Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that a thorough process of public consultation is essential to allay the growing public concern in Dublin Fingal regarding the proposed changes to bus services under Bus Connects.
Earlier this week, Deputy O’Brien held the second of a number of public meetings he and local Fianna Fáil Councillor, Eoghan O’Brien is hosting to highlight the proposed changes to Dublin Bus services in the greater Fingal area.
Commenting following the meeting in The Ploughman, Kinsealy on Monday night he said, “Those living in Kinsealy and the immediate surrounding communities rely heavily on their local bus service, particularly to get to and from the city in a reasonable timeframe.
“Countless young families moved to the area in the last number of years given its proximity to Dublin city and the fact that it is sufficiently served by public bus services.
“Kinsealy is a sizable satellite town in the North County with a growing population, that’s clear from the 200 plus people that turned out to discuss the plans. Under these proposals locals would have to travel first to Swords to get into the city centre. This is a huge departure from the existing regular direct service.
“It’s therefore understandable why residents are so incensed about these proposals and any potential reduction in Dublin Bus frequency or connectivity. It was very worthwhile to hear the views expressed by Thomas O'Connor who kindly attended on behalf of the National Bus and Rail Union.
"We need the maximum number of residents submitting their concerns to ensure that they are properly considered and taken into account. The local Fianna Fáil organisation and I will be compiling all the responses from this series of meeting and make a detailed submission to the National Transport Authority.
“Councillor Brian Dennehy and I will hold our next meeting in Rush next Monday evening and I hope that many in the area will be able to attend,” he concluded.
- FOI data reveals that only 656 out of 2105 applications have been approved -
- Only 134 have been drawn down -
Freedom of Information data collated by Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien reveals that only 31% of loan applications under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme have been approved to date.
The data was received from each of the 31 local authorities across the country.
Under the scheme, applications received by the local authority are sent to the Housing Agency for a recommendation then decided upon by the local authority. Some 2105 applications have been received, 656 have been approved and only 134 drawn down.
€17m has been paid out to date. The remainder have been declined outright or delayed. In 260 instances, or 20%, of the applications which were adjudicated by the Housing Agency, the local authority reached a different decision or delayed from the Agency recommendation.
Commenting on the figures Deputy O’Brien said, “The Re-Building Ireland Home loan is the flagship policy of Fine Gael’s affordability plans. However this FOI data exposes the reality behind all the spin. Only one in three applicants has been successful, and only 6% have actually drawn down the money to date.
“A mere €17m has been spent under the scheme to date, compared to €2bn which has been lent by commercial providers over a similar timeframe. That’s a drop in the ocean despite Fine Gael claims that the scheme is “a success story”.
“Furthermore there is a significant discrepancy between what the Housing Agency recommends and what the local authorities are deciding to do. This raises serious questions over the methodology used by the both the Agency and the local authorities. The substantial refusal rates and delays being experienced only serves to prove that this scheme is clearly not the solution to the affordability crisis ordinary workers are facing.
“We have not seen an affordable home built since 2011, house prices continue to rise; and the government’s loan scheme is refusing over half of the people that are applying to it.
“Fianna Fáil has continuously called for the re-establishment of an affordable housing scheme and has published its own proposals in this regard. Unfortunately both Fine Gael and Sinn Fein voted against the Fianna Fáil plan.
“We need a complete overhaul of the government’s affordability policies to ensure that ordinary income workers can achieve the dream of home ownership. That has to start with a Housing Budget which will prioritise real investment in affordable homes. This over-hyped home loan scheme is simply letting people down”, Deputy O’Brien concluded.
Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has today called for the establishment of a time specific taskforce to address the crisis in child homelessness in Ireland.
Deputy O’Brien made his call following reports this week that a young mother, Margaret Cash and her six children including a one year old baby were forced to sleep in their local Garda Station because they had nowhere else to go.
He commented, “The homelessness situation in the country is shameful - Nothing short.
“The reports which emerged from Tallaght this week are appalling but shockingly this wasn’t an isolated incident. Several families across the country had been left with no other choice but to present themselves and their children to a Garda Station for accommodation.
“Surely we have the resources and the capacity at the very least to ensure that children do not have to sleep in Garda Stations?
He added, “The number of children living in homelessness has been steadily on the rise, that’s even clear from the Department of Housing’s own data. Despite these rises the Government have continued to turn a blind eye to the problem and tolerate the consistent neglect of homeless children.
“I have contacted the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy TD and have arranged a meeting to urge him to support our call for the establishment of this taskforce.
“There are of course other abject failures occurring in housing more generally but child homelessness is a crisis that must be urgently solved. The welfare of children in this State must be protected at all costs,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that sadly it’s an all too regular occurrence that homeless families are referred to Garda Stations nationwide for shelter.
The Deputy was commenting following confirmation from Gardaí that a homeless family were forced to sleep in Tallaght Garda Station because they had no other accommodation.
He said, “The idea that a young mother and her six children would be forced to present themselves to their local Garda Station is distressing but sadly, this is not the first time this has happened.
“As this crisis has worsened under Fine Gael’s leadership, more and more families have been left with no choice but to present themselves to a Garda station to get rest for a night because they have nowhere else to go.
“To have no stable accommodation or nowhere else to go represents a colossal failure of the State. For any parent or guardian to be put in the position to present with their loved ones to a Garda station for accommodation shows the impossible decisions people are faced with under this Government.
“The images that have emerged this morning of some of the children trying to rest on seats in the station’s waiting room are deeply upsetting. Emphasising the fact that this family of 7 were given a breakfast at the station as though it’s some kind of consolation is sad in itself.
"Last July we were assured by the Minister that the practice of leaving families in short term hotel accommodation would end; that no one would be kept in hotels. Over 12 months on and there isn't even enough emergency hostel accommodation to keep up with demand. We're now relying on the support of our Garda stations to take in homeless families.
“If we didn’t already know before now, Ireland’s housing crisis is destroying lives. Fine Gael’s policies on housing are denying these children’s basic human rights."
You will know be aware of some very significant changes that are being proposed by the National Transport Authority under the BusConnects proposals to our bus services. These changes would see a reduction in bus services for the Malahide area and indeed reduction in services to the city for most of North County Dublin.
Earlier this week Cllr. Eoghan O'Brien and I hosted a BusConnects information evening in Seabury Parish Centre attended by nearly 500 people. We would like to thank everyone for coming to this important meeting. The massive attendance on the night showed the level of opposition to these proposed changes.
For your convenience, I have attached a DRAFT submission that Eoghan and I have prepared. You may find this useful and wish copy items from it, add your own views to it, or indeed use it in full. It is really important that you put your full name and address on the submission when you email it to the NTA.
This submission focuses very much on the negative impact that the proposals will have on the Malahide area. We have also prepared specific draft submissions for all other towns in Dublin Fingal.
Make sure you spread the word. We need to ensure that we maximise the number of submissions made to the National Transport Authority. Email your submission to ;
Be assured that Eoghan and I are 100% behind the community on this and will be doing everything we can to ensure that our bus services are improved and enhanced, not reduced, and that the negative aspects of the BusConnects proposals are eliminated.
I will keep you informed of progress and I will stay in touch. In the meantime if you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact myself or Eoghan. My direct office number is 01-6183802 and my mobile is 086-2519893.