‘Seas’ the Day, Minister O’Brien – Pass the Dublin Bay Bill!
24 April 2023
As the summer season approaches and Dubliners begin to head to the coast for a swim, Labour Leader and TD for Dublin Bay South Ivana Bacik TD has called on the Minister for Housing to ‘seas the day’ and pass her Bill to protect Dublin Bay.
Deputy Bacik said:
“Dublin Bay is one of the greatest resources our city has. It is the view that welcomes us home when flying into Dublin Airport. It is where many of us learned to swim, sail or paddle. It is where many of us enjoyed our first 99 ice-cream. It is the location for the opening chapter of Dublin’s great novel, Ulysses. All Dubliners have strong connections to our coastline.
“However, for too long, Dublin Bay has been neglected by Government policy. Water quality is poor, swimming is often prohibited because of pollution concerns, and the biodiversity of the Bay is under threat.
"There are serious concerns about wastewater discharges from the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant and the potential damage that dredging of the port is causing to the ecosystem.
"Today, in my colleague Aodhán Ó Ríordáin’s constituency of Dublin Bay North, the “Dollymount Dames” swim group will hold a protest at the North Bull Island to take a stand against contamination of swimming waters by E Coli and other dangerous pollutants.
"There is a strong public appetite for the Government to better protect the Bay. It comes up regularly on the doors in my constituency in Dublin Bay South, and I know the same is true of other coastal constituencies. We need a joined-up approach to the future protection and enhancement of Dublin Bay.
“My bill – the Dublin Bay Bill – provides for the establishment of a new statutory authority to take on responsibility for co-ordinating the work of the many agencies and bodies currently engaged in planning and development of the Bay Area. Environmental protection of the coastline will be a priority for the new Authority. As will protecting the safety of swimmers, such as by extending UV disinfection treatment year-round, rather than just from June to September.
"It will also have a mandate to improve access and facilities around Dublin Bay. For decades, we’ve had to endure the crumbling dereliction of the old Sandymount and Blackrock baths along our coast. These were once hubs of community activity, hosting swimming contests, water polo matches, and featuring bandstands and music. That is the type of public use that we need to see back at Dublin Bay, and it is something which requires a centralised vision. They are projects, not just for one local authority, but for the whole of Dublin. A new Authority with statutory powers could be transformative in improving access, including for disabled people and older people, to deliver new recreational facilities for all of Dublin.
“I have been very grateful for the support the bill has received from swimmers, environmentalists, and activist groups, such as SOS Dublin Bay. Indeed, during the Dáil debate on 8th December, there was a very positive cross party response to the bill, including from the Minister for Housing, who has overall responsibility for the Bay Area.
"The bill passed second stage, with Minister O’Brien agreeing to work with us in Labour to realise the remarkable potential of Dublin Bay. I am calling now for Minister O’Brien to seize the day – or seas the day – and work with me to pass the Bill by the end of this year. Let us act now to ensure that the protection of Dublin Bay is a priority, not an afterthought.”