Here is this week’s People’s Letters Page…
As the weather improves, it seems wrong that the Gardaí are proposing further closures of public spaces in Dublin due to crowds. This follows on from the fencing-off of Portobello Plaza to the public due to anti-social activity.
Of course, residents need protection from people sitting on and then urinating on their doorsteps, but proper management, more public space and better facilities is surely the answer rather than a shutdown.
Here in Brussels, the City has provided more public seating, public spaces, and drinking fountains in recent years.
29 urinals and 14 toilets are currently available, with another eight in the pipeline. They have also rolled out temporary toilets in black spots. Public space management is also crucial.
On Sunday, I saw a council worker with a bin trolley pick up every last piece of litter, including cigarette butts from a crowded square. In addition, uniformed ‘Gardiens de la paix’ or peace guardians patrol public squares and provide low-level public order security and advice.
Belgium is by no means perfect, but there are lessons to be learnt. Our own council staff do great work in Dublin, but they need additional resources and vision from management to manage the outdoors on sunny days.
If ever there was an argument for Dublin City Council appointing a public realm czar to oversee our public spaces, then the threatened sealing-off of parts of our city from the public should be the rallying-cry. Such a figure could also plan and manage city centre improvements, including more car-free streets, greenery, and seating where one can sit-down for free without having to purchase a drink.
After a long hard winter, our young people deserve a break, and the opportunity to socialise safely in fresh air out-of-doors.
Ciarán CUFFE, MEP for Dublin
Green Party Comhaontas Glas
I write at the beginning of Pride Month, it’s a celebration of all that is good about being a member of the LGBT community. We have indeed a lot to celebrate in Ireland, when I reflect on my beginnings as a frightened young gay man I am certainly happy we have come such a long way.
I remember the terror of the murder of Declan Flynn and the AIDS epidemic it was a scary time to be Gay in Ireland. It was also a criminal offence. I was young, frightened and scared that anyone might know I was Gay.
Fast forward to 2021 where we have Marriage Equality and so much positive has happened in the last few years but Pride is a celebration but above that is a campaign for Equality, we haven’t got there yet. Hate crimes still happen, full state Trans Healthcare is still needed. No one should feel afraid to be themselves in our country etc.
On reflection I grew up with Catholic guilt and fear, it was a horrible time, but as I grew up Ireland began to change and I began to see Hope for the first time.
If someone had have said I would be an openly Gay Councillor on South Dublin years ago, I would have laughed!
I wouldn’t have seen it coming but things do change and we get there! I hang the Pride flag with pride every year now in my window for Pride Month.
At Local County level, I have put a motion down for the County Development plan that says “That this Council make a statement of intent that South Dublin County Council is an LGBT safe and friendly county and that this is written into the Development plan.’’
This motion will signify that we are a safe and friendly welcoming county to members of the LGBT community.
I would hope other councillors will support it given that many still feel alone, frightened and isolated.
I believe in Visibility and I believe the more we talk and share our stories the more we change mindsets and take another step on the Equality ladder.
We have come a long way and I celebrate this but I am also keenly aware that not all our brothers and sisters feel safe or Equal. Education and conversation are the key and we can get there.
Where ever you are at reading this I wish you a happy Pride if you’re a member of the LGBT Community and if you’re not I hope you will take this month to learn more and educate yourself and others in acceptance, Love and Equality.
I wish the younger me had loved himself more and felt he could have come out and been accepted!
I wish everyone the courage and strength to love themselves and be themselves during Pride and for all their life!
Go raibh maith agat,
Cllr Francis Timmons
Independent Dublin Mid West
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly was noticeably absent from the Dail last week when Holly Cairns TD asked when the review of the Termination of Pregnancy bill would be happening.
Many more of us at home are wondering the same thing.
Our legislation is woefully inadequate and there are many barriers to reproductive healthcare still remaining.
Research tells us that around 400 people a year still travel for care and many who have qualified for care in Ireland have been failed miserably.
Where is Minister Donnelly on this?
The silence is deafening! Minister, when will the 66.4% of Irish citizens who voted to trust pregnant people to make their own decisions have a date for this review? We want to see a government that is unafraid to face these issues and take the opportunity to fix our weak legislation. We can and should do better.
It’s good to see some progress in the worldwide battle against animal cruelty and exploitation: The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has called on the European Commission to draft new legislation that would prohibit the practice whereby farm animals are imprisoned in cages for most of their lives.
Every year more than 300 million farm animals in the EU face this veritable hell on earth.
Rabbits, hens, broiler breeders, quail, ducks and geese are denied the expression of their natural instincts, often in complete darkness.
They can’t run, fly, or enjoy a single moment in the fresh air or sunlight. Pregnant pigs are confined in crates where they can barely move. They endure high levels of stress as they struggle to eke out some degree of normal living.
In next month’s plenary session of the European Parliament a vote will take place on the Ban the Cages proposal.
I hope Irish MEPs will vote YES to abolition, though from past experience I wouldn’t be too optimistic.
Fine Gael and Fine Fianna members have a record of supporting bullfighting subsidies and these parties consistently block any attempts at national level to end hare coursing or foxhunting.
Have they ever wondered what life in a small dark cage, waiting for death, must be like?
Perhaps they might rethink their callous attitude and spare a thought for all those sentient, horribly wronged creatures whose lives are not worth living.