Monday, April 16, 2007


Steps to combat Climate Change

Our €1 bus fare continues to attract a lot of comment on the doorsteps. I met a public transport employee in Millmount Abbey on Friday and he was asking me about how it will work in practice. Obviously it will need a lot more buses, and it will require additional drivers, so there are issues with training and recruitment. It forms a core part of our strategy on Climate change. We want to see more journeys made on buses so that we reduce the amount of carbon emissions that come from Ireland.

Again in relation to Climate Change, I was interested to see that Fr McDonough from Dalgan Park in Meath has been asked to join Al Gore’s advisory team on the environment. I’ve been to the Dalgan Park complex a few times and have always been impressed with the commitment they show to environmental matters.

The issue of building on open spaces within estates came up again this week. I was in Supple Hall in Dunshaughlin, where the developer has in the past tried to build on the area which the residents use for open space. There was a planning application last summer and at the time I had a few queries from the residents about it.

Supple Hall
Open Space in Supple Hall, Dunshaughlin

I told a few of residents about the new restriction that I put into the County Development Plan, which will prevent developers from building on open spaces in estates from now on.

Of course, the change in the County Development Plan comes too late for some estates. I went into Inse Bay in Laytown on Saturday, an estate where planning permission was granted for an additional 40 houses, despite the objections of residents and councillors.

I spent the whole day in the estate and managed to speak to hundreds of residents. The main issues that came up were school places, the issue of the extra houses, and of course the health service. I got a few questions in relation to our position on childcare. Here's a short video on our Committment to Change the position on childcare.....

It was a lovely day to be out talking to people and as a result of this everyone was in great form. I had a great response from the residents of Inse Bay and it buoyed me up for the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday morning I went up to Abbey Street in Dublin to the Today FM Studios. Party HQ had been asked if any urbane, young candidate was available to go on the Sunday Supplement Show with Sam Smyth. Unfortunately Cllr Alex White had a cold so they had to do with me (urban, middle-aged).

Today FM
Outside Today FM studios

I was joined on the show with Senator Fergal Browne and the very glamorous Liz O'Donnell, Deputy Leader of the PDs. I haven’t done much of this sort of thing in the past, and Liz was very gracious in helping to create a calm atmosphere in the ante-room.

The show itself was good fun. Sam tried to get me to call Bertie a crook, which is a place I was not going to go, despite his best efforts. The time flew. We had good craic in the studio when the microphones were off, although Liz O'D was a bit put out at one stage to be called Deputy Leader of the Labour Party by Sam.

I was happy with the show. Afterwards, I headed down to Duleek for a quick meeting before heading out to the advice centre to deal with some representations. All in all, a very busy week!

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