Positive changes at An Taisce

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    • #707197
      Anonymous
      Participant

      RTE presenter named as An Taisce president
      From:ireland.com
      Monday, 5th July, 2004

      Originally published by http://www.eircom.net
      An Taisce has appointed the popular environmentalist and broadcaster, Ms Eanna Ní Lamhna, as president of the national trust.

      Ms Ní Lamhna, a presenter on RTÉ Radio 1’s Mooney Goes Wild programme, was unanimously elected at An Taisce’s AGM last Saturday.

      The National Trust also returned the current officers of the organisation for another year.

      The organisation’s chair, Mr Frank Corcoran, said “Eanna has been a great supporter of our
      projects, such as Green Schools, from their inception. Her long experience and appreciation of environmental issues is an invaluable asset, not only to An Taisce, but to the country. ”

      Frank Corcoran has now filled the position as Chairperson

      Peter Hennessy a Farmer from Co Tipperary has been appointed vice-chair. 🙂

      Diaspora senses that An Taisce has a leadership that can restore the organisation on its path of growth.

    • #743942
      lexington
      Participant

      Lexington senses trouble…

      hehe – only messing! 😉

    • #743943
      GrahamH
      Participant

      She’s certainly a popular one with the public, no nonsense approach and all that – from that perspective she will be a great boost to the organisation.

    • #743944
      anto
      Participant

      no one could call her a “belted earl” anyway

    • #743945
      vinnyfitz
      Participant

      She did very well on Morning Ireland this morning.

    • #743946
      GregF
      Participant

      Ah yes,…. that’s that mad aul’ wan who talks about the birds and the beez on the radio. Will be good for the protection of the countryside no doubt…..but I dunno about in an urban sense.

    • #743947
      Sue
      Participant

      I read somewhere that Michael Smith was challenging the accounts of An Taisce and asking that the treasurer’s report be thrown out, or somesuch. Anyone know what happened on that front?

    • #743948
      Anonymous
      Participant

      There was a letter in the Irish Times from Michael Smith who was in Bejing, Michael was as I understand it defending himself against some groundless rumours doing the rounds. I think that Michael is about the only one who got more abuse than An Taisce over the past year.

      The accounts were passed without incident as was every motion put to the A.G.M. by all accounts it was the quietest in years.

      Thankfully the organisation is now able to allow Eanna and Frank make all the noise now, it is a more positive message than before

    • #743949
      anto
      Participant

      she was up against Michael Healy Rae on the Last Word the other evening. Her line seems to be “we don’t actually object that much”, rather than outlining the organisation’s problem with one off housing

    • #743950
      Anonymous
      Participant

      The point that Eanna makes is simple, if your one off house is refused it is generally because it is in breach of planning and development guidelines.

      An Taisce objected to 276 dwellings during 2003 out of 70,000 units completed or a whopping 0.0039% of all dwellings.

      The Healy Raes (I have my own Danny poster) are promising people we’ll get you planning permission, when the planners don’t give it in comes the section 140. According to the family when the permission is refused it is all An Taisce’s fault.

      An Taisce object to a disproportionate number of one off houses in Kerry because the County has a dispropotionate number of one off houses proposed in conservation areas (SAC’s)

      This is the nub of the problem, the OECD average of SAC as a proportion of overall land mass is 14% the average in IUCN ( association of world National Trusts) countries is 16% in Ireland it is 1%

      If this is such a beautiful country why is only 1% worthy of full protection? To make things worse Danny and Michael can circumvent this protection through section 140.

      What Eanna is basically saying is that An Taisce as a private organisation is longer prepared to do the governments job for free, our policy is still that the broadly accepted principles of spatial planning should be utilised but that the organisation is not prepared to be the media punch bag for political dynasties such as Jackie & co.

    • #743951
      anto
      Participant

      I think they object to an An Taisce mentality, basically we do things our own way around here. Farmers used to be very reluctant to sell sites, break up fields as land was so precious now as incomes are falling they see it as a chance to make a few quid and sure isn’t that what most people are doing these days in our wonderful country

    • #743952
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Originally posted by anto
      now as (Farming) incomes are falling they see it as a chance to make a few quid and sure isn’t that what most people are doing these days in our wonderful country

      Why can’t they be honest about their motives instead of spouting all the ‘My son (who actually has lived in San Francisco for the past decade) can’t build a house for himself on MY LAND?

      I agree Anto with what your saying as being absolutely the truth, everyones expectations and needs for money are off the scale in comparison with 10 years ago.

      But should farmers have the right to make money in areas of outstanding natural beauty just because the CAP grants have dried up?

      I think not

    • #743953
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      afterall, its only bad luck that they still own the land, the smartest and fittest took boats and left decades ago 😉

    • #743954
      asdasd
      Participant

      However, they still do own the land. Unless we live in a communist system, or a system of serfdom, then land owners own land and should get to build on it – within limits.

      I am sure that there are plenty of legitimate cases where people are denied the rights to build for their children on land owned in that family for generations. Elites from Dublin then move in and get the land. Why isn’t Tasice condeming that?

    • #743955
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Originally posted by asdasd
      However, they still do own the land. Unless we live in a communist system, or a system of serfdom, then land owners own land and should get to build on it – within limits.

      And let the Jackeen gobshites pay for the extra cost of services to these one off houses through increased taxation. Rural Ireland seems to want the benefits of urban Ireland without the costs.

    • #743956
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      Originally posted by ewanduffy

      And let the Jackeen gobshites pay for the extra cost of services to these one off houses through increased taxation. Rural Ireland seems to want the benefits of urban Ireland without the costs.

      I would like to know roughly how much more it costs the ESB to supply electricity to a house in a rural setting. My understanding is that if no service passes the site – new poles etc have to be provided at the cost of the owner of the site they are to service. Add to this that water and sewerage are not linked to a public supply and we are only left with roads. Simply driving in rural Ireland should give the “Jackeen Gobshites” peace of mind that their hard earned tax dollars are not being spent on country lanes.
      Is this service cost to rural sites a moot argument? If not, please feel free to enlighten me.

      Bloke

    • #743957
      asdasd
      Participant

      I always get a laugh out of the “Jackeens paying for the country” nonsense.

      Jackeens tend to get away with non-payment of local taxes, it seems to me. Not the country folk.

      Bin charges are payed down the country , and water charges too. My parents have been paying them all their lives. They also recycle, and pay for that. It is Dubliners that demur, and demand that the (natonal) “gubberment” pay for everything. National “gubernment” does not, however, pick up the bins.

      One off houses should pay more for these charges, if necessary; but, if we were to go to a system of local taxation for local infrastructure, Dubliners would be paying more – not less – than down the country. The Luas does not benefit Killarney.

      I live in Dublin, by the way, and keen to see it progress. If we are to build a metro, let’s get Dubliners to pay for it. The houses and businesses on the line should pay in property taxes, rates etc.

      As for the one off housing, I believe that people should be allowed to build on their land. If An Taisce has a problem with the design, that is fine. I abhor many of the monstrosities down the country recently built, but not the building of them, unless in obvious scenic areas ( like the West Coast). We could protect these areas with seperate laws.

      the whole of ireland isn’t equally scenic after all – although the part of it that is among the most scenic in the East Coast is riddled with one off housing ( Howth), and ribbon development ( the road to Howth), albeit that ribbon development has now joined up the dots.

      Thats ok with An Taisce because there is no rich mine of culchie bashing in it.

    • #743958
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      It is a sad fact of life that it is cheaper to service urban areas than rural. The more houses in a given area, the lower the cost per unit. Simple mathematics. If you have a high voltage power line (which you generally do running across the country both urban and rural areas) and you are dividing the cost between 100 houses as against 1000 houses, it follows that the cost per unit will be higher in the case of 100 houses. I agree its not proportional, in other words, the cost of connecting each of the 1000 urban houses is not 10% of the rural ones, it will be more than 10%, but it is still remarkably lower.

      The same underlying principle is why it is generally easier to get planning permission for infill developments than those at the edge of towns. The main services are already there and only the link to this main service is required.

      For years, Dublin didn’t have to pay service charges because there were sufficent business to pick up the slack through rates (again the advantages of urban living).

      I also pay my bin taxes without protest and believe that those who don’t should be subject to confiscation of wages orders.

    • #743959
      d_d_dallas
      Participant

      With regard to cost of infrastructure – the cost of getting hooked up to electricty is the same whether you live in urban or rural for a single house. We live in a regulated market, and everyone has to be treated equal according to the regulator. It costs ALOT MORE to construct the services to a rural house. So effectively all of the country’s electricity customers (i.e. everyone) is subsidising these one off houses.
      Where the houses are built is another matter – but why should the rest of us make the ride easy for them? We’re such a friendly country we want to live as far from each other as possible. Fine – do so, but you have to pick up your own tab.

    • #743960
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I agree totally with D_D_Dallas and Ewan, it is primarily about spatial planning and building an environment where local government can operate efficiently. The cost of ESB connections are just a symptom of a much wider cost base issue.

      I like to use the image of the courier company, to move a letter from Merrion Square to Mount st costs about 4 euro to move an identical letter to Naas costs 40 euro. An Post is leaking money like a sieve while the workforce has never worked harder or smarter.

      An Taisce does not have a problem with people building homes, they merely have a problem with uneconomic settlement patterns which lead to

      Worse local services

      Higher commercial rates in most counties outside Dublin

      Worse roads due to the funds being spread thiner

      A higher central government subvention to local authorities.

      Less efficient Semi-states such as the ESB and An Post

    • #743961
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      But is it not the case that if no ESB service exists, or the existing line would need upgrading to service a one off rural house, that the homeowner picks up the tab for installing the new line / upgrading the existing line? Or is it a nominal charge and the balance picked up by the taxpaying public?
      I accept the fact that roads need maintenance and more cars means more wear etc. but can this new infrastucture charge not be graded to hit the rural new builder heavier than the urban developer.
      I write this an urban dweller with ideas of living in a rural setting, but the idea is shrinking from building to buying fron the existing bungalow bliss housing stock. That said, I would much rather live in a 1970’s bungalow than a 1990’s semi-d.

    • #743962
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      double post

    • #743963
      Anonymous
      Participant

      If you want to live in an rural setting buy an existing house, from what I’ve heard one off houses do not sell very well and many vendors are required to take offers well below their initial expectations.

      In other words they represent a very poor investment, remodling some elses mistakes can prove to be effecient.

      The nightmare situation for the ESB are bad storms they have to restore all fallen lines including those on isolated plots, as far as I know the ESB charges a standard connection regardless of distance, while most urban boxes tend to be within 10 metres of a road/street one off houses tend to be set back often up to 200-300 metres, much more expensive.

    • #743964
      anto
      Participant

      let’s face it most of them look shite

    • #743965
      d_d_dallas
      Participant

      I think with ESB you’re allowed half a kilometre from the main power lines, thereafter you pay a contribution. I don’t think you’ll pay 100% costs in any case. No matter what way you look at it – it is fundamentally unfair to charge the same for a house that needs only a cable up a driveway from the area transformer to a house that needs an extension to the main power line and additional poles and an individual power transformer.
      Diaspora – you’re bang on about the storm situation. I believe ESB have more overhead km’s than the UK!!!

    • #743966
      asdasd
      Participant

      It’s also fundamentally unfair that the Burghers along the Luas line get to see their property values increase at the cost of National taxes taken from everybody for what is decidedly not a national railline.

      I think that Dubliners can never spot the plank in their own eye.

      ( I suspect that many one off houses are built along roads with existing powerlines).

      Still waiting for the debate about Howth head, an area of national beauty which is still being built on.

    • #743967
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Originally posted by asdasd
      It’s also fundamentally unfair that the Burghers along the Luas line get to see their property values increase at the cost of National taxes taken from everybody for what is decidedly not a national railline.

      I think that Dubliners can never spot the plank in their own eye.

      ( I suspect that many one off houses are built along roads with existing powerlines).

      LUAS serves a population of c150,000 and a workforce of probably 80,000 as well, so all in all it provides a potential service to about 230,000 people not to mention tourists who number about 6m annually.

      A non-national road upgrade to serve 5-10 houses typically costs about 50-100k a splinter in comparison to the 800m luas cost but this 50-100k is replicated 1000’s of times over accross the country making it a massive sum probably in excess of 100m per year. Luas was built and is now considered a ‘permanent way’ it will make money with the government receiving large amounts of VAT and in time corporation tax.

      It also lessons the amount of roads required to transport large numbers of people, I welcome the reopening of the midleton rail line and hope that higher density settlements are built along its route at the stations.

      I would also welcome a commuter service with new stations on the Ennis-Limerick line and on The Galway-Athenry line with a potential service from Galway to Gort possibly connecting to Limerick.

      The vast sums spent subsidising one off houses in inappropriate areas will ensure that our regional cities will not grow in an orderly and efficient manner. The roads are just another symptom along with

      Water
      Waste water
      Post
      ESB
      Telecoms
      Distance travelled to School
      Multi-car families leveraging their finances at 12-20% apr

      That is forgetting about the environment and the tourist industry

      Originally posted by asdasd
      Still waiting for the debate about Howth head, an area of national beauty which is still being built on.

      The first Address to An Taisce by Preagar in 1948 set about a list of properties the trust wished to acquire included in this list were

      Howth Head

      The Old Head at Kinsale

      Glendalough

      The Sugar Loaf

      Mount Errigal

      The Burren

    • #743968
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Eanna Ní Lamhna was on the radio yesterday for a good 35min debate, along with the chairman of the Irish Rural Dwellers Association and someone from the RIAI, and an expert on Irish planning. It started off promising but it decended into the usual bickering towards the end – indeed the putrid hatred of AT on the part of the chair of the IRDA was really extraordinary, quite funny really – you could hear the rage in his voice & the tension between him and Ní Lamhna could be cut with a knife, but she came over the better of the two.
      Still it was the best debate on the one-off issue thus far – a few good concise points were made on the part of AT, Ní Lamhna got a decent plug in about the organisation’s other work for once, but again there was no time to get any of AT’s policies across, neither did the IRDA. The reps of the RIAI and planning did however broadly come across in favour of AT, describing them as a symptom of the one-off issue rather than the cause, and the necessity for a body indepedent of Govt and local authorites.

      The contentious issue of what is a one-off dwelling and what is a dwelling that is part of a traditional scattered community also arose, and calls were made for such types of development to be defined in dev plans, and sustainable models and examples specified.
      Ní Lamhna did slip up though on the question of does AT support the principal of the one-off house, to which too general an answer was given, resulting her being asked 5 or 6 times, much to the delight of the Mr IRDA. Also the public listing of members’ names occupied a lot of time, the IRDA calling for it to happen considering they have a statutory role – regardless that they are a private organisation.

      On any future media outings for AT, they should definitely make a short list of main points beforehand that they wish to get across
      about their policies, rather than getting bogged down in contentious issues deliberately stirred up by opponents. Overall, Ní Lamhna proved her worth to the organisation. It was a pity though, considering the presence of the RIAI that the architectural aspect of rural development wasn’t mentioned at all.
      It’s well worth a download from the RTE website.

      Just on the issue of Section 140s, what is their purpose – what’s the idea behind them?

    • #743969
      Devin
      Participant

      Graham, Jim Connolly keeps bringing up the issue of An T’s membership to distract from the sustainable land-use and transport arguments against one off housing, where he knows he’s beat; i.e. he tries to focus on An Taisce rather than on one-off housing.

      He and other one-off housing supporters – like Ceide Fields archaeologist Seamus Caulfield – always say that Ireland always had scattered housing – ‘this is the way we live’ – but the difference is no one was going anywhere in a car, and the houses were of low environmental and visual impact.

    • #743970
      Devin
      Participant

      Didn’t hear that radio discussion

      I tried to download it but it asked cfor redit card details, even though it said the free sample of the necessary software was enough to hear the programme

    • #743971
      anto
      Participant

      John Waters was writing in favour of the peasants right to build one off houses in yesterday’s Irish Times. Launched the IRDA’s book for them the other night

    • #743972
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Originally posted by Graham Hickey
      Just on the issue of Section 140s, what is their purpose – what’s the idea behind them?

      Section 140 was devised to allow councillors sanction material contraventions in the development plan when all suitable lands in the plan were developed. They were in essence created by way of the failure of CC’s to enact a new development plan every five years as envisaged by the 1963 act.

      Childs v Wicklow CoCo in the Supreme Court (1992) delivered the rule that a County Manager is obliged to apply the same consideration for Section 140’s as other planning applications before granting permission. In the Child case he (The Manager) decided that his County Engineer and planners were correct and refused permission.

      This occurs and last occured last month in Co Monaghan 🙂

      Originally posted by Anto
      John Waters was writing in favour of the peasants right to build one off houses in yesterday’s Irish Times. Launched the IRDA’s book for them the other night

      He is about the only Journalist that would launch anything for them. Anyone who planned a family with Sinead O’Connor and then complained could hardly be called an authority on any type of planning.

    • #743973
      Devin
      Participant

      Well that’s funny about John Waters, because about a year ago, he wrote in favour of a theory some American came up with called “Social Capital”. The idea was that dispersed housing causes a loss of social capital; that every extra 10 mins spent commuting by car means a half an hour less time contributed to the community in which you live. So you are losing “social capital”.

    • #743974
      Devin
      Participant

      Section 140s can be appealed. But planning in Kerry – where Section 140 is most abused – has collapsed . For somebody like An Taise, better off concentrating on somewhere that hasn’t already been wrecked, like the upper Shannon region.

      All around Clifden in Galway is absolutely appalling too, and huge, awful stuff is still being built there. I know what “outsider” Llyod Weber meant when he said that we have some of the most hideous and inappropriate housing anywhere in the world.

      Its all about mobility. I hope the oil runs out soon. just a personal view

    • #743975
      FIN
      Participant

      Originally posted by Devin

      All around Clifden in Galway is absolutely appalling too, and huge, awful stuff is still being built there.

      Its all about mobility. I hope the oil runs out soon. just a personal view

      i actually agree with u devin. it is horrible. but unfortunately the euro is the decisive factor here. we can’t really tell them to spend more money but it is our job to give them better architecture for the money they are spending.
      i hope this new president or whatever she is will improve ur public relations. i think that this is a major downfall for the entire body. if so then i can only presume that ur general hatred here will soften. while a disagree with many of your policies i do believe that there is a need for this type of regulation of the industry. not quite as blanket but that’s only my personal opinion.

    • #743976
      GrahamH
      Participant

      If all one-offs were of high architectural quality, had waste water treatment ponds, householders used wind-generated electric cars, paid for back-up electricity connections themselves etc, and were all-round models of sustainability, would AT support such one-off scattered development?
      Please don’t say but they aren’t – just, as an idea, would AT support such housing, or would it still be rejected on community grounds?
      It’s just interesting cause so much of debate gets grounded on the present, ineffective septic tanks etc, but looking to the future, which is what’s important, is such scattered development deemed acceptable?

    • #743977
      Devin
      Participant

      Originally posted by FIN
      i actually agree with u devin. it is horrible.

      Well An Taisce – for better or for worse – is actually trying to do something about it

      Originally posted by FIN but unfortunately the euro is the decisive factor here. we can’t really tell them to spend more money but it is our job to give them better architecture for the money they are spending.

      It’s not just about architecture or how well a house sits in its surroundings. Traffic generated by one-off housing in the surrounding countryside means that the main streets of every Irish town (the daytime ‘service centres’ for one-offs) are bumper to bumper with traffic all day long – they have become unliveable places, thus increasing pressure for one-offs. Ireland is locked into this vicious circle of bad planning, and the government are not doing anything about it. This will store up huge social, economic and environmental problems for future generations.

      Sadly, the only people you find living in town centres now (excluding the large towns and cities) are non-nationals.

    • #743978
      FIN
      Participant

      quite general but as u say sadly more or less highly accurate. them and students. but i am just wondering now is this the way with every city in countries with immigration. examples come to mind of the various china towns. just a little thought.

      while i generally agree with ur assesment for traffic etc, i still can’t help but come back to the same old reasoning. if a family owns land then they can build on it if they want.
      there may be a solution to the whole thing that we are all missing because, to be honest it’s like ww1, trench warfare, each side thinks they are right, and u have to admit there are very stubborn people on both sides, and so there is a standoff and nobody wants to think of compromise. i will admit, the argument that irish peple have lived on the land all the time to be quite tiresome, as under british direct rule the landlords owned the land and therefore the irish were tenants who lived in little settlements. before this they lived in clans. if they said it was about the right of a person to live on their own land then to be honest in opiion there isn’t really a whole lot to do. of course the regulations need to be tightened ,not only for the protection of the most scenic areas, but in general too. i find it funny that a house can be regulated but for farmers who spread slurry onto land there is no action. this is a major pollution factor. dare i say more than an average domestic dwelling. then again i don’t make the rules i only have to follow them.

    • #743979
      Anonymous
      Participant

      There is a feature on Prime Time tonight at 9,30pm RTE 1

      Featuring Frank Corcoran Chairman of An Tasice

      & The minister for state at the Department of crisp packet control Dick Roche

    • #743980
      GrahamH
      Participant

      What are they at down there, I mean the most ludicrous of all – submitting motions after the meeting started?!?
      You’d wonder about this place you really would…

    • #743981
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Originally posted by Graham Hickey
      What are they at down there, I mean the most ludicrous of all – submitting motions after the meeting started?!?
      You’d wonder about this place you really would…

      There were certain procedures that were flagrantly breached and I am sure will be firmly dealt with by Wicklow Co Co and I would hope Fianna Fail as well.

      Frank Corcoran was excellent and his restraint was exemplary, it is I hope the start of An Taisce concentrating on its role as

      1> The National Trust of Ireland

      2> To advocate environmental and Heritage policies as all other National Trusts do

      3> To act as observer of the planning process comenting on individual applications if it is felt that an apllication may potentially have perceived negative effects

      It was never the function of An Taisce to act as an opposition party no matter how opposed they are to individual policies.

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