Monday, August 28, 2006


Dubliners should be extremely proud of the efforts of Paul Caffrey and his Dublin footballers. The excitement and colour that they have generated around the city for the past number of months has been fantastic, and is a credit to the pride that this team have aroused in ordinary Dubliners.

Although yesterday's result didn't go our way, Dublin should be very proud of its team. Winning the Leinster title back to back for the first time in 11 years, and reaching a semi-final for only the second time in the same period are achievements to build on for the future.

Because of their success this summer, young Dubliners are wearing their county GAA colours, flags have been flying across the city and a new generation of footballers will surely emerge form the excitement of the summer.

I know Paul Caffrey from his professional capacity as a Garda stationed in Store Street and his commitment to the area of the North Inner City is immense and he has always made himself available to help out with the local schools.

Dubs should be very proud of Paul and his team.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Boardwalk problems

I got a call on Friday to do an RTE news piece about the problems on the Liffey Boardwalk. There have been dozens of people arrested in the last number of weeks because of anti-social behaviour. Unfortunately when you have large problems of addiction, homelessness and mental illness in society, public spaces and amenities attract these problems. The answer is not just policing because policing just moves the problems from one place to another. Many employees in Civic Offices and in Liberty Hall complain about the level of anti-social behaviour outside their workplaces and indeed venders on the boardwalk are complaining too.
Certainly policing will help and has been seen to work over the last number of weeks with plenty of arrests. However we need to have a more thorough investigation into why we have so many of these problems in Irish society today. Day Care Centres for the homeless will help but we obviously have major difficulties that we are not facing up to.
Residents in Tolka Road are terrified at the prospect of a boardwalk being built at the rear of their houses overlooking the Tolka River. The City Council are the only ones who seem to want this boardwalk as it was part of the planning conditions given to the developer on the Richmond Road who is constructing apartment blocks. The residents dont want it, the developer doesnt want to build it - so why is it going up?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Today, I have called for the Registry of Deeds building on Henrietta Street to be converted into a new Garda College.

This landmark building in the heart of the city should be preserved in public ownership, to the benefit of the country, the city and the local community.

The Labour Party has been calling for some time for a radical shift in Garda training. As well as time spent in Templemore, a rounded Garda training should involve taking courses alongside other students in a mainstream third level campus, in an urban setting.

We have argued that the new campus at Grangegorman would serve this purpose well.

The Registry of Deeds building would make an ideal headquarters for Dublin based training of the next Generation of Gardai. The building, which is already owned by the Department of Justice is situated close to the Grangegorman campus. As well as taking courses in the DIT, the building could be used to establish a centre of excellence in community policing, putting the methods and practice of community policing at the heart of the formation of our Gardai. This must involve attracting more recruits from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds, including those in the local area, to the Garda Siochana.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Tomorrow I will be joiing Kathleen Lynch and Jan O Sullivan at a press conference outlining the Labour Party's proposal's for easing the burden of back to school costs.

Below is the text of the statement released before the press conference:

Labour Party Councillor for Dublin North inner City, Aodhan O Riordain, has said the Government must take immediate steps to rein in the exorbitant cost of school books for children and their families.

School book costs are now the single biggest financial burden on many families. The price of books and materials creates a huge dent in family budgets at this time of year.

Government coffers may be awash with money, but the funding and supports available to help vulnerable families to meet these costs are entirely inadequate.

For example, the Book Rental Schemes which allow pupils rent books from the school for a year is working, but only just. Less than one quarter of our children are in schools where they can benefit. That's simply not good enough.

The total expenditure in Post Primary Schools in 2005 was just €7m or €20 per pupil. The levels of support provided by the state are hopeless inadequate, especially when compared to the system of free school books in Northern Ireland.

In my own constituency, children from low income and middle wage families are seriously handicapped by the absence of proper support systems to allow them purchase vital curriculum textbooks.

Our plan is to
· Increase the funding available for the School Books Grant Scheme and Book Rental Schemes
· Get the Department of Education to take responsibility for promoting greater awareness of successful Book Rental Schemes
· Review the School Books Grant Scheme to take account of changing prices and changes in the use of textbooks
· Make sure the cost of cost of school books is taken into consideration when changing the curriculum.
· Reduce costs by encouraging the producing one-volume books to cover two or three year's study

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Firearms Amnesty Should Include Drugs

I have today called for the Justice Minister’s recently announced amnesty for firearms and knives to include illegal drugs.

Illegal drugs are by far the most lethal weapon currently available on the streets of Dublin. The last week in my own area of the North Inner City has seen two seizures of heroin worth €100,000 which is a drop in the ocean of what is freely available every day across the city.

'Drugs are tearing many of our communities apart and too many of our young people are being sucked into the industry which promises lucrative rewards. Many fall out of formal education having been seduced by the money, the glamour, and the danger of the drugs trade. I see outside my own school, I see it all over the city and it is an incredibly depressing sight.

I am calling on he minister to include illegal drugs in his forthcoming amnesty to allow anybody who wishes to surrender illegal substances to do so without recrimination. If a person in our society wishes to voluntarily take drugs out of the system and off the streets they should be encouraged and the minister should give them the opportunity to do so.

€80,000 Hill Street Heroin Seizure Welcomed

The news this morning that Gardai made a €80,000 heroin seizure in the Hill Street Flat complex is to be greatly welcomed.

A number of residents in Hill Street had complained to me about the level of drug dealing in the complex and I'm delighted that the Gardai have had this success.

The Gardai worked on this operation for months as a result of numerous complaints from Hill Street Residents. This seizure now means that there have been two heroin busts in the last week. It is a worrying development that heroin seems to be making a sinister comeback.

The Gardai must be congratulated as it is their fantastic work that has ensured that €80,000 worth of this lethal substance is now off the streets.