The Lacey Report

– second in a series –

In October I was honoured to be asked to formally install a new Defibrillator on the outside wall of the Donnybrook Fire Station. This has the potential to save many lives and is one of many installed at Fire Stations across the City and County. The occasion also gave me the opportunity to say “Thank you” to the men and women of the Service for their dedicated work on behalf of all us residents and visitors to the City. 

A project which I initiated over twelve years ago has finally started. Work to install Columbarium Walls and landscape the old graveyard in Donnybrook has finally commenced. Columbarium Walls are those in which the urns of people cremated can be rested and memorials to loved ones can be erected. This will allow local people and many others to have their deceased loved ones be remembered here in the local community. It has taken a while but shows that persistence works. 

As a member of the Dodder Greenway Steering Committee I am delighted that works on the stretch between Herbert Park and Anglesey Bridge are nearing completion. The full plan is to enable safe and enjoyable cycling from Ringsend to the source of the River. This is a joint project between Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council and shows what can be done when Local Government is enabled to do their job.  

Great to see the improvements to street furniture along Upper Baggot Street which I secured through the application of E20,000 from the Area Discretionary Fund. This will now be augmented by the proposed Baggotonia Festival planned for September 2024 by an enthusiastic group of local traders and residents. I was delighted, along with my Party colleague Ivana Bacik TD, to take part in the initial meetings about the project. Further details available from: connect@baggotonia-festival.com 

One of the truly great initiatives in our area in recent times has been the reimagination of the possibilities of the former Iris Charles Centre on Newbridge Avenue as the new Sandymount Community Centre. The Centre now offers a wide range of services and activities. A personal highlight has been the Culture Nights where on the first Friday of each month there have been wonderful Poetry readings, an Oscar Wilde performance, Irish Ceili night and in December a brilliant presentation by the students of the Ringsend Rock School. For future events keep an eye on the Sandymount Community Centre Facebook site – you will not be disappointed. 

Monday 13th November saw a packed hall in the Sandymount Hotel as the Sandymount and Merrion Residents Association held a public meeting to inform residents about the very significant extension plans of the Dublin Port Company. The main focus of concern is the very extensive Container Storage Park that would encompass approximately fifteen acres of land on a site immediately facing Sandymount Strand. In my view this would simply add to the ongoing abuse of Dublin Bay – the only UNESCO recognised Bi-Sphere in a Capital City – and should be resisted. SAMRA are seeking an Independent strategic Land Use Study of the entire Port lands and the meeting agreed to write to all the Political Party Leaders seeking cross-Party support for that demand, and that the Port Expansion plans would be paused pending the outcome of that Report and the National Ports Strategy Review that is already underway. If you would like to support the campaign please contact SAMRA at: samracommittee@gmail.com or contact them through their Facebook account. 

At both the South East Area Committee and the plenary meetings of the City Council I have been constantly raising the commitment given by Minister Simon Coveney – when he was Minister for Housing – that there would be 900 Social and Affordable housing units provided on the IGB Poolbeg site. This was in return for Councillors supporting the adoption of a Strategic Development Zone plan for the area. As one of the main negotiators of the deal I am determined that the Government honours that commitment. The bottom line is Councillors kept our word. Government must keep theirs. The people of this area need this commitment to be honoured. 

At the AGM of the Association of Irish Regions recently I was delighted to be elected as Chairperson of the Association and their Executive Committee. The Association brings together the three Regional Assemblies in Ireland that were established for both European Union membership purposes and the implementation of the National Planning Framework.   

Sadly, a recent report from the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities confirmed what I have been saying for decades. Ireland’s Local Government system is not fit for purpose. In a ranking that should only shame those responsible for Local Government policy at a National level, Ireland was ranked as having the fourth worst system of Local Government in the Council of Europe area. To our shame we were only beaten into last place by Russia, Hungary and Moldova. 

After much campaigning by a number of young people in the area I was delighted to secure the provision of a new Basketball Court in Beech Hill, Donnybrook. Hoping many get many years of enjoyment from it. 

Finally Christmas would not be the same if I did not meet old and new friends at Sandymount Green on St Stephen’s Day for The Wren. So, till the “pints and craic” and the music – Have a very Happy Christmas and the very best of wishes for 2024. 

Read more:
The Lacey Report 1 (Oct/Nov 2023)