31 December, 2006

Alarmed, distressed, fearful or intimidated anyone?

Let the ASBOs begin…! It is Fine Gael that has me worried, though. Not the individuals themselves who are for the most part charming and pleasant, but the policies. Boot camps and drink tanks are my concern, and of course playing the fear card in politics. It has been done before of course, but let’s not forget about the causes of crime.

I can’t believe that Lucinda has fallen for the idea of military service for young offenders. Captain Billy Timmins TD (a former army man) first mooted the idea, but Lucinda? Please. Of course, Fianna Fáil is at it as well, with Senator Cyprian Brady’s suggestion that we call in the troops.

I did like her quote from Fr Peter McVerry describing St Patrick’s Institution as a place where time is spent “mindlessly walking up and down a dreary, depressing yard with nothing to do except to scheme how to get drugs into the place to kill the boredom.” That’s not 1000 miles away from a description of Leinster House for some of the inmates serving their five years, with the Member’s bar substituting licit for illicit substances.

Gangland crime is a messy business though, as is anti-social behaviour, but I’d like us all to think about how to make prisons rehabilitate, how to reform the Garda Síochána, and how to address the needs of disadvantaged communities in 2007.

My new year’s resolution is to try and keep fear out of the equation, apart of course from the occasional rant about climate change.

I’m ruling out Lucinda’s suggestion for Military service for young offenders in 2007, and I’d like to see the 2001 Children’s’ Act implemented instead... I’d also agree with Michael (for once) on the issue of café bars, better them, than super-pubs with all the atmosphere of an airport Departure Lounge, and I’d say it would reduce the need for drink tanks as well.

May you all have a lively and enjoyable 2007, free from fear!

21 December, 2006

High Rise in Suburbia

Ahh, lads. You can't be serious. This is the latest high-rise proposal for Booterstown. I was just getting used to the madness of knocking down the Tara Towers Hotel and replacing it with a twenty five story building when along comes this proposal for the old Shell Garage on the Rock Road. It's 'town cramming' as far as I'm concerned, these attempts to shoe-horn massive developments onto suburban sites where the context is two storey semi-detached housing.

I'm all in favour of increasing densities but these recent Planning Applications are over the top. Even the ducks on Booterstown Birdmarsh should be nervous at this stage. Here's my release on the issue.

Hopefully the High Buildings Study being undertaken by Urban Initiatives will shed some light on the issue of suitable heights and densities. We'll see what Kelvin and his team come up with. I'd be happy to increase densities around fixed-line public transport stops, but I'm worried that it's a bit of a free-for-all on every suburban corner site at the moment. Design, as always is crucial on these sites, but no amount of good design can dissipate the anger that many feel at watching proposals for ten or fifteen storey buidings popping up in the next door neighbour's garden!

08 December, 2006

Garda Patrol

24 November 2006

Re: Parking on Bicycle lanes

Dear Superintendent Leahy,

I write to request that you dedicate more resources to ensuring that vehicles do not park on bicycle lanes. I cycle with my two young children to school every morning, and almost every morning vehicles are parked in the cycle lane on the way.

This morning a Garda vehicle parked in the lane and the driver remained in the vehicle while his colleague went into the adjoining delicatessen. I tapped on the window of the vehicle and asked the driver not to park on the bicycle lane. The driver told me he had the right to park there, and asked me did I have lights on my bike (which I did!).

Superintendent, your men and women deserve respect, but they have to earn it. My boys learnt a lesson this morning that will remain with them for some time to come. They appreciate the value of bicycle lanes being kept free of vehicles, but on a regular basis vehicles (including Garda vehicles) park in that lane in order to go into the shop.

Can I make a plea to you that you will discuss the issue with the driver of that car, and that you will try and ensure that bicycle lanes are kept free of vehicles?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Ciarán Cuffe


6 December 2006

Re: Parking on Bicycle lanes

Dear Mr. Cuffe,

I am in receipt of your letter of 24 November 2006 and I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Inspector Gerry Donnelly has spoken to the member concerned and I have issued appropriate instructions to all drivers in this District.

Yours sincerely,

John Leahy Superintendent