The Lacey Report

– third in a series –

By Dermot Lacey

To begin where I left off in December, it was lovely to attend The Wren Day at Sandymount Green on St Stephen’s Day morning. This wonderful celebration of Community has long been a celebration of community and friendship and also raises money for charity. Well done to all the organisers, the collectors and of course the musicians. Long may this tradition continue and hope to see you all next time. 

On January 6th we marked the memory and wonderful writings of Maeve Brennan by unveiling a plaque at her former home in Ranelagh. This was an important opportunity to honour a great woman writer who has too often been forgotten here in her native City and I would encourage people to read in particular some of her great short stories.  

If you know of events or people who should be commemorated across our community please let me know. The rules of the scheme are fairly simple. The person or event has to have been significant in terms of their contribution and they must be dead for a minimum of 20 years or that it is a hundred years since their birth. The time aspect here is currently under discussion by Councillors. 

January 8th saw the first Area Committee of the New Year and later that evening the first full City Council meeting of 2024. 

At the Area Committee we dealt with the need for more and better utilised sports pitches, many traffic issues, restoration of the former Concert Hall in Rathmines Town Hall (now Rathmines College), the pressing need for Flood alleviation works, street cleaning across the area, Road maintenance and much more. Plans for the major redevelopment of the former Gulistan Waste Collection Depot were also discussed. It is hoped that will be a matter for public consultation in this first quarter of 2024. Councillors from right across the political spectrum sought the removal of offensive graffiti in the Playground at Sean Moore Park. 

The January City Council meeting later that evening was somewhat quieter than usual but we still managed to hear, in private, legal advice in relation to a challenge to our City Development Plan, closure of laneways in City Centre, new Tea Rooms for St Patrick’s Park, changes to the Joint Policing Committees and again much more. At the suggestion of the Lord Mayor the March meeting will be conducted “As Gaeilge” which will be an interesting experiment.  

Early in January myself and Deputy Ivana Bacik organised a public meeting to inform the local community about the new Asylum Seekers Centre in Ballsbridge and to establish a Dublin 4 Welcome for all group. This has been mirrored on a similar Dublin 6 welcome for all Group and has been extremely successful in fostering good links with existing and new residents. I want to thank so much those who have got involved and shown the real genuine community spirit in our area.   

Councillors often represent the City Council on other Public Bodies and as an illustration, during the last few months I have attended meetings of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board, the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly, the Board of the Little Museum of Dublin, the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Local Authority Members Association, the Royal Hospital Donnybrook Board and the Association of Irish Local Government and very many local Resident, youth and community bodies. People sometimes thank me for my work as a Councillor but the real thanks is from me to you all the time. It is a huge honour to be entrusted by your own community to serve as a Public Representative and I hope to continue in that role for many years to come. 

Every year the last Sunday of January, across the world, marks Holocaust Commemoration Day.  In 2003, as Lord Mayor of Dublin, I hosted the first Irish iteration of this truly important International memorial event. This year the ceremony was addressed by President Michael D Higgins and attended by An Taoiseach, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and about 500 other guests from the diplomatic services, the Oireachtas and Civic Society. I was hugely humbled to be invited to give one of the readings and delighted that the person immediately preceding me was the Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland, Jill Pitcher. Jill who finishes her term shortly was the first woman and the youngest Chief Scout of Scouting Ireland and has done a superb job in that role. As I have said many times nearly everything I learned of value in life I learned through the Scouts. Long may Scouting blossom and grow.  

Finally, I was honoured to be asked by the Lord Mayor to represent him and the City Council at the formal opening of the new Dodder Greenway stretch from Herbert Park to Anglesey Bridge at Donnybrook. This is a project that long precedes the recent Government emphasis on cycling and is a Local Authority led project involving Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council. I have been a member of the Joint Council Steering Committee since the outset and have sought this since my very early days on the Council.  It is such a delight to see it finally completed. When completed the plan will see a safe and pleasant cycling route all the way from Ringsend to the source of the River beyond Tallaght. Roll on lovely River.