Sunday, November 11, 2007


Are we doing enough on Climate Change?

The government put down a motion this week asking for their actions on climate change to be lauded.

As the Party's Spokesperson on the Environment in the Seanad I was tasked with responding to the government. I made the point that we were still not doing enough in areas such as emissions from housing, from energy pollution and from transport.

On Thursday I attended lunch with the Leinster House political correspondents. Our national conference is next week so we wanted to brief them on the forthcoming event.

This year the event is in Wexford in White's Hotel. I went down there on Friday for the night to check out the hotel and have a look at the facilities inside and outside the venue. It's a great setting and I'm looking forward to a successful conference.

I gave my maiden speech to The Philosophical Society of Trinity College on Thursday night. I was speaking in favour of a motion stating that "Ireland is a gay-friendly country". It was a well attended debate - perhaps two hundred students. I enjoyed it but had to leave early to attend a branch meeting in Ashbourne.

One of the subjects that was discussed was the massive port proposal at Bremore, on the Meath / Fingal border. It's going to be about three times the size of Drogheda port and will have significant implications for people leaving on the east side of Meath. I also brought the issue up in the Seanad, calling for care to be taken in the planning of the port.

I am extremely glad to see you pushing for the Ashbourne Bypass to be changed to motorway as I believe its a jobs issue. The meath chronicle article about your call made a good case about it already being 120km/h but doesnt show as a motorway on the map. However I was slightly confused by your comments in the seanad when you said it was 100km/h but could take 120km/h easily as stated on the oireachtas website. Meath County Council members adopted the special speed limit bye laws in may or june 2006 which made it 120km/h since that time last year. This was very wise and I love the fact its currently signposted for 120km/h instead of 100km/h. However the core point of my comments to you were that because its currently 120km/h but its not officially recognised as a Motorway we are in limbo by publically underplaying the fantastic standard of the road as it does not show up as a heavy blue motorway line on the maps but only as green national primary road even though it has a 120km/h limit and is every bit as good as the M1 motorway. The current situation where it has a motorway speed limit (by the passing of special speed limits by MeathCoCo in may or june 2006 under the road traffic act 2004) but dual carriageway signage is a shame on the NRA. It puts Ashbourne at a major disadvantage when developers are looking to set up business near a motorway as they overlook the ashbourne bypass as it is not officially a motorway and so doesnt not show up as blue on the maps even though it has a 120km/h limit. The fact it is 120km/h and L drivers can use it as motorway regulations dont apply makes an absolute mockery of that law. Currently L drivers can drive at 120km/h on the ashbourne bypass but would be prosecuted for doing the same on the M1 as they are banned from motorways, thats ridiculous hypocrisy. The Rules of the road state dual carriageways with green signage have a maximum speed limit of 100km/h. The Ashbourne bypass limit of 120km/h is completely legitimate and was made under the road traffic act 2004 but its a rare and unusual situation which the Rules of the road overlook. The answer is to change it to M2 Motorway without delay under the new provisions of the 2007 roads act to give a bit of credibility back to the Motorway regulations and rules of the road and to give ashbourne a fighting chance for economic development. Its currently the only town in Ireland with a 120km/h authorised speed limited bypass which is not a motorway.Its a ridiculous situation and I would love if you could get it covered in the national press to keep the pressure on the governmnet, if you think about it, now is an ideal time to bring up such an issue, I am just a joe soap who is concerned by the issue, i have no party affiliations or loyaltys, I vote for those who I think work for my area the hardest, i emailed Noel Dempsey on an other matter and tagged this issue on some months back but he only responded to the primary transport matter of concern to me and didnt comment on the ashbourne bypass issue which I had also briefly mentioned in my email. You should ring up Olivia Kelly in the Irish Times she seems to do planning/transport/local government stories and get this story covered. The mockery which is the fact motorway regulations dont apply to L drivers on the ashbourne bypass but do on the M1 is surely a road safety issue in its self, not to mention hypocrisy. If you contacted the Times and made a public call on Minister dempsey challenging him to state how he can stand over the motorway regulations on all the states motorways and explain why they dont apply to the 120km/h Ashbourne bypass, as currently the law is being brought into disrepute by this one off limbo situation. Challenge him to scrap the motorway regulations and upgrade the N2 to M2.I am sure if you took such an approach when contacting them they would definitly print it as it makes 100 per sent total common sense. The current situaton is putting Meath at economic disadvantage as it underplays our resources on the map.If the N2 was redesignated as the M2, then south east meath would have the M1 m2 and M3 would surely jump off the map as a great location for major investment. The current "N2" designation makes a complete mockery of the rules of the road and motorway regulations which dont make allowance for the strange ashbourne N2 120kmh situation. You should definitly at least try to get this published nationally as its a very newsworthy story and would stand hugely to you when it comes to canvassing ashbourne and ratoath, it would like you care more about ashbourne then fellow meath man dempsey. Regardless of if you can get it published nationally you should definitly this week request the NRA in writing, to iniate the changeover process immediately and parhaps leak this letter to the times to get it press coverage. Maybe you could do a post about this topic in your blog in a week or two if you have any feedback by then, if you dont want to blog about this topic, then just leave a response to this comment as I really think this need action and it would look great for you locally when you state the benefits such a move could have for ashbourne. You have done a really really great job getting it mentioned in local press and radio but that is only so good, keep on this issue and make it national news and then take the praise when you force the government to change the road to motorway. You must see there are potentially huge benefits for you personally if you keep on this issue and force dempsey to act, and i and ashbourne will be delighted also as the town will jump off the map as a location for the next intel or such other facility given its location near Bremore, Dublin port, and the airport. Please stay on this issue Dominic. You might let me know what the story is by replying to this comment when you make your next blog entry or perhaps you could do a blog entry on this topic. Thanks dominic, great work to date on this issue but keep going until the change is made.
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