Monthly Archives: April 2007

Response to Village magazine questionnaire

The Village Magazine has asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire. Lots of questionnaires come to candidates; this is one of the better ones so far.  My reply is below.
(Questions in bold)

Name                          :David Healy
Address                      : 54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair, Co. Bh.Á.C.
Date of birth  : 29 December 1968   
Constituency  : Dublin North East
Party                           : Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas
Occupation                 : County Councillor/Environmental researcher     
Previous occupation: Environmental consultant
Financial interests     : none

Income (aside from income derived from political office):

x    Less than €20,000
    Between €20,000 – €30,000
    Between €40,000 – €50,000
    Between €50,000 – €60,000
    Between €60,000 – €80,000
    Between €80,000 – €100,000
    Between €100,000 – €120,000
    Between €120,000 – €140,000
    Between €140,000 – €160,000
    Between €160,000 – €180,000
    Between €180,000 – €200,000
    Over €200,000

Approximate net worth of capital assets aside from family residence):
Not even a family residence.

Information on political career to date:
I have been a member of the Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas for 20 years.  I have a degree in Law and a M.Sc. in Environmental Science and have worked with environmental organisations and in research.

I was elected to Dublin County Council in 1991. In Dublin County Council I was one of the leading opponents of the corrupt rezonings in 1993 currently being investigated by the Mahon Tribunal, and proposed the motion which defeated Frank Dunlop’s attempt to rezone Baldoyle Green Belt.  I took a legal action against the Council in relation to a planning decision adjacent to the historic St. Mary’s Abbey in Howth.  I worked on the campaign in the 1990s for a Special Amenity Area Order for Howth.  

Between 1999 and 2004 I worked as a consultant for environmental and community groups around the country on planning and environmental protection cases.  I also was and am still active in environmental organisations in particular Feasta the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability ( and Friends of the Irish Environment (  

I was re-elected to Fingal County Council in 2004.  On the Council I have spearheaded the introduction of housing energy standards in Local Area Plans in Fingal County Council which mean that new houses being built will use 60% less heating energy than houses in the rest of the Country .  Additionally, at least 30% of that energy will come from renewable energy.  

I have personally taken successful planning appeals against decisions by Fingal County Council.  I have been particularly active in the areas of planning, playgrounds, parks, energy, public transport, walking, cycling, rights-of-way.  Detailed information on my work as a Councillor is on my website

Personal election manifesto:

Why should voters in your constituency vote for you rather than for other candidates, including candidates representing the political party which you represent?

I pledge to work for
•    Quality of life
•    Equality and human rights
•    Global justice
•    An ecologically sound economy
•    A caring and responsible society

I pledge to achieve these goals through
•    Long-term thinking
•    Participative politics
•    Transparent decision-making
•    Accountability

I am running on the basis of this pledge and my record as a Councillor in Fingal County Council.  

I have shown with the energy standards that I can take the initiative and cooperate with others to bring about significant policy change, even as one of only 3 Greens in a Council of 24.  

I have demonstrated that I am willing and able to put in the work to get to grips with complex issues, listen to all points of view and bring effective solutions forward.  

I am eager to continue to work with community organisations and non-governmental organisations.  

I take the responsibility of a democratic mandate as a solemn trust which I bear and I will continue to maintains an active and informative website so that I am accountable for what I do.

What do you consider to be the main election issues in your constituency?

  • • Health services based on need not ability to pay
  • • Frequent, integrated public transport
  • • Safe and pleasant streets for social interaction, for children, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • • Creating and protecting pleasant livable communities
  • • Effective and accountable local government
  • • Planning that meets the needs of communities, not developer-led planning.
  • • Climate change including the local impacts of sea-level rise, coastal flooding and erosion.
  • • Transition to a low-energy, renewable energy economy
  • • Effective and accountable policing
  • • Quality Playgrounds, Youth facilities and Community facilities
  • • Protection of the coast and Howth Peninsula and public access to same
  • • Smaller class sizes

Were do you stand in relation to these constituency issues?

For more details, see the Green election manifesto and my website .

How much money do you expect to spend in the election campaign?

about €10,000

What will be the sources of this finance?

Local group fundraising and personal savings.

Towards a Sustainable Transport System

This is a paper I wrote with Richard Douthwaite of Feasta and Kevin Leyden of West Virginia University for Comhar‘s conference on Sustainability in the National Development Plan.  It is now online here.

The introduction is below.


A transport system can be regarded as sustainable only if it is possible to imagine it being continued
unchanged for several hundred years because it is not damaging society or the environment and is not
dependent on a non-renewable, depleting resource to run. However, as this report shows, the Irish
transport system has developed over the past few years in a way which has made it less sustainable by
becoming, on a per capita basis, more heavily dependent on one increasingly scarce non-renewable
resource – oil – than perhaps any other system in Europe. This dependency has arisen largely because
of the recent under-priced, uncontrolled growth in the use of the private car. Many of the houses,
shopping centres and industrial estates built recently will turn out to be very badly located if cars become
too costly to use on anything like the present scale as a result of the increased cost of oil, whether the
increase is a result of resource depletion or measures to protect the global climate.

This report begins by looking at the increased use of the Irish transport system in recent years and the
extent to which the increases were necessitated by the country’s economic growth. It shows that the
increase in freight transport was largely unavoidable given the growth path followed but, if the pattern
adopted in other EU countries had been followed, more of it could have been carried by rail. In Ireland,
unlike most EU states, rail freight tonnage has declined in the past ten years.

However, where the country went more seriously wrong was in keeping the cost of driving a mile in a
private car very low, with the result that demand for car use was higher than it would have been if the
same tax burden had been imposed on motorists in a different way. Specifically, Ireland made the cost
of owning a car high, but the cost of using one low, too low to cover the externalities imposed by a
vehicle’s use on the rest of the population, Removing this subsidy would have encouraged people to pay
more attention to minimising the distance they travel to work and to lower energy transport modes. As
aviation has also been subsidised by allowing it untaxed fuel and by the state paying a large proportion
of the cost of flights from Dublin to regional airports, overall, the historically low cost of energy and the
subsidies have encouraged people to use highly energy intensive transport modes and for less energy
intensive ones to grow more slowly or to decline.

The report discusses the far-reaching environmental and social effects of allowing these changes to
happen. It then turns to look at the policies and techniques that are available to rectify the situation.

Polasaí teangan do fograí

Tá mé ag iarraidh polasaí a chur i bhfeidhm chun cinntiú go mbeadh Gaeilge ar comharthaí an chomhairle conntae ar bonn cothrom leis an Béarla.   Beidh an rún seo ar an clár don cruinniú míosúil ar 14 Bealtaine.  Thainig an téacs ó dréacht ríalacháin a d’fhoilsigh an t-Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta i 2006 ach nach bhfuil curtha i bhfeidhm go fóill.
That the Council adopt the following signage policy to apply to all new or replacement signs commissioned from 1st June 2007 onwards:

(1) Any sign placed by Fingal County Council at any location shall be in the Irish language or in the Irish and English languages.

(2)       Where the Council is of the opinion that, by reason of its containing text in both such languages the sign–

(a)       would be unduly big,
(b)       would be difficult to read,
(c)        could cause an obstruction, or
(d)       persons would, while reading it ,cause a danger to themselves or others (in the case of a proposal to place a sign at the side of or near a road),
the Council  may, instead, place 2 signs at that location, one containing the text concerned in the Irish language and the other containing the text concerned in the English language.

(3)       Where the Council proposes to erect not less than 20 identical signs, the Council may place –

(a)       signs in the Irish language,
(b)    signs in the Irish and English languages,
(c)        2 signs, one in the Irish language and one in the English language in each location.

(4)       Notwithstanding the generality above, a public body may erect signs that are in compliance with the International System of Units as adopted by the Bureau Internationale des poids et mesures, established by the Metre Convention signed at Paris in 1875.

(5)       The following provisions shall apply to a sign in the Irish and English languages placed by the Council:

(a)       the text in the Irish language shall appear first,
(b)       the text in the Irish language shall not be less prominent, visible or legible than the text in the English language,
(c)        the lettering of the text in the Irish language shall not be smaller in size than the lettering of the text in the English language,
(d)       the text in the Irish language shall communicate the same information as is communicated by the text in the English language, and
(e)       a word in the text in the Irish language shall not be abbreviated unless the word in the text in the English language, of which it is the translation, is also abbreviated.

(Note: Based on draft regulations published by the Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.)


Green Party’s Dublin Bay Bill

{mosimage}Revitalisation of Dublin Bay should include Sutton-to-Sandycove cycleway and more water amenities

The Green Party has promised to revitalise Dublin Bay in an Oireachtas
bill that will soon go before the Dáil. The Party has proposed to
create a new authority to manage and protect the Bay and ensure that
Dubliners and tourists alike can benefit fully from the valuable
resource, which spans from Howth head to Dalkey island.

Launching the bill in Dún Laoghaire today, Green Party Environment spokesperson Ciarán Cuffe TD said: "Dublin Bay is a fantastic resource that has come under increasing development pressure in recent years. It is vital for us to ensure that future development is properly planned, and that water-related sports and leisure facilities are developed and provided for. Although Dublin Bay is getting cleaner, no one authority is in charge of what’s happening. The baths around the bay have been ignored and now lie derelict, and decisions on their future are being left to developers. We need vision, and that’s why we are proposing to create an authority empowered to conceive a master-plan for the conservation as well as the sustainable development of this valuable resource. We would task the authority to create a coastal zone management plan to ensure that flora and fauna are protected.

Green Party Dublin North East candidate Cllr David Healy said: "The authority will ensure that the Sutton to Sandycove cycleway is fast-tracked, in consulatation with local residents, and designed to the highest standards. Already the sections of the route which are in better condition are thronged on weekends and evenings. Ensuring quality design standards all along the route will open this linear park up the city and further stimulate the growing demand for active transport. People will walk or cycle much further and much more often in a pleasant environment.  In our overly sedentary society, the Sutton to Sandycove cycleway will significantly contribute to improving the health of Dublin’s citizens."

Green Party Dublin-North Central candidate Cllr Bronwen Maher said: "The Authority would also look at re-opening the sea water baths around the bay. The Clontarf Baths for example could become a major feature along the cycleway.  Sea-water swimming is an extremely popular activity all year round and these baths would be a great addition to Dublin. Dollymount Strand and Bull Island need a fresh approach too, and we are proposing that cars be removed from the beach. The number of cars on the beach in summer is now a safety issue. Last week-end’s ‘boy racer’ epidemic, which continued throughout the Easter bank holiday, shows that we cannot allow indiscriminate usage by cars any longer. As part of this plan we would also implement increased public transport between Clontarf DART station, the baths and onto Dollymount Strand via the causeway."

Green Party Dublin Central candidate Patricia McKenna said: "We must develop the south docks and Poolbeg peninsula as high amenity residential areas as the first phase of Dublin Port’s eventual removal from the city centre. The docklands area has huge potential to be developed for sustainable, family-friendly accommodation which will provide good quality homes for many generations of Dubliners. The Green Party also sees the Dublin Port Company’s application to infill a further 52 acres in the Bay as unnecessary and inadvisable. The port area has expanded enough and we must ensure that any development in the Port and along the Bay must take into consideration environmental, amenity and community interests, as well as commercial usage."

Green Party Chairman and Dublin-South East candidate John Gormley TD said: "We want to ensure that proposals for high-rise development aren’t treated in a piecemeal fashion, and that there is better co-ordination between councils in Fingal, Dublin City and Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown, as well as the various agencies that control both the shoreline and the bay. We also need to end the discharge of raw sewage into the Bay, while resolving the capacity and odour problems at the Ringsend plant."

The Party set out the following points to come under the remit of a new Dublin Bay Authority. These include:

  • Regenerating the public baths around the Bay such as Dún Laoghaire, Blackrock and Clontarf
  • Fast-tracking the proposed Sutton to Sandycove cycleway, which has been stuck at planning stage for nearly five years
  • Providing greater access to the water for anglers, swimmers and boat users
  • Protecting low-lying coastal areas from the risks of flooding due to climate change or natural events
  • Developing the south docks and Poolpeg peninsula as high amenity residential areas as the first phase of Dublin Port’s eventual removal from the city centre
  • Creation of a Marine Park initially in the area between Sandycove and the East Pier in Dún Laoghaire
  • Extending the Luas into Poolbeg Peninsula
  • Utilising the heated water from the Poolbeg power plants to provide district heating for apartments along the Liffey
  • Ending the discharge of raw sewage into the Bay from the small number of remaining outlets while also resolving the capacity and odour problems at the Ringsend Plant
  • Phasing out the parking of cars on the beaches of Bull Island


Proposed Seagrange Park Playground

{mosimage}Following the successful provision of a playground in Howth last year and the agreement to provide another playground at Bayside Park, the local Area Committee has agreed to put a proposal for a playground at Seagrange Park on public display.  The location is at the north end of the park near Ss. Peter and Paul’s School.  The formal consultation notice is below.


As part of the 3 year Capital programme the County Council intends to provide playgrounds in each electoral area of the County in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The proposed playground will be approximately 400 square metres in area   (20m x 20m) and will be equipped with play equipment suitable for children under 8 years of age only. Playground equipment will normally be of all metal construction. The playground boundary will be secured with a railing 1.35 to 1.5 metres high. The area will be surfaced in tarmac with safer surface (rubber tile, rubber wet pour, loose rubber or wood fibre) provided within the critical fall areas.

The playground is intended to serve the needs of children living locally and should not be seen as a regional facility.  Though there may be visitors from other estates when the playground opens, over the life of the programme additional playgrounds will be provided so that children will not have to travel long distances to avail of Council provided play facilities.

Fingal County Council will seek, by public tender, qualified contractors to design and construct the playgrounds including all surfacing, boundary treatment and play equipment. The provision of each playground will cost approximately €125,000. The playground will be maintained by Fingal County Council. Local community groups will be invited to assist in the inspection, supervision and maintenance of the facilities.

The attached drawing shows the location where it is proposed to provide a playground in Seagrange Estate, Baldoyle, Dublin 13.

Submissions and Observations with respect to the proposed development dealing with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area in which the development would be situated, may be made in writing to:

Ms Siobhán Mulvey
Staff Officer
Parks Division
Fingal County Council
County Hall, Swords
Fingal, Co Dublin

Submissions may also be made via e-mail to

On or before Monday 30th April 2007 at 4.00 pm

I oppose the proposal to refuse allotments to Dublin City residents

Green Party Candidate for Dublin North-East Cllr David Healy has
condemned the proposal by Councillors on Fingal County Council to
refuse allotments in the Fingal area to people not resident within
Fingal’s boundaries.  
Cllr Healy said: "Last year the council unanimously agreed to my motion to reopen the waiting lists and provide more allotments. Numbers on the waiting list have continued to increase since then to over 300. This is despite Fingal County Council not publicising the allotments.  

"Unfortunately, some of the councillors seem to feel that the solution to long waiting lists is to disqualify people from the list. At yesterday’s meeting they proposed to ban Dublin City area residents from inclusion on the waiting list. This is parochial and begrudging. Fingal residents are equally entitled to use Dublin City’s swimming pools (of which Fingal Counry Council has none), libraries and art gallery. The idea that people on one side of an imaginary line running down Kilbarrack Road are entitled to an allotment and people on the other are not is nonsense.

"There has been a surge in interest in allotments because of the increase in apartment living and tiny back gardens both in the Dublin City area and in the Fingal area. Unfortunately, Fingal County Council has looked on allotments up to now as a temporary use of surplus land. We should be providing permanent allotments in the large parks on the north of the city."


Cllr. David Healy: 087 617 8852
Nicola Cassidy, Press Office: 01 618 4088 / 087 914 8175

The discussion at the Council is on the Council meeting web broadcast at item 27.





Observations on Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study

A major study in relation to sewage and drainage has been put to Strategic Environmental Assessment  as a result of a Green Party motion.  At this stage a scoping document has been producedfor public consultation. Our response is below.
We wish to make the following observations on the Scoping Report for the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study Strategic Environmental Assessment:

The SEA criteria should include                                                                                                   
•    rough calculations of total gross and net energy demand of various options
•    rough calculations of energy recovery potential
•    rough calculations of total greenhouse gas emissions associated with various options
•    rough calculations of potential for meeting energy demands from renewable sources
•    rough calculations of capital and operating costs of various options
•    recovery of phosphates for return to agriculture
•    transport by pipeline in preference to rail and by rail in preference to trucks.

Options studied should include
•    living machines and other innovative wastewater treatment methods
•    anaerobic digestion and other energy recovery techniques, including the potential for adding other organic materials derived outside the wastewater system to maximise the efficiency of these techniques
•    measures to reduce volumes of wastewater requiring treatment
•    measures to reduce volumes of organic matter in wastewater (e.g. banning sink macerators, etc.)
•    measures to reduce concentrations of substances in wastewater (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides) which pose particular difficulties in treatment or which contaminate sludges or other treatment products limiting their usefulness
•    bye-laws to address above issues
•    other management and control measures

Note that these some of these options are not necessarily alternatives to each other or to various infrastructural options, but that they do impact on the relative pros and cons of infrastructural options and therefore need to be considered at this stage.

There are a number of elements of the draft which are not correct in particular the following claims (pp 24 and 25):

The strategy option with the lowest number of wastewater treatment plant sites will perform better against this objective, as there will be a relatively lower number of potential odour sources.


Climatic Factors
The strategy option should minimise energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas (GHG) production, which contributes to climate change.
While it is not possible to determine the actual energy demand for each strategy option, the relative amount of energy required for the each strategy option in comparison to the other strategy options, will be assessed.
There is no specific target for this objective. The strategy option with the lowest number of wastewater treatment plant sites will perform best against this objective.

These are not valid assumptions. You cannot suppose that multiple small plants automatically release more greenhouse gases; nor can you suppose the opposite. These emissions needs to be calculated/estimated.

The following is not an environmental objective as described (p.23):

Deliverability and Planning Risk
There is no explicit objective for deliverability and planning risk. Rather, the relative likely deliverability of each Strategy will be examined.
A major risk to any drainage infrastructure is the risk that it will not obtain appropriate development consent. Delays can also arise during the planning system which can delay the overall implementation of the chosen Strategy.

Even if it was an environmental objective, the following assumption (p. 26) is not correct:

There is no specific target for this objective. A key factor under this objective is the number of waste water treatment plant sites which are required under each strategy option. The greater the number of sites, the greater the planning risk and the lower the relative deliverability of the strategy option.

One could as easily say that fewer sites increase risk as the consequences of any non-delivery is much greater.

We hope this is of assistance and would be glad to elaborate further on any of the points above if that would be useful.
Is sinne, le meas,

Cllrs. David Healy, Joe Corr, Robbie Kelly
Green Party /Comhaontas Glas,
Comhairle Contae Fine Gall/Fingal County Council