Council Briefs: Listing a Power House, a Lack of Community-Development Officers, and More

Listing the Old Guinness Power Station

Some councillors discussing a proposal to put the old Guinness power station on the record of protected structures raised concerns about the order in which buildings are being added to that list.

“You know that we have passed a number of motions to get Player Wills on the record of protected structures similar to this site,” said Labour Councillor Rebecca Moynihan, at a meeting of the council’s South Central Area Committee last Wednesday.

Last March, the committee backed a motion from Moynihan to start the process of putting the old factory building off South Circular Road on the record of protected structures. It also has been recommended by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for inclusion on the list.

But the building, which is on a package of land slated for a major project led by private developer Hines to build up to 1,400 homes, isn’t on the list – at least not yet.

“Is the Guinness building that is with us now at the request of Diageo?” Moynihan asked, referring to the Power House on Thomas Street, which is now home to Diageo’s Roe & Co. whiskey distillery.

Paraic Fallon, a senior planner for the council, said the company had not proposed the old power station building for inclusion on the record of protected structures. “This is a proposal that has come internally, from our own department,” he said.

Fallon told councillors that the council’s planning department is in talks with the owners of Player Wills site in order to add it to the list of protected structures. “They [the planning department] believe that through those discussions they can bring about the protection of the structure,” he said.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Daithí de Roiste said he shared Moynihan’s concerns. He also asked whether the renovation of Power House into Roe & Co.’s new home would have gone differently if it had already been a listed structure.

“There is a different process that you have to go through when you are doing things to a protected structure but the outcome could quite well have been the same,” South Central Area Manager Mary Taylor said.

Community Development Officers

The number of community-development officers in the Ballyfermot area has fallen from six two years ago, to just two now, independent Councillor Vincent Jackson said at the committee meeting.

“As positions become available elsewhere, they were asked by senior management, ‘Could you go here? Could you go there?’ and … nobody has been filled into those positions that people have left,” Jackson said, after the meeting.

“They are the eyes and ears of the council,” he said. “The liaise, they encourage, they support, they solicit such a huge amount from our community groups by people pooling their resources together.”

A spokerson for Dublin City Council said the council is “currently reviewing such staffing levels on Community Development for the city overall and within that context we will gauge the need for increased numbers in the Ballyfermot/Drimnagh Local Electoral Area”.

“In the meantime we are planning to recruit some additional Community Development Officers (At the various grades of this discipline) in the new year,” the spokesperson said.

Traffic Audit

The council should do a traffic audit in the South Circular Road/Tenters area, Labour Councillor Rebecca Moynihan proposed at the meeting of the council’s South Central Area Committee last Wednesday. The committee backed her motion.

“I think we need to first establish what parking capacity is there and what steps can be taken to ease traffic congestion in the area,” Moynihan said.

Councillors asked for this audit to be done two years ago, said Sinn Féin Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh.

“One of the solutions was to clamp everybody who had been parking on the footpath, that have been parking there for twenty years,” she said. “This is what has caused such heightened anger and frustration in the area.”

Mary Taylor, the council area manager, said the council does not do parking-capacity audits. “The traffic department says that they do not have the resources to do it,” she said.

However, the council does need to take a look at how traffic moves through that area, Taylor said.

Council traffic engineer Andrew Duff has been talking to councillors about prioritising traffic areas of interest, Taylor said.

She said she didn’t think South Circular Road would be in the first tranche – but that the decision hasn’t been made yet.

Author:

Donal Corrigan: Donal Corrigan is a Dublin-based journalist. To get in contact with him, you can email him on donal.corrigan9@mail.dcu.ie.

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