Tuesday, December 19, 2006

O Riordain welcomes rejection of Alfie Byrne Road land rezoning

Dublin Deputy Lord Mayor Aodhan O’Riordain has welocmed the decision of the North Central Area Committee to reject Dublin City Council’s proposal to rezone sporting land at Alfie Byrne Road.

He said: “The City Council attempted to rezone these lands two years ago and this was rejected by the elected members.

“In a move which can only be described as undemocratic and arrogant, City Council management attempted to dispose of these lands at last month’s North Central Area Committee meeting in total disregard to the ongoing discussion process with the stakeholders who use Alfie Byrne Road as a football amenity’.

“Although this area is physically within the North Central area it is sporting clubs from the Central area that use it exclusively. City Council officials who in my view have deliberately allowed these facilities to deteriorate in order to facilitate rezoning have tried to outdo the councillors and cash in on these valuable lands. ‘

‘These actions are disgraceful, undemocratic and underhanded. Thankfully this issue had been reverted to the Central Area Committee for discussion and our unanimous rejection of the proppsal has been cemented by the North Central Area Committee’.

“These playing fields are a vital sporting amenity to the area and must be maintained. It is now the responsibility of Dublin City Council to upgrade these lands so that local football clubs can fulfill their potential.’

Friday, December 15, 2006


Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has criticised the failure of Minister McDowell’s record in tackling crime, after visiting the family of the late Gerry Byrne yesterday. Cllr O Riordain, a teacher in Sheriff Street, knows the Byrne family well and taught the sister of Gerry Byrne for three years. ‘The family are absolutely heartbroken and are struggling to make sense of what has just happened. Blood was still being cleared form the street outside the Mace in the IFSC this afternoon and the community are terrified about the repercussions of the shooting. ‘‘I have already received numerous calls from constituents who are extremely fearful about the current situation spiralling out of control and are terrified about their children being caught in the crossfire.’‘

Last month a neighbour of mine in Ballybough Ray Collins was gunned down in broad daylight, and this week has seen three murders in Dublin with numerous other non-fatal shooting incidents occuring in Cabra and Coburg Place also.‘It is clear that the current situation is spiralling out of control and I am extremely fearful that the gang feud which lead to Gerry Byrne being murdered last night will result in many more deaths over the coming months. The underlying tensions surrounding the feud have now been blown onto a new level and it is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice to reassure those living in fear in the locality that the State takes this crisis seriously.’

‘We need more than governmental gimmicks of a few gun wielding Gardai to reassure our citizens. We need the government in the short term to allocate extensive extra Garda manpower to potential trouble spots with a guarantee that they are there for the long hall. We also need the government to accept that their socially divisive policies have driven a wedge between the rich and poor in our society and that many young working class people are now finding the empowerment and the fulfilment they crave in criminality because our society refuses to respect them in a meaningful way.’

‘We still have one of the most unequal societies in the world. We have one of the largest child populations at risk of poverty in the western world. We have some of the poorest child literacy statistics in Europe with one in three children in disadvantaged areas having basic reading problems. We also have the second lowest percentage spend on education in Europe’

‘The minister’s policing polices have failed. His government have created a society that is steeped in disadvantage and this deprivation is now screaming so loud that not even he can ignore it. There will be another shooting and soon. It remains to be seen if the minister can move beyond kite-flying to prevent that from happening.’

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has urged Dubliners to purchase a book for children this Christmas. Speaking as his ‘Right to Read’ campaign gathers pace, Cllr O Riordain called on parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and indeed any adult who will be purchasing a gift for a child this Christmas, to buy them a book.

‘Unfortunately, our literacy statistics make uncomfortable reading, with one in three children in disadvantaged areas having basic reading problems. Therefore I believe it is the duty of adults to take on the responsibility of encouraging the development of a learning society by giving a book as part of their Christmas gifts to children this year.’

Cllr O Riordain has spent the last month distributing 20,000 free books to children across Dublin as part of his Right to Read Campaign. The campaign, which is focused on the local authorities response to educational disadvantage, has already achieved provision of €1 million from Dublin City Council for an improved library service and the establishment of homework clubs citywide.‘Giving a child the gift of reading is by far the most important gift that any child can receive. I encourage Dubliners to give children the gift of reading this Christmas’

Monday, December 04, 2006


The following motion in my name was passed by Dublin City Council tonight:

‘This council expresses its concern at the death of one its tenants, Terence Wheelock of Sean O Casey Avenue, as a result of injuries sustained in Garda custody in 2005. This Council calls for a full and independent inquiry to reach the full truth of the events surrounding Mr Wheelock’s death. This Council acknowledges the vital service that the Gardai provide in Dublin City. This Council believes that the rights of the Wheelock family and the reputation of the Gardaí are best served by an independent inquiry into those events.’

The motion was passed unanimously and members of the Wheelock family were in attendance in the public gallery.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bernard Dunne can be a true Champion - Article for Metro Eireann Newspaper

For many reasons boxing makes uncomfortable viewing. The modern day sight of two young, invariably working class men slogging it for the entertainment of the celebrity set amidst the over-hyped glow of exploitative satellite television coverage doesn’t sit easily with me in many ways. One well-known sports journalist in a national newspaper has described his notepad being splattered with blood and struggling at that moment to find any justification for the spectacle he was reporting on. However, despite all this, and indeed the unfortunate whiff of scandal and corruption that lingers around the pro-boxing scene, bowing is truly the sport of champions.
Bernard Dunne is our latest offering and his victory over Englishman Esham Pickering to claim the vacant European super bantamweight title in front of a sell-out crowd at the Point Depot earlier this month was a compelling contest. His victory has already been listed as one of the highlights of the Irish sporting year, alongside the triumphs of the Munster Rugby team and Derval O Rourke, yet in many ways I feel that this victory has the potential to outshine them both. Because Bernard Dunne has the potential to be one of the great Champions of our time.
Every generation, boxing has produced a figure that has unified an often divided people behind the power, charisma and determination of this one man. Sport in general can be divisive as we have often seen. The various loyalties and tribal identities are played out on playing pitches across this concerti and every country weekly in exercises often deliberately promote division and disharmony. The bigoted dog-fight of the Rangers-Celtic clashes in Glasgow get the racist and sectarian juices flowing in Scotland and Ireland. Every weekend Gaelic fields see players lumping the heads off each other in the name of county / parish / my-side-of-the-hill-not-yours ‘pride’. Indeed, recently one of the most promising hurlers in Ireland consider retiring at the tender age of 18 years because of the mauling he received at a club match in Galway this summer. Rivalries between private fee-paying secondary schools are at fever pitch as their teams lock horns in the annual nauseating spectacle that is the Leinster Schools rugby competition. So why is the most violent sport of them all more unifying?
Mohammed Ali was widely acclaimed as the greatest sportsman of the 2oth century. However this wasn’t on the basis of his many sporting achievements. Ali managed to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World on three separate occasions, but it was his other fights that made him such a sporting legend and a true champion. At a time when the black people of America needed a figure to raise their self esteem and confidence and prove that they could aspire to their rightful place as equals in their society, Mohammed Ali spoke with their message, reached to their hearts and became a world figure that no man, however prejudiced or racist, could ignore. People were lifted by his courage and by his refusal to be anything else than himself. He understood the problems in his country and strove to change them. He was undeniably a man of his time and gave oxygen to the dreams that many in the black community held quietly in their hearts. He was a true champion in a time of great unease and change in American society.
In our own land too, when Northern streets were battlefields and television screens told the daily horror of the terrible conflict called ‘The Troubles’, both sides of the sectarian divide took time out of their hatred to cheer on one man. Barry McGuigan, the Clones Cyclone. His representation of Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth games endeared him to Unionists; his Catholic faith and his Monaghan upbringing made him the daring of Nationalists. And on packed nights in the Kings Hall in Belfast, a divided people roared their approval as ‘wee Barry’ won title fight after title fight. It didn’t last long, but for a time, Barry McGuigan distracted us, and maybe even united us when nothing else could. Northern Irish sport has always been riddled with sectarianism – that November night in Windsor Park in 1993 taught us that. Catholics generally play GAA and Protestants generally play rugby. The problem has reached such heights that an ice-hockey team is now seen as the way forward. But no matter what silverware the Belfast Giants claim over the coming years, it will never mean as much as when Barry was bobbing and weaving.
We have more since. Wayne MacCullough, the Protestant from the Shankhill Road representing Ireland at Barcelona in 1992 and bringing home silver. Francie Barrett, a member of the travelling community carrying the Irish flag at the opening ceremony in Atlanta four years later. Barrett represented a country who consistently discriminate against him yet he united people behind him. Again, like McCullough, a true champion.
My hope for Bernard Dunne is that he can do the same. Dunne does not have a fashionable address and Dublin accents like his are frequently derided in radio and television advertisements. Yet he has the potential to unite a people behind him. We are A divided people. We are an incredibly class-conscious, property-obseesed race who are fast losing whatever sense of community spirit we ever had. We need Bernard Dunne probably more than he needs us. He can remind us of the honesty of human endeavour and the power of the human spirit that has nothing to do with accent or address. He has the potential to make us re-examine our values and the gross inequalities in our land by just being himself. Maybe I am asking too much. Maybe Bernard should just be allowed box.
Well done Bernard. You’re a true champion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Planning Offenders ‘Name and Shame’ Policy adopted by Strategic Policy Committee

Cllr Aodhan O Riordain proposal for a ‘name and shame policy’ in relation to planning offenders has been adopted by the Planning, Economic Development and European Affairs S.P.C. of the City Council today.

‘The people of Dublin need to know that the planning process is fair and works equally for all people. The establishment of The Planning Information Service has helped to educate citizens about the protections that exist for them within the planning system. However many citizens are increasing concerned about the number of unauthorised developments that are apparently going unpunished throughout the city’, Cllr O Riordain said.

‘In my own constituency there have been continuous reports from concerned residents about developers sub-dividing properties into multiple unit dwellings without planning permission and renting them out to marginalized families in scenes reminiscent of Strumpet City. The ‘name and shame’ policy that I have proposed to the Strategic Policy Committee will send a strong message to all developers that unauthorised development that is not reversed will result in conviction in the courts and embarrassment in the media’, Cllr O Riordian continued.

‘For too long, residents of our city have felt that developers are getting away with breaking planning law. From now on, any person or business that is convicted in the courts will face the embarrassment of being named in advertisements in the media’, Cllr O Riordain concluded.

Monday, November 27, 2006




Deputy Lord Mayor Monday November 27th 2006Dublin City Council is expected to adopt a €1 million package aimed at addressing the objectives of the Deputy Lord Mayor's Roght to Read CAmpaign tonight.

The Right to Read Campaign, an initiative of the Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Aodhan O Riordain is seeking council investment in three key areas in order to tackle educational disadvantage.'One in three children living in disadvantaged areas have basic reading problems and I believe the local authority has a huge role to play in tackling this issue.

The three basic steps of the Right to Read campaign concentrate on housing policy, the establishment of homework clubs and the improvement of our public libraries' Cllr O Riordain, a teacher in Sheriff Street, said today.

The Council is expected to adopt the €1 million library service package which will include:
1 extension of 6 day openings
2 social inclusion programmes
3 €385k additional book fund resources
4 historian / educational support
5 enhancements in technology

'These improvements will help us tackle a major social ill in our city and I am delighted that the City Councillors and the City Manager have responded to the Right to Read Campaign in such a positive manner' Cllr O Riordain continued.

The campaign is to be presented to Dublin South County Council on December 11th.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I condemn absolutely the shooting in Clonliffe Avenue in Ballybough which took place this week in which a man was murdered.
As a resident of Clonliffe Avenue I am appalled that this action took place in this quiet and close-knit community. Nobody deserves to die in this fashion and no community deserves to have this type of incident occur on their doorsteps. The location of the shooting is a popular play area for local children and it is particularly disgusting that the murderers choose to gun down an apparently defenseless man at a spot where children play football everyday. I am calling on anyone with information on the shooting to contact the Gardai immediately so this sort of incident does not happen again.


Statement from Cllr Aodhan O Riordain
Thursday November 16th 2006
As part of his Right to Read Campaign, Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Aodhan O Riordain is delivering free books to schools across the inner city and beyond this week. 'The book was written by Eanna Ni Lamhna and I'm delighted to be in a position to give a free book to school children right across Dublin.' he said. 'Thr Right to Read Campaign is focused on promoting improvements in housing policy, accessiblity to public libraries and the establishment of homework clubs across the city'. he continued. 'I hope all children read, and enjoy, Eanna's story. The Right to Read campaign is determined to tackle disadvantage education and needs public support. More information can be obtained at www.righttoread.ie.' he concluded.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Right to Read campaign to be presented to Dublin City Council

The Right to Read Campaign Proposals are to be presented to Dublin City Council for adoption this Monday 6th November. The campaign is seeking Local Authorities to accept their responsibility in tackling educational disadvantage and our low child literacy levels by adopting the three basic steps of the Campaign.

The three steps are as follows: improvement of housing policy to enable children space to do their homework; the establishment of city-wide homework clubs; and increased opening hours for our local authority libraries.

right to read

The campaign, launched last Friday, is to be presented to Councils nationwide over the coming months and is seeking provision within the budgets of the various councils to achieve the three steps.

Literacy levels in Ireland are depressingly low. One in three children in disadvantaged areas have basic literacy problems and 23% of our adult population are functionally illiterate. This scandal has to change, and the local authority has a massive role in changing it.

Every local authority home must have the basic space within its bedrooms to allow children space to do their homework. Every local authority estate must have a homework club where trained Youth Development Workers manage and run homework clubs. Every local authority must have its libraries open in the evening time and at the weekend and not close on Saturdays as happens in far too many instances.

A package of €1,2 million is due to be made available in the Dublin City Council estimates to make the Right to Read campaign proposals a reality. I am placing these proposals before the City Council seeking all party support for this extremely important campaign.

right to read 2

right to read 3

Larger versions of the booklet can be found here and here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Right to Read campaign launched

A campaign to help improve childhood literacy across Dublin was launched by the City’s Deputy Lord Mayor tomorrow.

The Right to Read Campaign is being led by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and is supported by Barnardos, SIPTU, INTO, TUI, ASTI and NALA.

The campaign has identified three areas for funding and policy improvements that can be undertaken at local authority level to deliver better conditions in which children can read and learn. These include homework clubs, library services and housing.

As part of the campaign, a website has been created (www.righttoread.ie) which allows members of the public to sign-up in support of the campaign. In addition, a story book entitled Room to Read – which demonstrates some of some of the conditions that result in education disadvantage - was unveiled at the launch. The book, which was written by boradcaster Eanna Ni Lamhna, will be distributed at public transport stations in Dublin over the coming week.

According to Cllr Aodhán Ó Ríordáin,“as a primary school teacher in the North Inner City, I am only too well aware of the factors that contribute to poor literacy levels and educational disadvantage among children. It is unacceptable that despite the resources now at our disposal, 11% of our children are reaching junior cert age with only very basic reading levels.

“I have decided to champion the issue of literacy during my term as Deputy Lord Mayor. To date, I have obtained support from a variety of organisations to mount this campaign, and I am also securing support from my colleagues on Dublin City Council.

“The actions that have been identified by the campaign are not rocket science: We want home work clubs to be run by professionally trained tutors, so that children get the appropriate support. We want libraries to be more child-friendly, with more appropriate opening hours, so that children can learn to enjoy reading. We want local authority and social housing to include sufficient space for children to undertake homework in their bedroom or another quite area in their home.

“It is my expectation that, once the demands of the Right to Read Campaign have been accepted by Dublin City Council, we can roll the campaign out nationally. Every local authority has its disadvantaged areas where children do not have the conditions and support to improve their literacy levels.

“The relatively inexpensive and practical recommendations of the Right to Read Campaign can have a very significant impact on tackling educational disadvantage. Early intervention in childhood literacy will have a very positive impact on a child’s education and employment prospects later in life. A good level of literacy can also have a positive impact on a child’s self-esteem and confidence,” added Cllr Ó Ríordáin.

Adding her voice in support of the Right to Read Campaign, Eanna Ni Lamhna, said, “as well as being critical in informing future educational and career opportunities for children, reading is great fun and offers lots of entertainment possibilities at home, in homework clubs and in the classroom.

“Children need to be helped and supported in reading, so that they can enjoy the benefits and reap the rewards. No child, in this day and age, should be prohibited from enjoying reading because of barriers such as poor access to good books or a lack of suitable space in their home where they can enjoy reading as a past-time.

“The Right to Read Campaign sheds light on the fact that so many children in this country suffer educational disadvantage. This stifles their capacity to fully participate in the classroom and reduces their chances of accessing third level education later in life.

“The little story that I wrote for the campaign material for the Right to Read Campaign demonstrates that when youngsters are given the right environment in which they can enjoy reading they will embrace it.

“I hope that the Right to Read Campaign will extend beyond Dublin City and that it becomes a focus for local authorities and the powers that be throughout the country,” added Eanna Ni Lamhna.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Deputy Mayor welcomes drug seizure

Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has welcomed the major drugs seizure in the capital on Tuesday night. Up to six million euro worth of heroin has been discovered in an apartment in West Dublin.

Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has congratulated Gardai for their role in one of the biggest single seizures they have made in recent years. 'It is great to hear that such a substantial amount of heroin has been recovered however it is a matter of extreme concern that heroin is still in such high demand in Dublin.' Cllr O Riordain said.

'The Gardai are to be congratulated and I would once again urge people within the community to pass whatever information they have onto the Gardai so that more seizures like this can be made in the future' Cllr O Riordain concluded.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Life of a Dublin City Cyclist

Some days I feel like a member of an endangered species: despised by many, facing stiff competition from my own kind, consistently relieved of essential assets by the wandering fingers of passers-by and regularly harassed by officers of the state. Yes, you’ve guessed it; I’m a cyclist.
Thankfully I am not alone but there are times I feel that the vast majority of the Irish public have scant regard for the precarious nature of our daily adventures. We do not pollute the air and we do not add to traffic jams. Rather we are visions of healthy living on every horizon, yet we are not understood. We are generally considered, certainly by motorists, to be an unfortunate irritant on the road - certainly not in any way an equal, and have to be reminded at regular intervals to ‘Get off the f**kin road ya f**kin gobsh***’. We are misunderstood – and we need to redress the balance.
I’ve been cycling around Dublin for a number of years now and I cannot believe that I managed to survive for so long without a bike. Previous to this I was a walker, a bus-user and a taxi frequenter but the pull of economic reality and time-management issues propelled me towards the logic of becoming a cyclist.
I have never owned a car and indeed I can’t drive. The last time I sat behind the wheel was at the bumpers in Salthill where I was the talk of the amusement park. An unsuspecting Spanish student incurred my wrath by daring to access the blue bumper car that I wanted before me. I had to settle for a rather less manly pink effort which made Senor Spanish Student public enemy number one in my eyes. Thankfully no representatives of Fáilte Ireland appeared to be present as I pinned him repeatedly against the outer ring of the bumper track causing him to swear at me in Spanish and making all his mates hoot with laughter from the viewing stand.
As always happens with bumper cars, your turn ends far too quickly. I ran enthusiastically toward the ticket booth a wanting another go and imagining in my little head that I was winning over the crowd and that surely it was only a matter of time before roars of ‘Ole Ole’ would be ringing in my ears. However the glaring look in the eyes of my companions and indeed the menacing grunt of the bumper attendant as I skipped past him convinced me that my time would be better served at one of the hoola-hoop stands.
I did receive a kind gift of a number of driving lessons once as a birthday present but I spent so much time putting my hand on the driving instructors knee instead of the gear-stick that I’m sure he was getting the wrong idea. ‘As long as you don’t make a mistake when you go for the hand-brake’ he muttered after I apologised yet again for another transgression. I didn’t go back for another driving lesson after my gift certificate had expired and I don’t think the instructor was too upset.
So I have become reasonably content with the life of a cyclist. However I must admit that I rebelled against the term ‘cyclist’ for a long time. I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a helmeted, lycra-wearing reflector-junkie. When I’m cycling merrily along, I don’t like the sight of a Stephen Roche wannabe with all the cycling must-haves sticking his slender buttocks in the air as he passes and waddling off into the distance with his rear red light flashing even though its only 3:15 in the afternoon. I like the freedom of doing my own thing, and trying to impress on people that I have no real interest in perfecting the art of negotiating through my native city on the back of a bike. I want my body language to scream: ‘This cycling buzz is surely only a temporary stint until I take time out of my busy schedule to buy that black Beemer!!’
However the only screaming that took place in the first number of weeks was done by little old ladies trying to dodge me or mothers grasping the arms of their children as I approached at full tilt, completely unaware that I was breaking some well known rule of the road.
I’m a committed cyclist now who knows better. Far behind me are the days when red traffic lights used to call to me to tempt me into breaking them. I no longer believe that pedestrians have less of a right to the path than I have. And I have overcome my hesitation towards the reflector culture. Arriving alive is now a priority with me.
Certainly there are drawbacks to cycling – the weather being one. But on a rainy day you do get the satisfaction of passing out the endless queues of traffic elongated by the large population of Dubliners who are allergic to rainwater and therefore feel they have to drive to work. You will have something stolen from your bike – if not the entire vehicle – at some stage. And yes you will lose all faith in humanity for a number of minutes and fill the air with blue tones when the realisation hits that the empty space in front of you is where your bike used to be. However for sure physical exercise and for a speedy way of getting from A to B, I can’t recommend it enough. Just don’t let the red lights tempt you into breaking them. Listen to the Garda when he tells you not to go down the one-way street frequented by heavy-goods vehicles and lock your bike.
It’ll be good for you and you’ll get there quicker – I promise!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Accent issue runs and runs

What can I say? You say something that you've felt for years and because you're the Deputy Lord Mayor; Morning Ireland want you, Newstalk want you, 98fm want you, Spin103.8 want you, the Irish Independent want you, the Evening Herald and the Irish Sun write full pages about you and even Podge and Rodge are tickled...... all over the misuse of Dublin accents in advertisements.
I hope I handled the issue carefully because I feel very strongly about it. I cannot stand the way that the Dublin accent is associated with criminal behaviour by advertisers for security systems and other products. Alarm companies feed off fear and when they advertise they have to humanise that fear so they use the accent that they know they'll get away with - a working class Dublin one.
Either way I got massive reaction from the public - only one nasty e-mail which I responded to comprehensively and got no further comment. Enough said. Back to real politics - housing, poverty, drugs, educational disadvantage......

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dublin Tidy Districts Awards 2006

The latest of my Deputy Lord Mayor functions was last Thursdays Dublin Tidy Districts Awards. The Lord Mayor was on a wee trip to 'Yugoslavia' as the Mansion House calls it, so I got the gig. It was very impressive to see all the effort that has gone into the entries. Happily many of the entries were from my own area of the North Inner City and many of them went home with prizes - including Infirmary Road residents, Berkeley Road residents, Gardiner Street School, Kirwan Street Cottages and indeed the overall winner Arbour Hill Prison. I was particularly delighted to present the award to the Arbour Hill Prison Officers as it was obviously a massive effort and one which took a lot of vision and energy. It was certainly the story of the night.
In my few words I emphasised the importance of civic pride and being proud of the area that you are from - I tell the kids in my class in Sheriff Street every day to be proud of where they are from and to never apologise to anyone about their community. Anyway that seemed to go down reasonably well - then the prize giving started which went on for about two hours in sweltering heat. However the reaction of the prize winners made it all worth while - each one truly delighted to have achieved recognition for their efforts. We got plenty of photos taken - including plenty of enthuasiastic Dail candidates throwing themselves in front of the flashing cameras. Ah well, we'd all better get used to that sight over the next year.
So well done to all involved especially the City Council and all the entrants - and the Civic office staff for the lovely meal - yum!!!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fringe Festival criticised over Israeli sponsorship

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Councillor Aodhan O Riordain has criticised the organisers of the Dublin Fringe Festival for accepting sponsorship from the Israeli embassy. The festival begins today.

‘The recent crisis in the Middle East and the military aggression of the Israeli government in Palestine and Lebanon has outraged many Dubliners. In the wake of these events I consider it extremely inappropriate for the Dublin Fringe Festival to be accepting sponsorship from the Israeli embassy in Dublin.’

‘I have received numerous calls form ordinary members of the public and from members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign who are deeply concerned about this situation.’

The civilian deaths of Lebanese and Palestinian children should not be easily forgotten – it is a shame that the organisers of the Fringe Festival appear to have done so.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prime Time performance

I have recieved genarally positive feedback from my appearance last Thursday on Prime Time in a report on Educational Disadvantage. When you deal with issues of disadvantage every day, it can sometimes surprize you that not everyone is completely au fait with the challanges that face working class children but I was delighted to get the opportunity to discuss my views on such a well-regarded political programme.
The interview itself took place on Tuesday - two days before the show - so I was impressed that the finished product could be compiled so quickly. I was also grateful that they used quite a bit of my interview in their piece as often you can be restricted to one or two lines depending on the validity of your arguements.
Essentially we have a crisis in many of our schools in terms of school building standards, access to assessments, special needs cuts in small disadvantaged schools and a generally under-resourced education system compared to our European neighbours. You always have to strike a balance with these interviews - its important to point out the injustices but you have to safeguard the local positive attitude towards your own school. I've been critised in the past for 'running down' certain areas of the inner-city when talking about issues of social disadvantage.
Naturally enough Hanafin managed to bluster her way through the studio discussion with out addressing any of the points raised in the report.
Its cratifying to hear positve feedback from the interview - what good it will do for children who are heading back to disadvantaged schools this week remains to be seen.

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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

€18,000 heroin seizure welcomed

Today I welcomed the seizure of €18,000 worth of heroin by Store Street Gardai and the arrest of a man in the North Inner City.

Today's success shows that the Gardai are still doing an excellent job under difficult circumstancers but it also shows that the drug problem in te North Inner City is as widespread as eve

Coupled with today's other success, the arrest of three men and seizure of cocaine with an estimated street value of €750,000 in north Co Dublin, it is a good day for the people of Dublin.

The Gardai are to be congratulated for their success and need the support of the community if this good work is to continue

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ballybough Improvements Welcome

The recent improvements in the Ballybough area are welcome. Following intense lobbying on behalf of the residents I have ensured the following improvements for the area:
1. €65,000 obtained for the installation of a pedestrian crossing at Poplar Row to ensure safe passage for children attending St. Mary's School Fairview.
2. The installation of yellow boxes on Clonliffe Road at the junctions with Tolka Road and Clonliffe Gardens
3. The painting of Ballybough House Flats.
These improvements have been a long time coming and indeed are welcome, if overdue.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Jeb Bush Not Welcome in Dublin

THe following is the text of the speech made at the protest against the presence in Dublin City of Governot Jeb Bush:

'Ladies and Gentleman, as Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin I am delighted to be here to today to support the Irish Anti-War Movement’s protest against the presence in our city of Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Dublin is a major international capital and so its civic leaders have a responsibility to make statements on matters of grave injustice no matter where they occur, be they in the Developing World, in Iraq or in Palestine.

The Bush’s regime’s actions in Iraq, of which Jeb is a key supporter, have outraged every right-thinking Irish citizen. The president’s comments this week in support of Israel while unsurprising once again illustrate quite clearly the blinkered and savage mindset of the Bush administration.

Jewish votes in America are obviously much more important than dead Lebanese or Palestinian children. It is important that we shed some light on what Mr Jeb Bush believes in. Governor Bush is a signatory to the ‘Project for the New American Century, a campaign which explicitly confirms what many have been thinking all along of the current U.S. administration.

According to the group’s statement of principles, ‘we need to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values’. Listed as top priority is fighting for ‘a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century’. In a report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" they call for a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad.

They say ‘Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today but it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.’

Against such a background of aggressive militarism Washington has invaded Iraq, a country with the world's second largest reserves of oil. Jeb and his brother George believe blood is a reasonable price for oil even if it means extinguishing the lives of countless innocent human beings.

Today we as Dubliners take a stand against the immoral Bush regime. In the past we have stood against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. We have stood against Israeli aggression in the Middle East and we have stood against the war in Iraq. That is why today again we Dubliners stand together stand against you Jeb Bush.

We believe in truth and justice and we do not believe in your American way. AS long as you support the killing of innocent civilians for the causes and cheap domestic votes, we will stand against you. You are not welcome in our city Mr Bush. Teigh abhaile Jeb– Nil failte romhat anseo. Go raibh math agaibh.'

Tuesday, July 18, 2006



Dublin City Council’s neglect of the wonderful public amenity at Bull Island and Dollymount Strand is a disgrace. I met today with representatives of the Bull Island Action Group who are lobbying for an upgrade of the amenity.

On an inspection of Bull Island today I was very disappointed at what I saw:
The railings leading from the changing shelters are broken and in complete disrepair.
The shelters themselves have to be maintained and painted by the Bull Island Action Group because of the inaction of the Council.
Ladders leading from the Promenade Wall to the water have not been upgraded for decades and are a mayor safety hazard.
Most of the steps are broken or covered in algae, which is causing elderly swimmers to slip and fall.
Last week a young man was brought hospital as a result of a fall on these steps.
The toilet facilities are completely inadequate and the area is litter strewn with mounds of litter left unattended for days.
The bridge leading to the Bull Wall is also in need of major works as the wooden panelling is loose and broken.

There appears to be no vision from the City Council to protect and develop this potentially wonderful amenity for Dubliners. On my visit today I noticed hundreds of Dubliners enjoying the sunshine at Bull Island and Dollymount Strand however the potential of the area is being undermined by the Council’s inaction.

The Council and the Port and Docks Board must live up to their responsibilities and properly invest in this amenity for the benefit of all Dubliners.

I intend to join the group in a meeting with the City Council next month. I also intend to push the issue with Council Questions and indeed to provide funding for the upgrade through the City Council estimates in November.

Stringfellows Closure Good News for Parnell Street

The news that Stringfellows has closed its doors for the last time is great news for Parnell Street and for the North Inner City. The opening of a strip club in a residential area was always a massive point of controversy for the local people and the local public representatives. A major rejuvenation of Dominick Street is underway and I am a member of the regeneration board. Wolfe Tone Close is a new development across the road for senior citizens and the Parnell Square improvements are also coming on stream soon. A strip club was completely out of touch with the family-friendly community that we are trying to develop in Parnell Street. Local residents like Vera Brady deserve great praise for keeping the protests up over the last number of months.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Standing Up for Dublin

THe Deputy Lord Maoyr was woken up at 7am this morning with a phone call from Morning Ireland. Trying to talk to a reseacher from Ireland's most popular radio programme with your tongue attached to the pillow isn't a good start. It appears my statement in relation to the 'Look West' Campaign has caused a bit of a stir. I was trying to make the point that the positive side of Dublin needs to be promoted and if any agency wants to encourage people to move west, then they should concentrate on that region's advantages.
The interview didn't go ahead thankfully, but Galway Bay FM and Shannon FM and TG4 weren't to be detered and so I found myself saying the same thing over and over - in two different languages.
Either way I'm calling on all Dubliners to show pride in their city and fly their Dublin flags proudly this Championship summer. Up the Dubs!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Kicking Ball with Rabbitte and Wall

Ever tried kicking football with a chain around your neck? I found myself briefly in sympathy with David Beckham this afternoon during a photo shoot with Pat Rabbitte and Jack Wall TD to launch Labour's new sports policy. Lined up in front of a miniture goal in Ringsend, footballs where blasteed at us from all angles while photographers told us to jump, kick, head and pass the ball around (this way, that way...no left, right LEFT!!)



The policy is excellent and can be viewed at labour.ie, The school I teach in as no yard and no school hall. Many of the communities that I represent have absolutely no community facilites. The markets area, where I unveiled a plaque to Johnny Giles last Friday, has produced dozens of Irish internationals yet still has no football pitch, hall or community infrastructure. This has to change.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Palestinian March

I was delighted to support yesterday's march organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign in protest at the Israeli government's actions against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Despite the poor weather there was a great turnout and I felt proud to stand with them in the face of the violence with their people are be subjected to. The following is a copy of the speech I made outside the GPO:


Ladies and Gentleman, as Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin I am delighted to be here to today to support the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

As Deputy Lord Mayor I believe that the ambition of public representatives should not be to wear chains of office, but to break chains of bondage, and that is why I am here to show solidarity with the Palestine people.

Dublin is a major international capital and so its civic leaders have a responsibility to make statements on matters of grave injustice no matter where they occur, be they in the Developing World, in Iraq or in Palestine.

The homepage of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign features a quote from Martin Luther King saying: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.

What is happening in Gaza over the past few weeks is a grave injustice and indeed an outrage. That is why today the people of Dublin stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine.

I believe that Israel is using the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit as an excuse to wreak terror on the Palestinian people.
Israel’s targeting of the civilian infrastructure of Gaza such as bridges and Gaza’s main power station has meant that 860,000 Gazans are without running water or electricity, and Gaza faces a severe environmental and humanitarian crisis.
As a schoolteacher I find the violence that the Israeli’s are exacting on children absolutely disgusting.
Perhaps even more serious is Israel’s capture of half the democratically elected Palestinian government and a quarter of the parliament. Democrats across the world must display their outrage at these events.

· Today we are here to put pressure on the Irish Government to Stop boycotting Palestine’s democratically elected Hamass government.

· We are calling on the Israeli government to listen to the family of Gilad Shalit as they call for the hostilities to end.

· And we must also call for the Gilad Shalit to be returned to his family.

The cause of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign is just. The people of Dublin Stand with you today.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Johnny Giles an Inspiration to Inner City Youth

Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has said that Johnny Giles is an inspiration to all young people in the North West Inner City. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s plaque unveiling in honour of the former Irish International footballer, Cllr O Riordain said that the Markets area is very proud of him:

Cllr O Riordain unveils plaque to Johnny Giles

‘John Giles was born and reared in Ormonde Square and we are delighted to be honouring him by erecting a plaque outside his old family home. My motion to erect this plaque was accepted by the Area Committee of Dublin City Council two years ago and was also adopted by the full council. ‘ Cllr O Riordain said.

‘It is essential that children feel positively about their own area and they are proud of where they come from. Recognising the origins of John Giles will give inspiration to all young people who have an interest in sport. Football has always been the lifeblood of community life in the Inner City, and so it is essential that we honour those who have brought pride to their local area and their country.’ he continued.

Cllr O Riordain unveils plaque to Johnny Giles
One of the many who came to congratulate Johnny Giles

Cllr O Riordain unveils plaque to Johnny Giles
Congratulating Johnny Giles

‘Unfortunately the Markets area has no more sporting facilities now than it did 50 years ago when a young John Giles was kicking a football around Ormonde Square.. It is imperative that we as public representatives work in close partnership with the City Council to ensure that the next generation of young footballers will have better facilities to practise on than Johnny Giles did as a child’ he concluded.

Cllr O Riordain unveils plaque to Johnny Giles

Confronting McDowell

I organised a protest outside Store Street Garda station on Wednesday the 5th of July on the occasion of Minister for Justice Michael McDowell's visit to the station. He was there to launch his new 'Joint Policing Committee' proposals, however the uncertainty of the future of two Inner CIty Garda Stations was the reason for the protest.

The minster has failed to satisfy the fears of local representatives and residents on the future of Fitzgibbon Street and Mountjoy Garda stations. On confronting the Minister he confimed that Mountjoy station is to be lost. It seems incredibly hypocritical to me for the Minister to use an Inner City station to launch a policing intiative dwhile planning to undermine inner-city policing by closing one of the stations.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I believe that blogging is the new way to go so I have decided to give it a try. This is all very new to me but I am determined to give it a bash, and hopefully it will be easier than leaflet dropping and more fun too.

Last week I was elected as deputy Lord Mayor for Dublin and even though the kids in my class were annoyed that I don't get a house or a car, I hope to use the office to highlight issues of concern to me.

Protesting outside the Mater Hospital at the ongoing crisis in our A&E department

The vote at the meeting was one of the most stressful evenings I have had since Dublin's defeat of Tyrone last summer. While my Labour Party colleague, Clllr. Paddy Bourke lost out on the Lord Mayor position I was delighted to be elected in the deputy post particularly seeing as how my Dad was in the audience.

The first function in my first week was to give out medals at the community games in Santry stadium where I was announced as Deputy Aengus O Riordan! But I then went speedily to Sheriff Street where they know me better and where I was adjudicating on the annual pram race as part of the community week held each year.

Thankfully there was a clear winner and no controversy unlike last year when I was a judge at the silly hat competition in the Lourdes day care centre and almost needed a Garda escort after making an unpopular decision.

I had a meeting with the Lord Mayor this morning (July 4th) and the themes we will be working on for the year include young people, suicide prevention, community facilities and the Irish language.

Táim fós ag dul i dtaithí ar chursaí teicneolaíochta ach ni mor dibh a bheith foighneach! Slán go fóill!

Councillor Aodhan O'Riordain - Dublin Deputy Lord Mayor 2006 - 2007


Taken after my election as deputy Lord Mayor and with Gerard O'Neill, one of my constituents.