REVIEW OF THE YEAR – PART 4Gary Ibbotson 07 Jan 2022
In July, A Southside community group launched a fundraising drive to stop high-rise developments in their area.
The Knocklyon based Abbots Grove Community Group say they set up a GoFundMe campaign to save the Stocking Avenue area from overdevelopment.
Ballycullen SHD is the just the latest in a series of Strategic HousingDevelopments (SHD) submitted to An Bord Pleanála for the Stocking Avenue Area.
The past 15 months has seen plans for Taylors Lane SHD, Stocking Lane SHD and White Pines East SHD submitted to An Bord Pleanála and Scholarstown SHD commenced construction (former Cosgrave lands).
According to the group, if any of these SHDs get approved, it sets a precedent for more high rise buildings and high density development in the area.
In the Northside East edition, newly installed Eir digital phone boxes were heavily criticised by local councillors.
According to the company, the kiosks are “suitable for wayfinding and where the council can advertise upcoming festivals and services, all housed in a modern aesthetically pleasing unit.”
Independent councillor for Clontarf Damian O’Farrell said the kiosk installed on Annesley Bridge Road in Fairview should be removed.
He raised this issue at a recent Area Committee meeting, saying that the kiosk does not comply with Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) guidelines for wheelchair permeability.
“We request the CEO of DCC to organise with Eir the removal of all newly installed Eir Digital Payphone Units in the city that do not comply with the IWA/ Best Practice Access Guidelines,” O’Farrell said.
Dessie Ellis, a Dublin North West TD said that the Government must do more to replace lead water piping in thousands of Dublin homes.
Deputy Ellis spoke in Dail about the health risks that water which travels through lead pipes can cause.
“Lead is a very toxic heavy metal and is detrimental to human health, in particular, the health of young children.
“The risk to health is especially grievous where quantities of lead contained in water supplies are consumed over a long period, even if the lead present is at very low concentrations,” he said.
“It has been shown that consumption of lead can affect the brain development of children.
“Infants and babies in the womb are most at risk from lead contamination as children and infants absorb more lead than adults.”
On the southside, a local resident’s group lost its appeal in attempting to get planning permission overturned for a €15m visitors centre at the Hellfire Club.
The controversial project, which has faced criticism from local residents and politicians, will include an exhibition space, a panoramic café, toilets, changing facilities, a walkers’ lounge, an educational centre, and a retail space.
The Hellfire Massey Residents Association said that An Bord Pleanala should not have taken the estimated visitor numbers into account when making its decision as they were “without foundation,” and thus, it “acted unlawfully.”
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said that the prediction of visitor numbers “is a process of estimation” and An Bord Pleanala did not act unlawfully in considering them.
He also said that HMRA did not provide any “contrary statistical information.”
Local water sports enthusiasts were fuming after Dublin City Council removed access to the public slipway on the James Larkin Road in Clontarf.
The authority installed bollards on the slipway opposite Clontarf Yacht Club which meant many people were restricted from pursuing water sports in the area.
Local resident, and water sports devotee, Linda O’Dwyer, described the decision to install the bollards as “concerning.”
“There was no public consolidation with the members of the public who kayak, paddleboard, wingsurf or dinghy sail before this happened,” she said.
“There may have been notification by DCC to Clontarf Yacht Club but I am unaware if that happened.”
In the Northside West edition, Dublin City Council announced it was planning on selling a plot of land on Upper Abbey Street for €100,000, after over 80 years of largely ignoring the site.
In 1939, Dublin Corporation purchased 35 Upper Abbey Street in expectation that it would be widening the street.
The land was then leased back to the previous owner, Simon Watchman under the agreement that when the local authority decided to begin the works, Watchman would have to vacate the premises.
However, Dublin Corporation never widened Upper Abbey Street, and for over 80 years the land was largely ignored by local authority, being occupied by Watchman, his successors and then various other people.
Dublin City Council says because Upper Abbey Street was never widened, its interest in the site was “nominal,” allowing the occupants to operate rent-free.
In 2019, the site came to the council’s attention after learning it was being incorporated into the plans of a private developer.
It then entered into negotiations with the developer and agrees to dispose of the site for €100,000 – but did not reveal if the fee was below market value.
Residents of the Oliver Bond flats in The Liberties are living in “deplorable and unsafe conditions,” a local councillor has said.
Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty tabled a motion at a Housing Strategic Policy Committee meeting calling on the council to undertake “an urgent environmental audit” of the complex as well as pay for any needed safety works.
His motion was accepted by councillors.
“Two weeks ago, residents of Oliver Bond launched their ‘We’re Sick of Waiting’ campaign and shared their experiences of the completely substandard living conditions they have to put up with,” he said.
After repeated questions to senior Dublin City Council housing officials on this issue, Moriarty has been told that all issues must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s abundantly clear from how widespread this issue is that more proactive intervention is needed by Dublin City Council,” he said.
In July it was revealed that the majority of the temporary public toilets installed throughout the city at the beginning of summer have been removed due to a “lack of use,” says Dublin City Council.
The local authority erected hundreds of portable toilets in June due to a rise in outdoor social gatherings.
However, it said that demand for the toilets began to dwindle when outdoor dining reopened
Most of the portable toilets were removed with the facilities at Grafton Street and Wolfe Tone square remaining for a short time afterwards.
“Usage figures at all Dublin City Council’s public toilet facilities, both temporary and permanent, are monitored on a daily basis,” the local authority said.
“It became apparent that the limited usage figures did not justify continued provision,” it said.
In the Northside West edition for the week, a meeting between Fianna Fail councillors and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien about the Oscar Traynor Road development was slammed by other local elected representatives.
In November 2020, the council voted to reject plans that would see the land be transferred to private property development firm Glenveigh, which proposed the construction of 853 new homes.
Under the failed proposal, 50% of the homes would have been private, 30% would be social and 20% affordable purchase.
The meeting was attended by all DCC Fianna Fail councillors while elected representatives from other parties were not invited.
“The back-room meeting of Fianna Fáil councillors with the Minister for Housing is an insult to the people of Dublin and their political representatives on Dublin City Council, who have been calling for months for a meeting with the minister,” Independent councillor John Lyons said.
This week south of the Liffey, it was revealed that Dublin Fire Brigade has been consistently operating understaffed and under resourced over the past few months.
It’s an issue the city’s firefighters say they’re now dealing with on a regular basis, and one that leaves fire engines parked at various fire stations throughout the city unable to respond to emergencies.
Six of the stations worst affected are in the Southside; Donnybrook, Dolphins Barn, Tara Street, Dún Laoghaire, Rathfarnham, and Tallaght.
“The current situation is a direct consequence of the senior management in Dublin City Council and DFB not having a proper plan in place for the recruitment of firefighters,” SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien said.
In the Northside East, Local tennis players were left frustrated after the tennis courts at St Anne’s Park were handed over to a private club.
To access the facility at present players must be members of St. Anne’s Tennis Club however they are currently not accepting any new members.
Raheny native Martin Reddington who has been playing tennis in St. Annes for almost thirty years said “the situation at present is not good enough, it’s actually frustrating to be honest.
“I’ve been playing there since I was in my teens, it’s a great local amenity.
“Previously you could just rock up and pay and play, that’s not possible anymore.
“We were told if you wanted to continue playing you had to become a member of St. Anne’s Tennis Club but they aren’t currently taking new members!
“There’s 15/20 decent courts in St. Anne’s but most of them are now regularly lying empty.
This week, calls were made for the swift implementation of a plan to tackle open drug dealing in Ballymun following the broadcast of a grim portrayal of the problem on Prime Time Investigates.
The RTE investigation included footage shot covertly over several days at Dolmen Court off Balbutcher Lane that showed drug dealers operating in broad daylight.
Dozens of transactions involving a variety of drugs including crack cocaine and heroin were recorded each day, often in the presence of children and local residents.
The area has suffered the consequences of drug use and open drug dealing for decades but locals have witnessed a dramatic escalation in recent times.
The planned 61-turbine wind farm earmarked for just outside Dublin Bay, has been called a “free-for-all” and “developers running amuck,” by a Dun Laoghaire TD.
People Before Profit representative Richard Boyd Barrett says that the €1.5bn project, called Dublin Array, will damage marine life and biodiversity if proper studies and legislation are not introduced and adhered to.
The wind farm, which will consist of 300-metre high turbines and will stretch from Booterstown to Bray, is being progressed by Germany energy company RWE and Irish firm Saorgus.
It is also expected that the farm will supply enough energy for 600,000 homes but may not solely cater for the Irish grid.
“I am very much in favour of developing renewable energy,” says Deputy Boyd Barrett.
“What I am not for is a free-for-all, in terms of letting developers run amuck on the marine environment, the same way we let them run amuck on the land environment.”
In August, a group of locals came to the rescue after four children and two adults got into difficulty while swimming in Rush.
With Rogerstown Estuary basking in glorious sunshine on a Sunday afternoon, four young children happily played in the water beside the pier.
The father of two of the children and his sister, the mother of the other two children, watched from the shore.
However, in a matter of minutes the four children were pulled out into the current and very quickly all four were in extreme difficulty.
Hearing the screams, their parents ran into the water to help the terrified children.
However, before long they too were in difficulty and struggling to stay above water.
A local man, Sean Nixon and his son Alex – who are strong swimmers – ran into the water to help.
Not long after five other people had joined the rescue party, forming a human chain to help the family out of the water.
“The stretch of water beside the pier next to Rush Sailing Club has currents which are very fast and dangerous,” Sean said.
“There’s a sandy ledge about 2/3 feet deep which then falls into 7 or 8 feet of water.
In the end, all people involved were thankfully brought to safety.
In the Northside West edition, Chapelizod residents say they are “sick” of the consistent traffic problems in the village.
Independent councillor Sophie Nicoullaud says that some residents have been campaigning for 20 years for better transport infrastructure in the village and feel Dublin City Council is “ignoring them.”
Nicoullaud recently tabled a motion asking the council to meet with residents and discuss ways as to how ease traffic congestion.
Nicoullaud also said that the upcoming large-scale developments due to begin around Chapelizod will further worsen the situation.
“The village is going through a lot of major changes: Phoenix Park plans, Springvale with 71 units, Bus Connects and other housing constructions,” she says.
This week, Dublin People was once again named Dublin’s Number 1 free weekly newspaper according to the industry research.
A total of more than 260,000 people across Dublin read one of our three editions – The Northside People (East), Northside People (West) and Southside People – every single week.
And we want to thank each and every one of you for your support in making us the most read local newspaper in Dublin.
Having loyally served our readers and advertisers across the city for more than 34 years, we remain the original Northside People and Southside People brands and we are still the best.
Our 260,000 readers put our competitors in the shade and with those figures we even beat some of the national titles in the market.
Also this week, a memorial honouring those that have died during the Covid-19 pandemic was unveiled outside Tallaght University Hospital.
The sculpture, created by artist Mark Ryan and sponsored by the Adelaide Health Foundation will be known as the ‘Heart Memorial’.
Commenting on the unveiling, John Kelly, Director of Pastoral Care at TUH said: “The image of the identical hearts incorporated into a permanent memorial commemorates this tragic time of COVID-19.”
The message on the sculpture, dedicated to the bereaved families reads: “Your loved one was not alone, we cared for them, we stayed with them.
“Life has to end, love doesn’t – a pair of identical hearts, one is with them and this heart is for you made with love.”
An inspirational Northside teenager completed his own version of an Olympic triathlon to give back to two charities that have helped him and his family throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jack O’Donovan (18) has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is confined to a wheelchair, PEG-fed and non-verbal but none of that has stopped him from raising vital funds for Family Carers Ireland and the Central Remedial Clinic.
Over two weeks in August, Jack completed his version of a 10k triathlon by taking to the roads and the waterways with the help of his devoted parents Lynsey and Cathal and his three sisters, young carers Sophie, Robyn and Katie.
Watched by family, friends and neighbours outside his home in Swords, the crowd chanted Jack’s name as he crossed the finish line.
His mum Lynsey said she was proud of Jack’s achievement: “Jack is the most amazing, determined and happy young man. We are so proud of him.
No matter what challenges he faces every day, he always comes out on top, he’s so strong and resolute and we couldn’t ask for more.”
In the Southside edition, Dublin City Council said it would appeal the decision by the High Court to reject its plans for the development of a two-lane cycleway on the Strand Road in Sandymount.
In August, Mr Justice Charles Meenan ruled that the cycleway proposal must now go through the proper planning application process.
Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn and local resident Peter Carvill brought the appeal to the court on several grounds.
The project proposes turning the current two way vehicular stretch of road into a single outbound lane for cars with the other lane being developed into a two-way cycle track.
The North Inner City community lovingly welcomed triumphant Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington (pictured above) home this week on an emotional day that will never be forgotten.
When she touched down in Dublin Airport on a Tuesday in August, she said she had “no tears left to cry.”
“It means the world tome to bring back the gold,” Kellie said outside the airport.
“But my mentality is, anybody who steps through those ropes and makes it to an Olympic Games is a champion, regardless of whether you bring a medal back or not.
“For me, it’s not always about winning medals and stuff like that. It’s about getting through the doors of the boxing club, for all the young people out there, all the teenagers out there.”Portland Row was ready to party and the street where Kellie is from was fittingly decked out in green, white and gold, banners, flags and bunting.
The open top bus parade began at just after 5pm as Kellie and fellow Olympian local boxer Emmett Brennan travelled along Ballybough Road towards Summerhill, past her parent’s house in Portland Row, and through Killarney Street, Sean McDermott Street, Gardiner Street and the North Strand.
A Dublin family pleaded with Dublin City Council to relocate them in an attempt to help their son who suffers from a serious mental health condition.
James Carey and Amy Orr live with their three children at Oliver Bond House on Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 8, in council-owned accommodation.
However, their eight-year-old son, Jackson suffers with Emotional and Behaviour Disturbance (EBD) a mental health condition that severely impacts their everyday lives.
Carey says that Jackson and the family have been dealing with ailment since his birth.
“We have been trying to get our son help since he was only a few months old as we noticed very early on that Jackson was different to other children,” he said.
“We have not stopped the last eight years with multiple counselling sessions, therapies, psychologists, doctors and more.
“He was diagnosed last year with EBD.
“Our current accommodation, although we have tried to make it as comfortable for our family to live in, is just not suitable for the type of condition Jackson suffers with.”
Carey says that Jackson suffers from bouts of extreme mood swings, physical violence towards himself and others and depression.
“Jackson needs open space and a larger accommodation to be able to regulate and control his anger,” he says.
Since the publication of this article, Dublin People has learned that the Carey family have been relocated to a home with a much-needed garden.
This week, tributes poured in for former Dublin City councillor and homeless activist Anthony Flynn who was found dead in his East Wall home.
Flynn was most well known for establishing Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) in 2013, a voluntary charity that helps homeless people and rough sleepers in Dublin.
Within a year, ICHH was operating a seven night-a-week outreach service across the city and opened its first premises on Killarney Street.
Flynn was elected to the council in 2019.
However, recently he was accused of sexual assault and was dramatically suspended by the board of ICHH.
Gardaí were investigating the matter but had not charged or arrested him.
Shortly after news broke of Flynn’s passing, ICHH released a statement paying tribute to his passion for helping the homeless.
“We are broken hearted to say we were notified of the death of our co-founder of Inner City Helping Homeless, Anthony Flynn,” the statement read.
In the Northside West edition, Fingal County Council was urged to address the issue surrounding Ashton Dog Pound and its contract with the controversial shelter.
Earlier in the month it was announced that a veterinarian at the pound, the pound’s owner and three staff members are to stand trial on animal cruelty charges.
The prosecution follows a Garda investigation which began in July last year after accusations of using unauthorised veterinary drugs to sedate and euthanise dogs were made against the pound.
Five dead dogs were removed from the shelter for an autopsy following a Garda search last summer.
Independent councillor Tania Doyle called on the council to hold a special meeting to discuss the matter and address its contract with the pound.