Dan Boyle: Jaw Jaw Is Better Than Flaw Flaw


Dan Boyle

Maybe I’ve become more patient, more accepting, more tolerant, but I am finding that there is much to be encouraged about in how decisions are being made, particularly at a local level.
Perhaps it is as a result of the response to COVID. It seems there is a willingness to see and think about things differently.

The past six months have been revelatory in Cork. Things that weren’t before thought possible, or were subject to interminable gestation, were coming immediately into being.

Café society, outdoor dining, a largely pedestrianised City Centre have been knit together almost overnight. Kilometres of protected cycleways were marked out, seemingly out of nowhere. What has been most impressive about this new dispensation is the degree of public buy in that is being achieved.

When I first was elected I used to despair at what passed for public consultation in this country. Where it existed at all it was at best a venting exercise, where people were given the opportunity of stating concerns or misgivings, without ever having those concerns addressed.

For any consultation to be effective, it is important that those being consulted with believe that their views can change what is being proposed. Of equal importance, is that those who eventually decide realise that whatever is proposed may have to be changed.

One area where in Cork we have seen particular benefits of this approach, has been in approving new social housing projects. Over the past eighteen months since I have returned as a councillor, we have had around a dozen housing projects to consider. All have been approved and have been comprehensively approved.

All of these projects were significantly changed from their original proposal to what was eventually decided on. As current chair of our local area committee, I have had the opportunity of seeing through a project from its original design stage.

From my previous experience of public consultation I’ve learned that, too often, it has it proved to be a passive experience. Legislation requires the placing of advertisements in local newspapers then wait to see what response, if any, follows. Engagement has to coaxed. It can’t exist in a vacuum.

With this housing proposal I sought to provoke engagement. I copied the site map and delivered same to householders living around the site. This provoked about a dozen reactions. Some of which were more negative than I hoped. This brought about a virtual meeting between local residents, councillors and council officials. The concerns were real. They were about boundaries, about vantage points, about possible increased traffic levels.

It made formulating a scheme difficult but not impossible. The council officials have come back with a scheme that has buildings with less storeys, but the same number of units with a different configuration.

Having a consultation that has been deeper and more real, met with a willingness to consider and adopt change, is bringing about an acceptable and necessary housing scheme. All this without ever crossing the threshold of social housing, of its nature, being thought of as inherently wrong.

Experiences like this are still exceptions rather than the rule. That they are happening at all gives me great cause for hope.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

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5 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Jaw Jaw Is Better Than Flaw Flaw

  1. Just Sayin

    I will never forget the crimes against humanity commited by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

    At least in Germany there is a chance that the government will be made to pay.
    The lawyer who ran the class action against VW (for the diesel fraud) is making a case against the German Government and trying to start a class action in the US.

    He explains the fraud very well in his video.

  2. Toby

    Delighted to see Cork getting some upgrading. Shame that such a pretty city is saddled with unbearable people.

    1. Just Sayin

      “Café society, outdoor dining, a largely pedestrianised City Centre have been knit together almost overnight. Kilometres of protected cycleways were marked out, seemingly out of nowhere.”

      Yes well done on the city centre ‘Cafe Society’ changes, but it’s insanity to simply stick in cycle lanes all over the place withouth the proper safety and impact assessmsnt being done first.

      In Dublin the new cycle lanes on Newtownpark avenue (with additional contra flow cycle lane) is a perfect example of this stupidity.

      Traffic turning left across the cycle lanes will need to look to their left for cycles attempting to overtake them as their car is turning.

      This of course is standard practice for turning left at any junction with or without a cycle lane.

      However the driver also needs to be looking ahead into the contraflow cycle lane.
      Hopefully they will spot that cyclist before they end up on the bonnet.

      That’s a totally new type of junction for most motorists but as the bike is coming straight at them they may well spot it anyway.

      Traffic turning right across the cycle lanes will be primarily focused on oncoming cars in the opposite lane, oncoming bikes (three lanes over) would be a secondary focus.
      Bicycles travelling in the same direction as the car (two lanes over) a third focus will be a new feature of this type of junction.

      Those bicycles will be harder to spot as the focus is in the opposite direction.
      Those bikes will be particularly difficult to see if the car is waiting for a gap in oncoming traffic, as when the gap occurs, the last car that has just gone through the junction will be in the perfect position to block line of sight to that bicycle.

      Well done to Dan and all the blunders who are ramming through nonsencial infrastructure changes withouth properly evaluating the consequences.

      I propose that we setup a sweepstake where we all take guesses at the date of the first death on the Newtownpark Avenue cycle lane. Perhaps Dan will give a prize to whomever gets closest to the correct date.

      1. Joe

        Excellent post “Just Sayin”

        Dan’s smug condescending nonsense is typical of the arrogance of the FG on bikes Greenwash party. Dan get up off your butt, do something decent for once and e.g. instruct your government colleagues to pay the trainee nurses.

        When the Greenwash party are eradicated in the next election the urban development disasters they promote will be rolled back.

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