Dublin City Councillors reviewed

The City Council is an educational experience because the elected members represent the smallest areas of the city and reflect much of its diversity. Currently, ethnic groups who make up a significant proportion of the population are unrepresented. The Far Right in terms of racism and zenophobia is also absent. However, the self dubbed people before profit Socialist Workers Party is present. I wonder would they be there if they used the moniker SWP rather than people before profit. The Greens are unrepresented but environmentalism is well catered for particularly in the persons of Andrew Montague and Pat Crimmins – bicycles and gardens/allotments.

For fun, I am going to give my view on the cast. From a constructive view, Michael Donnelly is missed. This is an end of the decade glance and is biased. We are all biased in whatever way. I will do this by area. Please accept that I have virtually no interaction with some councillors so know very little about them. People I consider, by their contributions, to be less than adequate, I will not gratuitously offend because I may very well be inadequate myself. If you are offended by my view of your favorite, just play the webcast and you may be enlightened to some degree. Public meetings, Strategic Policy Committees, Development Plans, Area Committees, HSE Forums, Regional Authority, various boards etc are just some of the activities of councillors. Clearly, I am influenced by only what I see myself which may miss a large segments of the contribution of individuals. However, I do not do party hackery so everyone gets the same stroke here. I am on the economically dry side of social democracy and I believe in freedom of information, adult autonomy, personal responsibility and democratic choice.

Cabra Glasnevin:

Aine Clancy (Lab) Quiet, intelligent, competent and a trained lawyer. I don’t know her detailed politics. The designation “Labour” covers a broad church.

Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) Vocal in favour of all the intolerant demands of the NIMBYists. Right wing but a good speaker. Noticeably more reactionary than at the previous council. Leader of the Fianna Fail group but this year she voted for the budget instead of blaming Lab/FG for DCC cutbacks as happened in 2009. That was a hilarious episode. Transparently ambitious and has it made. She will be a TD for decades.

Seamus McGrattan (SF) He follows Nicky Keogh and is constructive. He also follows the party line and is a polite man.

Mary O’Shea (FG) A very decent person with sympathetic instincts. A solicitor by profession she is always constructive and is Group Secretary for Fine Gael. Can be sticky on local issues to get her way at group meetings.

Ciaran Perry (Ind) Usually has the same political line as the SWP councillors. He is his own man.

North Inner City

Christy Burke ( Independent) This man is very popular across the council. Highly respected and is an obviously authentic voice of the poor, the addicted and dispossessed.

Emer Costello (Lab) Conservative, populist and hard working. Always makes a contribution. Went a bit native in her last quarter as Lord Mayor but her Commission on Employment was a success. Is obviously a devotee of Tip O’Neill’s aphorism “All politics is local”.

Marie Metcalfe (Ind) A supporter of the late Tony Gregory, she is a very nice lady and has my respect. She speaks up on issues affecting the inner city community and is well worth her place.

Ray McAdam (FG) This man speaks well and is a localist for the Inner City. Lobbied me about the bike bridge and related issues in East Wall. He is very constructive at the Fine Gael group and is someone who will go far if he gets any breaks at all. He has the talent and is politically to the right.

Claire O’Regan ( Lab) This lady has the courage of her convictions. She is relatively quiet but has a young baby. Her experience adds to the breath of people on the council. Her colleagues speak highly of her. I really don’t know her.

Nial Ring (Ind) Formerly an aquaintance of the Bertie, he is a well educated and experienced man who has much to offer which appears unique among the current councillors. He knows the practicalities of business and is well rooted in Ballybough’s culture. On the downside, he is madly nationalist and his speech on the potential visit of the Queen of England was a throwback in no uncertain terms.

Artane Whitehall

Paddy Bourke (Lab) I know Paddy for decades and I like him. He is demonstrably Old Labour. He has a good grasp of procedure at the City Council and fights his corner very well. A substantial contributor.

Julia Carmichael (FF) Clever, ruthless and talented. Can speak well when she is bothered. Less in evidence than heretofore.

Declan Flanagan (FG) Part of the Flanagan dynasty from the Malahide Road. Hard workiing councillor. Very ambitious and relatively ruthless. But transparent. Fine flourish on Eirigi and the Queen of England marks him out as a nationalist and a little removed from the tipping point in Fine Gael. A good man to set on the opposition. Could develop into the Denis Skinner of Fine Gael from the other direction.

Andrew Montague (Lab) One of the best councillors on Dublin City Council. He is dogged on Transport and he and I often clash on some of these issues. However I agree with him on the Dublin Bike Scheme and I have supported this all along.In northwest, he is a good councillor and is popular in Santry to say the least. I respect him greatly. He obviously came into the crosshairs of a certain local TD because he is not a candidate in the 2011 general election for Labour.

Larry O’Toole (SF) He is Group Leader and a long time SF man. He is big in Darndale and is an active Bohs supporter. He is disciplined and will follow the SF line.

Clontarf

Lord Mayor Gerry Breen. (FG) Experienced City Councillor who is a straight up conservative and is very pro-business in the city. He is also a big advocate of the preservation of Dublin Bay and has locked horns with Dublin Port Company as a result. I am on the side of development of the port recognising, as I do, that most of the land has been reclaimed from the sea over the past few hundred years – that includes Bull Island and “Royaller”. Gerry is a forceful chairman at council meetings and is noticeably pass-remarkable. One effect has been that motions on the agenda have been debated and disposed. I am not certain when that last happened. His advocacy of the Parnell International Centre and Chinatown is innovative and he is keen on the Beijing twinning project. Begging and vagrancy is another issue in which he has been forceful.

Deirdre Heeney (FF) Another qualified lawyer, this lady is intelligent and effective. She is a tad serious without insight into absurdity. Intensely loyal to Fianna Fail where she works with Noel Ahern TD, she would be liberated by a mental decision to be more objective about the performance of FF nationally. Common sense is an attribute and I like her because she has real soul.

Damian O’Farrell (Ind). Damian is a diligent advocate of the type of issues represented by TD Finian McGrath with whom he works closely.

Naoise O’Muiri (FG) Is in the political centre as he styles himself. A graduate engineer and Irish speaker, he has transparent high ability. His contributions are succinct and constructive. Likely to play a key role nationally in Fine gael in the future. A vote for him is not a wasted vote. Quietly very politically ambitious.

Aodhan O’Riordan (Lab) opportunist and ambitious. Left the North Inner City ward using a conflict of interest as a head teacher in a local national school as an ‘excuse’ when it looked to disinterested observers that he was in pursuit of a Dail seat away from the sphere of Joe Costello. A standard LP teacher-type – predictable and ernest. Fair does to him getting elected in a second ward.

Donaghmede

Tom Brabazon (FF) Hilariously resigned from the HSE Forum on the grounds of cuts to services in his area. A solicitor.

Pat Crimmins (FG) This man is a gem. Unique in his interest and knowledge of gardens, allotments and wild life, he has a happy person with a very positive outlook. Popular among his colleagues.

Killian Ford (Lab) formerly of SF, this is a really talented person who is very sound on most issues other than Irish nationalism where he is overly green. Very good on travellers and is mentally organised and consistent. In the top decile for talent on DCC. He should be in the Collins gang in FG. Brought in the budget effectively at DCC.

Sean Kenny (Lab) is old Labour. I understand his reflexes and he is a good man. Quiet and business-like, he keeps to the topic and does not engage in personal slanging.

Ballymun/Finglas

Dessie Ellis (SF) is a Finglas institution. He is a very hard constituency grafter and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Finglas. Honest to deal with, he is constructive in dealing with constituency issues.

John Lyons (Lab) “I suppose” that he will get elected in the general election if FF get no seat. He is a school teacher and is from Poppintree where he attended the local school. An inoffensive man, he got a remarkable vote on his first outing in 09. Relatively silent at the Council, he was effective as chairman of the Area Committee.

Paul McAuliffe (FF) clearly from the PD end of Fianna Fail. He is hard working and opportunist. Likely to be a TD in the future. Does have opinions on issues and is not blancmange unlike some FF TDs.

John Redmond (Lab) A community activist in Finglas South and a good capture for Labour. He is perceptibly learning fast and is in his milieu. Not a socialist theorist.

Bill Tormey (FG) I have my own opinions on him.

Ballyfermot/Drimnagh

Michael Conaghan (Lab) Relatively quiet last year at the Council. Impressive as Lord Mayor where I think his wonderful instincts and humanity shone forth. Long time pal of his. DSP man – Jim Kemmy was an original.

Vincent Jackson (Ind) Growing in stature all the time. Did a good job as Lord Mayor. His contributions are valuable and is a worthy public representative. He is also a singularly nice man.

Louise Minahan (Eirigi) ex SF. Nice person but throwing paint at Harney! Not appropriate!

Brid Smith (PBPA) Consistently on that wing of politics. I usually disagree and think that simplicity can be a vice as well as a virtue.

Crumlin/Kimmage

Eric Byrne (Lab) Excellent councillor. Well versed in politics and clear and concise in his contributions. Can do the anger thing when he wants!

Joan Collins (PBPA) No profits so needs the IMF. Consistent. has a valuable point of view which should be heard.

Ruairi McGinley (FG) Diligent, honourable, well versed in finance and makes cogent coherent contributions to Council meetings. He is a key member of the Finance Committee and is a professional accountant which is obvious. Fine Gael benefits from his presence.

Henry Upton (Lab) Good humoured and solid son of Pat. Still old Labour.

South West Inner City

Clare Byrne (FG) Part of the FG Dublin tradition centred on Guinness and other industries in the south inner city. Gave birth during the year and is now back in full harness. works closely with her TD mother, Catherine.

John Gallagher (Lab) Unique man. Great humanity and is a very caring person. Dublin in the rare auld times.

Rebecca Moynihan (Lab) Serious young politician from the Labour Youth Group. Surprising that Labour did not select her as a Dail candidate as she has the calibre. The politically correct party forgot what is correct! Has a big career in front of her unless Labour becomes a poisonous failure.

Criona Ni Dhalaigh (SF) One word suffices – Excellent – at the Council and at the Economics SPC

Pembroke Rathmines

Mary Freehill (Lab) Old Labour also. Great heart and works on with energetic committment. She is so dogged that she drives some crazy. An ally of mine for nearly 30 years. We could only have a row not a falling-out.

Dermot Lacey (Lab) Old Labour. I like Dermot for 25 years. Consistency can be an optional extra but he is great fun. Probably not flavour of the month at the Customs House but valuable at City Hall.

Eoghan Murphy (FG) Dilligent, ambitious and confident, he has a populist conservative, organised and energetic. A very good candidate. Did a lot of work and was very well informed on the City Development Plan. With an inch of breathing space, he will go a mile.

Jom O’Callaghan (FF) A senior counsel at the Bar, he is a formidable speaker when he gathers himself. However, he is on the decidedly green nationalist wing of politics and his speech on the Queen of England was self-revealing. He is a tribal Fianna Failer and is a throwback to older times. I have no idea why but shouted “blueshirt at me” which would normally be covered under the Trade Descriptions Act!

Oisin Quinn (Lab) another Senior Counsel at the Bar. One of the Quinn dynasty and is an effective well informed councillor. I was taken aback at his vote against my mobile phone motion, but there you are, we’re not all perfect! Interesting discussion on his property portfolio during the development plan.

Edie Wynne (FG) a St Louis’ girl! A real lady. Very sound on local issues in Rathmines. Deputy Lord Mayor and very considerate in the chair. Has “Just Society” politics like Garret FitzGerald and Declan Costello.

South East Inner City

Mannix Flynn (Ind) A speaker who commands the attention of the Chamber when he interjects which is fairly frequently. He is widely liked and respected. A talented writer and artist, he is a constructive addition to politics in the city of Dublin.

Kevin Humphries (Lab) again Old Labour. Works very hard as Group Leader of Labour. He is effective and pragmatic. This year, he has wobbled about as he comes under the political pressure of the general election where he is expected to take a seat in Dail Eireann. He works closely with John Tierney the City Manager and is in effect part of the city establishment.

Catherine Noone (FG) a solicitor who looks after her patch in South East assiduously. She showed her ability by forcing the city management to release to councillors the documentation relating to the Poolbeg Incinerator. She is well liked in Fine Gael and was constructive on the Development Plan.

Maria Parodi (Lab) . She is a good attender but I know little of her.