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Meetings of Dublin City Council’s North Central Area Committee should be held at City Hall, said Solidarity Councillor Michael O’Brien, at Monday’s meeting of councillors for that part of the city, which runs from Marino to Belmayne, from Raheny to Kilmore.
At the moment they are held at the Northside Civic Centre in Coolock, but there’s no video of who says what, and how councillors vote – a problem for the North-West Area Committee too, which covers around Cabra, Ballymun, Glasnevin and Santry. At City Hall, there’s a set-up for webcasting.
Independent Councillor Paddy Bourke and Sinn Féin Larry O’Toole said they agreed with the sentiment. But it would be unfair to make locals travel into town if they wanted to sit in on the committee meetings, they said.
Bourke said he couldn’t understand why a webcasting system couldn’t be put in at the Northside Civic Centre “with today’s technology”.
Fianna Fáil’s Seán Paul Mahon said his local church broadcasts funerals to Australia. Can’t they do that on Bunratty Road where the civic centre is? He was against the idea of moving the meeting to the city centre.
Labour’s Alison Gilliland said she would favour the move. People should be able to watch “the machinations of democracy”, she said. Meetings should be recorded so residents and others can look back at them.
O’Brien said he would amend his motion to say that the meetings would only move to City Hall until a webcam was put in at the Northside Civic Centre.
Most councillors voted against the motion.
Dublin City Council should allow log cabins in back gardens to be used as temporary homes and “demonstrate a degree of flexibility in the planning regulations”, said Sinn Féin Councillor Ciaran O’Moore in a motion at Monday’s North Central Area Committee meeting.
Families could give their kids spaces to live while saving for a deposit this way, said O’Moore. Said independent Councillor Paddy Bourke: “Desperate times require desperate measures.”
Fianna Fáil’s Tom Brabazon agreed with Bourke. He backed the motion, and said it should go on to the council’s planning committee.
People Before Profit’s John Lyons agreed too. One log-cabin manufacturer had said 60 percent of its business is in residential cabins, he said. This shows the “whole cohort of people that are literally stuck”, he says.
It would give people “some breathing space and to live near their own families and communities”, he said.
Labour’s Alison Gilliland was more wary. It could lead to exploitation, she said. How could the council guarantee that it would be family members living in the cabins? They might be rented out “unscrupulously”.
The motion passed.
A New Train Station
The proposal for a station at Pelletstown, in the suburb of Ashtown, on the Dublin-Maynooth commuter line, will go out to tender next month, said Irish Rail senior architect John Boyle at Tuesday’s North-West Area Committee meeting at Ballymun Civic Centre.
Planning permission was granted for the station in 2013, before being withdrawn and granted again in 2014, Boyle told councillors.
Some councillors raised concerns about parking in the area.
Independent Councillor Cieran Perry also asked about the proposed bridge connecting the unstaffed station to neighbourhoods across the Royal Canal. It could attract anti-social behaviour if was open all the time, he said. “Would it not be advisable to close that route?”
“If we were to close the bridge,” said Boyle, “it could be more dangerous with people still trying to access the station.” The planning permission said the footbridge should be open all hours, he said.
Building on Small Plots
People Before Profit’s Andrew Keegan said he had been talking to resident from a Finglas residents’ group, and they had asked whether a small plot of land on Finglas Road in Dublin 11 might be rezoned.
It’s zoned for recreational use at the moment. But they want it rezoned. “For housing or even a community centre,” he said at Tuesday’s North-West Area Committee meeting.
Dave Dinnigan, the North Central area manager, said council officials didn’t see a problem with the idea in general. Finglas suffered from ad-hoc houses, said Dinnigan – hotchpotch developments which have left lots of small derelict and infill sites, he said.
Fianna Fáil’s Paul McAuliffe said there should be a “way to identify [these] sites and a process to go through them”.
Councillors are working with local residents to identify problematic sites that are often used for dumping or anti-social behaviour, which is good, he said.
“Small sites that can only fit in a house or two can fix anti-social behaviour and dumping,” said Labour’s Andrew Montague.
Dinnigan promised to send out a report identifying key development sites early next year.