DCC Notes

DCC notes esgrafton st4

The South East Area meeting of the Dublin City Council (DCC) kicked off in the usual manor of endless chatter. First on the agenda was Grafton Street, which is getting an Xpose-style makeover.

Frank Lambe, Assistant Area Manager for Pembroke/Rathmines, presented a draft plan on the refurbishment of the Street (officially called the Grafton Street Public Realm Plan) which detailed a whole list of changes due to take place over the coming weeks, including re-pavement and new lighting. The refurbishments started in June and are due to finish in October 2014 – when the public give their nod of approval after a consultation period – at a cost of €4million.

There comes a moment in these meetings when Independent Cllr Mannix Flynn weighs in on a certain issue, but if you blinked you’d miss what he had to say. Expectations for another rant about Molly Malone (who is due to be relocated while the street goes under the knife), were quickly diminished when Cllr Flynn ended his scrutiny of the plans earlier than anticipated because he liked what he saw.

The New Lord Mayor, Labour’s Oisin Quinn, spoke about the need for a “family” zone within Grafton Street – but didn’t really give any specifics about his proposal. It was a parting shot. This was his last meeting before he became Lord Mayor.

Next up: a proposal (which was long and rigorous) about modifications to a site on Haddington Road, opposite Baggot Street Hospital in Ballsbridge by a company called Quinn B Properties. Mary Conway, one of the City Planners, said the modifications would include new fitted windows, a new car park and the creation of a primary care centre. Cllr Flynn said the proposals lacked clarity while Labour’s Dermot Lacey (who had proposed a question on the matter) said, “I’m no clearer on what was proposed as to when I asked. I put it down in the hope that I might get some information.”

The question and answer session pretty much ended at this point when the discussion turned to the expansion of the Dublin Bike Scheme to the Docklands.
The fact is we’ve heard a lot about this over the past few weeks. Fine Gael’s Kieran Binchy jumped all over the issue, as did Labour’s Maria Parodi who said, “It’s been reported that it’s the most successful in Europe and it’s fantastic to see that bikes haven’t gone missing or been vandalised.” Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan weighed in at this point saying, “it has been a massive success and in the light of looming local elections no councillor will shy away from a picture with a bike.” So, so true. He said the scheme should expand to Pembroke, Donnybrook and Rathmines and questioned why this had not already happened.

Finally, the Council discussed the Sport and Leisure Services Activities Report, which consisted of a survey of trees around the D4 area and the upcoming refurbishment and extension of changing room facilities at Herbert Park. “I like the look of the design, I like the consultation that’s taking place, I think it has been really well received,” said Cllr Oisin Quinn nodding and smiling in blissful ‘I’m the Lord Mayor now’ fashion. The trees didn’t get a look in except to say there was a survey conducted, but that was it.

Below: Grafton Street’s paving gets a makeover.

By Liam Cahill