Following contact from concerned Howth residents about the sale of the St Columbanus Hall, Deputy Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister for Culture; Heritage and the Gaeltacht about the type of protections and supports available to the local community which is anxious to preserve and continue to use this historic community building. In a very informative reply to the Parliamentary Question today, Deputy Broughan was told that St. Columbanus Hall is recorded in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s “National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being of Regional Importance, qualifying it for recommendation to the local authority for inclusion in its Record of Protected Structures”.
Recently, Deputy Broughan wrote to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, regarding the reported proposals for dredging at Howth Harbour. Deputy Broughan raised a number of important questions with the Minister as there were media reports that some local public representatives were invited to a briefing at Howth Harbour on the plans but that Deputies weren’t invited or sent on a briefing. Minister Creed informed Deputy Broughan that officials and engineers from his Department did meet with the Planning and Management personnel from Fingal County Council in early March. Fingal also facilitated that these officials give a verbal update to councillors at the end of their meeting on March 6th.
Deputy Broughan has been asking the respective Ministers for Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the dredging of Howth Harbour for a number of years now. Howth is one of the six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres and is a busy and well-functioning harbour. A recent reply to a Parliamentary Question showed that in 2015, 2016 and 2017 there were 735, 1,303 and 992 fish landings respectively. The sum of value of those 735 landings in 2015 was almost €12m, in 2016 it was just over €15.6m and in 2017 was almost €11.5m.
The Minister will be aware that a few weeks ago the Zoological Society of London published the Living Planet Report 2018, which shows that the animal populations on the planet have reduced by approximately 60% since 1970. This is being talked about as the sixth mass extinction. The World Wildlife Fund is asking that we would begin to treat this matter in the same way as we do climate change by putting in place an agreement similar to the Paris Agreement in regard to animals and biodiversity.
On Monday morning, I met a large number of constituents, as usual, at the BESC offices in Darndale. On Tuesday, I started the day with an early Board meeting of the Coolock Development Council, of which I am a founding Director. Later that afternoon, I attended the pre-budget briefing of the Oireachtas Disability Group and my representative attended a meeting in Colaiste Dhúlaigh about the CDETB’s pitch to win the patronage of the new post primary school planned for the Donaghmede/Howth/Dublin 13 area. Parents can cast their votes online at https://patronage.education.gov.ie/
Prior to Christmas 2016, Deputy Tommy Broughan made enquiries with Fingal County Council and Irish Water regarding the increasing instances of water outages in the Howth/Sutton/Baldoyle area. During November and December 2016, there were sometimes daily notices being sent by Fingal County Council outlining how areas around these parishes were to be without water supply for significant periods during the day.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has today welcomed news from Irish Rail that the lifts at Howth Junction DART station are to be overhauled. Deputy Broughan has made many representations on behalf of dissatisfied constituents over the years regarding the unreliability of the lifts. The lifts are very often out of use which causes significant disruption in particular to commuters with mobility issues and people travelling with small children.
Several constituents who are members of Progressive Credit Union Ltd. have expressed dismay to local Deputy Tommy Broughan at the forthcoming closure of the Credit Union offices on Main Street, Howth. Howth Credit Union was merged with 6 other Fingal Credit Unions into Progressive Credit Union over the past 3 years. (The other Credit Unions which became members of Progressive are Baldoyle & Portmarnock, Donabate, Skerries, Balbriggan, Rivervalley and Rathingle and Victory (Glasnevin).
Deputy Broughan was in contact recently with David Franks, Chief Executive of Irish Rail regarding the overcrowding on the DART to Howth during the increasingly popular Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. Deputy Broughan also raised a Parliamentary Question requesting that the number of carriages on the 4.55pm Bray to Howth DART service be increased from 4 to 6 in order to address the peak time overcrowding. In responses received from David Franks this week, confirmation was given that additional fleet came into operation on the 11th of April 2016.
Deputy Broughan has recently asked a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, on the current status of properties at Howth Harbour and the development of this popular and important amenity. Howth is a much beloved destination of Irish people and tourists alike and is currently a finalist in the ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ competition.