NEWSLETTER SWORDS December 2011 Ballintrane Wood – Boroimhe – Boru Court - Brookdale - Forest Hills - Forrest Road Hawthorn Park – Highfield – Hilltown – Knocksedan - Milton Hall (& the Coláiste Choilm side of Dublin Road) – Oulart – Park Avenue (and the Ward Valley side of Brackenstown Road & Village) - Rathingle – Ridgewood - River Valley - The Nurseries.
SWORDS MUST BE RE-UNITED – Now is the time to make your submission
As you are aware, I have continued to call for all of Swords to be moved back to the Constituency of Dublin North since this crazy decision was made a few years ago and now is our chance to have our voices heard. A new Constituency Commission has been established to review General Election Constituency boundaries and at present they are open for submissions. I have already sent in my own detailed submission along with Michael Kennedy, Duane Browne (Secretary, Dublin North Ógra Fianna Fáil) and the Fianna Fáil River Valley and Brackenstown Cumainn. I also had a motion agreed by all Councillors and parties at Fingal County Council calling for Swords to be re-united back into the constituency of Dublin North. If you wish to make your own submission, the deadline is 10th January 2012. Submissions should be addressed to The Secretary, Constituency Commission, Room 1.65, Custom House, Dublin 1, or by email to email@example.com You can see submission that have already gone in on the following website and if you need any assistance with your submission or want me to send in one on your behalf, please do not hesitate in contacting me. We urge as many of you to make submissions as possible, individual residents along with Residents Associations, Sports Clubs and Community Groups, etc. The more submissions we can bombard them with the better. Thank you. Like you I am a Dublin West voter and I also want back into Dublin North for the next General Election.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS & BEST WISHES FOR 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2012. Please do not hesitate in contacting me if I can be of any help on any issue.
Ward River Valley Park - Playground
SWORDS CASTLE AND WARD RIVER VALLEY PARK SHOULD BE THE FOCAL POINT OF SWORDS
Residents have been asking me for an update on the Playground in the Ward River Valley Park. The Ward River Valley playground was one of the first large playgrounds constructed by the Fingal County Council (FCC) Parks Department. The playground is of an older design with wooden construction and a gravel safety surface. FCC have confirmed that the playground no longer meets the modern safety standards required for playgrounds and has failed its last two RoSPA inspections. The playground would require a complete rebuild to bring it up to standard. FCC had intended that when this playground was due to be upgraded, that two smaller playgrounds would be developed with one on each side of the valley. This would ensure passive supervision which is currently lacking at the playground in its current location. However, capital funding is not currently available to consider the development of the two playgrounds. The existing defunct equipment and fencing will be removed over the coming months. I will continue to raise this issue with FCC to make sure we get our two new playgrounds when funding becomes available.
Fingal County Council recently confirmed that they hope to take additional land around Knocksedan into their charge that should eventually allow for walkways and cycle ways between Knocksedan and Swords through the Ward River Valley. FCC went on to state that the development of a walk-way / cycle-way from Swords Castle, along the River walkway, through the Ward River valley linking the Swords Manor, River Valley and Knocksedan sides is very important and we will continue to work on this. The Councilâ€™s long term plan is to develop a pedestrian and cycle path from Knocksedan through the Ward River Valley Park to the centre of Swords. However the lands at Knocksedan have not yet been taken in charge though the Council has been in contact with the developer of Knocksedan regarding outstanding works in the woodland. Immediately to the east of Knocksedan is another large tract of land around the old mill and the Council is also in discussions with the landowner regarding the taking in charge of these lands. Once all of the land is in charge planning for a continuous path to Swords will commence. FCC believe that increased usage of the park is seen as key to reducing anti-social behaviour in the park and this can be best achieved by provision of a pedestrian and or cycle route used by residents of the Rivervalley and Swords Manor areas as a way of accessing the centre of the town.
Ward River Valley Park â€“ overgrowth on paths
I recently asked that FCC clear the paths to the Ward River Valley Park that are overgrown on the Brackenstown side and to provide better access tarmac / steps on the Park Avenue / Brackenstown side. FCC confirmed that provision has
been made in the capital budget of 2012 to provide improved tarmac path and steps on the northern side of the Ward River Valley. It is intended that these works will be carried out in the first quarter of 2012.
Election promises broken with regards to Metro North
Ridgewood playing pitches
“For the record, I strongly support Metro North. I did so when I was a member of Fingal County Council and I have done so as a TD. Metro North will bring employment, business and investment to Swords and will enable residents to travel to the city centre in just over twenty minutes. It could even help property prices to recover in the area at a faster rate than Pictured above: Michael Kennedy and Duane Browne (Ógra Fianna Fáil) along with other Fianna Fáil Dublin North members protesting outside Dáil Éireann in favour of the Metro North project.
We are extremely disappointed that the new Fine Gael / Labour Government have chosen to scrap both the Metro North and Metro West projects. Having succeeded in getting the Metro North project this far, when all planning stages had been passed and it was now down to vendor selection, this is a major set back for Swords and for North County Dublin. The Government argue that they have simply postponed the project to be re-considered in 2015 but we don’t believe them. With a General Election due around the end of 2015 / early 2016 at the latest, we believe this is just another election gimmick. As Swords – Dublin West voters, we all received a letter in our doors during the final week of the election last February, from the now Minster for Transport - Leo Varadkar looking for our votes. This letter stated:
other parts of the city. But Metro North is about more than Swords. It will also link up the airport, DCU, the Mater Hospital, O’Connell Street and Trinity College. Crucially it will link up the Luas Lines to Dundrum, Tallaght and the Docklands and the Arrow rail line to Maynooth, Dunboyne and Castleknock. It makes a lot of sense. It will improve life for people living in all parts of Dublin and beyond”. - Leo Varadkar (pre-election)
I couldn’t agree more with Minister Varadkar but unfortunately these proved to be standard election promises only. We will continue to work to ensure the Metro North project is not forgotten about and gets back on track as soon as possible. The fight is not over and we need to ensure that we get this vital piece of transport infrastructure delivered to the people of Swords and North Dublin a some stage in the near future,
Brackenstown Community Centre Update Fingal County Council have re-confirmed to us that while the provision of a Community Centre for the Brackenstown area remains a priority project of the Community, Culture & Sports Division, the means of funding such a facility remains a major obstacle to its delivery. It had been intended that this Centre would be funded, for the most part, through the Council’s Development Levies scheme. With the slow down
in construction, however, this source is no longer a realistic option. They also state that another significant factor in relation to the delivery of the project is the IMF/EU requirement that capital expenditure is limited to income received or due in the year. I will continue to work at keeping this project top of the agenda so that it is ready to proceed as soon as possible in the future when funding does eventually become available.
We have received confirmation from MKN that the new pitches at the Knocksedan side of Ridgewood have been handed over to Fingal County Council and we continue to argue that these must be allocated to St. Finian’s GAA and River Valley Rangers F.C. as soon as possible, as the two clubs who have served the local community so well for around 30 years now. This includes a full size G.A.A. pitch for St. Finian’s and four junior pitches. Michael Kennedy and I have campaigned long and hard for this and as part of the recently finalised Fingal Development Plan, I succeeded in passing a motion that ensures MKN must also provide dressing rooms before any further development at this location. The very impressive dressing room plans include 4 changing rooms, referees room, storage room, office, etc. We will continue to do our best to represent all River Valley and Swords Sporting Clubs and Community Groups and Michael Kennedy and I were also pleased to assist Swords Rugby Club who’s Junior Team is now based at Holywell.
Holy Family National School - Signage Fingal County Council have confirmed to me that the new signage for the time plates in relation to the single yellow line at Holy Family National School at Forest Park, Swords have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they are received. Hopefully this will have happened by the time you get this newsletter.
SWORDS Brian Lenihan (1959 – 2011)
BUTLER FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL - TREE POLICY One of the main issues that we get this time of the year is to do with tree pruning. Fingal County Council’s tree policy adopted in 2010 states that in the interest of public safety and to allow street lights to function as intended, trees within 7m of a public lamp standard will not be pruned but removed and not replaced. There are over 1,200 trees within this distance of light standards in the Balbriggan / Swords Operations area alone. Fingal County Council have confirmed that it is their objective that all trees that are interfering with public lighting will be removed over the next 5-7 years.
More important than any election result, 2011 will be remembered as a very sad year for Fianna Fáil as we lost our good friend and colleague, Brian Lenihan. Brian served the constituency of Dublin West from 1996 to his untimely death in June of this year and he is greatly missed by us all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support you showed Brian in the General Election last February and for Councillor David McGuinness in the recent Bye-Election. Brian is sadly missed by us all and may he Rest In Peace.
Over the last two years all 12,800 Street Trees in the Swords / Balbriggan Operations area were surveyed and almost 30% of the trees had some form of intervention recommended with the majority of the recommended works relating to plant health and safety of the tree. It will obviously take several years to resolve these issues. Please continue to contact me with any problems you have in this regard and I will make sure the Council is aware of them and that they are on the list for resolution as soon as is practically possible.
CAUTION REQUIRED IN SALE OF AER LINGUS SHAREHOLDING Councillor Darragh Butler has urged caution in how the Government deal with the 25% stake they hold in Aer Lingus. It is worth noting that the sale of a majority shareholding to private investors has resulted in the airline becoming a much more attractive and competitive airline by reducing its cost base in an effective fashion. When originally privatised, Fianna Fáil in Government decided that a significant shareholding in Aer Lingus was necessary to protect the country from potentially adverse decisions. There is also considerable concern about the impact that such a sale would have on competition as I do not believe that Ryanair have given up on the idea of acquiring Aer Lingus. As a country, if this sale proceeds we would have no power to block such a move. I fear that the sudden decision on Minister Varadkar’s part that there is no strategic case for continuing to hold the 25% stake is more about facilitating the sale of the company as opposed to looking at the importance of Aer Lingus to our economic recovery through vital routes and connections to major cities. Selling off the family silver to avoid making tough decisions on spending is simply unacceptable.
GROUND RENTS WARNING
Councillor Darragh Butler and his father, Philip Butler, picture on the 5th Annual Irish Cancer Society River Valley Walk in October of this year. Despite the bad weather, 68 people turned up to go on the walk which was another great success and congratulations to Margaret Harris and her team. The new playground at Boroimhe (part of the planning process) is essentially complete but FCC have confirmed that minor repair work is required before it can open to the public and they have instructed the contractor to keep the fencing in place until these works are fully complete early in the new year. Some photos by Tim Ralph Photography (Swords) www.timralphphotography.com
Councillor Darragh Butler and Duane Browne (Ógra F.F. Secretary) are urging homeowners to be vigilant in relation to demands for ground rent payments and the offer to sell them the freehold of their own properties. Residents in Swords have recently received a letter from the River Forest Partnership seeking the payment of arrears of rent along with the offer to sell them the property freehold. The letter was addressed only to “The Owner” with no personal name or address, contained no contact phone number or company registration details and appeared to have been hand delivered and not posted. We believe that these letters are being mass distributed in an attempt to take advantage of those who unfortunately would accept these demands at face value. It is very important that all homeowners take extra care in this regard, warn their neighbours who will most likely have received the same demand and consult with their local Garda Station and seek advice. Residents should feel free to contact us and we will attempt to clarify the situation.
JOIN MY EMAIL LIST FOR MORE REGULAR UPDATES Whilst I do my best to keep you up to date on local issues, unfortunately I cannot be out knocking on doors and delivering leaflets every weekend and even if I was, there are so many houses to get around and with people not in, etc. Accordingly I try and use Email, Facebook and Twitter as much as I can also. I have an Email distribution list for local news items and I ask you to please send me your email address and I will keep you updated with relevant local news to do with your area. This newsletter was prepared by Councillor Darragh Butler, Michael Kennedy and Duane Browne. Some photographs provided by Tim Ralph Photography (Swords) www.timralphphotography.com
Councillor Darragh Butler Address: 17 Highfield Close, Swords Mobile: (087) 95 95 378 Email: Darragh.Butler@fingalcoco.ie - firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/darraghbutler - www.twitter.com/darraghbutler