By By Cormac Byrne, Stephen Matthews, Kayleigh Mordaunt and Aisling O’Gorman (PJ6 – Advanced Certificate in Journalism for the Digital Age)
DFEi politics and journalism students recently visited Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council chamber where they met Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ossian Smyth.
Students from AC5 and PJ6 gained first-hand experience of the workings of the local council, from the allocation of the annual council budget (€183m for the current year) to how council meetings are conducted.
During a question and answer session the Cathaoirleach said the biggest challenge facing Dún Laoghaire at present is housing. He highlighted how expensive buying and renting houses have become in the area in recent years. He also mentioned that the council has recently sent a delegation to China to look at new ideas for building affordable housing.
He was asked what plans are underway for the development of Dún Laoghaire Harbour. He said that since last October the council has been working on plans to redevelop the harbour, including ideas for a new cruise service to the Isle of Man, Liverpool and France. Overall, it is expected the development of the harbour will generate new jobs for the area.
The tour concluded with an informal meeting with the Cathaoirleach during which he mentioned that his term of office will conclude in May 2019 when there will be local government elections. These will take place on the same day as the European Parliament elections.