Response from Election Candidates

Last weekend the residents association sent the message below to the following election candidates:

As a candidate in the election for Dublin West, we would be interested to hear how you would address the following local issues that are impacting Riverwood. We would then look to share your responses with the residents.

Traffic & Transport
– Improved Transport options for Carpenterstown for access to the City Centre and the M50.
– Commitment to Metro West and to see this program escalated.
– Commitment to a traffic analysis for Carpenterstown to include a review of the traffic lights at the bottom of the Dr Troy bridge.
– Commitment to ensure a bridge is not built into Riverwood Court and there is community involvement in any process wrt closing the existing level crossings at Porterstown and Coolmine.

Schools enrollment
– To ensure a review of the enrollment policies for both primary and secondary schools for Carpenterstown and ensuring local community involvement in this review.
– To ensure transparency with the creation and policies for any schools being created in the area.
– To ensure that parents have a clear and definite understanding of where their children will go to school.

Crime and visibility with Community Gardai in Carpenterstown
– Commitment to ensuring that Community Gardai are visible in the area and that there is a commitment to Community Policing.

We got replies from David McGuinness, Jo O’Brien, Jack Chambers, Joan Burton and Roderic O’Gorman.

David McGuinness

Hi everybody,

Please feel free to share my response to your Facebook page and with your contacts.

Firstly, it is my intention to open a full-time constituency office to provide a service in Dublin 15. Residents in D15 and the Navan Road will have full-time assistance in community matters.

Carpenterstown is difficult to access from the N3 and gets heavily congested at different times. I commit to fighting for Metro West to ease the reliance on cars and people travelling to Coolmine station for the train. In addition, I want to increase the number of carriages on trains running through Coolmine and I do not support altering the level crossing at Coolmine to facilitate a bridge between Riverwood and Station Court. I have been a leading voice calling for more public engagement with the NTA. If elected, I will have a stronger voice in support of residents. 

I believe the schools issue can only be dealt with by allowing an open discussion within the community about the future of schooling for children. We have had no impact analysis of the new homes being built in Carpenterstown and the effect these will have on school places. I believe we have to review the laws governing school boards of management to ensure the local community have faith in this process. 

Blanchardstown Garda Station is down 120 Gardaí in recent years. The force stands at 12,500 but this needs to be closer to 15,000 to ensure the country is adequately policed. I want to see community police replenished but I also strongly favour the force being fit for purpose and support members moving into speciality decision such as the Special Detective Unit, Sub-Aqua Unit, K9 division etc. to ensure Garda morale is improved and that quality policing in our community can lead to promotion and elevation through the force. 

Riverwood, Carpenterstown, and Dublin West generally would be well served to elect one of its four TDs as an Independent to fight for the concerns of our community over party-political concerns. If any residents want to discuss any of this with me, they can contact me on twitter or Facebook and I would be delighted with some feedback.

Jo O’Brien

Re traffic it does not make sense to have the LUAS stop at Broombridge. No doubt in time (with the children’s hospital probably coming to James Connolly Hospital) it will be extended. Having lived abroad for many years it is easy to see what improvements can be made.
1) multi-store car parks at train stations should be build and should be free (when exchequer permits).
2) little business buses running 6-10 am and 4 to 7pm which cost a little more than public buses could take the business cars off the road if a percentage of the yearly ticket could be written off against tax
3) like the USA school buses run by the bus may also be a solution to reduce traffic.
4) circular feeder buses that pick up and drop to train stations also need to be looked at
5) all bus destinations seem to go into town.. routes that go across town (i.e around the M50) should also be looked at.

Re crime Renua has a zero tolerance attitude on crime. Zero tolerance has worked in New York.
Renua’s plan will ensure criminals experience jail not bail with a tough new sentencing system.   It has worked in New York.

Confidence has been damaged by what citizens perceive to be a ‘bail not jail’ response to serious crime. Renua will end this with a ‘three strikes’ criminal justice law designed to incarcerate serial burglars and criminal gangs who will receive a minimum mandatory sentence on the successful prosecution of the third offence.  RENUA will direct the LAW REFORM Commission to identify and recommend the specific crimes that should be subject to the three strike rule.. i.e murder rape ..etc

Renua Ireland intends to introduce legislation to provide that a judge may recommend a minimum term to be served by the offender. Where a court imposes a life sentence it must also make an order regarding the minimum term to be served by the offender before he or she may be considered for release by the Parole Board.
Renua also intends to do a nationwide research to determine where to concentrate garda resource i.e we intend to do ‘smart policing’
Examples of smart policing are the removal of road tax and replacing it with a few pence on petrol. This would free up gGarda and court time also the Garda Reserve is working well policing crowd events such as Croke Park leaving our Garda available to do real policing of our community.

Jack Chambers

1. I am completely opposed to any proposed bridge in Riverwood and will work with residents if this proposal is formalised. I am committed to improving the transport connectivity of the Carpenterstown area and I believe the discussion around Metro West needs to be explored again in the next Dáil with a view to recommencing this project in future national capital programmes. I will raise the transport analysis at Dr. Troy bridge with the Traffic Engineers in Fingal.

2. I will work with residents in Riverwood to ensure that there is proper and substantive involvement in the enrollment policies of local schools so there is certainty and transparency for all.

3. We have witnessed a large reduction in the numbers of Gardaí in the last number of years with increasing levels of crime. I will work to ensure there is increased recruitment with a significant number of community Gardaí required locally to enhance visibility and to reduce crime.

I look forward to working with the residents of Riverwood on many of the local and national issues into the future.

Joan Burton

– Schools/enrolment policies
Carpenterstown is one of the fastest growing areas in Ireland in terms of population and we have consistently sought to ensure that planning and development of schools occurred in conjunction with new housing and not as an afterthought to development. There has been very significant investment in schools in Carpenterstown in the last five years, with the opening of Luttrellstown Community College in its new building and the new Sports Hall for Castleknock Community College: funding has also been made available for a full rebuild of St Mochta’s National School and for the renovation of St. Patrick’s National School.
It is essential to ensure transparency and clarity in enrolment policies for any new schools or indeed existing schools within the area. We aim to achieve a review of enrolment policies nationally to ensure that families within the school’s local area can access their local school – the draft School Admissions Bill is an important step in this direction and will be progressed if Labour returns to government. I appreciate that the joint enrolment policy between CCC and Luttrellstown has been controversial particularly in Riverwood: John Walsh and I have had regular contact with the residents’ association regarding the concerns of parents locally. We have worked hard with parents and the residents’ association to clarify the policy over the past three years and ensure that all parents had a place in one of the two local post-primary schools for their children. It is vital that parents know where their children can go to school well in advance and are able to plan for the transition from primary to secondary school. The new legislation at national level is likely to lead to a review of enrolment policies for primary and secondary schools in Dublin 15. Future enrolment policies for primary and secondary schools in the area should be informed by the views of local communities and there should be local community involvement in any review of enrolment policies for either primary or secondary schools – this can be achieved through parents’ associations represented on school boards of management and direct consultation with residents’ associations.

– Traffic & Transport
Improved Transport options for Carpenterstown for access to the City Centre and the M50
I am working to achieve a major upgrading of public transport in Dublin 15 as part of the Government’s transport strategy. Dublin 15 residents will benefit from the extension of the Luas to Broombridge from next year, which will increase cross-city transport options for commuters; the Cross City Luas will also incorporate the new DIT campus at Grangegorman. There is once again a very high demand for the train service and in the short-term Irish Rail should be providing additional carriages to the commuter service. Development of electrified rail for the Maynooth line as part of the DART Expansion programme is included in the capital investment plan being implemented from 2016 to 2021: the completion of these projects would greatly improve the public transport network. Those projects would have priority at this stage over other desirable projects including Metro West, but the capital investment plan will be reviewed at the end of 2016 and additional projects could be added then if resources are available. I will continue to engage closely with local residents’ associations and communities on how to meet the growing transport needs of our area.

Bridge/Level Crossings:
The upgrading of public transport in Dublin 15 should be achieved without causing major disruption to existing transport links on the Maynooth line or directing traffic into busy residential areas. I have worked with John Walsh and Cllr Mary McCamley to ensure that the views of the community in Riverwood and Coolmine are respected by Fingal Council and the National Transport Authority in relation to future planning of public transport in our area. John Walsh has worked successfully with residents in Kirkpatrick/Rockfield and Riverwood to prevent the closing of the level crossing at Coolmine and the building of a road bridge into Riverwood Court. This proposal makes no sense, would simply intensify traffic in a busy residential area and increases risks to pedestrians particularly children. The Council recently adopted a number of motions, unanimously supported by Councillors, to include local objectives in the draft development plan prohibiting a road bridge into Riverwood Court and maintaining the existing level crossings at Coolmine and Porterstown. This decision reflected the strength of opinion in the community. I believe that major changes in transport networks cannot be made without community involvement and consent. The NTA and Irish Rail should consider the introduction of electronic barriers (similar to DART crossings at Marian College and Merrion Gates which have a strong safety record) as an alternative to closing well established road links. I will continue to work with the local community to ensure that Dublin 15 receives a high quality electrified rail service on a similar model to southside Dublin without creating new problems with traffic or other adverse impacts in residential areas.

Traffic Analysis
The level of traffic in the area has increased substantially in the last two years. An analysis of traffic flows in Carpenterstown, Porterstown and the Clonsilla Road should be undertaken before the Council makes final decisions on the next Development Plan, including a review of the current  arrangements for traffic management at Dr Troy bridge and around Scoil Choilm. This should also incorporate a new traffic plan for the area around St Mochta’s National School which is being fully rebuilt.
– Commitment to ensuring that Community Gardai are visible in the area and that there is a commitment to Community Policing/visibility with Community Gardai in Carpenterstown:
I am committed to maintaining and extending community policing so that Gardai maintain a visible presence in Carpenterstown/Castleknock and also that we have sufficient community gardai on the ground working with local communities and residents’ associations. The building up of community policing requires sustained investment at national level over a number of years, which is now achievable with the allocation of greater resources to public services. A greater share of the Garda budget will be ring-fenced for community policing. Our plan for the next five years includes recruiting 3,500 new Gardaí and releasing an additional 1,000 Gardaí from frontline duty to make sure the priority is on community policing. We plan to recruit civilian staff for many routine Garda administrative functions to allow this growth in frontline policing personnel. The impact of this will be felt locally and I will be working hard to ensure the necessary priority is given to community policing in decisions affecting Dublin 15.

I have a strong track record of engaging fully with local residents and communities and of representing community concerns. If re-elected I will continue to work with the residents’ association to address local concerns in schools, transport and crime and to make Dublin 15 a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Roderic O’Gorman

My belief is that the most important public transport project for the entire Dublin region is the DART Underground. This is the ‘spine’ that can link the other modes of public transport through the city (Metro, Luas, DART, Rail) and deal with the major lack of capacity issues that are faced in Connolly. This is turn will enable us to support the extension of the DART along the Maynooth line. 

I’d fully support a review of the traffic situation at the Dr. Troy bridge and will follow this up with the Council. I have been very active in working to ensure that a road bridge is not built between Riverwood Court and St Mochta’s estate and was successful in getting a local objective inserted on the development plan map to this effect.

As a member of the Board of Management of CCC, I have been able to confirm that any change to the current joint enrollment policy between LCC and CCC would be put out to public consultation and would have to be ratified by the County Dublin ETB board. I did this at the request of the Riverwood Residents Association. I agree that parents should have a clear and definite understanding of where their children will go to school.

As a member of the Joint Policing Committee, I have engaged closely with the Gardai in Blanchardstown on local crime and anti-social behaviour issues. The Green Party are committed to getting 2000 extra Gardai hired over the course of the next Government, with a priority on getting Community Gardai working again.