087 648 6228
Dr. John Walsh
Local Election Candidate
Working with Joan Burton, T.D. and Cllr Mary McCamley
Ovecrowding on Trains Unacceptable
I have repeatedly raised the level of overcrowding on the trains at peak times with Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority.
Recently Joan Burton TD received a detailed update from the National Transport Authority in response to a parliamentary question to Minister Shane Ross. View this letter here.
The main points of the response are that:
a fleet refurbishment project of carriages put in storage in 2012 commenced in 2017, but based on costs of the only tender submitted it was decided this was not value for money and subsequently the idea was abandoned.
The NTA are now considering two other options - the potential purchase of some additional new fleet from the manufacturers who supplied the most recent batches of Inter City Rail fleet and whether a second-hand fleet could be acquired from other European providers, either by lease or purchase. A decision on this is expected in a number of weeks.
The slow progress on this is disappointing. There is an urgent need for more carriages at peak times on the Maynooth line – the current experience for commuters is uncomfortable and at times unsafe. The NTA should prioritise purchase of additional fleet to ensure that the trains have at least eight carriages at peak times. In the longer term the move to a hybrid fleet is a step in the right direction, but progress is needed in the short-term to relieve overcrowding on the trains.
Forum on Climate Change
Climate change affects us all and the urgency of the crisis was highlighted by the recent school strike for climate action.
I have been asked to chair a public meeting with a panel of guest speakers on the climate change crisis Monday, 15th April at 8pm in Kavanaghs of Laurel Lodge. The forum is hosted by Joan Burton T.D. and brings together the panel of national experts to tease out the political, social and economic issues around climate policy. All are most welcome to attend and participate.
Public Meeting on Climate Change
Kavanagh's Laurel Lodge
@8pm on Monday 15th April
Guest speakers include:
Prof. john FitzGerald (Chairperson of the Climate Change Advisory Council)
Dr. Susan Murphy (Chairperson and board member of Oxfam Ireland and lecturer in International Develomnt Practice, TCD)
Cllr. Alex White (candidate for European Parliament)
Tacking climate change is a multi-faceted challenge requiring coordinated effort by national government, local councils, community groups and individuals, but a lot can be achieved at local level.
There are a number of tangible steps that Fingal Council could take as part of its new climate change strategy:
Promote biodiversity by prioritising planting of wildflowers and plants supporting pollination
Make charging points for electric cars a requirement in all new developments, so we have a network of charging points throughout Dublin 15
Include designated cycle paths in new road and public transport projects and prioritise cycle tracks from Carpenterstown and Blanchardstown to the Phoenix Park
Saturday 13th April saw major activity by the Tidy Towns in Blanchardstown and Castleknock - both groups have recently been revitalised and are doing great work for the community:
"Monster Clean Up" by Castleknock Tidy Towns in Castleknock and Auburn Avenue took place from 10am starting in Myo's Pyb car park
First major clean up by Blanchardstown Tidy Towns took place from 10am starting at the Bell Pub
Planning permission for apartments and offices at Glenmalure site refused
Fingal County Council has refused planning permission for the proposed development of 22 apartments and office space at the Glenmalure site in Castleknock village. This is a positive decision which responds to concerns raised by local residents and schools.
NOTIFICATION OF DECISION TO REFUSE PERMISSION
In pursuance of its function under the Planning & Development Act 2000 -2007 a DECISION to REFUSE PERMISSION was made by Order dated 9 April, 2019 for the above proposal.
LOCATION: Glenmalure, Castleknock Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15
2 CONDITIONS(S) AND REASON(S) FOR REFUSE PERMISSION
1. Taking account of constraints arising from the length, alignment, treatment of boundaries and deficiency of overlooking of the sole, shared narrow access to the site, the proposed development is considered to be substandard with regard to providing a safe and comfortable environment for future users and is therefore contrary to Section 4.22 the Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2009). The proposed access arrangements fail to suitably advocate for the quality of the pedestrian environment and create permeability and legibility for all users. This would be at variance with Objective Castleknock 4 of the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023 which seeks to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
2. By virtue of the constraints imposed on the proposed development by the entrance to the site, it is considered that it is not a sensitive infill, does not enhance the village facilities and amenities and would therefore contravene materially Objective Castleknock 2 and the Local Centre land use zoning objective as contained in the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023, the proposed development would also if permitted set a poor precedent for the future development in the area.
OPW undertakes 'strategic review' of Phoenix Park
The OPW has recently undertaken a ‘strategic review’ of the Phoenix Park, and has produced a report with 29 distinct recommendations to improve and enhance the Park.
You can make submissions on the draft report up to 12 April 2019 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Office of Public Works, Heritage Services, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, D02 V240
A good way to find out more about the new plans for the Phoenix Park is the meeting on Saturday hosted by Joan Burton: Public Meeting on New Plans for changes in Phoenix Park - Halfway House, 11am-1pm, Saturday 30 March.
Blanchardstown Tidy Towns Revitalised
I'm delighted to be involved in the newly reconstituted committee for the Blanchardstown Tidy Towns. The Tidy Towns had a strong presence in the St Patrick's Day parade (as seen in the photo, above right) and will be undertaking our first clean up on 13th April.
Campaign against Mast in Laurel Lodge concludes with successful fundraiser
The local campaign by residents and parents organised by the Laurel Lodge Mast action group recently held a highly successful fund-raiser in Kavanagh's, Laurel Lodge. The proceeds were sufficient not only to pay the costs of the campaign, but also to make a donation of €1,000 to Scoil Thomais for its sensory room.
Public Meeting on Proposed Route for Royal Canal Urban Greenway
I'm hosting a public meeting on Thursday 7th March at 8:15pm in St Brigid's Community Centre in Blanchardstown.
I attended Fingal Council's official consultation on the Royal Canal Urban Greenway on Tuesday 5th March in the Civic Offices in Blanchardstown.The consultant's proposed route for the Greenway is hugely disappointing - taking the north side of the Canal from Roselawn will destroy the wildlife corridor along this section of the Canal and impinge severely on local residents. A bad option which is all about minimising costs - this should be revisited as soon as possible.
The Greenway is a valuable amenity for walkers and cyclists. Unfortunately there are major problems with the route between Castleknock and Coolmine - I am making the case for the Greenway to run on the south side of the Canal as far as Coolmine so that it can proceed as quickly as possible, without any damaging implication for local habitats or for communities affected by the proposed route. All residents are welcome to come along and have your say on this important developments. You can also make a submission up to 22nd March.
Have your say on Climate Change
I'm interested in people's views on the draft climate change plan produced by the four Dublin local authorities. Climate change is an increasingly urgent challenge which the government by its own admission has hardly addressed at all. The consultation is open from this week until 25 March - have you say on it via the Dublin Climate Change website here
Scam Messages to Eir Landlines
Look out for scam messages to Eir landlines supposedly alerting residents to problems with their internet connection. I got three messages on the landline in the last week - one automated from 'Emily from Eircom support' and two from actual scammers (one from Ireland and one from an international number) also claiming to be from Eir. It is definitely a coordinated fraud and they try to get you to call a premium number and/or to give bank details over the phone. The signs are easy to spot - they claim to be from 'Eircom' which no longer exists as a company. Also Eir never ring anyone to look for confidential information - actually anyone who manages to get onto to their Customer Care is lucky, though that's a different issue!
New PLC Courses Launched
Three new Post-Leaving Certificate courses for Dublin 15 were launched by Joan Burton TD on 21 November. The new courses will operate in Blakestown Community School and Riversdale Community College from September 2019. The courses are being offered by Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board. I attended a meeting with Minister John Halligan TD in July 2018 to lobby for the new courses, which should be a first step towards greater development of further education and apprenticeship in Dublin 15.
New ERST Secondary School
It was recently announced that the new secondary school offered by the Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST) is being located on a 6 acre site adjacent to the Phoenix Park racecourse. The new ERST school is badly needed and resources should be included in the public capital programme to provide a permanent building for the school as soon as possible.
Revised Rail Timetable
The revised Irish Rail timetable from 9th December introduces commuter trains every half hour at off peak times.
The Core bus corridors plan proposed by the National Transport Authority includes the route from Blanchardstown to the City Centre and this is open for public consultation until 15 February 2018:
Blanchardstown Institute of Technology becomes part of the new Technological University for Dublin from 1 January 2019.