Review of the Year 2020 – Part 1

January 6
Housing featured heavily in our early editions at the beginning of the year.
In our Northside People East edition, we reported on a new affordable housing scheme set to assist first time buyers purchase their own home in Lusk.
The Pilot Dun Emer Home Purchase Scheme would offer eligible first-time purchasers the chance to buy brand new houses at an affordable price.
The scheme will give applicants the opportunity to purchase a home provided by Fingal County Council at an affordable price relative to market value.
The pilot scheme came before councillors at a full meeting of the council for approval, and was roundly endorsed.
In our South edition, a local representative was raising concerns over the number of affordable and social homes planned for a local housing redevelopment.
The planned project at St Laurence’s Park in Stillorgan, which was agreed on at the latest council meeting, was planned to include 88 apartments and a library.
Stillorgan Sinn Féin representative Gráinne Ferris however said a “lack of clarity” from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on the ratio of social, affordable rental and affordable to buy homes was ‘troubling.’
In our West edition, we reported on how Dublin Airport was seeking to change its night-time hours through plans for its new runway.
DAA, who own and operate the airport, said they wanted to change what it claimed were “onerous conditions” for the hours during which it can operate.
They lodged an application to amend two planning conditions due to apply to the new North Runway and the overall runway system at Dublin Airport.
The current conditions would limit the use of North Runway between 11pm and 7am and also place an overall limit of 65 aircraft movements across the entire airport during those hours.

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Sisters Olivia and Ann Marie Farrell from Raheny take in the sunrise during a January swim at Dollymount beach.

January 13
A coastal conservation group told Northside People that their project to combat sand dune erosion by placing real Christmas trees at the base of dunes had been delayed by Fingal County County.
Portmarnock Beach Clean Coast said that the initiative had been used in other regions around Europe but had not yet been trialled on the coasts of north Dublin.
The group said that “we would like people to deliver their Christmas trees, in their own time, to either the grass beside the southerly carpark off Golf Links Road (down the road opposite Lidl) or to the concrete base of the southerly lifeguards hut or to a line at the base of the dune.”
A development ‘nobody wanted’ was given the go-ahead after a 378 residential unit co-living complex for the Old Glass Factory site on Cork Street, Dublin got the green light.
News that plans for the redevelopment of Phibsborough Shopping Centre were back on track were not warmly welcomed by the local community.
This was according to one local representative who told us that residents were “seriously concerned” about the proposed development.
Councillor Colm O’Rourke, Fine Gael Councillor for the area, and local resident, said the plans were a big talking point in the local community.
MM Capital, who own Phibsborough Shopping centre, wanted to redevelop the site as a “coliving” scheme rather than the student accommodation for which they have planning permission for.

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Florence O’Reilly Aged 87 from Cabra and Nancy Keogh 92 from Stoneybatter pictured in January with their vaccination records after receiving their first Covid 19 vaccination in Navan Road community nursing unit

January 20
A motion to support the development of a new healthcare facility in Swords was passed by the Swords/Balbriggan Area Committee this week.
Independent councillor Cathal Boland tabled the motion and said that the current facilities on offer in Swords “were inadequate to meet the needs of the town and surrounding areas.”
Boland called for the committee members to “recommend, promote, and support the establishment of appropriately sized healthcare facilities located in close proximity to the Pavilion/Barry’sPark area of the town.
“This would provide medical treatment within the community and reduce unnecessary travel outside this committee’s area,” he said.
In January 2020, Fingal County Council approved the construction of a 40- bed private hospital on a site in the Barryspark/ Airside area.
It was filed by Vanguard Health Services International Limited.
Social Democrats councillor Paul Mulville– who objected to the motion – said he was disappointed the vote passed as it voiced support for a private healthcare facility to the community.

JANUARY 27
Planning permission was quashed for a major Southside development after a judicial review was taken by local residents.
Back in September, developer Cairn Homes had secured fast-tracked planning permission for 611 apartments on part of the RTE campus in Montrose.
Cairn Homes had paid RTÉ €107.5m for the 8.7 acre site in 2017, one of the largest prices ever paid for property in this country over the past decade.
As well as the 611 apartments, the company had also planned to build town houses, a new public park, a childcare facility, cafes, and leisure facilities on the site.
However, three residents living on Ailesbury Road, and close to the proposed development, brought proceedings challenging the permission to build the scheme.
At this month’s council meeting, Dublin City Councillors voted to pass a motion calling for the Government to cut all funding to the greyhound industry.
Tabled by Independent councillor for Ballymun/Finglas, Noeleen Reilly, the motion was passed after a Sinn Fein amendment, calling for the funding to be retained while a review was launched of the industry, was defeated. At the time of going to press, the Government was planing to provide €19.2m in funding to the greyhound industry for 2021.
Councillor Reilly explained in her statement that she put forward this motion a couple of years ago after the “horrific” RTE Investigates programme which portrayed the“animal abuse” that occurs within the industry.

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New Street Malahide

FEBRUARY 3
We reported that nearly 200 Malahide residents and business owners had attended a virtual meeting to discuss the controversial pedestrianisation project of New Street in Malahide.
The webinar was organised by Save Malahide Village, a group advocating for the removal of pedestrianisation infrastructure and reopening of the street to two-way traffic.
The meeting consisted of a review of the plans for the Malahide and breakdown of the problems that have arisen since New Street was pedestrianised, according to the group.
During the summer New Street was fully pedestrianised for a trial period before being reopened back up to oneway vehicular access.
Tributes were paid to Josh Dunne, the teenager who was stabbed to death in the north-inner city after trying to defuse a row over a stolen bike.
Dunne, 16, was a promising young footballer having played for St Kevin’s Boys FC and Bohemian FC.
It is understood that Dunne and his friends came across two men assaulting a 23-year-old man who was accused of stealing a delivery cyclist’s bike.
As they were trying to calm the situation, Dunne and one of his friends were stabbed three times each.
They were both rushed to the Mater Hospital where Dunne was pronounced dead shortly after.
St Kevin’s Boys paid tribute in a statement: “Josh was a very talented footballer and well-liked by all his teammates and will be sadly missed by all of us.”
Former Green Party councillor for South Dublin County Council, Peter Kavanagh, said he received “threatening and abusive” anonymous phone calls and emails after criticising party decisions.
Kavanagh, who was first elected to the council in 2019, stepped down from the Green Party on Monday, January 25.
In a tweet, Kavanagh said: “I’ve taken the very difficult decision to step down as Urlabhraí na Gaeilge & Gnóthaí Gaeltachta and resign from the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas with immediate effect.
“I have never made my opposition to the Programme for Government a secret, having spoken against it at the Special Convention last year.”

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Suzanne Keegan, Lorraine, Antoinette and Damien at the 40th anniversary of the Stardust fire disaster.

FEBRUARY 17
Dublin City Council announced they would apply for planning permission to develop a storm water outfall extension at Grand Canal Dock which will discharge into the River Liffey.
Construction of almost 600 social and affordable homes in Shanganagh was expected to start during the first half of this year.
The development in Shankill was recently given the green light after the government allocated €17,665,500 in funding to the project which will see 597 homes built on a site near Shanganagh Castle.
The plans consist of 306 cost-rental homes, 200 social housing units, and 91 units for affordable purchase.
The development is currently the largest social and affordable scheme with planning permission in Ireland.
Politicians from across the political spectrum on Dublin City Council condemned the rise in knife crime in the inner city following the tragic death of a female victim of a stabbing attack.
On Wednesday, February 3, a woman who was seriously injured during a knife attack in the IFSC area on January 20 passed away in the Mater Hospital.
Urantsetseg Tserendorj, a 48-year-old woman, who moved to Dublin from Mongolia with her family several years ago, was attacked on a pedestrian walkway between Georges Dock and the Custom House on Wednesday January 20.
Following the tragic news of Ms Tserendorj’s death, Dublin City Councillor Nial Ring said he and his fellow representatives “owe it to all victims of knife crime” to do their upmost to protect the public from crime.

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Mark and Carole Barrett under their brother Michael’s picture at the 40th anniversary of the Stardust fire disaster.

FEBRUARY 24
Families of loved ones who lost their lives in the Stardust Fire in 1981 gathered to pay tribute on the 40th anniversary of the tragedy on February 14.
They came together at the site of where the nightclub in Artane once stood for a vigil to remember the 48 young people who never came home.
Many of those in attendance wore black face masks with the number 48 and the word “Truth” on them.Earlier that morning, during a service at St. Joseph the Artisan Catholic Church, Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell paid tribute to the victims of the “senseless tragedy.”
“The lives of so many have been blighted by the loss of those young people, who were so full of hope and promise,” he said.
“That grievous loss has been compounded by their long quest for a full account of the tragedy that satisfies their need for truth.
“I stand in solidarity with you in your inexpressible grief and sadness, to pray both for the victims of this awful tragedy and for healing for the families who suffered such loss.”
In our South edition, we learned that the Cabinet had signed off on a proposal prohibiting the use of a scrambler or quad bike on public or private land without the permission of the landowner.
Following the introduction of the legislation, gardaí will now have the power to seize the off-road vehicles or enter a premises with a warrant and confiscate them.
The legislation will cover public parks, green areas, waste ground and beaches.
Many in the local community were glad to see the law brought in.
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin South West, John Lahart, welcomed the new legislative measures.
“The legislation will introduce three specific measures,” he said.
“Scrambler bikes will now be prohibited on public or private land, except in cases where there is permission from the landowner.
In our West edition we shared news of a campaign to exhume and reintern the remains of the five Irish National Invincibles buried below Kilmainham Jail was gaining momentum despite the Office of Public Works (OPW) saying that it could not “envisage” the project be “recommended.”
The five men – Joe Brady, Daniel Curley, Tim Kelly, Thomas Caffrey and Michael Fagan – were arrested, trialled, and hanged in the jail for their part in the murders of Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Permanent Under Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke in the Phoenix Park in 1882.
The men were part of an organisation called the Irish National Invincibles, a splinter-group of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
The Invincibles Reinternment Campaign, which was organised and run by members of the National Graves Association, was calling on the OPW to exhume the remains of the men and reintern them in Glasnevin Cemetery.
The initiative was originally suggested by late historian Dr Shane Kenna in 2013.

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World renowned fiddler Frankie Gavin performs a lament in Temple Bar on March 15, the first anniversary of the pandemic

MARCH 3
Members of Corballis Links Golf Club in Donabate this week told Northside People that the course operator, Carr Golf, was not consulting with them regarding major decisions on the future of the course.
Corballis Golf Club is currently owned by Fingal County Council but managed and operated by Carr Golf.
The current incarnation of the course was opened in 2004 after the local authority took control of the land in 1994.
However, members of the course had contacted local councillors and TDs saying that the operator was not complying with the operating agreement it signed with Fingal County Council.
In the Southside, Dublin City Council gave the green light this week for a €625 million development of more than 1,100 homes in South Dublin.
The O’Flynn Group received permission to proceed with plans to build 1,137 apartments, a 148-bedroom hotel and commercial units at Southwest Gate on the Naas Road. The scheme is set to be one of the country’s largest ever construction developments in history.
In our West edition we explained how Fingal County Council was seeking more information on Dublin Airport’s new runway planning application.
The local authority was delaying lifting restrictions on the new €320m north runway until it gets additional details from airport operator DAA.
In January, DAA submitted their new application to Fingal County Council seeking to allow the new runway be used between 6am and midnight with a noise quota system used to dictate the number of night-time flights at the airport.
The Aircraft Noise Competent Authority (ANCA), said the easing of restrictions would result in a ‘noise problem’ and proposed a situation “where some people will experience elevated levels of night time noise exposure for the first time which may be considered harmful to human health”.
The planning application attracted 205 submissions.
Several local residents are opposed to the plan and they have been supported by many local politicians, among them Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman TD (Green Party), Clare Daly MEP and Ciaran Cuffe MEP (Green Party).

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Oscar Traynor Road sign

MARCH 10
Dublin City Council voted to approve the alternative plan for the Oscar Traynor site in Coolock at this month’s council meeting.
The plans proposed to develop 100 percent social and affordable homes on the 17-acre site.
In November 2020, the council voted against a proposal to partially dispose of the lands and sell them to a private development firm, Glenveagh Homes.
In our South and West editions, the confirmation that several local Bank of Ireland branches are to shut caused shock and anger among many residents and business owners.
The decision, part of an overall plan to close 103 branches in Ireland and Northern Ireland, drew an angry reaction from some local representatives.
Commenting following the announcement of Bank of Ireland’s decision, Fianna Fáil Councillor for Palmerstown-Fonthill, Shane Moynihan, expressed his disappointment.
“Bank of Ireland’s decision is a hammer blow to many communities around the country but especially so in light of the current pandemic,” he told Southside People.
“Access to a bank branch is an important lifeline for many in our community, and to close an important branch such as Ballyfermot is a backward move that will hit older and more vulnerable customers particularly hard as they’re more likely to require face to face banking services.
Labour Local Area Representative Chris O’Dwyer said the closures “will rip the heart out of our communities.”

MARCH 17
Fingal County Council representatives voted to not pursue a judicial review of the Fosterstown residential development in Swords at this months’ council meeting.
An Bord Pleanala (ABP) granted planning permission to MKN Property Group to develop 265 residential units on the Fosterstown site in February.
Local councillors tabled the emergency motion at the previous week’s meeting asking the council to support a High Court judicial review.
A local resident’s group, Say No to Forest Road High Rise, which had been campaigning for the high court review, said it was disappointed in the decision.
The group said that it would still be pursuing the review.
“As others are content to let it happen, this has been left solely to the community to take appropriate action, which we will.”
In our South edition, we spoke with local woman Sinead Ryan who helps teach fitness to kids in emergency accommodation.
She explained that she got the idea when two young brothers, who were staying in emergency accommodation, attended one of her fitness classes.
With a background as a gym instructor, Sinead said that encounter sparked the concept for Little Fitness, a programme that teaches fitness classes to children living in emergency accommodation.
In our West edition, we reported on how plans to introduce drop-off and pick-up fees at Dublin Airport had failed to take off.
DAA had applied to install new paid drop-off and pickup zones in front of terminals one and two in order to reduce car journeys to and from the airport.
The airport operator said the revenue generated would be ringfenced and “invested in a series of sustainability initiatives” at the airport.
However, Fingal County Council refused to gran planning permission for the necessary road infrastructure required.

MARCH 24
Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett was calling on the government not to lift the moratorium on the eviction of tenants on April 5.
The People Before Profit Deputy said any move by the government to lift the eviction moratorium would be a “heartless abandonment of tenants in the midst of a pandemic that will plunge many tenants into crisis and worsen the homelessness crisis.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett Deputy Boyd Barrett pointed to the plight of ten tenants in the St Helen’s Court apartment complex in Dun Laoghaire, who faced repeated attempts by vulture funds over the last few years to mass evict all the tenants from the complex.
In our West edition, we revealed that plans had been lodged with An Bord Pleanala for the redevelopment of Prussia Street Shopping Centre in Stoneybatter.
If given the go ahead, a new District Centre, student housing (584 beds) and 32 build to rent units will be constructed.
A new pedestrian and bicycle street connecting Prussia Street with the emerging Grangegorman SDZ campus will also be built.
The application was submitted under the controversial strategic housing development (SHD) process.

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A CGI of the ill fated white water rafting centre planned for George’s Dock

MARCH 31
The Government was refusing to allocate funds to the proposed controversial white-water rafting project at George’s Dock, potentially scuppering Dublin City Council’s plans for the facility. The proposal, which had an estimated cost of €25.4m, was the subject of controversy since the plans for it first came to light.
Meanwhile, the Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra was in danger of losing of its onsite specialist Speech and Language Therapist.
Teachers and parents alike were united in fear at the impact the loss of the specialist SLT service could have on the schools 140 pupils.
This would mean the speech and language therapist, who currently worked full time at the school with over half the students, in either one-on-one or group sessions, would not be on site anymore.
Parents of Holy Family School students, who petitioned both the Government and HSE, said the work done by the SLT is a specialist therapy for deaf children that cannot be simply replaced by treatment in the community.

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