5 May 2007

Nevertheless, thanks for all the messages of support (AND offers of money I have to mention) after the last Dispatch. It was very encouraging and convinced me even more that there is a high level of dissatisfaction out there with the way the planning system is working and it wouldn’t take very much to push it to the top of an election agenda.  I can’t print all the messages, but I particularly want to thank Paul Lee for this:

'...I'm an architect in Cork and I am helping John McCarthy independent to get elected on health issues (especially mental health). (www.votejohnmccarthy.com)

I think it would be great if you went for election. This is a national issue so you would get a lot of support nationwide. I would certainly like to do something to help...'

Paul, I’m so grateful for your offer, but no one’s candidacy for this election is more important than John McCarthy’s. I’ve heard him speak with great conviction on the radio about the lack of interest and support in mental health issues - and this in a country which finds 450 suicides a year somehow acceptable. If there’s anything I can do to help John in his efforts let me know. Meanwhile, I want the rest of you to check out John’s website.  

I was very flattered to receive this message from Fionnuala Rogerson:

'...How about running a planning dispatch in a national daily instead of running for election?? It may have a lot more impact.....and would save the ozone layer not having you travel too often to Dublin. l Suggest you send a few issues, or every issue, to some friendly editors. An NUJ card might be a help. We could all club together to buy you one. Let me know if we can be of help...'

As a matter of fact, Fionnuala, from what I can make out the Dispatch is ‘hit’ by, if not the editors, then some senior correspondents in the press. As a matter of fact, I was asked some time back by one of these dailies to submit material for publication.  Nothing came of it. But since then I’ve been contacted by another publication who seem a little more interested. 

When it comes to writing about planning, Fionnuala, I think the problem is that the mainstream media are only really interested in publishing predictable material of the

a) one-off rural houses in Achill are causing global warming or else

b) motorways mean progress

type. If, like me, you don’t fall into either of these categories but are instead calling for nothing less than total reform of planning legislation to bring it into line with modern, western democracies, then the national newspapers don’t really want to know.

I’ll give you an example: in conversations with one media outlet (in the broadest sense of the term) I was bluntly asked where I stood on ‘the An Taisce question’. That’s all they wanted to know.

Before I move on, thanks for the support from ‘people in the know’ on the situation I wrote about in the last Dispatch regarding the appeal to An Bord Planala surprisingly submitted by the Minister’s office on a project I happened to be involved in. No developments on that front yet. 

And also a very interesting submission from Tom Byrne which, because this week’s Dispatch is already a little wordy, I’ll include in the next one.

This weeks’ treats are at the end of the Limerick section, so you have to read it first or you won’t get any.

Comments are closed.