opening of the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

This wonderful feat of architecture and engineering was officially named the Samuel Beckett Bridge by resolution of Dublin City Council in April 2006, to formally mark the centenary of the Nobel Laureate’s birth. Fittingly, this month marks the 20th anniversary of his death.

Bridges have held a special place in the hearts of Dubliners for many centuries. Even our City’s name –Baile Atha Cliath – the town of the ford of the hurdles derived from an ancient crossing over the river Liffey. In fact, the City grew around the first river crossing at Church Street over a thousand years ago. Since the beginning of the new millennium, Dublin has seen the opening of 4 new landmark bridges with Samuel Beckett is the latest of these to be added to our impressive inventory of Liffey Bridges, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

It goes almost without saying that Dublin is first and foremost a literary city. Dubliners are justifiably proud of their writers - and in the city’s recent submission for designation as a UNESCO City of Literature, under the heading ‘Honouring Literature’, much play has been made of Dublin’s cultural profile – with its monuments and its many streets named after our illustrious authors. In dedicating this architectural and engineering icon to one of the 20th century’s literary giants, Samuel Beckett, Dublin is maintaining a tradition of publicly honouring some of its greatest writers in a very tangible and practical way.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge is the second bridge to be designed by Dr Calatrava, the other being the James Joyce Bridge in 2003, on the west side of the City at Blackhall Place. I’m sure that both James Joyce and Samuel Beckett would indeed have been very gratified to have two enduring icons indelibly etched on Dublin’s landscape in their memory, especially since both were exclusively designed by such an internationally acclaimed artist, architect and engineer.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Micael (pronounced ‘meek-hile’) Calatrava, Dr. Calatrava’s son, who is representing his father here today, bearing witness to the fruits of the challenge that designing such a signature Bridge presented to the great Designer. I know that Dr. Calatrava has gone on record as saying that while working on the James Joyce Bridge, he developed a deep affinity for the people of Dublin, and he wanted his next bridge to celebrate that connection. I also know it was his sincere hope that the Samuel Beckett Bridge would serve as a monument to Dublin, honouring its past, present and future.

To me bridges are among the most powerful and important symbols in human society – symbols of connection, of cooperation and of harmony. It is the construction of bridges, metaphorically and literally, that marks our progress. The Docklands area has undergone immense regeneration and change in the past 12 years, thanks to a very strong and active sense of community and engagement, north and south of the Liffey, and the Samuel Beckett Bridge pays fitting homage to the efforts of all those that have made a contribution.

As I stand on this beautiful structure, I take great pride at the inspiration behind Dr. Calatrava’s design - the image of the harp on the back of an Irish coin, reflecting the shape of our national emblem. The challenges of its construction were solved by practical means, just as its purpose, here, is solidly practical to provide easy access to and from Guild Street on Dublin’s northside with Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the southside. But practical does not necessarily have to fall victim to the banal, dull or routine, as this icon of unmistakable modernity and unique character amply attests.

Finally, the Beckett Bridge is now a central part of our transport infrastructure and will, no doubt, have a huge role to play on easing the impact of traffic in the City centre, by improving traffic circulation, and in facilitating future modes of public transport and light rail. It will also promote and enhance the pedestrian environment in the City centre. This is the second great transport project to open this week in the East Inner City Area, of course the other being the opening of the extension of the Luas Red Line on Tuesday from Busáras to the O2. Now Dubliners, Commuters and Visitors alike, will be able to easily traverse the City from east to west and back again. I would like to thank all the staff and joint venture partners Graham-Hollandia who together with the entire Project Team, have brought Dr. Calatrava’s wonderful design to life.

It is a huge privilege for me as Lord Mayor to open Beckett Bridge.

End.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Address to ICTU National Jobs Summit

I would like to thank the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for inviting me to open this important conference on jobs and employment. As Lord Mayor of Dublin it is my great pleasure to welcome those of you who have travelled from different parts of the country and indeed from other European countries, to Dublin (and may I suggest that you spend some time here in the capital city availing of the fabulous winter programme we have arranged and also supporting our own local employment initiatives by using the opportunity to do your Christmas shopping while you are here!)
I am delighted that Congress has organised this Jobs Summit. It is certainly most timely. As the Government focused almost exclusively on the financial crisis and saving the banks and it has neglected the vital area of jobs. Now that the NAMA legislation has been passed and the banks seem to be somewhat on the road to recovery, (due o €7 billion in cash to date of taxpayers money and more in guarantees), the priority must shift to jobs.
Employment – the retention of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs must our No 1 priority. It is not just the devastating impact which it has on individuals and their families, but on society as a whole. There is the economic cost and there is the huge social cost. There is lost output, lost taxes, the waste of human potential, and loss of self esteem and much more.
I am also conscious that since I was elected Lord Mayor, I have too often found myself with workers on the picket line workers who were fighting to protect their jobs, including companies such as Thomas Cooke and Direct Holiday, MTL and Coca Cola or fighting against proposed compulsory redundancies in the public sector as was being proposed in UCD.


Over the course of the Local Election campaign, unemployment was the single biggest issue on the doorsteps. The human stories behind those workers losing their jobs came to the fore as people described their fears about losing their homes, being unable to provide for their families and despairing for their children's future and also losing their sense of self-worth because of losing their job.
Each job lost costs the state €20,000, of which around €13,000 is in welfare costs and the balance is in lost taxes. Thus there must be an imperative to retain jobs – to maintain peoples’ dignity and to use the opportunity to upskill them.
The greater Dublin area accounts for four out of every ten jobs and half of all goods and services produced in Ireland. Dublin is the engine of our economy. It must also be an engine of economic recovery. The priority must be job creation and the retention of existing employment.
Unemployment nationally stands at an all time high of 12.4% compared with 6.8% last year. Nationally, the number of redundancies this year to date, stands at almost 55,000 up 135% from this time last year. Dublin like the rest of the country has been haemorrhaging jobs. The stark figure of a 140% increase in the number of people signing on in the Capital in the past two years (from 42,000 in June 2007 to 101,000 in June 2009) tells its own story.
Dublin needs strong and creative leadership, with a clear vision for the future of the City, to get its economy moving again. We need to prioritise the protection of existing employment and the creation of new jobs.
To this end I have made the economy my priority as Lord Mayor of Dublin and have established the Commission on Employment to examine how Dublin City Council can facilitate growth in the local economy. It will examine the scope of the problem, identify the unemployment blackspots; it will meet with and take submissions from the key stakeholders in all relevant sectors; it will engage with local community groups, hold public workshops and take public submissions.
The Commission will focus on four thematic areas namely, a) employment and unemployment, b) education skills and training, c) business entrepreneurship and finance and d) volunteering and the social economy.
Through each of these themes we will work to develop policies and create conditions which will generate new jobs. We will identify issues and gaps in the education, skills and training systems to support Dublin’s performance as a hub in the Smart economy. We will identify existing or future opportunities for employment creation and enterprise growth. We will explore opportunities in potential growth sectors, for example, in the green economy, creative industries and cultural tourism heritage enterprise. We will ascertain mechanisms to support enterprise, particularly small to medium sized enterprise and will identify potential sources of funding. We will also examine the role of the voluntary and community sector and the potential benefits to the exchequer of people being employed through Community Employment and the social economy. We are currently planning a number of public and thematic workshops and detailed information is on the City Council website and I have also established a Linked In page which I invite people here to join.
Helping the unemployed back into work calls for creative and innovative approaches. I have launched a Call for Ideas/Actions and I am convinced that even at this early stage that there are a huge number of ideas out there that need to be tapped.
I was delighted to receive the Congress Document the 10 Point Plan for a Better Fairer Way which clearly shows that the Trade Union Movement has such innovative and creative ideas. Proposals such as a €1 billion Jobs Initiative and a National Recovery Bond to finance job creation are also sensible and practical. Many people are anxious to contribute to national recovery and this could be channelled by establishing a National Recovery Bond. With a high cost of borrowing increasing, a domestic National Recovery Bond could save the exchequer a lot of money. It could also be targeted at specific sectors such as school building or public transport, so people could see tangible gains and will kick-start renewal in local economies. Indeed the proposed unified campus for the DIT and primary Healthcare facilities at Grangegorman could benefit from such a scheme. I am very alarmed that the McCarthy Report is advocating scrapping this project and I strongly believe that this would be a completely retrograde step. The Agency has already published a report on the employment and training opportunities from the Grangorman Project. Dublin City needs a world class university campus such as is being proposed for Grangegorman and that the benefits to be accrued from investing in this capital project far outweigh any arguments against it.
Another innovative idea is the proposal for a Social Solidarity Pact as a better and fairer route to national recovery.
The social welfare system must be radically altered and integrated with skills enhancement, education and training. Employers should be helped to identify alternatives to redundancy, such as short term working weeks and other arrangements.
The high human and social costs of increased unemployment are most felt among the young. I agree with the stance taken by Congress that assistance must be targeted at the young, focusing in particular on strengthening active labour market programmes, expanding education, providing wage and employment subsidies, as well as incentives for hiring the young in public sector organisations. The embargoes have cut off these opportunities for the young unemployed.
Another question which is exercising the national psyche is how the €4bn “Adjustment” is to be made. I would agree with the line adopted by Congress that these “savings” should not be all at the expense of reductions and cuts in public services. That type of action will I believe ultimately prove to be deflationary, prolong the recession and increase unemployment. Part of the adjustment must come from increased taxes, particularly from those who can best afford to pay.
Today you have brought three important speakers who will share their views on how this is being done successfully in three European countries. The quality of the speakers and the programme you have today are testimony to the weight you attach to the whole subject of job creation and retention.
I wish you well in your deliberations. I have no doubt that the debate will be interesting and I look forward to receiving a report on the proceedings of the Conference.

Conference Report available at http://www.getupstandup.ie/learnmore/jobssummit.html

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Big Switch on of The Christmas Tree Lights

On Sunday 22 November I swithced on the Christmas lights on O'Connell Street. I had a bit of help this year from the Irish Guidedogs Assocation as Clive an Assistance Dog for autistic children was there with his wonderful owner Murray. The day was very special to Murray and Clive who keep a blog of their adventures:
http://assistdogautism.blogspot.com/

As Lord Mayor of Dublin I am working hard to encourage people to come to Dublin this Christmas and discover the thousands of shopping opportunities, the wealth of entertainment venues and the great places to eat. The events Program has a fantastic range of family friendly activities many of which are offered free of charge and cater for everybody from kids to grandparentsb
A complete Program List can be viewed here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Louis O'Flaherty Book Launch - 17.11.09 052

Dublin Fire Brigade Passing Out Parade to mark official opening of The Chapel of the O’Brien Institute

The Lord Mayor, Cllr. Emer Costello, with Minister for Housing and Local Services, Michael Finneran T.D., officially opened the Chapel of the O’Brien Institute, at the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre , Marino, on Wednesday, 18th November 2009.
Thirty new Dublin Fire Brigade recruits, who have successfully completed their training, will participated in the Recruit Passing-out Parade.

Lord Mayor Costello says “I would like to congratulate these newest members of Dublin Fire Brigade after an arduous selection and training proramme and it is a very proud day for them, their families and friends. In Dublin we are very fortunate to have an exceptional fire service staffed by dedicated people that provide a valuable and often selfless service to the community and I wish the recruits every success in this new and demanding career for them.

“ The O’Brien Institute has been magnificently restored and will be a valuable asset to Dublin Fire Brigade, other fire and emergency services, the fire Service Council and the new National Directorate”, the Lord Mayor added.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Address to North Inner City Community Policing Forum Conference "Reform and Renewal" Bettystown 7 November 2009

I am delighted to be here at the CPF Conference, Reform and Renewal. It is a particular source of pride for me to be here not just in my capacity as a local public representative but also as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

The North Inner City Community Policing Forum was the first forum ever to be established and is used as a template for other Policing Fora which have since been established.

I am conscious that this is the first conference we have had since the untimely death of Tony Gregory. The CPF was established initially through the Drugs Task Force. Tony was one of the founding members of the CPF and one of the greatest anti-drugs campaigner the country has ever known. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of the North Inner City and was the greatest advocate against crime, particularly drug related crime. His legacy remains strong and
I have no doubt that he will be remembered well with fondness and respect over the course of the conference.

As a local public representative I am keenly aware of the importance of the work of the Community Policing Forum in dealing with the issues facing our community. Drug related crime and anti-social behaviour continue to scourge our communities and while issues related housing, urban regeneration and civic management are significant factors contributing to the problems and issues in our communities. I want to acknowledge the work of Dublin City Council staff under the Area Manager, Charlie Lowe in their contribution to the work of the Forum, in working with the community to resolve the problems the City Council can address.

The alarming increase in unemployment is also a significant issue for the people of the North Inner City. While the North Inner City did not benefit from the excesses of the Celtic Tiger, it now appears that it is the people from this area who are the first to pay the price for problems which were not at all of their making. There is a link between areas which suffer from high levels of unemployment and crime levels in those areas. I have therefore made employment my priority for my term of office as Lord Mayor of Dublin. Many of you will be aware that I have established the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment and I have recently issued a Call for Ideas and Actions to give expression to the fear anger frustration of the ordinary citizen on the one hand while enabling and empowering all citizens to be part of the solution. I would welcome submissions form individuals and organisations present here today.

I want to pay special tribute to the work of the Gardai in the North Inner City, Store Street, Fitzgibbon Street, the Bridewell and Mountjoy. The Gardai in the Central Area under the stewardship of the Chief Superintendent, Mick Feehan, understood the importance of community policing and embraced it. The community was welcomed into the Garda Station where regular meetings were held and the joined forces with the Gardai in combating crime.
I was delighted to learn of Mick Feehan’s recent elevation to Assistant Commissioner for Dublin and look forward to working with him in the future. I have already had a meeting with the newly appointed Assistant Commissioner for Dublin and have outlined my concerns regarding crime in the City. We have also discussed the possibility of the Gardai making a submission to the Development Plan, to ensure that the communities we design for the future, take full cognisence of crime prevention measures from the outset.

The theme of the Conference “Reform and Renewal” is particularly timely and important. After ten very successful years, it is important to take stock and to evaluation successes, identify continuning blockages and map out a route forward for the next decade and beyond. This is particularly important and timely with new legislation coming into force regarding the operation of the Joint Policing Committees which operate through the Local Authorities. I also want to welcome Chief Superintendent Pat Leahy who has done fantastic work with the Central Area Joint Policing Committee in terms of ensuring it retains a strong focus on the real issues facing the City.

One of the successes of the CPF is how it has engaged the support of all of the public representatives from the Central Area. The contribution of all public representatives to this process cannot be understated. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Dublin Central has the best public representatives in the country, all of whom work together for the benefit of their community. It has often been remarked how much co-operation there is between the councillors from all parties and none, and indeed the party affiliations are not at all distinguishable at Area Committee meetings.

As I mentioned at the outset, the North East Inner City Community Policing Forum was the first of its kind in the country and has been used as a template for other models of community policing throughout the country. The many achievements of the CPF can be traced back to the work and dedication of the staff of the Forum and the work of the voluntary Board of Directors who support them. Marie, Peter and Sheila have given two hundred per cent to their work and deserve a special vote of thanks from all of us for that.

Finally, the Community of the North Inner City who bought into the process of Community Policing and who give of their time voluntarily to attend the meetings, engage with the Gardai, public representatives and staff of the City Council to improve and develop their own communities are the mainstay of the CPF in the North Inner City. Without the level of community spirit and pride of place in their communities, our job as public representatives, staff of Dublin City Council and the Gardai would be so much more difficult.
I thank you all for your contribution to our community and our City and I wish you well with your deliberations for this conference. I am confident that the CPF will continue to grow from strength to strength and I look forward to the next ten years and beyond in that development.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

IMPAC Long List Announcement - 2.11.09 342

The Impac Long List was announced this morning at Pearse Street Library.



Further information from

www.impac.ie

Launch Winter Programme of Events - 1.11.09_109

Dublin City Council in association with the Dublin City Centre Business Association and BIDs launched an exciting winter programme of activities.
The aim of the programme is to encourage families to travel to the City Centre and to enjoy the many family oriented cultural activities on offer. Whether your interests are in the arts, culture, heritage, music or drama or simply in good shopping and market experiences there must be something in the programme to interest you.
Brighten up these dreary winter days by visiting the City Centre and experiencing the City at its best.
Further information from:

http://www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/Events/SummerInDublin09/Documents/DUBLIN%20CITY%20COUNCIL%20WINTER%20PROGRAMME.pdf

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Antics Photocall


Halloween Antics Photocall - 28.10.09_54

Halloween Antics Photocall - 28.10.09_08

Songs from the North Lotts, Book Launch - 23.10.09_21

Songs from the North Lotts is a fabulous collection of songs written and performed by Paul O'Brien, who grew up in East Wall and who now lives in the Netherlands.
Paul's songs are beautifully crafted words and music based on the strong traditons of the community of East Wall and North Dock.

East Wall is a wonderful community wedged between the city & the sea. The maritime tradition and labour history of the area and community are celebrated in the songs and images of this work thus preserving the previously undocumented history of Dublin’s East Wall.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Paul and the local community for their very successful collaboration in this fine production.

More information available at www.paulobrien.eu

Twelve Days in May - The last days of James Connolly

Twelve days in May is a play by Frank Allen, and will be staged in the Liberty Hall Theatre from 9th to 28th November. I recently hosted a pre-publicity launch for the play in the Mansion House.
The play is directed by Peter Reid and has an impressive cast of professional actors.
This play is a must for anyone seriously interested in Labour History. The play also provides an important insight into the development of women's rights in the early 20th century.
I would urge everybody to make it their business to attend this play.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dublin Lord Mayor Welcomes End of MTL Strike and Praises Workers and Local Community



The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Emer Costello, has welcomed the end of the fifteen week long MTL strike at Dublin Port. The Company, Peel Holdings, has agreed to the Labour Court recommendations on job retention and redundancies. A meeting will take place today, (Friday, 23rd October) to negotiate the return to work.
Dublin Port area has become a 21st century success story for our city and its people. The citizens of Dublin, and particularly the local communities take great pride in this success and also in the strong traditions of Dublin Port. For that reason I was, along with the workers and local community, deeply concerned and alarmed at the situation which had developed at MTL as the dispute continued week on week.
I visited the MTL workers at the Port during the strike and I agreed with them and their union representatives that the best way to resolve the matter was through the tried and tested dispute resolution machinery of the State rather than court actions and legal threats. It is a source of great relief to all those who were involved in the dispute that MTL has accepted the Labour Court recommendation.
I wish to pay tribute to the workers for the dignity and resolve they displayed throughout the dispute and also to the local community for their support. I hope that the differences of the past can now be set aside and we look to the future of ensuring that Dublin Port remains the success story that it is for the country’s imports and exports.
It is also a salutary lesson that the best means of resolving such disputes is to fully utilise the State’s industrial relations machinery.
ENDS.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dundalk Town Awards Night -

On Thursday 17 September, I was deeply honoured to receive a Civic Welcome in Dundalk Town Hall from the Town Council.
Members of my family and my good friend Joanne Cartwright were persent for the occasion which made it all the more special.

Central Area City Neighbourhood Awards - 9.09.09

Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello with Residents from De Courcey Square, overall winners of the Central Area Dublin City Neighbourhoods Competition 2009 -
“I would like to extend my congratulations to residents, businesses and schools within the Central Area who have dedicated so much time and effort into working together to improve and enhance their local area and the results of their work is obvious for all to see. It is their collective commitment to these Awards that really ensures that our City is a great place to live and work in” said the Lord Mayor.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Women & the EU, Meeting with Margot Wallstrom Vice President ofEuropean Commission

Margot Wallstrom the Vice-President of the European Commission was in Dublin today. I had the honour of chairing a discussion forum with her on the theme of "Women in Europe".

The Commissioner outlined the successes of Europe on a wide range of issues from waste management to workers' rights and from gender equality to insitutional reform of the European Union.

The meeting was attended by Proinsias de Rossa MEP, Nessa Childers MEP, Susan O'Keeffe, and Cllr Niamh Bhreathnach.

Farewell Mass & Reception for Fr. Ivan Tonge - 10.09.09

I attended the Farewell Mass for Fr Ivan Tonge, the Parish Priest of St Lawrence O'Toole Parish, North Wall.

There was a huge turnout to pay tribute to the man who served his community with dedication commitment and love, and who will be missed by all. The participation of the local schoolchildren in the ceremony made it all the more special.

I had the great honour today of presenting Fr Tonge with a Civic scroll commemorating his nine years service to the Sheriff Street Community.

The Kilmainham Gaol Annual Eccumenical Service, Sermon by Archdeacon David Pierpoint in St. Werburgh's Church, 6th September 2009

On Sunday 6th September I attended the Annual Eccumenical Service for Kilmainham Gaol in St. Werburgh's Church. The Sermon delivered by Archdeacon David Pierpoint was inspiring and is certainly worth publishing. I include the full text of his sermon below.

Today, here in St Werburgh's Church, we gather in the context of Christ’s Last Supper to remember and give thanks for those who believed that what they were doing was right for the cause of justice and Irish freedom acknowledging the fact that all who suffered incarceration and death in Kilmainham Gaol were in their day, men of high ideals and principles.

This building is dedicated in honour of Jesus Christ who was always ready to side with the down-trodden and marginalised, as well as people, respected in the community. He was always much more interested in the one lost sheep than in the ninety-nine in their cosy places. It was Christ who said to the leaders of the community in his day, when they were about to stone a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery, “Let those who are without sin, cast the first stone”.

In many ways, the people we remember today were similar in that they wanted freedom from those whom they considered the oppressor. But not only freedom, but justice and peace. And this morning’s service is not a memorial for them, but rather a time of ecumenism and peace. And it is that peace and unity which I would like to address this morning.

Throughout the years, many songs have been written and performed about peace. Well I want to remind you all that we don’t build peace just by singing about it - or carrying flowers in a precession,- or lighting candles or floating away in a haze of drugs or alcohol. Peace is made of greater things than these. It is only really born out of great cost, the cost of discipleship and sacrifice.

Martin Luther King, shot by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee. Dietrich Bonhoffer, hung on the gallows in Hitler’s concentration camp at Flossenburg. Mother Teresa, who slaved away among the poor in the slums of Calcutta. They all gave peace a chance, but it cost them. They all had to give so much of themselves in order to achieve their goals.

The people we remember today did not give their lives for peace. They had them snatched away from them on the gallows or by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol or outside our sister church of St Catherine’s in Thomas Street. Those executions reminds us of the senselessness of violence - and I don’t just mean murder or terrorism, but the violence of beaurocrats, of governments and those who use wealth, politics or religion to get the better of other people. But if we are helped to see the destruction of the misuse of power whenever and wherever it is misused, then that gallows in 1798 or any subsequent death in prison was not totally without meaning.

It is strange that the central symbol of the Christian faith should be the cross - itself, an instrument of violence. It might just as well have been the gallows, the firing squad, the electric chair, a lethal injection or some other form of capital punishment. But, Jesus took the cross on himself, willingly and with eyes open. He knew that to give peace a chance was worth everything - even the sacrifice of his life.

Here in St Werburgh’s Church, which is a sad sight in its present condition of disrepair and indeed is in danger of closing due to health and Safety issues, this Church and many other churches in this wonderful city of ours has seen its parishioners die for what they believed in. Some are recorded on plaques and memorials while others remain unknown. Some are notable for their part in the fight for the freedom of our land like Robert Emmet who was originally buried in the graveyard of our sister church of St Michan but whose body was removed and now lies in some unknown place. We remember John and Henry Sheares whose bodies rest in the vaults of St Michan's. Of Oliver Bond, the son of a Unitarian minister from Derry, who like the Sheares brothers is buried in the graveyard of St Michan's. He was one of the first members of the Dublin branch of the Society of United Irishmen who first met in the Eagle Tavern just around the corner from here in Exchequer Street in 1791. Found guilty of treason, he was sentenced to death by hanging but died in mysterious circumstances in Newgate jail before the sentence could be carried out. Dr Charles Lucas founder of the Freeman's Journal is also buried in the graveyard of St Michan's.

Among the many other Irishmen who died was one Napper Tandy. A Dublin Politician, volunteer and leader of the United Irishmen. The bell in the centre of the aisle bears his name.
Then of course we think of Edward Fitzgerald whose life and death is well chronicled and who lies in the vaults under this church, where just above him in the graveyard is the grave of his assassin, Town Major, Sirr.

All who down the centuries have died for the cause of peace and freedom knew themselves that to be implicated in something treacherous might mean their lives, and while not wanting to die, they were not prepared to give up on their principles. They knew the consequences but were undeterred in their actions and words. As Christians in today’s society, we too must remain constant in our efforts for peace throughout the world and on this island. It will demand great courage, and possibly even ridicule by some, but if we are steadfast in our principles, then I believe that peace will be given a chance and by our words and deeds we might have a small part to play in its continuance.

When we look at each other, we see different traditions and histories. Nothing can alter or change the past. The only thing which will bring the churches, despite differences in worship and governance - to the unity which is God’s will, is if all Christians become close to Christ. The closer we get to Him, the nearer we will find ourselves to one another.

If we as fellow Christians accept the inheritance which Christ left us all, we should have peace in our lives, our homes and with our neighbours of every denomination or none. Something which I feel certain those whom we remember today would have wished if they had lived. I hope and pray that as we move forward, we can carry out the wishes and prayers of Christians throughout history and achieve peace and unity among all people.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello Establishes Lord Mayor's Commision on Employment

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Emer Costello announced the establishment of the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment, at the City Council Meeting at City Hall on Monday 7th September
According to the Lord Mayor, ‘Dublin needs strong and creative leadership, with a clear vision for the future of the City, to get its economy moving again. We need to prioritise the protection of existing employment and the creation of new jobs.’
‘To this end I am establishing the Commission on Employment to examine how Dublin City Council can facilitate growth in the local economy. It is my intention that all the political parties and independents in the City Council together with the communities they represent will take ownership of this Commission. It will examine the scope of the problem, identify the unemployment blackspots; it will meet with and take submissions from the key stakeholders in all relevant sectors; it will engage with local community groups, hold public workshops and take public submissions’,

The Commission aims to examine how Dublin City Council can facilitate growth in the local economy and will focus on four thematic areas namely, a) employment and unemployment, b) education skills and training, c) business entrepreneurship and finance and d) volunteering and the social economy.

The Lord Mayor added. “Through each of these themes we will work to develop policies and create conditions which will generate new jobs. We will identify issues and gaps in the education, skills and training systems to support Dublin’s performance as a hub in the Smart economy. We will identify existing or future opportunities for employment creation and enterprise growth. We will explore opportunities in potential growth sectors, for example, in the green economy, creative industries and cultural tourism heritage enterprise. We will ascertain mechanisms to support enterprise, particularly small to medium sized enterprise and will identify potential sources of funding. We will also examine the role of the voluntary and community sector and the potential benefits to the exchequer of people being employed through Community Employment and the social economy.”

The work of the Commission will link with and support the delivery of the recently launched Economic Development Action Plan for the Dublin City Region. It is intended that the fruits of the Commission’s work will also inform the policies of the Dublin City Development Plan (2011-2016). Moreover, the recommendations from the Commission will help inform the policies of the new Dublin City Development Plan (2011-2016) and issues coming through the Commission can be actively pursued by each of the Strategic Policy Committees. “In this way, the work of the Commission can be sustained well long beyond the lifetime of this Lord Mayor”, concluded the Lord Mayor Cllr Costello.

ENDS

Details of the work proposed under the four main objectives:

Employment & Unemployment

  • To profile employment in Dublin and identify existing or future opportunities for employment creation and enterprise growth.
  • To examine the efficacy and efficiency of labour market information systems and media as it functions in a changing technological environment to serve the needs of employers and job seekers at all levels in the recruitment process.

Education, Skills & Training

  • To identify issues and gaps on the education, skills and training systems to support Dublin’s performance as a hub in the Smart Economy.
  • To identify skills shortages and identify immediate measures to ensure training and skills development is responsive to current need and provided in an accessible and timely manner that is targeted to minimise the length of time a person is unemployed.

Business, Entrepreneurship & Finance

  • To identify the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses and propose measures that would better facilitate the development of a positive enterprise culture.
  • To focus on the current difficulties in access to finance and identify sources of funding
  • To explore potential growth sectors such as Green Technology, Creative Industries and Cultural/ Tourism / Heritage enterprise

Volunteering & the Social Economy

  • To identify the potential of volunteering and its positive role in the economic recession in providing an individual with an opportunity to maintain or update their skill base and make a connection with their community and society.
  • To identify the benefit to the exchequer of people being employed through community employment schemes and the social economy

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lord Mayor’s signs book of condolence

The Lord Mayor, Cllr. Emer Costello, signed the book of condolence for the late US Senator Edward Kennedy in the Embassy of the United States in Ballsbridge at 11.15 a.m. on Friday, 28th August.

The Lord Mayor was accompanied by Deputy Joe Costello and will be received at the Embassy by a representative of the United States Ambassdor.



The Lord Mayor said: “Senator Ted Kennedy was a giant of a man whose contribution to Ireland and the Irish living in America, cannot be overstated. He was a true leader who made a significant contribution to the Irish peace process. Senator Kennedy was a tireless campaigner for social justice within his own country and his many achievements are testimony to his greatness. Irish saying”

Aung San Suu Kyi Event, City Hall - 17.08.09 023

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Emer Costello opened a Book of Solidarity at City Hall, Castle Street on Monday 17th August 2009 at 1.00pm, calling on the Military Junta in Burma, to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi, the Leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, Freeman of the City of Dublin, Nobel Peace Laureate, from house arrest.

According to the Lord Mayor, “Aung San Suu Kyi is a global icon of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of military repression, and she takes her rightful place in history amongst other great civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi who I know inspired her. As Lord Mayor of Dublin, I am calling on the Military Junta in Burma to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. ”

I, like, many people throughout the world was outraged when I learned of the outcome of the Kafkaesque showtrial in Burma last week, where she was sentenced to three years hard labour which was subsequently commuted to eighteen months house arrest for a non-existent crime.

The Book of Solidarity is Dublin’s response to Aung San Suu Kyi own powerful plea to people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma when she said ‘Please use your freedom to promote ours’.

Aung San Suu Kyi was conferred with the Freedom of Dublin City on March 18th 2000, by former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill. She has yet to sign the Roll of Freemen of the City, where a space has been left for her to sign.

“I am appealing to all Dubliners and visitors to the City, to sign the Book of Solidarity this week in support of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from imprisonment, and to express their abhorrence for the plight of the Burmese people, living beneath the yoke of a military regime characterised by cruelty for the past twenty years ”, says the Lord Mayor.

According to former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill, “ It is now critically important with the imminent elections in Burma, to keep the impetus behind the international campaign to release Aung San Suu Kyi from imprisonment and to liberate Burma from military dictatorship, and return it to a democracy”.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Emer Costello, Former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill, Gearoid Kilgallen, Chairperson Burma Action Ireland (BAI), and Niamh Rooney, Co-ordinator, will speak at Monday’s event at City Hall.


Ends


Text on Book of Solidarity:

Book of Solidarity

Calling for the Immediate Release from House Arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, Freeman of the City of Dublin, Nobel Peace Laureate, Leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, Prisoner of Conscience and Champion of the Courageous And Peaceful Struggle to Liberate her Country from Military Dictatorship

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dublin’s Lord Mayor to open Book of Solidarity for Aung San Suu Kyi

Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Emer Costello will open a Book of Solidarity at City Hall, Castle Street on Monday 17th August 2009 at 1.00pm, calling on the Military Junta in Burma, to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. The book will be open to the public for signing on Monday 17th August from 1.00p.m to 5.00p.m, and from Tuesday 18th August to Thursday 20th August 2009 from 10.00a.m to 5.00p.m.

According to the Lord Mayor, “Aung San Suu Kyi is a global icon of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of military repression, and she takes her rightful place in history amongst other great civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi who I know inspired her. I am calling on the Military Junta in Burma to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.”

“I recall the great wisdom in the words of Aung San Suu Kyi when she said, ‘Please use your liberty to promote ours’, in calling on people around the world to join the struggle for freedom in Burma. Awarded with several international honours for her courageous and peaceful stance for democratic reform and free elections in her Country, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she was also conferred with the Freedom of Dublin City on March 18th 2000, by former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill.

“I am appealing to all Dubliners and visitors to the City, to sign the Book of Solidarity next week in support of releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from imprisonment, and to express their abhorrence for the plight of the Burmese people, living beneath the yoke of a military regime characterised by cruelty for the past twenty years ”, says the Lord Mayor

According to former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill, “ It is now critically important with the imminent elections in Burma, to keep the impetus behind the international campaign to release Aung San Suu Kyi from imprisonment and to liberate Burma from military dictatorship, and return it to a democracy”.


Lord Mayor, Councillor Emer Costello, Former Lord Mayor, Councillor Mary Freehill, Gearoid Kilgallen, Chairperson Burma Action Ireland (BAI), and Niamh Rooney, Co-ordinator, will speak at Monday’s event at City Hall.

For further information please contact:
Dublin City Council Press Office at Tel:01 2222170/085 8150010 or email to info@dublincity.ie
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello at Tel: 086 - 3831805
Notes to Editor

Text on Book of Solidarity:

Book of Solidarity
Calling for the Immediate Release from House Arrest of
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Freeman of the City of Dublin, Nobel Peace Laureate,
Leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy,
Prisoner of Conscience and
Champion of the Courageous And Peaceful Struggle
to Liberate her Country from Military Dictatorship
-----------------------------------------------

Programme for opening of the Book of Solidarity on Monday at City Hall:
Date: 17th August 2009
Time: 1.00 p.m
Venue: Rotunda, City Hall, Dame Street

Speakers:
Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr. Emer Costello
Cllr. Mary Freehill (former Lord Mayor who awarded Freedom of City on 18th March 2000)
Gearoid Kilgallen, Chairperson, Burma Action Ireland
Niamh Rooney, Co-ordinator, Burma Action Ireland, reading from Aung San Suu Kyi writing

Book signing dates:
Monday 17th August 2009 from 1.00p.m to 5.00p.m
Tuesday 18th to Thursday 20th 2009 from 10.00a.m to 5.00p.m

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Inaugural Speech on the Occasion of the Election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin - 15 June 2009

It is the most wonderful honour and privilege to be elected Lord Mayor of Dublin City. I have to confess that I am not a "Dub" being originally a Louth woman, from Blackrock, Dundalk. I moved to Dublin on 1st May 1980 (29 years ago) to take up a Civil Service job in the GPO and I have to say from the day I moved to the City, I fell in love with this City and I felt at home immediately. The fact that my maiden name is "Malone" might indicate that there is some traditional Dublin blood there somewhere! I have had the pleasure of living and working at almost every postal address within the City and am equally at home North and South of the Liffey. I have settled in the Oxmantown/Stoneybatter area, one of the oldest and most traditional communities in the City.

There are a number of people I wish to thank for my election here tonight, I would also like to take some time tonight to outline some of my priorities which I will return to at the next meeting.

Firstly, I would like to thank the Labour Group for the enormous confidence they have shown in me by nominating me to be the first Lord Mayor for this new Council. I would also like to thank everybody who supported my nomination and voted for me. I feel deeply humbled by the faith you have shown in me and I promise you that I will repay this faith by carrying out the duties of Lord Mayor with enthusiasm, energy and fairness.
I would also like to thank the people of the North Inner City who re-elected me to serve for another five years on Dublin City Council. Tonight is as much for them as it is for me. The North Inner City has not had a Labour Lord Mayor since Billy Cumiskey in 1979 and I am delighted to be bringing home the mayoralty to the North Inner City.

On a personal level, I would like to thank my family for their help and support over the years. This evening is tinged with sadness, as I really regret that my mother, who died last October, is not here tonight. She was so proud this time last year when I was elected Deputy Lord Mayor. I'm sure my both my parents are here in spirit and through my sisters, brothers nieces and nephews who are here this evening. My parents instilled in me my strong sense of social justice, compassion and equality. These are values that I bring to all aspects of my council work and were my primary motivation for becoming involved in politics.

Of course, I would also like to thank my husband Joe, for his constant support and encouragement and for being there for me when I need him. The old adage - Behind every great man ... can now be re-written that behind every great woman is a good man! Joe will now have the honour of being the Lady Mayoress - and I have no doubt he will be wonderful in the job Last year we were both called "Deputy" as I was Deputy Lord Mayor, this year will be interesting as I've been promoted to Lord Mayor - I'm not sure how Joe will regard his new role of Lady Mayoress but I'm sure he'll be great.

I would like to add my voice to the many other tributes to the outgoing Lord Mayor. She served the citizens of our great city with dignity, style and class. She will be a hard act to follow.
This time last year I was deeply honoured to be elected Deputy Lord Mayor, and I would like to thank her for her support and co-operation with some of my projects, particularly her participation in the International Women's Day events.

She was a strong advocate on behalf of the weaker and more vulnerable people in our City. I am aware that much of her work was done "under the radar" as she went out many nights with the Night Bus for the homeless and in the course of the year offered her support to numerous community and voluntary groups and organisations.

Her interventions on behalf of the residents from the collapsed PPP Projects were greatly appreciated by the residents and I know she met on several occasions with residents from O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street.. The completion of the Regeneration Projects across the City will continue to be a priority for me. I shared the anger, disappointment and frustration, of the residents from these estates and their surrounding communities. We must have a strong focus on a City Council led approach to rebuilding these communities within a reasonable timeframe and in consultation with residents.

More recently, Eibhlin also caught the mood of the people by her decision to open a Book of Condolences in the Mansion House for the victims of Institutional Abuse. Many of those children were from the old tenements of Dublin City. I want to say now that those victims of institutional abuse will always find a friend in the Mansion House and I want to reassure them tonight that I will help and support them in any way I can and that the door of the Mansion House will always be open to them.

I would like to offer my commiserations to our colleagues in the previous Council who either retired or were not re-elected and thank them for their contribution. I would like to welcome back and congratulate colleagues who were re-elected and also welcome and congratulate the many new members who have joined the Council. This is a great night for those of you who were elected for the first time, and for your families and one you will remember forever.

We now need to get down to do the work and meet the challenges facing this City head-on and there is no doubt we are facing serious challenges in the future. We do this against a worsening economic backdrop as unemployment is becoming endemic throughout the City.

The soul of any City is its people and my main concern is and will be always for the people of Dublin. My priority will be to help make Dublin a cultured, vibrant and sustainable City that is safe and secure for young and old, a city that is clean and green, an accessible City with a decent public transport system, an inclusive City that cherishes the many diverse communities living within its boundaries and a City whose citizens are gainfully employed and whose businesses flourish. It should be a City that inspires pride in its inhabitants and a positive experience for its visitors. I want Dublin to be the jewel in the crown of European cities.

To achieve this, I believe that the City Council, i.e. the elected members of the City Council, must be the driving force of policy formation for the City. The results of the recent elections show that people want change and that they want leadership from their elected representatives on the City Council. They want to they want us to work together for the people. Dublin needs strong and creative leadership, with a clear vision for the future of the City, to get its economy moving again. The priority must be the citizens who live, learn, work and play in Dublin and not the Developer or Speculator. Over the coming year the City Council will produce a Draft City Development Plan for adoption from 2011 to 2016. This will provide the basis for the future growth and development of the City and will constitute one of the most important tasks we face this coming year. I firmly believe that the needs of people, their environment and communities must be at the heart of how we grow our City for the future.

The greater Dublin area accounts for four out of every ten jobs and half of all goods and services produced in Ireland. Dublin is the engine of our economy. It must also be an engine of economic recovery . The priority must be job creation and the retention of existing employment. Over the course of the election campaign, unemployment was the single biggest issue on the doorsteps. The human stories behind those workers losing their jobs came to the fore as people described their fears about losing their homes, being unable to provide for their families and despairing for their children's future and also losing their sense of self worth because of losing their job.
I strongly believe that Dublin City Council has a major role to play in stimulating the local economy. "Jobs for Dublin" is one of my key priorities. I am therefore proposing the establishment of a Lord Mayor's Commission on Employment involving all the relevant stakeholders to address the employment, education and training needs of the people of Dublin. I will announce further details in this initiative under Lord Mayor's business at a future meeting of the City Council.

Finally, there will be many hard decisions facing all of us on this Council. Unfortunately, we have to work within the constraints of the woefully inadequate financing of Local Government. We need to ensure the provision of quality services to the Citizens of Dublin while at the same ensuring Value for Money. There is much we can achieve in these hard times but we need to work together. We have many new Councillors, with innovative and creative ideas. We need to listen to these ideas and harness the energies of the new Council for the good of the people of Dublin. We need to be a policy driven Council, working together and we need to demonstrate the leadership the people expect from us. I hope that the change that people voted for at the ballot box will be reflected in the operation of the new Council and I am really looking forward to working with each and every one of you and with the City Manager and his staff to achieve a new vision for our City of Dublin.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Grangegorman Update


As the Dublin City Council representative on the Agency I am anxious to ensure that all residents in the Grangegorman neighbourhood are fully informed and consulted at all stages of the development. Recent developments include:


The Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) is still awaiting a Government decision to put the Strategic Plan out to public consultation. It had been hoped that the consultation would take place in the first half of 2009. I have stressed my opposition to conducting the public consultation in August, during the holiday season.


  • The GDA has commissioned a report on the employment opportunities for the area arising from the developments at Grangegorman. The study carried out in conjunction with number of stakeholders, including the Dublin Institute of Technology(DIT), Health Services Executive(HSE), City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee(CDVEC), FAS and the North West Inner City Network, identifies significant employment, education and training opportunities for people in the North Inner City. A copy of the report is available from the Grangegorman Development Agency or can be downloaded from their website http://www.ggda.ie/

  • The GDA intend to submit a planning application in May for replacement mental health facilities to accommodate the existing patients.
    Planning permission has been granted for the renovation of the Laundry Building to accommodate medical consulting and administration services.
    Planning permission has been granted for a temporary D7 Educate Together School at Grangegorman Lower/Fitzwilliam Place. Work has started on the construction and the new school should be open in September.

I will keep you informed of developments. If you would like to discuss this or any other matter please contact me at the above telephone number/email address.

Dominick Street: “Plan B” Update

Following the collapse of the McNamara Public Private Partnership regeneration programme, Dublin City Council established a multidisciplinary “Special Task Force” to examine alternative options for the redevelopment of this site. The proposals of the Special Task Force were presented to the December meeting of the City Council and the proposals were approved.
The new “Plan B” proposes to build 200 social, affordable and private housing units on the site with community centre, crèche facilities, commercial retail and a New Public Open Space / plaza to be created along with two new streets improving connectivity, and access through site to Parnell Square. Dublin City Council propose that the development will be carried out in three phases betweeom 2009 and 2019.

The full proposals can be downloaded from the Dublin City Council website: www.dublincity.ie
As a member of the Dominick Street Regeneration Board, I am completely committed to working to ensure that Plan B is delivered on time and in consultation with the residents. I received the following information in reply to a question to the City Manager at the May City Council meeting:

“Dublin City Council is now progressing with Phase 1 of these projects and tenders have been invited for a design team to work with Dublin City Council’s in-house team to develop the design and delivery of an integrated social and affordable housing scheme. Tenders have been received and are currently being assessed.
It is anticipated that planning for the social and affordable elements of this project will be applied for early next year.”

Hendron’s Building - Permission Granted and Appeal Lodged to An Bord Pleanala

A planning application was lodged in August 2008 for a 14-storey apartment/hotel and retail development at the Hendron’s site in Broadstone. There was significant local opposition to this proposal and Dublin City Council received over 50 objections to the proposal. Both Joe Costello and I strongly supported residents’ objections to this development.
On 21st April Dublin City Council decided to Grant Permission for this development subject to 23 conditions including the removal of the 14 storey tower building. The permission granted is subject to the following revisions:
§ The proposed tower element (51m high) shall be omitted from the development.
§ The applicant shall provide 887m2 of Gallery/Studio space within the remainder of the development.
§ The details of the proposed openings and the treatment of the protected boundary stone wall along Western Way shall be submitted.
Both the residents and the applicant have appealed the decision to An Bord Pleanala. A decision is due by 17 September 2009. Any member of the public may submit an observation on this planning appeal by Thursday 11th June on payment of the €50 fee, even if they have not submitted an objection to Dublin City Council. We will keep you informed of developments.

Smithfield Update




There is increasing concern in our community regarding the space at Smithfield Square as the space is becoming progressively more sterile as more and more businesses have closed down. I am seeking a partnership approach between all stakeholders, i.e. local business, residents and community groups, public representatives and the City Council, to bring about the revitalisation and regeneration of the Square.

I received the following reply from the City Manager in relation to this matter at the May City Council meeting. I will continue to look for the engagement of all stakeholders in this process:
Cllr E Costello: In view of the large number of business closures, to ask the Manager to establish a special task force for Smithfield to look at the reasons and to seek measures to regenerate the area and ensure that Smithfield can become the vibrant urban space it was intended to be.

CITY MANAGER’S REPLY:
The Smithfield area has experienced a number of business closures this year including the Park Inn and the Thomas Read pub. However there are also new businesses moving into units in the Space.

Dublin City Council applaud the recent initiative of the local business community in setting up The Smithfield Area Business Partnership to address these and other issues of concern to local business. Dublin City Council staff meet with them when requested to do so.
Dublin City Council set up a senior in-house steering group on Smithfield led by Michael Stubbs, Assistant City Manager to address the public realm issues in the area. An in-house design team, reporting to the steering group, is completing the design for the second phase of the Smithfield Plaza. These designs include the area south of the LUAS line and the major access routes to the Space. They also include provision of additional event infrastructure, new lighting, planting, street furniture and some child-friendly installations. The completion of the design will also allow the identification of facilities that can be provided by future planning permissions adjacent to the space.

While major capital expenditure on the space was deferred until 2012 there is some HARP Community Gain funding to provide some of these additional facilities in 2009/2010. The Events Unit facilitated the provision of over 80 days of events in 2008 and is presently inviting expressions of interest from event organisers for the organisation of events in 2009 and 2010 for all spaces in the city including Smithfield.

O’Devaney Gardens “Plan B” Update

Following the collapse of the McNamara Public Private Partnership regeneration programme, Dublin City Council established a multidisciplinary “Special Task Force” to examine alternative options for the redevelopment of this site. The proposals of the Special Task Force were presented to the December meeting of the City Council and the proposals were approved.

The new “Plan B” proposes to build 500 housing units on the site with community centre, crèche facilities, commercial retail and a new public open space of 2,800 metres to act as a focal point for the wider community and create a new village green.

Dublin City Council propose that the development will be carried out in three phases:
Phase One (2009 – 2012) will start with the demolition of two more blocks and the construction of 130 social and affordable units.
Phase Two (2013 – 2014) will continue with the construction of social and affordable Housing, the Development of Community Facilities & Rooftop Pitch, the creation of a new “village green” & playground and a new commercial centre, such as a supermarket.
Phase Three (2014 – 2018) will see completion the project with affordable and private housing, landscaping and an overall “area upgrade”.

The full proposals can be downloaded from the Dublin City Council website: www.dublincity.ie
As a member of the O’Devaney Gardens Regeneration Board, I am completely committed to working to ensure that Plan B is delivered on time and in consultation with the residents of O’Devaney and the surrounding communities.

I received the following information in reply to a question to the City Manager at the May City Council meeting:

“Dublin City Council is now progressing with Phase 1 of these projects and tenders have been invited for a design team to work with Dublin City Council’s in-house team to develop the design and delivery of an integrated social and affordable housing scheme. Tenders have been received and are currently being assessed.
It is anticipated that planning for the social and affordable elements of this project will be applied for early next year.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grangegorman Update

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.
As the Dublin City Council representative on the Agency I am anxious to ensure that all residents in the Grangegorman neighbourhood are fully informed and consulted at all stages of the development.
Recent developments include:

  • The Grangegorman Development Agency is awaiting a Government decision to put the Strategic Plan out to public consultation. It had been hoped that the consultation would take place in the first half of 2009. The GDA now say that it is likely that the Strategic Plan will go out to public consultation in June/July 2009. I have stated my opposition to carrying out the consultation during August which is a holiday month.
  • The GDA has commissioned a report on the employment opportunities for the area arising from the developments at Grangegorman. The study carried out in conjunction with number of stakeholders, including the Dublin Instiitute of Technology(DIT), Health Services Executive(HSE), City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee(CDVEC), FAS and the North West Inner City Network, identifies significant employment, education and training opportunities for people in the North Inner City. A copy of the report is available from the Grangegorman Development Agency or can be downloaded from their website www.ggda.ie
  • The GDA intend to submit a planning application in May for replacement mental health facilities to accommodate the existing patients.
  • Planning permission has been granted for the renovation of the Laundry Building to accommodate medical consulting and administration services.
  • Planning permission has been granted for a temporary D7 Educate Together School at Grangegorman Lower/Fitzwilliam Place. The school should be open at this location in September.
  • Registration for residents’ associations and groups in the Grangegorman neighbourhood will take place in June/July. Registered groups will have a vote in the Elections for the Community Representatives on the Board and the Consultative Group which are due to take place in September. For further information on the registration procedure and voting entitlements check the Grangegorman Development Agency website www.ggda.ie

Hendrons Planning Application - Decision Due by 21 April




A planning application was lodged in August 2008 for a 14-storey apartment/hotel and retail development at the Hendron’s site in Broadstone. There was significant local opposition to this proposal and Dublin City Council received over 50 objections to the proposal. Both Joe Costello and I strongly supported residents’ objections to this development

The proposal was put out to further information on 18th September 2008. The further information was received on 25th March.
The further information does nothing to allay residents concerns regarding this devleopment. See above photomontage view from CIE Broadstone.

The additional information including a scale model is available to be inspected at the Planning Counter in Dublin City Council offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 (9am 5 pm) and is also available to view on the Planning Section Dublin City Council website (ref 3938/08). Dublin City Council inform us that they are not requesting the applicant to re-advertise the additional information but that existing objectors may submit comments.

Dublin City Council has until 21st April to make a decision on the application. We will keep you informed of developments. We will continue to support the residents in their opposition to this development.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday Closure of Grangegorman Recycling Centre Must be Reversed

Like many local residents I was incensed to learn that the Grangegorman Recycling Centre has closed on Saturdays. This action was taken by the management of Dublin City Council without any consultation with the local councillors or the Environment and Engineering Strategic Policy Committee of which I am a member. I have tabled motions and questions to the manager calling for the immediate re-opening of this facility. The manager has stated that the decision was made given the current financial constraints on the Council’s budget and he is not prepared to reverse the decision at this time.

The centre is invaluable for many families who can only do their recycling at weekends. Moreover, the failure of Greyhound to deliver bags for the green collection in the area has exacerbated the problem for many residents. I will continue to raise the matter until the centre re-opens on Saturdays.