Friday, February 24, 2012
Vice-Chair of Jobs, Social Protection & Education Committee
Labour Party TD, Dublin North Central
Thursday, 24th February 2012
Vice-Chair of the Jobs, Social Protection and Education Committee Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has today welcomed the Government's plan to tackle the unemployment crisis.
The Labour Party TD was speaking after the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton launched her department's "Pathways to Work" which aims to get 75,000 people currently long-term unemployed back into the workforce.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated: "I welcome Minister Joan Burton's initiative and I believe it is further evidence of the Labour Party's commitment to address the employment crisis which has engulfed this country."
"This is an ambitious plan which will seek to reduce the average time jobseekers spend on the live register from 21 months to less than 12 months by 2015. Under the Minister's plan, assessments will be carried out to ascertain what supports are needed to ensure a person making a claim gets every resource available to return to work. This plan is a clear acknowledgement that the damage of unemployment is not just an economic one, but a social one also.
"Some of the language used in terms of the unemployment crisis has been quite unfortunate as it has been estimated purely in terms of a loss of €20,000 to the exchequer in terms of VAT loss and social welfare payments. But it is the attack on the dignity of the human person which has the potential to cause greater damage to that individual, their family and society in general. Empowering those unfortunate enough to be jobless and addressing their needs with sympathy, respect and understanding is key to tackling this issue which has the effective status of a national emergency.
"Not only will this address issues affecting us today, but it will also give us a head start when this country enters a period of economic recovery. Even during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, 150,000 people were still out of work when demand for labour had never been greater. This was the legacy of the last period of economic turmoil in the 1980s and early-1990s when successive administrations failed to tackle the issue of long-term unemployment.
"What Joan Burton has outlined today is a new departure in tackling our unemployment situation. This programme will empower people by giving them the supports and the direction to get themselves back to work. For many, the social welfare system can act as a barrier to employment and social mobility. However, this plan will radically change that.
"Coupled with Pathways to Work, the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has ensured provision of new education supports for the long-term unemployed. Minister Quinn has already stated that this will provide opportunities for the unemployed to upskill and reskill in areas of identified skills needs where sustainable employment opportunities are expected to arise.
"Minister Burton's announcement today is further evidence of the Labour Party delivering on our commitment to address the employment crisis and getting our people back to work. It is challenging, but we are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past and by targeting our resources in this way we can ensure that we are best placed to capitalise on the recovery when it does come around."
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Labour Party TD, Dublin North Central
Tuesday, 21st February 2012
Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed today's clarification from Minster Ruairí Quinn in relation to the staffing schedule for DEIS Band 1 and DEIS Band 2 schools.
"As a former teacher and principal in Dublin's North Inner City, I have first hand experience of the excellent work that takes place daily in our most disadvantaged of schools. I fully understand the unique and incredible power of education and that it still remains the most sustainable and direct passage out of poverty. I am delighted therefore that the Minister has acknowledged that the measures announced in the budget are to be reversed, and that the legacy posts in DEIS schools are to be retained.
"I joined the Labour Party as a teacher in Sheriff Street because of the Labour Party's proud record in relation to tackling educational disadvantage, and today's announcement is a further indication of where our priorities in education lie.
"Ruairí Quinn has proved, in less than a year, to be the most ground-breaking Minster for Education in a generation. On taking office, his Department immediately tackled the scourge of illiteracy in our society and has launched initiatives aimed at delivering equality throughout the education system.
'As this issue of staff provision in DEIS schools has now been resolved, I look forward to working closely with Minister Quinn and my Labour colleagues on the Education, Jobs and Social Protection Committee in delivering an excellent education system for all children and young people in Ireland. The complete eradication of illiteracy and disadvantage from our education system is a bold aim, but one that only the Labour Party has the vision to deliver."
Monday, February 20, 2012
Environment and Engineering Department
Block 1, Floor 6, Civic Offices
Christchurch, Dublin 8
An Roinn Comhshaoil agus Innealtóireachta
Bloc 1,Urlár 6 Oifigí na Cathrach
Teampall Chríost, Baile Átha Cliath 8
Progress Report to the North Central Area Committee on the Extreme Pluvial Flooding Event that Occurred on 24th October 2011
The flooding that occurred on the 24th October 2011 was the result of an extreme rainfall event that exceeded the carrying capacity of existing river and drainage systems within Dublin City.
The City Council received over 1300 reports of flooding on roads and properties throughout the City. Investigations by the Drainage Department to determine the full extent of the effects of the flooding and to identify suitable remedial measures are ongoing. The length of time required to complete the investigations will be considerable due to the limited resources, both financial and staffing, that are currently available to the Department.
The following reports which address the nature of the event and the manner in which resources were deployed to handle the emergency have already been presented to the City Council and the Environment & Engineering Strategic Policy Committee.
· Report No. 338/2011 considered by the Council at the Monthly Meeting held on 7th November 2011 on Dublin City Flood Risk and interim report on extreme pluvial flooding event affecting East Coast and Dublin City on 24th November 2011.
· Progress Report on Extreme Event Pluvial Flooding 24th October 2011 considered by the Environment & Engineering Strategic Policy Committee at a meeting on 16th December 2011.
· Progress Report on Extreme Event Pluvial Flooding 24th October 2011 (Incorporating the report from Jacobs titled Interim Review and Recommendations following the Dublin flood event of 24th October 2011) considered by the Environment & Engineering Strategic Policy Committee at a meeting on 15th January 2012.
The purpose of this report is to brief the Area Committee on the specific drainage issues that have arisen in the North Central Area as a result of the rainfall event of 24th October.
Flooding in the North Central Area
Main Flooding Locations
The City Council has received reports of flooding at 112 locations in the North Central Area. The list of these locations is provided in Appendix 1 of the report. These locations were compiled from a number of sources but primarily by complaints from the affected householders, through the Customer Services Centre either on the night itself or subsequently. In addition, flood locations were sourced from the Fire Brigade call out data base for the night. The list of locations is not a definitive list and it should be noted that there may be other locations which were adversely affected by the flood event on the night but have not been, as yet, officially notified to Dublin City Council.
Road Flooding was reported at the following locations:
All Saints Road, Raheny
Ardbeg Road, Artane
Ardlea Road, Artane
Belton Park Avenue
Belton Park Gardens
Carndonagh Park, Donaghmede
Casino Road (Croydon Park end)
Celtic Park Road
Church Avenue/Grace Park Road
Collins Avenue West/Malahide Road Junction
Coolock Village, Main Street
Courtlands, Griffith Avenue
Elm Mount Road
Grace Park Terrace
Grange Park Crescent
Grange Park Rise
Hazelwood Drive, Artane
Kilbarrack Road (Under Bridge)
Marino Mart, Fairview
Maryfield Avenue, Artane
Maypark, Malahide Road
Middle Third, Killester
Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf
Newtown Cottages, Malahide Road
Philipsburgh Avenue, Fairview
Saint Aidens Park Avenue
Saint Brendans Avenue, Artane
Saint Davids Wood, Malahide Road
Saint Johns Court, Artane
Saint Lawrence Road, Clontarf
Saint Margarets Avenue
Santry Village (opposite Comet Pub)
Seafield Avenue, Clontarf
Shantalla Road, Beaumont
Slademore Drive, Artane
The Hole in the Wall Road
Victoria Road, Clontarf.
Where road flooding occurred on main roads, significant traffic delays occurred. At the majority of the above locations flooding resulted from surcharged mains. After the amount of rainfall ceased the surface water systems regained capacity, and the flooding quickly subsided.
Property Flooding was reported at the following locations:
Annesley Bridge Road, Fairview
Blackheath Grove/Blackheath Park
Castle Court/Auburn Apartments
Collins Avenue East
Elm Mount Avenue
Grange Park Road
Kincora Road/Kincora Court
Main Street, Raheny
Raheny Village, Howth Road
Swords Road, Santry Village
Saint Kevin’s Soccer Club
Watermill Court Apartments
Proposed Flood Alleviation Measures in the North Central Area
The extreme rainfall event resulted in the carrying capacity of drainage and river systems being exceeded. In particular flooding within the Area emanated from the following rivers:
· The Santry
· The Wad
· The Nanniken
· The Blackbanks Stream
The City Council is progressing a number of flood alleviation measures associated with these within the North Central Area. These measures are listed below.
The Santry River
The OPW has approved an application for a minor works scheme to increase the flood protection of properties along the River Santry in the Raheny area. A brief has been agreed with RPS Consulting Engineers. A topographical survey of the Santry River from 100m downstream of Main Street, Raheny to 200m upstream of Harmonstown Road Bridge is taking place in the week commencing 13/2/2011. The results from this will be incorporated into the upgraded Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study (GDSDS) computer model of the Santry river in the following week which will enable various flood alleviation scenarios to be analysed.
The Wad River
A €20m scheme is being developed with the OPW to alleviate flooding related to the Wad. The Clanmoyle portion of this work is due to start construction subject to finance and planning permission.
A meeting was held with residents from 12 different houses in Clanmoyle on 18th November 2011. The residents were generally in agreement with the City Council’s drainage proposal on Clanmoyle Road. It was agreed that the Council will revert back to the residents before the final Part 8 for the scheme is submitted for approval. The City Council purchased No.3 Clanmoyle Road on 5th November 2011. The Flood Defence Unit met with two
representatives from Clontarf Golf club on 25th November 2011. The Golf Club representatives raised a number of items of minor concern. At a subsequent meeting on the 31st January 2012 most of these issues were addressed, however the golf club representatives raised further items which are currently being addressed by the Council and it’s consultants. A drawing of the latest proposal in the golf club is with Irish Rail and a meeting is scheduled for the week commencing 20/2/2012. Further drainage investigations have taken place in the Golf Club and at Castle Court / Auburn where significant flooding occurred on 24th October 2011.
Once agreement with the Golf Club membership and Irish Rail is achieved the City Council will then complete an environmental report and seek planning permission under the Part 8 procedure.
The Naniken River
A CCTV survey of the river Nanniken is currently under way. In addition, some improvement works have been carried out to the Nanniken culvert where it crosses under the railway at Brookwood Rise. These works will increase flood protection to properties at Brookwood Rise and Brookwood Avenue. In order to increase flood protection for the properties at Maryfield Crescent and Ardmore Park a full hydraulic analysis of the culverted river Nanniken will be required. At present the City Council does not have funding to carry out such a study.
The Blackbanks Stream
A CCTV survey of the culverted Blackbanks stream is currently under way. The Drainage Division is at present examining the feasibility of installing additional gullies at No.104/106 Grange Park Road.
The Drainage Network
Flood Resilient City Project (FRCP)
The FRCP currently underway will identify areas that are vulnerable to the threat of pluvial flooding and develop the most appropriate strategies to protect those areas against flooding. A final report will be available by mid 2012.
Gully Management Programme
Dublin City Council radically revised its gully cleaning programme in 2004. A new database was introduced which records the date and location of every single gully cleaning operation. All of the city’s 54,000 gullies are cleaned on average once per annum. Gullies on the main thoroughfares are cleaned more frequently, in some cases once every six to eight weeks. In addition, during adverse weather conditions and in particular on receipt of severe weather forecasts, normal gully cleaning work is suspended and the crews travel to areas which have historically flooded in the past to deal with any visible flooding and also carry out precautionary gully cleaning.
Flood Resilient Communities
The City Council will endeavour to progress alleviation schemes to minimise the adverse effects of flooding within Dublin City. However it is not feasible to afford protection to every location for extreme pluvial events. The City Council’s sandbag policy (Appendix 2) points out that the prime responsibility for the protection of premises at risk of flooding rests with the owners of those properties.
In Scotland a model has been developed by the Scottish Flood Forum that has enabled over 200 Community Flood Groups to plan and prepare for flood events.
Recently the Flood Resilient City Project (FRCP) invited the Scottish Flood Forum to meet with residents in the East Wall area with a view to establishing a Community Resilience Group to deal with floods. This type of model provides individuals and communities with an effective and efficient means of protecting properties from floods by:
- Establishing local area flood watch systems
- Establishing awareness of factors contributing to flood risks.
- Developing local community flood action
- Minimizing the danger of flooding within the local area.
- Assisting at times of flooding and supporting people who have experienced flooding to ensure effective support is available to assist recovery.
- Meeting regularly to ensure that flood preventive methods are being maintained and monitored.
- Monitoring and reporting to the City Council those areas which are at risk of flooding through lack of maintenance or repair.
- Raising the awareness of personal and collective actions to limit the occurrences of flooding.
- Engaging with the City Council and other organisations to reduce the risk of flooding.
- Developing a local community flood awareness training programme
- Promoting flood protection equipment and materials to prevent further flooding to property
- Arranging free surveys of properties and giving specific advice on the most appropriate means of flood protection.
- Providing advice on the type of protection and suitability of products that will minimize the risk of flooding to properties.
- Making recommendations on minor repairs to properties that may prevent entry of water.
- Facilitating substantial reductions in the cost of flood defence products such as flood gates through bulk buying.
The City Council has explored the possibility of establishing Flood Resilience Groups in the recently flooded areas as the most appropriate means of facilitating the protection of homes and businesses from flood events. The FRCP has created a trans-national learning alliance between Dublin City Council and the Scottish Floods Forum (SFF). A workshop between City Council staff and the Director of the SFF was held on Thursday 12th Jan 2012. The purpose of establishing the Alliance is towards developing a Dublin Flood Forum that will encourage and support the establishment of Community Resilience Groups across the Dublin region in areas that are faced with the threat of flooding. This will be advanced through the Area Committees.
Of particular benefit in establishing flood resilience communities in the North Central Area is in combating coastal flooding and the flooding of basements. In the case of the latter a number of the premises that were flooded in the Area were basement properties.
The 2005 Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study highlighted a number of issues with regard to basements and the associated flooding risks. Throughout the city many properties have basements with connections to old sewers and culverts. When these sewers become surcharged the flows often enter basements as these basements are built below the surcharge levels. These basements can be protected by backflows from surcharged by the installation of small pumping stations or anti flooding devices.
The City Council has a Basement Policy which advises property owners on all aspects of drainage concerning basements. The policy strongly advises against any basements in new developments as these areas will always be liable to flooding. . The basements in older dwellings in areas like Fairview and Marino are a legacy that will always remain susceptible to flooding. Rooms that may have been once used as storage areas when the buildings were originally constructed have, in many cases, been redeveloped as apartments or other living accommodation.
The Council has produced an advisory leaflet on Basement Flooding (Appendix 3) advising owners of basement properties to install Non-Return Valves or, where possible, a separate drainage system which is then pumped to the public sewer. In both instances the objective is to break the direct connection to the main sewer as in flood conditions the level in the sewer will rise, in many cases to a level above any drain inlets in the particular basement, and the sewer will back-up and flood the basement.
An important measure to reduce flooding within these areas will be the actions taken by property owners themselves, whether in the installation of non-return valves or pumped connections to the main sewer, in many cases it is actions they will undertake themselves that will protect their property from flooding.
Dublin City Council’s Sandbag Policy
The primary role of the City Council during pluvial events is to manage the drainage network in order to minimise the extent of flooding to the general public. The supply and distribution of sandbags would present a considerable impediment to this task. In addition the inevitable increase in telephone requests for sandbags to emergency call centres would seriously interfere with the ability of those centres to cope with major flooding events.
The use of sandbags has become established in the public’s mind as an effective flood protection measure. This is reflected in demands for the City Council to make sandbags available to householders and businesses at risk of flooding.
The Council maintains strategic stocks of sandbags at a small number of locations. These amount to around 9,000 at various locations including Clontarf, Sandymount, Glendhu Park, and the drainage depots at Marrowbone Lane and Bannow Road. The stocks at these sites are maintained for strategic purposes and play a useful role in areas when dealing with flood events which have sufficient advance warning.
General advice to property owners on dealing with floods is provided by the OPW in booklet format and on the website www.flooding.ie. The OPW advice recommends property owners at risk of flooding to have a supply of sandbags close at hand. The advice notes also acknowledge that sandbags can be difficult to deploy during flood events and can also pose health risks if contaminated with sewage.
A major report on of the serious pluvial flooding that occurred in the UK in 2007, known as The Pitt Review, concluded the following with regard to the role of sandbags as a means of protecting individual properties during flood events:
· While it is clear that sandbags have a useful role in certain types of floods when used strategically, their benefits are less clear when they are used by householders to protect individual properties. This weakness is further heightened by their relative inefficiency when compared with alternative dedicated flood defence products that have been developed in recent years, such as floodgates and airbrick covers.
· Extensive evidence of public over-reliance on sandbags which often proved of little value in protecting against flooding.
· Many householders and business owners put time and energy into obtaining and installing sandbags which would have been better spent on other activity such as moving possessions to safety and deploying door boards.
· Sandbags can be effective when it is marginal, as to whether water enters a house or not, but in relation to large volumes of water they are largely ineffective, contrary to public perception.
To supply sandbags to all properties at risk of flood during sudden rainfall events would require a level of resources that is much greater than is currently available to the City Council. Even if such resources were provided the deployment of sandbags in sufficient time to prevent significant flooding of properties, particularly during monster rainfall events would be logistically impossible. During a flood event, invariably the transport network is very busy, which means that DCC crews have great difficulty in reaching certain areas to deploy pumps, close flood gates, or deliver sandbags. If there is little notification that an event will occur, delivering sandbags would not be possible.
The provision of sandbag stores at specific locations around the City that could be accessed locally by residents on foot of flood warnings would require considerable investment by the City Council to manage and maintain. The unpredictable nature of flood warnings which can average 4-5 a year would result in sandbags being deployed more often than required, leading to the unnecessary expense of maintaining the required stock of bags at each location. The transportation and placement of sandbags from local containers would still require a considerable effort by local residents and they would be unlikely to be in position in time to prevent flooding to most properties subject to sudden rainfall events. Furthermore, if sandbags were deployed at certain locations, there is no guarantee that the people who need them will get them. During a flood, panic generally sets in, and those who are not in risk of flood could easily exhaust the supply of bags at the expense of those in need.
Owners of properties that are at risk of flooding are encouraged to keep where possible, their own stock of empty sandbags together with sufficient stocks of sand to fill bags at times of potential flooding. Preferably owners should invest in the provision of suitable proprietary flood gates and covers to protect openings such as doors, windows and vents. Dublin City Council does not have financial provision in the 2012 budget for purchase of any additional sandbags.
Friday, February 17, 2012
LETTER FROM CITY MANAGER DATED 17-2-12
There continues to be huge media attention given to the bin issue. However there are a number of facts that you should be made aware of at this stage. Based on the presentation rates and tonnage collected by Greyhound in the 3rd and 4th week of their service, it appears that the vast majority of customers are now aware of the revised collection dates and are availing of the service.
There continues to be some isolated reports to the Council of individual houses and, in some cases, roads, being missed. In the main, these are still relating to areas that were served by black bag and green bin service. In each case we have made immediate contact with Greyhound in order to arrange for collection. They have had a number of additional crews and vehicles available for this particular purpose for the first weeks of the service and have, generally, responded quickly to our calls. We continue to have a number of staff in direct contact with Greyhound as part of the hand over process and this will continue for as long as necessary.
As of Monday last 13th February 2012 Greyhound indicated that there was circa 18,000 customers who had not signed up for the service. Up to Thursday evening 16th February 2012, a total of 4,700 of these customers had made contact with Greyhound and had signed up for the service. This leaves a balance of 13,300 and it is expected that more customers who have yet to finalise arrangements will sign up with Greyhound in the coming days. There are also customers who put bins out very infrequently who will not decide to sign up until they wish to use the service. It is also expected that a number of the customers will have made or will make arrangements with alternative service providers.
It should be noted that over the last number of years, when the City Council was providing the collection, in the region of 8,000 to 12,000 customers would have been pursued for non payment of quarterly charges and indeed placed on a black list for collection purposes. Generally these customers subsequently either made payment in full or made acceptable arrangements for payment and had their service restored. The non-payers when we provided the service were spread across the city and over different collection days. Greyhound report that this situation also pertains at present. So when non-collection is implemented it will be spread across the city and spread over five days.
There have been media reports that the number of black bags and tonnages of dumped waste has jumped dramatically in recent days. This is not the case. In any year the City Council between street sweepings and dumped bags would collect approximately 13,000 tonnes or approximately 36 tonnes of waste per day based on a seven day week. There has been no increase in this figure since Greyhound took over. In fact the figure has been lower for dumped bags recently because Greyhound have collected the vast bulk of untagged waste. This will obviously revert closer to the norm as they cease to collect untagged bags.
As service is withdrawn to non-payers we will carry out our duties under the litter pollution act i.e. preventing health hazards arising from dumping as we always did and pursuing people who resort to this behaviour. Separately under the Waste Management Acts we will be checking with householders who do not have a collection as to how they dispose of their waste.
I know there are still problems but there is also a lot of misinformation. I hope this update is of assistance to you. If there is any detail you wish to check please contact Damian Drumm Executive Manager on 01 2222392.
Dublin City Manager17th February 2012