White gives ‘cautious welcome’ to the revised service proposals from Dublin Bus

July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Alex White TD has today given a cautious welcome to the revised service proposals announced by Dublin Bus on the Network Direct process.

Commenting on the public consultation undertaken by Dublin Bus, Deputy White said “Dublin Bus are to be commended for the work they undertook to ensure local people had an opportunity to share their views. When I drew to the company’s attention that there was a clear demand for a further public meeting, Dublin Bus did organise a further meeting with the communities in Ballyboden, Ballyroan, Firhouse, Knocklyon and Edmondstown.”

The key amendments to the changes proposed originally will see a better service choice for the commuters of Glenlyon, Glenvara and Castlefields, off Ballycullen Road, with the proposed redirecting of the 65B to travel the Ballycullen Road . Also there is to be a route alteration to the new 61 route (Whitechurch terminus) that will ensure commuters on the lower end of the Ballyboden Road will retain a regular service. And the new 15B route will significantly shorten the journey-time to town (now via Rathfarnham) to that of the original proposal.

Commenting on the new 15 and 15B, Deputy White said “The loss of the original 15 route and its terminus on Scholarstown Road is deeply regrettable and while I have asked that this would be further reviewed, I do welcome the high frequency and as such, greater capacity, within the provisional 15 and 15B schedules.”

Dublin Bus has published the amended proposals on their Network Direct website which can be viewed at:
www.dublinbus.ie/en/Network-Direct/Network-Direct-Phase-2/

“One should not allow the perfect be the enemy of the possible”

July 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last Tuesday, the chamber debated the Electoral Amendment Bill 2011. There are important proposals that being brought forward, such as a lower spending cap for Presidential elections, and a maximum delay of 6 months for by elections. I spoke in favour of the Bill.

I welcome the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2011. It constitutes an important advance and as other speakers have noted, it forms a single element of a highly ambitious programme of reform the Government has set out to achieve and introduce. It is important that Members bear this point in mind.

One of the most important measures that has been agreed in the programme for Government is the establishment of a constitutional convention. I heard Deputies Pearse Doherty and Éamon Ó Cuív making a number of points earlier that I thought had great validity such as, for example, a suggestion about a list system. In addition to a number of suggestions from other speakers, such a change could only be dealt with or addressed through constitutional change, which is the reason it will be extremely important for the Government to turn its attention as quickly as possible, hopefully later this year, to establishing the constitutional convention once it has got through the more immediate proposals regarding constitutional change and the referendums that already are on the blocks. It is only when such a constitutional convention is established that it will be possible to consider all these issues in the round. It will be possible to consider matters more widely.

Electoral reform and the electoral system for the Dáil is one of the priority items in the programme for Government the constitutional convention is to address. It will provide the opportunity to deal with questions such as whether there should be a list system, the broader question of elections or perhaps the establishment of a permanent electoral commission. In itself, that measure would not require a constitutional change but broad questions on what electoral system it is best to have or how best to elect people to this Parliament can be addressed in the context of a constitutional convention. I hope such a convention is brought forward as early as possible in the autumn.

Nevertheless, simply because one states it is necessary to have a broader debate on such issues and on how to have constitutional change, this does not mean there are no measures that can be taken now. One should not allow the perfect be the enemy of the possible or the more immediately achievable measures such as those contained in this legislation. It contains three discrete items, each of which can and should be dealt with at this time and which should not be obliged to wait for the broader programme or agenda. The question of by-elections manifestly should be dealt with as quickly as possible and it is good the Minister has brought forward this measure so quickly. The Government may consider itself to be under a certain amount of pressure on foot of the High Court decision but notwithstanding that, it still is commendable that the Government has brought forward this proposal as quickly as it has.

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Dublin Bus announce proposals for Rathfarnham area services

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

As you may know, Dublin Bus is currently undertaking a review of their services across the city under the banner of ‘Network Direct’.

This week, Dublin Bus announced proposals that will affect services in the local area, including changes to the 15, 15a, 15b, 15e, 15f, 16, 16a, 74, 74a, 161.

The aim, management say, is to have quicker, more punctual services. Locals will have an opportunity to have their say at a drop-in briefing session at St Joseph’s Parish Hall, Terenure on Wednesday 22 June between 3pm and 8pm.

Amongst the proposals:
• Route 16 will be a high frequency service operating at least every 10 minutes during peak times from Ballinteer (Kingston) to Dublin Airport.
• Route 16a will be replaced on the Southside by route 61 and on the Northside by Route 3 and Route 16. Route 16 will now serve Dublin Airport.
• Route 3a will now provide a service from Shanard Road to the City Centre via Dorset Street, terminating on Parnell Square. This will replace route 16 on the Northside.
• Route 15, 74 and 128 will be amalgamated and renamed route 15. This high frequency service, operating every 10 minutes at peak times, will provide increased cross city penetration providing direct connections to Connolly Rail Station, Fairview and the Malahide Road. Route 15 will be extended to Stocking Avenue via St. Colmcille’s Way and Ballycullen Road.
• Route 15a will operate its current alignment to the city centre. Timetables will be adjusted to meet customer demand and provide improved integration on the common alignment between current services 15, 15a and 15b.
• Route 15b and 74a will be amalgamated and called route 15b. This service will operate from Stocking Avenue to the city centre via Stocking Lane, Scholarstown Road, Ballyboden Way, Ballyroan Road, Marian Road and Templeogue Road.
• Route 15e and 15f will no longer operate.
• Route 61 will operate from Whitechurch to the city centre via Grange Road, Nutgrove Avenue, Churchtown Road Lower, Rathmines and St. Stephen’s Green.
• Route 140, operating a high frequency service with a departure every 10 minutes at peak times, will be extended from its current terminus Leeson Street (Wilton Terrace) to Rathmines (Palmerston Park). This will replace route 128 in this area and on Rathmines Road Upper.
• Route 161 will continue to provide a connection from Rockbrook now serving Ballyboden Road, Grange Road, Nutgrove Avenue, Churctown Road Lower and Dundrum (Luas).
• Route 3 will continue to provide a direct connection from Larkhill to the City Centre (Parnell Square) operating via Dorset Street.
• Route 3a will continue to provide a service from Shanard Road to the City Centre via Dorset Street, terminating on Parnell Square. This will replace route 16a on the Northside.

For more information on the changes, click here.

Update on new Nitelink service for Dundrum and Ballinteer

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

As you may be aware, Dublin Bus confirmed that, following correspondence with local residents and public representatives, they had decided to reroute the 46N Nitelink service. This was in response to the withdrawal of the 48N Nitelink that served Dundrum and Ballinteer. Dublin Bus have confirmed to me that it will be implementing a revised route 46N which will serve Brehon Field Road, Stone Masons Way, Ballinteer and Dundrum.

It will operate as follows:

Current route to Kilgobbin Road then right at junction Leopardstown Road and left onto M50 parallel road from Sandyford to Junction 13 (M50) then right and left onto Brehon Field Road, right to Stone Masons Way, right to Broadford Road, left to Ballinteer Avenue, Wyckham Way, left to Ballinteer Road, right and then left onto Main Street Dundrum and last stop at Luas Interchange (Taney Road), Dundrum.

It will operate every 30 minutes. Implementation will take place Friday 3rd June 2011.

Good news for Nitelink users

May 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

There was great disappointment in the Dundrum and Ballinteer recently when Dublin Bus ceased operation of the 48N Nitelink, cutting off a vital night-time transport service for local commuters.

I have been told today by Dublin Bus that, taking into account feedback from public representatives and the public, they now plan to re-route the existing 46N to cater for customers from Broadford, Ballinteer and Dundrum.

The new routing will be as follows:

Current routing to Kilgobbin Road in Sandyford and then Brehon Field Road, Stone Masons Way, Broadford Road, Ballinteer Avenue, Wyckham Way, Ballinteer Road, Main Street Dundrum and last stop at Luas Interchange (Taney Road), Dundrum.

This service will operate every 30 minutes from 12.00am to 4.00am.

Dublin Bus has applied to the National Transport Authority to operate the above route with commencement during May.

Future of Dublin Bus Services

April 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

One of the many things raised by constituents during the recent election was the future of bus services in the area. As you may be aware, Dublin Bus is currently in the middle of redesigning the city’s bus network under the banner of ‘Network Direct’.

On Wednesday next, May 4th, Dublin Bus will bring their ‘Network Direct Roadshow’ to St John’s GAA Club, Ballinteer to hear from locals concerning changes for the Kilmacud, Goatstown, Ballinteer and Dundrum areas. The doors are open between 2pm and 8pm and I would encourage anyone wishing to have their voice heard to drop in and meet the members of Dublin Bus management. Commuters using routes 11, 11a, 11b, 14, 14a, 44, 44b and 48a will be particularly interested in the changes.

Among the proposed changes are:
• Route 14 and 14a will be amalgamated and will offer cross city options with direct connections to Connolly Rail Station, Fairview, Donnycarney and Beaumont Hospital
• Route 11 will operate as one service with all trips starting in Sandyford Industrial Estate (Beacon area) and serving Dublin City University (DCU) via Ranelagh and St Stephen’s Green
• Route 44 will continue to provide a direct connection from Enniskerry and Stepaside to the City Centre

Route Changes
Route 14 and 14a will be amalgamated and operate as route 14. The service will operate to Beaumont offering improved travel options for our customers. The route will operate from Dundrum Luas Station via Ballinteer Road, Ballinteer Avenue, Broadford Road, Barton Road East, Beaumont Avenue, Breamor Road, Braemor Park, Orwell Road, Highfield Road, Rathmines Road Upper, Rathmines Road Lower, Richmond Street South, Earlsfort Terrace, St. Stephen’s Green, O’Connell Bridge, Eden Quay, Connolly Rail Station, Fairview, Malahide Road, Collins Avenue, Beaumont Avenue, Beaumont Hospital and terminate opposite Artane Castle Shopping Centre (Ardlea Road/Maryfield Road).
Route 11/a/b will be amalgamated and operate as route 11. It will enhance the connections to Sandyford Industrial Estate from Ballymun, Finglas, Drumcondra, City Centre, Leeson Street, Ranelagh, Clonskeagh and Goatstown with all journeys terminating in Sandyford Industrial Estate (Beacon area). The revised services will be simplified with one route number operating the same alignment at all times.
Route 11a to Mather Road North and Route 11B to Wynnsward Drive (Belfield) will no longer operate.
Route 44 will continue to operate from Enniskerry to City Centre via Dundrum. The timetables will be simplified reflecting the customer demands on the route. Departures will be redesigned so they will operate at consistent intervals at all times.
Route 44b – no changes to route 44b are proposed.
Route 48a will no longer operate.

If you can’t make it and you still wish to comment on any proposed changes, you can email networkdirect@dublinbus.ie or feel free to contact my own office. Consultation closes on Saturday 14 May.

Labour Party endorses Coalition

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Eamon Gilmore TD after the Conference endorsed the Programme for Government

More than 1,000 members of the Labour Party gathered at the O’Reilly Hall at UCD in the heart of Dublin South to decide whether or not the party should go into government with Fine Gael. There was no sense of triumphalism or euphoria in the packed auditorium. Rather, there was a sense of trepidation amongst those present about what the future might hold not just for the Labour Party, but for the country as a whole. The draft programme for government presented is not the Labour Party manifesto, but according to Eamon Gilmore, it is driven by the values of the Labour Party. On the economic front, it contains a commitment to introducing a jobs plan as well as labour market activation strategies, establishing a strategic investment bank and renegotiating the EU/IMF framework. On the issue of reform, it contains a blueprint for a new way in which to conduct government business. Eamon Gilmore argued that the new government would not be a coalition in the old sense but rather a national government formed between the largest and second largest party in the state to deal with the challenges faced by the country. Thus, he said, the business of governing would be done on the basis of co-decision making and parity of esteem. At the core of the new governance system would be an economic management council or ‘war cabinet’ which will be the body that will decide all major economic issues. The council would be chaired by the Taoiseach, managed by the Tanaiste and made up of equal numbers drawn from both coalition parties. All relevant departments and agencies such as NAMA and the Regulator offices will be drawn into the council, which is intended to achieve the elusive ‘joined-up’ thinking on matters pertaining to the economy.

The programme for government contains the most radical platform of reform of the Dail and of the Civil Service that has ever been put before the people. Some of these proposed reforms will require constitutional changes, in particular, changes that will empower parliament to hold the government and the civil service to account. Fundamentally, there will be an attempt to rebalance the relationship between the oireachtas and the executive. Under recent administrations, the Oireachtas was effectively circumvented by a highly centralized and sometime ‘out of control’ executive.

In the debate that followed many delegates warned that the Labour Party in government with Fine Gael would face the same fate as the Liberal Democrats in in government with the Tories in Britain. In the recent Barnsley byelection, for instance, the Lib Dems came in 6th behind a pot pourri of other candidates. Others argued that the time for Labour was not now, but in five years time when Labour might be strong enough to lead a left government. Ruairi Quinn countered that the epithet “Labour must wait” had confined the party to opposition for generations. Joan Burton argued that economic renewal and recovery are conditional on high standards of probity in every aspect of Irish life, and that the Labour Party entering government could play a key role in ending cronyism and corruption in Irish politics. But perhaps the most compelling argument was made by Susan O’Keeffe who argued that Fianna Fail had always put party first, and country, second. The Labour Party must put the people first ahead of party considerations. The party must work as hard as it can and as long as it can to change the country for the better.

The motion to enter government was passed overwhelmingly. It is a very high risk strategy for the Labour Party. But politics is ultimately about the exercise of power, and if the Labour Party can exercise power in the public interest in the coming years the country as a whole can only benefit. Its time now to get to work.

More :: Click here to read the Programme for Government
More :: Click here to watch the proceedings again. I make a speech at 1hr 9mins.

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