An open letter to the Minister for Housing and Planning

By Echo Reader

Dear Minister,

Yesterday I received a phone call from a senior citizen lady in Tallaght in relation to my letters in the local newspaper The Echo relating to planning issues in Tallaght. I did not know the lady in question. She sourced my telephone number from the directory. I thanked her for her support.

The purpose of her phone call was to alert me to a report in the previous evening’s Herald highlighting planning refusal for 46 apartments in Mount Merrion, and she was comparing that to the disgraceful planning decisions in Tallaght.

Tallaght Village stock shots-6

Minister, have you any idea of what’s going on in relation to planning in Tallaght. None of the decision-makers live in Tallaght.

They do not consult. Decisions are already made, and they never ever had any intention of communicating or listening to the people. “Consultancy” was a sham, and a pretend. Community input is interference.

Minister, this is how the people of Tallaght are treated. They just do not care. I will swear that on a bible as I have witnessed it. No area should have to tolerate these standards. These are our homes where we live and rear our families 24/7. Would the decisions makers make the same decisions in their own communities? The answer is a plain No.

I recall one particular meeting when a very senior official was praising a charitable organisation of which he was a member, and their great work. I also had been a member of that same organisation.

In my uncharitable thoughts I recall saying to myself “you would be better off making your moral decisions in your workplace, and we wouldn’t have the poverty/disadvantage we experience in Tallaght”.

Worst of all is the sneaky way decisions are made, and they see nothing wrong in it. It happens behind the backs of the communities. How would they like to be treated as they treat us? The general consensus from the people I meet is “they don’t care”.

The bottom line is that planning in this country is the main cause of a divided society. The decision-makers are totally detached from the lives of those their decisions affect.

It is fact that certain political parties and independents thrive on building communities of deprivation. It is where their votes are. The more deprivation built suits them.

That is not to excuse the main parties whose fingerprints are all over developments in Tallaght. Community, the core of society, was sidelined. There had been no vision or understanding of community? Let us look at the consequences of their decisions in Tallaght:

1. Out of the ten most deprived communities in South County Dublin – nine are located in Tallaght.

2. Out of the 34 very disadvantaged communities in South County Dublin, 22 are located in Tallaght.

3. The Terenure halting site for Travellers is located in Tallaght.

4. The crazy developments of high-rise in many parts of Tallaght is crazy planning.

5. The concentration of huge volumes of social housing built in Tallaght. It is a “mortal sin” to build a social house in the affluent areas.

6. Approximately five years ago the highest number of children attending the Children’s Court was from Tallaght. The percentage was 28 per cent.

7. The institutional rape and vandalism of Tallaght village.

How is this for discrimination? The above deprivation is matched in the same SDCC area where the ten most affluent communities, not only in South County Dublin, but Ireland are located.

Combined with other planning decisions, Tallaght must be the victim of some of the worst planning decisions in the history of the state.

In the Mount Merrion saga it was interesting that the CEO of Dunlaoghaire/Rathdown was formerly Asst. Co. Manager in Tallaght when planning decisions were made to build apartments practically in our front/back gardens.

As a senior member of the SDCC her fingerprints were also on the decisions made. Of course there are different standards for Mt. Merrion and Tallaght. It’s okay to build apartments/social houses in Tallaght, but a “crime” in Mt. Merrion.

We in Tallaght also could not compete with the professional classes objections. They had influence we hadn’t. So much for treating “all the children of the nation equally”

The lunacy of the whole planning in Tallaght is mind boggling. It should be made compulsory for every parish and community to take a share of social houses. There is an attitude in this country of justifying our conscience by putting money on a plate. It is more than that.

The most powerful drive in human beings is the search for meaning, be it Tallaght or Mt. Merrion, and it is the responsibility of the state to create an environment that all, irrespective of their addresses, live in an environment to achieve that meaning.

It is criminal that so many live in environments that deny this human right. Some of the environments we have created are the biggest cause of discrimination in our state. Having a life is more than a roof over one’s head.

Our environment, community, parish, schools, decides our future. If that is not right the consequences are immense, and the reality is it was not got right in many areas in Tallaght.

Minister, I speak the truth in relation to planning in Tallaght. I have fifty years’ experience volunteering in Tallaght, and nearly ten years prior to that in the inner city.

I am a member of two very key organisations in Tallaght one for 47 years, and the other for 35 years. I was a member of the St. VdeP for 17 years. I also received LAMA national volunteer of the award in 2014.

Minister, in your reply we want the issues raised addressed. We are sick and tired in Tallaght of the way over the years we have been treated by various governments and the SDCC.

The number of people dealt with have come and gone, yet we have to live with their appalling decisions. Tallaght has been discriminated against massively. What was done to Tallaght is wrong.

Planning in Tallaght is all your shame. To quote a Dominican priest during his period in Tallaght “If you let sleeping dogs lie, cradle them in injustice, they will wake up and bite”. We are now biting back.

Tallaght village, due to its location, should be the equivalent of Howth and Bray to surrounding areas.

If the establishment cannot see the obvious discrimination towards Tallaght in planning decisions they need to have a serious look at themselves. Their decisions affect the lives of thousands from cradle to grave. Tallaght has been cradled in injustice for nearly fifty years. Now it is out of control.

I hope this letter will also be published in The Echo. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Aidan Thomas. Bancroft Avenue, Tallaght.

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