Sunday, January 28, 2007

Open e-mail to General Election candidates in Dublin North regarding Broadmeadow pedestrian / Cycle Way

Update 24th March - The open e-mail below, sent in January has received cross-party support - I have published the candidates responses as comments.

Dear candidate,

I would like to offer you this opportunity to set out your position, and that of your party regarding the development of a pedestrian / cycle way around the Broadmeadow estuary.

Situated between Swords, Malahide and Donabate, the Broadmeadows estuary is a magnificent natural amenity that is currently under utilised. As you know, we are constantly reminded about the increasing levels of obesity in Ireland, especially in young people. A pedestrian / cycle way around the Broadmeadow would provide the residents of Dublin North with a 'safe, accessible' 10km long 'World Class Trail'(1). It would encourage a greater number of families to exploit the many attractions right at their doorstep. Most importantly, it would be a place where parents could teach safe cycling skills away from traffic.

Much of the trail is already in place. The most important 'missing link' is a pedestrian/cycle bridge beside the railway line that crosses the estuary. This is already provided for in the Donabate Local Area Action Plan(2).

There has been talk of a pedestrian / cycle way across the estuary for many years. Delivering this will require the co-operation of Iarnrod Eireann and Fingal CoCo. TDs and prospective TDs in Dublin North have a critical role to play in this.

I look forward to receiving your response setting out your view on the above proposal, and specifically what you and your party plan to do to deliver this.

I will publish this open e-mail and your reply on the internet at (

Yours Sincerely,

Ken O'Connor

-- Ken O'ConnorFingal Safe Cycling Action Group

(1) The Irish Sports Council launched a 'World Class Trails' strategy in Jan 2007, with the aim of providing 'safe, accessible, and marked' trails to encourage the ordinary person into the outdoors.
(2) Item 153 in the Donabate Strategic Environmental Assessment (March 2006) states: 'That Fingal County Council seeks the provision of a public walkway/cycleway through the Western side of Variation 34 Lands in Donabate and along the existing railway embankment across the Malahide Estuary, in consultation with Iarnrod Eireann within the lifespan of this Development Plan.'

e-mail addresses of candidates:
To: "" ,,,,,,,

I could not find e-mail addresses for John O'Leary (FF), or Matt McCormack (SF).


Ken O'Connor said...

Cllr Anne Devitt (FG) replied:

I am a cyclist and have both promoted and supported such access.


Ken O'Connor said...

Cllr Gerry McGuire (Lab) replied:

Dear Ken,

I am not a candidate in the forthcoming general election.

However as a Labour Party Councillor I fully support the provision of a pedestrian/cycleway around the Broadmeadow Estuary including a pedestrian/cycleway bridge along the railway embankment. This issue has the support of Brendan Ryan the Labour Party general election candidate as well as my fellow Labour Party Councillors on Fingal County Council.

I will raise the matter again at council level and will continue to apply pressure on Iarnrod Eireann and Fingal Co. Council to have this much needed facility put in place as early as possible.

Assuring you of my continuing support.

Yours Sincerely

Cllr. Gerry McGuire

Ken O'Connor said...

Trevor Sargent (Greens) replied:

Ken, a Chara,

Thank you for writing. Councillors, of which there are four in the
Malahide Ward, get together with the remainder of the 24 councillors on
Fingal County Council to put together a Development Plan and local plans
which provide for cycle routes and all the other infrastructure which
the Transportation Department puts into effect. Councillors are a vital
part of any campaign therefore.

T.Ds have input into more general policies that operate at a national
level which have sometimes very local impact as well, such as the
Department of Transport in setting priorities for Iarnród Éireann or Bus
Átha Cliath and the construction of the METRO, for example, with the
Park and Ride facilities that go with that.

All in all, however, the T.Ds have a role, by virtue of their mandate,
in putting pressure on the local authority and it is at this time that
the role of councillors and T.Ds can overlap, as both write letters,
both make every effort to influence the Council or whatever agency needs
to take action. Councillors in the Malahide Ward are as follows ?

Robbie Kelly, Green Party, 18 Abbeylands Lusk Village, telephone 087
Email :

Peter Coyle, Labour, 8 Burrow Court, Portmarnock, telephone 846 0327/087

Darragh O?Brien, FF, 7 Seabury View, Malahide, 845 1367/086 2519893

Alan Farrell, FG, 42 Biscayne, Malahide, telephone 086 8203320

You may already know the Green Party councillors in Fingal but they are
as follows:

Councillor Joe Corr, Cathaoirleach of Fingal County Council
(representing the Balbriggan Ward,) 13 Kenure Crescent, Park Road, Rush,
telephone: 087 6815811

Councillor Robbie Kelly, (representing the Malahide Ward) 18 Abbeylands,
Lusk Village, telephone 087 8110111

Councillor David Healy (representing the Howth Ward) 54 Evora Park,
Howth, telephone 832 4840/087 6178852

I look forward to meeting up again before long and I am sorry I was not
available when you last called to invite me on a cycle in the locality.
Next time hopefully I will be available.

Le gach dea-ghui,


Leader, Green Party
Ceannaire, Comhaontas Glas

Spokesperson on the Taoiseach, N. Ireland,
Agriculture & Food and Gaeltacht Affairs
Dáil Éireann, Dublin 2. 01 6183465

Constituency Office: Dublin North/Fingal Green Party
1st Floor, 35 Main St., Swords, Co. Dublin, 01 8900360

Green Party National Office
16/17 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2.
01 6790012, e:,

Ken O'Connor said...

Dr. James Reilly (FG) replied:

Ireland is facing an obesity timebomb. Regular exercise is a critical prevention measure, and cycling in particular is an excellent means of keeping fit. Children are most at risk - and in recent years the number of children cycling regularly has dropped dramitically. This is understandable, given the danger (perceived or real) of cycling on the road. I fully support the provision of a pedestrian / cycle way around the Broadmeadow. It will provide a safe environment in which children can learn the skills of cycling, enjoy the wonderful outdoors, and stay healthy. I will do everything in my power to ensure this is built.

Rgds James Reilly

Ken O'Connor said...

TREVOR SARGENT, T.D. (Green Party) replied on 13th Feb:

Ken, a Chara,

Further to your email of 28th January, I was delighted to hear you
raising questions and promoting the development of pedestrian/cycleway
around the Broadmeadow Estuary. This is a route, along with the route
across the causeway, which has been promoted by myself, Councillor Heidi
Bedell and Councillor Robbie Kelly who sits on Fingal County Council. I
feel your campaign is critical in letting the Council know that the
proposal has much wider support in the community. If I can be of any
help with this or any other matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Le gach dea-ghui,


Leader, Green Party
Ceannaire, Comhaontas Glas

Spokesperson on the Taoiseach, N. Ireland,
Agriculture & Food and Gaeltacht Affairs
Dáil Éireann, Dublin 2. 01 6183465

Constituency Office & Dublin North / Fingal Green Party
1st Floor, 35 Main St., Swords, Co. Dublin, 01 8900360

Green Party National Office
16/17 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2.
01 6790012, e:,

Ken O'Connor said...

Clr Darragh O' Brien (FF) replied on 13th Feb:

Dear Ken,

Thank you for your e-mail. Firstly just to state that since I was elected to the council, the provision of Cycle ways/walk ways has been an absolute priority.

To give you on example, I was successful in getting Malahide Castle opened @8am to allow students walk and cycle safely (at least part of the journey).

Because of this we have seen an increase in students cycling to school from 30 approx to 130 approx and many others walking to school.

The issue of child obesity and the overall health of Irish people is one in which politicians such as myself can and must play an active role to improve the situation.

The provisions of walk ways / cycle ways and accessible parks is vitally important as it can entice people to become more active.

Malahide and Portmarnock specifically will have the benefit of another 98 acres of exceptional park-land when Robswall park opens later this summer.

In relation to the inner Estuary Walk way / Cycle way you rightly state that this is now included in the Donabate LAP, and area plan that I supported, one of the reasons for my support is the provision of the facility.

I have lived in North Dublin all my life and am proud to represent the people of North Dublin. In my role as Councillor and if I am fortunate to be elected T.D for the area I will continue to push for the provision of these facilities and specifically the inner Estuary Walkway / Cycleway. I would like to commend you and your committee for you work, I am at your disposal to help in anyway I can.

Be assured of my absolute support and commitment to this project.

If you wish to discuss in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards


Ken O'Connor said...

Clare Day (Socialist Party) replied on 23rd Feb:

Dear Ken,

Thanks for your email and the continued pressure for the delivery of this necessary walk-way/cycle-way. Going through my files I’ve just realized that I never acknowledged this email. I am extremely sorry about that. I don’t now how I overlooked it, as I read the email at the time and noted the contents I just forgot to write back to you.

As you pointed out this route is provided for in Local Area Plans, and in a general sense in the Development Plan, with the backing of the full Council.

However having an objective and turning it into reality often do not follow each other immediately. The Council have been foresighted in relation to this issue, and ensured that the works undertaken by Iarnroid Eireann along the route were carried out in a manner to facilitate the implementation of a pathway. My understanding is that the key reason for the delay is the difficulty in acquiring a section of the route, which is in private ownership.

I am fully supportive of this pedestrian/cycle route, provided it is carried out in a manner which is truly consultative with local residents and is developed with their co-operation. In that sense the concerns raised by residents in relation to the recent boardwalk proposal need to be addressed and the exact route decided upon through agreement.

However the development of sections of the route in advance of the completion of the entire project is appropriate and should be encouraged in order to keep the pressure on for the delivery of the total route. I had the item listed for discussion at the Council meeting yesterday, a report from which is attached. It deals mainly with the Donabate side, but that is only because it was a Swords/Balbriggan Area Committee and we are excluded from raising other areas.

The discussion was quite positive and the planners present felt that there would be a preliminary detailed route selection in about June, which would be brought be before the Council, having been advanced and discussed first on the newly constituted Donabate Forum which will deal with advancing infrastructure in the area. It was felt that the development of this pedestrian/cycle-way should be one of this group’s first projects. I believe that the Council is genuinely committed to delivering this objective, but unfortunately the process takes time and to that end the more pressure and calls for its completion the better the chance of a successful outcome.

All the best,

Clare Daly

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