Tag Archives: Dublin City Council

From top: Soc Dem Dublin City Councillor Gary Gannon (left) leaving last Monday’s council meeting under Garda protection; resolution from Soc Dem students.

Last night.

Context.

Via DCU Soc Dems

Ronan Emmet writes:

‘I won’t be supporting any Soc Dem candidates after this disappointing vote. So much promise as a party, but it’s all optics it seems. The electorate are coming for you and you underestimate the damage this has done your party. You won’t have any new TDs elected in Dublin…’

Fight!

Yesterday: Passed Under Garda Protection

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin tweetz:

A lot confusion over figures involved in O’Devaney Gardens deal. [Above] is a table based on the [city council] manager’s report from yesterday. It shows that there is no affordable purchase or rental homes in the deal and the massive gains for Bartra from land value extraction and profit.

Earlier…

Earlier…

O’Devaney Gardens site in Dublin 7; at a Dublin City Council meeting last night; Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon being escorted last night from the meeting as he was followed by protestors against a deal over the site

Last night.

At a meeting of Dublin City Council in Dublin City Hall.

Activists entered the chamber of city hall in a reported attempt to stop a council vote to ratify a €7million deal with developers Bartra Capital for the regeneration of O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin 7.

The vote went ahead despite the protest and the deal was approved by 39 votes to 18.

Olivia Kelly, in The Irish Times, reports this morning:

“The deal, which was approved by 39 votes to 18, will see more than 800 new homes on the site of the former flat complex close to the Phoenix Park, 30 per cent of them to be used for social housing and 20 per cent for affordable purchase.

“The remaining 50 per cent are described as “developer units”, which Bartra can sell at a profit.”

Some councillors who voted in favour of the deal, including Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon, were escorted from the meeting by gardai after it concluded.

Meanwhile…

From the Social Democrats’ manifesto in this year’s local elections…

Meanwhile…

Former Dublin City Councillor with the Workers’ Party Éilís Ryan tweeted last night…

“So, it’s a done deal. The Green Party, Labour, Social Democrats, through either ignorance or malice, have sold off the last hope for public housing in Dublin City. They have reminded me, once again, why I am a socialist – not a “social democrat.” Compromise is not a good plan in 2019.

“I broke down the numbers of their so-called “affordable” housing” deal – a €150K/unit public handout to Bartra capital for affordable purchase, and “affordable rental” purchased for €500K/unit by the state – requiring rents of €1,600/month.

“€1600 / month for 30 years is the rent that will be required to repay the cost of those €500,000 units we are buying from Bartra.

“And at €1,600/month, the rent will be 60% the average household income in Dublin.

“We gave them our land, now we are buying housing back from them, covering their profits while we are at it.

“It’s a developer’s dream come true.

“Was there an alternative? In 2016, a majority of city councillors supported my Workers’ Party motion for mixed income, public housing on the site.

“Then they backed down.”

Previously: O’Devaney’s D-Day

This morning.

Outside the offices of Dublin City Council on Wood Quay, Dublin 8.

Cyclists held a ‘die-in’ demonstration following the death of Neeraj Jain (top) who was cycling to work last Friday morning when his bike collided with a cement mixer at the back of the building site of the National Children’s Hospital.

Mr Jain, from Faridabad, India, moved to Ireland in 2018 to pursue a Masters degree in Engineering in UCD and was working with Deloitte in Dublin.

UPDATE:

Table from I Bike Dublin

I Bike Dublin has announced that it will hold a second ‘die-in’ demonstration outside Leinster House at 1pm tomorrow.

They write:

During the tenure of our last three Transport Ministers – Leo Varadkar, Paschal Donohoe and Shane Ross – 85 people have been killed while cycling on Ireland’s roads.

Mr Neeraj Jain, who was killed in Kilmainham last Friday, is the 39th person to die while cycling since the formation of the current government.

Fine Gael are the only party in Dáil Éireann who objected to a motion calling on the level of investment in cycling and walking to reach 20% of all capital spend on land transport.

Despite the Citizens’ Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change also recommending this level of investment, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and his colleagues have rejected these recommendations and continued to spin minuscule investments as something to be celebrated while, at the same time, announcing billions of euro in funding for new roads.

Leo Varadkar’s government, with their conservative 20th century car-first approach, are balancing the transport budget with the lives of people who will die cycling.

Minister Ross, who takes years to get a line of text brought into law has long lost the respect of people who cycle.

His penchant for photo ops is matched only by his penchant for avoiding eye contact with those to whom he has made past promises.

The minister has also been unwavering in his support of the Road Safety Authority, who have embarked on a multi-year campaign of victim-blaming, embodied by their fetishisation of high visibility vests.

We call on the government to:

– Immediately allocate 20% of the Land Transport Budget towards active travel (walking and cycling) and prioritise the implementation of the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan.

– Increase funding of An Garda Síochána coupled with zero-tolerance enforcement of illegal use of cycle lanes, bus lanes and bus corridors.

– Introduce mandatory regulations for HGVs in urban areas to ensure maximum visibility from the driver position.

– Immediately introduce a €500 e-bike grant for all Irish residents regardless of income.

Yesterday: ‘This Death Marks A Turning Point’

Rollingnews

Mural on Grantham Street, Dublin 8

Artistic collective Subset Dublin tweetz:

This piece was produced as part of a wider series of artworks titled “Mental Health”. The aim being to spark consideration and conversation regarding the relationship each person has with themselves. And the necessity to work at and maintain its progress and development.

Meanwhile…

Dublin City Council’s Planning Enforcement department has written to Subset…

Sigh.

Previously: A Thinking Cap

The first day of Dublin City Council’s traffic-free trial in College Green, Dublin 2, on July 21 

Ronan Early, in The Times Ireland edition, reports:

Dublin City Council spent €17,000 renting metal barriers used during the pedestrianisation of College Green over the summer.

Vehicles were banned from Dame Street for three Sundays, July 21, 28 and August 4, as a pilot project.

…A freedom of information request by The Times has revealed that the council paid €17,000 to Actavo, the engineering services group owned by the businessman Denis O’Brien, to rent the barriers.

…Neasa Hourigan, a Green Party councillor and member of the group Streets are for People, said she could not understand why the council needed to spend almost €6,000 a day on barriers to pedestrianise a street.

Dublin council spent €17,000 on barriers for College Green pedestrianisation (The Times Ireland edition, Ronan Early)

Previously: Pedestrians Rule

From top: Tánaiste Simon Coveney,  Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary

Yesterday.

In the Dáil.

Opposition TDs raised the High Court revelations that officials from Dublin City Council were aware and recommended that protection money be paid to two violent criminals so that council houses could be built in west Dublin.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty read out a section of a letter Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh wrote to the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, the then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and the then junior housing minister Catherine Byrne on Christmas Eve 2016.

The section read:

“It is my firm belief that if this work does not progress then we are condemning Cherry Orchard to a future of dereliction and abandonment. No homes or services will be built until this criminality is comprehensively tackled.”

Mr Doherty said Mr Ó Snodaigh requested a meeting before the new year but received no response from Mr Coveney.

Mr Doherty added:

On 5 January 2017, Deputy Ó Snodaigh again wrote to Co-operative Housing Ireland, Dublin City Council, the then Minister for Justice and Equality, the then Minister of State with responsibility for communities, the Garda and the Tánaiste in his former position of Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

“The correspondence was directly addressed to the Minister.

“Deputy Ó Snodaigh informed all recipients that matters had escalated</strong, with criminal elements setting out conditions of commencement of construction works, with the Garda and Dublin City Council both aware of it.

“He again requested a meeting with the Minister for Justice and Equality, the local superintendents and others to ensure the site would not be compromised and that the demands of criminals would not be accepted.

“He requested that a Garda task force be set up to ensure work on the site could commence without workers, security staff or the Cherry Orchard development being held to ransom by criminal demands.

“Deputy Ó Snodaigh stated in his letter that he was of the firm belief that if there was submission to the demands of these criminal elements, there would be contagion, not only for other sites in Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard, but throughout the city as word of capitulation would spread.

“On 13 January 2017, more than two weeks after my colleague’s initial letter, the then Minister for Justice and Equality declined a meeting, with no response from the Tánaiste in his then role of Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government or acknowledgement of either letter sent to him directly.

“On Tuesday, approximately three years after my colleague’s request for engagement with the Departments dealing with housing and justice, as well as the Garda, the High Court was told that Dublin City Council either paid or instructed contractors to pay protection money totalling more than €500,000 on three separate sites, including the Cherry Orchard site.

“The Criminal Assets Bureau has stated that a council official arranged payments, with the council denying the allegation. We have heard the court has opened an initial investigation but that does not go far enough.

“We need to know what others knew and why so many, including the then Minister for Justice and Equality and the current Tánaiste, did nothing despite being warned of the intimidation against site staff by these criminal elements as early as 2016.

That was before over €500,000 was paid.”

“The current Minister for Housing, Community and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, has stated he only learned about this the day before yesterday.

“The Tánaiste, however, was informed about this by Deputy Ó Snodaigh on Christmas Eve 2016, as well as on 5 January. The Tánaiste also received a letter from Housing Co-operative Ireland stating that it agreed with the concerns of Deputy Ó Snodaigh and his request to meet the Tánaiste and other Ministers to take on this issue.

“We have now learned that criminal elements have been paid €500,000 from the public purse. Will the Tánaiste explain to this House his inaction on this serious matter?”

The Tánaiste Simon Coveney told Mr Doherty that it wasn’t correct to say Ms Fitzgerald refused to meet with Mr Ó Snodaigh and rather that there was an ongoing Garda investigation.

He then read out Ms Fitzgerald’s response to Mr Ó Snodaigh.

“I am advised by the Commissioner that gardaí are pursuing a thorough investigation of the incident in question and are engaging with all relevant parties with a view to facilitating the safe return of contractors to the site.

“I understand that following local protests, construction work had been temporarily suspended to allow for discussion of the issues in dispute.

“While gardaí encouraged all parties to resolve their differences, there was continuing opposition when works resumed and it was at this juncture, on 19 December, that the shocking petrol bomb attack took place.

“I am advised that Dublin City Council, quite understandably, felt it was necessary to suspend work on the site.

“I am further advised that local Garda management has instituted a specific crime prevention initiative, with regular patrols on the Oranmore Road, Cherry Orchard and Croftwood areas, including the construction site.

“I also understand that a meeting has been arranged for today, Friday 13 January, between local gardaí, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Dublin City Council and the security firm which is contracted for the construction project.

With reference to the suggestion that criminal elements may be attempting to extract protection money, I am advised that gardaí have not received complaints to this effect.

“Needless to say, I would urge anyone who may have relevant information to support such a serious criminal allegation to provide full details to the Garda without delay.

“In view of the foregoing, An Garda Síochána is clearly the most appropriate authority to deal with the present situation and, especially as a Garda investigation is ongoing, I do not feel that a meeting between us would be appropriate at this time.

“You will appreciate that it is not open to me to intervene in particular Garda investigations.”

Mr Coveney went on to say:

“Deputy Ó Snodaigh did good work here and raised issues that were genuine. What I am saying is that I was not aware of it.

“If I was, I would have raised it with the Minister for Justice and Equality. I am not saying emails were not sent to my office.

“I am trying to understand what happened in this regard. However, I am also saying that the appropriate response was from the Minister for Justice and Equality. This is a Garda issue, and was a Garda issue at the time.

“That is what I read out in the context of the response that the Tánaiste at that point, Frances Fitzgerald, made. I am not disputing that this a serious issue. It was raised and sent to my office.

“We did not respond to the Deputy, as far as I am aware. That is because I was not involved. Whether I should have been is a different issue, but I did not have this issue raised with me and, therefore, I did not speak to the Deputy or respond to him.”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary likened reports about the matter to “something from a mafia documentary or The Sopranos”.

He then went on to say:

“What we know is that Dublin City Council states it did not pay out any council money, but one of the builders says they were advised by a Dublin City Council official to pay criminals.

“The Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, was informed of this by Deputy Ó Snodaigh and says she passed on the information to the Garda. She has not said, however, whether she passed it on to the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, who said the first he had heard of it was yesterday.

“We also know, as of this morning, that the office of the then Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, was informed of the case and that an acknowledgement was issued that the letter had been received.

“She did not, however, follow it up with a meeting. Again, this suggests there was knowledge in government of a problem at Dublin City Council and that nothing was done about it.

“In September 2016 the Evening Herald carried a front page story about the issue. It led with the headline, BLOODBATH MOB GUARD COUNCIL SITE.

“The Tánaiste was Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in September 2016. Did he not follow up on the story?

“Is this common practice within the local authorities? Has the Government done anything in the past 48 hours to get a sense from Dublin City Council of what is happening and what went on?

“Does the Tánaiste think it is appropriate for Dublin City Council to carry out its own investigation, or should the Government appoint an outside investigator to get to the bottom of the matter?

“What is going on at the heart of Government?”

During his response, Tánaiste and former Housing Minister Simon Coveney said:

“…we are trying to establish what happened and when, who sent emails to whom and what action was taken as a result.

“As the then Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, I can say there was certainly email correspondence with the Department of Justice and Equality through various email traffic routes.

“My office was cc’d in some of that email traffic, but the first I heard of the issue was yesterday.

“We are now trying to establish the communication lines for the email traffic, but one thing is clear: the concerns expressed and accusations made were matters for An Garda Síochána.

“The then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, responded comprehensively to Deputy Ó Snodaigh who was raising the issue and confirmed that it was a matter for An Garda Síochána, that an investigation was ongoing and that if people had concerns, they should talk to the Garda about them.

“I have the email in front of me. Because of the accusations made and their seriousness, we need a completely independent investigation…”

“…I only learned about the issue yesterday and, to be honest, only focused on it this morning when I asked for the email traffic into and from Ministers’ offices and so on.

“As I said, Deputy Ó Snodaigh raised the issue. The email he sent was cc’d to a series of people. He did not copy it to me, as the then Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, but when one of the people who received the email, in Co-operative Housing Ireland, responded to him, my office was cc’d in that email.

“I am trying to establish what happened in that regard, but what I know for sure is that the then Minister for Justice and Equality sent a comprehensive response to the Deputy. She was the appropriate line Minister.

“This was an illegal act. Intimidation was going on and serious concerns were raised legitimately by colleagues in this House.

“Yesterday was the first I heard of it and we will now follow the trail of who knew what and when, as well as the responses. The appropriate Minister responded and this is a Garda matter.”

Meanwhile, this morning, The Irish Examiner reports that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has scrapped Dublin City Council’s planned investigation into the matter and that he will launch his own independent investigation instead.

Eoghan Murphy to lead investigation into probe over council ‘protection money’ probe (Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Yesterday: “I Tried To Roar It From The Rooftops And Was Met With Deafening Silence”

From Catherine Byrne (third left) yesterday; Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Daithi Doolin

This morning.

Further to revelations in the High Court that officials from Dublin City Council were aware and recommended that protection money be paid to two violent criminals so that council houses could be built in west Dubli.,

On Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

Sinn Féin Dublin City Council councillor Daithí Doolin has said that that he informed the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, the then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, and junior housing minister and Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne, and a number of Garda superintendents and assistant commissioners about matters concerning extortion on Christmas Eve, 2015

Cllr Doolin said he his requests for an urgent meeting were ignored. He said he wasn’t aware that Catherine Byrne TD had discussed the matter with the council (which she said yesterday).

Cllr Doolin said:

“we required a meeting for a comprehensive response. One person almost lost his life. over this. He was doused in petrol and set on fire…There was silence at the time..I tried to roar it from the  rooftops and was met with deafening silence.”

More as we get it.

Earlier: No Payment Were Made By The City Council

Dublin City Coucil offices on Wood Quay, Dublin 8

Last night.

Further to revelations at the High Court that officials from Dublin City Council were aware and recommended that protection money be paid to two violent criminals so that council houses could be built in west Dublin in 2016 and 2017.

Dublin Editor of The Irish Times Olivia Kelly reports:

Dublin City Council has denied it paid protection money to two west Dublin criminals to stop violence and intimidation at social housing construction sites in the Ballyfermot area.

…In a statement on Wednesday the council said it “does not condone the payment of protection money by any of its contractors” and “no payments were made by the City Council to the individuals concerned”.

Meanwhile…

The Herald newspaper this morning.

Dublin City Council denies paying protection money to criminals (Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times)

Yesterday: I Know Nothing

Dublin City Coucil offices on Wood Quay, Dublin 8; Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy 

Paul Reynolds, of RTÉ, reports:

Officials from Dublin City Council were aware and recommended that protection money be paid to two violent criminals so that council houses could be built in west Dublin in 2016 and 2017, the High Court has been told.

The court heard that three building firms working for the city council paid between €1,200 and €1,500 a week to Derek ‘Dee Dee’ O’Driscoll from Croftwood Grove and “his enforcer” David Reilly from nearby Croftwood Park to prevent the sites and construction staff from being attacked.

Over €250,000 in the men’s bank accounts has been declared the proceeds of crime and confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau, along with a mobile home and a horsebox.

Meanwhile…

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy was asked about the matter by Claire Byrne on RTÉ’s News At One

He said the first he became aware of the matter was this morning. He also said his department are trying to get the bottom of it “as quickly as possible”.

Meanwhile…

Eamon Melia tweetz:

Junior minister Catherine Byrne was told about criminals been paid protection money by DCC but didn’t tell her boss Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Says Eoghan Murphy, watch this space.

Council officials recommended building firms use services of violent criminals for protection (RTÉ)

UPDATE:

This afternoon.

Junior health minister Catherine Byrne was asked about the matter by Irish Examiner journalist Daniel McConnell at a Department of Health press conference concerning Budget 2020 (above).

Mr O’Connell put it to Ms Byrne that Sinn Féin TD Aengus O’Snodaigh has claimed he told Ms Byrne and the Government about the matter more than two years ago.

She said:

“I did know about the incident. It was highlighted in a newspaper around on the 19th or the 18th of December. I received an email into my office Christmas Eve, I didn’t see the email until the 29th.

“…I had rung the [Dublin] city council after I saw the incident happened and I was talking to officials and the local area officer told me that there had been an incident where there was intimidation and a JCB was burned out and the man who was driving had been injured.

“But he assured me that everything was fine and that the council were dealing with it and the guards were involved.

“After that, on the 29th, when I did receive, I looked at the letter, I read it. I was very concerned with what was in it. But I also noted in the letter that it also been brought to the guards’ attention at Clondalkin and other senior officials.

“And really, my job, at that stage, was finished because this was an investigation by An Garda Síochána.

“I suppose one of the things, I just want to make very clear, I totally condemn intimidation or extortion at any level, particularly in communities and particularly in vulnerable communities.

“Down through the years, Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard has had problems, not only significant problems around drug issues but around criminal activity aswell.

“But I totally, totally condemn them. And I want to make that very clear.”

Watch back in full here

Rollingnews

This morning.

Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

Buzz O’Neill Maxwell writes:

Despite empty promises about consultation Dublin City Counci went in this morning and destroyed dozens of healthy trees in Brickfield Park…

What is going on?

Anyone?

Meanwhile…