End of Youth Officer for Tyrrelstown

Monday, March 23, 2009

The VEC have indicated that their current funding for the only youth officer assigned to the Tyrrelstown area will not be renewed due to government cutbacks. With still no community or sports centre in Tyrrelstown the youth officer currently works out of a room given on loan from Twinlite and this could continue if funding were available. I have asked Dr. Leo Varadkar T.D. to make representations on behalf of TTRA to the government to retain this invaluable service


Allotments at Beech Park

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dermot O'Neil with Ray and Nick on his recent visit to Beech Park allotments to do a piece for RTE radio,

If you are on the two year waiting list for council allotments or feel like growing your own this season, Beech Park Gardens are renting plots from 120sq m (20m x 6m) for €285. There is a full range of facilities on site including shop and toilets. Contact Nick at 086 2182370 or email beechparkallotments@gmail.com.


New Schools for Ongar and Clonee

Monday, March 16, 2009

County Dublin VEC have submitted a planning application (Ref: FW09A/0032) for the long awaited permanent national school, secondary school and community centre buildings. These buildings of course were promised at the last elections and this planning application comes just two months before the upcoming local elections.

• The development on 8 acres will consist of a three storey post primary school and community centre consisting of 27 classrooms, 38 specialist classrooms, PE facilities, a special needs unit and ancillary accommodation. It will accommodate 1,000 pupils.

• There is a separate three storey primary school consisting of 24 classrooms with a special needs unit.

• 115 no. parking spaces including universal access car parking, 9 enclosed 510 sq.m ballcourts and 1. enclosed 2705 sq.m artificial football pitch with floodlighting.

• The application also provides for dismantling the recently built 2 storey temporary prefabricated school.

You can view the plans and drawings on April 1st upstairs in the Paddocks from 8pm to 10pm.


The 7 Storey ‘Feature’ Building........

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The 7 Storey ‘Feature’ Building proposed at the Ongar roundabout has been reduced to 5 as a condition of the planning permission granted to Menolly Homes for their residential development of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments in 3, 4, 5 and 7 storey blocks (Ref: F08A/1234). This is part of the Hansfield SDZ. Several applications have already been granted in this area which will see 3,000 units built to accommodate over 7,000 people between Clonsilla train station and Ongar.


‘Segregation in Education’

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today the New York Times invites readers to a national conversation about immigration and its consequences, something everybody hides from here in Ireland. The first article, to be published this weekend, will report on a Virginia school district that segregates students who are the children of immigrants, and who don’t speak English well, to make it easier to give them intensive support.

When Fine Gael Education Spokesperson Brian Hayes made a similar suggestion last August he was supported by the secondary teachers union ASTI but others used it as an excuse to jump up and down and brand him a racist. He later issued a statement regretting the use of the term ‘segregation’ and there the debate in Ireland ended.

Except at the school gate of course. With cutbacks now in language support teachers there is growing resentment that it is the English speaking children that will lose out as classes get larger and slower.

Brian insisted he was motivated by concern both for the migrant children who were being “left behind” and for the many parents who were frustrated at the effect the lack of segregation was having on the education of their english speaking children in their preparations for Junior and Leaving Certificate exams. The Government meanwhile is hiding behind three major research studies into the teaching of immigrant children in our schools and as you'd expect these are not due to report anytime soon. Join the NYT debate here.


Unemployment Continues to Soar – Government Inaction Continues

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An analysis of the latest Live Register figures shows that the numbers signing on at the Blanchardstown Social Welfare Office have almost doubled over the past year, and by over 9% in the month of February alone. This time last year, 3,944 were signing on in Blanchardstown, today it is at 7,307.

These latest figures are very worrying. There has been no let up in the massive monthly increases in the numbers signing on and unfortunately there are no signs that these increases will abate any time soon. What is needed is a comprehensive government strategy to offer hope to those laid off, put on shorter working weeks, or who are unable to access employment after completing their education. Unfortunately, the government had failed to do anything in this area.

What is particularly worrying is the rise in the number of those under the age of 25 signing on. Last February, there were 843 such people – today, the numbers stand at 1,594. These young people should be amongst our most productive workers – they are in most cases highly trained, educated and motivated. However, there is a danger that they can be lost to long-term unemployment if we do not act quickly to address this problem.

What is needed is a comprehensive government strategy to offer hope to those laid off, put on shorter working weeks, or who are unable to access employment after completing their education. Unfortunately, the government had failed to do anything of note in this area.

I am working closely with my constituency colleague, Leo Varadkar TD, Fine Gael’s Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment in developing strategies to getting those signing on back working again. To this end, Fine Gael have proposed a PRSI holiday for employers who take on new employees in 2009 as well as calls for expanding the Community Employment Schemes to prevent long-term unemployment taking hold. Fine Gael will be developing these and further ideas to get Ireland working again which will will be putting forth over the coming weeks.

Local Office County Feb-08 Feb-09 Change % Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 3944 7307 3363 85.3%

Local Office County Jan-09 Feb-09 Change % Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 6695 7307 612 9.1%

Under 25s
Local Office County Feb-08 Jan-09 Feb-09 Monthly Change Yearly Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 843 1439 1594 155 or 10.8% 751 or 89.1%


Clonsilla Station - Portersgate Parking Scheme Shelved As Cash Runs Out

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The long awaited parking scheme for Clonsilla Station and Portersgate Estate has been shelved by the council citing lack of funds. This is a huge let down for the local residents association, and all of us who have campaigned to regularise commuter parking in the area. The council have already paid consultants a fortune examining and designing the scheme. Now it looks like it will never be done.

I was Chairman of the Portersgate Residents Association in 2002 when we first requested a Pay & Display System similar to the one planned for Malahide that year. Since then schemes have been introduced in Skerries in 2005, in Balbriggan and Swords in 2006, and in Rush in 2008.

In my October Newsletter I reported that the scheme was to go to tender by the end of 2008 but warned that “cutbacks in expenditure could significantly delay the project”. I had hoped that this might motivate local councillors to ensure the project go ahead but alas not so. Some councillors objected to the scheme from the outset. Others obviously have priorities in their own areas. No doubt we will hear lots of promises in the coming months as we did in 2004. Since then councillors have approved over €2 billion in spending. In January they adopted a €270m budget for 2009, up 4.8% on last year. This project would only represent 0.2% of that. http://www.csea.ie/traffic-management-schemes


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