an taisce-and rumours of them going bust

Postby PVC King » Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:43 pm

Another letter which exposes the lack of consensus on the issue.

An Taisce is happy to have the organisation's policy against one off houses included in all county development plans and the National Spatial Strategy.

It does not persue the policy as rigidly as it could. In most cases it allows the local authorities to decide without any An Taisce submission.

The one off housing policy is one An Taisce policy that has been accepted almost universally. As opposed to burying our heads in the sand, the organisation has developed lines of demarcation as to what circumstances mitigate an application meriting no censure.

As stated before family ties and use of particular local building materials in combination are preferable to much of the junk that has sprung up in the past.

What is required is legislation in all areas binding those who develop one-off houses by virtue of family ties to those properties for a reasonable timeframe of say ten years.

As Fin stated has been done for Gealtacht grants.

The fact that one off housing has not left the agenda is a reflection that this single policy is overshadowing all the other programmes An Taisce provides.

Very few within the organisation have such tunnel vision as to see the organisation as a single issue group.

Just to repeat the structure of the organisation again:

The Education unit that provides the Green Schools programme in partnership with LOCAL schools, communities and business.
The White and Blue flag schemes.

The 16 Properties that are held and managed both locally and nationally.

The Waste and Transport committees that have had many policies implemented in a much less controversial way.

The built environment committee that has had many successes including influencing many heritage protection measures incorporated into the 2000 Planning and Development act.

The Natural Environment committee has had many successes on having the government keeping the Kyoto protocol on the agenda. They also brought the one off housing issue which was a progressive move to put on to County development plans as a submission.

To push for a complete ban policy only serves to undermine all the other policies and programmes.

It hands ammunition to many who are using this issue only to advance their own political ambitions.

Does anyone take anything on the opinion page of the Irish times seriously?

Come on Kevin Myers, John Waters, John Dillon etc :rolleyes:
PVC King

Postby alan d » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:00 pm

........ and if you listen carefully you can still hear Bohemian rhapsody.
alan d
Senior Member
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:07 pm
Location: glasgow

Postby PVC King » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:07 pm

Why don't you write one Alan? You could see exactly how much support exists for a Glasgow -Sligo chamber of commerce.

Why not go directly to the recruitment section for the large secetariat you require?

You have thrown the kitchen sink in your attempts to smear the organisation.

Nothing has stuck.
PVC King

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:13 pm

no need for anything to stick.... an taisce has done a good enough job of smearing itself over the last decade....
User avatar
Paul Clerkin
Old Master
Posts: 5431
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 1999 1:00 am
Location: Monaghan

Postby alan d » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:15 pm

".......Scaramouche, Scaramouche can you do the fandango. Thunderbolt and lightn....... "
alan d
Senior Member
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:07 pm
Location: glasgow

Postby PVC King » Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:16 pm

Accpeted that on one entirely different issue PR has been handled badly. But what has Bohenian Rhapsody got to do with one off houses. I thought the video had a multi-layered effect.
PVC King

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:09 am

Since Bohemian Rhapsody is raised again, the priest in Father Ted was Noel Furlong - I shouldn't know that but no matter...

I know very little about the inner workings of An Taisce - although I'm learning fast via this thread!
The public perception of them is appalling for a National Trust - this is an issue that they have allowed get out of control.
I agree totally with regard to their negative negative negative stance.

Just like any company or organisation PR is the key - and especially considering that AT are dealing with members of the public with which they have no other connection, and they have to 'advise' or otherwise with regard to their development, it is crucial that there is a positive spin put on things, for this not currently to be the case is disgraceful on their part.

One of AT's senior members, I can't remember his name now (the man that lives in the 17th century townhouse on the quays) appeared on the Late Late about a year ago about the rural housing issue, and his performance was woeful.
Eamon O Cuiv walked all over over him with the usual crap, the audience made him look like a fool, and An Taisce looked pathetic.
This shouldn't have been the case, they should have put their best foot forward, as they should always be doing, and they failed miserably.
This instance marked the end of public sympathy with AT on the rural housing issue.

It is crucial that the National Trust of a nation has credibility and support from the public.
The attacks being made here are from personal experiences and supposed incompetence of staff etc, but at the end of the day it is the organisation itself which is important, and if it dosn't have public support, which I fundamentally believe it dosn't, then questions must be raised as to the competence and suitability of AT as the nation's Ntl Trust or equivilant.
Old Master
Posts: 4592
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:24 am
Location: Ireland

Postby Spacer » Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:39 am

diaspora, throughout this thread and others you have conveyed fundamental prejudices typical of dublin, reflecting the bias prevalent in both schools of architecture in dublin and in both of the main architectural associations..

....that being a near zero respect/knowledge for architects,educated elsewhere, with architecture being built or practising in ireland
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:11 am
Location: uk

Postby PVC King » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:20 am


You must be a member of the Diaspora as I see from your profiling detail (singular) that you are located in the UK.

As if you were not you obviously wouldn't know the basic geographical difference between Dublin and the other 25 or 31 counties depending on your perceptions.

For your information I was born in Galway so I would only be prejudicing myself if I held the opinions you claim I hold.

Galliamh Abu :D
PVC King

Postby trace » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:46 am

You're dead right, Graham Hickey, and closer to the truth than you realise. An Taisce's problems (winning skirmishes - great, glorious victories - and losing the war) are almost entirely self-inflicted and largely due to the arrogant zealotry of two influential individuals who have been let off the leash for too long, when they shouldn't have been. Hopefully the new administration will put an end to that, sooner rather than later.

And don't even think of telling me, Devin and Diaspora, that I should become a member of An Taisce and rein them in. That's your job. You don't have a monoply on fighting the good fight. Lots of other people are out there, too, under other umbrellas, but you're stupidly drawing down so much fire that you're queering the pitch for everyone.

When even the people who share many of your views think like this, you're in deep shit.
Posts: 390
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2000 1:00 am

Postby PVC King » Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:07 pm


I agree entirely with your analysis save to say no other organisation is capable of running a National Trust due to lack of experience dealing with a diverse property portfolio.

Trace I agree with your analysis except to say that the organisation only speaks for it's members, so the pitch is still open for others to make their opinions known. It does not claim to speak for anyone else, However I am very happy that you have finally put the 'only an An Taisce objection is listened to' myth to bed. Where it should be.

Many individuals make individual submissions on many issues. Which is their duty if they feel strongly about something.

An Taisce is not a single issue organisation and further it is not a single function (planning observer) organisation.

Expect more balance from the organisation in regard to all four programmes going forward.

It would be niave for the organisation to expect people to part with their hard-earned cash in membership dues just because it has been said the PR will change.

It is entirely the organisations problem to regain the momentum that has been lost.

The organisation has over this destructive period also been making progress on its other programmes.

Which are less controversial and deliver tangiable benifits to the public.

Such as the Education programmes

The Properties portfolio.

Other policies directed at transportation and waste management issues.

It is on those programmes that the organisation should be judged going forward.
PVC King

Postby Devin » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:16 pm

You post-ers think An Taisce are bad. 'Historic Scotland' ('Hysteric Scotland' to their critics) make Edinburgh "a tough place to be an architect", where practitioners "are hogtied by a powerful conservation lobby" who have reduced planning to a "box-ticking exercise". (see Irish Times achitecture page of January 24, 2002)

At least here some daring stuff does get through. And so it should.

Alan, have you had any experience of this group?
Old Master
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:07 am

Just a PS

Michael Smith was your man, of Westin and Spike fame.
Old Master
Posts: 4592
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:24 am
Location: Ireland

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:29 am

He is currently in Argentina. Stephanie Bourke is the new Chair and Frank Corcoran continues as President.

Frank was quoted in December as saying make 2004 the yearof four programmes


Property Management


Advocating PolicieS
PVC King

Postby James » Fri Jan 16, 2004 2:02 am

So What???

Somebody (rightly) said An Taisce isn't in a popularity contest.

I'm an ex member (and Council member) of AT, an Architect in private practise (so much for assertions regarding those who 'don't create!!) have worked in England, Pakistan and South America - and am horrified at attitudes among the Irish people to conservation and environmentalism.

Paul you really should feature Frank McDonalds article of last Saturday, and fintan O'Tooles and John S Doyles among others regarding such attitutes.

There is no difference in 'importance' between architecture of the past and that of the present.

I happen to be happiest in doing contemporary new build work, I also thoroughly enjoy the non egotistical elements of conservation work (although that's mostly a hobby).

I fully support AT and their policies on built environment most of which are pretty well thought out.

Diaspora, I admire your perseverance but don't know why you're bothering - there's little to apologise about or make excuses for. Alan has a bee in his bonnet because His Scheme was turned down in Sligo and At had a hand in it.

For your information Alan I've had AT appleal and object to work of my own and have never taken it personally, you're and Architect and an adult (presumably). behave like one!!.

Paul (i'm sorry about this) has never demonstrated any sense of even handedness about AT, and much of what is written is by the same old gang of four (or five) is a combination of ignorance, laziness and a cast iron unwillingness to consider the other side ofthe argument - In fact just waht they accuse AT of.

Get on with your work Diaspora, whatever it is, for AT and to hell with the begrudgers (most of whom would be pretty unfamiliar with the concept of unpaid, voluntary or community service).

If AT goes broke so be it. Tony Lowes comments in the Irish Times of last Saurday regarding environmental issues pretty much summarise it for me ,Its all about "Saving Ireland From The Irish".

AT has a public role and duty and until the day that the Banks actually foreclose, that will remain their responsibility.

One final comment - who should determine what is right for our built environment - The Massed Builders, Developers ,County Councillors and Architects of this country???????.


Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 07, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Dublin

Postby alan d » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:14 am

ok James............ sorry
alan d
Senior Member
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:07 pm
Location: glasgow

Postby alan d » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:15 am

......and I have tidied up my room.
alan d
Senior Member
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:07 pm
Location: glasgow

Postby Non-Taiscist » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:55 am

James: There are probably two threads in this thread which we've been discussing.

1 The methodology and language used to sort out the one-off issue. The fact that An T seems to have been singled out as the sole promoter of some sort of 'alien' idea, whereas it is or is meant to be that of the planning authorities indicates, indicates a failure to get an effective message across. The fact that An T's position is correctly and conscientiously held is beside this point. (Good idea, ineffective presentation). In this argument it's first impressions - the first soundbite that matters. E.g if you say 'we're against one off housing but we're in favour of exceptions in certain cases', to the (politically-usable) potential 'victim' of such position, it reeks of city folks interfering in the parish. Instead say (wait for it) we're in favour of one-off housing except for holiday homes + outsiders to the areas, it might just influence thinking. Say 'we agree up to a point' rather than saying 'you're wrong'. Fundamental Dale Carnegie.

2 An apparent predisposition towards the preservation of the old, for old's sake, rather than of the good. This is allied to a suspicion reflected in this forum that it is a minority view that is adopted by An T.

Maybe the only thing to do is join .....
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 3:49 pm

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:40 pm

Non Taisicst,

You have the nail on the head regarding PR delivery vs the message. I also like the Carnegie family they gave great libraries free to this Country.

On one off houses you have perfectly descibed the operational output of An except that you ommited long-distance commuters.

In that I am not solely referring to Dublin either but people on the outskirts of Potumna developing sites and working in Galway commuting longer than they need to.

One off housing is not simply about the visual effects it is about the larger social change that it effects upon towns already under pressure to retain a viable population base. It is about the increased commuting distances and the cost of providing local authority services.

However where people work on the land it would be unsustainable to make them move into a town. It would be the direct opposite of what the policy is attempting to address.

Farming famillies should be allowed to build houses on lands that would be considered inappropriate for others to develop especially people employed in Dublin.

However like everything else there needs to be controls of which three spring to mind.

1. Local and sympathetic building materials and good architectural design are essential.

2. Areas of outstanding natural beauty such as uplands and coastal areas which are generally bad land anyway these areas need protection.

3. A mechanism needs to be in place to ensure that where permission is granted those granted permission will occupy the property for a reasonable period of time.

The Four programme approach is the only An Taisce policy worth talking about this year.
PVC King

Postby FIN » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:48 pm

i don't know. i lived in portumna and commuted for a few months. house prices are cheaper out there and for anyone searching for a quiet life out of work. it's not that far. i got into galway usually in about 40 mins ( quickest was 30) so not a bad journey seeing as it can take you that in dublin for a few miles. ( portumna is about 44 miles) . besides it's not one off houses in port. generally.
i agree with the policies listed above. but theory and practice are two seperate things. i hope that the reforms do take place and in the quickest time possible.
Senior Member
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 12:00 am
Location: dublin

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:57 pm

That sounds reassuring,

What I would like to see is towns such as Portumna develop a greater population within their town centres.

Facilitating new commercial opportunities for services and shops.

The problem is that if a continuous ribbon development pattern emerged between Portumna and Loughrea at some point on the road closer to Portumna than Loughrea people would ignore Portumna and shop in Loughrea.

The Ideal situation is to concentrate populations in towns. Providing critical mass that provides better shops in the short term and in the longer term attracts investment and provides professional services opportunities.
PVC King

Postby FIN » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:08 pm

that's true. there is a lot after killimor. there is a big infrastructural project about to start in tynagh which i hope will bring more people into the town at least while it's being built and therefore help enhance the area. there is planning permission for about 150 house in the portumna area, within the town inself or just outside it.
i presume this is the same for nearly every small town within an hours drive from every major centre. this is what everyone i believe would like to see happen as it enhances small towns while cutting out major ribbon development. it will never stop it but a slow down is desirable.
this being as it is there needs to be investment in the services of small towns or people as u say will shop in loughrea or nearest big town. i can only talk about portumna cos it's my home town but i think it's a standard case really.
Senior Member
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 12:00 am
Location: dublin

Postby Devin » Fri Jan 16, 2004 3:27 pm

Well said James!!!!!!!!

Diaspora has filled up this thread with pages and pages of boring crap about the organisation, which I'm sure people stopped reading ages ago. You've said all that needs to be said abouit an taisce in one single post.
Old Master
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Postby PVC King » Fri Jan 16, 2004 3:35 pm


As good as your urban work is and it is good.

You have little understanding of anything beyond the City of Dublin, and sadly even less understanding of Public Relations.

Which is what good and inclusive Non Government Organisations use to

1. Communicate a message to as large an audience as possible.

2. Attract members from as broad a range of people as possible. I believe it is called bottom up policy development.
PVC King

Postby FIN » Fri Jan 16, 2004 3:41 pm

i still read it because for once there is actually sense coming from someone with an taisce unlike urself devin. when you don't know what you are talking about please learn instead of shooting your mouth off!

just a suggestion for your own sake! :-)
Senior Member
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 12:00 am
Location: dublin


Return to Ireland