Sunday, 28 February 2010

Planning permission equals more bob for the builders.

You would have thought that with over 300,000 homes lying empty in Ireland (not including nearly 50,000 holiday homes), according to a study by the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis, the last thing you would want to do is build even more empty dwellings, right?

It hasn’t stopped Shelbourne Development putting in a planning application for 11,500 homes only up the road from the moribund Adamstown mega-development. Similarly, Capel Developments has applied for planning permission to build 260 dwellings in Ashtown.

Now, I pass the apartments at Ashtown every day on the train. The once-bustling sales office is boarded up and covered in graffiti, and when you go by at night the number of darkened windows is a tell-tale sign of how many of them are lying empty. So why the hell would a developer want to build any more?

Mark Keenan, writing in the Sunday Times, offers the only plausible explanation. It seems that having land approved for planning permission, even in today’s climate, can increase its value by between 10% and 15% in outer Dublin, and up to 40% in areas such as Dublin 4. So, given the perilous financial state of many developers, getting their land planning-permission approved is the obvious way to perfume the balance sheet before the banks come sniffing round, post-Nama valuations.

Taking into account that any putative development should be considered against the background of sustainability, and given the fact that Dublin is already blighted by ghost estates, you might think that the only possible response of a properly functioning local authority would be to refuse any further requests for planning permission. Unless they accept it is simply a ruse and they know nothing is actually going to be built, at least not in the short or medium term.

But that would hardly be ethical, would it?

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Trevor Sargent and the assault in Balbriggan

It's not often that you'll see expressions of sympathy for politicians on Gombeen Nation, but there actually is a small amount for Trevor Sargent with regard to the Balbriggan affair.

Sargent, despite once calling for Gaeilge to be used as the day-to-day language of the Dail, seems intelligent and sincere enough. He had nothing to gain by approaching the coppers on behalf of a constituent who was charged with  "threatening behaviour" after he had been head-butted by a neighbour with previous convictions.  The man who was assaulted, Dominic McGowan, had no connection with the Greens and was a victim, not a perpetrator.  In short, it was hardly the the Sheedy Affair.

Why was the man charged in the first place?  He saw some brats engaging in vandalism on his housing estate which is burdened by a high degree of anti-social behaviour.  He told them to stop and played the gambit of threatening to tell their parents, to which they reacted with unconcern.  Thinking he was calling their bluff, he led one of the brats to the wellspring of its existence to be met by more apparent unconcern.  Things got verbally heated, and he ended up being headbutted in the face by the aforementioned resident (and upstanding parent of one of the other brats) who seemingly did not share the complainant's regard for the well-being of the Balbriggan estate. 

The rozzers came and charged Head Butt, one Stephen Mulvany, with assault and threatening behaviour, and decided to charge the complainant - who no doubt was understandably agitated and angry - with threatening behaviour.  A cynic who was not witness to events might conclude that the coppers were after convictions, and weren't too fussy where they came from, annoyed as they were at being forced to leave the comforts of the station.

If I were a politician sitting in my clinic, and a local came and related this story to me, I would want to know why the man had been charged too, and ask - as Sargent did - why he was not simply being called to court to attest against the scumbag who assaulted him?  That's all he did. 

The other worrying aspect here is the propensity of the coppers to leak information.  From what I understand, the letter was initially ignored before finding its way into the public domain - yet Sargent was not charged with any offence by the coppers.  It follows the recent Willie O'Dea affair - a man I'd have no sympathy with on any level whatever - who allegedly repeated slanderous information he had been given, off the record, by a Limerick garda. 

Two questions.  1) Why was the victim in the above case charged?  and 2) When are we going to see resignations from the Garda for leaking information and for rumour-mongering?

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

What's the crack with all the ARSEs?

There was something in the morning freebie last week about a guy who parked his car in the vicinity of a LUAS stop, perfectly legally, in order to take public transport to work. Fair play to him – I hear you say - for saving the planet, improving the city’s air quality, and saving the lives of sundry cyclists, pedestrians and drunks by not driving his car over 30 km/h in the city centre.

Not everyone was so appreciative however, as when he returned from his hard day’s slog he discovered his car was minus a windscreen wiper. “Random vandal” he thought. The following day he discovered his windscreen covered in some oily substance. It seemed that somebody – with the leisure time to sit in their living room all day, twitching the curtains - didn’t like him parking on the public road, outside his/her house.

You get it around my locality too, but even here they are too civilized to resort to wanton vandalism. But someone from the residents’ association called around with a leaflet a while back, complaining about people parking on the roads near the local train station.

As I say, here they are more subtle, but every bit as petty. Their preferred method is to place those little yellow plastic cones – obligingly supplied by the boys and girls in blue – on the miserable bit of road in front of their houses. I should also point out that we all have off-street-parking here, in the form of driveways, so parking is not a problem for residents.

Ironically, not that long ago there was talk of increasing the size of the nearby train station’s car park, but the residents didn’t want that either, citing “increased traffic” as their grounds for objection.  So, if people can’t park on the public roads due to residents objecting, and if a decent park and ride facility can’t be built because the residents object to that too – what the hell are commuters expected to do?  Sit at home all day, presumably in some subsidised form, listening to Joe Duffy and gawping out the window?

As far as we in Gombeen Manor are concerned, people can park wherever they want on “our” street, as long as they don’t create an obstruction. But then again, we work for a living. As such, we don’t have the time nor the inclination to hinder other people who do the same thing, but happen to live further from the train station than we do.

You’ve all heard of NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yarders), I’m sure?   Well, here it looks like we have a lot of ARSEs getting into a sweat about where people should park their cars.  

Any Road Somewhere Else.

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Ireland's property crash - too much positive thinking is bad for you.

It was not that long ago that B-B-B-Bertie was giving after-dinner speeches on how to emulate Ireland’s economic miracle – a topic quietly dropped since the miracle turned out to be a credit-fuelled mirage, which the few of us with brains in our heads pointed out even as the whole misguided bandwagon hurtled towards the precipice.

As we all now suddenly know, and some of us always knew, the phenomenon was caused by a devil’s brew of Government property-based tax shelters/breaks and careless lending by the financial institutions, which we all have to pay for now (including those of us who did not get sucked into the “be an instant property tycoon” nonsense).

Not so “legions of taxi drivers”, as reported in last week’s Irish Times, who bought investment properties in Bulgaria. Properties in a development in Varna, it seems, “where nothing was built before the Irish came a-buying” have dropped in value by 80% in two years. Now, according to the same source, Bulgaria has “probably the highest proportion of recently-built ghost-towns on beautiful beaches, mainly funded by Irish investors.” So everyone’s a loser then, apart from those who built the apartments, blighted the landscape, and made a killing. Sounds familiar.

Likewise, a two-bed apartment, part of an investment-boom development in Wexford, sold last week for €65,000. Other would-be tycoons trying to flog similar apartments in the same complex had been looking for €149,500. Maybe it’s time to reconsider that asking price, folks?

And if you thought the Bulgarian 80% price drop was dramatic – if not unexpected – how about this? Yesterday’s Sindo reported on a Commercial Court case in which Bank of Ireland was pursuing a developer for “unpaid loans” on two parcels of land: one in Kildare, and one in Athlone. The Kildare plot had been valued at €17.5 million during the height of the boom, and the Athlone one €31. According to current valuations revealed to the court they are now worth €4 million and €600,000 respectively. I suppose that makes the Kildare transaction a relatively shrewd purchase. The sitting judge, Peter Kelly, was “shocked”, remarking that this experience suggested that land prices had fallen by “only” 70-80%.

In the light of the above, it is ironic that there has been a recent spate of seminars by our self-appointed “movers and shakers” (or schemers and shysters, as I’d prefer call them) exhorting us to be “positive” and “confident” as a means of getting the country out of the economic mess it’s in. Do these people seriously believe they have earned the right to be taken seriously?

Maybe too much positivity and confidence, along with a large helping of Government encouragement, incompetence and stupidity, was the catalyist for the case studies presented above?

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Irish Blog Awards 2010 - Gombeen Nation gets a mention!

Today I heard that Gombeen Nation is on the Irish Blog Awards nomination list for Best Irish Political Blog, 2010. OK, there are another 35 nominees in the mix, but it was nice to be put forward all the same (and it wasn't me - so "thanks" to whoever did!).

To be honest, I’ve no idea how these things work with regard to nominees or winners*, but if any Irish political blog has been at the forefront in bringing the genre to the public (and John O’Donoghue’s) consciousness, it is Gavin’s Blog.  So hats off to the tireless Gavin and his hands-on role in cleaning up Irish politics.

It is a pity that there is no category for “foreign” language blogs such as IrlandInside, which also covers the political, personal, and humour categories – and whose author possibly sees Ireland from a more objective standpoint than many an indigenous blogger. NewsausIrland and IrlandErleben are two other German language blogs I am aware of, and I am sure there are lots more from other non-Irish citizens living in Ireland.

As far as Gombeen Nation goes, it has been great to witness the growth in popularity and support for the blog over the past while. It shows that there is at least some appetite out there to challenge the culture of gombeenism, cute-hoorism, corruption and clientism that is such a major part of Irish life.

*IBA judges 2010, please contact  Gombeen Man at the email address, left, for details of your free (no-obligation) gift.

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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Head for the pills! "Head shops" burnt out by concerned criminals.

There’s been a lot of lurid publicity in the tabs lately about Dublin’s head shops.  Head shops sell “legal highs”, it seems.  Stuff that might fit the “naughty, naughty, naughty” description of the Shamen’s 90’s hit Ebeneezer Goode. But not quite as naughty, or as good (I imagine).

In fact, they sell a lot of cannabis smoking paraphernalia – pipes, and the like - but not the actual cannabis. They also purvey incense and bath salts, with names like “Flake”, “Charlie” (I’m sure it’s not), and “Snow”.

As keen horticulturalists obviously frequent head shops, they do a nice line in “plant foods”. The Nirvana shop advertises one of its “legal highs” thus: “mint mania are [sic] a very popular plant feeder. For best results, make sure your plants have plenty of fluid, and keep them away from heavy machinery”.

I know a lot of new-agers are in an apparently vegetative state much of the time, but it’s still  a funny way to refer to your clientele. Despite that, head shops seem to be blooming, with “one a week” opening in Ireland last month, according to Wiki.  I make that four.

Whatever about all the above, I suppose the real issue is the unregulated nature of their wares, and the ingredients that make up the “highs”. I suppose Guinness and Jameson’s have to tell us what’s in their products, and are subject to licencing, so there is some argument there.  On the other hand, I don’t know if these products actually “work”, or if they are more likely to contain saccharine than strychnine?

No such ambiguity, of course, with the illegal drugs trade, which is the most dangerous and unregulated of all, and whose products are "cut" with all manner of deadly ingredients, including rat poison.   I’m not aware of anyone dying after a “trip” to a head shop, but am aware of many who died from street drugs.  And alcohol abuse, come to that.

Now, in the space of a week, and on foot of hysterical tabloid alarmism and concentrated coverage on Joe Duffy's Liveline (what kind of person has the time to listen to Joe Duffy's programme? They can't work, anyway) two Dublin head shops have been set alight. There is speculation that the arson attacks may have been carried out by:

A) Citizens of the north inner city concerned about their children’s welfare and moral well-being,  or  B) Local criminal drug dealers concerned about a threat to their trade.

I think a walk around the north inner city or a visit to the Children’s Court can dispel theory “A”, so we are left to conclude that theory “B” might be the most likely explanation.

If so, we can expect more of the same - as if any group is truly above the law in Dublin, it’s the criminal drug-dealing fraternity.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

How about some instructive Irish road safety adverts, for once?

Had a well-earned day off yesterday, and went for one of my spins through Wicklow, taking in the Pine Forest, The Sally Gap, Roundwood, Glendalough, The Wicklow Gap, Blessington, and back to beautiful Dublin 15.

As you can imagine, the recent spell of snow and ice has done little to enhance the road surfaces in the Wicklow uplands, with a new proliferation of craters and potholes (especially on the road from Sally Gap towards Roundwood and Glendalough). My car has a suspension like a solid block of Ruhr steel and sits around 2 millimetres above the road surface (made for Autobahns, you see), so if you find any of my fillings or lumbar disks lying around on the road out there, please get in touch.

But the really scary bit was the M50, coming home. The good news is that they’ve widened it to three lanes now. The bad news is that if Irish drivers couldn’t use a motorway with two lanes, they haven’t a hope in hell of using one with three.  In fact, I expect Ireland to (again) buck international trends and become the only country with a higher death rate on its motorways than on its single-carriageway roads.

The M50 is a frightening place, with traffic going faster in the inside lane (assuming it's not just left empty) than the overtaking lane (which contains the most traffic). The middle lane changes in tempo, with traffic sometimes travelling faster then either of the other lanes, sometimes slower.  All trucks occupy the middle lane, without fail. The truth of the matter is that most Irish drivers simply have not grasped the principle of the motorway.

Sadly, that’s unlikely to change, as the Government and the RSA don’t seem interested in educating them – opting to go for silly, sensationalist, driver “education” as featured in the ad above, where little Oisin gets flattened in the garden by a mascara-wearing drunk’s somersaulting, ESP bereft,  banger.  “Could you live with the shame?” it says. What, the shame of starring in such an embarrassingly awful advert? No.

How about some ads simply informing Irish motorists how to drive? Especially on those new-fangled three-lane motorways.

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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Dunnes Stores, The Irish Times, and the worm in Brian Cowen's head.

There is a little worm peeking out of Brian Cowen’s right ear. The next time you see him on telly, have a good look. You can see the head – about the size of a pixel – if you record it and put your DVD player on hold as you play it back. Scientists working for Britain's secret services developed this worm in a very secret laboratory somewhere in Wiltshire, England.

This worm has been created to bring about the downfall of our wonderful little land. It is designed to multiply prolifically and is genetically coded to eat inside the brains of our TDs, implanting them with information to destroy the country. The early stages of infection include talking utter gibberish, a bloated sense of importance, forming unsustainable economic policy based on credit and property tax breaks, and planning to transform the country to an imagined, Gaelic-speaking, paradise.  

Due to clever genetic engineering, and cleverly controlled mutations within the DNA cytosines, each minister is affected to a different extent and may present some, or all, of the above symptoms. So Eamon O’Cuiv might spout a different kind of gibberish to, say, Martin Cullen - but all will speak gibberish of one kind or another. 

When the worms accomplish their task in one TD (as with Charlie McCreevy – their first victim) they crawl to another.   Every Irish government minister is now infected with the worms, and they are crossing the floor to infect the opposition.  George Lee was the first casualty there.

The British will only be content when we are all back living in crannogs, speaking Gaelic, and all the multinationals have left because you cannot get Wi-Fi in crannogs and you can't have a Gaelic-speaking call centre. Or call center.

The only way for us to beat the Brits is to adapt a wholesome diet of cabbage and potatoes, as the worms cannot get the nutrients they require from these. That’s because cabbage and potatoes cannot grow in Britain, and that’s how they never thought of it.

The internet is great, but you don’t half read some rubbish on it. I’m one of the dwindling band of punters who gets a newspaper every day. But it’s getting more and more difficult.

I went to Tescos this morning for the Sunday Times and the Tribune, but for some reason the Tribune wasn’t there, and has not been for some time. I wonder if Tescos have now adapted a similar aggressive policy to stocking newspapers as “The Difference Is We’re Irish” Dunnes Stores?

Dunnes Stores recently changed their industry-standard payment method to newspapers from direct debit to monthy cheque.  As a result, The Irish Times stopped supplying their product, and you can't get it there anymore.

If Tescos have done the same with the Tribune - or for any other reason - it is only a matter of time before it becomes so difficult to get the newspaper of your choice that younger generation of waverers just won’t bother. Domestic news feeds will dry up, more journalists will be on the dole, and there will be fewer people to find real, verified, authenticated news items.

Then stories like the one above will be all we have left.

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

“Going! Going! ...Erm, not gone". €4 million site “makes” only €0.5 million at auction.

There was a time when any lucky property owner in Ireland – in possession of their own house, their own land, an investment or an accident-of-birth/death inheritance, could have Great Expections when setting off for the auction - hoping each successive bid would be Pipped by another higher offer.  Now it’s more like Hard Times… and it’s not Bounderby any better for some time yet.*

An auctioneer put a 91-acre site in Tipperary up for grabs last Monday, which included included “top-class” land and a substantial range of machinery. The asking price was €4 million. Now, while I don’t know much about agricultural land - except that it sometimes contains cows and sheep – and know even less about this particular site, that kind of asking price does sound sooo 2006 to me.

According to The Irish Times, the auctioneer’s opening four-mill gambit was met with “stony silence” in the bidding room, and attracted only one offer of €500,000 after five minutes of desperate cajoling. The property was withdrawn and the bidder was invited to “private negotiations”.

The auction had, according to the article,  attracted “significant interest, as it was expected to provide an indications of the current state of the property market and to land values.”

Now, how much are we being  made pay for NAMA?

* Two Dickens novels and their characters were grieviously harmed in the writing of this blog.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Tramore rubbish collection for early risers only

You’d want to get up very early in the morning to have your bins collected in Tramore, if the following report from the Munster Express is anything to go by.

It seems that a Fianna Fail councillor has put forward a motion compelling the good burghers of said locality to put their bins out at 6am...  and also be responsible for taking them back in should the refuse-collection people not bother to turn up. Local government Irish-style. 

Even in Fingal we've have had nice pet/seagull-proof (though not skanger-proof) wheelie bins for a couple of years now.  As for asking people to rise with the gulls at 6am in order to get their bins out... I doubt that even Dublin City Council would expect that one to work.

Article below.

Tramore Council wants people up at 6am to put out refuse sacks
By Tom Young

A Tramore Town Councillor wants householders to get up early and leave out their recycling bags for collection, rather than doing so the previous night.

Cllr Pat Finnerty wants the County Council to adopt a bye-law prohibiting the bags being left out overnight. And furthermore he wants the bags removed again if the service provider fails to collect them on the appointed day.

Proposing a motion to that effect at the Town Council’s February meeting, he said bags left out through the night were being split open, sometimes by roaming pets, and the contents scattered all over the place. The Council then had to expend valuable resources cleaning up the mess.

Cllr Tom Raine enquired of Cllr Finnerty if he really expected people to get up at 6 am to put out their bags for collection. He said he did.

Cllr Lola O’Sullivan agreed that certain areas were awash with litter too much of the time, a contributory factor being that animals were attracted to waste bags containing food containers which were not properly cleaned for disposal.

Cllr Ann Marie Power accused Cllr Finnerty of wanting to punish people who did the right thing, putting the relevant rubbish out for collection rather than disposing of it illegally. She submitted that the measures he was proposing would lead to a mass exodus of customers from the Council service to private operators. “If that happens we are shagged”, she suggested.

Despite that, however, the motion was passed by a majority vote.

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

Councillor Andrew Montague's 30 km/h speed limit - let's have compulsory helmets for cyclists too.

Let’s face it, the recent 30 km/h speed limit in Dublin – championed by keen cyclist Councillor Andrew Montague – has split opinion into two camps, those who are pro-car and those who are anti-car.

But before the cycling lobby – whose members are perhaps the most lawless and unaccountable of all road users - gets too smug, it might do well to reconsider its actions in invoking the nanny state to frustrate motorists in the city just for the sake of it.

Surely if health and safety is the be-all and end-all, and we dumb citizens need to be protected from our own actions, it is now time to make cycling helmets compulsory? Better still, why not also make it compulsory for all self-righteous cyclists to wear the lurid, day-glo, latex gear some of them don voluntarily? At least then we pedestrians (and I am one, as well as an enthusiastic petrolhead, and sometimes walk the 11.2 kilometres  from my house to work) can see them as they scythe through us on the pavements and at traffic lights.

They can’t have it every way. Last year, only 28 cyclists were prosecuted for breaking red lights, whereas 1,847 motorists got penalty points for the same offence – and rightly so, as this is the most dangerous road traffic infringement in my view. And before you say a cyclist breaking the lights won’t kill someone, that is very debatable. A cyclist going  full pelt into someone, particularly an older person, could very easily do so - or at least cause serious injury.

Now it seems that the Labour councillors on Dublin City Council are breaking ranks, after party leader Eamonn Gilmore described the new law as “impractical”. Dermot Lacey is now planning (according to the Sunday Tribune) to scrap the new limit on the quays, and introduce a 40 km/h speed limit in the city centre proper. Lacey originally voted for the proposal but now admits that “I tried driving down the quays [at 30 km/h] along the Liffey and it was nigh on impossible”.

Perhaps the good councillors should have tried driving down the quays before they voted on the matter?

You can contact Councillor Montaque at

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Friday, 5 February 2010

Dublin City Council 30 km/h speed limit. Know your local muppets.

Dublin City Council's decision to impose a 30 km/h speed limit in the capital has proven to be a controversial one – finally provoking some kind of reaction from the city’s public.

One of the three councillors who voted against it, FG's Gerry Breen, is calling for its reversal and even Labour leader Eamonn Gilmore has been forced to enter the fray by questioning its practicality.

When the 30 km/h limit, championed by Labour’s Andrew Montague, was discussed at the Council meeting on October 5th, 34 of the councillors present voted in favour of it.  Only three, Fine Gael’s Gerry Breen, Fine Gael’s Bill Tormey and Independent Nial Ring voted against.

Counicllor Breen has branded those who voted for the go-slow “a shower of muppets”,  adding “I will not be associated with, or take flak for, this stupidity… Over the past year, I have seen the cycling extremists take centre stage in the traffic affairs of the council.   Their unstated aims seem to be the removal of all traffic from the city. Seemingly everything these days can be run under the guise of health and safety.... It is important councillors take into account all the interested parties and stakeholders in coming to decisions and this speed limit in my opinion is neither fair nor balanced. I will seek to have it reversed.”, he was quoted as saying yesterday.

The issue continues in today’s Metro Herald, with Breen welcoming Gilmore’s intervention in slapping down “cycling cavalcade” upstart Montaque. “I welcome the fact there is some practicality coming back into the argument and not just ego-driven and ideological politics that allow no room for realities”.

A first for Dublin City Council, surely?

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Dublin city 30 km/h speed limit.

Once again, our rulers in Dublin City Council’s bunker have enforced a law, with no cognisance of reality, on the passive citizens of the metropolis. Giddy from their recent decree to ban the use of the English language for future place and road names, they have now enforced a blanket 30 Km/h (18 mph), 24-hour, speed limit on much of the city. 

They say the speed limit is all about “saving lives”, that same supposedly argument-killing mantra used by quota-chasing, laser-wielding coppers on the dual carriageway stretches with inappropriately low speed limits . The fact is, no figures have been complied by Dublin City Council featuring a detailed breakdown of road fatalities in the capital: the number, the type, the locations, and – most importantly – the causes.

All we get from Dublin City Council is that you are more likely to be killed by a car moving at 50 km/h than at 30 km/h. Sure, you can equally say that if you impose a nationwide speed limit of 30 km/h, even on the motorways, the subsequent collisions due to motorists falling asleep at their wheels would also feature fewer fatalities. But every single journey would be an odyssey and each car making it would be on the roads for longer, meaning our highways and byways would be constantly chock-full of crawling traffic, taking forever to go anywhere.

I work in town and see potentially fatal road situations every day. The most common would be:  Ignorant motorists breaking red traffic lights when lines of pedestrians are stepping out to cross the road, enticed by the green man.  People walking out, lemming-like, in front of oncoming traffic in places where it is madness to do so. Trucks with blind-spots turning left, oblivious to adjacent cyclists. Other cyclists who consider breaking lights and carving through the crossing pedestrians, and racing along crowded pedestrian streets, a right conferred on them for "saving the planet".   I was out walking at lunch yesterday, and witnessed three of the above scenarios in half-an-hour… I kid you not.

Let Dublin City Council take the trouble to identify the specific causes of road deaths in our city. Perhaps the odd councilor might emerge from the Bunker now and again to witness the all-too-regular wreath on a pedestrian crossing?   Then let them do what needs to be done, but not this half-arsed, lazy, tokenistic nonsense they do so well.

Whenever I work on a Sunday, I take the car, as there are no trains when I finish up. Driving home in the evening along Aston Quay and Wellington Quay - past Temple Bar - there is no way I would contemplate exceeding 30 km/h, as there are too many unpredictable (and drunk) pedestrians spilling from the footpaths. I never have - regardless of speed limit.   But I know the next time I'm up the other end of the quays, with not a soul in sight, I'll be watching my speedo more than the road in case some sneaky copper is hiding up ahead waiting for a chance to hit their monthly target.

It is only the application of roadcraft and common sense to take it easy around the busy streets where there is a high degree of pedestrian activity.  But Merchants or Inn’s Quay in the early morning, or late at night? That’s another matter.

And that's where you will find our friends hiding with the laser guns, out “saving lives”.

And if you believe that...

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