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Community on boundary edge feeling isolated

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Newsagent Aidan Roche. Photo: Caroline Crawford

Newsagent Aidan Roche. Photo: Caroline Crawford

Newsagent Aidan Roche. Photo: Caroline Crawford

RIVER Valley in Swords is an isolated community in the sprawling Dublin West constituency.

The large estate was moved from its natural Dublin North home back in 2007.

With well over 90pc of Dublin West constituents living in the Dublin 15 area, the remaining 10pc in the Swords area have long felt overlooked.

For local community groups and businesses in the area, that isolation is a huge concern.

A lack of services, including vital garda manpower and school places, are among the main concerns for locals.

Paul Duignam, who works in the River Valley Community Centre, said the move to a new constituency had left the community with representatives who weren’t familiar with their problems.

“A lot of the politicians who were in North Dublin would have been very familiar with the problems here because they lived in the area,” he said.

“When this was transferred to Blanchardstown, which people see as way over there, we became the tail end of the constituency and didn’t get the help we needed.”

STRUGGLING

Six years on, and the area is still struggling to cope with a lack of resources.

“The question we want answered is why is there a shortage of services that we vitally need in an area that has the highest compliance rate of paying the property tax?

“It’s a huge population, but we don’t have enough garda resources,” Mr Duignam said.

“The council services themselves are not available in the area. Most of the work done locally is being done by the tidy towns group.

“There are some improvements being made, but the reality is until we have local representation we’re not going to get what we need.”

Another major concern is a lack of school places for the growing community.

“There are not enough places. People who already have kids in the local schools are now having to look elsewhere for their other children,” Mr Duignam said.

“We were talking to one guy who has two kids in a local school and now has to send his third child to Donaghmeade because he’s 75th on the list for the local school.”

George Lynch, of the River Valley Revival Group for seniors, said older residents are worried about crime in the area.

Close to 50 houses have been burgled in the past seven months, according to locals.

“There have been a lot of houses burgled and nobody seems to be caught for these things. It’s a real concern for older people living on their own,” he said.

When Aidan Roche, owner of Valley Newsagents, moved into the area 20 years ago, Swords was the fastest-growing satellite towns in Europe.

Since the area was moved into a new constituency, he feels services have been withdrawn.

“In 2007 the whole area changed, they literally just split it down the middle. We had felt very well serviced originally in the sense that we identified with people locally,” he said..

stifLed

“What has happened essentially is the council have withdrawn services gradually. We used to get some service now we don’t get anything.”

Mr Roche added that a serious issue for small businesses was the ever-changing employment laws.

“We used to be able to give employment to local people. Now the employment legislation is so tight that really we’re not able to.

“We’re stifled by legislation,” he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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