Ahern Rural Comments

Ahern Rural Comments

Postby Rory W » Fri Sep 12, 2003 9:32 am

What a load of rural vote grabbing arse spouted by Bertie Ahern - mind you don't expect he knows what aesthetics are (those who don't believe in god isn't it).

I have no problem with rural development when it is done right - but the haciendas that are being built (still! - why rural Ireland is going on 70s styles I dont know) are a blight on the landscape and the septic tank issue is yet to be resolved.

Shame on you Mr Ahern - you have turned into a Healy-Rae
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Postby bunch » Fri Sep 12, 2003 9:48 am

should we be surprised if bertie comes out with this? its worse bertie is getting. so what is he saying, scrap the NSS, amend all development plans' rural planning policies, how about the Sustainable Development Plan? what a gombeen halfwit. he's our supposed 'leader' and he refuses to rise above parish pump, maybe thats where he should stay.
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Postby Papworth » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:18 am

Should never have attained office higher than a local shop steward !!
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:37 am

Now guys, before we all push that boat out and allow yet another debate about the environment become all so coloured by hatred for your own elected representatives... which we love doing in Ireland, and wastes loads of time I think, why not widen the debate about rural Ireland. Lets look at the wider picture of rural Ireland, some hard facts, rather than just allowing a couple of stupid farmers down the country define the problem for us, in their very limited perspective of the whole thing. I come from such an area in West Limerick and read some of my experiences of services to the community here, in particular information services:

Libraries

You just don't build houses, because where you have lots of houses, you have lots of kids coming out of them, and lots of places the kids need to go and learn etc, etc. This discussion is also pretty damn interesting in relation to the Dublin/rural contrast for young kiddies growing up i think. Kids in Dublin have everything, whereas kids down in LImerick might have houses but very little else i am afraid.

Florida's theory

I was in DIT in Angier Street there recently for the nightclass registration and it was like a god damn football match. What is the equivalent in Limerick, a job working shifts in DELL computers in Limerick, on a temp contract? How many knowledge communities are they going to establish where all of these bungalows are built?
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Postby Rory W » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:56 am

What are you talking about?
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 1:33 pm

People think very often that because you build say 1,000 new houses at the edge of Dublin/Meath that is somehow the end of the whole story. But another point of view would argue, that its best to weave and mix some other functions through these masses of residential areas, to make diversity, and variety possible within communities. I mean, most of Ireland is suburban now, it isn't just about building beside the parents, since none of these people living beside their parents will have anything to do with the land anymore, since no money is to be made from the land anymore. They will all be working in towns and driving on the roads to everything. So is there a strategy to provide better open public facilities in the major Irish Towns in Ireland. Opportunities for adult education etc, and better strategies to deal with traffic, parking and so on.

Why do you have to wait for a godshite like Ahern to set the ball rolling, why not prove that the board here at Archiseek can have its own independent opioions about the problems facing rural Ireland nowadays, and cover the broader angle, as oposed to just a tiny little focus that is to do with media spinning and vote collecting. Ahern's big talent, was he was more hungry to impress people, and win them over with the energy and his personality. Mr. Noonan, looked far too old and shagged by the time he got to do his leadership thing, and run for general election. The politians major function is to focus in on things that will swing popularity in their favour at the right time. An Architecture board, should aspire to a little bit more.

Why start another Bertie thread? Why not aim higher, and start a rural Ireland thread? Grow up people and aim for a brighter future. This debate is so OLD and TIRED now, it is no worth dragging up again, yet we as a nation spend so much of our time, being way-led by politians down these cul-de-sacs while they proceed to fuck up this nations chances of ever building a future. Why do you think all the tech firms want to leave? Because this country still hasn't got an efficient information highway, a fast, economical and reliable way for people to do their knowledge based work. Other countries around the world are willing to offer that. What did Ireland do, but sell its biggest asset - the phone network to T. O'Reilly who is now busy ripping it up to see what he can make as a profit. No longterm goals for broadband access or anything. Wake up people, this is 2003 and we are heading for 2004.

One of the more comprehensive definitions of Social exclusion comes from the European
Commission:


Social exclusion refers to the multiple and changing factors resulting in people being
excluded from the normal exchanges, practices and rights of modern society. Poverty is
one of the most obvious factors, but social exclusion also refers to inadequate rights in
housing, education, health and access to services. It affects individuals and groups,
particularly in urban and rural areas, who are in some way subject to discrimination or
segregation; and it emphasizes the weaknesses in the social infrastructure and the risk
of allowing a two-tier society to become established by default. The Commission
believes that a fatalistic acceptance of social exclusion must be rejected, and that all
Community citizens have a right to the respect of human dignity.


The term ‘social exclusion’ is often interpreted as being more or less synonymous with poverty or disadvantage. However there are important differences. First, the concept of poverty is primarily concerned with the extent to which a household’s income falls below a particular level. Second, disadvantage, as a concept, focuses on the lack of material resources and social services and supports. Thus policies that address poverty and disadvantage primarily are concerned with resource distribution (including goods and services).51

By contrast to poverty, social exclusion examines dimensions like poverty and disadvantage within a wider context. Most notable, it sees social exclusion as a consequence of fundamental structural changes occurring in the global economy that have transformed local economies. In addition to the impact of globalization processes on social exclusion, the concept also considers national economic policies, welfare regimes, rights of citizenship and local governance as affecting social exclusion. While the causes may be structural, its effects can also be ameliorated or exacerbated by the attitudes, activities and policies of governmental bodies at all spatial scales.


Next time, you want to persaude anyone, you know anything about rural Ireland, try and do a bit better than just giving us all your own personal Dublin no. 1 slant upon things. I come originally from rural Ireland myself. But i am sick and tired of the problems facing rural Ireland being so over-simplified, and nicely packaged into this 10 second sound byte, which is so easy for D1s to swallow while watching the 6 o' Clock news. When the real problems are pretty damn obvious to everyone who lives there, but they demand due consideration and proper treatment by experts (excluding Mr. Ahern right from the off).

Brian O' Hanlon.
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Postby Rory W » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:16 pm

Brian

My main concern is what Bertie Ahern was talking about i.e. letting people build one-off housing whereever they wanted - which is the point of this thread. This is unsustainable development - any one with a bit of savvy knows this.

My concern is for the environment and the architecture of the country - the problem being that FF and their ilk are hell-bent on turning the entire country into one big housing estate with bunglows in between what we loosly call the cities.

We'll miss the greenery when its gone.

Because I am originally from Dublin and you are from rural Ireland you seem to think that I am not entitled to a valid opinion - thats a very smug and conceited attitude to take.
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:38 pm

Ah now, you are making sense. Because you are discussing the environment from a specific point of view - the density issue. I rambled off admittedly on a rant about the people living in urban/rural areas, and the difficulties they face. How Dublin based politians often cannot relate to the populations outside the capital, to whom they are supposed to provide government to.

But I can see where you are coming from now. I am from the country yes, but early this year i did find myself having to deal with an urban proposal for the Broadstone/Kings Inns area in Dublin. Which has sort of been left behind by the O'Connell Street and Harp urban rejuvenation Master Plans. I being from the Country, had a difficult time relating to the issues etc, in that project for college in BOlton Street.

But one collection document from California, USA did help: http://www.greenbelt.org. Try reading about Smart Growth, or Smart infill as it is often called. New Urbanism was another debate raging in the States. But it deals more with tracts of land that you drive to in a car, on roads. Whereas the idea of Smart Infill is public transit based communities.

The classic screw-up is here in Dublin where we first built the suburbs and now have light rail projects following motorways and stopping at 5 different sets of traffic lights on the Mad Cow roundabout.

But to be honest, while i accept the focus of the discussion, that about urban density and sustainability. I often do find Architects and Planners have a habit to dwell on the Building aspect of design, or the Planning aspect of design. While the people on the ground actually using the environment we talk about - who studies them?

You see my point? THis fellow Richard Florida web site has tackled the social aspects to our environment, and studied how the globalisation of society has impacted the places where we have always lived. And dealt with issues like social inclusion/exclusion. Which are much more detrimental to the human fabric that makes up the environment, than green space at times.

It is nice to be able to enjoy the green space from a distance, from a holiday makers point of view in Dublin. But the people living in all the green space, how are their chances in the new century? Especially as their traditional means to survival, agriculture, has almost now evaporated. Because this ultimately what will make the environment unsustainable or not - not solar panels and green fields.

Brian O' Hanlon.
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Postby sw101 » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:41 pm

some people might say that being from rural ireland disqualifies your opinion. Proximity to the subject matter could mean a warped perspective is achieved and a narrow examination of the subject is all that can be accomplished.

On a national scale it is vital to this country that development is maintained within urban centres, with controlled growth where absolutely necassary, but only after considered decision making amongst planners, local government etcetera. Any idiot can see (not to suggest any idiots are posting here, god forbid) that the granting of permission to any house on any site by any person would ruin irelands character and forever damage our landscape which is so important, whether you live in a flat in temple bar or muck about on a farm in fermanagh. This country is too small to adopt a wild west attitude where any land claimed can be developed and defended as necassary. Hopefully an bord pleanala will keep tabs on the governments motions on this issue and keep some semblance of control.
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Postby J. Seerski » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:59 pm

One off housing has destroyed and is continuing to destroy the countryside. It is vile, unsustainable, uneconomic and blurs the distinction between urban and rural. It is an enormous waste of land that could be used for agricultural use (consider that most sites for one-off housing are at least 1/2 an acre in size).

Bertie got his way over Soencer Dock by putting on his 'Man of the People' badge. Will he get away with it again?
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Postby J. Seerski » Fri Sep 12, 2003 3:59 pm

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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:41 pm

We will all just look like a crowd of miserable ould women, waffling on about the beauty of the Irish rural landscape. No one in this country gives two f**** about the landscape, when the kiddies want a playstation, or a new CD, and the guy in his bungalow is doing 12 hour shifts with 3,000 other robots down in DELL. He doesn't get to experience much of this beautiful landscape you are so keen to preserve. What he does need is a really fast car to make the 7.30am starting bell though! :-) Ah who gives a shite about the Irish landscape, its one big real estate property and we are all Michael Dell's merry men and women now anyhow! :-) I spent 4 months making cardboard boxes inside in that shed on the outskirts of Limerick city, with a beautiful view of the landscape, but i didn't see much of it. I was joined by about a thousand old farmers. I did get sick of hearing Limerick 95FMs same 10 songs all the time though!

Now you hit Berty with some of Florida's concepts of Creative classes and what have you, and you just might convince peoples' attitudes in all walks of life to change from this rap music, shopping centre spending irish celtic tiger song we are all so sick of listening to.
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Postby JJD » Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:58 pm

Hi there, just a few of my thoughts. I'm also from the country, Donegal in fact, but have been living in Dublin for 3 years.

Now I recently visited Kerry for the first time (I know should have done it earlier) and was shocked to see the blight of once off housing all over the Ring of Kerry! Our premier tourist area! People go there for the views and the landscape, instead they are now presented with bungalows built into the sides of mountains! How such things were allowed to happen I don't know but of course this has to stop. Now just when the rural community was beginning to accept this, however relunctantly, Bertie comes out with this statement!

There is a solution to this problem, although the difficult part involves the will to implement it. Agriculture is dead, we're all aware of that, and it is the primary reason for stopping once off housing. It is no longer needed. Secondly no country can provide or fund each and every service that is required in each town in the country. Centralisation of services such as acute hospital is needed. So what is required to make this possible is the high density population of existing and new cities from rural areas. Not just Dublin but Cork, Galway Limerick, Waterford, Derry Sligo or Letterkenny need to be expanded. The countryside can then be properly preserved for useful purposes other than farming such as tourism to help provide for those that remain. People can receive the services they deserve in large urban areas with decent public transport, education and health etc.

Why does the country fight this obvious and inevitable progression for the sake of blighting the country side? Am I mad but is this nota simple concept in the western developed world. It is the third world that need agriculture not our over subsidised farmers believing in a future based on a false economy even though there sons leave only returning to build their homes!
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Postby emf » Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:17 pm

Mmm! I drove out west from Galway lately and was shocked at the ribbon development out beyond Salthill and through Spiddle
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:52 pm

what a great enterprising young nation we have matured into! :-)

Here is a link for our foreign neighbours who might not have RTE!

What Bertie actually said

This is another useful little background piece i have found written by Donal Hickey:

What Bertie said last July 2003

The Taoiseach said the Government shared the resolve of trade unionists to build more affordable housing.


I mean, in realilty, what once-off housing actually amounts to is a form of affordable housing for many first-timers these days. Because there is no affordable housing to be got in towns and cities - so the landscape and urban sprawl situation has to suffer owing to a nasty nettle that has never been grasped by Bertie in the towns/cities in the first place. I repeat, none of these people building bungalows have anything to do with the land nowadays.

I have found other countries such as the United States nowadays asking that very same question:

what is affordable houseing
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:59 pm

What so annoyed me about what Bertie had to say was that - well - he had nothing to say!
As usual!
He is now what Pat Rabitte appropriately terms 'the vox-pop Taoiseach'.
He made a stray, inconclusive remark about being in favour of one-off housing, failed to develop it in any way, made no mention of how much one-off housing, or where - he said just enough to appease farmers and 'country-folk' whilst not elaborating on anything else, creating yet another of his trademark bland and unprovoking 'thoughts for the day'.

The arguement that so many farmers are putting forward - that their children can't afford a house so they want to give them some land to build one themselves - is utter lunacy.
Such an arguement then means that short term economic conditions, ie high house prices, act as an accepable reason to build a permenent structure on the landscape, that will be there for years and years and years.
Can you imagine that if every time high house prices had prevailed over the past 200 years, that houses would be built all over the countryside for poor farmer's children - can you just imagine the state of the place - or rather just look 100 years from now and imagine!
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 12, 2003 9:56 pm

Naw, we are just going to do what we damn well feel like. In a country like Ireland, these high values are a bit of a mis-nomer. Mario Botta built some lovely structures in a wild Swiss structure, which aren't so remote anymore. Look at the history of France in the mid 20C. It held on to rugby as a remnant ofor rural nostalgia, but it became industrialised. The great teams still come from the more rural south. Gaelic football and hurling will be the same in Ireland in the future. I can even see it happening already. But I hear you about the 10 second news at 6 type of political swinging happening now. Bertie feeds on the media - he's a rolling stone, except they don't like cameras so much anymore.

As for the idea of centralisation - that is what they did in China, which is the most centralised country in the world. Some states in the USA like Oregon tried to do the same. Richard Florida, would argue that people are just drifting to places, where you find other people like you. As oposed to North v South politics in America, now you have 50/50 politics at a molecular level. Conservative areas, and then very Liberal areas. Pro-war and Anti-war, Pro-Bush and Anti-Bush. A bit like the hot and cold currents than run through our planets oceans.
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Postby James » Sat Sep 13, 2003 3:08 am

Actually - nowhere does the legislation (or for that matter An Taisce) oppose the construction of new housing on farm land for the children of farmers. Nor is the principle of cluster village type housing opposed. Scratch the surface of this debate and you find that it is very much about an Euro 800M per annum indrustry which is entirely speculative in nature.

One other matter in relation to the rural urban divide and housing - The One Off Housing Lobby regularly make the 'My Land and its my right to do what I want with it' argument - most recently by Tom Parlon when it was tentatively suggested that a financial cap on development sites might stabilise house prices.

These people seem to forget that the entire nation urban and rural has a stake in most of this land, the majority of Irish farms were formed through the re-distribution of large estates compulsorily purchased by the Land Commission in the 20'3 and 30's .This was paid for by the Irish taxpayer - so look at it this way land rezoned or developed for profit which was formerly agricultural is achieving that profit / benefit at the expense of the entire state - not to mention the social and physical cost of servicing one offs.

Anyway sorry about the rant - I'm preaching to the converted here.
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Postby garethace » Sat Sep 13, 2003 10:00 am

I like your line of thinking there James, because i feel in dense countries like Holland, you get the impression that land is respected and taken care of by everyone. I must say i do like that way of seeing things. I Helsinki i also noticed the approach to land, roads, development, houses and vegetation was so much more environmentally friendly than here. I mean as soon as we build houses here, we have to suddenly rip up nature and tame it, to straighten it out and replace it altogether. I was interested in Helsinki how nature was often allowed to co-exist, and buildings were merely using the ground as sensitively as they could manage to. But in that harsh Northern climate, people did not attempt 'to beat nature'.

However, the idea of the estate breaking up is incorrect in my view. I most parts of the country, where the land commission worked, right up until 1979 (when it had lost its relevancy completely and become another fat extension of buerocracy, to be used and abused by politians and people alike) it was used to take property off many older people in the West or Ireland. They change of focus to un-utilised land as it was refered to - or land where the owner was perhaps too old, and his/her kids/relations were in Dublin opting for a different lifestyle. The neighbours would simply make a cartel together and decide which piece they wanted to have for themselves. The land commission was simply another 'farmer get rich quickly scheme'.

How alot of these people who received land back in the 60s or 70s even, in this fashion, are getting old themselves. The state would end up keeping them in homes etc, as they grow older, but rather than burden the state, liquidising their assets allows them to remain somewhat more independent. You see the same happening in Dublin nowadays with the 'nanny's old house in town'. In England, the State forced older people to sell the house, and they are put into homes. Paying out of the money for their houses.

Most plots the land commission gave away initially were just starter packs, to get people off-the-ground. One cow, a few hens, a pig and some hay, spuds etc - subsistance famer really, like in the third world. However, most of those 10-acre plots which the land commission gave away initially in the 1930s were soon found to be un-economical, and were re-distributed to people who got bigger and bigger and bigger gradually WITHOUT paying for a scrap of land, through the land commission. Why do you think today that farmers own so many segragated, scattered across the whole parish, narrow 10-acre plots stretching back from our rural road infrastructure?

I believe this is where the original farmer getting hand-outs came from, in an era before there was dole, or free education, unmarried mothers allowance or very much else - the clergy and nuns were taking care of education, health, and basically most services to the community. Like in the third world today, it is dangerous to give people too much, too quickly - the land commission in its second and final phases, helped to start a trend of 'over-dependency' by the farming culture, which has continued right until this day - the current bungalow row, is just the last great battle in this long saga between people and land.

So while, you have struck upon a very relevant point there, I am afraid you need to get a bit of 'on the ground' info first, before tearing off in any one direction or argument. I would love to see the Irish people living in cities like Dublin, be able to buy the land required for LUAS project for instance. Since so much money is being spent, it would been nice if the thing had worked out better. Perhaps Bertie should have been stronger willed there also. Another point i would like to mention, is that Dublin City Council would love to get rid of alot of park areas around Dublin, and little open spaces - sell them to private interests and make them inaccessible to the public. Again, in a place like Paris, Barcelona, Helsinki this doesn't happen as much.

But don't forget for a second, it was the current Bertie administration who initially gave the thumbs up to selling very important assets we had control over, such as the Eircom company. I know that Bertie's government must have got temporarily obese with the gains from selling Eircom, and has managed to spend all of that cash already. So we are back to square one, and I think the information infrastructure could have been much improved to develop some of the remoter parts of Ireland, and to bring them up to the 21C. So don't blame the farmers now, for wanting to be entreprising in their own right - they learned from the Master in that - Bertie.
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Postby garethace » Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:22 pm

I am rather interested in this discussion here. Driving to qualify, lower house costs and much higher transportation costs. It is true to say, that having your money tied up in a more expensive house in a better location could appreciate. Whereas having more money tied up in running two cars per each once-off rural bungalow means depreciation of investment longer term.

Smart Growth
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Postby J. Seerski » Mon Sep 15, 2003 12:53 pm

This smacks of appaling populism. Rural Ireland will cease to be if such mumble from the Taoiseach is allowed to dictate planning policy. If the Taoiseach can do such on the whim of some placating waffle then the entire development plans of county councils and the Spatial Strategy (as deficient as they were) were a complete and other waste of money. But then again this is Ireland....
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Postby d_d_dallas » Mon Sep 15, 2003 4:08 pm

I wonder if it would actually dawn on these Jackie Healy Rae's if the one off blight got another head of steam on it - when they have no services whatsoever (A string of septic tanks is not good for the groundwater). We have more overhead electriciy lines than the UK! In stormy winter this is not good, and yet we wonder why our bills are going up again next January - bung blight breeding inefficiency and higher maintenance costs. Imagine the roads - it's bad enough that we're trying to acclerate our road building programme - but with little bungalows in need of the front garden being CPO'd and "local access" routes at every junction cancelling out the benefits of widening the road in the first place. If you want to see it in action go Kerry side - it ain't pretty (for such a pretty place...).
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Postby MG » Mon Sep 15, 2003 5:40 pm

radical suggestion -- perhaps instead of blaming politicans (don't we have local elections coming up?) perhaps we should be trying to educate the people away from the concept of their house and 1 acre garden of golf course bunker flower beds?

Politicans by their very nature are always trying to be all things to all men -- hence Ahern's two comments last week: one for a national trust; and the other to build bungalows on every piece of land left.

BTW I'm not endorsing any views held by Mr Ahern who I believe is best summed up here:
http://www.blather.net/shitegeist/000109.htm
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