The Lacey Report

– fourth in a series –

By Dermot Lacey

Early February saw the Dodder Greenway section from Ballsbridge to Donnybrook finally opened. I was delighted to have been invited by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to represent him and cut the ribbon alongside the Minister for Transport and Local TD Eamon Ryan. This local government led initiative shows what Councils are capable of when given the power and resources. I have already had many cycles along the route and encourage you all to “get on a Bike”. It is fun. It is healthy and it is also usually the best way to get around.

Following a report on Palmerston Park I was sent a fascinating video of the former Public Toilets that have been buried, unseen, under the Water Fall feature in the Park. This prompted me to submit a motion to the Area Committee suggesting that the now closed toilets might be used for either a small artists studio or a nature study base that could be availed of by schools and youth groups. Officials have agreed to investigate the possibilities for this space and Councillors have allocated funding for this through the discretionary fund process. 

As readers will know the Local Elections are scheduled for June 7th and it is my intention to seek election again to represent the area. In this Report however I want to simply pay tribute to two Councillors for the area who are not seeking re-election. It has been my honour to work alongside Paddy McCartan for many years as we have both tried to represent Pembroke as best we can. Though coming from very different backgrounds and politics I always knew Paddy to be an honourable and dedicated colleague and wish him well. 

During this Council term I also got to work with Claire O’Connor the current Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin and again though coming from different politics I have found her to be someone who always did what she believed right for the area and for Dublin and wish her well in her future endeavours.

Many will remember the original Glass Bottle Return  charity operation that operated as Shelter Referral at the former Merrion Station depot at Merrion Gates. Since the charity ceased to operate a few years ago the building has deteriorated to a considerable extent. Following a suggestion from a resident I have sought and secured Dublin City Council intervention to make the building safe. The Council is now looking at developing the building as an Artists Residence/Studio Gallery. I will keep working on this.

On Thursday 7th March, along with other Public Representatives I attended the launch of the Strategic Plan for the Ranelagh Gaels. This dynamic and progressive GAA Club now has over 1600 members and has set out a vision for development over the next few years. The breath of vision and inclusivity outlined by the Club leadership augurs well for the future and I am absolutely committed to helping them in every way I can.

Friday 8th saw a full Sandymount Community Centre as a large group of residents and others participated in a lively workshop to discuss the cultural programme for the Centre. Many different suggestions from more traditional Irish music events, visual art, poetry reading, development of a local Drama Group and more were put forward and these will all be parsed by the Culture Committee as they prepare their future programme. It is to the enormous credit of the Committee that they committed to this type of public participation process.

Congratulations to residents of the Ramleh area in Milltown who have been developing a community garden in their area. I was delighted to secure some funding from Dublin City Council to help them in this work.

I was delighted to attend a wonderful Welcome to All event in Rathmines on March 12th attended by Asylum seekers and many local residents and community groups. This was the second such event organised by the Dublin 4 and Dublin 6 welcome groups and truly reflects the welcoming nature of our community. Congratulations to my colleague Ivana Bacik on her leadership on this issue.

At the March Area Committee meeting I sought an update on proposals to improve traffic flow and safety on Marlborough Road following the successful implementation of the Belmont Avenue traffic calming scheme. This will become even more necessary when likely changes are introduced on Beaver Row. Other issues raised there included opposition to the proposed closure of Rathmines Post Office, an improved public lighting scheme for Sandymount Green and the Dodder walk, approval of the local Discretionary Fund that will see over €700,000 spent on a range of local initiatives and approval for a major Public Realm improvement scheme centred on Ringsend Library. 

Some of the other events attended during the period covered by this Report included Board meetings of Ringsend College, Royal Hospital Donnybrook and the Little Museum of Dublin, the HSE Regional Health Forum and the launch of the exciting Baggotonia Festival due to be held in September. The Labour Party held a Public Meeting in Rathmines in opposition to the closure of the Post Office and with a demand that, in the event of closure, the Post Office building would be retained for public use. 

Finally, I was delighted to attend the Sean Moore Community Awards presentation evening on the 27th March. This is an award scheme that a few of us established back in 1988. Little did we expect it to be still running 36 years later. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to those who nominated them. Long may the scheme last.

Till we next meet. Stay safe.