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Selling of Land
There should be a moratorium on the sale of council-owned lands that are deemed by councillors to be suitable for housing, while the housing crisis continues.
So said a motion from Labour Party Councillor Joe Costello at the March monthly meeting of Dublin City Council at City Hall on Monday.
“The situation if anything, lord mayor, has worsened since we started. It’s now a national crisis,” he said.
Dublin City Council is the housing authority that has a legal remit to put houses over people’s heads, Costello said. “And we have built very very few houses over the past 20 years,” he said.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick spoke in support of Costello’s motion. “In this motion what we’re saying is we as a city council are going to take ownership, we are going to hold onto the lands we have, and we’re going to exercise our authority on those lands,” she said.
She said councillors should vote for the motion, and then work to push the incoming government for adequate funds to develop housing on the lands, as well as to put in place affordable-rental legislation and other measures.
Fine Gael Councillor Naoise Ó Muirí, however, spoke against the motion. “I seem to be in the minority for selling land where the city council feels it’s worthwhile. We have lots and lots of lands that we have done nothing with for years,” he said.
Besides, “We don’t need a moratorium because every piece of disposal has to come before us here for a decision anyway,” he said.
There was such a long list of councillors who wanted to speak to the motion, though, and so little time left in the meeting, that they decided to postpone a vote – at least until the next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for 6 April.
Liffey Cycle Route
Council managers presented a report recommending a trial for an interim version of the proposed Liffey Cycle Route along the quays, starting as soon as August.
The permanent scheme is meant to enable the council “to provide a segregated one-way cycle track eastbound from the Phoenix Park to Matt Talbot Memorial Bridge via the north Quays and one-way westbound via the south Quays”, the report says. The earliest this could be delivered is probably 2024, though.
In the meantime, the council’s proposing this interim trial version. In this version, it won’t be possible to provide “a continuous protected cycle lane” for the full length of the route.
For certain stretches, “converting the only general traffic lane to cycling provision is not feasible due to the impact on commercial activity and on Temple Bar and other city centre areas. It should be noted that the only permitted exit for traffic from the Fleet St Carpark is onto the narrowest sections of the south Quays,” the report says.
The council’s environmental and transport department has “estimated that the cost of providing the sections of interim continuous protected cycle lane … is in the order of €800,000. The NTA has indicated that there is funding available for this type of implementation in advance of the permanent scheme,” the report said.
Green Party Councillor Janet Horner said: “I think that it is fantastic that we are looking at this project coming in the matter of months now rather than in a matter of years and decades that we have seen up to this point.”
Independent Councillor Christy Burke, who is chair of the council’s transport committee, said he was under the impression that the vote on whether to go forward with the trial would be postponed until April.
That would allow councillors to discuss concerns from cycling groups, people with disabilities, and motorists, Burke said. “We did agree to a special transport SPC [strategic policy committee] before the 14th or 15th of March,” he said.
However, Green Party Councillor Donna Cooney proposed that the report be put to a vote, and councillors agreed to back it.
It is unlikely that there will be any charging points for electric vehicles installed in residential areas by Dublin City Council, council Chief Executive Owen Keegan said.
But there will be more installed in non-residential areas. There are to be four more charge points set upon Sir John Rogerson’s Quay later this year, Keegan said, in a written reply to a question from independent Councillor Nial Ring.
Ring had asked for details on how many charging points there are, how many more were planned, and whether the number would meet future demand.
“There are currently 35 dedicated EV-only bays located on Dublin City Council Streets,” said Keegan.
The council has met and supplied ESB E-cars with a list of potential additional sites for charging points, and they are being assessed for suitability, he said.
“Due to the large infrastructure required for the installation of EV chargepoints it is likely that any further public EV chargepoints will be located in suitable hubs and it is unlikely that any will be installed in residential parking areas,” he said.