Council Briefs: The Liffey Cycle Route, BusConnects, and Naming the Children's Hospital

Commemorating Kathleen Lynn

Dr Kathleen Lynn’s Hospital should be the name of the new children’s hospital, said Dublin city councillors on Monday, as they backed a motion to ask the hospital’s board to do choose that appellation.

Lynn, chief medical officer to the Irish Citizen Army, played an active role during the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Easter Rising. She worked with sick children in the inner-city during her career as a doctor, and helped to set up St Ultan’s Children’s hospital.

“I think that it would be a fitting tribute to a great Irish patriot and to a great Irish woman who did so much for children in this country,” said independent Councillor Nial Ring, who proposed the motion at Monday’s monthly meeting of Dublin City Council at City Hall.

The name Phoenix Children’s Hospital had been proposed for the new building, but was rejected because there is already a paediatric children’s hospital in Phoenix, Arizona with that name.

The unopposed motion was passed, which means a letter will be written on behalf of the councillors to the board of the new children’s hospital asking them to name it after Lynn.

Many councillors voiced their support. It “would be a great opportunity to recognise and honour someone who played such a huge role in the medical services in Ireland,” said Sinn Féin Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh.

Turf War

The council needs a working group to link in with national agencies that are managing plans to rejig the city’s bus network, said Fianna Fáil Councillor Deirdre Conroy, at Monday’s meeting.

She put forward a motion for one to be set up – with consultants, and planning, transport, engineering and heritage experts from the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

This set off something of an argument over turf. It covers housing and environment issues, so it shouldn’t be dealt with at the transport committee, her motion said.

Other councillors didn’t agree. They voted to refer the motion to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

“I think it’s quite normal that things cross different SPCs but they are still dealt with by the primary one,” said Green Party Councillor Michael Pidgeon.

Labour Councillor Mary Freehill said the set-up highlighted how democracy has bypassed Dublin City Council. “So many projects are now being developed by quangos that are not accountable to anybody,” she said.

But Independents 4 Change Councillor Pat Dunne said that he was happy with the cooperation with the NTA on this project.

Communities had expressed their concerns with the initial plans for Bus Connects, Dunne said. “For the first time, I think a government body like the NTA actually listened. They came back and more or less restored and improved the bus routes in the city.”

Space and the Liffey Cycle Route

Councillors must agree to ban cars from sections of the quays if they want to trial the Liffey Cycle Route, the head of Dublin City Council Technical Services, Brendan O’Brien, told councillors at Monday’s meeting.

He said that “no matter which way you look at it”, space is an issue when it comes to creating the Liffey cycle track.

“Consider the south quays at the Ha’penny Bridge, there are two lanes, just two lanes. We have to give public transport a lane,” he said.

The second lane can either be given to cars or to cyclists, he said. “It is a simple choice.”

Social Democrats Councillor Tara Deacy asked O’Brien for a list of causes of delays to the project, and a list of solutions. “Obviously I am behind the immediate implementation [of the Liffey Cycle Route],” she said.

For the next council meeting, O’Brien said he would bring a document to the council outlining what they can do, what would be difficult to do, and what would require an agreement to ban cars from sections of the quays for a period of time.

Fine Gael Councillor James Geoghegan said that money from projects such as the white-water rafting facility planned for George’s Dock should be diverted to the Liffey Cycle Route project.

“Every single party here is screaming from the rooftop for more segregated cycle lane across the city,” he said.

The budget has risen for projects like this, said O’Brien. “Over the last three years our budget for cycling and these sort of projects has gone from €7 million, to this year we are anticipating €27 million.”

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Author:

Donal Corrigan: Donal Corrigan is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer. He covers transport, and the southside. To get in contact with him, you can email him on [email protected]

Reader responses

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Dublin
at 6 February at 11:18

I think we’ve reached a tipping point in terms of an acceptance that the Liffey should not be a dual carriage way but instead a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly space. Cars will go wherever the roads are. Do the Liffey Cycle Route.

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