Sunday 31 August 2008
Tuesday 26 August 2008
Labour's Looney calls for Freedom of South Dublin for Boxer Egan
Dermot Looney, a Labour Party candidate for next year's local elections to South Dublin County Council, has called for the County Council to recognise the achievements of local boxer Ken Egan by granting him the freedom of the county.
Looney (25), the youngest Labour candidate so far selected in Ireland, has urged local councillors to move quickly in granting Honorary Freedom of South County Dublin to the Clondalkin-based silver medallist.
The freedom of the county has only been awarded on five occasions in the Council's 15-year history. The previous recipients are Ingrid Betancourt, the Franco-Colombian politician, Olympian Michelle Smith and footballers Damien Duff, Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne.
Looney said; "There are two ways to honour Kenny Egan's magnificent achievement and the inspiration he has provided to local people, particularly youngsters. Firstly, it is entirely appropriate that the Council formally bestow its highest honour on a true Olympic hero."
"Labour Mayor Marie Corr has already noted that the Council will celebrate Ken's success in the near future. I am calling on councillors to go one step further and debate a motion to grant Honorary Freedom of the County at the next full Council meeting on September 8th."
"Secondly, the Council and country as a whole can honour Ken's achievements by showing a commitment to sports provision above and beyond the current level. It is shameful that the government have reduced the spend on the sports capital programme from €85 million in 2007 to just €50 million this year."
"The failure of the authorities to see sport as a serious instrument of social policy means that dozens of local clubs here in South Dublin, who provide such a wonderful community resource, will go on struggling to cope with expenses and other pressures. Long-term success will be reaped not only in terms of Olympic performance, but in the health of our people and communities," Looney concluded.
Thursday 21 August 2008
There were, in total, 50 objections made to the application from a variety of local residents, businesses, historical and residential groups and public representatives. My own substantial objection, available in full here, was based on a variety of factors around the height and scale of the development, the pressure on utilities, traffic and parking, and the lack of appropriate mix in the residential units promised.
In particular, the utter cynicism with which the developer tried to tie in families of sick children in Our Lady's Hospital - soon, according to government policy, to close - to the use of his proposed 'apart-hotel' showed up this development as callous from the start.
In making their decision on the application this week, the Council have chosen neither to reject nor approve it - the official decision is to "request additional information." This is, in effect, an approval of the plans provided a couple of conditions are met and the information the Council seeks on particular aspects of the development is provided. The decision is here - see pages 10-14 for the assessment of the application and 15-16 for the conditions attached and additional information requested.
It is common for Councils to make an "additional information" decision but given the fairly timid conditions and information requests attached, it seems that they are happy to go ahead with approving this application in the near future. Many will tell you an "additional information" decision points directly to an approval, but this is by no means the case in all circumstances - see my press release on the St Mel's/Glendoo development for an example of a rejection following an additional information request.
Talking to many local residents over the past few weeks, I have become more aware of the serious discomfort caused to local people during the initial building of the Ashleaf Centre and of the ongoing problems many continue to experience. I know how deeply disappointed many will be with an approval and I sincerely hope the project is not permitted to go ahead. I will be keeping in touch with local residents in the coming weeks and will keep all with an interest informed of the Council's decisions.
Wednesday 13 August 2008
Directly afterwards it's straight to Dublin Airport to fly to Gothenburg, Sweden - via Stanstead - to support St Patrick's Athletic in our UEFA Cup, Second Qualifying Round First Leg tie against IF Elfsborg of Sweden. Having missed out on our first round away leg in Latvia due to my spell in the Gaeltacht - this teaching malarky can really mess with your schedule as a football fan - I'm chuffed to be able to follow the Saints in the next round, particularly given it's our first two-legged victory in UEFA Cup history.
Socialism never takes a break, of course, and I have been pursuing a number of issues on behalf of local people and organisations - particularly in Greenpark, Greenhills Estate and around the Ashleaf Centre - as well as planning for the long campaign ahead. I look forward to a more regular chance to blog starting next week!