Sunday, December 27, 2009

Labour Nominate Aodhán Ó Ríordáin as Dublin North Central General Election Candidate

Labour Nominate Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
as Dublin North Central
General Election Candidate

Statement from Cllr Aodhan O Riordain
Labour Councillor for Clontarf Ward
Wednesday December 16th 2009

Labour Councillor for the Clontarf Ward Aodhan O Riordain has been nominated as the Labour Party's candidate in the next general election for Dublin North Central. The selection convention took place tonight in the Artane Beaumont Centre.

'Since becoming a primary school teacher in Sheriff Street almost 10 years ago, I have learned that our country needs change and that the lives of the children that I serve can only be improved with political change. We live in a divided and fragmented society, one of the most unequal in the Western World and I can't change that from within the classroom.' Cllr O Riordain stated.

'This is a huge step for me to take because, if elected, it will mean that I will have to leave the school that I love, the children that I care for, and the community that I feel so strongly about. However there comes a time in everyone's life where they have to take a stand for what they believe in. I am now absolutely convinced that running for the Dáil and helping Labour form the next government is the only way we can bring change to our country for those who need it most: for the weak , the helpless, the vulnerable, the unemployed, the elderly, those with special needs, our newcomers, our drug addicts and our children.' he continued.

'I love my job, but I love my country. That is why I am delighted the members of the Labour Party in Dublin North Central have chosen me as their candidate for the next General Election. This is the first step to winning a seat for Labour in Dublin North Central, and putting Labour at the heart of government.' Cllr O Riordain concluded.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Article on Murphy's Commission for Metro Eireann

Article on Murphy's Commission for Metro Eireann - December 2009

I write a weekly article for the Newspaper Metro Eireann. I am posting this one because of the depth of feeling in relation to the Murphy Commission Report.

I was born and raised as an Irish Catholic. Some of my earliest memories are of priests visiting our house and spending time with our family. I spent many childhood years, seven in all, as an altar boy in Malahide and dealt with many priests and indeed sisters of the Carmelite Order. Growing up in that tradition, which was replicated all around me in almost every household that I knew, there was deference to men of the cloth as conduits of Christ’s word on Earth. They were reverently referred to as ‘Father’ or as ‘Brother’ and we were always on our best behaviour when they were around us.

We used to deliver parish envelopes to selected doors in our housing estates. My family members were ministers of the Eucharist and collected the baskets at mass every Sunday. We as a family knelt together daily every month of May and prayed the May Devotions and also stood, again as a family, together to say the Angelus. We were so proud of my aunt Maura who entered religious life and who has spent a life administering to some of the poorest of the world’s poor. I remember writing in my confirmation scrapbook as a twelve year old in sixth class that I was still considering whether to enter the priesthood or not. The Catholic Church, in essence, was important in the childhood of my generation.

Unknown to me at that time was that the Catholic Church was entering every major political debate at the time as Irish society was attempting to stir into a new direction. The Catholic Church, and I am resisting the temptation to call them simply ‘the Church’, was backed by the faithful masses as they outlined sternly the moral evils of divorce, abortion, contraception and homosexuality. It was clear that the Catholic hierarchy had a suspicious view of the intentions of the political classes and considered themselves to have the greater mandate of the gospels and of the most high.

This was in keeping with previous interjections of the Catholic Church into the mainstream of political debate where they were used to having more than a sympathetic ear. The former Fine Gael Taoiseach John A Costello once stated at the height of the Church-State row known as the ‘Mother and Child Scheme’ that he was ‘I am an Irish man second: I am a Catholic first and I accept without qualification in all respects the teaching of the Hierarchy and the Church to which I belong.’ During the actual Dáil debate he said, ‘I, as a Catholic, obey my Church authorities and will continue to do so.’ This was not an exclusively Fine Gael disposition, in fact it is a central part of all election-cycles to be seen to be good to your local church, to be a good mass-attendee and above all else to be seen to be shaking hands at the church gate.

I am now a primary school principal of a Catholic school where we teach the sacraments of Communion, Confession and Confirmation as part of the school curriculum and religion classes are also taught daily. The local parish priest is the automatic choice as the chairperson of the Board of Management and indeed my appointment as principal was sanctioned by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. The church still has a daily influence in the lives of the young, an influence which until very recently the Catholic Church resisted in releasing absolute control over. The Equality Act which prohibits any form of discrimination in the workplace, does not apply to Church-run institutions, therefore a homosexual teacher or an unmarried mother who is also a teacher, can technically be dismissed on the grounds of living a lifestyle contrary to the ethos of the Roman Catholic Church.

I am also next month due to be married in a Catholic Church and all my friends and family will gather together to watch me and my intended exchange vows under the watchful eye of a priest who will formally accept our vows and sanction our marriage.

I say all these things to give a mere indication of how much the Catholic Church has influenced and continues to influence the lives of many Irish people, whatever their personal spiritual beliefs. It is clear how it has played a large part in my own life, from my childhood, to my professional career and to my personal life. Yet it is a church that I am ashamed to be a member of, and embarrassed to have been born into. The Ryan report and now the Murphy Commission have eliminated any mandate or authority that the Catholic Church claimed to have had in promoting any good in Irish society.

The findings of the Commission of Investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese have been well documented by this stage: the deliberate protection of Paedophile priests; the blatant disregard for the rights of children or their childhoods; the interference with Garda investigations; the repositioning of priests from one parish to another as an answer to complaints rather than expelling them from the priesthood altogether; maximising the emotional authority they held over agents of the state so that they could protect themselves, and most importantly in their eyes, their assets.

If any other organisation was involved in such deception, such lies, such abuse and such deliberate protection of paedophiles, they would have no future. If the institution was a sporting one for example that was guilty of these practices, they would lose all support from the public, all sponsorship and would most likely demand wholesale resignations in a vain effort to regain respectability. The Catholic Church still paradoxically, disgracefully and arrogantly feels differently. Yes they will apologise, but when asked to cooperate with both the Ryan and Murphy inquests, they acted with less than good grace, and certainly not like an institution that feels it needs to change.

But Ireland has changed. My attitude to the Catholic Church has hardened to such a degree that I’m unsure whether I can ever enter a Church building again with the same reverence that I had as a child, or with the same dignity that my parents continue to have. I have deep sympathy for those, like my parents generation, whose faith is undimmed but who have been absolutely betrayed. Maybe I should learn from them, and try to build a new Republic where we never hand authority over to unelected agencies ever again. But then I wake up and return to work, and I know in my gut that nothing has changed. Maybe not yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Template for Legion Hall Objection

Feel free to use this template if objecting to planning application for Legion Hall site in Killester.

Executive Manager
Planning Department
Dublin City Council
Civic Offices, Wood Quay,
Dublin 8

16 November 2009

Dear Sir or Madam

Please find below my observations in respect of:

Planning Application No 4182/09

1. The proposed development is not in keeping with the current zoning. The amenity value of this site has been its green open space that has been available for use since the Legion Hall was built over eighty years ago. Up to a few years ago the hall was available for use by a wide variety of community and sporting groups.
2. The site is located in the centre of a residential conservation area, Z2. The size and scale of the proposed development would not be in keeping with the existing character of the area. The site is right in the centre of the Z2 area was an integral part of the original design layout for the garden village. To build on this site, and reducing the scale of the open space would forever remove the context of the ‘village green’ aspect of this site, which fits into the overall garden village residential design.
3. Right of Way - there has existed a right of way over this site since the Legion Hall was built. The proposed development will remove this established right of way.
4. The development is not a community facility - the plan is to build a large commercial crèche; Killester is over supplied with good quality commercial childcare facilities.
5. Water pressure – water pressure in the area is inadequate, and Dublin City Council inspections have proved that it is half the legal norm, adding a commercial crèche will cause the water pressure to drop even further.
6. Traffic - this development will greatly increase the volume of traffic to the area. A recent Dublin City Council survey revealed that the road through the area had become a rat-run during peak hours.
7. Protected Structure Status – report still pending to Dublin North Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council regarding the proposed Protected Status of the Legion Hall and therefore no planning permission should be granted in respect of the hall while decision is pending.

Please also find enclosed payment of €20.00 in respect of this planning observation.


­­­Insert name and address here

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cllr Ó Ríordáin Welcomes Rejection of Croke Park Parking Plan

Cllr Ó Ríordáin Welcomes Rejection of Croke Park Parking Plan - November 2nd City Council Meeting

I welcome the rejection of the City Manager's proposed event-day parking plan for the Croke Park area at tonight's City Council Meeting. The proposed bye-laws included a 'residents only' parking-cordon which would extend as far north as Grace Park Road, Collins Avenue and the Howth Road.

I was glad to see the plan voted down as I have many reservations about the report as proposed.
-The cordon would be completely unenforceable and unpoliceable
-The cost of the introduction would be €284,000 and €84,000 every year from now on
-The cordon would merely move the problem from one community to another
The experience from the Croke Park Community Liason Committee, which I was a founder member, is that the parking problem is a behavioural issue with one code which isn't as prevalent in other codes. In my view, better provision of public transport is the key:

-Use of QBCs and better Bus services on Match day Sundays
-Scheme to allow ticket holders free travel on match days in the city centre
-Introduction of a 'All-Star Walk' to encourage pedestrian passage to the stadium
-Extensive use of park-and-ride facilities in educational facilities and sports clubs

It is time now to accept the City Manager's proposal for a newly formed committee to be established with the City Manager, Senior Garda Management, the GAA President and Elected members. That proposal made at tonight's City Council Meeting by the Manager, coupled with suggestions made above, are the way forward in relation to match day parking problems.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dublin Port Economic Study Doesn’t Justify Dublin Bay Reclamation - 28 October

Dublin Port Economic Study Doesn’t Justify Dublin Bay Reclamation - 28 October

Speaking at a public information meeting hosted by the Labour Party – “Dublin Bay: What Next” in the Clontarf Castle Hotel on Wednesday 28 October, Labour Party representatives, Cllr. Aodháin Ó Ríordáin and Bronwen Maher said the Labour Party is steadfastly opposed to the unnecessary reclamation of 21 hectares at the top of the Tolka Estuary, and that the recent Government’s Dublin Port Economic Study does not justify Dublin Bay reclamation. Also speaking at the meeting was Cllr. Dermot Lacey, newly elected chair of the Dublin Bay Task Force.

Cllr. Ó Ríordáin stated: “The Government commissioned two major bodies of work on Dublin Bay and Dublin Port. One, commissioned by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he set up the Dublin Bay Task Force to draw up a Master plan for Dublin Bay, and this work has yet to be completed.

The second report, The Dublin Port National Development Plan Study by Indecon Consultants, has been completed and was published by Transport Minister Dempsey last August. This report makes a number of recommendations on the future of Dublin Port based on economic assessments. The three main scenarios outlined in the report include 1) options to relocate all or part of Dublin Port’s activities, 2) continue with the existing activities at Dublin Port with opportunities for expansion in line with demand; and 3) continuation of port activities at current levels with no scope for expansion.

The report concludes “the closure of Dublin Port is not justified on economic grounds as the benefits of alternative land use is less than envisaged and…would not justify the costs involved. However the Labour Party believe that the Transport Minister’s report also clearly does not justify proposals to reclaim 21 hectares of Dublin Bay.”

Bronwen Maher said: “The Labour Party’s preferred option for the future of Dublin Port is the retention of a vibrant, dynamic city port, removing large heavy port activity to an alternative site and without the unnecessary infilling or expanding into Dublin Bay”.

“However looking at the economic argument is only part of the challenge. What is strange about Minister Noel Dempsey’s port study is that it fails to address Climate Change issues or makes no mention of the fact that the port is located in an important EU recognised wild bird habitat, and any breach of this legislation will result in heavy fines for the State.

The Labour Party also believe that to proceed with any major development in Dublin Bay prior to the completion of the Dublin Bay Task Force’s work would be premature, and not in the interest of proper planning and development.
“The Dublin Bay Task Force should be allowed to complete its work drawing up the Master Plan for Dublin Bay, and the Labour Party calls on the Government and the Minister for the Environment John Gormley TD to intervene and ask Dublin Port to withdraw their application in the interests of proper planning and the sustainable development of the Bay”.

Earlier this year Labour Party Spokesperson on Transport, Tommy Broughan TD, made a strong submission to An Bord Pleanála opposing the 21 hectares reclamation plan on environmental, amenity and quality of life grounds and the inherent planning deficiencies of the proposal. The Labour Party submission called for the most efficient use of the existing 532 acres (215.431 hectares) of Dublin Port lands to provide for capacity out to 2030 and beyond and the abandonment of the reclamation plan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009



Today's announcement that former Green Party Councillor Bronwen Maher has joined the Labour Party is a massive vote of confidence in the Labour Party in Dublin North Central.

The Labour Party is determined to win back the valuable Dáil seat that was held in Dublin North Central until 2002. Bronwen's addition to the Labour team in our constituency shows how many political activists of various backgrounds are now turning to the Labour Party as the only means of providing real change in our country.

Bronwen's has an excellent record on issues such as Women's Rights, Childcare, Dublin Bay, Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice. Her desire to join the Labour Party shows that we are the policy leaders in these areas and that we together will win back that Dáil seat in the next General Election.

I look forward to working with Bronwen and all members of the Labour Party in Dublin North Central to help to bring about the national and local change that we need so much.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Campaign for Flood Compensation

October ‘09
Campaign for Flood Compensation
An advertisement appeared in the National Newspapers in February 2002 announcing a Government Sponsored Relief Scheme for Flood Victims.
There is no such scheme in 2009 for those affected by the floods of last August.
If it was good enough for families in 2002 then it should be good enough for families in 2009.
Please sign up to my campaign to ensure that the Department of Environment and Local Government properly compensate families and households for damage done to their property through no fault of their own.
Please support the Petition for Flood Compensation that will be sent directly to the Minister for the Environment.
‘I support the Campaign for Flood Compensation’
with your name and address to
‘I support the Campaign for Flood Compensation’
with your name and address to 086-8190336

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday September 26th 2009

The Dublin sporting public should come out in support of the Dublin Ladies Gaelic Football team in tomorrow's TG4 All-Ireland final. It is particularly important in an era where female sports are given paltry service by the national media, that positive female role-models are promoted by sporting families - research continually points to an increasing obesity crisis amongst children and particularly amongst young girls.

The Dublin Ladies team work as hard as their male counterparts without the commercial recognition and therefore they deserve a bumper Dublin crowd to cheer them on. However it is also key that supporters driving to the game park responsibly as games with smaller attendances cause the most parking problems around the stadium.

I wish the Dublin Ladies and their manager Gerry Magill every success in tomorrow's final.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


DCC Proposal to close Crumlin, Sean McDermott St and Coolock Pools will be Vehemently Opposed - Sept 23rd

The proposal outlined at today's meeting of the Arts Culture and Youth Affairs Strategic Policy Committee of Dublin City Council to close three of our city's swimming pools will be vehemently opposed by myself and other Labour Party Councillors.

These closures would have a devastating effect on the communities that they serve as thousands of members of the public use these facilities each year. These pools were designed as a public amenity, not a revenue raising exercise and it seems counter-productive in the extreme for the council to be considering closure as we face continuing childhood obesity and anti-social behaviour problems.

No closure will be accepted and all proposals to close the existing facilities will be meet with Labour opposition at every stage.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Council Behaviour Over Fairview Park Appalling

Council Behaviour Over Fairview Park Appalling - Sept 09

The behaviour of City Councillor management in relation to the reconstruction of the playground in Fairview Park following the completion of the Port Tunnel works is absolutely appalling.

Despite continuous lobbying from myself and other public representatives in relation to the playground and in relation to the construction of suitable dressing rooms for local sports clubs, it seems that the Liveline programme on RTE Radio is entitled to more information that I am, as an elected councillor.

A number of weeks ago the council confirmed to the programme that the NRA had allocated €6 million to the council in order to complete all works needed in Fairview Park, a fact not made known to me despite many council questions on the issue. The stock answer received from the council was that work would begin 'when funds were available'. It seems that City Council management have zero respect for city councillors and the people who elect them.

I have attached the reply I have received to the council question I tabled at Monday nights meeting which again fails to address many of the concerns that were raised. This latest chapter in the Fairview saga follows the council's failure to capitalise on €300,000 worth of Sports Capital Funding in the recent past for the building of a 7-a-side all-weather pitch in Fairview, the time limit for which eventually elapsed..

It is time for management to stop treating councillors, clubs and residents with disdain, and to build the park that the people deserve with the funds that are clearly available.

Question to City Manager City Council Meeting 07/09/2009

NCAC To ask the Manager for a statement in relation to Fairview Park and the statement from the NRA that they allocated €6million to Dublin City Council this year including funds specifically for improving the playground at Fairview Park? This is according to the Liveline programme on RTE Radio One last Friday the 21st of August.
Why were local Councillors not informed of this funding despite numerous council questions being tabled on the matter?
Why were local sports clubs involved in numerous meetings with the council not informed about this funding?
Why has works on the local playground not been undertaken?
Will the Manager give an absolute commitment for the completion of the new playground in Fairview Park in this calendar year of 2009 and a timescale for the construction of the project.


Dublin City Council agreed a figure of €1.6million with the National Roads Authority (NRA) in respect of disruption caused to Fairview Park as a result of the construction of the Port Tunnel. This funding together with internal resources is to be used for restoration works in Fairview Park including construction of a pavilion and a new playground.

Roads and Traffic Department sought an allocation of €8.5m in 2009 to cover anticipated needs including €1.6m for Fairview Park. The allocated amount of €6million by the NRA in 2009 was insufficient to meet the contractual commitments, including an incoming debit balance of €3m incurred by the City Council on the Port Tunnel Project and it was therefore not possible to commit to accepting the tender for the construction of the pavilion due the uncertainty with the funding.

The City Council are now rigorously pursuing the NRA to fulfil their commitments with regard to Fairview Park. Following a meeting recently with public representatives and local clubs, a commitment was made to fast track the construction of a modular pavilion to a specification agreed with Clubs. Pending clarification of the NRA funding, the likely completion date for the playground is during 2010.


Paul Clegg, Executive Manager
Tel: 222 3300

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No to Dublin Twinning with Beijing

No to Dublin City Twinning with Beijing

-July 2009
At the first meeting of the new City Council, I tabled a question to the City Manager in relation to the proposed twinning of Dublin City with Beijing which was first mooted last year. The invitation initially came from the Chinese capital and at the time many of the councillors felt that it would be inappropriate on human rights grounds for us to go down this road. It is important now that we make sure that this twinning does not go ahead.

According to the Dublin City Manager, this is still under ‘active consideration’. Twinning between two cities is an expression of friendship and the will of learning from each other. It is an expression of strong solidarity that goes over and above the normal trade and commercial relations between cities.

International organizations such as Human Rights Watch have continuously criticized the Beijing administration’s track record on the upholding of fundamental human rights. According to Amnesty International China's violation of human rights covers almost every aspect of society in China. 77% of all executions world wide are carried out in China. Hundreds of Tibetans have been incarcerated for peacefully expressing their religious beliefs. There are numerous accounts of torture and ill-treatment across all sections of society.

Irish people and the opposition parties should not allow the Irish government, when interacting with China, to continue the current practice of keeping silent on human rights abuses or “raising the issue in private.” Irish people have always stood for democracy and human rights and this campaign is an expression of solidarity with the Chinese people, but not with the Beijing administration

There is a myth that ‘twinning’ is a positive way to bring about social change and human rights improvements in countries with poor records, but this is not the case. When Shanghai twined with Cork in 2005, the reason given for the twinning was that the majority of councillors thought that only through dialogue with China can the human rights situation be improved. However, in 2006 this proved a false hope as reports broke that many hospitals across China were systematically harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.

In Dublin, the last time this proposal was before the City Council, a few weeks later the first shots were fired into Tibet. Dublin City Council, as the elected representatives of the capital city, is an important political forum and those that we honour with twinnings or with freeman awards have to be above political reproach.

This is a bad move for Dublin and one that mustn’t be allowed to take place.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Statement from Cllr Aodhan O Riordain
Thursday July 9th 2009

Labour Councillor for the Contarf Ward Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has welcomed the commitment given at last nights public meeting in Donnycarney for residents affected by recent flooding problems that funding for any structural words is 'not an issue'. The commitment was given by government representatives at the meeting.

'It is clear that the solution to the flooding problem, as outlined in the City Council report in March '09, is a major upgrading of the River Wad culvert which could cost anywhere in the region of €4million to €6million. The commitment to funding of the project is certainly welcome. However the houses in the area are currently worthless as house insurers have withdrawn cover in some cases, and no resident can sell their properties while this situation persists. These works must be undertaken immediately' Cllr O Riordain stated.

I am calling on the City Council and the OPW, who have agreed to meet on July 29th. to give a commitment that representations will be made to the Insurance Federation outlining the corrective works that are to be undertaken. We cannot allow this flood threat to persist and to act as a life sentence for the residents of Donnycarney.' Cllr O Riordain continued.

'It is also crucial that all agencies, including public representatives, commit to an ongoing process of meetings in order to ensure that this issue does not go away until it is finally resolved. If the flooding concerns of Drumcondra can be alleviated, then Donnycarney should be no different.' O Riordain concluded.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Please be advised of the following meeting that has been arranged in relation to flooding issues this WEDNESDAY, JULY 8TH at 7.00pm in LE CHÉILE, DONNYCARNEY.At this week’s meeting of City Council, I successfully passed a motion demanding that the Department of the Environment fund the €4million upgrading of the River Wad culvert:

'This Council demands that the Department of the Environment immediately provide the necessary funding to correct identified flaws in the city's flood prevention system, particularly in the North Inner City and in Clanmoyle Road, Donnycarney as previously outlined by City Council Engineers Reports (ref Report to North Central Area Committee march '09) and OPW inspections. '

The motion was ammended by the Labour Group to add:

'and to seek a meeting with the Minister for the Environment.'

The matter will also be raised by Party Leader Eamon Gilmore in the Dáil this week.


I have received the following response from Justice Minister in relation to anti-social behaviour issues in Clontarf Electoral Area including an increased number of burglaries in the Donnycarney area, a level of anti-social behaviour focusing on green spaces in the Grace Park Meadows and Grace Park Heights areas of Drumcondra and Collins Park and Celtic Park Ave areas of Donnycarney.

The question was tabled by Justice Spokesperson Pat Rabbitte.


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Ahern) by Deputy Pat Rabbitte for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2009.
* To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the continuing anti social behaviour issues in the north central Dublin area; if he has satisfied himself that adequate garda resources are available in this area; if he will take steps to ensure an adequate response from a garda station to deal with issues (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Pat Rabbitte

an increased number of burglaries in the Donnycarney area, a level of anti-social behaviour focusing on green spaces in the Grace Park Meadows and Grace Park Heights areas of Drumcondra and Collins Park and Celtic Park Ave areas of Donnycarney - Clontarf Garda Station

REPLY. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the location referred to is in Clontarf Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of difficulties being experienced by residents in this area as a result of anti-social behaviour, and the area has been designated a public order hot-spot and responsive plans put in place. I am also informed that there has been a decrease in the last two months in the number of burglaries and property related crimes recorded in the area. Members of the local Community Policing Unit and local Garda management liaise with the local community. Community Gardaí attend regular meetings with residents and any issues raised, including those referred to by the Deputy, are attended to. The matters referred to by the Deputy are also discussed by the northwestern area subcommittee of the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee. This forum provides an opportunity for representatives of An Garda Síochána, elected members and officials of the local authority, Oireachtas members and community representatives to discuss local policing issues. Incidents of public disorder and anti-social behaviour reported to the Garda authorities are the subject of investigation and dealt with appropriately, including by juvenile or adult caution, fixed charge notices or initiating criminal proceedings. Any persons found engaging in such behaviour will continue to be dealt with appropriately in accordance with the law. The area is subject to regular patrols by uniform and plain clothes personnel, including the Community Policing Unit, the Garda Mountain Bike Unit and the District Detective and Drug Units, supplemented by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Persons and vehicles are regularly stopped and searched in the area. Local Garda management closely monitors patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation is kept under review, with paramount consideration being given to the needs of residents. Current policing plans in the area are designed to address issues of crime and public order offences, including the prevention of crimes of violence against persons and property and the maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of the quality of life of residents. This strategy is central to the delivery of a policing service to the area in question.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thank You - June 6th '09

Checking the numbers on Count Day in the RDS
Thanks So Much!!

A big thanks to the residents of the Clontarf Electoral Area for supporting me in the recent local election campaign. To receive 3387 first preference votes is a humbling experience and one which I will work every day to repay over the next 5 years. I will do my utmost to live up to the trust you have placed in me.

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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marino Boys Funding Secured from Council

I am delighted that Dublin City Council have responded to my representations and have committed to undertaking upgrading works for their dilapidated clubhouse.

Marino Boys FC provide an excellent service to the local community and deserve the best of facilities to ensure that they reach their massive potential as a club. Their exclusive focus on juvenile football means that they are a community club determined to provide a service to the Marino area and beyond. Despite this they have had disappointments in the past, most notably when their application for funding to the Sports Capital Fund was turned down.

Thankfully the City Council have now agreed to help renovate the clubhouse, allowing four dressing rooms to be constructed and vastly improving the toilet facilities for the players.

Thanks are due to Eoin Ward and Celine Reilly from Dublin City Council for working in partnership with the club and assisting them with their plans

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

123 Bus Route Must be Returned

The 123 bus which serves Marino, one of the most elderly areas in the entire country, must return to its original route to ensure that these most vulnerable of our citizens are adequately served. The northward journey of the 123 bus has been changed recently with drivers stating that they could not guarantee passenger safety because of the narrow streets around Marino. This is despite the fact that this route has been successfully manoeuvred by drivers for years now.

Dublin City Council traffic officials in response to these claims have stepped up to the mark and have installed yellow boxes and double yellow lines at points where Dublin Bus declared that they were required. Despite this, the route has still not returned to its original journey, and elderly passengers are now forced to alight from the 123 at the terminus at Griffith Avenue, wait at the terminus until the bus leaves again, and then get dropped nearer to their homes by the bus which still travels southward through Marino as usual.

I am now calling on Dublin Bus to stop this nonsense immediately and to return the 123 to its original route so that the elderly residents of Marino can get the bus service that they deserve.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Party Conferences - Article for Metro Eireann

Party Conferences are a strange animal, [particularly in the Irish political context. Anyone who was fortunate enough to witness David Davin Powers live report from the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis (They don’t have conferences – they have an Ard Fheis – more of that later) would realise that they attract a rather special bred of political activist.

Davin Power was surrounded by a collection of local election candidates as he made his report to Anne Doyle in RTE’s news studios but it was the demeanour of these men – and they were all men – was what took most commentators by surprise. They have been described as ‘zombies’ these unblinking, sombre-faced goons that were convinced that their election prospects would be enhanced by appearing in the same television frame as a man from ‘da telly’. If you do manage to ‘You Tube’ this most historic moments of journalistic history, be sure to watch carefully at 69 seconds as one delegate falls from his chair only to recover his composure by facing the wrong way! Wonderful stuff. Just so you know, Fianna Fáil literally translates as ‘Soldiers of Destiny’. Some bunch of soldiers.

Of course the term ‘Ard Fheis’ was once described to me by a lecturer in modern Irish in UCD as being a most unfortunate term. Apparently the word ‘feis’ comes from the old Irish ‘bainis’ meaning ‘coming together’. ‘Bainis’ is the word also used for a wedding, and more specifically, describes the events that generally happen in the bedroom of the married couple in their wedding night. So with ‘Ard’ meaning ‘high’, you can imagine how amusing us horribly hormonal teenage students found his explanation. We in the Labour Party of course are far too international to have such an operation, despite our liberal views on sexual liberation. We have a conference every year.

Of course our conference and your average Ard Fheis follow almost exactly the same format. Motions are proposed supporting / attacking the government, all of which are generally passed unanimously, and then delegates retreat to the bar to talk election prospects into the night, followed by virtual waterfalls of alcohol. Anyone who manages to gather their thoughts and rescues a clean shirt for the morning televised session from 11am to 1pm feels very strongly that they have to maximise their spot in the limelight. However the reality is that only those who are flicking through channels to find something interesting to watch will happen across the musings of these candidates and will most likely recoil in horror before frantically seeking another channel.

Speaking at conference during airtime is also a difficult balancing act, making sure that the hall responds to you warmly while focusing your message to those watching at home. Generally your candidate will state something along the lines of ‘As I walk through (insert list of local areas here) I meet people who say to me (insert current topic here) and it is a damning indictment of the government’s failure to (do something about what I care about). It can be repetitive, and extremely boring, but for sad politicos like me, it is absolutely riveting.

Meanwhile the elections take place for the various internal party positions, the National Executive Committee and other various bodies charged with administrating the party from day to day. Such competitions are remarkable as the votes of most delegates are committed before they enter the host town, never mind the conference centre. It is fun though, especially when you know all the people so well. It is certainly an election I could never see myself fighting, as not to receive a respectable vote from your own comrades would be pretty hard to take.

That is why we public representatives realise that we are strange animals. Before we got involved in politics, we used laugh at those who appear on the shoulder of a party leader in a vain attempt to appear important on the television. Now such an opportunity cannot be passed up at any cost – the key is to appear concerned and interested – and to hope that the leader’s handlers don’t approach you afterwards and kindly suggest that you wipe your nose before you ever go within half a mile of our leader again, thank you very much.

The leader’s speech is of course the highlight of the conference and the atmosphere is generally fuelled by alcohol, with loud clapping and foot stamping and mindless yelling. The end of the speech is when the scrum begins as every half-baked politician lunges forward to congratulate the leader on his tremendous achievement and then hang around so that all the cameras can catch them being so important because they are standing beside the leader of their party.

And then the whole sorry episode generally descends into anarchy as stories are swapped, backs are slapped (and stabbed) and pints are downed. The Sunday morning motions are really for the die-hards as most are either still in bed or trying to find one. Our conference generally concludes with several standing ovations for Michael D Higgins and a pretty embarrassing redition of ‘The Red Flag’ which sounds exactly like ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ without the happy ending.

But don’t let me put you off. Join a party, become a delegate, go to conference, drink yourself stupid, run for national executive, shake the leaders hand, scream like crazy at his speech and spread the rumour that you’re set for an assault on the electorate come the next election. It is fun – honestly!! And if you’re really lucky, you might even get yourself on telly!

Friday, March 13, 2009

INTO must convince public that strike is in defence of Education, not merely about Pension Levy

Today's INTO announcement of a one-day strike planned for March 30th is an unsurprising development because of the depth of feeling aroused by the recent education cuts and the pension levy.

However it is essential, in this era of exploding unemployment, that the INTO convince the Irish people that this strike is not merely about the unfairness of the pension levy, but rather about the future of education at primary level and against the cuts that will act as a life sentence for so many children.

Pain is to be felt across the board, and it is true that many teachers have job security incomparable in the private sector. It is imperative that the INTO leadership focus on the hurt caused to children by cuts in book grants, increase in class sizes, cuts in traveller grants, disadvantage grants, special education and the postponement of the EPSEN Act .

As so many workers are struggling to keep their families together, this cannot descend into a public-private sector spat. If this strike action is in relation to cuts in education across the board then it will be supported, If the focus is purely on the pension levy, then the INTO risk arousing little public sympathy for their efforts.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Gogarty Should Resign as Education Committee Chairman

The resignation of Paul Gogarty as Education Spokesperson is a meaningless gesture. As a government TD, the position of Education Spokesperson for the Green Party was a pointless position. His chairmanship of the Oireachtas Education Committee is another matter.

If Paul Gogarty feels that strongly about the savage cuts in education, which deliberately target the most vulnerable in our society, then he should put his money where his mouth is and resign this position which comes with generous salary top-up and expenses.

The time for meaningless stances is over. The time to defend education has arrived. If Gogarty really cared about class sizes, traveller education, disadvantaged education, the HSCL scheme, book grants, language support or the other measures that have been cut by this uncaring administration then not only would he resign from his chairmanship, he would resign from government completely.

It is clear that empty gestures are all that the Green Party are reduced to.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aodhán on Morning Ireland

Listen to Aodhán on Morning Ireland talking about the closing of Clonturk House, residential home for elderly blind men.
Click on the link below:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New HSE low as Centre for Elderly Blind Men closed with loss of 24 staff jobs from St Josephs, Drumcondra

This evening I have learned the appalling news that the Rosminian Order located at the St Josephs Centre for the Visually Impaired and the HSE are to close Clonturk House, a residential facility for elderly blind men.

This closure means that 13 elderly blind men between the ages of 70 and 90 will have to be re-located and 24 staff will have to lose their jobs, as the HSE state they do not have the funds to upgrade the facility.

Only last month, I attended a public meeting where the Rosminian Order explained in great detail their plans to lodge a planning application for the construction of apartment blocks on a seven-acre site within the campus to fund the upgrading of their school. The application is for 7 blocks of 362 apartments ranging in height from four to eight storeys. It is hoped that this development will fund the school building costs of approximately €35million - only €15 million of which was provisionally promised by the Department of Education five years ago with no firm commitment.

No mention was made at any meeting, and I attended two such meetings, of any intention to change the status of the long-serving residents, or that they weren't to be included in the long term plans for the centre. Some of these residents have lived in Clonturk House for 50 years.

I am demanding immediately a full statement from the HSE and the Rosminian Order in relation to this matter and a reversal of this appaling decision, made in a cruel and underhanded fashion with little regard to the residents their carers or the families that care for them.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Appearance on Marian Finucane Show - Sun Feb 8th

Appearance On Marian Finucane Show last
Sunday February 8th on RTE Radio One.

Use the link below to listen to the show:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Eamon Gilmore Visit, Thursday February 12th.

Eamon Gilmore to visit the Clontarf Ward next Thursday, February 12th.
Please find below the itinerary for the day.

Meeting principal, teachers and parents of Belgrove Junior Boys School, Seafield Road, Clontarf

Lunch / Tea - Killester

4.00pm Launch of 'Senior Citizens Forum' Policy Document, Carlton Hall, Marino

5.00pm Open canvass around narrow streets of Marino with local members.

Meeting Officials and Parents of Marino Boys FC, Marino

Crobh Chiaran GAA Club, Donnycarney

Campaign Launch with Eamon Dunphy Graingers, Malahide Road, Marino.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Quote in Irish Times re: Parents in Education

Quote in today's Irish Times about parental involvment in education:

Aodhan O’Riordaín, principal of St Laurence O’Toole primary school for girls in Sheriff St, Dublin, believes that the programme will be supportive to parents of children attending the school.

“Courses like these acknowledge that parenting is difficult. Parents often think that they don’t need help and that they have a good relationship with their children but society is changing so rapidly that every parent needs to know how to maximise the potential of their children. And children react more to parents than to anyone in a school. They love their parents so when education becomes part of the relationship between a parent and a child, the effect is unstoppable.”

Monday, February 02, 2009

Fianna Fáil Motion to Cut Councillor Salary by 10% Hypocritical

The motion proposed tonight by members of the Fianna Fáil group on Dublin City Council is hypocritical in the extreme and classic cheap electoral politics.

The proposal that each member of Dublin City Council should take a 10% pay cut has been referred to the Protocol and Selection Committee however it goes nowhere to uncovering the real scandal of payments to Councillors at the taxpayers expense?

Will the Fianna Fáil members agree to a root and branch review of Councillor Expenses?
Why are councillor mobile bills paid to the tune of €30,000 per year?
Why are lavish expenses paid to councillors who attend meaningless conferences around the country?
How many councillors in the Fianna Fáil group have taken lifts in colleagues cars to meetings in other counties and then claimed travel expenses?
Why is there no attempt to take 10% or more from the tax-free expenses afforded to councillors which would amass a greater saving for the council.
Fianna Fáil representatives attempts to distance themselves from the mess that their government colleagues have made and to present themselves as guardians of the solution is pathetic and unworthy of council support.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Letter published in the Irish Times.

Letter published in the Irish Times. See for follow-up interview on today's programme with Mary Wilson.

Madam, – In the wake of the the disturbing details of the Roscommon incest and child abuse case, it is imperative now that we close all loopholes that limit the State’s capacity to react to suspicions of neglect for the benefit of all our children.

One such legislative barrier is the provision within the 2000 Education Welfare Act which states that the functions of the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) are limited to children between the ages of six and 16. Crucially, there is no statutory requirement for children to be enrolled in school before the age of six, which in effect means that teachers, principals and NEWB officers are powerless to intervene in the case of chronic absenteeism of a child who is enrolled in a school under that age. At that most important developmental stage in a child’s education, the infant years, the NEWB has no statutory grounds to intervene in a case of serious absenteeism, which many educators identify as a key indication of child neglect.

It is clear now that this legislation must be amended to ensure that whenever a child is enrolled in school, the powers afforded to the NEWB under the Educational Welfare Act can be enforced, regardless of the child’s age. Such a change would ensure that those in the school community and those charged with the responsibility of monitoring school attendance can make the maximum difference at the earliest opportunity. – Is mise,


Clonliffe Avenue,


Dublin 3.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Appearance on RTE Radio's Spirit Moves Programme

Aodhán's appearance on RTE Radio One Spirit Moves Programme. Click here to listen:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Attendance Legislation Limits School Capacity to Intervene at Earliest Stages of Neglect

With Irish society still reeling with the full disclosure of the disturbing details of the Roscommon incest and child abuse case, it is imperative now that we close all loopholes that limit the states capacity to react to suspicions of neglect for the benefit of all our children.

One such legislative barrier is the provision within the 2000 Education Welfare Act which states that the functions of the National Educational Welfare Board are limited to children between the ages of six and sixteen. Crucially there is no statutory requirement for children to be enrolled in school before the age of six, which in effect means that teachers, principals and NEWB officers are powerless to intervene in a case of chronic absenteeism of a child who is enrolled in a school under that age. At that most important developmental stage in a child's education, the infant years, the NEWB has no statutory grounds to intervene in a case of serious absenteeism which many educators point to as an indication of child neglect.

It is clear now that this legislation must be amended to ensure that wherever a child is enrolled in a school that the powers afforded to the NEWB under the Educational Welfare act can be enforced, regardless of the child's age. Such a change would ensure that those in the school community and those charged with the responsibility of monitoring school attendance can make the maximum difference at the earliest opportunity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

'St Josephs Centre for Visually Impaired' Forced to Sell Land to Finance School Building Costs after Government Betrayal

At a meeting staged today, the St Joseph's Centre for the Visually Impaired outlined plans to the local community to redevelop part of their campus in order to finance the rebuilding of their facilities, which are in dire need of repair.

Despite the fact that St Joseph's serves some of the most vulnerable children in the state, the Department of Education have repeatedly frustrated the management board's attempts to redevelop the schools and have now been forced to prostitute themselves to the property market in order to provide the kind of service that they feel their students deserve.

It is proposed that a seven-acre site within the campus will be re-developed to house 7 blocks of 362 apartments ranging in height from four to eight storeys. It is hoped that this development will fund the school building costs of approximately €35million - only €15 million of which was provisionally promised by the Department of Education five years ago with no firm commitment.

It is an absolute scandal that some of the most needy children in the country cannot have their needs directly met by the state. What message does it send to the families of those suffering from a visual impairment when this excellent educational facility is forced to gamble in the property market to secure the future of the centre. The services offered by St Joseph's are remarkable, considering their limited resources:
Assessment Service
Preschool and Early Intervention
Primary and Secondary Education
Vocational Training
Family Resource Centre
National Braille Production Centre
Training and Research Department
Ophthalmology Clinic
Occupational Therapy
Speech and Language Therapy
Residential Service
Library and Information Service
I am calling on the Minister for Education to immediately meet with the trustees and Board of Management of St Joseph's Centre for the Visually Impaired and to commit to the funding needed to help those children who cannot help themselves. The measure of a civilised society is how we serve the needs of our most vulnerable. In this case it is quite clear that the Department of Education have acted in a most uncivilised fashion.

Clontarf Shooting Shows that Gun is Beginning to Rule the Streets

The shots fired today at the junction of Vernon Ave and the Clontarf Road in an attempted raid on a Brinks Allied van show quite clearly that the rule of the gun is gradually taking over on the streets of Dublin.

Following the Dublin shooting in Summerhill earlier this month and another fatal shooting in Tallaght this morning, it is quite clear that there is no sign of a decrease in the gun culture that threatens the very stability of our democracy. While all eyes have been securely fixed on the crisis in the banking system, the continuing use of guns to exact revenge and a perverse form of justice on our streets must remains a matter of utmost concern to the government.

It is clear now that an entirely new approach is needed with improved resources for the Gardai coupled with an increased focus on education along the lines of what the late Tony Gregory always advocated. Are we now facing another year of blood drained streets or will the government stand by those public servants who are our only hope in tackling this creeping evil?