Monthly Archives: October 2006

Shannon water pipeline a sub-standard solution to a solvable problem

{mosimage}Fix leaks, reduce and recycle before building pipeline or desalination plant

The Green Party has dismissed a proposal to overcome future water
shortages in the Dublin area by piping in water from the River Shannon,
saying the Government’s top priority should be to conserve water and
repair existing leaks in the system.
Green Party Planning spokesperson Ciarán Cuffe TD responded to a feasibility study prepared by Dublin City Council and submitted to the Department of the Environment, which suggests moving water from Lough Ree to houses in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow via a 100km pipeline – or building a plant to convert seawater into freshwater.
Deputy Cuffe said: "There are ways to meet future water demand in the Dublin area that require neither a €500m pipeline running half way across the country, nor a huge, energy intensive desalination plant in Dublin Bay. Simple measures to fix leaks in the water system and encourage the re-use of rainwater and greywater – from sinks, showers and washing machines – will greatly reduce fresh water consumption.
"Instead of building infrastructure to encourage consumption, Ireland could and should become a leader in water use and supply efficiency. It can encourage progress in this area through changes in building legislation to reward water-efficient properties. This requires fresh thinking from local authorities as well as amendments from the Environment Minister Dick Roche to modernise building regulations."
Green Party General Election candidate for Dublin North East, Cllr David Healy added: "Dublin City Council is charging ahead with design work on new methods of supplying water without seriously considering the benefits of recycling and reducing demand. Leaks account for 30 – 40 per cent of the water currently flowing through the mains system – some of which dates back to the 19th century. Fixing those, and empowering local authorities to fix leaky pipes, would greatly increase supply. In an attempt to minimise the leaks mains water pressure is kept deliberately low which means that all buildings need to have an internal tank rather than direct feeds, as is typical in continental Europe. This has significant health impacts.
"Greywater from sinks, showers and washing machines accounts for 50-80% of all waste water used in a typical house and can be reused for other purposes including irrigation. Harvesting of rainwater, which for most months of the year is in plentiful supply in this country can also be used to flush toilets. Recycling water in this way will significantly reduce the amount of energy and chemicals used across the water system. Rather than embark on another massive engineering project, which, quite frankly, they do not have a good track record on, Dublin’s city planners and the Government should be taking a lead in reducing usage and recycling water, starting with public buildings."
Ciarán Cuffe TD: 01 618 3082 / 087 265 2075
Cllr David Healy: 01 832 4087 / 087 617 8852
Damian Connon, Press Office: 01 618 3852 / 087 228 1119

Mistakes in Development Plan

Since March I have been sending emails to the Planning Department about 2 omissions from the Development Plan.  I got no replies so I had to raise this by question at the monthly Council meeting.  Although the question was submitted 2 weeks ago, the website versions of the plans still as of today have not been changed.




Question:    Councillor D. Healy
“To ask the Manager what steps have been taken to correct the following errors in the printed and website versions of the Development Plan since the errors were brought to the attention of the Planning Department in March
The omission of the text “within 2 years” at the end of Objective GB02 as amended at the meeting of 30/05/2005
The omission of the cycle route objective between Claremount Road and claremount level crossing.”

It would not be practical or feasible to run entire reprints of the Development Plan to correct these errors.  As a result, erratum slips will be prepared for insertion into the printed versions of the Development Plan.  The Drawing Office is currently working with the IT Department to upgrade the layout of the website and the quality of the maps displayed on the site.  It is intended to correct the errors outlined by the Councillor as part of this wider process.

Slow progress in getting new allotment sites

Although the Council  unanimously and enthusiastically resolved to provide new allotments this spring, there has been little progress yet in identifying new sites.  I raised it by question at the monthly Council meeting yesterday



QUESTION: Councillor D. Healy

“To ask the Manager to report on progress in identifying potential locations for more allotments and on the potential for allotments of varying sizes to match supply to demand?”


The Council is engaged in the search for suitable lands for the provision of allotments in the Dublin 15 and Howth/Malahide areas. It is also proposed to set aside a further 15 acres of land to extend the amount of allotments at Turvey in Donabate.

The question of providing allotments of varying sizes is being examined. The Council are also considering the introduction of terms for the qualification of applicants for allotments.

Planning files to go online by November

We have been encouraging the Planning and Information Departments of the Council to go ahead with putting planning files online.  The intention has been around for a while and is finally being realised. This will make a real difference to the public accessing planning files.





Question:    Councillor D. Healy
“To ask the Manager when planning files will be available online?”

As part of the process of making Planning more accessible to the public a document management system – Anite – has been identified.  Planning applications lodged since the end of November 2005 have been scanned into the system and backscanning of files from 2004 on has now commenced.

The system is currently being tested in-house and it is hoped to make it available on the web in the next few weeks.

There will be a presentation on this system under Item No: 28

Discussion at North Fringe Forum on light rail study

I raised the proposal for a light rail study at the North Fringe Forum today.
 listed the following item on the agenda:

“Fingal County Council has resolved “to direct the Manager to seek to carry out a multi-modal transport study in relation to transport in the North Fringe/South Fringe area (Stapolin, Donaghmede, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Clonshaugh) with Dublin City Council’s co-operation, to include consideration of the possibilities for a light rail link between the Dublin-Belfast railway line at Stapolin and the Metro in the vicinity of Ballymun/Dublin Airport and other possible rail links and to include consideration of roads, bus routes, cycling routes and walking routes in the area”    

·    Planned changes to N32 were pointed out to meeting by Eoghan Madden; first time these were mentioned.
·    I asked the Planning Departments what their views were on flyover junctions which in my view will wreck any chance of decent urban design in the residential areas around them, and together with the N32 changes will further disrupt pedestrian access in the areas.  Replies: Anne-Marie Farrelly – Fingal Planning had made submissions in relation to the roads consultation; she is new, didn’t have the details. No response volunteered from Dublin City Planning.
·    I pointed out that modal split in the SIAS report was 50-50 (car / public transport), Eoghan Madden said split going to the city was 50-50, split east west was 75-25
·    I raised multi-modal study and light rail link, asking what City Council’s view was; Declan Wallace said they would respond; Eoghan Madden said in principle the light rail proposal was fine;  he didn’t want to delay buses going in asap and didn’t see any reason looking at the light rail would cause such a delay.
·    I pointed out that none of these road proposals were in the County Development Plan and that there was a real problem with Fingal putting all this money and effort in to something which isn’t in the plan.  No response to this.
·    Tommy Broughan and Larry O’Toole supported my comments and made good comments of their own.

Community Department proposes to drop all plans for all-weather facility etc. in Baldoyle

The Local Government Act 2001 (s.135) requires the Council officials to present a 3-year Capital Programme to the Councillors every year, setting out the anticipated capital expenditure.  In 2004 and in 2005, this Programme included a Recreation Centre and all-weather pitch for Baldoyle.  This year, the programme was presented last Monday and the Baldoyle facilitiy had disappeared!
You can watch the meeting at . The discussion is about 40 minutes in, where I ask what has happened to the proposed all-weather facility.

In response, Senan Turnbull, Director of Services, said more or less:  At the time, the Brickfields site was the one in question.  We believed then and believed since then, having looked at it in greater detail that with a brand new secondary school literally across the fence from that having a full blown sports facility, the idea of having two within a hundred metres of each other doesn’t make sense.  And particularly on that site, that site being a site of great difficulty from the point of view of anti-social behaviour, putting a facility there would not necessarily be the best use of it.  In relation to the all-weather we are still in discussion, in consultation with Trackside Tennis Club to see how it is that site which is currently fully occupied by tennis courts can be developed jointly as tennis and all-weather facilities.  We have had some discussions there, we intend to continue those and we would hope that in a few months time if not sooner we could agree an overall strategy for that Trackside facility which would effectively be an upgrade for which they have already got a grant from the Sports Capital Funding from the Government to upgrade half the area as tennis courts and then possibly come to an agreement with them whereby we would invest money in an all-weather within the same campus with them but as of now that is not agreed and we weren’t confident that it would be and therefore we didn’t put the money in.  But again to repeat what the Manager says… But we don’t believe putting a second all-weather facility or a second hall in there makes any sense given that there’s a school hall literally the other side of the fence.

I responded angrily. I should also point out that the school hall was in existence in 2004 and 2005 and that there is no outdoor facility there. 

The capital programme has been deferred to the local area committee, presumably on 20th.  There is another Council meeting on Tuesday 17th

I can supply by emailto anyone intersted the 3 year capital programme discussed yesterday and the previous two years’ versions.  I look forward to feedback from community organisations and residents in Baldoyle.

Outline of Light Rail proposal

I am proposing that a light rail link be built serve the planned new
residential areas between Baldoyle and Clonshaugh.  Between them Dublin City Council
and Fingal County Council have zoned land for housing for a population
of approximately 40,000 people.  Part of this is a new Dart Station to
the east of the zoned area, just north of Baldoyle.

The engineers from the two Councils are now proposing that the
distributor road which will give access to the housing area should also
act as a long-distance access road duplicating the M50 motorway from
Baldoyle to Blanchardstown.  The Council engineers propose that in the
middle of an area zoned for housing two flyover junctions are
constructed.  This proposal would have disastrous implications for the
residents in the area.  The lack of quality public transport for this
high-density development would ensure that all the neighbouring areas
of the Northside would be flooded with traffic.
A multi-modal integrated study should be carried out.  

While roads are being designed, there have been no studies of the public transport facilities for this enormous population.

We are proposing that a multi-modal transportation study be carried out analysing the rail options for this area.  We suggest that the east-west route could be used for a surface metro/light rail.  

The light rail route would go along the proposed new distributor road to join up with the proposed Metro North and Metro West.  It would start from the new Dart Station at Stapolin (Baldoyle), with stops at Hole in the Wall Road, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Clonshaugh and joining the Metro north alignment south of the Airport.  

Trams/metro trains could share the Metro North alignment until Ballymun and then either a) continue on the Metro West route,  with interchage to the Metro North Route, or b) travel south on the Metro North alignment into the city centre, with interchange to the Metro West Route.  This integration with Metro North means it will be possible to build and operate the route together with the Metro North route.  

The link across the M1 motorway should be available only to public transport, bicycles and pedestrians.  The motorway is already available to facilitate trucks and cars.  Facilitating long-distance east-west traffic on this east-west distributor road would ruin the possibilities of creating a decent residential area around it.”

My motion directing that a study be carried out on this light rail link was agreed by the Council in September:
"…That the Council direct the
Manager to seek to carry out a multi-modal transport study in relation
to transport in the North Fringe/South Fringe area (Stapolin,
Donaghmede, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Clonshaugh) with Dublin City Council’s
co-operation, to include consideration of the possibilities for a light
rail link between the Dublin-Belfast railway line at Stapolin and the
Metro in the vicinity of Ballymun/Dublin Airport and other possible
rail links and to include consideration of roads, bus routes, cycling
routes and walking routes in the area."

Architectural Conservation Areas in Howth, Baldoyle and Sutton

The Conservation officials in the Council have prepared draft Statements of Character for the Architectural Conservation Areas in Baldoyle, Sutton and Howth.  The purpose of the designation is to protect the character of the area. The draft Statement of Character is a description of the area which is to influence planning decisions and work to the streets themselves, including street furniture whether by the Council or by ESB, Dublin Bus, phone companies etc.

The draft Statements of Character will be on public display in Baldoyle Library and Howth Library from 27th September to 25th October, as well as being on the Council’s website. The Conservation staff will be available at Baldoyle Library from 4pm to 8pm on 5th October and at Howth Library from 4pm to 8pm on 9th October to discuss the designations with anyone interested.

Repairs to a bench

I don’t know why some things seem to take so long.  Here’s an example (see question below).

Meanwhile if there’s any other benches or other street or park furniture in the area which needs repair, or any locations where a bench is badly needed, I would be grateful to hear from you.  Public benches are an important part of creating a good environment for pedestrians, and of asserting collective ownership of public space.  They tell people that this is everyone’s space, not no-man’s land, and that they are welcome in it.

(Services A – Transportation, Environment & Water Services)
Thursday, 5th October, 2006  

ITEM NO.  15

Question: Councillor D. Healy

“To ask the Manager to repair the attractive bench made from concrete supports and wooden laths on Howth Road beside Corr Bridge which is in bad repair as first requested at the meeting of this Committee on 30th March 2006?”


Arrangements will be made to have the bench repaired as part of the Area Engineer’s Maintenance Programme of Works.

Howth Dart Station and access to the Scout Hall and the Beach

The Transport and Planning Departments appear to be dragging their heels on this. The design as implemented is blocking access to the Scout Hall and to Claremont Beach, and pushing pedestrians out of their route.  In March I raised detailed questions about this and a further report was promised to the committee. That never came so I put down a question last week.  The reply ignores the undertaking to report to the committtee and promises to give me a copy of the decision when it is made.  Unfortunately this kind of failure to follow up on commitments to previous meetings is not unusual. I will now have to put down a motion to the next area committee.


(Services A – Transportation, Environment & Water Services)
Thursday, 5th October, 2006  

ITEM NO.  14

Question: Councillor D. Healy

“To ask the Manager to bring the report on the parking and pedestrian access and safety issues at Howth Dart Station in relation to planning permission F03A/0782/C1 back to this Committee as undertaken on 30th March 2006?”


A submission for compliance in relation to this permission has been submitted to the Transportation Department and is currently under consideration.

The issue of pedestrian access will be dealt with as part of the Transportation’s report and a copy of this decision will be furnished to the Member when available.

The minutes of 30th March 2006 read as follows:



In the absence of Councillor D. Healy it was proposed by Councillor R. Kelly, seconded by Councillor J. Maher:

"That the Manager report on the design of the roads, car parking
footpaths etc. around the extension to the railway platforms at Howth
and in particular to specify:

(a) whether all the work carried out has been the subject of agreement with the Transportation Department;

(b) whether all relevant compliance conditions relating to the
design of these areas and in particular condition 2 of F03A/0782 have
been met;

(c) whether the Transportation Department’s approval has been sought
or given for the built design which involves car parking blocking
access to the Scouts’ Quarterdeck which will prevent them getting boats
and other equipment out of the building this summer, considering that
in all likelihood the Scouts have a private right of way for their

(d) whether the Transportation Department’s approval has been sought
or given for the built design which involves cars are now parked
directly outside the Scouts’ Quarterdeck creating a safety hazard for
children leaving the building;

(e) whether the Transportation Department’s approval has been sought
or given for the built design which involves pedestrians leaving
the Dart Station and walking east to find there is no footpath where
there used to be one and that they are walking behind nose-to-kerb
parked cars.

    1. what steps can now be taken to remedy the safety and access problems identified."

The following report by the Manager was READ and NOTED:

Planning Permission Reference Number F03A/0782/C1 was granted to
Iarnrod Eireann by An Bord Pleanala for the following development:

Development and upgrading works at Dart Station including platform
extension, provision of new emergency gates, stairs and ramp,
construction of boundary wall, parking and all associated works.

The issues raised in this motion will be taken up with the
Architects for Iarnrod Eireann and a further report on this matter will
be submitted to the Committee.

In addition the traffic situation in this area will be monitored by
the Transportation Department in the context of the preparation of the
Howth Traffic Management Scheme in relation to the provision of further
traffic management measures if considered appropriate