An update on my work in East Wall.

6th May, 2010

Dart Underground

Over the past twenty four hours, there have been various media reports stating that the DART Underground project has been delayed until 2018 at the earliest. I believe Irish Rail has experienced unexpected difficulties with the planning and design process. Councillor Ray McAdam and I had been initially informed the planning process would be delayed by three months following Irish Rail’s discussions with An Bord Pleanala. It is now clear that we need an update from Irish Rail outlining the particular problems that have arisen and whether the planning process will continue or if a new process will have to begin further down the line. I will continue to work closely with the East Wall Residents’ Association to ensure that the concerns of local people are taken into consideration prior to any works associated with this project take place.

Airport – Port Fuel Link
Prior to Christmas, a pre-planning consultation application was lodged with An Bord Pleanala in relation to an Aviation Fuel pipe project linking Dublin Port and the Airport. This project would have had a huge impact upon East Wall as the pipe link would run along East Wall Road. An Bord Pleanala was asked to consider this proposal as one of strategic importance thereby by-passing the normal planning process. However, Councillor Ray McAdam and I have been informed that An Bord Pleanala has now rejected this proposal under the terms of the Strategic Infrastructure Act. If this project is to go ahead, a planning application will have to be lodged with Dublin City Council under the usual planning guidelines.

Premium Cycle Route
The City Council has confirmed that only parking along the embankment side of West Road will be lost when the premium cycle route is built. A survey of parking on the street was completed by the Traffic Department and it found that most of the parking was commuter traffic. Therefore, there will be no loss of on-street parking in front of homes along the street. When the cycle route is in place, West Road will have a two way cycle lane, two three metre wide car lanes, on street parking and the current footpath. Residents on West Road and in East Wall will have an opportunity to express their views on the proposed cycle route that will go through the area during the public consultation process that will be starting from Thursday April 29th running until June 10th. My colleague, Councillor Ray McAdam has got agreement from the City Council to present detailed drawings of the new road layout in the Sean O’Casey Centre throughout the public consultation process. This will provide local residents with an opportunity to see for themselves the impact of the cycle route upon the community.

East Wall Planning Status
Many people have spoken to me about the status of East Wall under current planning guidelines and what future development maybe permitted in the area. Fine Gael has pushed to have the City Council’s Planning Department carry out a feasibility study into the need for a statutory Local Area Plan for East Wall. The benefit of such a statutory plan would be that the Council can determine in more detail what type of development would be allowed on various sites and areas around the community. This study is due to be carried out shortly and a report is due to made at the next local Area Council meeting. Ray and I will keep you updated on this matter. A submission to the Draft Development Plan was also made by residents in East Wall for the area to be classified as a village. Ray has assured me that our Fine Gael colleagues on the City Council will support this motion when it is debated later in the year.

Number 53 Bus Service
So many people in East Wall have contacted Councillor Ray McAdam and me about their concerns over the future of the 53 Bus Service. Both of us contacted Dublin Bus seeking assurances that the future of the service would be maintained given the vital link it provides the community of East Wall with the City Centre. Unfortunately, no such assurance was provided by the company. The review of Dublin Bus services has now been completed. Before any changes are implemented, we have been informed by Dublin Bus that a series of local meetings with bus users will be held. This will enable local communities like East Wall with an avenue to express your views on any potential changes to the 53 Bus Service. When more information is forthcoming about the future of your local service, I will make sure you are informed.

National Issues Raised in the Oireachtas.
As a Senator, I continue to raise a large number of national matters through the Oireachtas. Recent Bills that I have spoken on include the Finance Bill 2010 and the Energy Bill 2010. Topical issues raised include the need for political reform, the attitude of this Government to youth unemployment and developments in the Insurance industry. Other matters that I am working on include a policy document on our digital economy and the affect of recent developments with regard to the Euro on Ireland.