Fingal County Council is delighted to announce the commencement of the formal planning process for the proposed Bremore Regional Park Development Project. The proposed park development project is an important step in delivering the long-term vision for the park. The project led by the council’s Parks and Green Infrastructure Division covers the key infrastructure required to upgrade Bremore to regional park status and to best serve the needs of the local community. The park proposals have been designed to achieve the best fit between the provision of active and passive recreation and improved linkages to surrounding urban areas and taking a sensitive approach to the visual, historic and ecological attributes of the site.The focus of this Planning Application is on the lands within the park to the west of the rail-line as well and the section of the park to the south-east (designated as a new Coastal Park) encompassing a project area of over 15 hectares within the park. The park development project is organised under three distinct zones:The Balbriggan Sports & Recreational HubThis multifunctional campus will provide for a range of sporting activities as a shared public facility; these include athletics, all-weather football pitches with flood lighting; full size GAA pitch, soccer pitches, basketball courts, tennis courts, car park access and changing facilities. Central Zone Open Spaces - The central zone of Bremore Park has been designed to improve access, circulation and permeability between adjacent residential areas, the park and the sea while enhancing the physical and natural amenity of the space. The Coastal Park -The proposal for the Coastal Park aims to create a family orientated space which facilitates play, active recreation and social interaction. The existing playground and bandstand are supplemented with a skate bowl, grassed play-mounds and half-court basketball court which further animate this space. Soft landscaping of ornamental planting and trees will feature within a high-quality public realm with public lighting, street-furniture and bicycle parking. Seating areas will afford opportunities to sit, look and experience the sea.Building on the successful community consultations held to date, the council actively encourages feedback and comment on the proposed Bremore Regional Park Development during the submission period of 16th March to 30th April as detailed in the attached part 8 planning application available through the Council’s website.

It is 40 years since Balbriggan & District Historical Society was founded and here is a snap-shot from our archives 2016 Commemoration.The Society’s flagship event for 2016 was “Éirí Amach Na Cásca – Is Cuimhin Linn” our full day History Seminar in May. The seminar was opened by Mayor of Fingal Cllr David O’Connor and concluded with readings of Proclama-tion by local Secondary School students. The seminar featured 5 talks: Bairbre Curtis “Fingal in 1916”, Liz Darcy “Conserving an original 1916 Proclamation”, Jimmy Wren “The 1916 GPO Garrison and the connection with the OTooles G.A.A. Club”, Sean Collins “Observing from afar The Easter Rising Louth and Meath” and Micheál MacMathúna “Sinéad Ni Fhlannagáin (Bean De Valera) Daughter of Balbriggan and 1916” The last talk was timely providing context for Commemorative Plaque honouring Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin De Valera which was about to be unveiled in the town. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed the excellent talks on both the local and national experience in 1916, and left with lots of new information and an appetite to learn more about this facinating period in our history.

The Society was also centrally involved in the Balbriggan 1916 Commemorative Committee which organised, among other activities, the erection of a Commemorative Plaque honouring Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin De Valera. This Plaque was unveiled as part of a Commemorative day which included a Mass and Parade featuring the Fingal Old IRA, locals scouts and guides and the local community. May McKeon performed the duty of MC on the day, Gráinne Maguire read the Proclamation, and speakers included Mayor of Fingal Cllr David O’Connor, Mícheál MacMahúna, and Éamon Ó Cuív TD, grandson of Sinéad and the Plaque was un-veiled by Nora Ní Chuív her granddaughter. It was a memorable and important day for Bal-briggan and it was great to see so many of the DeValera and Flanagan family members there who were delighted to share with us their personal memories of Balbriggan. The event was attended by a large enthusiastic crowd and the Plaque will be a lasting physical reminder of the occasion.

BHS pic 2 WEB OPTIMISED

The Safe Balbriggan Pillar Group, which was ratified recently by the Balbriggan Leadership Group, held its first meeting and agreed a high-level work programme with three primary elements.These are: - Engaging & supporting our young people, - Fostering community integration and Creating safer public spaces. Representatives from the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána, Foróige and Fingal County Council took part in the inaugural meeting which had a workshop format. They discussed the issues underpinning each of the three work themes and explored the challenges facing Balbriggan as the youngest and most diverse town in Ireland. These challenges include universal access to services, resourcing, and physical improvements to public spaces to improve community safety.The Pillar Group also examined opportunities to address these issues, selected areas for collaboration to deliver on objectives, and identified other key stakeholders, in the town and beyond, to be consulted as their work progresses. The range of existing and planned activities in Balbriggan by various agencies, such as An Garda Siochána, Foróige and Fingal County Council, was also discussed.The chairman of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar, Michael O’Sullivan, said: “It was a very productive meeting with a wide range of views and thoughts expressed during it. The importance of inclusivity and representation was very evident, as was the need for actions aimed at building trust, strengthening integration and improving community relations. We discussed the three High Level Objectives in detail and determined what needs to happen for each of these objectives to be achieved. We have identified the various agencies who will be responsible for the delivery of the actions that underpin the High Level Objectives and will now start working with those agencies to develop an Action Plan and agree the timescales required to deliver them.”

Fingal County Council has welcomed a recent announcement by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, that €25.4m has been awarded under the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF) for projects associated with the rejuvenation of Balbriggan. The funding will help realise eight projects under the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan by 2027. The overall cost of the projects is anticipated to be €33.9m with Fingal County Council providing €8.5m to complete the planned public realm improvements.The eight projects are: Quay Street,Harbour, 2/4 Dublin Street,Bridge Street Railway Street,Millpond Park,Promenade & Coastal Improvements,Castle to Castle Cycleway.Professor Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Balbriggan Leadership Group, said: “On behalf of the Balbriggan Leadership Group, I welcome this announcement wholeheartedly. ” With funding now secured, Fingal County Council plans to deliver the eight projects in phases. The first phase, which is scheduled for completion by 2023, will involve the reimaging of the public realm at Quay Street, the upgrading of the Harbour area and the development of Artists’ Studios and a Digital Innovation/Maker Space at 2/4 Dublin Street. The development of Bremore Regional Park, the Fingal Coastal Way and Bridge Street is expected to be finished by 2026. These projects will involve improvements to the promenade and coastal areas as well as a cycleway between Bremore Castle and Ardgillan Castle which will form part of the Fingal Coastal Way. It also includes the redevelopment of buildings on Bridge Street which have recently been acquired by the Council.The final phase will be completed by 2027 and will see the rejuvenation of Railway Street and Millpond Park. This will be a key part of the rejuvenation plan focusing on the town’s urban core and opening up its green corridor, the River Bracken, through Millpond Park.Fingal County Council is now progressing to the procurement of design teams for the public realm improvement projects. They will prepare plans for the redevelopment of the buildings and public realm areas for public consultation before construction commences.

The youth service is now running an employability Programme every Wednesday and Thursday for young people who are not in education, training or employment.

The aim of the programme is to increase young people’s employability, enhance their acquisition of employability skills and aid their preparedness and progression to employment, education or training through engagement with youth work programmes delivered by the voluntary youth work sector.The programme give young people the opportunity to explore different careers, develop their own personal goals, develop a plan for finding suitable education training or employment. Young people will develop their CV and interview skills, prepare for their driver theory test while also gaining an understanding of road safety through the RSA Wrecked programme. Young people will also develop skills to assist them in the workforce such as improved communication and leadership skills, problem solving, team work. Young people will also learn about entrepreneurship and how to develop their own business. For more information or to express your interest in the programme please call Aine on 086-7710790 or email aine.mcguinness@foroige.ie

At time of going to press, we have just entered another further period of lockdown, with Level 5 restrictions. Balbriggan Meals on Wheels will with the help of the local people and organisations, continue to provide their service and deliver meals to the most vulnerable within our community. Since the start of the pandemic, Balbriggan Meals on Wheels has managed to operate through the help of volunteers and the generosity of those who have made monetary and food donations.If you are in a position to help, donations of dried food goods and hygiene products can be dropped to Balbriggan Meals on Wheels, 14 Hampton Street, Balbriggan. Monetary donations can be made via Balbriggan Meals on Wheels Facebook page. Balbriggan Meals on Wheels can be contacted at Tel: 01 8416743 In the meantime, please stay safe, follow the guidelines and we look forward to a brighter time as the year progresses.

Fine Gael Councillor Tom O’Leary has called for the Council to prioritise roads, housing, jobs and broadband to facilitate Fingals post-Covid recovery.He has called for major investment in Fingals 4 Harbours and Deepwater Port & Businesss Park North of Balbriggan.As part of the National Development Plan review, has stressed the need to continue investment in infrastructure, housing, connectivity and employment, to help with the post-Covid recovery.The National Development Plan (NDP) which will oversee Fingals development for future years and generations is currently being reviewed. Speaking about the review of the National Development Plan (NDP) review, Cllr Tom O’Leary said: “The review of the NDP is an opportunity to strengthen the bottom-up approach which has been the hallmark of the Project Ireland 2040 Plan.Regional development and enhanced regional connectivity must remain at the centre of the National Development Plan, which, through Project Ireland 2040, is Fingal’s roadmap to a sustainable and prosperous future.If anything, the review is a chance to reaffirm our commitment to the NDP and underscore the investment in public infrastructure Fine Gael believes should be at least 4.4% of gross national income each year for at least the next decade.In Fingal , we’re already seeing the value of the NDP through, for example, the National Broadband Plan, a pivotal plan, driven by Fine Gael, to ensure connectivity, remote working and access to services regardless of location.

Work due to Start in Skerries area connecting 2183 premises to 500MBps High Speed Broadband.Because of the NDP, our communities in Fingal are also benefiting from transformative projects like Balbriggan where a €30 million investment plan is underway, Swords where major investments in facilities like the upgrade of Swords Castle and a new Theatre and cultural Centre at North Street Swords are planned .These key investments in Fingals Community have been made possible through the four funds of Project Ireland 2040, including the urban and rural regeneration funds.” He said “These funds must be protected and strengthened while simultaneously enhancing the bottom up approach by reinforcing the role of local authorities and local public representatives in the process.The NDP also includes key infrastructure projects like upgrade and new access road infrastructure at Dublin Airport, The Long awaited Metro Service to Dublin and Dublin airport a key connectivity project . that are crucial for the sustainable development, quality of life and thousands of new jobs in Fingal. These projects must not be impacted, in any way, by the review of the NDP. That new Funding be provided to design and implement a plan to maximise the potential of Fingal Harbours in Fingal Co Council ownership , for Recreational use for local fingal residents and tourists and to assist the native fishing industry adapt and thrive and improve access for the public to these wonderful facilities in Skerries, Balbriggan , Loughshinny, Rush . Funding should be provided for a plan and implementation under the URDF Urban Regeneration Fund and other Government Funding sources. Key investment in a pontoon and new boardwalk access to Skerries Harbour. Major Plan for Balbriggan Harbour in the town center. That the proposed development of a Deepwater Port and industry park north of Balbriggan be facilitated with suitable linkage and upgrades to the road network and in Particular to the M1 and that the Government consider investing seed capital or infrastructure and collaborating in the proposed new Port to facilitate the creation of thousands of new sustainable jobs in the area of North Fingal Meath and Louth .“At a crucial time for our country, when investment in public infrastructure will help us overcome challenges like Covid-19, the NDP review must result in faster implementation of the plans and policies that are central to the future of Fingal and the country,” added Cllr Tom O’Leary.

O Leary 3 WEB OPTIMISED

Runners LOVE running and we’re lucky we’ve chosen an exercise that can be done regardless of weather, the season or the lockdown. However, runners love running TOGETHER and of course this couldn’t have happened during most of the lockdown. So, with the help of social media – primarily our Facebook group page we were able to keep in touch with each other and many people have found innovate ways of running together virtually. Roadrunners Lee and Karen Maritz came up with a “Tag Marathon” whereby Roadrunners formed teams (with novel Disney names) of 8 who were to run 5.3km each and virtually tag the next group member and collectively (but separately) run a marathon. Each team tallied up their collective time to see which one ran the best marathon time. This ignited plenty of excitement on social media with lots of banter and photos online – to the point that there have been 4 “Tag Marathon” events over the 4 lockdowns. We have all really missed our Saturday parkrun up in Ardgillan so some regular parkrunners (Tom Reilly and Nicola ) devised a novel “Parkrace” whereby runners could do the parkrun route on a Saturday on their own schedule (socially distanced) and send in their time to these new “Parkrace” organisers. So still enjoying the buzz of doing a parkrun whilst adhering to COVID guidelines. We are looking forward to getting back together for scheduled runs in the near future – but keeping fit in the meantime.

‘Remember us’ have been very busy since we started back in middle of January. For our Teen/adult members we are doing Zoom 4 nights per week for all to join in Zoom activities organized up until St Patrick’s day include the following.Exercise, dance , magic show, cookery, Body Percussion, play your cards right, creative arts, disco, homemade bird feeder class, bakery, pebble art, yoga, movie night, Ceili dancing sessions.In addition to all that we also run one to one and small group sessions for our younger age group twice a week.We also send a Webtext to all our members and their families once a week to see how they are getting on and to say we are at the end of the phone if they would like to talk etc. We have been posting on our Facebook page everyday since we broke up last March. Each week we have a Facebook theme where our members send in a photo or a video to us.Current themes are Design their own Valentines card and the Jerusalem family dance challenge.Also my son Paul and myself have been making a fun video every Friday since last March to go up on Facebook. We dress up and act a little silly. Anything to give our members and their families a laugh.Currently we have given our families a challenge to fundraise for Remember us. Some are doing walking, some are doing a weight loss challenge, others are baking etc. I would like to thank them most sincerely for fundraising for us.We have a fundraising page in Idonate.ie where people have the choice to set up a fundraiser themselves or just make a donation. We would be really grateful if members of the public would make a donation. It doesn’t matter how big or small the donation is it all adds up at the end of the day and we are really appreciate of it.

The Balbriggan Leadership Group ratified the establishment of a Safe Balbriggan Pillar at its quarterly meeting recently. This brings to five the number of pillars that the Leadership Group is responsible for with Safe Balbriggan being added to Local Economy & Enterprise, Community Affairs & Integration, Employment, Education & Training and Public Realm & Placemaking. At the meeting retired Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan was appointed as the Chair of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar and the Leadership Group agreed terms of reference, membership and works programme for the new Pillar. Former Assistant Commissioner O’Sullivan retired from An Garda Síochána in March 2020 after a 39-year career serving in a wide variety of roles in Ireland, the European Union and internationally. He has held a number of key positions in An Garda Síochána, most recently as the Assistant Commissioner in charge of national security and intelligence. He remains a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and, in July 2020, he was appointed by Government, for a four-year term, as one of the lay person nominees to the Judicial Council of Ireland’s Sentencing and Guidelines Committee. Professor Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Balbriggan Leadership Group, said: “The establishment of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar is an important step forward for the Leadership Group as it is directly in response to community feedback seeking investment in this sphere. I would like to thank the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and Fingal County Council for the work they have done since last October to establish a framework for this new Pillar. They have also sourced an excellent leader for the Pillar in former Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan and his huge experience from 39 years as a police officer working in Ireland and abroad will be of tremendous benefit to Balbriggan as we seek to enhance community positivity and well being through multi-agency collaboration and community policing initiatives.” Michael O’Sullivan, Chair of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chair of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar and become a member of the Balbriggan Leadership Group. We have put together a strong team to oversee the Safe Balbriggan Pillar and have a comprehensive programme of works to deliver.” In addition to former Assistant Commissioner O’Sullivan, the membership of the Safe Balbriggan Pillar will also include representatives from Department of Justice, Department of Children & Youth Affairs, An Garda Síochána and Fingal County Council as well as Public Sector, Education Sector and Community Sector representatives and a member of the Leadership Group.