When I reported progress yesterday I had dealt with the demand for a hotel in Dún Laoghaire, under the auspices of Ostlanna Éireann Teoranta; the whole social problem of itinerants, particularly relating to the Dublin city area; and the need for a vast tract of land similar to that of the Phoenix Park to be made available to people on the south side of the city.
In dealing with this question of a park I suggested that an area of the Dublin mountains be taken over and developed or, alternatively, that there should be a development somewhat similar to the national park concept in the United States. Within this park there should be created the type of amenity available in the Phoenix Park, football pitches and other recreational facilities.
It is important to keep in mind that in ten or 20 years time people will have quite a lot of time on their hands. Not everybody has a car and not everybody has the time to go from, say, the area of Sandyford or Stillorgan to the Phoenix Park. Another important reason for it is the growth of population. I would imagine that in ten or 20 years time the population on the south side of Dublin will have doubled or trebled. There are no real recreational facilities there. We have, of course, community centres like Glenalbyn in Stillorgan, a first class project of its kind where there are facilities for football and tennis, and where there will be a swimming pool in the very near future. However, this caters for and is adjusted to a particular area. It is not that people cannot avail of the facilities there, but the location would not be convenient to everyone. Furthermore it does not perform the same function as the Phoenix Park. It is geared as a social centre where people can gather in groups and so on. Therefore I would ask the Minister to examine the possibility of making available an area on the south side of the city for a project of this nature.
The Minister mentions in page 12 of his brief the concept of co-operatives in the building of houses, where a group of people come together, form a co-operative society and pool their knowledge and resources in relation to the availability of loans, grants and so on. He mentions the co-operative effort by the Vocational Teachers' Organisation. The Vocational Teachers' Organisation are one group who do this excellent work.
There are many other co-operatives and one in particular that I should like to mention is the South County Dublin Co-operative Society and the Ballybrack housing co-operative group. A group of young people who were in need of accommodation came together and did the same thing as the Vocational Teachers' Organisation. The Minister met one of the groups and was very impressed by what they had to say and to show. I am glad that they have now almost solved their housing problem. They are building their own houses in the Ballybrack area of Dún Laoghaire. We should be grateful for this kind of development where you get people to accept that they should do something for themselves and apply the old Sinn Féin philosophy which operates to a great extent in the country areas particularly where a group of businessmen come together to advance their own interests. They advertise in British journals to get new industries and so on. In this way they achieve what they set out to do for themselves. They do not rely on the State to any great extent but, of course, they take advantage of available grants and so on. That is the whole concept of co-operation.
I think the Ballybrack people are to be congratulated on the way they achieved their objective, namely, the placing of a roof over their own heads. I trust they will not finish their operations when they are re-housed. I hope these co-operative organisations will form themselves into a national organisation and pool their knowledge and experience for the benefit of others seeking houses. I hope those concerned will take note of this suggestion.
The Minister dealt at some length with the Ballymun housing project in his introductory speech. Deputy Clinton, in his own fashion, tried to misrepresent the situation there. I think the project was completed within the contract period but one can appreciate that when people are put into a new housing complex before it is actually completed there will be problems. Snags must be ironed out. Quite a number of families were put into Ballymun before it was completed. Roads were not ready and the shopping centre was not finished. I was up there in the last six weeks and the roads are completed leaving only the matter of shopping centres, et cetera. Deputy Clinton, by design or otherwise, forgot to mention that the people of Ballymun have formed an active residents' association and the corporation's arrangements for estate management are currently being extended. Therefore, you have a watchdog on both sides in Ballymun: the residents' association on one side and the corporation's estate management corps on the other. If problems exist for the people of Ballymun they have an outlet for their opinions through these two bodies. The residents' association will, of course, be elected by the people and they also have the corporation estate management team, which is being extended.
The Minister said that these developments are occurring simultaneously. While problems crop up from time to time which tend to attract disproportionate publicity, in four years an impressive contribution has been made to the Dublin housing pool. More than 10,000 people have been housed in Ballymun, a remarkable achievement of which those concerned should be proud.
Another development in the Ballymun housing scheme is the provision of a communal television aerial thus avoiding the plethora of TV masts which tends to destroy the appearance of many housing estates. I was glad to note recently that the Government have decided to have a system of communal television aerials throughout the country. This will obviate the ugly array of masts on roofs in housing estates.
This Estimate lends itself to discussion, to a great extent, of matters relating to one's own constituency. I refer to one matter which was brought up in the House a few weeks ago in relation to a development in the Newtown Park area where a concrete firm decided to build a ready mix plant in the middle of a housing area. I am all for factories and the encouragement of them, but I do not think that the place for a ready mix concrete plant is in the heart of a housing area. Dublin County Council have an obligation to the people of the Newtown Park/Blackrock area generally to make some other site available for this plant outside the built-up area. If you take the site as at present proposed, you have on one side of the proposed plant—permission has not yet been given for the building of it; I trust it will not be granted—the Kingstown and Avoca Schools with 450 pupils.
That is just one factor. There is also the question of lorries going up and down Newtown Park frequently. I do not understand the thinking behind this type of development in a housing estate. These people say that they will test in court any decision that is given in relation to their proposal. I cannot understand the thinking behind the setting up of a factory of this nature in the heart of suburbia. The lives of the people who live there are hard enough, with rates and so on, without putting this extra burden on them. It is contrary to the spirit of the Planning Acts that a ready mix concrete factory should be sited on Newtown Park Avenue. It is as if Cement Ltd. were to move from Drogheda to the middle of Foxrock. It is a totally wrong concept. If we relate this to Conservation Year what must the children who attend the nearby school think of it with all this cement dust, air pollution, water pollution and so on which will result from such a factory? I wish those people who intend to pursue this matter would examine their consciences. I wonder if any members of the staff of this company live around there. I doubt it.
I want to refer to unfinished estates. We have an estate in Stillorgan called the Redesdale Estate which has been neglected for 20 years. There are a number of other estates in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area where the builders, unfortunately for them, left, due to lack of finance and so on. I do not want to go into the history of these unfortunate people. They had a living to make too. However, I would ask the Minister to take a special note of Redesdale Estate where the roadways are very narrow and dangerous from the point of view of children and people cannot park their cars outside their homes.
It is gambling with one's life to try to get across the main Stillorgan-Bray Road at the Stillorgan-Lower Kilmacud Road traffic lights. I have pressed, and I am sure other public representatives have pressed, for a pedestrian crossing just before these lights. I am told it would hold up traffic. Whether it holds up traffic or not, if it saves one life it is worthwhile.