Dún Laoghaire pedestrianisation plan could have ‘catastrophic’ impact on service delivery, says HSE

Record number of participants in council’s public consultation on Living Streets plan, with 54% backing initiative

The Health Service Executive has said plans to reroute traffic and pedestrianise parts of Dún Laoghaire could be “catastrophic” for the delivery of its services to clients.

A period of public consultation on the controversial Living Streets plan for the south Co Dublin town has closed, with 54 per cent of respondents saying they support the scheme. Some 35 per cent were opposed and a further 10 per cent said they would back it if certain changes were made.

The public consultation garnered some 7,057 submissions, the highest number ever received by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in such a process. The submissions were not individually published by the local authority. Local councillors were due to be presented the findings on Thursday evening.

The proposed scheme would involve the pedestrianisation of parts of George’s Street Lower, Sussex Street and Convent Road and improvements for walkers, cyclists and “strollers”. It would also make sections of Tivoli Road one way, change traffic flows on the seafront, reroute buses and restrict delivery hours for town centre shops.


The council has said the plan “aims to make our local streets safer and greener, our communities more connected, and to keep our economy vibrant”.

In a submission to the council, released under the Freedom of Information Act, the HSE said it “cannot understate how catastrophic” the changes would be for the delivery of its services such as primary care, immunisation, physiotherapy and occupational therapy from its premises on Tivoli Road.

It said many clients who access its services there “are sick, disabled, elderly, vulnerable children and adults”. The HSE said it was “not aware of any prior consultation” by the council with it on the plan which was surprising given it was “a major stakeholder” in the Dún Laoghaire area.

Joe Kennedy, an architect with a practice in the town, said access to doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies at the eastern end of George’s Street would be severely impeded by restricted parking at Clarinda Park.

He said Upper George’s Street and Clarinda Park North are largely made up of businesses, healthcare and retail operations and that people working in these often have to drive to work and can need “quick access to a car during the day”. He said displacing traffic from Tivoli Road to the outer routes would “inevitably lead to congestion”.

The Dún Laoghaire Business Association told The Irish Times that “most businesses back the Living Streets Project” and “the town needs imaginative investment and [a] huge effort by the people who care”.

Its secretary, Niall Lawlor, said traffic congestion was negatively affecting Dún Laoghaire and “the status quo strategy is not working and has not worked for the past 20 years”. The way to get rid of vacancy and dereliction “is more people, not more cars”, it said.

Fine Gael Cllr Lorraine Hall said it was time to stop viewing the plan as “an attack on car travel and start planning for better, less congested communities while adopting policies to address the climate crisis”.

Her party colleague Cllr Maurice Dockrell said he was supportive of the majority of the plans but it has some serious flaws that need to be addressed, particularly its impact on older people.

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Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist