Thursday, December 13, 2007

Breach of Consolidated EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment

Breach of Consolidated EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),
85/337/EEC [Amended], in relation to certain Irish road schemes
The following Irish Local Authorities have been found to have breached Article 5 of the Consolidated EU
Directive (consideration of alternatives) in respect of the following road schemes: Dun Laoghaire - Rathdown
Co. Council (proposed Monkstown Ring Road) Galway Co. Council (N6 Motorway) Laois Co. Council (M7 /
M8 Motorway) Meath Co. Council (proposed M3 Motorway).
In all these cases the EISes for the projects interpreted alternatives purely in terms of alternative routes for
the road scheme, instead of alternatives to the scheme itself, for example meeting transport demand via
more sustainable modes such as rail or coach. The correct meaning of alternatives is clearly explained in the
Guidelines on EIA (EU Guidelines on Scoping for EIA:
These clearly outline how alternatives to road schemes should include consideration of other modes
(alternative ways of meeting demand; alternative designs and processes). Recent research carried out by
the undersigned into the EISes for the above projects has shown the project developers did not properly and
correctly consider alternatives to the schemes. Unfortunately, all these schemes have been approved by the
Irish planning consent authority (An Bord Pleanala). The undersigned cannot seek Judicial Review of these
decisions because the Irish legal system imposes onerous costs on the individual, in itself a breach of Article
10(a) of the Directive.
The undersigned makes representations to the Petitions Committee to investigate this breach of the
Directive as a matter of urgency.
Brian Guckian Rail & Integrated Transport Researcher, August 3rd, 2006.
Commission of the European Communities,
(for the attention of the Secretary-General),
B-1049 Brussels,

Compensation to Jackson Way Properties

Compensation to Jackson Way Properties
[1], subject to confirmation of ownership, was reached on compensation to be paid by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to Jackson Way Properties in the sum of €12,860,700 for the compulsory purchase in October 1998 of its freehold interest in the lands (subject to certain wayleaves and rights of way), adjoining the route of the South Eastern Motorway Scheme (M 50). The Council agreed to pay costs and expenses properly incurred by Jackson Way Properties in relation to preparation and submission of its claim.
The Award total is broken down as follows;
Land Taken €9,691,000
Injurious Affection €2,296,700
Disturbance €873,000
It is now the view of the
Criminal Assets Bureau that €4.2 million of this award represents the present value of corrupt enrichment by the property owners.
A company called Paisley Park Investments Ltd were registered as full owners in 1992 and the land was transferred to Jasckson Way Properties in 1993, the beneficial owners of which are believed by the CAB to be arcade owner James Kennedy and solicitor John Coldwell.

Wikipedia: Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Irish: Comhairle Chontae Dhún Laoghaire-Ráth an Dúin) is one of three local authorities in the greater Dublin area that caters for a population of approximately 192,000 persons. Its electoral wards include Ballybrack, Blackrock, Dundrum, Dún Laoghaire, Stillorgan, Glencullen and Stillorgan. Twenty eight members serve on the Council.
Local authorities in
Ireland are local branches of the Irish Government responsible for the provision of an extensive range of public services in your area. In addition, local authorities promote the interests of your local community, including the social, economic, environmental, recreational, cultural, community or general development of your area.

Criminal Assets Bureau Investigation, Jackson Way Properties Ltd
Criminal Assets Bureau Investigation
The CAB successfully obtained a High Court order on July 26, 2006 freezing land assets of 107 acres at Carrickmines, County Dublin owned by Jackson Way Properties Ltd and preventing their sale[2]. CAB contended that these lands had been rezoned on December 16, 1997 by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from agricultural to industrial after Frank Dunlop bribed and made corrupt payments to councillors to secure their support in the rezoning vote. That vote increased the value of just 17 acres of the property from €8 million to €61 million. CAB has interviewed and took statements from Frank Dunlop and will use him as a witness against a number of property developers.
The lands in question have been the subject of investigation by The Mahon Tribunal in 2003 and 2004.
If this case succeeds the potential money realised by CAB will be substantially more than the yield from gangland criminals since 1996. Other similar cases are likely to ensue involving lands investigated by The Mahon Tribunal.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Big Fight Ahern v Kenny

The Big Fight Ahern v Kenny
Official Thread

Bertie 48%
Enda 36%

Election 2007

Irish Politicians...Check this out its a must!!
A link with lots of current political content regarding the upcomming election

The Election Book

"The Election Book"
With The Constituencies by Rachael English and Nick Coffey by Tom McGuire (ed)

Your essential guide to the inside workings of politics, political procedures and elections in Ireland, from Ireland's leading commentators. Let RTÉ's political experts take you through the roles of: the tallymen, the campaign trail, the spin doctors, financing the elections, passing time in seanad, the leaders, the long counts and the political parties (big and small) and the Independents.
With a constituency-by-constituency guide to the issues, personalities and local intrigue of the 2007 general election.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Road Transport Association...600 truck traffic disruption on M50

Haulier protest to disrupt M50 Monday, 7 May 2007 20:54

Gardaí have warned motorists in Dublin to expect major traffic disruption tomorrow as up to 600 truckers are expected to take part in a protest against the Heavy Goods Vehicles ban in Dublin city centre.
The protest, which is being organised by a new group called the Road Transport Association, will begin at 5am on the northbound and southbound lanes of the M50 and at Dublin Port.
The Road Transport Association say the HGV ban is forcing them to use an already overburdened M50.
They say the tolls, extra mileage and traffic congestion on the motorway means their costs are increasing while their productivity is decreasing.
An estimated 600 trucks will converge at three locations from 5am in the morning and begin moving 30 minutes later.
The first group will start at Finglas and will drive south on the M50 to the Ballymount exit before turning around and going towards the M1/M50 interchange.
The second group will also travel on the M50 from Citywest to M1/M50 interchange.
The third group will drive from the Point Depot to Dublin Port and back.
They say the protest will not stop until they get progress.
The AA say there could be delays of up to one hour on the M50 tomorrow and are advising motorists to leave early.

McDowell 'utterly rejects' Kenny's comments

McDowell 'utterly rejects' Kenny's comments Monday, 7 May 2007 20:53
There have been sharp exchanges between the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and the Tánaiste Michael McDowell over leaks from the Mahon Tribunal about the personal finances of the Taoiseach.
Mr McDowell said that Mr Kenny's suggestions that he had been responsible for the leaks to the media were 'beneath contempt'.
Mr McDowell has said he 'utterly rejects' any suggestion that he was involved in leaking Mahon Tribunal documents about the Taoiseach's personal finances to the media.
As he wound up his manifesto launch this morning, Enda Kenny claimed that if the Taoiseach wanted to know who was putting out information from Tribunals he only had to look across the cabinet table.
Later on the RTÉ Radio's News At One, he confirmed he had meant Michael McDowell, prompting a furious response from the PD leader.
This afternoon Enda Kenny's spokesman said he did not intend to allege the Justice Minister had been responsible for the original leak from the Tribunal about the Taoiseach's financial affairs but had been referring to events of the last week when Mr McDowell's adviser had been passed material relating to the inquiry.

Mr Bush blundered his way through his speech

Bush Blunder: One Is Slightly Amused

By Royal Correspondent Sarah Hughes Updated: 18:28, Monday May 07, 2007
The Queen has spoken of the special relationship between the US and Britain as she met President George Bush at the White House.

Mr Bush looks to the Queen while cracking a joke

But it was Mr Bush who had everyone laughing as he blundered his way through his speech - and then bailed his way out with a sharp one-liner.
He gave the wrong date for the American bicentenary.
The crowd began to laugh and the President delivered a quip about the Queen's reaction.
"You helped our nation to celebrate its bicentennial in 17....1976," the leader said.
He paused, turned to the Queen and added: "You gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."
More than 7,000 people were in attendance as the British and American national anthems were played, followed by a 21-gun salute.
The Duke of Edinburgh and First Lady Laura Bush stood by as the monarch and American leader took their places on the small platform, decorated in the red, white and blue colours
The Queen did not directly mention the Iraq war in her speech, but it was clear she was referring to the strains it had put on the relationship.
"A state visit provides us with a brief opportunity to step back from our current preoccupations to reflect on the very essence of our relationship," she said.

Sarkozy takes over from Jacques Chirac on 16 May

France looks to new Sarkozy era

Mr Sarkozy appeared relaxed as he left a Paris hotel on MondayFrance is preparing to enter a new political era, one day after choosing right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy to be the country's next president.
Previously a divisive cabinet minister, Mr Sarkozy won a clear election victory over Socialist opponent Segolene Royal.
Mr Sarkozy has pledged to boost the economy by creating jobs, liberalise employment laws, be tough on crime and control immigration.
He officially takes over from Jacques Chirac on 16 May.
Before then, campaign aides say Mr Sarkozy, 52, will spend a few days resting at an undisclosed location to finalise his government line-up and policy priorities.
On Monday, Mr Sarkozy revealed that his choice of prime minister would be Francois Fillon, who is currently Mr Sarkozy's senior political adviser.
Mr Sarkozy's remarks came during a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The size of Sunday's election victory - a resounding win by 53% to 47% in a two-horse race, with a turnout of 85% - gives the new president real authority, correspondents say.
"We have to act, the French people expect it. They have given him a real mandate," chief of staff Claude Gueant told French radio.
France has given me everything, and now it is my turn to give back to France what France has given me
Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy victory speech
World reacts to Sarkozy win
What next for Sarkozy?
Mr Sarkozy is expected to quickly name a 15-strong cabinet for the start of his five-year term in office.
The first key hurdle for the new president will be nationwide parliamentary elections in June.
Securing a workable majority in the National Assembly would greatly ease the passage of Mr Sarkozy's planned reforms.
Early polling for those elections puts Mr Sarkozy's UMP party ahead of the Socialists by about six percentage points, the Reuters news agency reported.
Ms Royal's defeat was the Socialists' third successive presidential election loss, and the party is now expected to face calls for internal change.
Reform pledge
Mr Sarkozy has promised to try to reform France to face the challenges of the 21st century, and creating jobs is at the top of his agenda.

Exempt overtime (above 35 hours) from taxes and social security charges
Minimum sentences for repeat offenders, tougher sentences for juveniles
Selective immigration that favours arrival of qualified workers
Increase taxes on polluters
Oppose Turkish EU membership
He has pledged to bring unemployment down from 8.3% to below 5% by 2012.
During his first 100 days in office he is also expected to propose tax cuts and table legislation to keep trains running during strikes.
While he has said he will not end France's 35-hour working week, Mr Sarkozy proposes allowing staff to work overtime, as well as cutting restrictions on hiring and firing staff.
Known as a divisive figure from his years as a strict interior minister, Mr Sarkozy appears intent on a tough approach to law and order, favouring minimum sentences for repeat offenders and tougher sentences for juveniles.
He struck a conciliatory tone in his victory speech on Sunday evening, telling crowds in Paris and those watching around the country that he would be president "of all the French".
Himself the son of a Hungarian immigrant, Mr Sarkozy said: "France has given me everything, and now it is my turn to give back to France what France has given me."

I'd like to say congratulations and good luck to President-elect Sarkozy
Eric Loadman, USA
Send us your comments
Media hope for unity
Nevertheless, there were minor clashes with protesters in Paris and some other cities after the result was announced.
Several hundred rioters in the Place de la Bastille threw bottles and stones at police, shouting "Sarko-fascist".
Two police officers were injured in Nantes, where 1,000 demonstrators turned to violence. Arrests were made in half-a-dozen cities, but the trouble soon subsided.
The election result was widely welcomed outside France, with the US, EU, China and Japan offering congratulations to Mr Sarkozy.

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was more cautious, saying he hoped Mr Sarkozy would review his opposition to Turkey joining the EU.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Calls for Taoiseach to issue public statement

There have been calls for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to make a personal statement on his finances.

The calls follow the revelation that Mr Ahern's former partner received a large sum in cash in the 90s which he says went towards stamp duty and renovations to his rented house.

The Greens were the first to raise the issue this morning as leader Trevor Sargent launched his party's tax policy.

Mr Sargent said the issue needed to be clarified. He claimed the public good would be better served by transparency, rather than by hiding behind the tribunals.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte has said he was happy to let the Mahon Tribunal investigate what he described as 'the Taoiseach's byzantine financial affairs'.
He added that he had never heard of stamp duty being paid on a rented house.

Sinn Féin's Dublin Central candidate Mary Lou McDonald also said Mr Ahern should answer any outstanding questions about his finances.
She said the electorate had a right to know all the information about monies he or his former partner received.

But Fianna Fáil Dublin West Candidate Brian Lenihan said Mr Ahern had already made a personal statement last October and the only new information related to a private citizen who was a good friend of the Taoiseach.

PD leader Michael McDowell has said he will not turn the election campaign into a mini tribunal on the Taoiseach's finances when the Mahon inquiry had decided that it would be unfair to conduct hearings ahead of 24 May.

Mr McDowell said he was satisfied that the Irish people had been governed well in the last five years and the real question was would that continue after an election that was not about what happened in Manchester in the 90s.

Mr Ahern repeated today that he will deal with the matter at the Mahon Tribunal.

Election poster threat to road safety

Complaints over posters blocking signs

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has issued a warning about pedestrian safety and traffic signs being obscured by election posters.

The RSA warning follows the unseemly haste with which election workers from every party strapped multiple posters to lamp posts in the hours following the Taoiseach's dawn visit to Áras an Uachtaráin to dissolve the Dáil.
Lithuanian workers put up election posters in Dublin on Saturday.

RSA chief executive Noel Brett said the competitive jockeying for prime position adjacent to major roads and junctions is creating problems for motorists and pedestrians and is leading to complaints.

Mr Brett said his office had received three formal complaints by yesterday afternoon and numerous queries and expressions of concern.

"The signage on our roads, whether put there by the National Roads Authority, local authorities or the gardaí or construction and road repair teams, are there to help motorists stay safe," Mr Brett said.

"So it is vital that no action is taken that either obscures them or distracts road users from their content.

"The election posters are quite wide and quite large. People are contacting us concerned about the visibility of traffic signs and also the safety of pedestrians if these posters fall," he said.

Mr Brett said all the complaints have been referred on to the relevant local authority for investigation.

Under the Road Traffic Act of 1961 it is an offence to place any sign or notice that blocks a traffic sign.
Responsibility for enforcing this legislation rests with the local authorities through which the road travels.

Among the signs that cannot be blocked are those relating to speed limits, junction warnings, road works, and directions.

Mount Etna Stages Light Show

Monday, April 30, 2007

Update on regional planning guidelines

Non-National Roads-Metropolitan Area-Summary Table

Stage 1 = Project in planning/feasibility study underway
Stage 2 = Planning for scheme approved
Stage 3 = Tenders in preparation
Stage 4 = Currently under construction
Stage 5 = Project Completed.

East Wall Road

Stage 5 = Project Completed.

Macken Street Bridge

Stage 4 = Currently under construction

North King Street

Stage 5 = Project Completed.

Ongar Road

Stage 5 = Project Completed.

Outer Ring Road- Lucan to N2

Stage 1 = Project in planning/feasibility study underway

Outer Ring Road- N7 to Lucan

Stage 4 = Currently under construction

Dun Laoghaire Port- Improve Access

Monkstown Ring Road
Stage 3 = Tenders in preparati

Greystones Southern Access

Stage 4 = Currently under construction

East Wall Road (Tolka Quay to Sheriff Street)
Scheme completed mid-2006

Macken Street Bridge
Tenders have been approved and initial groundworks have commenced. It is expected the Bridge will be open in September 2008.

North King Street
Road improvements completed.

Ongar Road
Road completed, opened in December 2005.

Outer Ring Road- Lucan to N2
This project is being undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 linking the N2 to the N3 is approved and will begin construction in 2007 with completion in 2008. Phase 2 links the N2 to the N4. This is currently at plan preparation stage.

Outer Ring Road- N7 to Lucan
Phase 1 (Adamstown to N7) completed and open since January 2005. Phase 2 (Adamstown to N4) is under construction and due for completion in September 2007.

Dun Laoghaire Port- Improve Access
This project requires a feasibility study which has yet to commence.

Monkstown Ring Road
This scheme was approved by An Bord Pleanala in June 2006. Tenders are under preparation. It is intended that construction will commence in early 2007 with a completion in 2008.

Greystones Southern Access
Southern Access road is completed. Works are due to commence on the Kilpedder Interchange where the Access road meets the N11.

Balbriggan Outer Relief Road
This route is currently under construction. The section from Whitehart Lane to Naul Road is due to start works early 2007, with the route scheduled for completion by 2009.

The Clock Is Ticking...eTenders Public Procurement

Well.....The Clock Is Ticking

Monkstown Ring Road -S100842/OUT/05
Published by:
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
Publication Date:
Notice Deadline Date: 30/05/2007
Notice Dealine Time 12:00
Notice Type: Tender

The proposed contract for this scheme (the 'Contract') shall comprise the execution and completion of the Works including but not limited to the provision of the following:-

(1) Approximately 1.2 km of urban single carriageway from a junction at Carysfort Avenue to a junction at Deansgrange Road;
(2) 4 signalised junctions;
(3) Associated landscape and mitigation works;
(4) Associated fencing, safety barriers and drainage works;
(5) Associated signing and lighting works;
(6) Various earthworks;
(7) Various works including diversion of Authorities, Utilities and Service Providers and Private Utility Services;
(8) Various accommodation works including accesses to properties and lands; and(9) Traffic management for the entire scheme including all the required diversion and traffic warning signs.
(10) Demolition of 16 no. dwellings.CPV: 45200000

Section I: Contracting Authority

Name, Address and Contact Point(s)

Official Name: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
Postal Address:
County Hall, Marine Road
Town: Dun Laoghaire
Postal Code: Co Dublin
Country: IE
Contact Point: Transportation For the attention of: W. Horgan
Telephone: 01-2054700
Fax: 01-2054736
General Address of the contracting authority (URL) Address of the Buyers Profile (URL)

Friday, January 26, 2007

This report will be disturbing reading for many parents.

Vehicle fumes 'stunt lung growth'

Exhaust fumes contain toxins.

Living too near a busy road could stunt a child's lung development,
US research involving 3,677 children.

Children who lived within 500 metres of a major road, such as a motorway, were shown to have lung impairment in tests.

Many children live and go to schools near to busy roads and could be at risk, the University of Southern California authors warn in The Lancet.

Experts already know toxic traffic fumes can trigger lung conditions such as asthma.
Stunted development
But the latest work suggests pollution can stop the lung from growing to its full potential - even in children who are otherwise healthy.

As background air quality did not alter the picture, children living in the countryside but close to a main road would also be at risk, the researchers add.

Children living close to big roads in cities with high levels of background air pollution were likely to be at a greater risk of lung problems however because of the double effect on their lungs, they suggest.
The study
They examined the lung function of 3,677 children annually from the age of 10 until they reached 18 when the lungs are fully developed.

Those who had lived within 500 metres of a motorway had much poorer lung function at the age of 18 than those who had lived 1,500 meters away or more, even when factors such as smoking in the home were taken into account.

Dr John Peters and colleagues say fumes from cars, bikes and lorries are to blame.
They recommend more work to identify the exact culprits in vehicle exhausts.

This report will be disturbing reading for many parents
Liberal democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb MP
Scientists do not know exactly how air pollution hampers lung development, but they believe lung inflammation in response to daily irritation by air pollutants may play a role.

Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council clinical professor of immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, said: "The finding builds on accumulating knowledge that the chemicals that are contained in the exhaust emissions of modern vehicles adversely effects the development of the lung through childhood.

"This is probably through their powerful oxidant effect on lung development in the first five to eight years of life."
Oxidative stress is caused by the toxic effect of highly reactive oxygen molecules, called free radicals, which damage cells and DNA.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said the work reinforced the case for reducing vehicle emissions.

"This report will be disturbing reading for many parents.
"As road usage continues to increase, this issue will have to be taken seriously."
A government spokeswoman said they would consider the evidence and whether further investigations were needed.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A letter from the Treasurer to Cllr. Marie Baker (FG)


Cllr. Marie Baker,
38 Avondale Lawn,
Co. Dublin.
13 December 2006

Baker Marie (FG)

Dear Cllr. Baker,

Over the last couple of days I have had distressed and irate neighbours in my area call to my door and hand me Christmas Cards that were sent to them by you.

As you are fully aware you and Eugene Regan canvassed, lobbied and subsequently voted FOR the Monkstown Ring Road in spite of huge local opposition.

As you are also aware, per your own EIS Study, this road will have severely detrimental effect,"........... in terms of noise, health & safety, visually" on the residents of Brookville/Rowanbyrn.

Our residents are extremely worried; those who-have been trying to sell their houses have found it impossible to, and indeed their houses have devalued up to 40% as a direct result of this.

The children's play areas and green spaces have been taken away, their lives put in danger and their Christmas ruined with the atmosphere of fear and trepidation.

YOU, Cllr. Baker see fit under these circumstances to send them a Christmas card wishing them a Joyful and Peaceful Christmas when by your own actions you have ensured that this will DEFINITELY NOT be the case.

Is this your idea of a sick joke?

On behalf of the Brookville/Rowanbyrn Residents Association and the Alliance I hereby return to you your Christmas Cards and request that you no longer subject our residents to your sick sense of humour.

Yours sincerely,