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.


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