Local Fine Gael candidate, Cllr. Emer Higgins, responding to a dare by Ivan Yates, Newstalk, went head-to-head with the journalist in-studio on the topic of Clonburris. On his show The Hard Shoulder, Ivan had criticised the eight South Dublin Councillors who appealed the Clonburris plan, daring them to explain their position on the show. Cllr. Higgins tweeted in saying she accepted his dare. Clonburris, a town of 8,000 new houses with a population of 21,000 people, is planned for the undeveloped fields between Lucan and Clondalkin. Higgins says she’s in favour of developing the lands, but wants to see it done right. “We’re talking about developing a town the size of Wexford, wedged between the highly populated areas of Lucan and Clondalkin. A plan of this scale can only work if we have the appropriate transport infrastructure in place. I want to see Kishogue Train Station opened earlier than planned, construction of the Link Road between the N4, N7 and N81 begun and sites clearly identified for a Garda and Fire Station,” explained Cllr. Emer Higgins.
Cllr. Higgins told us that she, along with four Independent Councillors and many Residents Associations, gave evidence at the Oral Hearing on Clonburris held by An Bord Pleanala. “We appealed the latest version of the plan as we don’t believe it’s the best version possible. As a public representative, I felt obligated to oppose the latest draft of this Plan which will short-change existing and future residents. I don’t want to look back at this decision, regretting having signed up to a Plan that I simply wasn’t happy with. This would be repeating the planning mistakes of the past and I’m not prepared to do that.”
“As articulated by people like John Coleman, residents of Lucan and Clondalkin are already wasting too much time stuck in traffic jams, and we need to address these existing problems as we seek to build out the area further. This means having local road networks and traffic management plans that can handle increased traffic volumes. It also means having public transport and other public services for our existing and new communities, all of which must come on stream as new housing is built,” continued Cllr. Higgins. “We see similar issues in areas like Rathcoole and Newcastle where the same concerns around road capacity arise. I think we need to start looking at conditioning developers to construct sections of new road, already in our Development Plan, to ensure that we deliver housing in tandem with infrastructure,” concluded Emer Higgins.