Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cllr O Riordain's appearance on Primetime

Click here to see my appearance on Primetime discussing the shooting in East Wall last Sunday.,null,230

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Batt O'Keefe's Solution to Language Teacher Cuts a Cynical Ploy to Benefit Local Fianna Fáil TDs

Batt O'Keefe's contention that the loss of Language Support Teachers is to be assessed on a case by case basis, is a cynical ploy to benefit Fianna Fail TDs in the face of rising anger over education cuts.

It is now clear that the Minister's plan is to cut the numbers of Language Support Teachers in schools to a maximum of two, but he is allowing wriggle-room to ensure that successful lobbying can take place on behalf of Fianna Fáil TDs. The government keeps its cuts in place, while the local TD is seen to have made a difference by retaining at least one of the posts lost. Politics is much more important to Fianna Fáil that education, children or Ireland's future.

This latest attempt to con the public who are desperately seeking to overturn the cutbacks, is appalling but unsurprising. If the minister was genuine, then a hard and fast rule would be made in all cases. Allowing bargaining to take place to ease the pressure on local representatives just shows what a new low that the government have sunk to.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Labour Launches Right to Read Campaign as Central Plank of Local Election Campaign

Address to Labour Party Conference

1pm on Saturday Nov 29th

Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to announce the launch of the Right to Read Campaign as a Labour Party Campaign. It is now a key part of our campaign for the Local Elections in 2009.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our Education Spokesperson Ruairi Quinn and all other public representatives and members of the Labour Party who have supported the Right to Read Campaign from its inception.

Friends, we know that poverty is a thief. It steals childhoods, its steals happiness, its steals hope and it steals dreams. But we also know that the key to ending poverty is education and that literacy – being able to read – Is crucial in this regard. If our children are to have any chance at all we must give them the ability to read.

So why then in disadvantaged areas do over 30% of children have basic reading problems?
Why are almost a quarter of our adult population functionally illiterate?
Why are most of our young offenders unable to read their charge sheets, or in some cases, only able to sign their names with an 'x'?

The answer in part, lies with the education system. But children do not live in schools. Children live in communities, and it is our responsibility as public representatives, as councillors, as Labour members and as citizens to provide our communities with the power to end educational disadvantage and to help eradicate illiteracy. This is what the Right to Read Campaign is all about.

The Right to Read Campaign is a pragmatic, realistic and positive community response to our poor literacy rates.
We demand longer opening hours for libraries. A library should be a place of learning where young parents can get help so that they have the skill to read to their children.
We want homework clubs to be established in every community centre, in every library, in every council estate and flat complex to ensure that learning is delivered not just in the classroom but in the community.
We want decent housing standards, so that children have the space to learn in the home and to facilitate family learning.

It is to our Local authorities that we turn to, to make these changes. They must accept that they can make a positive difference in the lives of our children and that indeed that they are morally obliged to do so.

I am asking you all to log onto and to lodge your support for what the Right to Read Campaign promises. I am asking each councillor, each candidate, each member and each voter to demand that every child be given the opportunity to read, yes in school, but also at home and in their own communities. We cannot wait for national government to make the changes in the education system that will give every child the chance to realise their potential. We all must use whatever influence we have to give hope to our children and their families so that they may be free from the fear that poverty will steal everything from them.

We have the power to make the difference at a local level. It's time to end disadvantage in our communities, it's time to eradicate illiteracy, it's time to give all our children the right to read.

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The Government’s move to look at reintroducing third-level fees is disturbing and I support the Labour Party's oppostion to any such backward step:

One of the Labour Party most significant achievements in Government was the abolition of third-level fees opening up third-level education to tens of thousands of students from low and middle income families. The proof of this is in the statistics where we have seen admission rates for third-level increase by 11 per cent between 1998 and 2004.

‘Most significantly, the proportion of students from the semi and unskilled backgrounds going to college increased from 23 per cent to over one third while the number of students from a skilled manual background almost doubled to 60 per cent.

‘I can also testify as an educator in one of the country’s most disadvantaged area that third-level education has been de-mystified by the abolition of fees and has encouraged more and more young people to attempt to fulfil their educational potential.

‘The term ‘better off’ families is also a very broad one and even if fees were initially only applied to what the Government terms as ‘better off families’, it would be only a matter of time before threshold levels were dropped and the vast majority of families would again be facing fees. Given that fees for many courses would now be more than €6,000 per annum, their introduction would simply make it impossible for many families to send their children to third level.

‘The logical extension of this argument is that ‘better off’ families should also have to pay for primary and secondary education instead of availing of free education. Given the government’s track record in recouping any tax from our most wealthy citizens, it would not engender confidence that a reliable system for payment of third level fees would be enforced – the grants system was notoriously corrupted by those with the means in the past.

‘We should ask ourselves whether the third-level sector is under-funded because fees were abolished, or because the abolition of fees was successful, in part, in encouraging greater numbers into third-level - numbers were not matched by appropriate levels of Government funding. At the end of the day we cannot lose sight of the fact that education is a public good in itself, from which the whole of society benefits.

‘The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs recommended that 32 per cent of our workforce should have a degree or third level qualification by 2020, compared to 20 per cent today. We certainly will not achieve this target if fees are reintroduced.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sale of Clontarf Golf Club

The withdrawal of Capel Developments from the proposed development of the lands at Clontarf Golf Club serves as a lesson for arrogant developers. The manner in which this developer has conducted himself from the beginning of this process has displayed an arrogant disregard for the democratic process. Claims that each member of the club would receive €100,000 from the sale of the land were at best misguided and at worst deliberately misleading.

The sale of Clontarf Golf Club was totally dependent on the support of Dublin City Councillors for the disposal of the lands at the club. The level of green space within the City Boundaries is fastly diminishing and the protection of open green land in the city is a priority. The suggestion that members of the club were in line for a massive payout was an attempt, in my view, to pre-empt the process and to present the sale as a fait accompli. The largest group on the City Council, the Labour Party, were against the disponsal of these lands from the outset under these circumstances.

The process of land disposal is quite clear. The lands of the city is placed in the guardianship of the councillors by the people of the city, a responsibility that the vast majority of councillors take extremely seriously. No land may be sold without the expressed agreement, by means of a vote, by the local representatives. Any attempt to disregard that process was extremely arrogant and the falling through of that plan should serve as a warning to any future developers as to their conduct in relation to these lands.

Cllr O Riordain launches 'Text your Protest' Campaign against DART Car Parking Fee

This morning I launched my 'text your protest' campaign against the planned introduction of Car Parking Fees in Dart Stations from September. The introduction of these fees will not only penalise those commuters who are willing to use public transport but will inevitably lead to parking problems in residential areas that surround DART stations. This morning I have already received remarkable support from commuters at Clontarf DART station who are extremely angry over the proposal.

I am asking all those who oppose the introduction of these fees to text 'NO PARKING FEE' to 086-8190336 followed by their name and address. The petition will be sent to the Chief Executive of Irish Rail and to the Minster for Transport.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin's move to Clontarf explained

My reasons for my move to the electoral area of Clontarf has created some interest amongst political writers.
Since my election as a Councillor in the North Inner City in 2004 I have been working tirelessly for the benefit of all those who live in this remarkable area of our city and I have been privileged to have been given the opportunity to pursue the issues that I greatly care about, primarily educational disadvantage.
However with my appointment as principal in my beloved school in Sheriff Street I consider it impossible to be able to represent the same area politically. Staying politically active in an area where I serve the community as a school Principal would lead to too many conflicts of interest and I need to be fully focused on the job at hand.
Simultaneously there is another constituency on my doorstep which is bereft of Labour Representation and with needs a strong Labour voice to promote those eternal ideals of equality, comminty and justice. I was asked by Labour members to consider to move to the Clontarf ward which includes Marino, Donnycarney, Fairview, Killester and Clontarf.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to represent a new area and I was honoured that the membership of Dublin North Cenral backed me to run for the Labour Party in the Clontarf ward in 2009.
I have begun working on important issues already, Croke Park Event day parking, the rezoning f Marino,m the proposed redevelopment of Clontarf Golf Club and the CCE dispute with the disbanded Clontarf Branch. This proud area of Dublin needs Labour. I am happy to provide that representation and hope that it will result in a council seat in 2009.