18 Jul 2008

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, is pursuing his commitment to devolving power to local communities…  by further reducing what little power County and City Councillors currently have. That’s right. The Minister has drawn up amendments to the planning legislation which will limit Councillors’ abilities to approve development plans which are adjudged (I don’t yet know how this is to be decided) not to comply with the terms of the National Spatial Strategy. Other changes to the legislation will make approval of retentions more difficult obtain. If I get any more details I’ll post them.

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I read in the Independent that Lidl are considering taking a lease on the former Habitat store on St. Stephen’s Green near the top of Dublin’s Grafton Street. This, after the toney Abercrombie + Fitch decided the area wasn’t shmancy enough for their line of duds.

Anyway, the Indo says that An Taisce are lining themselves up to do what they can to block Lidl’s arrival.

‘An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland that deals with sensitive planning issues, are opposed to Lidl leasing the illustrious property. An Taisce spokesman Kevin Duff said upmarket retailers, rather than discount supermarkets, were required to make the street more attractive.

"The aim of the conservation area initiative for Grafton Street was to improve the tone of the area with an increased number of so-called 'higher-order' shops," Mr Duff said. "If Lidl leases the building in question, it will be a step back from whatever progress they had made."

Now, this kind of thing makes me feel real uncomfortable. Architectural Area designation is intended to protect the architectural fabric and overall character of parts of town - no matter what economic demographic they are located in - which have exceptional architectural qualitiy. To abuse the conservation legislation simply to attract 'upmarket' retailers and 'higher-order'' shops is perverse.  

I suppose we can take it now that if ‘higher-order’ is the technical definition for shops which are posh, exclusive and unwelcoming of North Siders, it's safe to presume that the other technical term An Taisce are fond of - 'unsustainable' - simply means houses designed not to their taste. 

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Did Communications Minister Noel Dempsey more than hint yesterday that while the Government remains fully committed to the completion of the Gort by-pass, the project may be about to slip down it's list of NDP priorities in these money scarce times? What does this mean for the various repaving/landscaping initiatives which some of you – in heated emails to me after the post I ran on Gort about a week ago – said were due to be carried out when the by pass was complete? 

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Do you remember that whole thing where I couldn’t buy a VW Eos because Tadgh had bossed Mike and Mike had bossed me into not buying it because Mike said that Tadgh said it was a bit 'girly' even though I had never even met Tadgh?

Well, I went ahead and bought the Eos. It took a while, but Mike is over it now and we’re more or less back to the way things were. Nevertheless, we decided to take our time before Mike finally got around to introducing me to Tadgh. 

Well, the big intro happened yesterday. And I have to say Tadgh is a very sound lad and only a tiny bit intimidating. As it happens, (I’m being serious about this) he’s building a totally carbon zero, eco friendly, passive, low energy, locally sourced, double A rated, triple glazed, hemp and goats-hair house for himself on a very nice site in the country. So the three of us drove down to see it yesterday… in Tadgh’s double turbo, G(-) rated, 650 bhp, 48 valve Golf GT TDI DSG. I do declare, he could probably heat his house for all eternity for the carbon we consumed going to visit it. (Thankfully, Tadgh is an excellent driver because, at the speed we were travelling, anyone less skilled would have spun us into oblivion. But the experience did prove useful in confirming something I’ve always been curious about: yes, it is possible to have a conversation in a car when you’re travelling faster than the speed of sound.)    

Friday, 18 July 2008 15:07:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Show off..

Wait for the first scratch... hehe.
Friday, 18 July 2008 15:33:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You should see the state of it, Paul. I only have it two months and my wife says it looks like something you'd raise chickens in.
Garry
Tuesday, 22 July 2008 17:42:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
LOOKS LIKE A HAIR DRESSER'S CAR?
Mickey
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 18:38:54 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Mickey, my one is black - does that help?
Garry
Friday, 25 July 2008 14:39:52 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Nope! I bet that there is an elbow indentation on the drivers door already. Did you get the bucket seats installed as if you didn't people wouldn't believe that you own the hair salon that paid for the car.
Mickey
Friday, 25 July 2008 17:57:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Mickey - jeez, this is worse abuse than I was getting from Tadgh and Mike! And, no, I didn't get the bucket seats installed. I was going for the discrete look.

(Mark - my beloved hairdresser, friend and regular Dispatch reader - cover your eyes and ears. If Mickey knew you like I know you, he'd realise that hairdressers are people too.)
Garry
Sunday, 27 July 2008 11:45:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Fear not, clarity has arrived in the form of:

Stick Shift - the Gay Car Blog ("You may not be gay, but your car is")

The definition of a Gay Car is that it's "quirkier, more enigmatic, or more fiercely accessorized than the average vehicle. (It also likes to sleep with other Gay Cars.)"...so Garry, is your Eos enegmatic and/or quirky and is it sneaking off in the middle of the night for secret Eos rendezvous?

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/style/2008/07/introducing-stick-shift-the-gay-car-blog.html

Monday, 28 July 2008 08:44:13 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I never said that it was gay! The car just needs to grow some shoulders or something.

Also...you defended yourself on the bucket seats but what about the elbow indentation on the door. Now that the weather has improved for 15 minutes, there must be some truth that the doors acts as an elbow rest while out cruising.

Are the 'cops' giving you hassle now that your verging on the boy racer look.....or is it some form of 'men-o-Porsche'?!!
Mickey
Monday, 28 July 2008 10:15:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Men-o-Porche! That's excellent...

Mickey, I don't get the 'elbow indentation in the door' thing - it does have some sort of elbow rest, but I don't think it's any different from what you find in other cars. And Dave, it's totally unaccessorised - just your basic Golf with a fancy roof. Nor is it quirky. And I don't think you couild reasonably call it enigmatic really. In fact, when Mike (my car boss) saw it for the first time, he said he thought it matched my character very well (oops, did I just give something away?)

Seriously, lads, I'm fairly certain the Eos is straight - it spent the whole weekend on the sofa watching sport (any sport) and left the lid up in the toilet. Besides, I found the secret stash of Hustler magazines it keeps hidden under the driver's seat. (oops again)
Garry
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:33:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Did you ever see (typically) a guy driving with their elbow out the window trying to look cool?....if done often enough he just might form an indentation in the door....wear and tear etc......do you need a picture?
Mickey
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:44:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
No Mickey, you're barking up the wrong tree here. Lads, I'm beginning to get the vibe here that you've never actually seen an Eos? The whole thing about it is that - when not in silver - it's neither hairdresser nor boy racer. Metrosexual - that's the word I was looking for earlier.
Garry
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