Dublin South East
The government recently published the heads of a new education bill to reform the school admission process at primary and secondary level. Yesterday I held a meeting in the Hampton Hotel, Donnybrook to explain to parents and educators the changes envisaged in the bill. There was a full house on the night to listen to our guest speakers from the education sector.
Changes proposed cover, inter alia, an end to the keeping of waiting lists, the charging of deposits to secure places, and the holding of admission interviews; reducing the scope for past pupil preference; and, the publishing of individual school admission policies, what admission policies cannot contain, and the making of appeals. For the relevant documentation, see here.
A report from the meeting will be issued to all in attendance, as well as to the Department of Education and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection.
Over 50 interested bodies have already made submissions to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection. The Committee is expected to hold hearings on these submissions and to report to the Minister for Education in January of next year. This forms part of the government’s new legislative reform programme. Following on from this the new Admission to Schools Bill will be drafted in full for debate, amendment and enactment by Dáil Éireann. It is anticipated that the new admission process will be in place for September 2015.
My thanks to Councillors Edie Wynne, Paddy McCartan and Kieran Binchy for helping to organise the meeting, as well as Kate O’Connell, Dr Paddy Smyth and Samantha Long.
The government recently published the draft heads of the Admission to Schools Bill. This Bill will impact upon the admissions process for both primary and secondary schools.
Fine Gael in Dublin Bay South is holding a public meeting on the new legislation, which is taking place on Wednesday 20 November 2013 at 7pm in the Hampton Hotel (formerly Sach’s), Donnybrook.
We will discuss the draft contents and guest speakers will give their own views; there will also be time for a questions and answers session as well as contributions from the floor. Speakers include Ms. Aine Lynch (CEO, National Parents Council – Primary) and Mr. Ferdia Kelly (General Secretary, Joint Managerial Body).
You are very welcome to attend this meeting.
To read the draft heads of the Bill, click here.
To read the draft regulations on the admission process, click here.
Water restrictions will be lifted from this evening due to an increase in production at the Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant and improvement in storage at treated water reservoirs.
Due to cooperation from water users Dublin City Council has managed to save a significant amount of water and our regional strategic storage, which was at an extremely and unsustainable low level over the past week, has improved.
Storage at our treated water reservoirs is currently below the level it would normally be at this time of year. This means keeping reduced water pressure in place in the evenings over the coming weeks to gain additional treated water storage. This is normal practice at this time of year and will enable DCC to plan ahead for the high demand Christmas season, and to cater for the difficulties that the onset of extremely cold weather at this time of year can bring. Water users should not be impacted by this reduced pressure and all users should receive a return of supply this evening.
DCC will continue to review and monitor production at Ballymore Eustace and the levels at treated water reservoirs on an ongoing basis.
Production at Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant has begun to improve, although it is still well below normal production levels. Coupled with this, storage levels at treated water reservoirs remain at an unsustainably low level. Accordingly, the current water restrictions will remain in place each evening, from tonight until at least Thursday 7th November, from 8.00pm each evening, to 7.00am the following morning.
Unfortunately, unlike some other utilities (eg. ESB) water distribution systems cannot be operated and managed to the point where the exact locations and precise times at which the effects of pressure alterations (both increases and decreases ) will be experienced. Dublin City Council continue to make every effort to ensure that the times and areas affected are limited.
The Council’s Engineering and Central Laboratory staff have been working 24 hours a day since the problem emerged to arrest the falling production levels at Ballymore Eustace and to bring the Plant back up to full production.
Engineers have made significant progress in turning around the difficult situation at the Treatment Works, so that the production of water has begun to improve. However, levels are still 20% below that required to meet daily demand for the Dublin region. We also need to replenish levels at our treated water reservoirs which still remain at a critically low level.
DCC are reviewing the water supply situation on a daily basis and a decision will be taken on the current restrictions as the situation evolves. It should be stressed once again that there is no problem with the quality of treated drinking water or with storage levels of untreated/raw water.
Bath Avenue and Londonbridge Road were reopened at the end of August 2013. The works on London Bridge are now substantially complete with the surrounding areas protected to the National Standard for flood alleviation works. Finishing works are currently being undertaken and pedestrian restrictions on the bridge, which will last until the end of this year, are locally in place to facilitate the placement of the original stone cladding back onto the bridge structure.
Planning permission was granted to carry out flood alleviation works on both sides of the river Dodder, from Lansdowne Road Railway Bridge to the Lower Smurfit Weir on 1st July 2013, subject to 13 conditions. Construction works have commenced on site at Beatty’s Avenue and are scheduled to sequentially move upstream, with final completion by end 2015. Alleviation measures should be completed all the way to Ballsbridge by the end of Quarter 2, 2014; to Donnybrook Bridge by the end of Quarter 2, 2015; and to the first Smurfit weir by the end of 2015. Completion of alleviation works to Ballsbridge will include completion of the Dodder Wall on both sides of the river and excavation of the river bed at the bridge in Ballsbridge. Emergency works at the Licensed Vintners Association off Anglesea Road and the Sweepstakes apartments are complete.
Dublin City Council completed its final report, Pluvial Study on Flooding, earlier this year as part of its Dublin Flood Initiative (DFI) and the EU Flood Resilient City Project. The DFI has aimed to identify the risks, the areas at risk, the times when that risk might be highest and the appropriate response at local, community and household level. To read more about this, click here.
This week I attended the opening of Kobo’s new European Software Development Centre in Dublin. Kobo is an eReading service offering nearly 4-million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to customers in 190 countries. With the support of IDA Ireland, Kobo has created more than 30 positions now filled with skilled software developers. The company has also announced a new partnership with Eason’s to bring eReading platforms to the Irish market.
It makes sense for Kobo to choose Dublin as its base for European operations because we are the tech capital of Europe. eReading and eReaders are changing the way we interact with the written word – it’s a transformative and innovative industry and Kobo is at the cutting edge. But there’s also a nice tie-in from a cultural perspective because Dublin is a UNESCO city of literature. And the partnership with a traditional company like Eason’s is great to see because Eason’s is synonymous with reading here in Ireland.
I met with Mike Serbinis, founder and CEO of Kobo, who flew in from Toronto for the launch, and he had some incredibly positive things to say about why Kobo chose Dublin as its first and only development base outside of Canada. And there’s a great team of young Irish and international developers working for the company in their new HQ in Ballsbridge. Hopefully it is just the beginning for Kobo’s operations here in Dublin.
For more information on Kobo, visit www.kobo.ie.
Dublin City Council has advised that nightly water restrictions will be put in place from tonight, Wednesday 30th October, from 8.00pm in the evening to 7am the following morning. The Council has also advised that it is likely that restrictions will remain in place until at least next Monday 4th November, and will be reviewed on a daily basis. The restrictions will assist in replenishing treated drinking water to normal levels. Dublin City Council is working to identify the cause of the problem and to mitigate the effects with a view to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.
What is the problem?
The current supply problem is due to a serious production issue at the Ballymore Eustace Water Treatment Plant. This problem has caused a significant reduction in water production since last weekend. The flow rate through the plant has been reduced to 240 Ml/d compared to full sustainable capacity of 310 Ml/d. The Council introduced reductions in water pressure during the night in an effort to replenish storage levels, but this did not achieve the desired effect. Treated water storage has been depleted and the night time shutoffs are necessary to maintain reserves. Dublin City Council has stressed that there is no problem with the quality of treated drinking water or with storage levels of untreated/raw water.
Every day about 540 million litres of high quality drinking water is produced and supplied to 1.5 million customers in the Dublin Region. Dublin City Council is responsible for supplying 70% of this water and the balance is provided by Fingal County Council. Water is treated at the City Council’s three water treatment plants at Ballymore Eustace, Roundwood and Ballyboden and at the Fingal County Council plant at Leixlip. It is then distributed to customers in Dublin City and in the South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal, Kildare and Wicklow County Council areas through a network of service reservoirs and over 7,000 km of pipes.
Normally a city could expect to be able to produce at least 15% more water than it needs. This provides a cushion against any supply interruptions due to planned maintenance or external events. However, Dublin currently has a small excess capacity, meaning that any interruption to water supply can have noticeable effects on the city and region.
We have been experiencing a good deal of heavy rainfall lately and I contacted Dublin City Council regarding maintenance and clearing of gullies.
There are over 55,000 gullies in Dublin City and each one is cleaned at least once a year. The Council has also designated a number of high-priority gullies that are cleaned at least six times per year.
The Drainage Division does not have the resources to remove leaves from the grids of gullies every time it rains. However, a gully works in a very similar fashion to a toilet bowl, which means that it can hold a certain amount of debris while still functioning normally.
For more information on gully cleaning and useful links for householders, click here.
Issues specific to Gordon Street
Gordon Street and the surrounding areas have a tendency to become overpowered in very heavy rainfall events for a number of reasons:
1. The network system here is a combined system, which means that both foul and surface water flows in the same pipe.
2. The gradient of the pipe is very flat; this means that debris takes longer to flow away. This also causes silt to build up quicker.
3. There is a lot of grease in the line. During DCC’s last pressure clean of the pipes in the area (September 2013) the Drainage Division removed a very large volume of grease from the line. This is mostly caused by residents putting grease down their drains (the neighbouring businesses all have grease traps and are FOG – Fat, Oil and Grease – compliant). To read more about how the Council deals with this issue, click here and here.
In the past couple of years DCC has installed a number of gully pits along Gordon Street and the surrounding streets, the idea being that they will hold some of the water prior to entering the system. The ideal solution would be to relay all the drains in the area but unfortunately funding constraints and the need to maintain existing services mean that this might not be a possibility in the near future.
Three of the world’s biggest tech companies – Facebook, Amazon and Yahoo – are planning major expansions of their Dublin operations. This further cements the city’s status as the digital capital of Europe.
This is very positive news for Dublin’s economy, and it will only further improve the city’s reputation as the digital capital of Europe. Facebook is set to double its office space in the south docklands, while Amazon and Yahoo are also set to take over major new office lettings on Burlington Road and at the Point Village.
This represents the largest tranche of new office space to be let in the city in a number of years. Furthermore, it is expected that there will be a considerable level of demand to fill the existing city centre office buildings being vacated by the three tech companies, as premium office space in Dublin remains in short supply.
This is a very positive indication that Dublin’s economy is bouncing back. The city is home to the world’s biggest digital firms, and as these expansion plans illustrate, these companies are committed to remaining in Ireland for the long-term. The Government is determined to continue to attract investment from social media and online firms, which are a fantastic source of high quality jobs.
Over the last year, almost 34,000 new jobs have been created. Every month, 3,000 new jobs are being added to the economy, and the unemployment rate is consistently falling. While high tech firms like Facebook are not the answer to all our economic challenges, they are playing an important role in investing in Ireland and creating high-end jobs. Furthermore, it’s estimated for every one job in the high-tech sector, an additional four jobs are created in the domestic economy, in terms of support and services.
Facebook has already announced its intention to boost its employee numbers in Dublin by 100, and I am confident that the expansion plans of the social media giant, along with a number of other tech firms, will lead to further job creation in the capital over the year ahead.
Check out the expansion map to find the new station locations – click here.
Construction of the Phase 2 expansion of DublinBikes began this week. This initial phase of expansion will see additional bike stations provided in Dublin city centre and moving towards the Dublin Docklands area. Following this, construction will commence on bike stations moving towards the west of the city in the Kilmainham and Heuston station areas. Overall expansion is expected to be finalised by the Summer of 2014.
Following the launch of DublinBikes in 2009 I immediately called for negotiations to commence on its expansion so I am delighted that this expansion is now underway. This will provide an additional 58 new bikes stations, an additional 2,000 cycle stands and will result in an overall DublinBikes operational fleet of 1,500 bikes. Expansion south of the canal has still to be finalised and this is something I will continue to push for.
The National Transport Authority is providing the main portion of the funding for the scheme expansion, with an allocation of €2.6 million in the current year. The DublinBikes scheme is one of the most successful in the world with over 33,000 long term subscribers and over five million journeys since its introduction.