It’s been far too long since I posted here and when I look back through my diary I see what an amazingly active period it has been.
At Labour Party level we have see the successful conclusion of the Lisbon Referendum campaign, the first meeting of the new Central Council and the continued leadership of the Opposition of Eamonn Gilmore.
Locally I have met with residents groups in Harolds Cross, Milltown, Rathgar, Donnybrook and Rathmines and attended the Annual General Meeting of the Sandymount and Merrion Residents Association. The latter is always a good opportunity to meet old friends and review events since the year before. This year the madness of the division of Sandymount into two electoral areas was evidenced by the potential presence of fourteen elected representatives. I also attended the first AGM of the revitalized Beech Hill Community Association and congratulate the new Committee on doing such a good job.
Successes locally included the amazing Ranelagh Arts Festival and the completion of the new Social and Affordable Housing scheme in Beech Hill. As Chairperson of the School Committee I was very proud of the young people from St. Josephs Junior Education Centre in Milltown who did so well in their Junior Certificate. Given the difficulties these young people from the Traveller community experience in their daily lives this was a great personal achievement
Issues locally include the proposed rezoning of the car park at O’Sheas’ Pub in Clonskeagh to facilitate an Affordable Housing Scheme, the on –going saga of parking in St. Alban’s Park, the redevelopment of the Rathmines Swimming Pool and the implementation of the Rathmines Local Area Plan and the completion of the Rathgar Plan.
The proposed rezoning of the RTE lands is also a major issue and like my fellow Public Representatives for the area I have sought provision of a new site for St. Mary’s Belmont Avenue as part of the “community gain” element of any final agreement. This will be dealt with in the context of the new City Development Plan for which I am presently preparing a range of submissions.
In my work as Chairperson of the South Inner City Local Drugs Task Force I have continued to work with a large number of community groups across the area in the struggle for a better way of life for all affected by drugs –including the very professional launch of the Merchants Quay Project Annual Report. I also attended the annual “Getting a Grip” Conference on the issue in Killarney where I tackled the Minister for Drugs, John Curran TD on the high jacking by Government of Lottery Funds for purposes other than for which they were intended – i.e. community use.
In the media recently I have received coverage in the Sunday Business Post on housing matters, the Evening Herald and Southside on the redevelopment of the RTE lands, the Irish Times on Local Government reform. I have also been recently interviewed on both Dublin South Radio and NEAR FM. Last week I participated in a lively discussion on The Right Hook on the issue of Trade Union Leaders salaries and the role of Social Partnership.
Along side all of this, after five years membership of St. Mary’s Tennis Club I am finally taking lessons. Don’t think it’s a question of Wimbledon here I come but it is good to be out and enjoying the fun of the game.