Text of email issued to all Fingal County Councillors
It is extremely disappointing to hear of the recent Council meeting regarding the Fingal County Development Plan and the Motions put down by certain Councillors with respect to one-off rural housing which dominated large parts of the meeting and agenda. In these straitened economic times where the focus should be solely on the major economic, social and environmental issues of the day it is very disheartening that pandering to the vested interests of the minority who are fortunate enough to have access to land are put ahead of the common good of the majority of the residents of County Fingal. Despite all we have been through and the new enlightenment on the role that our malleable land-use planning system had in the property bubble and crash, it is difficult to accept that near-sighted parish pump politics is alive and well in County Fingal.
You may have noticed the report by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice found referenced in today’s Irish Times which found that the cost of living for a rural dwellers is significantly higher than for urban dwellers because of higher transport costs. These costs are likely to increase over time as oil and carbon prices inflate over the medium-term resulting in significant poverty and social inequality issues together with further funding burdens to the Exchequer at a time when we can ill-afford any additional COST inefficiencies. Furthermore, at a time when the State is managing an asset portfolio of Eur 81 billion in development land through NAMA that we could countenance the siphoning off of housing demand to unzoned unserviced rural locations.
This State is currently pumping billions of Euro of tax-payers money into infrastructure in zoned and serviced urban areas, including though the Water Services Investment Programme. There is an onus of responsibility on local authority members to ensure that this investment by the tax payer is maximised for the greater good of society as a whole.
The European Court of Justice last year ruled against Ireland in relation to private on-site waste water treatment systems (ref. case C-188/08). The Court found that Ireland has failed to fulfill its obligations under that Directive. The result of this ruling is that all private waste-water treatment systems in Ireland will be required to be subject to a monitoring and licensing regime adding further financial burdens to rural dwellers.
I would recommend that before considering the development plan further you also might read the following key reports.