Monday, May 25, 2009

Local Election broadcast

Here's my Local Election broadcast.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Irish Society Still Does Not Care About Poor Children

Irish society is fooling itself completely if its believes the findings of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse solely describe the actions of an uncaring Ireland of times past. In my experience, it is clear that we have learnt very little from our past and continue to pass life sentences of poverty, disadvantage and marginalisation onto thousands of Irish children. Any self-congratulatory reflections arising from this report as to how far our country has come, must be viewed in the dim light of the following facts:

  • In 2007, there were 7.4% of children living in consistent poverty in Ireland. This amounts to over 76,000 children.
  • 30% of children living in disadvantaged areas have basic reading problems.
  • Up to 1,000 children do not transfer from primary to secondary school.
  • 15% of young people leave school without a Leaving Certificate and 3% with no qualification at all.
  • The National Educational Welfare Board has no remit to cater for children under the age of six, however poor their school attendance rate
  • The National Educational Psychological Service provides no clinical or behaviour assessment support for children, completely disregarding the emotional health of school children
  • Children are being sucked into gangland crime at increasingly earlier ages as society completely fails to come to grips with the drugs epidemic in our land
I note that one of the key recommendations of the commission is that a monument should be erected in honour of those who suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse in our school system. Surely a more lasting monument would be to ensure that no Irish child ever feels the coldness and inhumanity of poverty and disadvantage ever again?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Public Big Screen Event for European Rugby Final a Must for Dublin City Council

The upcoming European Cup final between Leinster and Leicester is an ideal opportunity for Dublin City Council to initiate the long-awaited Big Screen Events for the Dublin public.

I have long advocated the Screening of big sporting events in public venues in Dublin to help engender a sense of pride in our city and to follow from the excellent example set by Limerick City Council who regularly screen important Munster rugby games on O'Connell Street in Limerick.

It would make perfect sense in my view, in economic terms and in 'feel-good' terms, for a large screen to be erected in one of our public spaces, for example St Stephens Green, and for the European Cup Final featuring Leinster to be shown in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Local businesses would appreciate the opportunity to benefit from passing trade, local rugby fans would enjoy the opportunity of watching the game in an atmospheric venue, and the City would benefit from celebrating the achievements of our gallant 'Boys in Blue'.

I am calling on Dublin City Council to investigate the possibility of taking on the responsibility of screening the game in conjunction with the City business associations for the good for the rugby fans in Dublin unable to attend the final, and for the benefit of sports fans generally.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Council Must Deliver on Fairview Playground Promise

Council Must Deliver on Fairview Playground Promise

The delivery of a replacement playground for the facility taken away to facilitate the Port Tunnel works must be an absolute priority for the next council term.

This original playground was dismantled when the tunnel works started and a solemn pledge was given to the local community that it would be replaced as soon as those works were completed.

The tunnel has been operational for over two years now, yet the playground is nowhere to be seen. As part of my representations on behalf of the local community I have received confirmation from the City Council that :

'It is proposed to carry out the planning phase of the replacement playground at Fairview Park in the coming months, with procurement, supply and installation proposed before the end of 2009, subject to the confirmation of the necessary resources'

The stipulation that it is dependant on 'the confirmation of necessary resources' is in stark contrast with the cast iron assurances that the community say they received at the time.

The full installation of a new playground in Fairview Park must be a priority for any councillor elected to the Clontarf Electoral Area after June 5th.