Monthly Archives: July 2006

Comments on road proposal in Dublin 15

I have commented on a road proposal in Dublin 15 because of the proposed use of multiple roundabouts which severely impact on the safety of pedestrians, (especially the mobility impaired and visually impaired) cyclists and motorcyclists.

Councillor David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Dublin North East
01 8324087
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair
54, Evora Park, Howth

20th July 2006

Mr James V Cleary, BE CEng MIEI,
Senior Engineer,
Transportation Dept.,
Fingal County Council,
Grove Road,
Dublin 15

By email:

Re: Tyrrelstown to N2 Link Road

James, a chara,

Unfortunately, only a poor copy of a leaflet is on the Council’s website and I have not had an opportunity to visit Swords or Blanchardstown to look at whatever is on display there.

My concerns in relation to the proposed road design as shown have to do with the provision of roundabout junctions.  This road serves a residential area and  ST1 zoned employment areas.  Roundabouts provide a significant hazard to pedestrians and act a major barriers to pedestrian movement. This is already widely visible in Dublin 15.  The lack of any control of traffic at roundabouts leaves pedestrians trying to guess where traffic circulating on a roundabout is going and running across between what they hope are gaps in the traffic.  Crossing the side of the carriageway coming onto the roundabout the pedestrians have to cope with traffic which will be either decelerating or accelerating and will often have to weave between stationary cars and trucks. Where there are two lanes of traffic coming onto the roundabout this is particularly dangerous as the drivers are looking at traffic on the roundabout and not at pedestrians approaching from the sides.

This impact is particularly severe for mobility impaired pedestrians, those with buggies and small children etc.  Access for visually impaired pedestrians is pretty much completely blocked.

Roundabouts also pose significant risks to cyclists.  This is widely recognised and documented.  The difficulties arise from the varied speeds between cyclists and motor vehicles using the roundabout.  One response to this is often to provide for cyclists to cross the roundabout effectively as pedestrians. This leads to the same conflicts as pedestrians experience and considerable delays to cyclists in getting through the junction.  Additionally, cyclists often do not use this facility and remain on the carriageway.

Roundabouts also cause increased accident risk for motorcyclists.  They cannot legally use any off-carriageway cycle facility which may be provided.

In addition, roundabouts require a substantially increased land take and have a major negative impact on the urban design potential of the area.

Junctions controlled by traffic lights would be better in every respect.

In carrying out consultation in relation to this road scheme direct contact should be made with organisations representing the visually impaired, mobility impaired, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

I attach two information sheets from the Galway Cycling Campaign which are highly relevant.

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy

Information sheets from and

Comments on Balgriffin/Belcamp/Clonshaugh road proposals

I have commented on the new road proposals in the Balgriffin/Belcamp/Clonshaugh areas.  The core of my comment is that a study should be done on all transport modes not just road proposals.

I believe there is an excellent case for a light rail link through this area from the new Dart Station to be built at Stapolin across to join the Metro south of Dublin Airport.

I am concerned that this work was put out to consultants without the terms of reference being agreed by the Councillors.  (If we had been involved I believe that a wider study would have been required.)  I will be putting down a motion at the September Council meeting to require that all terms of reference are agreed by Councilors.

Councillor David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Dublin North East
01 8324087
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair
54, Evora Park, Howth

Ms. Ursula O’Sullivan,
Atkins Consulting Engineers,
Atkins House,
150 – 155 Airside Business Park,
County Dublin

By email to

Re: Comments on display of potential roads in Balgriffin, Belcamp and Clonshaugh areas

A chairde,

Objectives of the Study

The leaflet includes the following

“The prime objectives of the Study are:

• To identify feasible route options for the new routes to provide an integrated transport network to cater for new development and to have minimal impact on the built, human and natural environment of the area and;

• To select the emerging preferred routes on the basis of environmental, traffic and cost criteria.

The new routes are proposed as the Transportation Framework necessary to accommodate extensive urban development in the North Fringe Area. It is envisaged that some 17,000 residential units will be developed within the North Fringe Area to provide for an approximate population increase of 42,000 residents.

There are a number of worrying features of this.  

Firstly it is shocking that with the massive development in the area, it is only at this stage that the transport issues are being considered.

Secondly it is striking that reference is made to an “integrated transport network” and a “Transportation Framework” when what is being studied is a road network and a road transport framework.  I would have thought that the mistakes of mono-modal transport planning had been learnt by now.

Thirdly, the study is being done with no reference to the urban design implications for the new residential areas.  The results are obvious and if allowed to proceed would be disastrous:  in the middle of an area zoned for housing two flyover junctions are proposed to be constructed.

Rationale behind the design – provide for increased traffic

The specific rationale for the design is not given in the public consultation.  This is unfortunate, as it leaves many people speculating as to the intentions behind the design.  
However, from discussions I have had with both local authority engineers and consultants, it appears that the reasoning behind the proposed roads, aside from the obvious of giving access to zoned land, is as follows:

•    To provide a duplicate route to the M50 to reduce congestion on the motorway
•    To facilitate car traffic going from the new residential areas onto the M50, or the new parallel route to access the Airport, Blanchardstown etc.

This is very worrying.  The policy of facilitating increases in car traffic has already been abandoned in the existing urban area of Dublin city for some years now.  Yet the same mistakes are to be repeated in a new high-density suburban area.  The entire justification for new high-density suburbs has been that they will support good public transport networks. Yet in planning the transport infrastructure for the area, the area’s obvious potential for light rail is not even being considered.

Instead a predict and provide exercise is being carried out.

If built, this route would facilitate further increases in traffic in the “edge city” pattern.  It would represent a massive further investment in motor traffic in the area.  The reality of course is that the road network in the existing urban area immediately to the south cannot cope with increases in traffic and will become further congested, with negative impacts on both bus and car traffic.

Multi-modal integrated study should be carried out.

We suggest the current study be dropped in favour of a multi-modal transportation study, obtaining the necessary expertise to carry out an effective analysis of the rail options for this area.  We suggest that the east-west route could be used for a surface metro/light rail.  

This route would go along the proposed new distributor road to join up with the Metro North and Metro West proposals.  It would start from the new Dart Station at Stapolin (Baldoyle), with stops at Hole in the Wall Road, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Clonshaugh and joining the Metro north alignment south of the Airport.  

Trams/metro trains could share the Metro North alignment until Ballymun and then either
a)    continue on the Metro West route,  with interchage to the Metro North Route, or
b)    travel south on the Metro North alignment into the city centre, with interchange to the Metro West Route.

Note that this integration with Metro North means it will be possible to build and operate the route together with the Metro North route.  

The link across the M1 motorway should be available only to public transport, bicycles and pedestrians.  The motorway is already available to facilitate private cars.  Facilitating long-distance east-west traffic on this east-west distributor road will ruin the possibilities of creating a decent residential area around it.

The diversion of the Malahide Road has been explained as primarily to facilitate the east-west traffic predicted. Instead of providing for this traffic by road, we should provide public transport links in the area.  This element should be dropped.

Because of the severe implications of these road proposals for plannng and urban design in the areas, I am copying these comments to the relevant planning officials as well.

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy


Greenpeace video on decentralised energy

This link is the best way of explaining what I and my Green colleagues are trying to do in Fingal, in particular through the Energy Action on the Fingal Development Board:

Submission to An Bord Pleanála on houses at Abbey St./Church St.

I have made a submission supporting the appeals against this development.

Councillor David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Dublin North East
01 8324087
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair
54, Evora Park, Howth

Re: Fingal County Council Reg. Reg 1684, junction of Abbey Street and Church Street, Howth

A chairde,

I refer to the appeals by Dougal Cousins and Deirdre I Lacy in relation to this application and wish to make the following submission.  I enclose the fee of €50.

I support the grounds of those appeals.

I refer the Board to it’s welcome previous decision in relation to this site PL06F.211025.  

Since then, there Conservation Research Officer has done considerable work in relation to the Statement of Character for the Howth Architectural Conservation Area. It may be useful to An Bord Pleanála to have direct access to that research itself.

The corner building which is a well-known and loved Howth landmark should not only be retained, but should also remain the dominant part of the complex of buildings as one approaches the junction from the south.

Church Street is in many respects a street of even greater architectural character than Abbey Street.  The proposal to have a blank wall facing onto this important street is unacceptable.  The street frontage to Church Street should be of terraced buildings. Given the variations in road level etc. and the need to keep the corner building as the dominant building, the height of these buildings to the street will have to be limited.  However, to the inside they could be higher given the slope.

The proposal to provide perpendicular car parking spaces at ground level on the other side of Church St., across the footpath, is an attack on the urban character of Church St.   Howth is a historic area dating from well before the era of the automobile.  An inherent part of its character, held dear by the people of Howth, is it’s pedestrian-oriented scale and it’s walkability.  To provide car-parking in this manner, on the inside of the footpath breaks the visual division between carriageway and footpath and represents an encroachment onto what should rightly be the building line, or in the alternative a garden area.

The inclusion of a gated car park access on Abbey Street undermines the amenity value of the street.  

Fingal County Council and the Department of the Marine maintain public car parks for hundreds of cars on the Harbour Road, at the East Pier, and on the West Pier, which are available for residents of Howth who do not have their own off-street parking spaces.

Almost all the adjoining houses are without car parking  .It would not be in any way exceptional in most countries to provide that houses in an architectural conservation area should be built without car parking in keeping with their neighbours.  The same should apply here. This is especially the case given that this site is well served by public transport.

The width of the footpath on Abbey Street is inadequate and dangerous.  It should be widened at this location either, ideally, by narrowing the carriageway or by setback of any new buildings being provided.

Given that a number of the issues raised above and in the appeals could not be addressed by way of conditions,  I urge you to refuse the application.

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy

Objection to lack of disabled access at Howth Junction bears fruit

My objection to the blocking of access from the Dart Station to the Fás Training Centre and Baldoyle Industrial Estate has been taken on board by Dublin City Council
When Iarnród Éireann applied for retention of work at Howth Junction Station, I objected on the basis of lack of access for mobility impaired passengers to Fás and the Industrial Estate.

Today Dublin City Council sent me a copy of their decision, the first condition of which is that there must be mobility impaired access on all accesses/egresses and throughout the site!

Castlerosse to be cut off, Admiral Park open space to be fenced off from Admiral Park

The issue of the access between Castlerosse and Admiral Park and to new
Millennium Park and pitches came up at Monday’s Council meeting.

residents will know, I leafleted the area setting out the facts and
considerations some months ago, including the details of the planning
permission applicable in the area.  I avoided giving my personal view
because I didn’t want to make any commitment before having a chance to
hear all of the arguments and issues.  However, while distributing
those leaflets I spoke to some girls (aged about 9 to 12) who were
climbing the wall to get back to Castlerosse where they lived.  My mind
was pretty much made up by that conversation.  The submissions received
effectively confirmed my decision.

The three options put on display were as follows:

Option 1 was to integrate the open space and provide a planted pedestrian access from Grange Road through the open space to the new park and pitches which are going on the open land between Baldoyle and Portmarnock.

Option 2 was to provide the access through the open space but with railings on both sides, dividing it from Castlerosse and from Admiral Park.  This would involve most of what has up to now been the Admiral Park open space being fenced off from Admiral Park.

Option 3 was to maintain and strengthen existing boundaries.  Castlerosse would be permanently divided from Admiral Park and there would be no access from Baldoyle to the new park and pitches.

I put the consultation information on this site here.

45 submissions were received:

24 were from Admiral Park.  Of these 22 wanted the current situation with the fence reinforced (Option 3) and 2 recommended the fenced off access to the park which means Admiral Park losing most of its open space(Option 2).

8 were from Castlerosse.  Of these 6 (from 4 houses) wanted the area to be opened (Option 1) and  2 (from 1 house) wanted it closed (Option 3).

13 were from further out in Baldoyle (this includes two received by email without postal addresses which could have been in Castlerosse or Admiral park.  11 of these favoured Option 1, opening the area out and 2 went for Option 2.  The two which recommended Option 2 did so mostly because they thought local residents wanted to be fenced off and didn’t want to go against them.

The discussion in the Council was quite heated. It’s online starting at around 3.25.  In the end Option 2 was agreed by a majority of 11 to 5.  The Socialist Party and Fine Gael provided the main arguments in favour of this.

Option 2 had the lowest level of public support.  As I mentioned above, it involves Admiral Park losing most of it’s open space.  The majority appear to have decided for it  on the basis that this is what the Councillors voting for it thought the local residents would want.

My decision to support Option 1 was based on my concern for the importance of walkable neighbourhoods.  Such neighbourhoods lead to better community spirit, less car use and healthier more relaxed lives.  There is a signficant body of evidence on this now.  For example here and here.

Interestingly our professional advisors from the Parks and Planning Departments of the Council, had no advice for the Councillors on the importance of providing pedestrian access to residential areas, despite it being part of the Development Plan.

A majority of the Councillors voted in favour of blocking pedestrian
access to Castlerosse and in favour of fencing off most of the Admiral
Park open space in order to create a fenced access to the new
Millennium Park and pitches.

I honestly find it all
depressing and quite hard to understand.  If they had a deliberate
policy of trying to prevent people, from walking they couldn’t do much

Ireland follows the American model yet again; watch our lifestyle diseases rise along with theirs.

Health Impacts of the Built Environment

Yesterday I attended the launch of a report by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland on Health Impacts of the Built Environment.  The launch included a presentation by Richard Jackson, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.  The main lesson I took from it for application to my work as a councillor is the importance of walkable neighbourhoods for health.  Creating car-dependent communities has a severe impact on public health.  Medical treatment (at great cost, whether public or private) will not undo this impact.  We as councillors have a particular responsibility to ensure that  our communities are walkable.

These considerations unfortunately did not influence the Council’s decision later on in yesterday in relation to access in Baldoyle.
The review is at

Richard Jackson’s presentation should be going up on very soon.

Notes from Special Amenity Area Order Management Committee

The Special Amenity Area Order Management Committee met on 5th July. The following are my incomplete notes from the meeting.
Notes from SAAO meeting 5th July 2006

Poor organisation of the meeting
1.    notice to new members?
2.    minute-taker
3.    dates to members of future meetings
4.    confirm agenda with cathaoirleach
5.    notify library of meetings

I will be raising the above matters with the Corporate Services and Planning Departments of the Council.  I will also be seeking to have the minutes of the Committee put on the Council’s website.

The landowner has indicated that he will clear Shielmartin path if Fingal ask him.  The meeting agreed to check with insurance in council and write if they agree.

The question of insurance came up again and will be adressed in detail at the next SAAO Management Committee meeting.  It was agreed to ask the insurance official from the Council to attend next SAAO meeting and address following questions:

Questions to be addressed re insurance
1.    What is the legal basis for liability, if any, arising from us putting up signs showing existing rights of way?
2.    What is the legal basis for liability, if any, if the Council maintains rights of way?
3.    What is the legal basis for liability, if any, if the Council ask landowners to maintain rights of way?
4.    What are the issues relating to disclaimers and warnings?
5.    What is the Council’s claims record in relation to rights of way in Howth and rights of way generally?
6.    What would the insurance cover cost from a commercial company?  
7.    Can we allocate some money from parking fees etc. to cover the insurance cost whether internally or externally?

Maintenance of rights of way to be discussed at next meeting, to include
1.    Set up maintenance fund?
2.    Volunteers doing maintenance?

Report in relation to St. Fintan’s Well
National Monuments met with Conservation officer, NM not concerned about well drying up.  Transport and water services met in relation to these issues.  James Walls didn’t find any answer.  Gerry Clabby to talk to hydrologist.

Middle Mountain
ABP purporting to move right of way – i.e. extinguish existing and create new:
a)    Extinguishment is a reserved function of the Council
b)    designated right of way in the SAAO – can only be varied by the Minister.

Designation of rights of way in development plan
Proposal to use Howth as first and pilot area for showing rights of way in the development plan, implementing GB02.  Agreed to recommend to Corporate Policy Group.

The Biodiversity Officer and a sub-committee will look at signage issues and draw up proposals for a scheme of signage of the rights-of-way.

Enforcement Issues
Right of way beside Sutton Castle
Entrance to Corr Castle – gate should be open

Strand Road car park
Recommended against it

Planning applications
Query – terms of reference of SAAO committee in looking at implementation of SAAO Order in relation to planning applications etc.

Strand Road Car Park proposal turned down

The proposed  car park on Strand Road Sutton has been turned down by the elected Council.
I reported at  that the proposal was going on public display and that I didn’t agree with it.  Local residents have also expressed their disagreement and as a result, the Special Amenity Area Order Management Committee (meeting on 5th July) recommended against the proposal and the full Council (meeting on 10th July) agreed to reject it.  Instead, the Council to simply mark the few existing spaces outside the field at the corner on Strand Road.  The estimated €50,000 remains in the kitty for the Special Amenity Area Order and I will be pressing to have it spent on signage and maintenance of rights of way.