REVIEW OF THE YEAR – PART 3

balbrigganFrontbeach

There were fears this month that Balbriggan Front Beach would be closed to swimmers for the summer due to issues over water quality

MAY 12

Malahide and Howth residents were calling on the Gardaí to up patrols after several anti-social incidents occurred in the coastal towns over the previous few weeks.

Numerous videos had circulated on social media showing young people surrounding cars, pushing a woman off a train station platform and assaulting another teenager with a bicycle lock.

In one of the incidents, which occurred in April at Howth Junction Dart Station, a teenager pushed his bike in the direction of a woman walking on a train platform which caused her to stumble and fall onto the tracks below, beside a stationary train.

The woman was lifted from the tracks by a security guard as the youths leave the scene.

In our West edition, Ballymun and Finglas parents were calling on the Department of Education and local primary schools to set up ASD classes in the area.

At the time we went to print there were no ASD classes for primary school pupils with autism in Ballymun and Finglas.

One is set to be established in September – but will only have space for five children.

Robert McMahon, a Ballymun resident and a parent of a child who has autism, told Northside People that little has been done to address the matter for a number of years.

“The current Minister for Education says that it’s not her problem and we have had minister after minister ignore it time and time again,” he said.

McMahon says that his son attends an ASD class in Blanchardstown but has to get a transfer bus to and from the school every day.

“Dublin 15 has 19 ASD classes,” says McMahon.

“Ballymun and Finglas currently have zero.”

Plans by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to develop a new public park for Glenamuck were described as a “sop” to appease local residents.

The park, which will be located between the Glenamuck Road and Wayside Celtic Football Club, will be developed alongside the GLDR, if plans are approved.

Public consultation had started on the proposed development of park and recreational facilities at Glenamuck Road South, including a children’s play area, kickabout area, water feature, footpaths, and benches.

However, many residents were questioning the wisdom of developing a park on a site that already has two electrical pylons.

Aileen Eglington, Chairperson of the the Kilternan, Glenamuck and Carrickmines Residents Association, told Southside People that the proposed park is a ‘huge issue’ with local residents.

“People around here are not happy with the plans,” Aileen said.

“Why would you build a park with 210kv power lines running through it?

“Is this going to be safe for children playing underneath? “Despite loads of negotiation between Dlr and Eirgrid for the past two years Eirgrid are refusing to go underground so it looks like the power lines are going nowhere.

“I think this park is a shocking waste of tax payers money.”

19 new Ashton Dog Pound

South Dublin County Council this month awarded a contract to Dublin Animal Welfare Pound Partnership for the provision of dog pound and dog related services following issues with Ashton Dog Pound (pictured above)

MAY 19

There were fears that Balbriggan Front Beach would be closed to swimmers for the summer due to issues over water quality.

This is after both Balbriggan and Loughshinny Beach saw their rating drop in the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Bathing Water Classifications for 2021 due to diffuse pollution associated with Storm Francis which hit Ireland in August 2020.

Local politicians were backing calls from parents who were asking the Department of Education to develop a separate, permanent building for Danu Community Special School – currently located in Riversdale Community College on Blanchardstown Road, Corduff.

In April, the Department of Education and the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB) announced that Danu Community Special School would be located permanently inside the Riversdale Community College building.

This arrangement was previously scheduled to be a temporary measure with Danu Community Special School slated to move into a new, permanent building developed on the sevenacre site where Riversdale is located.

The decision by DDLETB to keep Danu Community Special School was met with frustration from local politicians and parents of children who attend Riversdale Community College and Danu Community Special School.

In our South edition came the news that South Dublin County Council had awarded a contract to Dublin Animal Welfare Pound Partnership for the provision of dog pound and dog related services. SDCC, along with the three other Dublin local authorities, previously contracted Ashton Dog Pound in Ashtown to take in stray dogs found the county and undertake dog warden services.

However, Ashton Dog Pound was at the time under investigation by the Gardaí for the misttreatment of dogs under its care.

MAY 26

In our East edition came news that the long-awaited inquests into the deaths of 48 young people in the Stardust fire could now go ahead after the funding row between the Department of Justice and the victims’ families was resolved.

On Wednesday 19, Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys signed the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 2021 into law which means families of the victims will be granted legal aid, regardless of their income.

An inability for some families to access legal aid was the reason why the start of the inquests, ordered by the Attorney General Séamus Woulfe in September 2019, were being delayed.

Some of the victims’ families had been told their income made them ineligible for legal aid even though section 29(2) of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 allows discretion to waive the financial eligibility test. For the eligibility test to be waived the Minister for Justice had to bring in regulations, which she did.

The families concerned were now being asked to engage with the Legal Aid Board if they wished to receive legal support as soon as possible and those applications will be reviewed “immediately”.

In April, solicitor Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law, who is representing the families, threatened to seek a judicial review of the “unlawful” failure of the department to provide legal aid to all the families.

He argued that the families had rights under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights which has been engaged in these inquests.

In our South edition Saggart residents were calling on local authorities and landowners to retain the rewilded Citywest Executive Golf Course as an ecological habitat and amenity for the area.

The golf course, which closed in 2010, has been essentially left to the elements over the past decade with an abundance of flora and fauna repopulating the old course.

Dave Behan, a member of the Saggart Village Residents Association (SVRA) said that local residents have been maintaining and documenting the site since its closure.

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“The golf course hasn’t been maintained properly since its closed,” says Behan. However, Behan says that in the past couple of years, “rabbits, frogs, squirrels, swans etc. have all moved into the habitat “It really is gorgeous what we have here,” he says.

Ballymastone site 1

June 2

Fingal County Council voted in favour of disposing lands at Ballymastone, Donabate (pictured above) to development company Glenveagh Living at a specially held meeting.

Local councillors voted 31 in favour and nine against the motion which will see the construction of 1,200 residential units on the site.

As part of the sale to Glenveagh, 20% of the units will be designated as affordable housing, 20% will be designated as social housing and 60% will be sold on the private market by the developers.

The local authority agreed to sell the land for €11m, meaning Glenveagh acquired each site for around €15,000 – less than the current Dublin market value of around €30,000.

A group of Southside residents were planning to go to the High Court for a judicial review of a decision approving a strategic housing development (SHD) in Carrickmines.

Despite several objections and submissions from residents and counsellors, An Bord Pleanala decided in April to grant permission to Bowbeck DAC for a 22 storey, multi-block residential development on a small site of land in Carrickmines. Knockcree Blackberry Hill Residents Associations, a group of local residents, told Southside People they were ‘completely ignored’ and now have ‘no choice’ but to take a Judicial Review.

In our West edition, we reported that the Health Service Executive (HSE) had agreed a land swap deal with City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) to facilitate the development of a new primary health care centre in Finglas.

The HSE said that consultations with the planning authorities and feasibility studies identified the unused Fergal’s Field located behind two CDETB schools, Coláiste Eoin and Coláiste Íde CFE in Finglas as a site for the centre.

However, as Fergal’s Field does not have road frontage, the planners identified the lack of access to the site as a major issue. The land owned by CDETB adjacent to Fergal’s Field was then identified as a better option for the centre as it offers a greater level of entry. In a deal that will see the two sites swap ownership, the HSE has also agreed to replace facilities lost by the schools in the transfer and develop an allweather playing pitch.

According to the HSE, discussions were extensive to ensure both schools benefited from this development and the optimum layout was achieved.

jamPARK

Jam Park

JUNE 9

Swords-based night club and events venue Jam Park announced that it was closing down for good.

The announcement was the latest in a line of venues to close its doors in Dublin over recent months. In a statement, the management team said that it could not negotiate a deal regarding its lease.

“We’ve tried our best to come to an agreement regarding our lease since the Covid pandemic forced us to close, but no dice.

“So we are now left with no choice but to close in Airside and look for somewhere else.” Give Us The Night, a group of activists campaigning for a more vibrant and supported nightlife culture said the news was ‘disheartening.’

“Behind every great club or multi-use venue like Jam Park, is a dedicated team, and we also are thinking of all the staff, performers, promoters, suppliers and service providers affected by the closure.

“Sadly, this is another clear sign of the impact of Covid-19 on our industry.”

In our South edition we revealed that South Dublin County Council are still using controversial weedkiller glyphosate, despite concerns that it represents a cancer risk and is damaging to biodiversity.

People Before Profit Councillor Madeleine Johansson said she had “serious concerns” after she was recently contacted by a council staff member who claims that public realm staff are still being encouraged to use glyphosate.

According to Councillor Johansson the staff member, who wished, to remain anonymous, raised concerns about the use of the weed killer in public areas with ‘no regard for the effects on the public of this possibly carcinogenic chemical.’

In May 2017 a motion was passed by councillors to stop the use of glyphosate by the council, and in 2019 the council stated that its own staff no longer used this chemical.

“I’m very concerned about the information I have received from a staff member about the continued use of glyphosate,” Councillor Johansson told Southside People.

SDCC Senior Engineer Leo Magee, told us that “the Council has continued to implement this partial ban on the use of glyphosate based weedkiller and these chemicals are no longer in use in public parks, gardens or playgrounds in the County.

“South Dublin County Council continues to implement measures to control weeds in other locations, such as along public roads, which involve the use of glyphosate to do so as no effective alternative has been found to date.

“It has also been necessary to continue to use glyphosate in the Council’s efforts to control invasive alien species including Japanese Knotweed.

“The Council has trialled the use of some alternative nonglyphosate weedkillers, however none of these alternatives have been found to be effective in the control of weeds.”

JUNE 16

In our South Edition we shared the story of Miller Cake Studio, an independently-run cake shop located in Marlay Park, which had been told to stop selling coffee by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council or else face the risk of closure.

The business had been operating out of the courtyard in Marlay Park for the past three years but earlier this year had received a letter from the Parks Department requesting that it stops selling coffee. The department said that the local authority

June 30

THE pedestrianisation project of New Street in Malahide was continuing to cause controversy in the area after a public survey found the majority of respondents said they were concerned with some elements of the scheme.

Save Malahide Village, a group of local residents and business owners who oppose pedestrianisation of the street, said when excluding those who had no preference, 54% of all respondents were against the project completely.

However, Fingal County Councill, who issued and ran the survey, said that these claims “cannot be treated as accurate” as they are “not based on the findings of a quantitative survey.

There was no such controversy in Dun Laoghaire where the pedestrianisation of Lower George’s Street was due to go ahead following strong public support for the proposal, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said.

Traffic would be banned from July 5 for a three month trial until September 30, to facilitate outdoor dining, markets, arts and cultural events, along a quarter of a kilometre stretch running from Marine Road.

In our West edition, we reported on how Dublin 7 residents had come together to launch a GoFundMe page to support their campaign in seeking a High Court review of the approved development at the Cross Guns Bridge.

In May, An Bord Pleanala gave development firm Blindford permission to build 205 build-to rent apartments on the banks of the Royal Canal adjacent to the Cross Guns Bridge.

The local authority had recommended that An Bord Pleanala refuse permission for the project, but the board granted approval on a number of conditions.

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