Thursday, July 16, 2009

No to Dublin Twinning with Beijing

No to Dublin City Twinning with Beijing

-July 2009
At the first meeting of the new City Council, I tabled a question to the City Manager in relation to the proposed twinning of Dublin City with Beijing which was first mooted last year. The invitation initially came from the Chinese capital and at the time many of the councillors felt that it would be inappropriate on human rights grounds for us to go down this road. It is important now that we make sure that this twinning does not go ahead.

According to the Dublin City Manager, this is still under ‘active consideration’. Twinning between two cities is an expression of friendship and the will of learning from each other. It is an expression of strong solidarity that goes over and above the normal trade and commercial relations between cities.

International organizations such as Human Rights Watch have continuously criticized the Beijing administration’s track record on the upholding of fundamental human rights. According to Amnesty International China's violation of human rights covers almost every aspect of society in China. 77% of all executions world wide are carried out in China. Hundreds of Tibetans have been incarcerated for peacefully expressing their religious beliefs. There are numerous accounts of torture and ill-treatment across all sections of society.

Irish people and the opposition parties should not allow the Irish government, when interacting with China, to continue the current practice of keeping silent on human rights abuses or “raising the issue in private.” Irish people have always stood for democracy and human rights and this campaign is an expression of solidarity with the Chinese people, but not with the Beijing administration

There is a myth that ‘twinning’ is a positive way to bring about social change and human rights improvements in countries with poor records, but this is not the case. When Shanghai twined with Cork in 2005, the reason given for the twinning was that the majority of councillors thought that only through dialogue with China can the human rights situation be improved. However, in 2006 this proved a false hope as reports broke that many hospitals across China were systematically harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners.

In Dublin, the last time this proposal was before the City Council, a few weeks later the first shots were fired into Tibet. Dublin City Council, as the elected representatives of the capital city, is an important political forum and those that we honour with twinnings or with freeman awards have to be above political reproach.

This is a bad move for Dublin and one that mustn’t be allowed to take place.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Statement from Cllr Aodhan O Riordain
Thursday July 9th 2009

Labour Councillor for the Contarf Ward Cllr Aodhan O Riordain has welcomed the commitment given at last nights public meeting in Donnycarney for residents affected by recent flooding problems that funding for any structural words is 'not an issue'. The commitment was given by government representatives at the meeting.

'It is clear that the solution to the flooding problem, as outlined in the City Council report in March '09, is a major upgrading of the River Wad culvert which could cost anywhere in the region of €4million to €6million. The commitment to funding of the project is certainly welcome. However the houses in the area are currently worthless as house insurers have withdrawn cover in some cases, and no resident can sell their properties while this situation persists. These works must be undertaken immediately' Cllr O Riordain stated.

I am calling on the City Council and the OPW, who have agreed to meet on July 29th. to give a commitment that representations will be made to the Insurance Federation outlining the corrective works that are to be undertaken. We cannot allow this flood threat to persist and to act as a life sentence for the residents of Donnycarney.' Cllr O Riordain continued.

'It is also crucial that all agencies, including public representatives, commit to an ongoing process of meetings in order to ensure that this issue does not go away until it is finally resolved. If the flooding concerns of Drumcondra can be alleviated, then Donnycarney should be no different.' O Riordain concluded.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Please be advised of the following meeting that has been arranged in relation to flooding issues this WEDNESDAY, JULY 8TH at 7.00pm in LE CHÉILE, DONNYCARNEY.At this week’s meeting of City Council, I successfully passed a motion demanding that the Department of the Environment fund the €4million upgrading of the River Wad culvert:

'This Council demands that the Department of the Environment immediately provide the necessary funding to correct identified flaws in the city's flood prevention system, particularly in the North Inner City and in Clanmoyle Road, Donnycarney as previously outlined by City Council Engineers Reports (ref Report to North Central Area Committee march '09) and OPW inspections. '

The motion was ammended by the Labour Group to add:

'and to seek a meeting with the Minister for the Environment.'

The matter will also be raised by Party Leader Eamon Gilmore in the Dáil this week.


I have received the following response from Justice Minister in relation to anti-social behaviour issues in Clontarf Electoral Area including an increased number of burglaries in the Donnycarney area, a level of anti-social behaviour focusing on green spaces in the Grace Park Meadows and Grace Park Heights areas of Drumcondra and Collins Park and Celtic Park Ave areas of Donnycarney.

The question was tabled by Justice Spokesperson Pat Rabbitte.


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Ahern) by Deputy Pat Rabbitte for WRITTEN on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2009.
* To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the continuing anti social behaviour issues in the north central Dublin area; if he has satisfied himself that adequate garda resources are available in this area; if he will take steps to ensure an adequate response from a garda station to deal with issues (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. - Pat Rabbitte

an increased number of burglaries in the Donnycarney area, a level of anti-social behaviour focusing on green spaces in the Grace Park Meadows and Grace Park Heights areas of Drumcondra and Collins Park and Celtic Park Ave areas of Donnycarney - Clontarf Garda Station

REPLY. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the location referred to is in Clontarf Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of difficulties being experienced by residents in this area as a result of anti-social behaviour, and the area has been designated a public order hot-spot and responsive plans put in place. I am also informed that there has been a decrease in the last two months in the number of burglaries and property related crimes recorded in the area. Members of the local Community Policing Unit and local Garda management liaise with the local community. Community Gardaí attend regular meetings with residents and any issues raised, including those referred to by the Deputy, are attended to. The matters referred to by the Deputy are also discussed by the northwestern area subcommittee of the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee. This forum provides an opportunity for representatives of An Garda Síochána, elected members and officials of the local authority, Oireachtas members and community representatives to discuss local policing issues. Incidents of public disorder and anti-social behaviour reported to the Garda authorities are the subject of investigation and dealt with appropriately, including by juvenile or adult caution, fixed charge notices or initiating criminal proceedings. Any persons found engaging in such behaviour will continue to be dealt with appropriately in accordance with the law. The area is subject to regular patrols by uniform and plain clothes personnel, including the Community Policing Unit, the Garda Mountain Bike Unit and the District Detective and Drug Units, supplemented by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Persons and vehicles are regularly stopped and searched in the area. Local Garda management closely monitors patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation is kept under review, with paramount consideration being given to the needs of residents. Current policing plans in the area are designed to address issues of crime and public order offences, including the prevention of crimes of violence against persons and property and the maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of the quality of life of residents. This strategy is central to the delivery of a policing service to the area in question.