Féin Submission to the New City Development Plan
Sinn Féin wants to see Cork becoming a city
that is not merely prosperous and growing, but gives its people the
possible quality of life. Despite the economic growth of the last
traffic gridlock, over-priced housing, the absence of public amenities,
weakening of community life, litter and pollution detract from the
life for many. The new City Development Plan needs to counteract this
sure Cork has a world-class public transport system; ensuring a full
amenities and services is available to all communities in the city;
the provision of social and affordable housing; making sure rented
accommodation meets the highest standards; and cherishing and
voluntary contributions of people to their communities.
particular issue that impacts on many aspects of the plan is the fact
that CorkCity has outgrown its boundaries. This means
there is a
shortage of land for housing, and housing costs are higher within the
city as a
result. It also means communities in Togher, Wilton, Grange, and other areas which are an
organic part of CorkCity, come under the jurisdiction of the County
The division of the urban area between City and County Councils also
creation of a joined-up transport plan for the City and its commuter
Féin feels this anomaly needs to be urgently addressed, through a
expansion of the City boundaries in the near future.
The level of traffic in the
city and the ability of people to get to work without undue discomfort
are key determinants of quality of life. At present, the public
system in Cork is completely inadequate.
There are too few green bus routes, and no commuter rail service except
line to Cobh. Most people going to work have
no option but the use
a car and spend long periods of time on congested roads. Putting in
proper system of public transport, and reducing congestion, must be
aims of the new City Development Plan.
Integrated Transport Plan for Cork
Every day, tens of thousands
of people journey between the urban centre of Cork and suburbs or
dormer towns like Rochestown, Douglas, Carrigaline,
Ballincollig, Blarney and Glanmire. These
communities may be in the jurisdiction of the County Council; but for
of transport policy the city and its surrounding commuter belt need to
treated as a single unit. We need to create transport corridors (green
routes, light rail, etc.) along the routes people use to travel to work
utilise the facilities of the city centre; and these do not stop
the city bounds. An integrated transport strategy is required involving
city and county council to manage the daily movement of people between
commuter belt and the city centre.
More green bus routes need to
developed. Priority should be given to their development along the
serving the main commuter centres such as Douglas/Rochestown,
Ballincollig, Blarney, and Glanmire.Bus-shelters
and up-to-date timetables also
need to be provided along these routes.
Rail System for the SouthCity
Cork has seen massive
expansion to the south and west, but these communities are dependent
transport on an inadequate bus system and the private car. The proposed
Docklands Light Rail System should be expanded with a western line
serving Wilton, Bishopstown and
Ballincollig and a southern section serving Blackrock, Douglas and
A rail link existed to Crosshaven in the 1950s, when the population of
areas was a fraction of what it is now: why cannot we manage to develop
rail system for the area today?
cities which, like Cork, are built around a river or harbour, use a
as a form of public transport. Internationally, cities operating water buses and/or
taxis include: Auckland, Baltimore, Bangkok, Boston, Cardiff, Chicago, Dubai, Fort Lauderdale, Kobe, New York, Osaka, Pittsburgh, Rotterdam, and Sydney. A waterbus service could
provide a cheap and easy method of transport between areas like
Mahon, Rochestown, Passage and Monkstown and a city centre terminal in
docklands. Infrastructural costs would be low, since the river provides
natural avenue of transport, and the “water bus” would avoid the
land transport routes.
More cycle routes should be
provided, particularly servicing schools to make it safe and easier for
children to cycle to class. Secure bike parking should also be provided
terminus of these routes. City Council hold lobby government to reduce
abolish VAT on safety gear for cyclists such as crash helmets.
Development of Park and Ride
facilities to service the western and northern suburbs needs to be
fast-tracked. Both new and existing facilities should have extended
hours to allow their use up to at night.
and Congestion Charges
City Council should determine
at some point to review the structure of parking charges, and study the
feasibility of introducing a congestion charge on vehicles entering the
centre at peak hours, with a view to reducing the volume and impact of
on the city centre and surrounding residential areas. However, such a
should only take place once there is an adequate public transport
infrastructure in place to provide people with a comfortable and
alternative to the private car.
Strong communities with a
sense of identity and a spirit of neighbourliness enhance people’s
life and reduce the level of anti-social behaviour. Such communities
physical infrastructure of services and amenities. But they also
support and recognition for the people who, through mostly voluntary
knit them together and make them worth living in. There are a range of
measures, many of them costing very little, that could help strengthen
communities and build a stronger civic culture in Cork.
Facilities such as shops, chemists,
eating places and public houses provide a focus for community life and
natural centre for people to meet and gather. This function is not so
provided by shopping centres which are islands in large car-parks and
completely at night. The council should identify existing on-street
centres that act as a focus for communities across the city and work to
them through combination of planning incentives and the upgrading and
refurbishment of their surroundings.
City Council should earmark an
annual budget for upgrading or developing community centres across the
The poor provision of youth facilities
is a regular issue among communities across the city. It is frequently
a contributor to anti-social behaviour. Sinn Féin proposes that as part
City Development Plan, a dedicated unit should be established by the
to examine this issue. Its work should focus on three main areas:
facilities by the local authority: There are a number of steps
authority can take to provide more youth facilities directly. Council
properties, existing community centres, or derelict buildings acquired
council could be utilised to provide a network of youth cafes or
centres. Existing public parks and amenities could have skate-parks and
facilities added to them and be kept open later.
many areas there are a wide range of on-going events and many clubs
and societies in which young people would be welcomed. However, people
always adequately informed about what is available in their area. The
should publish, at regular intervals (say three months), community
what’s on in a particular area.
provided by the private sector: There are other facilities, such as cinemas
and bowling alleys, which are more appropriately provided by the
sector. It should be part of the unit’s task to liaise with and
private operators in providing such facilities.
and Public Walks
There is a large amount of
green space within the city boundaries. However, a great deal of it is
underutilised or inaccessible to the public. As part of the city
plan, a programme should be developed to:
·Upgrade and improve the
appearance of existing public
·Ensure there are more green
spaces with public access
(whether through purchasing unused green spaces or securing agreements
others, for example golf-clubs, to allow public access)
·Linking green spaces together in
a system of public
The activities of many clubs
and voluntary groups are limited by the costs of public liability
The City Council should create a fund to which such groups could apply
assistance with these costs where their activities were being hampered.
Businesses could be asked to show their public spirit by making
In every community in Cork there are people
who give freely of their time and effort by helping sports clubs,
and other organisations. Their efforts are unpaid, but improve the life
Sinn Féin proposes that we as a city should recognise and celebrate
efforts by having an annual “Cork Volunteerism Awards”, with awards
volunteers nominated by their local communities. A promotional DVD
that is good in Cork could also be
Community Associations provide
a vital service in representing, organising and empowering local
Council should actively encourage and support the formation and
of community associations across the city.
·A designated officer of the City
Council should be
charged with channelling information to community associations.
·Training in leadership, planning
should be provided free to members of community associations and groups
to avail of it
·A “Community Parliament” of
community and voluntary associations should be convened twice a year as
consultative body with the City Council.
There is considerable evidence
that mobile phone masts have a negative impact on public health. Sinn
calling for a ban on mobile phone masts within 100 metres of
Climate change is perhaps the
greatest challenge facing humanity. We here in Cork have to accept our
share of the responsibility for reducing carbon emissions and halting
warming. Sinn Féin is calling for:
·A programme of investment to
ensure all council-owned
dwellings are properly insulated and energy efficient within 5 years
·Steps to be included in the City
Development Plan to
reduce energy use and improve efficiency at council offices and
Sinn Fein is resolutely
opposed to the introduction of water charges for private users. We are
calling on the City Council to introduce a rebate on water charges for
community centre, sport clubs and other non-profit users.
The refuse collection service
needs to be retained in public hands, and the existing system of
service charges for those on low incomes protected and strengthened.
A global warming accelerates
and sea levels will rise, it is likely that Cork’s City Centre,
which is already liable to flooding, will become even more vulnerable.
Development Plan needs to incorporate a comprehensive strategy to
enhanced flood defences for the city.
Enterprise and Employment
The trend in job creation
across the City is worrying. More and more manufacturing jobs are been
the sector becomes less financially viable for companies to operate in.
outsourcing of these jobs to far eastern countries has left many
workers facing a bleak future. Many of the workers who have been
the necessary training opportunities to compete in an ever modernising
The development of Cork needs to reflect
these employment trends and actively tackle the issue. High-technology
of excellence should be created on both the Northside and Southside of
City. The redevelopment of existing industrial centres in Churchfield
and Model Farm Road should be
prioritised. The transportation infrastructure needs to be developed
to these centres of excellence. In this context, there is a
need to complete the North Ring Road.
population of CorkCity will grow substantially over the coming
housing is in short supply and building land is scarce. Rents are among
highest in the country. Young people are being priced out of the
market. There are more than 6,000 people on the housing list, and much
council housing stock badly needs maintenance.
The provision of housing is a
basic responsibility of any local authority. The right to shelter is a
which all citizens of Cork should be able to
avail of. We need to act now to
ensure CorkCity can meet the housing needs of its people in
Increase Provision of Social and
present there are 6,000 people on the housing list in CorkCity and approximately another 1,000 joining it
year. Sinn Féin proposes to halve the number of people on the housing
within 3 years by providing 6,000 social and affordable housing units
additional units to those planned at present)
least half these should be 1 or 2-bedroom units. A look at the current Housing
list will show that almost half of those seeking accommodation are
people. Housing provision needs to reflect
the decreasing household size within the city and serve the needs of
people on the housing list which the council’s existing stock of 3- and
bedroom houses does not match.
Introduce a Transparent Points System
present, people on the housing list don’t know whether they are at the
middle or the bottom. They don’t know how long they must wait or how
are reached. And there is nowhere they can go to have these questions
is clear is that there are huge differences in the amount of time
on the housing list – from 6 weeks to 10 years. Also clear is the
corruption and cronyism in a system where decisions are reached behind
is time to introduce a transparent points system for social housing.
would be awarded points on the basis of criteria such as financial
number of dependents, current accommodation, and medical condition.
be informed of the number of points awarded them and the reason for
They would be able to view their exact placing on the housing list and
the length of time they will be waiting for a house.
Renovate Council Housing Stock
present 33% of council housing stock is in need of maintenance. A
maintenance requests are being received by the council every year. This
situation cannot be allowed to continue. Much of the council’s housing
aging and of poor quality. The council needs to invest in an extensive
programme to renovate the housing stock and bring it up to acceptable
Enforce Standards for Private Rented
system for enforcing standards in private rented accommodation is
inadequate. In theory, landlords are obliged to register with City
the Council’s building inspectors can inspect their properties. In
majority of landlords in the city are unregistered, and the number of
inspectors is grossly inadequate.
number of building inspectors should be doubled. We also want a
campaign to ensure all landlords in the city are registered. This
include raising awareness among tenants of the benefits to them of
landlord being registered.
Integrate Apartments into the Urban
recent trend towards the building of apartments in the city is likely
continue and intensify. This is positive in that it is bringing new
population into the urban heartland of Cork. However, it is important that these
not develop as gated complexes cut off from the life of the city around
The City Council has a vital role to play, through planning and the
of urban streetscapes and open places, in ensuring that there are both
community facilities (local shops, chemists, etc.) and safe, attractive
environments that will encourage the formation of new communities in