I am currently an active member of the following Council committees and boards:
Co-Chair of the Dublin City Climate Change Committee
Environment Strategic Policy Committee
Dublin Docklands Oversight Committee
Arts, Culture Community Recreation and Community Strategic Policy Committee
Artists Studio and Street Art Sub-Committees
The National Maternity Hospital
Sutton 2 Sandycove Cycle Route Committee
New Climate Action Plan for Dublin
Climate change is one of the single biggest threats we face in
the coming years. Therefore, as a member of the Environment Strategic Policy Committee, one of the first things I did when I was elected in 2014 was to ensure that we developed a new climate change plan for Dublin City. The last plan had not been reviewed or updated since 2009. We established a sub-committee, which I co- chair with my colleague Cllr Ciaran Cuffe and in 2016 we published the first ever climate change strategy for all four Dublin Local Authorities. Now the draft Climate Action Plan for Dublin City has just been completed and is ready for public consultation.
A public event about the plan takes place on Saturday, 16 February, between 12pm and 5pm in the Mansion House. This is an opportunity for everyone, from the young to the old, to drop in to see the plan and can share their views — I hope to see you there. This is a great step towards making Dublin climate change ready. To make your own submission go to www.dublinclimatechange.ie.
Poolbeg West SDZ
It is over a year since the Poolbeg West Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) was agreed by the Council, where 3,500 new homes will be built, yet nothing has happened on the site. Dublin City Council has submitted the additional information requested by An Bord Pleanála but we are still waiting for their decision. We must ensure that we build a proper mixed use sustainable community on this site. During the development of the SDZ, I worked to secure:
· Agreement for 900 social and affordable homes
· An increase in 3 bedroom apartments to accommodate families · 5% of buildings over 200 units to be allocated for cultural, creative and community space
· 40 artist studios
However, while they are close to agreement, discussions around the 900 social and affordable housing have been a very difficult process. We also cannot deliver the affordable housing element here without an affordable scheme, which the Government needs to provide.
This is a perfect opportunity for a cost rental or affordable rental model, but the Government is very slow to move on this. Myself and Eamon Ryan TD have met a number of times with the IGB Housing Action Group, who are doing great work campaigning on this issue. Contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope we can see some progress on this crucial development and provide this much needed housing in the area.
Improvements to the Cabbage PATCH
Almost a year ago, myself, other Councillors and Council officials met with the local residents to discuss the Cabbage Patch and the range of issues associated with this green space. This is such a great resource to have in the local area so we need make sure that it is put to proper use in a way that benefits all the community.
Therefore, a public meeting is taking place on Tuesday, 19 February from 6.30p to 8.30pm in Francis CBS Community Room, John Dillon Street, Dublin 8. This will be an opportunity for local residents to discuss what they would like to see happen with the park. I hope you can attend.
Some planting and tree replacements took place last year. Importantly, we have just secured funding for CCTV and improvements to the playing pitch. I firmly believe that if we make positive changes such as providing better access, planting, seating, a play area and sports facilities, we can create a green space for everyone in the community to enjoy.
Plans to Develop the Old Public Toilets on Kevin Street / Patrick Street
The old public toilets on Kevin Street have been vacant for quite some time. While we do need more public toilets in the city, and I recently secured funding for some in the city centre in the last budget, I don’t think this is the right location. However, something needs to be done with the building. After raising this in the Council a number of times, they have agreed to put out a tender for development opportunities here. There have been many successful redevelopments of similar public toilet buildings in other European cities turning them into cafes and even homes. If you have any suggestions on what should be done with the space please do get in touch with me.
Survey of All Council Housing Stock Underway
I am very aware of the poor conditions of much of the Council housing stock. In order to meet the minimum standards introduced in 2017, the Council are now undertaking a city-wide survey of all council owned housing. To date they have surveyed 65% of homes and they aim to complete the remainder in the coming months. If you live in a Council owned home and there are particular issues that I can help you with please contact me.
Poolbeg Waste to Energy Plant
I have always been opposed to the Poolbeg Incinerator and the Green Party in Government were the only party to stop it progressing, however the FG / Labour Government ensured it went ahead. As a member of the Environment Strategic Policy Committee, we receive regular reports on the activities of the plant so can closely monitor them. I am very aware of the increase in large vehicles through the local area since the Poolbeg Waste to Energy plant became operational and the impact this is having on the local community. I have raised this a few times at the Committee, and arranged for the Ringsend Environmental Health Group to present on the issue.
Last year I successfully had a traffic survey carried out along Sandymount Strand, and before Christmas I had agreement for a similar survey to be carried out along roads through Ringsend and Irishtown Road in early 2019. Dublin City Council is also developing an app to make it easier for residents to log complaints. I will keep you updated on the progress of this.
New Playground for Sean Moore Park
Perhaps one good thing to come from the incinerator is funding for a new playground in Sean Moore Park. The design has been completed. The marine themed play area will cater for a range of ages, includes a picnic area and will be a great resource for the area. The playground is due to be open later this year.
Local Environmental Improvement Plan
The Ringsend and Irishtown LEIP, which was agreed in summer 2017, will bring many positive changes to the local area. The refurbishment of Cambridge Road is the first priority. Meetings have taken place with the local residents and an initial new design for the road has been developed, which includes changes to parking, a segregated cycle and pedestrian path, significant planting and electric vehicle charging points. The new design will help to calm the traffic and make it safer for everyone, especially the children travelling to school.
There are some concerns about parking, particularly at the school, which have yet to be resolved. The plan will go out for public consultation at the end of March / April so all the residents can have their say. Discussions are also underway for a re-design of Library Square, which will also have a public consultation process. I will keep you updated on the progress of both of these plans.
Kevin Street Library Reopens
After much needed repairs, the Kevin Street Library re-opened to the public last summer. It's great to have this important resource available to the local community again. In addition to books, there is internet access, printing, study space, a kids' play area and lots of events and activities. For more information and opening hours go to dublincity.ie/kevin-street-library or contact email@example.com.
New Pedestrian Crossing at Bride Street
The junction between Kevin Street, Bride Street and Bishop Street has always been difficult for pedestrians to cross safely.
Therefore, in December 2017, I submitted a Council motion calling for a pedestrian crossing to be installed here. As a result, new pedestrian lights were put in place last November. It’s great to see people crossing the junction with ease and safety now. We must prioritise pedestrians in the City to make it safer for everyone.
Vacant Land on New Street to Be Developed for Much Needed Social Housing
Plans are underway for the Peter McVerry Trust to build six social housing units on the vacant site on the corner of New Street South and New Street Gardens.
Back in 2015, I had sought agreement that this site would be used for older persons housing. However, I think given the current housing crisis the proposed use as homes for families, couples and individuals is very welcome. Construction work is due to commence in April, subject to approval from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Pigeon House Precinct to Be Developed for Cultural, Creative Industries and Green Businesses
Dublin City Council has plans to redevelop the Pigeon House Precinct. However, following a motion I put forward, they will now have to ensure that it is developed for creative, cultural, artistic, community and green business uses only. The site isn’t really suitable for housing or large scale offices, but is ideal for much needed studios and incubator space for start-ups. We can develop a real creative community hub here on the peninsula.
Cycling Provision for the Area
Sutton 2 Sandycove As a members of the Sutton to Sandycove Sub-Committee, myself and my Green Party colleagues have managed to get agreement from the NTA to proceed with the Sean Moore Road to Merrion Gates section of the S2S cycle lane. The exact route still needs to be worked out, but this is great progress.
Dodder Greenway I very much welcome the proposed improvements to both cycle and pedestrian facilities that the greenway will bring to the area, in particular to South Dock Road, Fitzwilliam Quay and the ramp from Grand Canal Dock to the Ringsend Road, which will also help people with disabilities. An updated report is due in the coming months.
Bike Hangars Through the Local Area Discretionary Fund 2019 and Dublin City Beta Projects, I have secured funding for 6 secure bike hangars
for the South East Area. This will help people who don’t have space for bikes to store them safely near their homes. There have been requests for one of these to be installed in the South Dock area and I am working on delivering that. If you have other areas for the bike hangers or suggestions for solutions to our city's challenges log on to dccbeta.ie/suggest.
Bike parking at South Bull Wall I am delighted that, following a motion I submitted in February 2018, 10 bike parking stands have been installed at the South Bull Wall. This makes its easier for people to cycle down and walk the pier.
December 2018 Update
The George Bernard Shaw House
Plans are in progress for Dublin City Council to acquire the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw on Synge Street. The building will be turned into a writers residency for national and international writers. They are also investigating how public access to the building can be provided.
In the meantime, I am organising a tour of the building for local residents in the early New Year so if you would like to come along please get in touch.
Decision on Harbour Hotel Deferred Until January 2019
It is hard to believe that it has been a year since the residents gathered to discuss the proposed hotel development on Portobello Harbour. There were over 60 objections lodged, so the decision by Dublin City Council to grant planning permission for the hotel was deeply disappointing.
There is already an over-concentration of hotels in the area. The plan effectively privatises a public space and this is not what the neighbourhood needs. If anything, this site should be developed for housing.
Thanks to local residents, an appeal was lodged with An Bord Pleanála. The decision on the hotel has been deferred until January 2019.
New Walking Tour of Portobello
I really enjoyed attending the launch of the new Portobello walking tour with my family and Eamon Ryan TD. As a new resident of Portobello, it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the fascinating history of the area.
This is a great initiative led by Dublin City Council and the local residents. You can download the guide and map at dublincity.ie
Plans to Redesign Public Space at Portobello Plaza
In light of the plans for the new hotel and the many issues that arose over the summer months with people gathering socially in the area, it is recognised that the plaza in its current form doesn’t really work as a public space. Therefore a design team have been appointed by Dublin City Council to look at redesigning the plaza.
Initial plans will be launched in January, which will be followed by a public consultation, so all the residents will have an opportunity to have their say on what should happen there.
This is a real opportunity to turn the plaza into a space that can be enjoyed by all the residents and ensures that it remains an active public place for Portobello.
Further Traffic Calming for Lombard Street West
In response to frequent complaints about rat-running and speeding along Lombard Street West, I requested that a speed survey be carried out.
The surveys recently took place on Lombard Street West approaching Oakfield Place, and on Emorville Avenue at the junction of Ovoca Road. It was found that many vehicles were in excess of the 30 km/h speed limit. Therefore, further traffic calming measures have been recommended.
These include the installation of 30km/h road markings at the entrance and exit of Lombard Street West and Emorville Avenue, and a chicane or build- outs on these roads.
These measures will be considered for inclusion on a future Works Programme subject to the availability of funding and residents' approval.
Other traffic related issues I am working on for the area include:
• A yellow box at the junction of Curzon Street and South Circular Road
• Speed surveys and traffic calming measures for Curzon Street, Lennox Street and St Kevin’s Parade
• The installation of a four-way pedestrian crossing at the junction of Harrington Street, Heytesbury Street and South Circular Road
• Permanent pedestrian signage at the gyratory on Camden Street
Christmas is coming to Portobello
For the last four years, I have been asking Dublin City Council to hold a Christmas event for Portobello. Most other neighbourhoods have some sort of event around the holidays. I am delighted to let you know that a festive event will take place in Portobello Harbour on Saturday 8th December.
There will be a market from 11am to 4pm, Santa will arrive by boat at 2pm and a new ‘Welcome to Portobello’ sign will be unveiled at 3pm. I hope to see you there.