Throughout the summer, I became deeply disappointed and unhappy with the condition and appearance of our city centre. Dublin City is our Nation’s Capital but its appearance has not, in my mind, met with what you would expect to see in a Capital city.
In my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of seeing and visiting some great cities like London, Toronto, Vienna, Edinburgh and New York! But Dublin, in recent months has resembled more like San Francisco, with litter, dirty streets, illegal dumping, dog poo, dereliction, all of which feeds into a sense of disrepair but also contributes to a sense of not being safe. I have been honoured to serve as a Dublin City Councillor since 2009, but in the last few months, I have despaired at the condition of our city.
Rightly, you may ask, what the hell am I doing about it?!
I have argued for some time that we need to use legislation, recently enacted by Government, whereby CCTV can be erected in litter and dumping hotspots as a means of naming and shaming those determined to litter our city streets.
I have argued that we need to radically shake up our Litter Management and Street Cleaning plans, so that we dramatically up the level, quality and frequency of cleaning, power-washing and enhancing our city streetscape.
I have argued that as a Council we utilize our powers under the Derelict Sites legislation to CPO lands and buildings that are derelict and that new homes can be provided to those on our housing lists. An update from earlier this year is available here – https://bit.ly/3cVBOyd.
Last night, at the monthly meeting of Dublin City Council, I put the following question to Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of the Council for his direct response and reply:
To ask the Chief Executive whether he is satisfied with the appearance of Dublin City Centre at present; is he happy with the condition of the public realm across the city centre; does he remain of the view that there is not an over proliferation of street signage blocking our paths; does he not accept that the city is dirty, un-kept and unbecoming a capital city and that he and the Executive must present a draft plan as to how they intend to clean up the city, tackle the illegal dumping, remove the weeds growing on our streets, the damaged paths, the broken roads, the street lights not working; when will he take responsibility for the failure to adequately maintain our city centre and that we need to Clean up Dublin and if he is prepared to respond to these questions?
Unfortunately, the Chief Executive failed to answer the question himself, but rather sought to have individual Departments provide information. This, to me, sums up the problem with the Chief Executive and approach to this situation. Leave it to individual Departments as it has nothing to do with me. Not good enough, not acceptable and an approach that says to me and to Dubliners, I’m not interested!
You can read the formal reply I received at last night’s City Council meeting here:
While that appears to be the view of the Chief Executive, be assured as Chairman of the Dublin Central Area Committee, I will continue to work with colleagues of all political stripes and are prepared to help, so that together, we can Clean Up Dublin!
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Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee