Gormley now stalls and kicks to touch on Dublin Bay

Despite launching the Dublin Bay Task Force in a blaze of publicity in June 2008 John Gormley has failed to respond to the many recommendations and subsequent requests for action submitted more than fourteen months ago.

Labour Party representatives Cllr Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Bronwen Maher have strongly criticized Environment Minister John Gormley for his lack of action on Dublin Bay.

Cllr O Ríordáin stated that “The Dublin Bay Task Force was set up by the Minister in June 2008 in a fanfare of publicity but without any requisite funding or staff from his department. Despite this drawback the main body of work on Dublin Bay was submitted to the Minister’s office within six months by the then chair of the task force, Bronwen Maher. Although the Minister is taking credit for establishing the Dublin Bay Task Force he has failed to respond to numerous requests for direction from the task force members. Right now the task force does not know if its work is completed, if it is to disband or if the Minister is accepting its findings. We still have no idea how the Bay should be managed and protected for future Dubliners, despite the recommendations.”

Bronwen Maher explained, “We have had no response to the Dublin Bay report that has been on the Minister’s desk since December 2008, a full fourteen months ago. Instead and surprisingly, we have now discovered, via a parliamentary question to the Minister, that he has decided to wait for the completion of the Regional Planning Guidelines process before any decisions are made.”

“If this parliamentary question had not been tabled no one would have been aware that the Minister had decided that issues relating to Dublin Bay now appear be the responsibility of the Dublin Regional Planning Guidelines. The Minister should have clearly stated this in a letter to all the residents and stakeholders involved in the Dublin Bay Task Force consultation process.”

“I suspect that many residents associations would not be aware that the deadline for making submissions to the draft Regional Planning Guidelines is 26 March next. This is a very complex document, and residents would need time to carefully study the content before making any considered submission.”

“This is a Minister who is back peddling on his original commitment on a vision for Dublin Bay and who is now feverishly kicking to touch by stalling action and referring to a further process through the Regional Planning Guidelines.”

Note to Editor

Dublin Bay Task Force Time Line

· Task Force set up by Minister, with no staffing or funding, and launched in July 2008
· First report delivered to Minister Dec 2008 – no response from Minister to date.
· Final report with map delivered to Minister July 2009 – no response from Minister to date.
· Dublin Regional Authority endorses Dublin Bay Task Force report and writes to Minister asking for directions Sept 2009 – no response from Minister.
· Chair of Dublin Bay Task Force, Cllr. Dermot Lacey, writes to Minister again asking for response and for directions, 2 March 2010.
· In reply to Parliamentary Question, 2 March 2010, Minister Gormley states that the issue of coastal Zone Management for Dublin Bay will be dealt with by the Regional Planning Guidelines. But no further details regarding the Bay are forthcoming.

Question No. 396
Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Oidhreachta agus Rialtais Áitiúil:
To the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views to the report and recommendations submitted to his Department by the Dublin Bay Task Force and Dublin Regional Authority in 2009; when he will respond to the Dublin Bay Task Force and the Dublin Regional Authority; his plans to instruct the Dublin Regional Authority to develop a master plan for Dublin bay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Joanna Tuffy. For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010.
Ref No: 9923/10
REPLY

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Gormley):

The Dublin Regional Authority (DRA) established the Dublin Bay Task Force, at my request, to provide a forum for stakeholders to engage in order to prepare a Master Plan for the bay and to make recommendations on integrated coastal zone management.

The DRA was chosen to lead the Task Force due to its co-ordinating and cross-cutting role and the fact that Dublin Bay falls within the jurisdiction of three local authorities, all of which are represented on the task force.

To date, the Task Force has held a series of meetings, some of which were open to the public, conducted several public consultation seminars and carried out a significant amount of background research. The work that the Task Force has carried out has informed the development of the draft Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area 2010-2022, currently on Public Display; the draft guidelines contain several recommendations concerning integrated coastal zone management in the Dublin Bay area. The relevant local authorities will take the necessary steps to reflect the RPG objectives in their Development Plans following adoption of the RPGs in the middle of this year.

My Department will engage with the Director of the DRA to discuss what further steps might usefully be taken to progress other relevant recommendations of the Dublin Bay Taskforce in light of the above developments.

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