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Public Transport & Cycling
Prioritise development of new cycle paths in Blanchardstown, Castleknock and Carpenterstown in the short-term, without waiting for the completion of other major public transport projects such as Bus Connects.
Securing the DART extension on the Maynooth line and providing more carriages on trains at peak times to reduce overcrowding.
An Autism specific special school is urgently needed in Dublin 15 to facilitate children with complex special educational needs. The Education and Training Board has agreed to act as patron of the school and it should be established as soon as possible.
As chairperson of the Board of Castleknock Community College, I understand the increased demand for school places which puts great pressure on schools and parents. I will work with parents and teachers to secure a permanent building for the new Edmund Rice Trust school in Castleknock and a new building for Coolmine Community School.
Further Education: I lobbied successfully for more further education places which are being provided by Blakestown Community School from September 2019.
Affordable Housing and Planning
More affordable housing including a mix of family homes and apartments.
Build more social and public housing on public land.
Ensure that schools, public transport links and other essential amenities such as parks and playgrounds are provided at the same time as new housing.
Updated Local Area Plans for the villages of Clonsilla, Blanchardstown and Castleknock to offer a roadmap for sustainable development and ensure that new housing is served by schools, public transport links and essential amenities such as parks and playgrounds.
Promote biodiversity by prioritising planting of wildflowers and pollinator plants. This is particularly urgent considering recent research on the imminent destruction of many species due to climate change.
Include charging points for electric cars in every new development so that we have a network of charging points throughout Dublin 15.
Energy efficiency and sustainability should be central to new development.
A parliamentary question by Joan Burton TD recently revealed that there are only 13 Community Gardai in Blanchardstown to cover the entire Dublin 15 area. This is entirely inadequate to cover an area which has had the most striking increase in population in Ireland in the last ten years.
I will campaign for more Community Gardai and the necessary resources to support Gardai in working with local communities to tackle crime.
Develop the full range of vital services at Connolly Hospital, including the early opening of the minor injuries unit and transfer of maternity services presently offered by the Rotunda (both already agreed by government). Even at this late stage, the Government should reconsider the location of the National Children’s Hospital and consider a combined project involving the transfer of the Rotunda and the establishment of the Children’s Hospital on a greenfield site adjacent to Connolly Hospital.
You can find more detailed information on my manifesto here:
Investing in Schools
As chairperson of the Board of Castleknock Community College, I am keenly aware of the dramatically increased demand for school places and the pressure on parents due to waiting times for enrolment in existing schools. The new Edmund Rice Schools Trust school is urgently needed and a permanent building for the school must be provided as soon as possible to guarantee enough school places for Castleknock and Carpenterstown. Too many existing schools are still in buildings designed in the 1970s – both Coolmine Community School and St Francis’ Xavier’s National Schools require new buildings.
I am supporting the campaign by parents and professionals for an Autism specific special school in Dublin 15, which is required to facilitate children with complex special educational needs. It is welcome news that the Education and Training Board is willing to be patron of an ASD school and the next step is for the Department to provide funding for the school.
Improving Public Transport & Cycling routes
The DART expansion project to Maynooth has been delayed repeatedly. This is due to lack of commitment by Minister Shane Ross, who has no interest in improvements in public transport. Castleknock, Coolmine and Clonsilla should have the same level of service as Sandymount or Blackrock.
In the short-term, Irish Rail should invest in more carriages at peak times to reduce overcrowding and provide for a safe, comfortable journey for commuters.
A major expansion of safe, segregated cycling paths is needed and this should not wait until the completion of the lengthy Bus Connects process: currently cycling in Dublin 15 is often uncomfortable and even dangerous. A cycle path should be provided as soon as possible from Carpenterstown to the Phoenix Park, where the road is currently dangerous for cyclists,
Protecting local bus routes
The Bus Connects plan in its current form is not fit for purpose and requires major changes. I recently received a commitment from representatives of the National Transport Authority at a public meeting that a major upgrade of infrastructure at the Blanchardstown Centre would take place before any redesign of existing routes using the Centre as an interchange.
I have lobbied the NTA and Fingal Council to ensure that the 37 route continues to Wilton Terrace to maintain access across the city for commuters from Castleknock and Carpenterstown, rather than terminating in Abbey St as proposed, and that the direct service to the city centre offered by the 39 is maintained.
Affordable Housing & Planning
Too many homes being built in Dublin 15 today are simply beyond the reach of most families and the national Department of Housing has done almost nothing to support the building of affordable houses – as a result we are facing into a housing crisis with too few affordable homes and sky high rents. Homelessness is at record levels and is a shameful reflection on the failure of government policy.
The department should be supporting Fingal Council to build more public and affordable housing on public land and impose financial penalties on developers who are hoarding land already zoned for housing.
Much too often essential amenities in our area have not kept pace with new development. It is crucial that when new homes are built, they are properly served by essential amenities, such as schools, playgrounds and transport links. We need to create thriving communities rather than isolated housing estates.
Updated Urban Centre Plans for Blanchardstown, Clonsilla or Castleknock are urgently needed to plan for housing in a sustainable, long-term way and ensure that amenities are put in place at the same time as housing. An up-to-date Local Area Plan serves as a roadmap for sustainable development and can provide for the right mix of housing units including family homes and apartments.
Specific guidelines addressing family homelessness should be issued by the Council to keep children safe and support families out of homelessness.
A specific strategy on youth homelessness is required at both local and national level to ensure that vulnerable young people do not become homeless on leaving care or due to family breakdown.
Climate change & Environment
Much more could be done to encourage motorists to use electric cars. EV charging points should be included on all new estates throughout Dublin 15 and over time inclusion of EV points should be a statutory requirement in all new builds.
Recent scientific reports indicated a major threat to biodiversity, particularly to vulnerable insect species: as an immediate step the Council can protect biodiversity through appropriate plants and flowers which support pollination.
The draft Climate Change Action Plan launched by the four Dublin local authorities outlines various recommendations to mitigate climate change. You can have your say on the Fingal plan up to 25th March: https://dublinclimatechange.codema.ie/make-a-submission/
As development has now resumed at a level not seen since the last property bubble, public parks and green spaces should be protected and any new development should include generous allocation for green space.
The Minister for Justice recently confirmed that there are only 13 Community Gardai in Blanchardstown, to cover the entire Dublin 15 area, which has the fastest growing population in the country over the last ten years.
Residents have reported an upsurge in burglaries in estates in Carpenterstown, Blanchardstown and Castleknock over the last couple of years, as well as ongoing issues in some areas with anti-social behaviour. An ongoing presence by Community Gardai would play a vital part in keeping communities safe. I will campaign for more Community Gardai and greater resources to allow the Gardai to operate effectively across such a large area.
It is crucial to develop the full range of vital services at Connolly Hospital, including the opening of the minor injuries service linked to the new Children’s Hospital and the transfer of maternity services presently offered by the Rotunda.
I believe that the Government made the wrong decision on the location of the National Children’s Hospital and have called for a short-term feasibility study on how the State could combine the transfer of maternity services in the Rotunda and the establishment of the new Children’s Hospital on a greenfield site adjacent to Connolly Hospital. This would achieve co-location of the Children’s Hospital with a maternity hospital, regarded as essential by medical experts.
Royal Canal Urban Greenway
The Council has held a non statutory consultation on the extension of the Royal Canal Greenway from Castleknock to the Kildare boundary. The Greenway is a valuable amenity for cyclists and walkers and the upgrading of the walkway and cycle path would be very welcome.
Unfortunately severe problems arise with the proposed route on the north side of the Canal. The preferred route would damage the wildlife corridor along the Canal between Castleknock and Coolmine and create a risk of anti-social behaviour by opening up unnecessary access routes into Brompton, Delwood, Roselawn and Lambourn Park.
I have made a submission making a detailed case for the route to be changed so that the Greenway can proceed along the south side of the Canal until Kirkpatrick bridge and access routes are linked with the train stations rather than residential estates.
Protecting the Phoenix Park
The ‘Draft Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review’ set out 29 recommendations and changes to the Park – you can view the full report here: http://phoenixpark.ie/visitor-experience-strategic-review/
Some elements of this plan are welcome, such as the rehabilitation of the historic Magazine Fort and a pedestrian/cycle link to the historic War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge. The historic gates of the Park should also be reinstated as soon as possible.
But other proposals for extensive retail and catering outlets could lead to commercialisation of the Park. I am opposed to development of large scale retail and catering facilities, which would seriously undermine the character of the Park as a priceless public amenity.
I am a local election candidate for the Dublin West area in the 2019 Local Elections. Below you will see my list of priorities that I will continue to focus on when I am elected. I ask you to read the list below and give me your No. 1 vote on the ballot paper on Friday May 24th.