Dublin City councillors finally notice Dublin Transport Authority on horizon

Two months after it was announced, Dublin’s councillors have finally woken up to the fact that all of their transport powers, and some of their planning ones too, are being transferred to the new Dublin Transport Authority (DTA).

Even though all the detail of the DTA was available in the text of the bill in April apparently none of the councillors bothered to read it. What has awoken them from their slumber is a report from their director of traffic, Michael Phillips, who has told them that “…the DTA was seeking to interfere unduly in council business without giving councillors adequate representation.”, or, to put it another way, “feck this lads, I’m out of a job, what are we going to do?”

The wholesale hawking for work currently being undertaken by people working for the dispirit authorities all over Dublin, vying for a seat at the DTA table, is undignified to say the least and the current outrage coming from Dublin City Council seems less about democratic accountability (who elected the city manager, director of traffic or officials at the DTO, by the way?) and more about the council losing some of their powers.

We would share their concerns if it were not for the fact that the council has done nothing in recent times to display they can either be trusted with those powers and can do anything constructive with them, apart from get into petty disputes with the likes of Dublin Bus.

Almost to prove the point, Dublin’s other local authorities are busy showing what kind of backbone they have when it comes to transport issues, with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council scrapping plans for the Mount Anville Road and Foster’s Avenue QBC due to “local opposition”. Apparently it would have caused transport “chaos” and we are all better off waiting for the fabled eastern bypass. Yes, chaos for the people who still insist on driving into town every day. May we politely point at that that is beside the point. If the QBC was there most of the people would have no reasonable excuse to be driving in the first place.

If this is what the local authorities have to offer, then we say roll on the DTA.

The Irish Times’ Olivia Kelly writes:

THE NEW Dublin Transportation Authority (DTA), due to start work next January, will have the power to veto planning applications, direct local authority spending and instruct authorities to compulsorily purchase land, Dublin City councillors have been told.

Councillors reacted angrily yesterday to a report from the city’s director of traffic, Michael Phillips, about the impact of the DTA on the council’s powers, and said the DTA was seeking to interfere unduly in council business without giving councillors adequate representation.

Councillors will not be represented on the board of the DTA. Two councillors from the Dublin Regional Authority will be represented on an advisory council to the DTA. However, councillors from the four Dublin local authorities will be vying for these positions.

Mr Phillips told councillors the DTA would be able to stop the council from granting planning permission if it felt the objectives of the DTA would be compromised.

The DTA would also be able to make amendments to the city development plan.

Currently, only councillors can amend the development plan.

The DTA could tell the council where to site bus stops, cycling facilities or parking within the city.

It could also direct the council to compulsorily purchase lands and carry out works, and will be able to step in and carry out work if the council fails to do so.

This could mean that if the DTA decided a quality bus corridor was to be created, the council could be ordered to acquire people’s front gardens, Tim O’Sullivan, executive manager in the council’s traffic department, said.

The DTA will also have an input into the council’s finances, and will be able to direct the council as to how it must spend revenue collected from such sources as parking meters.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said the DTA was being established as a HSE model and would be a “disaster” for the city.

“All parties were united in calling for a DTA but this is the worst of all worlds. There is absolutely no democratic accountability.

“It’s the HSE for transport, and the worst con job perpetrated on the people of this city since the affordable housing debacle.”

Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole said he was concerned by the lack of input from councillors.

The DTA had become a “top down” organisation, and there was a danger that public transport in the city would be privatised.

4 Responses to “Dublin City councillors finally notice Dublin Transport Authority on horizon”

  1. This sounds like the DUTC, but with the powers of a Robert Moses. Will be very interesting to see this new bureaucracy in action. Something tells me that you will see NIMBYs on the scene like never before.

  2. Dear Sirs,

    Do you think a congestion charge for Dublin city centre will be introduced in the coming years?

    If so, when is it likely to occur?

    Kind regards,

    Gerard Bartley.
    Transport Manager

  3. Gerard.
    There will eventually be some form of Transit charge for private use of the City Centre`s roads network.
    However it`s not likely to be anyway soon,perhaps even decades away.
    The London C-Charge is the one which all of our wild eyed administrators look to for justification.
    This alone should give us an indication of how it will pan out as the Irish Public Administrative sector have absolutely no real idea of what TfL actually is.
    Nowhere is this yawning chasm more obvious than in Dublin City Council where the DTA penny finally dropping has stimulated it`s members into a fit of the heebie-jeebies at the prospect of being TOLD what to do…They are having none of this..which can only mean yet more dogfights and lunacy with NO progress being made on ANY traffic issues !!

  4. Yep, as usual you are spot on Alek. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a congestion charge to be introduced anywhere in the 26 counties.

    If only one of our leaders would show, um, leadership on issues like this.

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