Paper cup; Green Party councillor at Dublin City Council Claire Byrne
After a series of motions submitted by Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne in the Environment Strategic Policy Committee, Dublin City Council have now agreed to set up an internal committee looking at banning non-recyclable coffee cups in their own buildings, reviewing catering agreements with suppliers, and will work to introduce the ban in markets and cafes within city parks.
This internal campaign will be supported by a city-wide external communications campaign to promote reusable coffee cups to the general public.
Speaking following the agreement, Councillor Byrne said: “I am delighted with this move by Dublin City Council. This is a great step towards reducing general waste in the city and increasing our recycling rates.
“We are throwing away 200 million coffee cups every year which end up in landfill or incineration. These type of measures, working in conjunction with organisations such as Conscious Cup Campaign, will take a large number of disposable coffee cups out of our waste stream.”
Rosemary Fearsaor Hughes (left with guide dog Quilla) and Eileen Gleeson
An open letter to Eileen Gleeson, Dublin Regional Housing Executive, Dublin City Council
As a sight-impaired rough sleeper, I wish to point out some of your misconceptions. Your statement on the causes of homelessness is discriminatory at least and ill advised at best.
I am writing this as a homeless person angered at your flagrant disregard towards other human beings, since you seem to forget that we are human, to rebuke you for the sweeping statement you have made about individuals who find themselves without accommodation.
How many homeless people do you know on a personal level?
We are not all in this situation through “bad behaviour” or through substance abuse. I was without a home and family overnight: not all “homeless people” are bums who want to live off welfare. Many find themselves homeless as a result of landlord greed, or through escaping abusive relationships.
Legislation governing the selling of handicrafts and other honest means of making a living make it impossible for individuals to save money to access private rented accommodation.
I am a Big Issue vendor, on many occasion I have experienced persecution for selling handicrafts that I have made, postcards and other small souvenirs on the streets, I want to earn a living and I will never beg. I am not in receipt of Social Welfare.
I, like many other rough sleepers, do not abuse any substances, including tobacco or alcohol, which is one of several reasons why I wish to have nothing to do with your inadequate and inaccessible hostels, accessed through a degrading freephone number.
Most of the “emergency accommodation ” facilities are unsuitable for an individual with mobility issues or sight impairment. If an accessible bed was available I would gladly accept it, that said there are not enough beds available anyway. The facilities are undignified and individual privacy is minimal.
I am computer literate and want to give something back. I not only read Braille, but I can teach it. I know many other homeless people who want opportunities to contribute to the society which has literally left us in the gutter.
However, once you have the stigma of having been homeless your prospects diminish greatly and your opportunities for obtaining meaningful long-term employment vanish. You are perpetuating that stigma by implying that all who have been or are homeless are in that position through their own wrong doing!
I am going to cast some aspersions of my own. I can be reasonably certain that you have never been without food and not known how you were going to find your next meal, nor that you have ever needed to find cardboard to bed down in a doorway.
You have had an easy life where wants and needs are easily confused. You are out of touch with the reality of what it is to survive with little or nothing and I cannot see how you can be of any benefit to the DHRE, because you have little idea about homelessness.
What is certain is that, on your watch, precisely nothing has been done to solve the long-term problem of homelessness in Dublin. I commend those charities who are doing what they can, which is more than I can say for the DHRE.
So I ask you Eileen Gleeson, how can someone so ill-informed about homelessness and clearly and demonstrably incompetent stay in a job for she is unsuitable with the DHRE?
Eileen Gleeson, Director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE). Dublin City Council, through the DHRE, is the lead local authority in the response to Homelessness in Dublin.
Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, said long-term homelessness resulting from years of “bad behaviour” cannot be solved by the efforts of “ad hoc” unauthorised groups.
“Let’s be under no illusion here, when somebody becomes homeless it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years of bad behaviour probably, or behaviour that isn’t the behaviour of you and me,” she told Dublin City Council’s policing committee.
“They’re afraid to come in, they’re reluctant, they’re quite happy to continue with the chaotic lifestyle they have. If somebody provides them with some sort of halfway shelter they’ll willingly take it.”
Homeless people are “entitled to dignity”, she said, but they must be linked up with expert staff who can break the cycle and get them off the streets permanently. “If they’re only getting a cup of soup and they’re homeless it isn’t helpful,” she told councillors.
“Some of this narrative has seeped into international coverage of our housing system and is damaging to Ireland’s international reputation, that our social response to this issue is being portrayed as dysfunctional.
As Teachta Dála we have a responsibility in this regard and the good work being done in difficult circumstances needs to be recognised.”
Junior Housing Minister Damien English in the Dáil last night.
Ellis Quay in Dublin and results of a traffic survey
During a Central Area Committee meeting of Dublin City Council.
The Liffey Cycle Route was discussed.
Further to this…
Cian McGinty, of Irish Cycle, writes:
A proposal to move cars off Dublin’s quays for a section around Smithfield was “not made lightly” and is part of “difficult decisions” required for a workable plan for the Liffey Cycle Route, Dublin City Council’s director of traffic said yesterday.
He was speaking at a presentation on the project at a meeting of the central area committee of Dublin City Council yesterday, where it was also made public that bicycles now outnumber cars on Ellis Quay in the morning rush hour.
The current proposal for the Liffey Cycle Route includes prioritising walking, cycling and buses on the quays, while diverting motorists off the quays just before Ellis Quay and around Smithfield using streets which are already part of the city’s inner orbital traffic route.
Speaking about the proposed detour of motorists, Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services with the transport section of the council, said: “That’s possibly one of the more contentious aspects of the scheme but it was not arrived at lightly — it was the result of a long process which kicked off in 2012.”
“We’re trying to accommodate all modes on the quays, but where we can’t we have to make some difficult decisions,” said O’Brien. He highlighted how how this is the seventh option for the cycle route to be looked at in detail — even more options were looked at, but deemed unworkable.
He said that the council were at the moment looking at detailed traffic impact assessment, noise and air quality assessments, and an environmental screening report to see if the plan needs to be refereed to An Bord Pleanála.
Cllr Janice Boylan (SF) said that she and other councillors had been contacted by one of the principals of the two schools on North Brunswick Street who expressed concern about extra traffic from motorists diverted off the quays. She said that the roads were already congested for the children arriving by car, bicycle and on foot.
Cllr Christy Burke (independent) said the overall plan was a “great proposal”, but only after he outlined how he is opposed to many practical elements of the plan. He said he was against the removal of car parking spaces along the quays, and he was against both the reallocation a traffic lane and removal of trees at Bachelors Walk.
Regarding Bachelors Walk, council officials said that the removal of the trees was needed if both a bus and a lane for car access were to be maintained. Having only bus lanes and the cycle route on Bachelors Walk a part of a draft City Centre Transport Study proposals, but car park owners and retailers have so-far successfully lobbied against this.
Cllr Burke also asked how many car parking spaces would be lost and how would the council be “compensating the motorists” and the “city’s coffers”.
While lightly banging his hand off the table, Cllr Burke said: “A lot of money is going into cycle routes… but cyclists must learn to obey and respect the rules of the road… they must wear their high-vis, they must have front and rear lights…” and stop at red lights.
…Cllr Nial Ring (Independent) said: “I was always opposed to this and, I got further information this morning… and I’m even more opposed to it now.” Cllr Ring is a serial objector to cycle paths who has objected to an upgrade of the North Strand cycle route on “mental health” grounds and he also tried to get motoring added to a policy on sustainable transport.