01 October, 2006

Madness in Monkstown

It rained, it lashed, it poured,

We marched through the downpour.
It seems crazy that in 2006 a Local Authority believes that throwing more roads at the traffic will solve our transport problems. The amazing think is that that it's not a road like the new road between the Glenageary Roundabout at Sallynoggin and Church Road in Killiney. This thing is a monster. It will bring tens of thousands of cars past people's driveways every day. It will exceed the noise levels for National roads. It'll have the same amount of traffic as the Arklow Bypass, but it'll bring them on to what is currently a series of cul-de-sacs.

Well, the inspector said in his report that:
"...the proposed road development would represent an inappropriate form of development which would encourage increased car usage and would conflict with national, regional and local policies for the sustainable development of transport."

He also stated that:
"I am satisfied that the proposed road would be likely to lead to a modal shift away from walking towards short-hop use of cars, on grounds of safety. This would, in my judgment, be particularly likely in relation to school children, who currently have safe routes to walk to the local schools within a 300m - 500m distance, being driven to school in the future. This is totally contrary to the emphasis and policy direction of the Platform for Change Strategy (and indeed other Government policies in relation to health and children generally."

The solution is for Government to provide more buses, and better routes in Dublin, instead of endless wrangling between Government partners; improve DART frequency; and extend the Luas to Bray, as well as providing Safe Routes to School at a local level.

After spending days at the Oral Hearing held by An Bord Pleanála in the Gresham Hotel last spring I was delighted with the Inspector's Report but bitterly disappointed that the Board itself over-ruled his decision. Matters will come to a head on Monday week 2nd October in the Council Chamber of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, and it could turn nasty. The Green Party councillors led by ward councillor Nessa Childers will be voting not to proceed with the works under section 139 of the Local Government Act, and it's up to the other groups on the Council to decide what to do.

There's a lot of lobbying going on, as there'll clearly be winners and losers in all this. I've been receiving lots of texts and emails, and I do my best to win them over to my way of seeing things. Text lobbying seems to have emerged over the last few months. It's invasive, but effective. I just don't see the logic in spending €20 million plus on saving 30 seconds on a journey and reducing congestion by 1%, but as I said in my own evidence at the Inquiry even those figures are suspect. If more kids are going to be driven to school, it simply doesn't make sense.

Well done to Sean Mulvihill (shaking hands with Nessa and myself in the pic) and Barry Troy of the Rowenbyrn and District Residents Association for the time and effort that they've put into all of this. We'll see how it all pans out in the Council chamber on Monday week.


Anonymous said...

hi ciaran,
I've been watching you on broadband putting question to McDowell. Well done for saying that a nation is judged by how it treats its most wretched.
I spent a year in monkstown as a boy, and played near the abandoned railway station.
Out of interest where do you (The Greens) stand on northern ireland issues?
I'm in Brighton where we elected Caroline Lucas.
Dave Lee

Ciarán said...

Dave, Here's our latest on the North:

Northern parties should remain focused – Sargent
– Greens welcome Government's support of special tax status for NI

Green Party Leader Trevor Sargent TDencouraged all parties in Northern Irelandto remain focused on the business of delivering democracy to their constituents, following DUP leader Ian Paisley's withdrawal today from talks with Sinn Fein and the subsequent postponement of a meeting of the Programme for Government Committee.

Deputy Sargent said: "Today's developments are obviously very disappointing. The Northern parties have made great progress in recent days but with such high stakes it is likely to have been extremely stressful for all of the parties involved. I encourage the Northern parties and the DUP and Sinn Fein in particular, to remain focused on the hugely important work at hand and deliver an outcome which people from all communities in the North expect and deserve.

"There is a very rare opportunity for politics in the North to take a massive leap forward, but that opportunity is conditional on the participation of all parties and it is time-limited. History will judge Northern Ireland's political leaders very harshly if they fail to grasp the opportunity currently in front of them."

Green Party Finance spokesperson Dan Boyle TDmeanwhile welcomed news that the Irish Government was likely to support at EU level the designation of Northern Irelandas a special region for tax status, which would allow the harmonisation of corporation tax rates with the Republic.

Deputy Boyle said: "The harmonisation of corporate tax rates would help job creation in the North, reduce its competitive disadvantage with the Republic, have a spin off boost for service jobs in the border region and benefit the economy of the island as a whole. Such reform fits into the Green Party's policy on economic reform, which wants to shift taxes away from the cost of creating and sustaining jobs and towards the consumption of non-renewable resources. Such a harmonisation of corporate tax rates North and South should also prioritise indigenous industry and the small and medium enterprise sector above FDI and foreign multinationals, especially given today's figures which show that multinationals in Irelandrepatriated nearly €30m profits last year. This is money they otherwise could have banked and paid tax on in Ireland, or invested in the communities in which they operate."