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2016 Was a Great Year for the Dundrum ARCH Club!

By |2019-02-08T17:03:46+00:00March 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|

2016 was a great year for the Dundrum ARCH Club, as the Club celebrated its ruby anniversary. Founded by seven parents, the club first opened its doors in October 1976. At the time the Arch Club was unique in catering for the social needs of people with intellectual disabilities in the community. From its humble beginning in 1976 the club has grown from about 30 members to over 100; As well as regular events such as concerts, movies and an annual trip, the group regularly attend weekly get-togethers in Ballinteer Community [...]

Much to discover on the Historic Dundrum Tour!

By |2016-07-23T15:14:29+00:00September 4th, 2014|Uncategorized|

If you're looking for a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours this Saturday, the 'Historic Dundrum' tour could be just the thing.  John Lennon from the Dundrum Historical Society has been giving the tour every Saturday afternoon as part of the Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown Summer of Heritage. John clearly has deep affection for Dundrum and a matching deep knowledge of the place, it's past, it's people, it's story. I went on John's Saturday tour recently and listened in awe to stories of Dundrum spanning a thousand years. We began at Dundrum [...]

Have you ever heard of Aarhaus? It’s worth your while to find out more!

By |2014-07-08T09:57:32+00:00July 8th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Aarhaus is a town in Denmark, where a ground breaking Treaty, the Aarhaus Convention, was signed in 1998, giving citizens a truly radical set of rights in respect of the protection of our environment. Ireland ratified this Treaty in 2012. The full title of this International Treaty is the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental matters. We, as citizens, now have the right to environmental information held by public authorities, including County Councils. We have the right to participate in decisions to permit [...]

Poor housing, overcrowding and homelessness really hurt children

By |2014-05-20T12:07:50+00:00May 20th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Research tells us that the effects of poor housing conditions, overcrowding and homelessness include:  Missing school much more often on account of sickness or being moved from place to place Damaging the ability to learn at school and study at home Much higher risk of severe ill health and disability Higher risk of behavioural and emotional problems. The response to the housing and homelessness crisis has to be speedy, and child–centred. Children need stability, some privacy and security. Enabling school going children to stay in their present school must be a top [...]

Housing : The Case for a New Approach

By |2014-05-19T11:45:31+00:00May 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Huge thanks to Professor P.J Drudy, Emirtus Professor of Economics in Trinity College Dublin, who has kindly taken the time to share his paper on housing here as a guest blog. It's radical new thinking on housing provision, thought-provoking and vital to debate on our housing crisis. (Extract of  paper to the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland) After a decade of escalating house prices and rents, the bubble finally burst in 2007.  This was inevitable.  Those who purchased during the misguided “boom” were invariably advised that they must get on [...]

Independent Councillors can have more power to act

By |2014-05-15T21:00:53+00:00May 15th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Frank McDonald hit the nail on the head during yesterday’s ( (May 14th) edition of The Right Hook on Newstalk when he said that what good councils need are councillors who are articulate and free to voice people’s fears and wishes. I would add that councillors need to have the capacity to understand policy development and know how to influence that process.Independent councillors are far more ready to demand accountability and challenge policies that are not working. Party councillors are often stuck with the policies and systems of their party – they have to [...]

Foundations for the future: How the housing crisis is affecting our children

By |2014-05-13T19:13:25+00:00May 13th, 2014|Uncategorized|

We are experiencing a critical housing crisis right across Ireland, with the number of homeless people and families on social housing waiting lists growing rapidly.  At the beginning of this year, there were over 4,000 families on the social housing waiting list in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown alone, and as new figures just out staggering increases in rent in Dublin, that number is guaranteed to rise. While this housing crisis is an urgent one that affects our communities on many levels, one particular aspect that it is vital for us to understand is the impact [...]

The Local Property Tax – we need a fairer way

By |2014-05-10T13:51:37+00:00May 10th, 2014|Uncategorized|

The LPT is an unfair way of levying a tax on people’s homes, especially in the Dublin area. Property prices have risen by almost 20% in our area in the past year. There is no doubt that they will continue to rise, on account of the lack of supply of homes, and credit restrictions. When our homes are being next revalued for the property tax, we can reasonably expect our LPT bills to go up by 30% or more. And this will happen in an area that has the highest proportion of [...]

I pledge to support our homeless service budget!

By |2014-04-29T17:09:07+00:00April 29th, 2014|Uncategorized|

I am delighted to sign up to the Focus Ireland pledge to vote against any reduction in homeless services or budget until there is demonstrable reduction in the number of people who are homeless in our community. I strongly hope that all my fellow candidates in Dun-Loaghaire Rathdown will do the same. I commend Focus Ireland on this campaign and on the vital work that they do in tackling homelessness, an issue which is of crucial importance for families and communities right across Ireland. If elected, I also pledge to go further [...]

Fernhill Gardens – a public park for the people of Dublin?

By |2014-04-23T12:52:36+00:00April 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|

Fernhill Gardens were acquired in 1937 by Mr. Ralph Walker and his wife Susan who built an amazing collection of trees and shrubs over the next 60 years. It is now without doubt the best arboretum in South County Dublin, with in excess of thirty acres planted with rare shrubs, trees, ferns and herbaceous plants. Fernhill is sheltered by the mountains behind and has amazing views over Dublin Bay. NAMA has now put Fernhill on the open market. I want to join the call on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council from my [...]

Designing Communities that work for Everyone – a conversation with John Dolan, CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland

By |2014-04-02T17:10:24+00:00April 2nd, 2014|Uncategorized|

I have been talking to John Dolan, CEO of the Disability Federation of Ireland, about the difference that local authorities can make for people with disabilities. John believes that the spaces and places that work for people with disabilities will result in communities are better for everyone. With creative thinking, and imaginative planning, communities and neighbourhoods can be safe, comfortable and inclusive places where all the generations can participate together. Making communities accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities is an investment in all citizens, not an issue for a marginal group [...]

The Local Elections Matter Because Local Communities Matter

By |2014-04-02T16:52:57+00:00March 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|

The place where we live influences our lives in a big way. We forge relationships with neighbours, local businesses, community groups, and local services. The place where we live is an important part of our identity. The decisions of the Council shape our space – our footpaths, lighting, open spaces, roads, amenities, car parking, community facilities, housing, and whether our community is a good place for people with disabilities, children, older people,  – the very fabric of our daily lives. That is why local government matters. That is why residents, as citizens [...]

Council Matters at Dublin City FM

By |2014-03-14T13:15:18+00:00March 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|

  Local radio is a such a great asset for local communities and for people who want to share views and explore local issues. Thanks very much to Michael Fitzgerald at Dublin City FM for inviting me to take part in the "Council Matters" programme.  You can watch our conversation above or click here:  

Water Taxes & Water as a Human Right: Concerned Citizens come Together in Europe

By |2014-03-14T12:27:35+00:00March 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Irish citizens are waiting anxiously to see what they will have to pay when the new water charges are fixed. We have been promised a consultation about the level of those charges, and about the level of ‘free’ allowance for each person. Water is a basic human need and the allowances and charges must reflect that. In the meantime, European citizens (including Irish citizens) have put down a marker for the EU about the right to water, using the new tool for participatory democracy in Europe, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). A [...]

Who Will You Trust to Represent You in the Local Elections 2014?

By |2014-02-05T10:32:55+00:00February 5th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Trust in elected representatives is a basic necessity in a healthy democracy.  All around the world we see what happens when trust breaks down, when people feel let down, when their expectations have not been met and their hopes are undermined. Trust in politicians is especially hard to build and easy to breach. Politicians who squander the people’s trust do serious harm to the fabric of society. My experience canvassing as an Independent for the local elections 2014 in the Dundrum area is that people feel a sense of helplessness and frustration. [...]

Do We Need the New Dun Laoghaire Library and Cultural Centre ?

By |2014-02-05T10:13:21+00:00February 5th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Anyone listening to Pat Kenny’s Newstalk programme last Monday (27th of January) will have heard a local businessman who was very annoyed about the new Dun Laoghaire Library and Cultural Centre.  He questioned the need for the building, the cost, and the lack of influence of the local Councillors on the decisions about the library and its services. This project was commissioned back in 2009 and it will cost around €36 million euros. It will have the library itself, a café, meeting rooms, a performance space, and an art gallery. From the pictures [...]

Our Community, Our Taxes, Our Priorities – The Idea of Participatory Budgeting

By |2014-01-28T22:20:48+00:00January 28th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a big name for a simple idea – that local people should be involved in making decisions on how a percentage of their local taxes are spent. It gives local people a way of deciding on and selecting projects and services for their neighbourhood.  Residents and community groups make proposals and decide together which projects get priority in their area for the funds that are available to them. PB began in Brazil in the 1980s, in the city of Porto Alegre, as a way of making democracy and [...]

Knowing Our Area – Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

By |2014-01-27T15:59:13+00:00January 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|

Planning well for the people in our Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area means having good information about the profile of the people and their needs. There is really valuable information drawn from the 2011 Census in a report commissioned by the Southside Partnership DLR - Have a look HERE. For Example…. DLR is the most affluent local authority in the State, though there are several areas and groups experiencing disadvantage DLR has the highest rate of personal computer ownership in the country and second highest rate of broadband connectivity 14.5% of people in [...]

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Budget 2014 – What is in there?

By |2014-01-27T16:02:52+00:00January 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|

The Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Budget 2014 was passed by the Council on Thursday 9th of January. The budget provides just over €165 million euros in 2014 for services including housing, roads, community grants, business supports, arts and cultural projects, education and many other programmes. It is great to hear that DLR is going to set up a refuge on a pilot basis for women and children who need to get away from domestic violence. The refuge will have four self-contained units and will be run in partnership with the Sonas, the Domestic [...]

Local Government Reform Bill 2014

By |2014-01-27T16:07:29+00:00January 17th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Do major changes really lie ahead for local government? The Local Government Reform Bill proposes major changes to our system of Local Government.  The Bill was introduced to the Oireachtas last October by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D.  It will become law shortly.  The Bill will mean that several county and city councils are merged, it gets rid of town and borough councils, and proposes a whole new set of structures at municipal, local and regional level. Minister Hogan referred to the Bill as bringing [...]