Monthly Archives: December 2005

More carriages but fewer trains

Green Party Councillor David Healy today criticised the new Dart timetable introduced on 11 December. Regular Dart passengers in Bayside, Sutton and Howth have found themselves waiting for up to 40 minutes and are furious with the cuts to the train service in their area.

The new timetable has reduced the number of services between Dublin city centre and Howth in the evening (between 7pm and midnight) from 16 trains to 10. The new timetable also has two gaps of 40 minutes between trains (between 2139 and 2219 and between 2239 and 2320). The timetable remains highly irregular and passenger-unfriendly in what is supposed to be a frequent rapid service.

Cllr. Healy said today that, “The Dart service was introduced in 1984
with a regular timetable and a 15 minute gap between trains. At that
frequency, it was a service people could use without having to rely on
a timetable.
With the current timetable, people will be left sitting on windy station platforms for up to 40 minutes.

“It appears that some of this reduction is made up by the diversion of
trains to Malahide.  However, the reduction in services to Howth is
greater than the increase in services to Malahide.  In any event, at a
time when Iarnród Éireann has brought dozens of new carriages into
operation, there is no reason why both spurs of the Dart line cannot
have frequent services.
How is it we have more carriages but fewer trains?

“This timetable was introduced by the Minister for Transport who
claimed it was an improvement in services. But he completely ignored
the off-peak reduction in services to Bayside, Sutton and Howth which
has been implemented.  It is appalling that in 2005 we are being
offered a rail service which is a poor shadow of that introduced 20
years ago,” concluded Cllr. Healy.

Cllr David Healy              087 617 8852
Elaine Walsh Press Office     01- 618 3852 / 087 914 8175

Dangerous parking of buses at Howth Station

Although there is a marked bus bay in front of Howth station, which the 31B used to use, this is now being used for car parking and the 31C which waits at this terminus for at least 10 minutes every hour during the middle of the day waits on the road where it blocks visibility of the pedestrian traffic lights and pedestrians trying to cross.  I am raising this safety issue with Dublin Bus, the Gardai and Fingal’s Transport Department.
Dear Peter,

I refer to the issue of buses blocking the traffic lights at Howth Dart
Station.  This was discussed at our Area Cttee. meeting on 7th April
2005.  The extract from the minutes is as follows:

It was proposed by Councillor D Healy and seconded by Councillor K. Maher:
"That the Manager report on whether or not it is considered safe to
have bus stops immediately beside traffic lights and pedestrian
crossings as in Howth Village and at Howth Train Station."
The following report by the Manager was READ:-
"It is considered good practice to situate bus stops upstream of
pedestrian crossings – this accommodates bus passengers alighting from
the bus who wish to cross the road at the rear of the bus and ensures
that stopped buses don’t obscure visibility."
Following discussion, the Report was NOTED.

Since that time, Dublin Bus has changed the terminus of the 31B and
introduced a new service with a terminus at Howth Station, the 31C. 
However, while the 31B used to wait in the Station carpark, where there
is a marked bus bay,  I have become aware that the 31C for some reason
has decided to wait on the road blocking the view of the traffic lights
and of pedestrians crossing the road.

I would be grateful if you could address this as a matter of urgency. 
I am also bringing it directly to the attention of Gareth Quinn of
Clontarf Garage in Dublin Bus.

Thank you,

David Healy

Cllr. David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair, B.Á.C. 13
01 8324087
087 6178852

Bord Pleanála refuse proposed hotel in Baldoyle Green Belt

The Green Party has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s refusal of planning permission for a proposed hotel in the Green Belt between Baldoyle and Portmarnock.

Green Party Councillor David Healy (Fingal County Council – Howth), with support from local Green, Fine Gael and Labour Councillors, had appealed Fingal County Council’s decision to grant permission for the proposed hotel on Moyne Road.

The Board upheld Cllr. Healy and his colleagues’ first ground of appeal which was that the development would conflict with the County Development Plan.

Commenting on the decision, Cllr. David Healy said that, “This decision is a victory in the latest battle for the protection of the Green Belt between Baldoyle and Portmarnock.  It is time now for the developer and Fingal County Council to get their act together and provide the public park, the Millennium Park as it was to be called, on this Green Belt for the benefit of the people living in the area already and also those to move in to the new development on both ends of the Green Belt.”
Background info:
The full text of the appeal submitted is at

The reason given by An Bord Pleanála for its decision was as follows:
“The proposed development would be located on a limited site of 3.75
hectares within an area covered by the zoning objective "OS" in the
current Fingal County Development Plan, which seeks, "To preserve and
provide for open space and recreational amenities", where a hotel use
is neither listed as permitted or open for consideration and where only
community facilities and other recreational uses will be considered and
encouraged by the planning authority and recreational facilities/sports
clubs are permitted in principle.  The proposed hotel and leisure
complex would contravene the zoning objective for the area and would,
therefore, be contrary to the proper planning, and sustainable
development of the area.”

Green Party Energy policy launched

The Green Party today launched its Energy policy and called on all political parties to engage in a partnership approach with the aim of establishing common long-term energy goals.

Green Party Leader Trevor Sargent TD said today that, “With oil at over
$60 a barrel, and massive hikes in gas and electricity bills, we need
urgently to reduce our 90 per cent dependency on fossil fuels for our
energy needs.

“We are committed to working with other parties to make sure we address
the energy problems facing us and realise the potential benefits of a
new renewable energy policy. Since its foundation, the Green movement
has put the development of energy efficiency and new renewable
resources at the heart of its political agenda.

“The challenge for any serious energy policy maker is to try and ensure
we have a cheap, secure and clean source of energy supply.
Unfortunately, a series of recent governments have shirked that

“Our vision is that by 2050 Ireland can depend on renewable energy
supplies for all its energy needs. We will achieve that by being more
efficient in the way we use energy and by rapidly developing some of
the 21 different renewable technologies available to us.”

Green Party Energy spokesperson Eamon Ryan TD said that, “Energy
policymakers have to take a view several decades into the future but
politicians rarely look beyond the next election. Countries such as
Denmark have got around this problem by getting cross-party agreement
on certain long-term energy goals. We believe the opportunity now
exists for such an approach to be adopted here.

“Involving industry and other representative bodies in such a
partnership approach would help create the predictable environment
within which households and businesses can invest in new energy
efficient technologies.

“For example, six of the seven parties in the Danish Parliament have
just agreed a new Energy Savings in Buildings Initiative this summer.
The measures include one-stop shop approach for the installation of
domestic energy improvements. In a standard 1920’s house they estimate
a 47% reduction in the energy use can be achieved, giving a €53,000
payback to the owner over 30 years on an initial borrowed investment of

“The Green Party has proposed that a new committee be set up under the
Joint Oireachtas Committee for Communications Marine and Natural
Resources to develop such a partnership approach. Including members of
the main political parties and outside bodies with an expertise in the
energy area, it would collaborate directly with the Department on the
new White Paper on Energy Policy.

“This is about bringing policy formulation back to where it should
belong, which is within Dáil Éireann. It is also about developing the
existing partnership process so that crucial environmental issues are
taken into account.

“The people will not thank their political representatives if we fail
to properly address this crucial issue. Our dependency on fossil fuels
makes us one of the most exposed countries in the world to any future
energy shock. Our use of these scarce resources has increased
dramatically in recent years; however the contribution of renewable
energies to our energy supply has remained static at less than 2%.

“Our electricity prices are consequently significantly above the
European average and the bill for carbon emissions from power
generation alone is likely to cost the taxpayer at least €50 million
next year. Meanwhile 60 per cent of the energy used in power generation
currently disappears up the chimney in the form of unused waste heat.
This is more than the entire amount of energy used in the Irish
residential sector each year.”

Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr Mary White said that, “This new
renewable energy future provides huge opportunities for Irish farmers.
New biomass crops for power generation will provide the perfect
complement to the variable wind supplies that farmers should also be
able to develop.
Existing forests and new coppicing techniques can provide the wood pellets for new high tech wood heating systems.”

“The Green Party has consistently called for the removal of the duty on
biofuels so that this new industry becomes established. We would commit
oil companies to including a minimum 5% blend of biofuels in any fuel
supply With the closure of the Sugar Company the opportunity exists for
the farmers to grow beet for bioethanol and oil seed rape for pure
plant oil or biodiesel. Exempting duty will allow the fledgling
industry to get up and running, supporting farmers, protecting the
environment with a reduction in emissions. It is a win-win situation.

“Transport will still be the area where we are going to have the
greatest difficulty as oil supplies run out.  Hydrogen supplies may
play a role but the real solution must be a change in our planning
system so that the need for long distance commuting is reduced.”

Cllr. David Healy Green Party spokesperson on Climate Change said that,
“The success of the Montreal Climate talks last week mean that
developed countries such as Ireland will have to start planning for
deep cuts in our Greenhouse Gas emissions. The energy sector accounts
for over two thirds of these emissions and it is an area where real
reductions can occur with potential benefits for our economy.

“We need to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions to prevent further
environmental damage. Also, the reality is that we are facing an
imminent peak and subsequent drop in global oil production, which will
require us to kick our oil habit. Yet Ireland remains overly dependent
on imported oil supplies and we are currently investing billions in
taxpayer’s money in motorways which will not be needed as oil runs out.
We need to rethink all of our investment decisions.

“The Green Party is already making a real difference in implementing
this energy policy on the ground. Fingal County Council, on foot of
motions coming from the Green Party, is now requiring in its Local Area
Plans that all buildings would have a 50kWh per square metre annual
heating standard and that at least 30 per cent of this lower heating
demand would come from renewable sources. This would mean that the
heating bill for a typical 150 m2 house would be less than €225 a year. The result will be better
buildings and real economic and environmental gains for the local

Eamon Ryan TD                 01-618 3097 / 086 829 4429
Cllr. Mary White              087 270 7189
Trevor Sargent TD             01-618 3465 / 087 254 7836
Cllr David Healy              087 617 8852
Elaine Walsh Press Office           087 914 8175

Greens Predict Transport Chaos from Ikea Proposal

Green Party councillors on Fingal County Council yesterday proposed to amend the North Ballymun Local Area Plan to ensure that the proposed Ikea store does not lead to further traffic chaos on the M50.  
The three core proposals put forward by Cllrs David Healy, Joe Corr and Robbie Kelly were as follows:
1.    The store should be beside the proposed Metro station on the Ballymun road/
2.    The store should provide for free deliveries.
3.    Parking at the store should be limited and charged for so as to encourage people to come by public transport.

All three motions were rejected by the majority of the councillors,
which according to the Green Party will only add to the already
congested motorway.  In addition it means IKEA will be over 1km walk
from the proposed metro and main Quality Bus Corridor on Ballymun Rd. 
This will guarantee that IKEA will, as it does in Britain, act as a
massive traffic generator flooding surrounding areas and the Ballymun
Interchange on the M50 with traffic.  The proposals for parking charges
and free deliveries were already agreed by IKEA in relation to a store
in the UK, which was proposed for Stockport near Manchester but was
refused permission on appeal.
Speaking after the decision Green Party Cllr. for Howth, David Healy
said,  “This is exactly the kind of motorway-based shopping development
which increases car-dependency and marginalizes those who don’t own
cars.  It’s not difficult to do it right and link these facilities to
public transport. Unfortunately, what Fingal County Council did today
was to specifically decide to locate this store at a location where you
will have to use a car to get it. The people of Dublin deserve better.”

Cllr Joe Corr added, “I am not convinced that all of the traffic
concerns have been addressed when you consider that we will have the
Port Tunnel traffic passing the Ballymun interchange and the proposal
to expand Dublin Airport with an additional parallel runway and a
second terminal. In addition, the Air and Noise pollution impact on
potential employees was not measured in the Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) and we believe this will be a crucial Health &
Safety concern for people who will eventually work in the area.”

31/B/C and 17A bus routes

Following a motion of mine at the Area Committee meeting, Dublin Bus
sent two representatives to the November Meeting of the Area Cttee. to
discuss the bus services around the Howth peninsula.

There was a good discussion, but no firm results.  Dublin Bus will
get back to the Councillors in relation to the suggestions made. Minor changes discussed

  • the 1640 31B from town going around the hill down to Howth Dart Station to facilitate students getting home from Sutton Park.
  • 31B service on Saturday evenings (currently the last bus from the Summit is at 1740.
  • linking the 31C timetables to the Dart timetables.
  • running the 31 via Offington and Greenfield Rd. to bring it closer to people living in Strand Rd. and uphill from it.

Major changes discussed

  • A dedicated bus around the peninsula linking in to the Dart
    through the day, especially when it’s most needed in the morning and
    evening rush hours
  • Extending the 17A which current runs from Finglas to Howth
    Junction to run through Sutton Cross and around the hill to
    Howth.  This would provide a bus link to both Howth Dart station
    and to Howth Junction (which has more trains). It would also facilitate
    access without a change from Howth/Sutton to Coolock, Santry, Ballymun,
    and Finglas, getting you within walking distance of Beaumont Hospital
    and DCU, as well as enabling interchange with most Northside bus routes
    without going into the city centre.  Conversely it would give
    access to the natural amenities of the Hill of Howth to a large section
    of the population of Dublin.  The 17A is run by a different garage
    (Harristown) to the 31( Clontarf) sowill have to be discussed within Dublin Bus.

Additionally, it was pointed out to Dublin Bus that Fingal County
Council has been putting some money into the local bus service in
Balbriggan and if (a real if) there is parking revenue in Howth some
could be used to fund improvements in bus services.  

Also, Dublin Bus expressed concern about their inability to use the bus
space in front of Howth Dart Station.  It was pointed out that
this is marked bus space and parking should be enforced at this
location.  Having used this as one of the reasons to stop the 31B
at the Summit, they are now using the Dart Station as a terminus for
the 31C.  A number of people locally, including myself, want to
see the area in front of the station as an open, welcoming plaza,
rather than an obstacle course for pedestrians accessing the station
and hopefully this can be included in Fingal’s traffic management

Unfortunately, I have noticed since the meeting that they are parking
the 31C on the road outside the Dart Station, where it blocks road
users view of both the traffic lights and of pedestrians starting to
cross the  road.  I had already raised the danger of bus
stops being located like this (the stop at Howth Library is the same)
with the Transport Department who agreed it wasn’t safe.  Using
this stop as a terminus rather than a stop is much worse and I will
raise it with Dubliin Bus directly.

Dublin Bus is examining these options and will respond.

New/altered roads and paths between Baldoyle and Portmarnock

Over the last few months, I have submitted motions to the area
committee looking for an overview of the new roads in the
Baldoyle/Portmarnock area.  What is clear is that there is no coherent
overall plan, although there are proposals in people’s heads.  (I have
made notes of a meeting I had with officials from Planning and
Transport – very much my own point of view rather than minutes of the
meeting.)  There are some serious issues here and my priority is
improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Notes in relation to road network in Baldoyle/Portmarnock Area,
partly from meeting of 23rd November 2005  (Cllr. David Healy, Bob
Biddlecombe and Pauline Riordan, Planning, John McCarthy, Deirdre
Sinclair and Peter Caulfield, Transport)

1)    relevant documents
a)    Plans
i)    County Development Plan
ii)    Baldoyle action area plan
iii)    masterplan
iv)    draft Local Area Plan for Portmarnock end (being redrafted)

b)    Permissions
i)    phase 1 F02A/0921
ii)    phase 2 F03A/1162
iii)    grange rd F02A/1525
iv)    grange rd 2 F03A/1529
v)    Forth-coming phase 3 application being discussed with planning

c)    Other relevant documents

i)    Dublin North Fringe Transportation Framework Study” October 2000
ii)    “Extension to Dublin North Fringe Transportation Framework Study” October 2003, Atkins
iii)    Dublin North Fringe Transportation Study, 2005, SIAS Ltd.

I have had difficulty getting copies of these last 3 documents.

2)    Issues discussed
a)    Design of roads in development with particular regard to cyclists and pedestrians
b)    Junction of Coast road and road through park to Stapolin
c)    Coastal footpath/cycle path
d)    Moyne Road
e)    pedestrian/cyclist route along east of railway
f)    compliance submissions relating to new station.

3)    Two further issues arising subsequent to the meeting
a)    30km/hr speed limit for entire new area
b)    Parking control in new area

Design of roads in development with particular regard to cyclists and pedestrians

Concerns in relation to segregated route shown from Grange Rd. into
development, need for clarity as to priorities and detailed design in
permitted development, consideration of sightlines and desirability of

John emphasised that he would rather see no special provision than bad
provision.  Planning is waiting for Transport’s input to
compliance submissions.

Junction of Coast Road and new road through park to Stapolin

This is already built although no compliance submission was approved,
which seems to be a breach of F03A/1529   Question of
usability of design for pedestrians and also intention of design for
cyclists. To be looked at by Transport initially and Planning.

Moyne Road

No fixed plans for this but various things under consideration. 
Potentially very expensive to alter railway bridge.  Attracting
traffic to use the coastal route is not desired.  Transport to
come back with further info.

My thoughts subsequent to the meeting:  The road needs to be made
safer for pedestrians in particular and also cyclists.  One
possible solution for the stretch which will not be seeing any frontage
development itself, i.e. Coast Road to Hole in the Wall Road might be
an off-road cycletrack beside a footpath, with little or no significant
change to the existing carriageway.  This would also need to be
examined at the bridge.

 Coastal footpath/cycle path

This was discussed with Parks Department at November Malahide/Howth
Area Cttee. and is to come up again at the December meeting. Issues

•    Biodiversity considerations.
•    Movement of carriageway inland to allow coastal walkway/cycleway
•    Costs
•    Availability of development levies

Peter to identify constraints and costs re coastal cycle track.

Pedestrian/cyclist route along east of railway

Bob identified a route along the railway from Portmarnock station to
the new station to Grange Road, meeting the existing right of way from
Grange Rd. to Howth Junction as potentially of great use to pedestrians
and cyclists.  To be considered for inclusion in Portmarnock LAP,
park plans and future planning applications.  (Note – although I
didn’t mention it at the time, this could involve stairs to give access
to Grange Rd, possibly as well as a ramp going eastwards.  Also
whether there is room under the bridge to continue the route at grade
should be investigated.)

Compliance submissions relating to new station.

It was noted that it is intended to redesign aspects of the new station
by way of compliance submission and emphasised that the interests of
pedestrians and cyclists must be looked out for when any such proposals
come in.

(2 new issues follow.)

30km/hr speed limit for entire new area

This would seem to be appropriate in a high-density residential area
designed to be a walkable community.  It would also facilitate
more walkable design standards being applied at this stage.  I
would suggest this should be progressed straight away.

Parking control in new area

Given the provision of off-street car parking for all residents and the
presence of a major potential trip attractor, i.e. the new train
station, it would seem wise to control on-street parking from the
start. I would be interested in Transport’s views on this.

Councillors agree to remove pumping house from Moyclare Green

At the Area Committe Meeting on 1st December, Councillors agreed to the following motion

“That the pumphouse on the green in Moyclare be either moved
underground or incorporated in or near the new housing development so
that it is no longer an eyesore”.  Additionally, we suggested that
the work be done as part of the contract for the new houses in

This arises in part from a commitment given to the Moyclare Residents’ Association by Housing Department officials in September.

The Water Services Department will report back within a month in relation to the various options for where it will be moved to.
Thursday, 1st December, 2005



Motion:    Councillor D. Healy
“That the pumphouse on the green in Moyclare be either moved
underground or incorporated in or near the new housing development so
that it is no longer an eyesore”


The pumps and sump at this pump station are located underground. 
The control equipment is located directly above the pumps and sump and
housed in an above ground structure at the corner of the green in
Moyclare.  Given the nature of the control equipment it must be
kept above ground because of the risk of water entering any underground
chamber housing this control equipment.  An option would be to
design/construct a smaller control box, possibly located across the
road, remote, from the existing pump station, and demolish the existing
structure.  Water Services Department are currently investigating
the overall feasibility and the costs associated with this proposal.

    Factors under consideration/investigation include:

•    Safety of the public (particularly children) on the
green, when Water Services staff carry out maintenance/repair work on
the underground pumps and sump.  Currently work is “hidden” and
protected inside the pump station above ground structure.

•    Finding a suitable location for a relocated control box, remote from the pump station.
•    Cost of proposal.