REVIEW OF THE YEAR – PART 6

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Taking a Break: Frankie and Liam take a breather at the launch ofThe Down Syndrome Centre 2022 Calendar, which offically went on sale in November. The children were each presented with their own personalised frame of their picture month.

November

November 3

In the Southside this week, the Department of Justice confirmed that almost €200,000 of national funding will be allocated to youth projects in Dublin to tackle issues surrounding the use of scramblers and quad bikes.

The scheme is modelled on the Moyross project in Limerick where young people are taught how to use motocross bikes in a safe manner off public roads.

The project was set up as a means of intervention and diversion from the misuse of scramblers in communities, as opposed to enforcement alone.

A number of youth services have applied for the funding including Ronanstown in the North Clondalkin area.

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Tom O’Farrell spent around 18 months clearing out the park and in November the council held a ceremony at the ruins celebrating his work and the history of the church

In Artane this week, a remarkable story of a local man who cleared out brambles and rubbish from a small park so the ruins (pictured above) of an ancient could be re-accessible featured on the front page.

According to local resident and historian Tom O’Farrell “the date for the foundation of the church is unknown however a reference between 1181 and 1212 related to monies being paid to the mother church in Finglas.”

However, if you were to walk by the church 18 months or so ago, you would hardly realise it was there, due to the condition of the surrounding park and shrubbery.

“The whole place was overgrown with shrubbery and weeds,” O’Farrell tells Northside People.

“There were mountains of it.”

O’Farrell spent around 18 months clearing out the park and in November the council held a ceremony at the ruins celebrating his work and the history of the church.

A report commissioned by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive found that soup runs in Dublin should be licensed claiming that they are causing antisocial problems in the city and are not helping the homeless.

The report, which is called On Street Food Services in Dublin, found that there are 16 to 20 groups operating around the city and criticised the authorities for not protecting the homeless population and general public.

“Most on-street services are not registered as charities but appeal for goods and services and raise money from the public.

Volunteers also provide services to vulnerable people without the necessary skills or supports; they engage with people who are homeless without reference to the DRHE National Quality Standards; they serve food but are not registered with Environmental Health services; and they break parking and other regulations without sanction,” the review said.

November 10

Dubliners may be asked to vote on if they are in favour of a directly elected mayor in 2024, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD.

The news comes after Minister Varadkar was asked a question by Fianna Fail TD Paul McAuliffe who said that Dublin was in need of “a stronger local Government.

“Dublin has been promised a directly elected mayor in the programme for Government,” he said.

The question of how Dublin’s local government should be structured is the next item on the schedule of the Citizen’s Assembly.

Minister Varadkar said he expects it to take place next year.

A final decision on the development of more than 850 homes on the large Oscar Traynor site in Santry was delayed, after a vote was deferred at November’s Dublin City Council meeting.

Last year, councillors voted to reject a deal tabled by Glenveagh Homes that would see the land be sold to the developer for the construction of 853 homes, half of which would have been sold on the private market, while 30 percent would be used for social housing and 20 percent would be affordable-purchase housing.

At the time, councillors said they wanted the development to be 100 percent social and affordable housing.

Following an initial assessment of their plan by the Department of Housing it would be “at least five years before the new project would be progressed to a ready-to build stage”, according to a report last month from the council’s housing section.

In the Northside West, the Abigail Women’s Centre in Finglas has permanently closed down after being mired in controversy since it first opened in 2015.

The centre, which was located on Kildonan Road, was a 40-bed facility for homeless women with local representatives calling for its closure for several years.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) confirmed the move in a letter to DCC management earlier this month. In a letter to councillors, Aidan Maher, a senior executive officer of the council said: “The DRHE has confirmed to me that the Abigail Centre closed on the 25th October and all Novas residents have been transferred to existing facilities.

“Novas will continue to use the back office for administrative purposes and the kitchen will remain operational to ensure services across the city, until alternative facilities are sourced.”

November 17

In the Southside this week, Coillte announced that it is pulling out of the sale of 39 acres of forested land, known as Killegar Forest, near the Scalp in the Dublin Mountains.

The state body estimated that the sale of the land could be in the region of €250,000.

Coillte says that it had been approached by a party interested in purchasing the lands but decided to abandon the sale following pressure from public representatives.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who raised the issue in the Dail earlier this month said it was an “absolute scandal” that forests were being sold off to commercial interests during a climate crisis.

The Minister for Housing has been called upon to urgently deliver the funds to refurbish Ballybough House after “years of neglect.”

The complex, which is located on Poplar Row, was built in 1938 and consists of 111 social homes, under the control Dublin City Council.

Due to the buildings’s historic nature, it is list as a protected structure – meaning the process of amending or redeveloping it can be an arduous one.

However, residents have long complained about mould, damp and unsafe lighting fixtures and pipes.

“There have been years and years of problems,” says local Independent councillor Christy Burke.

“There’s mould in the kitchens, exposed pipes running along walls, dampness – just a lot of problems,” he says.

In the Northside West edition, a ban on night flights at Dublin Airport’s new north runway has been suggested by regulators to cut down on noise.

The Aircraft Noise Competent Authority is putting a series of proposals out for public consultation ahead of the runway opening next year.

Dublin Airport operator DAA has lodged an application to change conditions connected to the operation of the new runway and the overall runway system at the airport.

DAA say it wants to change what it claims are “onerous conditions” for the hours during which it can operate.

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Niall Brennan and Joe Singleton from St Patrick’s NS Drumcondra pictured at the launch of DCU’s Anti-Bullying in Action Campaign. The campaign invites schools to share initiatives that have worked well in tackling bullying. The best ideas will feature in a best practice guide on how to tackle bullying and promote online safety.

November 24

A Southside couple living beside two major construction projects say their lives have become a “living hell.”

Tom and Maura Fahey live in Cherrygarth, Mount Merrion, beside two large building projects, one 30 meters from the front of their house and the second approximately 25 meters from the back wall.

The project at the front is Thornhill House where Oak View Developments are building 42 dwellings on the site, 33 three-bed, two-bed and one-bed apartments and nine houses, comprising of large three-story terraced properties and semi-detached homes.

The site at the rear is Oatlands Monastery where Balark Investments are currently building 63 residential units.

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“Both my wife and I suffer from serious chronic illnesses,” Tom explained to Southside People.

“When demolition of the monastery started around mid-July our house and garden was covered in concrete dust.

“Our almost daily complaints to Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council were ignored or we were not given a satisfactory response.”

In the Northside East edition, it was reported that staffing levels in Dublin Fire Brigade hit a “whole new shocking level” this week in November, according to Sinn Fein councillor Daithí Doolan.

The Dublin City councillor said that “due to the staffing crisis in Dublin Fire Brigade there was no river rescue crew available.

“Personnel were diverted from river rescue to Finglas fire station to cover staff shortages,” he said.

“The crisis in Dublin Fire Brigade hit fire stations right across Dublin.

“Stations were down fire engines in Rathfarnham, Dolphins Barn, Kilbarrack, Finglas, Swords, North Strand and Tara Street.

“The services was under severe pressure today,” he said early last week.

“Specialist units including river rescue, front line logistics units and environmental disaster units were all out of service.

The Government was accused of “double speak” in the Northside West this week, regarding the housing insulation scheme by Independent councillor for Finglas Noeleen Reilly.

Reilly, speaking after tabling a motion at a recent North West Area Committee meeting, said that the Government’s environmentally conscious rhetoric does not line up with its actions.

“Action on climate change is so important at this present time and one of the most important ways to improve energy efficiency in Ireland is to insulate people’s homes,” Reilly said.

She also asked the council “how many properties in Finglas have been insulated to date and how many are yet to be completed and to give an estimate timeline.”

Dublin City Council’s response to Reilly’s motion said that the council has insulated 227 homes, with a further 881 to be completed in the Finglas area.

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Kaci (5) and Kyle Swendell (3) from Finglas pictured at the launch of the new Wonderlights ‘Castle of Light’, an enchanting night walk experience in Malahide Castle and Gardens

December 1

In December, Dublin City Council agreed to cancel a provisional agreement with the pension fund of a British arms manufacturer to lease several family homes for social housing it recently purchased in Dublin.

At this month’s county council meeting, the councillors told the local authority that any deal with arms dealer BAE Systems should be halted.

It is understood that the agreement between BAE and the council was in the early stages of negotiations.

Former Lord Mayor and north inner city Independent councillor, Christy Burke, said he “wholeheartedly welcomed the move” and he added that the “manager will meet with the city council’s law agent in the morning to rule out any contract.”

BAE Systems, the pension fund’s parent company, manufactures a broad range of military equipment such as combat aircraft and vehicles, ammunition, precision munitions, artillery systems and missile launchers.

In the Northside East, contentious plans to build more than 850 social and affordable homes on Dublin City Council land have been given the green light.
The deal with developer Glenveagh, which will see 853 homes built on the Oscar Traynor Road site, was approved by 36 votes to 23 at a meeting of the City Council in December.
Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Green Party and several Labour councillors voted to approve the deal, while Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, People Before Profit and most Independent councillors voted against.

40 per cent of the new development will be used for social housing, 40 per cent for cost rental homes, and 20 per cent sold to low- and middle-income workers qualifying for the upcoming affordable purchase scheme.

In Chapelizod, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has been called on by residents and local politicians to amend the new BusConnects route for the area.
In November, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith, councillor Hazel De Nortúin and supporters held a demonstration and information stall in the village to raise awareness about the next phase of BusConnects – the C Spine.

The C Spine, which was introduced on November 28, will affect the bus services in Chapelizod and surrounding areas.
“Under the current BusConnects plan Chapelizod will see one bus service replacing the six which had previously been in place,” said Deputy Smith.

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Dublin City Council and Sculpture Dublin unveiled the sculpture which will be placed in Kildonan Park in Finglas

December 8

In the Southside this week, a large potential housing development flagged for land located between Castleknock and Lucan has been heavily criticised by several local politicians.
The project is being progressed by businessmen JP McManus, John Magnier and Michael O’Flynn who want to build around 5,000 homes on the Liffey Valley – a strictly protected environmental area.

The land in question, which is about 860 acres, is divided by the River Liffey, the larger of the two plots is on the north side surrounding Luttrellstown Castle and golf course.
The site south of the river, called the St Edmundsbury lands, located between St Edmundsbury Hospital and the Hermitage golf club, is currently used for farmland and was purchased by McManus and Magnier in 2013.

The Howth and Malahide Presbyterian Church is calling on Fingal County Council to abandon plans to develop a cycle lane directly outside of its premises on the Howth Road.

The local authority plans on introducing the Baldoyle-Malahide Protected Cycle Scheme in the coming months.

The church says that due to the lack of a carpark in the “immediate area, it is absolutely vital that street parking remains available at all times from the church building all the way to Corr Bridge.”

In a letter sent to chief executive of the council AnnMarie Farrelly, Reverend Alastair J Dunlop said that the church was “alarmed” at the proposal and that if the cycle lane proceeds as planned, it would “block accessibility to worship for 99% of the congregation.”

This week in Northside West, The decision of Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for a hotel to be built on the site of the Cobblestone Pub was very warmly welcomed.

Developer Marron Estates had lodged an application for permission to build a nine-storey hotel at 77-80 North King Street, in Smithfield, which includes The Cobblestone.

More than 600 objections were lodged with the council and an online petition, Save the Cobblestone, gathered over 34,000 signatures.

A very well attended public demonstration was also held in the city centre last month.

Labour Party spokesperson on Arts and Culture, Senator Marie Sherlock, strongly welcomed the decision by Dublin City Council to refuse permission for the hotel.
December 15

South Dublin County Council has released its initial results from a pilot mapping project into the use of nitrous oxide as an inhalant in the county.

The scheme was launched earlier this year after local councillors voiced concern over the seemingly increasing usage of the gas as a recreational drug.

Sinn Féin councillor for Palmerstown Derren Ó Brádaigh said he both welcomes and is concerned about the data collected to date.

The recording of this data has been undertaken by the Public Realm Department since August which collected the silver cannisters from 18 major locations.

In the Northside East, Dublin City Council announced that it is shelving the whitewater rafting course earmarked for George’s Dock.

Chief Executive of the council Owen Keegan said it was abandoning the project due to a lack of financial and public support.

It is estimated that the centre would have cost over €25 million to develop.

According to the council’s Capital Programme 2022-2024, which was discussed at a DCC monthly meeting, there has been significant hostility towards the project and the council has been unable to convince the various State funding bodies to support it.

It was reported in the Northside West this week that children at significant risk of harm are not receiving care which ‘meets the requirements of quality standards’ in the north city.

This is according to an inspection report on child protection and welfare services operated by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the Dublin North City service area.

According to HIQA, there is a high level of need in the area, as demonstrated by the highest rate of referral under Children First; highest rate of children on the CPNS and highest rate of children in care across all 17 areas.

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