Government 'wastes' €1m on translations into Irish

Sunday, December 27, 2009

By DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter
Sunday December 27 2009
Cabinet ministers are "wasting" hundreds of thousands of euro a year on expensive, unnecessary translations of official documents into Irish, new figures reveal.
Despite having in-house translation services within government departments, figures given to the Sunday Independent show that most have been reliant on highly expensive external translators to provide copies of documents in Irish.
In total, almost €1m of taxpayers' money has gone on producing copies of documents in Irish.


Fingal to reduce commercial rates by 10.5%

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pro-business initiative from a pro-business Council a boost for employers

Fine Gael Councillor, Kieran Dennison, has welcomed the committment made on Monday by Fingal County Council to reduce rates by 10%, saying the draft budget is a much needed shot in the arm for local businesses and local jobs.

“The decision to drop rates by 10% is to be commended and shows Fingal County Council as the pro- enterprise Council it is. Special tribute must be paid to the County Manager and the staff in bringing this initiative forward. Fingal traditionally has the lowest rate increases and has avoided borrowing for day to day spending. Had the Government been as responsible, it too might have been in a position to introduce a stimulus plan similar to the one being introduced in Fingal.


Translating documents into Irish costs €3,000 a week

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By John Walshe Education Editor
Irish Independent Friday December 18 2009
THE government department charged with reviving Irish in schools is spending €3,000 a week getting documents translated into the language.

The Department of Education and Science spent more than €426,000 over a two-and-a-half year period on translation services, the Irish Independent has learned.

The lack of language and administrative capacity was blamed last night for the outsourcing of so much work.

School inspectors are expected to have a competent level of fluency but administrative staff in the department are not obliged to have Irish.


Prime Ministers pay - how they compare

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowan (salary €310,000; pop 4.1m)
US President Barack Obama (salary €279,000; pop 301.1m)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (salary €268,000; pop 60.5m)
Norwegian PM (salary €122,000; pop 4.7m)
Belgian PM (salary €192,000; pop 10.5m)
Australian PM (salary €210,000; pop 20.4m)
Dutch PM (salary €123,000; pop 16.5m) 
Slovakian PM (salary €39,000; pop 5.4m)
French PM (salary €240,000; pop 64.1m)
German PM (salary €261,000; pop 82.3m)
Polish PM (salary €49,500; pop 38.5m)


Snowtopia Appeal Fails at Planning Board

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An Bord Pleanála has upheld Fingal County Council’s rejection of the proposed Snowtopia development at Tyrrelstown. The reasons given were that it would conflict with local land zoning objectives (ST1 - Science and Technology), would draw custom from the nearby Blanchardstown cinema, and was poorly served by public transport.

The €100m indoor ski resort would have created 1,000 permanent jobs. Twinlite and Cobalt  Developments , who planned the 32,000sqm development, claim it was a fully funded project and had hoped to begin work next year. They have already spent €300,000 on planning and had the backing of an English venture capital company.

It was intended that Snowtopia would feature two ski slopes, a rock and ice climbing area and a high-level adventure playground. The company expected up to 1.5 million visitors a year to attractions including a paintball centre, digital theatres, a gym, restaurants and retail outlets.


Bin Tags Change Colour

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fingal County Council’s Bin Tags have been re-designed, with yellow being replaced with purple and red being replaced with green.  The new stock will be on sale in shops from Monday 30th November 2009.
Yellow and Red Tags will be accepted at our Recycling Centres and on our black bins until January 4th 2010.

For Customers who have a surplus of the yellow or red tags, they can be exchanged as follows.
Customer to write their full name, address and telephone number on each tag to be exchanged.
All returns to be sent to

Teresa Cusack
Senior Staff Officer
Waste Charges Section,
Finance Department,
Fingal County Council
County Hall
Co. Dublin.

For queries please email or telephone 01 8905009 or 01 8906250


Lost in translation

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Still waiting for an answer from the Gaeliban aka Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O'Cuív. After responding to my article in the Gazette I asked for the cost of translating the speech they sent me.

The Official Languages Act, which provides a "statutory framework for the delivery of services through the Irish language" was signed into Irish law in 2003.

In the six years since it was introduced, the state and local authorities have spent €6m producing translated documents. The figure is increasing every year. In 2008 the cost was €1.8m.

2009/11/24 Kieran Dennison

Dear Ms. de Brúch,

Thank you for forwarding Minister Ó Cuív's speech in both languages. I wonder if I might enquire as to the cost of translating this speech please.

Le dea-mhéin,



2009/11/26 Ó Laoi, Seosamh

Dear Councillor Dennison,

I refer to your query to in relation to the cost of translating Minister Ó Cuív's speech to the Committee on Arts, Sports, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

I can confirm that there was no direct cost involved in the translation of the speech.

Is mise, le meas,

Seosamh Ó Laoi
Oifig an Aire


2009/11/26 Kieran Dennison

Dear Mr. Ó Laoi,

Thank you for contacting me in this regard.

My question was in relation to the cost of translating the speech, irregardless as to wheather it was direct or indirect. I assumed it would be a relatively simple task to cost the time in translating and checking the speech by persons in your department.

Is mise,

Kieran Dennison


Minister Éamon Ó Cuív responds to Gazette Article

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Councillor Dennison,

I refer to the article that appeared in the Castleknock Gazette on 15 November 2009 in relation to translations. Minister Ó Cuív requested that I forward you the speech he gave at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 18 November 2009, for your information.

Is mé, le meas,

Sorcha de Brúch.

Rúnaí Aire

An Roinn Gnóthaí, Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Speech by Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 18 November 2009.


Council Spends €125,000 translating documents into Irish - Gazette

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fingal County Council spent €125,000 on translation services in little over a year in order to fulfill a government requirement that all core documents be available in Irish. The information was supplied in response to questions at a recent council meeting, including one from Fine Gael Councillor Kieran Dennison.

Cllr. Dennison has called on the government to suspend these requirements until the economic crisis has passed. “It’s time now for the council to concentrate resources on core services. The Irish Language Act was a hobbyhorse of Minister Eamonn O’Cuive and is a luxury we can no longer afford. Bear in mind that these costs are multiplied across all public bodies and run into millions of euro that could be much better spent. For example, hundreds of copies of the Irish language version of the last county development plan are gathering dust in an office in County Hall while across in Parslickstown old people must endure damp and drafty housing because funding has run out.”

Under the Officials languages Act all core documents must be published simultaneously in Irish and English. A panel of translators formed in mid 2008, has cost €45,000 to date. Public bodies are also required to adopt an Irish Language Scheme, which commits the Council to promoting the Irish language. This cost the council €81,500 over the last eighteen months in salary and training costs alone.


New measures to tackle school parking problem - Dublin People Newspaper

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FINGAL County Council and the Gardai have enforced a crackdown on haphazard parking at a Dublin 15 national school.
The council’s road safety section has been brought in to tackle traffic chaos and illegal parking at St Mochta’s NS in Porterstown, Dublin 15.
Local councillor Kieran Dennison (FG) said traffic congestion in and around St Mochta’s is worse than at any other school in the area.
“At the morning and afternoon pickup times, there is traffic chaos outside the school along the narrow Porterstown Road,” he said.New measures to tackle school parking problem Print
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
FINGAL County Council and the Gardai have enforced a crackdown on haphazard parking at a Dublin 15 national school.
The council’s road safety section has been brought in to tackle traffic chaos and illegal parking at St Mochta’s NS in Porterstown, Dublin 15.
Local councillor Kieran Dennison (FG) said traffic congestion in and around St Mochta’s is worse than at any other school in the area.
“At the morning and afternoon pickup times, there is traffic chaos outside the school along the narrow Porterstown Road,” he said.
“Even the school wardens find it difficult to get children in and out of the school safely and do not always get co-operation from motorists.
“While some parents’ park at the Clonsilla Inn car park and walk to the school, too many others drive there in the expectation that the few available parking spaces will be free.
He added: “Double yellow lines and hazard markings are often ignored despite pleas from the parents’ association and school wardens. Local estates such as Aspen and Lime Lawn have similar problems with the traffic due to their proximity to the school and this issue must be addressed as well.”
Fingal County Council says it provides a school warden service on the Clonsilla Road and on Porterstown Road and outlined what other measures have been implemented to address the matter.
“School Keep Clear markings have been provided on both of these roads in the environs of the school warden crossing points to keep the road space free of parked vehicles, especially at school opening and closing times,” he said.

“Enforcement of the law in regard to driving and parking on footpaths and the parking of vehicles on statutory markings and at junctions is a matter for the Gardai.”
The spokesperson revealed how the council will collaborate with the school to examine alternative measures to reduce the number of cars travelling to and from the school.
“The council’s road safety section will explore with the school’s board of management the feasibility of establishing walking routes from nearby estates to enable groups of primary school children to walk to the school led by parents, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the Porterstown Road and the Clonsilla Road at school during opening and closing times,” the spokesperson explained.
“The Gardai will also be asked to monitor the situation outside the school.


Tyrrelstown To Lose Youth Officer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tyrrelstown will lose its popular youth officer Julie Gosselin at the end of the month because of government cutbacks. Julie has been a fantastic asset to Tyrrelstown over the last two years and everyone is very disappointed to see her go. It is not simply the work she has done with the youth and clubs in the area but the very valuable network that she has built up in a new community of over 4000 people. Minister Lennihan promised before each of the last two elections to provide permanent schools and a community centre for Tyrrelstown. The Department of Education is still dragging its heels on the acquisition of the site, so the least the government could do is to continue funding the youth project.

Julie began working with Foroige in October 2007 to provide youth services to young people between the ages of ten and eighteen in the Tyrrelstown area with a particular emphasis being placed on the importance of integration and intercultural exchange in an area widely diverse in terms of ethnic groups. County Dublin VEC funded the project but warned in March that due to government cut backs they would not be able to continue for much longer.

It is disappointing that the VEC could have allowed something like this to happen. If this project is not continued, the cost down the road will likely be much higher. The youth in the area need the leadership and continuity provided by someone like Julie and any talk of replacing her with a temporary part time worker is simply not acceptable.

Julie will now work on another project for Foroige in Tallaght but she is not looking forward to breaking the news to young people in Tyrrelstown. She had set up were a girls group for 12 to 16 year olds revolving around girl’s health and physical activity and a Friday youth club to cater for 10 to 13 year olds. The popular TYT Youth Café provided a safe environment for older children where they are encouraged to develop themselves and where they take part in activities that constitute a form of informal education.

“Self-development of the young people and their community, actively and consciously is one of the key elements in Foróige’s projects,” according to Julie.


Additional Submission on Lynam Development

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We refer to the above application and note the receipt of significant information from the applicants.

In its request for additional information the Planning Authority commented that

“Having regard to the location of the subject site within a 5-10 minute walking distance of Clonsilla Train Station, and the ‘SC’ Suburban Centre zoning objective that pertains to the subject site, the proposed mixed-use development and increased density in the southern portion of the site are welcomed by the Planning Authority.
Notwithstanding this, the proposed development, which has considerable frontage onto the Clonsilla Road, fails to take due cognisance of the special village character of Clonsilla which is characterized by its linear village and is accentuated by the attractive and extensive tree planting on either side of the Clonsilla Road.”

In our original submission we suggested that higher density on this site was unnecessary given that three thousand high density units were being provided in the nearby Hansfield SDZ. Since this is the only remaining site to be developed along the northern side of the Clonsilla Road there is a strong argument for providing densities and housing types similar to what is already there in the Castlefield and Portersgate Estates. Were this to be the case there would indeed be a need to retain the trees and hedges along the roadside. However, it is difficult to understand how the current hedges and trees, if they were to be retained, could possibly screen the proposed four storey ‘shoe box style’ apartment blocks from those using the road or the unfortunate residents of the cottages across the road.

Some aspects of the additional information are very welcome. The decision to move the site further to the east, away from the Portesgate Houses is to be welcomed and will help to preserve the trees and hedging there.

The Arborists report, which has been accepted by the parks department, states that the trees along the Clonsilla Road cannot be retained due to root damage from previous works along the road and because of the requirement for new underground services proximate to the boundary. Presumably, for the same reason, this means that no new trees of any considerable size can be planted here and that only a patched up old hedge will remain to screen off the proposed apartment blocks.

The special character of Clonsilla village is based on a number of factors and not just the tree planting on either side of the road. This development will change forever the vista as one travels along the road from east to west. It will make development on the southern side of the side of the road inevitable given the damage it will cause to the residential amenity there.

At this place and time we feel that the need to retain and protect the unique character of Clonsilla village outweighs any requirements for higher density at this location.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr. Kieran Dennison
Dr. Leo Varadkar T.D.


"In line with public service norms"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not so sure all public servants would agree with the Taoiseach on this.

November 26, 2008

Mr Molloy's resignation dominates Dail proceedings as the opposition parties quiz Taoiseach Brian Cowen on the terms of the Fas chief's resignation.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny seeks assurances that there will be no "agreement on severance pay or a golden handshake" until Mr Molloy co-operates with investigations of the Public Accounts Committee into spending at the crisis-ridden state agency.

Mr Cowen responds, saying Mr Molloy's severance arrangements are "in line with public service norms", while commending him for being both accountable and honourable in his actions and decision to resign.

Roddy was of course a senior civil servant at the department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment


Lynam Planning Application - Additional Information

Thursday, September 24, 2009

La Vista Ltd and EP Lynam Properties Ltd have submitted the additional information requested by the Planning Authority for the proposed development in Clonsilla (FW09A/0019/A1.

While some useful changes have been requested and made, the development fails to take due cognisance of the special village character of Clonsilla.

High density development of up to five stories is unsuitable for his site. It’s proximity to the rail station means that the planners must encourage high density something which is supported by both the Green and Labour Parties. However, there are already three thousand units planned for the Hansfield SDZ at Clonsilla Station. This is why in a recent submission to the planners with Leo Varadkar T.D., I suggested that at this place and time the need to retain and protect the unique character of Clonsilla village outweighs any requirements for higher density at this location.

Among the changes provided for in the additional information are:

The houses backing onto Portersgate Estate have been moved away further east providing for larger rear gardens of approximately 80sq.m. to make up for the nonprovision of Class 1 open space. This will be welcomed by Portersgate residents and will help protect the trees and hedging along the boundary.

In the first scheme two bed apartments accounted for 89% of units and this has been altered at the request of the planners to 64% with three beds now accounting for 24% of units and one beds 11%. Requests for additional storage space and balconys for apartments have been supplied as has bin storage for the terraced houses.

Additional information has been supplied to the council's parks, water and transport departments as well as a road safety audit.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Extract from County Council meeting 25 October 2001

It was proposed by Councillor S. Terry, seconded by Councillor G. Lynam: -
"That this Committee recommends that the Manager should report on the impact of the one way system on the portion of Clonsilla Road from the junction at Blanchardstown Road South to the "Fire Station" road"

The following report by the Manager was READ: -

"The Roads and Traffic Committee at its meeting held on 22nd November 1999 was informed that the detailed design for the Blanchardstown Quality Bus Corridor and Cycle Route had been completed by the Councils Consultants and that the contract for the works was awarded to South Midland Construction Limited. The Committee was also informed that following evaluation of the detailed design proposals and further consultations with the Dublin Transportation Office, Dublin Bus and An Garda Siochana that the Councils Consultants were asked to consider additional bus priority and traffic calming measures in a number of areas. The areas examined included the location referred to in the Motion. The provision of traffic calming measures (one-way system westwards) on Clonsilla Road from its junction at Porters Road to the roundabout at the junction of Clonsilla Road and Blanchardstown Road South was recommended.

The Roads and Traffic Committee resolved: -
That the proposals be put on public display as part of the public consultation process.

The plans and particulars of the proposals were available for inspection from Tuesday, 30th November 1999 to Tuesday 21st December 1999 at the Councils Offices at 46/49 Upper OConnell Street, Dublin 1, the Blanchardstown Public Library, Roselawn Shopping Centre and the Council Offices at Main Street, Blanchardstown. Representations were invited to be made in writing to the County Council by 7th January 2000.

A report on the representations received, including the representations received in relation to the proposed one-way system at Clonsilla Road was submitted to the Roads and Traffic Committee at its meeting held on 24th January 2000. The Councils response to representations in relation to the proposed one-way system indicated that the proposals will lead to an improved environment for residents and that the alternative routes are acceptable.

The Committee adopted and approved the report and the one-way system was brought into operation at the beginning of September of this year.

The introduction of the one-way system has achieved the objective of a reduction in traffic volumes using Blanchardstown Main Street and Clonsilla Road.

In the initial stages the new traffic layout gave rise to complaints from commuters at peak times. The level of complaint has considerably reduced over recent weeks. However it is proposed to continue to monitor the operation of the one-way system and to effect any necessary further improvements."

Following discussion, the Committee NOTED the foregoing report.

The Committee also requested that consideration be given to the following matters: -

1. Provision of right turning lane from Clonsilla Road onto Shelerin Road;
2. Operation of right turning lane from Clonsilla Road onto Coolmine Road;
3. Traffic Management at the junction of Blanchardstown Road South/Link Road to Snugborough Road Extension including operation of traffic signals at this location.


National Sports Campus - Phase I

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today the planning application for phase one of the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown was published.

This planning application, if approved – will provide for;

A National Indoor Athletics Training Centre;
A multi-sport national Indoor Training Centre;
A National Gymnastics Training Centre;
Sports Science and Medical facilities;
Accommodation for sportsmen and women;
An all-weather synthetic pitch for local access; and
A National Field Sports Training Centre

Provided that individual members of the local community as well as local sporting groups will have affordable access to these facilities, I believe that this will represent an important boon for the people of Dublin 15. The chance to use top of the range facilities will surely give local kids the chance to achieve their sporting best.

Furthermore, once the facility is developed there will be a regular flow of our leading sports men and women through the campus. This presents an ideal opportunity for local schools and sports clubs to bring our national sport stars to meet the young people of Dublin 15, and to present positive role models.


Only 1% for Fingal from Arts Council

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arts council grants were published last week. Despite being Ireland’s fourth most populous county council, grants from the Arts Council to Arts groups in the Fingal area amounts to less than 1% of the total.

Fingal County Council is the fourth most populous area in the country, and represents just shy of 6% of the national population. Based on that, you would expect a relatively high allocation of funding to the area. However, the latest grant figures show that only four out of 347 grants were made to bodies in Fingal, and the total amount of such grants - €312,000 – equates to just .5% of the total €58million allocation.

The arts in Fingal deserve to be supported on an equal basis to anywhere else in the country. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case as demonstrated from these figures. I believe this is indiciative of a general trend whereby Fingal does not get a fair slice of central government funding.

Arts Council Grants:
County Organisation 2009
Fingal County Council Coisceim/Cosanic Teoranta €50,000
Fingal County Council Draiocht Ltd / Blanchardstown Arts €162,000
Fingal County Council Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre €70,000
Dublin Fingal County Council €30,000

Fingal County Total €312,000
National Total €58,494,080


Rail Upgrade Postponed by FF and Greens

Friday, April 10, 2009

Among the many cut backs hidden in Minister Lenihan’s crisis budget are two key transport projects for Dublin 15 that have been postponed indefinitely. These include:

• Resignalling the Maynooth Line to increase capacity

• Replacement of the level crossings at Coolmine, Clonsilla and Ashtown.

• Metro West has also been shelved.

Postponing these projects will heap further misery on hard pressed commuters.
With the Dunboyne rail line due to come on track, there will be traffic chaos at level crossings without a new signalling system. The failure to progress electrification of the Maynooth line will be a huge disappointment to commuters who have been waiting for a DART style service for years. The shelving of Metro West is a huge disappointment to the development of jobs in West Dublin and it will leave all those who commute north and south every day with no alternative but to drive.

Other announcements included cuts in proposals for Integrated Ticketing and withdrawing the €5m million provision for park and ride schemes. Instead of taking the tough political decisions on CIE, the Fianna Fáil/Green government have gone for the soft easy political options. This approach signals why Irish transport infrastructure is doomed to languish behind our European neighbours for years to come.


VEC Signs Contracts For Phibblestown Schools

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A leading construction firm, PJ Hegarty and Sons has been awarded the contract to design and build the new Phibblestown schools campus in Castaheany. Contracts were signed at a very low key ceremony on April 6th attended by the Minister of Finance Brian Lennihan and Mayor of Fingal Michael O'Donovan. Local residents and members of the public were not invited.

Work is expected to begin by the summer but this will depend on the outcome of the planning application due for decision in May. Twenty Submissions have been made by or on behalf of residents whose houses will be overlooked by the three storey schools only 16m behind them.

The Phibblestown schools project is one of the first education projects to be procured using the Public Works Contracts for Building Works Designed by the Contractor.


Lynam Planning Decision – 5 Storey to get go ahead?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The planners have made a decision to seek additional information on both of the Lynam Planning applications on the Clonsilla Link Road (Ref: FW09A/0019 & FW09A/0021). Those of us who opposed the main development will be depressed by the Planning Authority’s opening comments on their decision “Having regard to the location of the subject site within a 5-10 minute walking distance of Clonsilla Train Station, and the ‘SC’ Suburban Centre zoning objective that pertains to the subject site, the proposed mixed-use development and increased density in the southern portion of the site are welcomed by the Planning Authority.
Notwithstanding this, the proposed development, which has considerable frontage onto the Clonsilla Road, fails to take due cognisance of the special village character of Clonsilla.” They then go on to discuss tree retention, railing heights, grass verges and landscaping. See the full decision here

The applicant has six months to furnish the additional information and when received the council will publish a notice of it in the weekly planning list so I’ll keep you posted. Objectors will then have two weeks to make further submissions. There were 35 submissions in total which is very high for this type of development. There was no objection from Fianna Fail or the Green Party but you can view the Fine Gael objection below.


Unemployment Doubles in Dublin 15

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The latest Live Register figures for Dublin 15 show that another 328 of people signed on the dole during the month of March. This brings to 7,635 the number of people signing on in the Blanchardstown Social Welfare Office. This time last year, that figure stood at 3,650 - an increase of 92%. Of those, 1,669 were under 25s this figure has risen by up 96% since March 2008

These local figures bring home the stark reality of the economic crisis this country is in.
We need strong and decisive action from the government to tackle the problem of unemployment in particular long-term unemployment. In the 1970s and 80s, Dublin 15 was blighted by long-term unemployment and the associated problems of crime, medical problems and family breakdown. We can not allow this to happen again.

Fine Gael has proposed a number of measures to get Ireland working again. These include:

- Waiving Employers PRSI for new employees taken on over the next two years;
- Set up a loan guarantee for viable small businesses in distress;
- Overhaul the 1bn FAS budget and provide new training grants for budding entrepreneurs to avail of education and training;
- Reduce the qualifying period for the Back to Enterprise allowance from two years to six months;
- Rewrite the National Development Plan to frontload labour-intensive projects.

Earlier this month, Fine Gael launched a national stimulus plan which would bring the National Pension Fund back home to invest in. This would create an extra 100,000 jobs in the economy through investment in green energy and a modern infrastructure.

I support these measures, and am working closely with Dublin West TD Leo Varadkar who has raised these issues in the Dil repeatedly over the past two years.
The latest decision by the rating agency S&P to downgrade Irelands credit rating is bad news for Ireland at a very bad time making borrowing more expensive and making it even harder for the economy to recover. Interestingly the S&P hinted they do not expect decisive action from the government this side of a general election, so the sooner that happens the better for all of us.

CSO Figures:
Local Office County Feb-09 Mar-09 Change % Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 7307 7635 328 4.5%

Local Office County Mar-08 Mar-09 Change % Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 3985 7635 3650 91.6%

Under 25s
Local Office County Mar-08 Feb-09 Mar-09 Monthly Change Yearly Change
Blanchardstown Dublin 851 1594 1669 75 4.7% 818 96.1%


Traffic Calming on Tyrrelstown Boulevard

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fine Gael’s Cllr. Eithne Loftus has successfully made representations on behalf of the Residents Association for traffic calming on the main distributor road through Tyrrelstown. A scheme (outlined in red above)to provide traffic calming measures in the form of 5 sets of speed cushions on this section of the road has been prepared for Bealing Boulevard from Church Road to its junction with the roundabout at Mount Eustace. The scheme will be on public display at the Blanchardstown Offices from Thursday 2nd April, 2009 and written submissions may be made to the County Council up to Wednesday 6th May, 2009.

The original planning for Tyrrelstown has as a condition (F99A/1620, condition 21, part 5) that the rest of Boulevard Road be traffic calmed and I have requested the councils building control section to enforce this prior to the road/estates being taken in charge.


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


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.


Snowtopia Planning Application Turned Down

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Snowtopia planning application has been turned down by the planners. The objectors were IDA Ireland, Bristol Myers Squibb and UCI Cinemas. The reasons given were firstly, that the land was zoned ST1, for use by Science & Technology based companies (this despite the council stating previously that there are sufficient ST1 lands in the area). Secondly, that the inclusion of cinemas in the project would have an ‘adverse material impact on existing cinema use in the Blanchardstown Centre’ (i.e. competition). Thirdly, by ‘having regard to its location in an area poorly served by public transport provision...’ quite a statement from a local authority that approved over 3,000 houses in the area. One of the reasons many supported the project was for the improved transport infrastructure it would bring. Read the full decision here


Clonsilla Road One-Way System To Go

Monday, February 2, 2009

At long last a proposal to remove the one-way system on the Clonsilla Road has been put on public display by Fingal County Council. Like many residents in the area I have campaigned against this system since it was first installed. It was extremely wasteful, achieved nothing, and served only to further isolate Clonsilla. One can only hope that by the end of this consultation process there will be funds available to complete the task.

The proposed works comprise: -

• Removal of existing carriageway narrowing build out and bollards on section of Clonsilla Road between Blanchardstown Road South and Porters Road/St. Mochtas Estate.

• Construction of new road surface, kerb line and footpaths inclusive of minor widening on north side of road to facilitate reinstatement of two-way traffic on completion of works.

• Provide new pedestrian crossing and upgrade traffic signals at junction of Clonsilla Road/Porters Road/St. Mochtas Estate.

• Provision of surface water drainage, signing and lining, directional signage and landscaping necessitated by the above works.

Plans and particulars of the proposed development are on Public Display at the Fingal County Council Office, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, until Friday 13th March, 2009. Written submissions or observations with respect to the proposed development, may be made in writing to:- Tommie Mc Manus, Administrative Officer, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 to arrive no later than 4.30pm on Tuesday 31st March, 2009.

If you support this change it is important that you make your views known to the Council as soon as possible. Residents at the Blanchardstown end of the road are likely to object to the change with the help of some local politicians on the basis of increased traffic volumes, etc. This is only the public consultation phase and the scheme will eventually have to be voted on by the Councillors so they should have your views as well.

The Plans and Particulars of the proposed scheme can also be viewed on-line on the Fingal County Council website: (


Fine Gael Submission for the La Vista Ltd. and E.P Lynam Planning Application on the Clonsilla road

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

With so many residential units in the pipeline for the area we feel that the small gain from higher density in this application is not justified given the negative impact it would have on the unique character of the area. The site in question is zoned with objective ‘SC’ - “to protect and enhance the special physical and social character of major suburban centres and provide and/or improve urban facilities”.

The site has been the subject of a number of previous applications. Although it was not included in the study area of the Clonsilla Urban Strategy, it is referred to as Opportunity Area No. 7 in the final draft. This reflects its central location and the impact any development here will have on what is essentially an old nineteenth century linear estate village.

The site itself is triangular and bounded on both the east and west by two-storey semi detached housing. A potential problem in the layout of the two-storey houses in the application is that the gable walls seems very close to the rear of some of the houses backing onto the site from Portersgate Estate. These were built with extended kitchens which are not indicated in the map and so are much closer than the plans suggest.

The southern side is bounded by the Clonsilla Road which experiences very heavy traffic. Across the road are a number of original single-storey old council cottages which the urban strategy seeks to protect. The old one-storey post office which is opposite the link road is singled out for protection as is the old forge in the middle of the road near the railway bridge. Beside it is St. Mary’s Church which is listed as a protected structure. There is extensive tree planting and hedging along the road and wide green verges making for very pleasing aspects.

The whole effect is very picturesque and apart from the constant traffic and ugly overhead lines this side of the village is virtually unchanged in over a hundred years. Indeed it is one of the most important characteristics of the village and presumably is what the urban strategy refers to when it states that “the planning Authority will seek to reinforce the village character” (CEO 3).

The current application proposes four-storey “shoe box style” apartment blocks along the Clonsilla road’s northern boundary with the site. These four-storey buildings are out of sympathy with the neighbouring two-storey estates and will tower over the small cottages on the southern side of the road. Allowing this application will transform the area such that similar development on the southern side of the road will be inevitable, contrary to the objectives urban strategy.

The proposed five-storey block at the junction of the Link road will certainly be a ‘feature’ but not one enjoyed by local residents or commuters and will alter forever the picturesque vista as one approaches this end of the village.

The arguments in favour of higher density on this site must be considered in context with the developments already taking place around the Clonsilla Rail Station. At the western end of the station the Hansfield SDZ provides for over 3,000 residential units. The recently rezoned Kellystown Lands to the station’s south eastern side could provide for some 1,500 units and it’s possible that in the future development may be sought for the lands at Beechpark to the south of the station.

Infill sites identified in the Clonsilla Urban Strategy provide for both houses and apartments. Those within the village are to be mainly two-storeys with the few three-storey buildings indicated away from the road and closer to the canal. Developments on adjoining sites such as this one should at least be of similar character.

With so many residential units in the pipeline for the area we feel that the small gain from higher density in this application is not justified given the negative affect it would have on the unique character of the area.

This site is the last remaining one on the northern side of the Clonsilla Road. The applicants were responsible for most of the other houses built here as Charnwood and the various Castlefield estates. As with most developments infrastructure is the last phase to be built but it is regrettable that some type of community facility has not have been included in this application to provide for the hundreds of residents who chose to make their homes here. The urban strategy identifies the lack of such facilities in the area (section 5.0)

Yours Sincerely, Yours Sincerely

Kieran Dennison Dr. Leo Varadkar T.D.



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Information Evening and Display of Plans for Snowtopia, Schools & Community Centre in Park Plaza Hotel Thurs 29 Jan from 7.30- 9pm.

The for planning application (F08A/1446) for Snowtopia Ski and Leisure Development has just been submitted and if successful construction will begin this year. It is to be located behind the Park Plaza Hotel where Ireland's largest retail park comprising fifteen retail warehouses is already planned (

Accommodated in a single building, the project will feature two ski slopes, the longest running for 190m, a climbing/ice climbing zone, a gym, a multi function recreation area, paintball centre, a 10 screen digital theatre with snack bar, a family adventure play area, 3 shops and 5 restaurant/cafe units. Outside there’s a winter ice rink and parking for 835 cars and buses to cater for the expected 1.5 million visitors a year. A 5 aside soccer centre will be the subject of a further planning application.

Snowtopia will be similar to recent winter sport developments in Manchester and Milton Keynes in the UK. In Manchester the fee for 90 minutes skiing including equipment hire is around £24 and developers indicate a similar pricing model for “Snowtopia” with a discount for local residents. They hope to open the centre in the third quarter of 2010 creating up to 700 jobs and another 300 indirect jobs. The centre will be built in conjunction with the new N2-N3 link road. There will also be direct bus services from the city and feeder buses to the rail link at the Phoenix Park Station which will benefit local residents by servicing the village. This is a very welcome development for Tyrrelstown and Dublin West.


No Excuse Now For Government Inaction on Tyrrelstown Schools and Community Centre

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tired of waiting around for Fianna Fail and the Greens to provide basic facilities, Twinlite have gone ahead and got planning to build two permanent schools and a community/recreation centre for Tyrrelstown.

You may recall I held a public meeting in support of the initial application for this last July (Ref No. F08A/0787). It was opposed by Paul Donnelly of Sinn Fein and Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party on the basis that the application was by a private developer. This despite the fact that the Department of Education put all such building projects out to tender to private builders.

The application by Twinlite follows many years of frustration and broken promises by the government to fund permanent schools in Tyrrelstown. Based on the Department of Education’s own blueprints, they intend to build two sixteen classroom schools with separate playgrounds, resource rooms, admin/staff rooms etc., along with a shared two storey community centre/ general purpose hall (area 1252 sq.m) including conference / meeting rooms, offices and changing rooms together with ballparks and landscape works on an area of 6.91 acres. They have offered to sell the schools to the Department at cost price or to rent them at cost to the Department on a long-term lease.

This is about as good a deal as the Department will get in a long time but nothing will happen unless the Fianna Fail Green Government provides the capital funding needed to buy the school. The Department have indicated they do not have a mechanism to lease the building at cost price. Meanwhile the areas two schools languish in prefabs on the side of Powerstown Road and the local gaelscoil has not even got a site, let alone a building. With gaelscoileanna already in Coolmine and Dunboyne, a gaelscoil in Tyrrelstown could provide sufficient numbers for a second level gaelscoil in Dublin West.

Agus na toghcháin áitiúla ag teannadh linn, tá an dóchas ann go mbeidh gníomhaíocht ar an ceisteanna seo i mBaile an Tirialaigh agus ní amháin geallúintí folamha Fhianna Fáil agus an Chomhaontais Ghlais.


Clonsilla To Go High Rise

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Clonsilla To Go High Rise - Plans, Drawings and further information will be on display at our Information Evening Upstairs in the Clonsilla Inn on Tuesday Jan 13th from 7.30pm to 9 pm.

Two planning applications were submitted on December 23rd which may be of interest to residents of Clonsilla. Both are at the Junction of the Clonsilla Road / New Link Road, accross from the filling station. Objections must be made by February 4th accompanied by the requisite €20 fee.

Paul & Harry Warnock have applied (F08A/1440) to redevelop the Old Post Office (beside the funeral home) and the site behind it for a medical centre, crèche, community studios, nursing home, semi-support elderly housing/ apartments. You may recall I alerted you to a previous application on this site for a large private car parking facility in May last year which was declared invalid and it seems that this one has been as well.

Across the road at the junction of the New Link Road, E P Lynam Properties have applied (F08A/1445) to develop the vacant site there for a mixed use residential and neighbourhood centre totalling 176 dwellings of up to 5 storeys in height.

Thirty three 3 and 4 bed houses will back onto Portersgate Estate. The remaining 143 apartments comprising 3 and 4 storey blocks will front onto the New Link Road and the Clonsilla Road. Completing the development is a 5 storey ‘feature’ building at the corner with the New Link Road comprising a neighbourhood centre of 5 Retail Units. Unlike a previous application on this site there is no proposal included for a licensed premises. The entrance to the development will be opposite the entrance to Castlefield Court Estate. One of my criticisms of the current council’s Clonsilla Urban Strategy, which mandates a maximum height of three storeys for the village, was that it did not apply to this site. While some political parties will no doubt support such high density development beside a train station a 5 storey building here is a out of character with the area.

Lynam’s have also submitted an application (F08A/1444) to for a 1 and 2 storey Creche at their other site adjoining the Ongar Road to service the 182 dwellings proposed there (F05A/1153) as well as the new development. There has already been some site preparation here but I am informed there will be no further work given the disastrous state our economy is in.

December 23 seems to have been a busy day in the planning office. Among the other applications submitted on was one for 538 dwellings with associated shops, offices etc. in blocks up to four storeys high (F08A/1425) on the vacant site at St. Patrick’s National School in Carpenterstown.

On the same day Uxbridge Ltd. submitted new plans (F08A/0892) for the controversial high rise development opposite Myos in Castleknock which your local Fine Gael team objected to previously. We will continue working on your behalf.



Friday, January 2, 2009

Despite the recent series of interest rate cuts announced by the European Central Bank, mortgage holders living in Affordable Homes bought from Fingal County Council and the government’s Affordable Housing Partnership still have not benefited from the reductions.

Fingal County Council’s current variable rate is 5.25% and the fixed rate is 5.5%.

The Council is charging a significantly higher interest rate than the commercial banks and they are imposing the charge on the people in our community who are finding it hardest to make ends meet.
The ridiculous bureaucratic system operated by the government is to blame for this. Fingal County Council only reduces rates after the government’s housing quango, the Housing Finance Agency controlled by John Gormley, tells the council that the European Central Bank has cut rates. This results in a significant delay.

The ECB cut interest rates for the first time in October. But the government agency did not get around to formally informing Fingal County Council until December 2008. The council will take another month before passing it on to mortgage holders in the form of a 0.5% cut on January first. The second decrease of 0.5% will not come into effect until Feb 1st, bringing the rate to 4.25%. Fingal’s loans department is still waiting for authorisation on the third decrease of 0.75%.

At a time when thousands of people are losing their jobs and many home owners are under serious pressure to repay mortgages, the largest county council in the country is not passing on the benefits of interest rate cuts to local authority mortgages holders under the affordable housing scheme.

Current Commercial Bank Rates
Allied Irish Bank:

As of December 17th 2008 3.75%

Bank of Ireland (College Green, Dublin 2)
First time buyer variable rate:
December 2008 4.1%

Permanent TSB
First time buyer variable rate
January 2nd 2009 4.19%


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