29th November, 2013

As you know the Department of Education has included Gaelscoil Bharra in the five year school-building programme and I continue to liaise with officials to ensure the project continues to move forward. A design team within the Department is currently working on finalising the design of the new school facilities and documents will shortly be submitted that will allow for the cost of the project to be determined before a contractor can be appointed. As soon as this is completed, the Department of Education will liaise with the Gaelscoil to draw up the time-scale for the remainder of the project. 

Dublin City Council has introduced a new scheme of allocating social housing. Previously, applicants were awarded points and the higher the number of points one had, the more likely it was for an offer of alternative accommodation to be made. Under the new scheme approved by Councillors and the Department of the Environment, a person’s housing need will be determined by the length of time they had been on the housing waiting list. In addition, any applicant who currently has a medical or welfare priority will maintain that level and will be included in the first of the three band process. Consideration will also be given to family size, bedroom shortage / over-crowding, lack of facilities and area preferences. If you are currently on Dublin City Council’s housing list and are unsure about how the new allocation scheme will work, please contact me at

There is not a week that goes by where I am not contacting the Public Domain Unit of the City Council to remove bags of rubbish dumped at certain locations across Dublin Central. Some people have asked whether security cameras could be installed at locations where dumping continues to be a problem. Whilst they could, the images recorded by them could not be used as evidence against anyone accused of illegally dumping rubbish. The Courts have ruled in previous cases initiated by the Council for littering offences that CCTV images are inadmissible as evidence. Therefore, installing CCTV is of little benefit. However, the Council has begun a Litter Blitz Operation in the litter black-spots across the city and are using the relevant sections of the new Waste Bye Laws to pursue those responsible for the illegal dumping of waste. This approach is multi-faceted and includes the calling to homes by Litter Wardens requesting residents to provide evidence of how they are disposing of their rubbish as required under the bye laws as well as inspecting the multi-unit privately rented properties in the area to establish whether they meet the standards as set down in legislation for example whether landlords have provided adequate waste storage facilities for their tenants. There will also be an amount of surveillance going on to catch those responsible red-handed.

Road-Bridge Ltd has been selected by the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) to complete the site infrastructure and public realm works. This is the single biggest contract to be awarded by the GDA as it involves the laying out of the new internal road and paths, services and the development of the playing pitches. Road-Bridge Ltd will also be responsible for the laying of the new drainage infrastructure that will link up with the existing drainage network near Smithfield Square. A further three contractors have been selected in recent days to complete the necessary stabilisation works on the roof of the Old Laundry Building, transforming the old Top House and the cluster of buildings near the old gate on Grangegorman Lower into facilities that can be used for educational purposes from next September. 

The GDA has also lodged two further planning applications with Dublin City Council in recent weeks. These relate to the creation of a space at the rear of homes on Grangegorman Villas West to provide vehicular access at the new service entrance just beyond the houses. The other application relates to the provision of replacement parking facilities for Dublin Bus coaches in Broadstone. In order to create the new entrance to the Grangegorman Campus from Broadstone and to facilitate the new Luas Cross-City, Dublin Bus will lose some of its parking facilities. A further application will be lodged shortly for the construction of a new HSE Primary Care Centre towards the North Circular Road-end of the campus.

Local residents have expressed their concern about the recent increase in the number of burglaries that occurred as well as the prevalence of drug dealing taking place across Cabra. I have since met with the local Superintendent who advised me that his officers are involved in a number of highly focused operations across the Cabra district. Indeed, these operations have led to the arrest of members of prominent gangs who were involved in burglaries from homes and local businesses. More than 1000 stop and searches have been carried out by Gardai under the Misuse of Drugs Act in an effort to catch some of those responsible for drug dealing in the area. In excess of €1m worth of heroin was recently seized by Gardai and further arrests took place in respect of this. Further targeted Garda operations will remain in place as part of the Gardai’s effort to prevent further problems with anti-social behaviour.