Presidential Election Order

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Government has today confirmed polling details for the Presidential election this autumn – meaning intending voters have just two days to register for a postal vote.

The Presidential Election Order, which has been officially issued by environment minister Phil Hogan this morning, set polling day as Thursday 27 October with voting taking place between 7am and 10pm.

Candidates’ nominations will be accepted from now until Wednesday 28 September. Only Irish citizens aged 18 years or older on polling day, and who are ordinarily resident within the State, are entitled to vote in the presidential election.

People who are eligible to vote, but who are not currently on the register of electors, still have time to apply for entry to the supplementary register of electors, which will be published before voting day.

Applications for inclusion on the supplementary register must be received by Monday 3 October. Forms to be added to the register can be downloaded from or obtained from any city and county council.

People hoping to register for a postal vote have only two days after the date the polling order is issued – i.e. today – to lodge a request for registering for a postal vote.

Voters can cast their ballots by post if they are a member of the diplomatic corps posted abroad (or their spouse), a Garda, a member of the Defence Forces, have an illness or disability, are a full-time student away from home, cannot vote because of your job, or are in prison.

Voters who require a postal vote because of illness or disability should seek form PV1 from their local county or city council, while any other prospective postal voter should seek form PV2. Examples of those forms can be found at Dublin City Council’s website.

A principal officer at the Department of the Environment, Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile, has been appointed as the Returning Officer. She will receive nominations at Custom House in Dublin 1.

The issue of the Presidential Election Order means county councils and members of the Oireachtas can now set about formally nominating candidates who have already been chosen by their parties, or nominated by councils, as legitimate candidates.

So far four candidates have been assured of the support necessary to run in the election: Gay Mitchell and Michael D Higgins are to be nominated by the members of their own Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties respectively, while Sean Gallagher and Mary Davis will each be nominated by four or more local councils.

The government intends to hold at least two referenda alongside the election, which takes place in 58 days’ time.


Irish Rail agrees to rename the Phoenix Park Rail Station.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last year the Sunday Tribune highlighted my calls for Irish Rail to change the name of the Phoenix Park Station.

The station was built to facilitate the residential development on the old Phoenix Park racecourse site, but there have been reports that the name has caused some confusion for customers and especially tourists, visiting the Phoenix Park, which is 2km away.  

At the time Iarnród Éireann said that they were prepared to examine signage at Ashtown, the station closer to the park, "to indicate its proximity" and that “the majority of tourists visiting the park do so from the entrance near Heuston Station.” 

I am delighted now that they have decided to change their minds on the matter. 

Irish Rail are asking their customers what they think and whether they have suggestions for a new name for the station. You can let them know via twitter @irishrail or by following Irish Rail on Facebook and commenting there. 

They say their policy is to name stations by reference to the geographic area the station serves, and not after individuals or groups. 

Phoenix Park Station opened in January 2008 on the Maynooth-Dublin commuter line, between Castleknock and Ashtown Stations. It is served by 40 trains in each direction to and from the city. There is a 100-space park and ride facility at the station also.


Water off in Coolquay & North Road

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In order to carry out repairs to a burst on the watermain on the North Road the water has been turned off and is hoped to be turned back on by 19.30pm    Areas affected:  North Road, Coolquay, Thornton Hall.


Appeal for parents to vaccinate after dramatic increase in measles in North Dublin

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Parents must ensure their children are properly vaccinated against measles following a dramatic increase in cases in North Dublin. Almost 70% of the 135 cases reported in Ireland this year occurred in Dublin North City.

There is a large pan national outbreak of measles in Europe with more than 26,000 cases in the first six months of this year, almost twice the level of last year. More than half of the reported cases occurred in France where six deaths, 15 neurological complications and 615 cases with severe pneumonia have been reported.

International health officials are blaming it on the failure to vaccinate all children and the increased movement of infected people between countries. As there is more travel between Europe and Ireland over the summer, there is an increased risk to Irish children and teenagers who are not fully vaccinated against measles.

Parents must ensure their children have 2 doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine as it is the only protection from this potentially fatal illness. At the next meeting of the HSE I will be asking why the incidence of the disease is so high in North Dublin.

Measles is highly contagious as the virus spreads easily through the air, and in closed rooms, infected droplets can linger for up to two hours after the sick person leaves. This is why children are particularly vulnerable in homes, crèches, playgroups, camps, schools and universities.

For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. In the year 2000, a serious outbreak in Dublin saw cases rise as high as 1600, and claimed the lives of 3 young children’.

The disease's most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, eye inflammation and rash all over the body. It takes about two weeks for the rash to appear from the time of first infection, and people are contagious from four days before a rash to four days after. A small fraction of people get much sicker, developing pneumonia or even encephalitis.

The MMR vaccine is free with the first dose given at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4-5 years of age. At the moment, only 90% of children in Ireland have received one dose of MMR by 24 months of age, which is below the target of 95% to prevent cases of measles and measles outbreaks. By not vaccinating your child you are putting other children at risk as well.

The HSE is writing to GPs in the North Inner City of Dublin area today, informing them of the rising numbers of cases and giving specific advice on vaccination measures, and is also arranging for special MMR vaccination clinics to be delivered in primary schools in the North Dublin area, when schools return in September.


Donabate & Garristown water cut off

Donabate Area: In order to facilitate the “tie in” of a watermain to the new school on the Beaverstown Road on Wednesday 24th August, water will be off from the junction of Beaverstown Road to the School between the hours of 10am and 2pm. Approximately 300 houses in the Beaverstown area will be affected by this outage.

Garristown Area: To facilitate connections for the upgrade of the Garristown Reservoir it will be necessary to shut off the water in the area between 10am and 4pm on Thursday 25th August.

Areas affected: Garristown Village, Wyestown ,Adamstown, Springhill, The Glebe, Commons Upper, Commons Lower, Pluckhimin, Tobergregan, Ballymadun, Grallagh, Nutstown, Baldwinstown and surrounds.


Swords Rivervalley water cut off

Monday, August 22, 2011

It has been necessary to turn the water off in the Rivervalley area of swords including Forest Estate and Brookdale Estate in order to repair a leak on the mains. It is hoped that the water will be turned back on by 6pm.


Gay Mitchell visits Blanchardstown Centre

Monday, August 15, 2011

 Gay Mitchell and John Bruton visited the Blanchardstown Centre today and recieved a very good reception. He looks great and is full of enthusiasm and energy. As you would expect there were people there from all over the country and many approached to greet him. There were quite a few compliments on his recent RTE interview on the Pat Kenny show. 


Old Hansfield road project gets vital funding

Fingal County Council has received funding to pedestrianise and upgrade the old Hansfield road between Ongar, and Phibblestown.

The road was once part of the Clonsilla to Clonee road but was closed off when the Ongar road was built. A scheme (see back) to pedestrianise the old road in 2008 had to be shelved by the council due to lack of funds. Since then it has attracted a lot of dumping and anti social behaviour and was the site of a number of serious assaults in the past year.

With a new government in place I urged the council to apply for funding in the hope of getting the project underway again. I am pleased that our local TD, the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar, has confirmed that the National Transport Authority has allocated €250,000 to help upgrade the road. The works must be carried out before the end of the year.

This is an important route for students attending Scoil Setanta and Scoil Grainne at Phibblestown as well as those using the new sports and community facilities there. Upgrading the road and installing adequate lighting will provide safer access for all especially in the dark winter evenings to come.

See here for more information on the original scheme


Summary of changes to student grant as a result of the Fianna Fail/Green Party budget 2011

Three measures were announced in Budget 2011 relating to the student grant schemes:

A: Reduction in overall rates of grant

A reduction of 4% is to be applied to the rates of all student grants.
This reduction applies to all existing grant holders and to new grant holders alike.
The implementation date is January 2011.

B: Qualifying distance criterion for non-adjacent rate of grant

The qualifying distance criterion for entitlement to the higher non-adjacent rate of grant (distance from home to the higher education institution) has been changed from 15 miles (24 kilometres) to 45 kilometres.
This measure applies to all students.
The implementation date is the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

C: Automatic entitlement of mature students to non-adjacent rate of grant.

The automatic entitlement of mature students to the higher non-adjacent rate of payment has been removed.
The implementation date is the start of the 2011-2012 academic year. 

Click here for more info


Higher Education Grants

Fingal County Council awards Higher Education Grants under the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts 1968 to 1992. A new scheme is drawn up each year by the Department of Education & Science before being formally adopted by each Local Authority.

The Scheme applies to students who are commencing approved courses for the first time in that year. To be eligible for a grant under the Scheme, a candidate must fullfill the conditions as to residence, age, academic attainments, means and nationality. Fingal County Council has no discretion in this matter.

It is the policy of Fingal County Council to fully reassess all applications each year and to reassess any student who commences a postgraduate course immediately after the completion of their undergraduate programme.

Academic Year 2011/2012

Closing Date

Fingal County Council has extended the closing date for the first time grant applications & renewals to Friday 25th November, 2011. Applications must be received in this office before close of business (4.30pm) on this day. Applications after that date will not be considered unless there is a change in circumstances. Applications that are simply late will not be accepted.

Phone Lines and Public Counter

The phone lines and Public Counter are open from 2pm to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday

The council would appreciate if you would not ring the office to check on the status of your application. Files are being assessed in the date order they were received and we will contact you as soon as we have reached your application. It is currently taking between 8 and 10 weeks from the time we receive an application to fully assess it.

As soon as your application is registered on the system a letter confirming that it was received.

Application forms and accompanying notes should be downloaded at No hard copy forms will be available from Fingal County Council.

Academic Year 2011/12

Renewal of a Grant Awarded in 2011/2012: Students who wish to make an application for a renewal must download the form, which will be available from this Council's website from July. Students must submit their exam results with the application as well as documentary evidence of income. Please see the form for the list of necessary documents.

The qualifying distance criterion for entitlement to the higher non-adjacent rate of grant (distance from home to the higher education institution) will be changed from 15 miles (24 kilometres) to 28 miles (45 kilometres). This measure will take effect for all students both new and renewal from the start of the 2011/2012 academic year.

The automatic eligibility of mature students to the higher non-adjacent rate of payment, will no longer apply, effective for all students both new and renewal from the commencement of the 2011/2012 academic year. This measure will bring the arrangements for mature students into line with all other students.

Leaving Certificate Students: Forms will be available from July at Please make sure that you read all the guidance notes and ensure that you send in all the documents necessary. The requirement to prove residence in Ireland for three out of the last five years applies to everyone. A copy of your Junior Certificate will suffice in most cases. The closing date for receipt of fully completed application forms with all necessary documentation is the 25th November, 2011.

All other Students: Forms will be available from July at Please make sure that you read all the guidance notes and ensure that you send in all the documents necessary. The requirement to prove residence in Ireland for three out of the last five years applies to everyone.
Forms that are received without the correct documentation will not be assessed or registered with the Local Authority and will be returned directly to the student.

The Closing date for all applications is the 25th November. Applications are assessed in the order of the date received.

Higher Education Grants Section,
Corporate Services,
Fingal County Council,
County Hall,
Main Street,
Co. Dublin.

E-mail: or Tel. 01-8905991

Opening Times: Monday - Friday 2pm - 4.30pm

Useful Information / Download Documents


Water Pressure Reduction in Greater Castleknock Area

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

As part of the Blanchardstown Rehabilitation Programme there will be intermittent disruption to the water supply in the areas listed hereunder over the next few days. This work is essential to facilitate connections to the newly laid watermain on College Road. Every effort will be made to minimise disruptions both in terms of water loss and frequency.
However, if demand is high during the day some areas may experience total water loss for a period. Fingal County Council would appreciate it if the use of domestic appliances, showers and the like were kept to a minimum. Every effort will be made to minimise disruptions and full supply will be switched back on as quickly as possible.

Areas/Estates affected: Auburn,Ashleigh,Beech Park, Castleknock Road,Castleknock Green/Road/Lodge,Chesterfield,Church Court, College Park/Grove/Fort/Wood,Deerpark Dunsandle,Dunsink Lane,Elm Green,Farmleigh,Georgian Village, Hadleigh,Hawthorn,Laurel Lodge,Martin Savage Park,Morgan's Place, Navan Road, Oak Lawn/Lodge, Park Drive, Parkmore.Peck's Lane,Phoenix Estate,Phoenix Park Racecourse Development,River Road,Scribblestown Road,Stockton Estate, Talbot,The Pines,  Woodpark,Woodview Park


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