Deputy Harris welcomes Wicklow County Council’s sensible to ensure La Touche Hotel cannot be demolished
Posted April 17th, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD Simon Harris has welcomed the decision by Wicklow County Councilto put in place a specific reference to the protection of the La Touche Hotel in the new area of architectural conversation for that locality.
Speaking after the decision of Wicklow County Council on this matter, Deputy Harris said, “My priority at all times for the La Touche was to ensure that the building could not be demolished. This building is of significant historical value in our town. It is a landmark building and any redevelopment of the site needs to take place with the externals of the La Touche intact.”
“I am pleased that this is now the case and I want to commend all those involved in ensuring this outcome – most particularly the very effective Facebook page which was set up to lobby and campaign to protect the La Touche. I made my views on this very clear in my submission to the Council during the consultation period for the new Local Area Plan for Greystones-Delgany and Kilcoole,” stated Deputy Harris.
“Residents can be assured of my ongoing support on this matter.”
Posted March 21st, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris joined with the Mayor of Greystones, the Chairperson of Wicklow Tourism and Canadian-Irish, Greystones resident, Lynne Loftus in welcoming students from Miramichi in Canada to Greystones today (Thursday).
These Canadian students are rugby players and will be playing rugby against St David’s Secondary School in Greystones Rugby Club.
Speaking about this visit, Deputy Harris said, “It was great to welcome this Canadian delegation to Greystones. Canada and Ireland have strong links and it is encouraging to see a Canadian delegation visit County Wicklow as part of The Gathering tourist initiative.”
“I had a good conversation with the New Brunswick province tourism director during this visit and asked him to promote our county to Canadians considering a trip to Europe. The new tourist figures showing a good increase in visitors is an encouraging sign,” stated Deputy Harris.
“I look forward to more Gathering events throughout our county during this year and the economic and tourism benefit that these will bring to our local economy,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted March 20th, 2013
Greystones First Responders have been in existence for the past eight years. We are a voluntary organisation working hand in hand with the National Ambulance Service.
We respond to 999 (112) calls in our immediate area that relate to cardiac arrest, heart attack, chest pain, stroke, collapse cases and breathing difficulties. Because each of the Responders live locally, we can arrive to the patient within a few minutes, we can then provide emergency medical care for these type of incidents whilst waiting on the arrival of an ambulance. The early arrival of a First Responder to a callout can be crucial and can mean the difference between life and death, or result in a quality of life greater than might otherwise have occurred in the event of a delay of the ambulance arriving. We carry an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and can administer Aspirin and oxygen therapy if necessary. Each volunteer is also trained in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). We can also provide support and reassurance to patients and their families, often when they are at their most vulnerable.
We were initially trained and funded by the HSE, but we now fund ourselves through collection days, corporate funding and donations.
We meet once a month to train and practise our skills, this normally takes about an hour.
We are now looking for volunteers to join our group, If you would like to join and become a part of this vital service please send an Email to
email@example.com or phone the Coordinator Dean McCarthy 086 – 375 – 0799 for further details
Training will take place in Laragh Co. Wicklow on Saturday and Sunday 23rd and 24th March 2013. The sessions run approx. from 9am to 4pm each day.
Greystones First Responders Group will cover the cost of training but unfortunately not expenses. However, lunch will be provided on each day of training.
There are some requirements that are needed before joining the group
You must be over 18 years old
A full, clean Driving License
You must have access to a car and be fully insured to drive
We require that all of the members of our group have Garda clearance
You are willing to be “on call” for at least 4 hours per week for at least a year
You must live within the Greystones area
Posted February 11th, 2013
The Planning Section
Wicklow County Council
6th January 2013
Re: The La Touche Hotel, Greystones- Submission to the Draft Local Area Plan for Greystones-Delgany and Kilcoole 2013-2019
Dear Wicklow County Council,
I wish to make a submission in relation to the need to protect the La Touche Hotel structure in Greystones in the context of the Council’s preparation of a new Local Area Plan 2013-2019 for Greystones-Delgany and Kilcoole.
Whilst there are many positives in the overall Draft Local Area Plan, I am aghast at proposals to remove the protected structure from the external of the La Touche Hotel, Greystones.
The La Touche Hotel is a landmark building. It is one of the first buildings you see in the distance as you enter Greystones coming down Windgates Hill. It represents so many memories for all residents in the town. It is a beautiful building and has a rich history. It has a link with so many elements of our community. It is the hotel in which Michael Collins stayed the night before he went to Britain to negotiate for our country.
I am a realist and I know the state of disrepair the building is now in. However, I see no reason why the external structures of the building cannot remain protected. It is unlikely in the current economic climate that any development will take place on the site for some time. Removing the protected status on the building will just ensure that it remains idle but when the economy improves a developer could move in and the external elements of this building would not be protected. This cannot be allowed to happen.
I have heard much commentary about plans to replace the protected structure status with an ACA order. However, I am not confident that this could ensure that the entire external structure of the La Touche Hotel would be protected. Furthermore, if this would be the case, then why would one remove the protected status structure in the first place?
The Draft Local Area Plan quite correctly highlights that for the plan to succeed their needs to be “buy-in” from key stakeholders. The community is obviously the most important stakeholder and from my discussions with Greystones residents there is no buy-in from them to see this historic structure demolished in any way.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter and I strongly urge the Council to leave the protected structure status in place.
Simon Harris T
Harris secures Dail update from Education Minister on primary school places for Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole residents
Posted January 29th, 2013
Local Fine Gael TD informed of plans for school extensions & significantly more additional classrooms in local schools
TD also calls for Department to look at need for primary school in Charlesland and working with patron bodies to revise catchment areas for local primary schools
Greystones resident and Government TD, Deputy Simon Harris secured a special debate in the Dáil this evening (Tuesday) on the need to increase the number of primary school places in Greystones, Delgany and Kilcoole.
Deputy Harris had been pursuing this issue with a number of local parents of children of school going age in the community.
Speaking about news given to him by the Minister for Education during his special debate on local school places in Greystones and the environs, Deputy Harris said, “Greystones, Kilcoole and Delgany have significant population increases in recent years. I presented this information to the Minister for Education arising from the latest Census. It is absolutely essential that as a result of the ‘bulge’ in population of children of school-going age that the Department takes action to make sure there are adequate school places and school accommodation locally.”
“This evening, the Minister has informed me of the following:
· A new 16 classroom school is being provided for Greystones Educate Together N.S and this is currently at tender/planning permission stage. Subject to statutory approval, the indicative date for delivery of these classrooms is this September.
· Gaelscoil Na Clocha Liatha is currently an 8 classroom school and it will take over the 8 classroom building currently being occupied by Greystones Educate Together.
· This will see an additional 15 classrooms provided on this education campus between these two schools.
· Kilcoole Primary School is currently a 16 classroom facility. Extending this school by an additional 8 classrooms has been announced by the Government in the School Building Programme list. The process to appoint a design team for this project has commenced and it is expected to be delivered in the 2015/2016 building programme.
· The Department is currently working with management of Kilcoole Primary School to provide additional temporary accommodation in the interim.
· The other schools in the Greystones area have been approved funding for an additional 4 classrooms to be provided in the town to meet accommodation needs for September 2013,” stated Deputy Harris.
“Officials in the Department of Education are continuing to liaise with patron bodies to ensure increased provision of places as the need arises,” continued Deputy Harris.
“In my debate today in the Dáil today, I have asked the Minister to also undertake the following:
· Examine if it is possible to bring forward the date for the extension to Kilcoole National School.
· Ask his officials to work with patron bodies to revise and update the catchment areas of local schools to recognise the growth in the boundaries of Greystones and Delgany and the need for children living in these areas to be within the catchment area of local schools.
· Work with schools which have the space to consider land acquisition for future extensions.
· Continue to pursue the possibility of school in Charlesland (a school which in my view should have been delivered as a condition of planning permission for the Charlesland area),” said Deputy Harris.
“I am pleased with the progress being made in this area and the news that yet more school places are coming on stream in our community. I know this will be a help to many families in the locality. I will continue to work to ensure the ongoing betterment of education facilities in Greystones, Kilcoole and Delgany,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted January 28th, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has today confirmed with Wicklow County Council that a planning application, which if granted would have allowed for the destruction of the Old Mill in Greystones, has been withdrawn.
Speaking about this news Deputy Harris stated ‘I am pleased that the planning application to demolish the old mill structure in Greystones has been withdrawn. This application had caused significant concern in our community and I have worked with local residents to ensure that the concerns of the community were voiced clearly in the planning process.Development had already been approved at this site without any need to demolish this historical structure. It is vital that development and heritage co-exist in our town. In my view this application was one application too far, Said Deputy Harris.
‘Obviously planning applications can be resubmitted, so as a community we need to be vigilant. I stand ready to work with the community to oppose any efforts to demolish this structure.
‘Great credit must go to the “Save Greystones Mill Group” which ran a very active campaign on facebook and to the many residents who lodged objections with the county council.’ Concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted January 24th, 2013
Wicklow TD meets with Wicklow businesses involved in Irish craft, gifts, fashion and interiors at national showcase of Irish crafts in the RDS.
Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Simon Harris, has today (Wednesday) congratulated the 400 exhibitors taking part in the Ireland Creative Expo in the RDS this week. Deputy Harris was speaking after visiting the event where he met with a number of exhibitors.
“I had the pleasure of meeting with a number of Wicklow entrepreneurs who were showcasing the very best of Irish craft, gifts, fashion and interiors at the Ireland Creative Expo today, which is organised by the Craft Council of Ireland and promoted abroad by Enterprise Ireland. It was great to talk with the owners of Brook & Shoals from Greystones, Jenny Kelly Pottery from Kilbride, Fádo from Rathnew, Anna Nielson Prints from Ashford, Heli MG from Delgany, Cillían Johnston from Moneystown & Fleur Jewellery from Rathnew.
“Many people I spoke to reported strong trading, both at the Expo, here in Ireland, and abroad, which is very promising. They also found it very useful as a networking opportunity. It is very encouraging to hear that the export market for Irish products is so strong. This Government is focused on assisting Irish businesses in exporting their products to markets across the world and it is great to see Enterprise Ireland participating in this week’s Expo.
“Many of these Irish businesses were created during the economic difficulties and it is great to see them here this week producing Irish products for the export market. A number of Wicklow businesses that I spoke to told me of the challenges they have faced over the last number years in setting up their business during what has been a very difficult economic environment. They have weathered the storm and are looking forward to growing their business both at home and abroad.
“The craft sector in Ireland contributes over €500 million to the Irish economy every year and employs 5,700 people. I believe that there is a huge opportunity for us to continue to grow this sector, and, with the range of supports available from Enterprise Ireland to assist Irish businesses, more and more small business can enjoy success in exporting their products abroad.”
Harris calls for protection of historical buildings in Greystones – the La Touche Hotel & the Old Mill
Posted January 17th, 2013
Wicklow TD & Greystones resident calls on Council to put in place a heritage plan for the town
Wicklow Fine Gael TD and Greystones resident, Simon Harris has said that Wicklow County Council must stop and take stock of the heritage and historical buildings in Greystones and put in place a plan to ensure that the character and charm of the town is not damaged or downgraded building by building.
Deputy Harris was specifically referring to the La Touche Hotel and the old Mill structure in Greystones.
“The La Touche Hotel is a landmark building. It is one of the first buildings you see in the distance as you enter Greystones coming down Windgates Hill. It represents so many memories for all residents in the town. It is a beautiful building and has a rich history. It has a link with so many elements of our community. Even from a political point of view, it is the hotel in which Michael Collins stayed the night before he went to Britain to negotiate for our country.
“I am a realist and I know the state of disrepair the building is now in. However, I see no reason why the external structures of the building cannot remain protected. It is unlikely in the current economic climate that any development will take place on the site for some time. Removing the protected status on the building will just ensure that it remains idle but when the economy improves a developer could move in and demolish it. This cannot be allowed to happen. I would ask the County Council in consideration of the new Local Area Plan to ensure that whatever mechanism or status is needed is put in place to protect this building,” stated Deputy Harris.
“As residents will be aware, I have kept in regular contact with NAMA about the La Touche Hotel. They carried out some remedial works on the building last year – removing the ugly hoarding on the front side, repairing broken windows, making the site more safe, etc. NAMA has informed me that it is continuing to market the property. I hope that this will be successful in time and see no reason why the site cannot continue to be marketed – as is the case now – with the protection of the La Touche building intact,” continued Deputy Harris.
“With regard to the old Mill site on Mill Road, again this site is symbolic in our town. Three years ago, planning permission was received from the Council for some retail development on this site. At that stage, the permission was granted on the understanding that the old Mill structure would be maintained as part of any development. Now, there is a further application in to seek permission to demolish the old Mill. For me, this represents a step too far. Permission was granted for retail development in tandem with the protection of the old Mill. Enough is enough, in my view,” said Deputy Harris.
“I have lodged an objection to that planning application for the old Mill site which is available to view on my website at www.simonharris.ie. I will also be making a submission to the Local Area Plan making my views clear on the La Touche Hotel. In addition to this, I am calling on Wicklow County Council to take a step back and have a look at the heritage and history of Greystones and put in place a plan to protect and even enhance this. If this overview is not taken, I genuinely fear that the heritage and history of our beautiful town could be diminished and down-graded one building or one site at a time,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted January 16th, 2013
Below is a copy of the letter I sent to Wicklow County Council objecting to the demolition of the ‘Old Mill’.
The Planning Department
Wicklow County Council
16th January 2013
Re: Submission on Planning Application No. 126885 – Mill Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Dear Wicklow County Council Planning Department,
I wish to register my opposition to the recent planning application for the old Mill site in Greystones on the Mill Road (Planning App. No. 126885).
Planning permission has already been granted on a previous occasion for the development of a primary retail facility at this site. However, in this previous granting of permission, it was stated that the old, historic Mill must be retained as part of any development. This new planning application would see the destruction and demolition of this Mill.
It is essential that the Council consider the heritage impact of any such planning application. The old Mill is of significant historical value to the town. Housing estates and roads in the town are named after it. It symbolises how our town grew and is a recognisable feature of the town for many residents. It is absolutely vital that the Council seek the views of heritage experts such as their own heritage office and other agencies before any decision is made on this application.
Independent evaluation of the safety of the Mill structure
When the last planning application for development at this site was sought and obtained, concerns about the safety of the Mill structure were not voiced by planners or by the developer. We need to have an independent and thorough examination of the current safety of the structure of the Mill. It is not acceptable that we would simply be told in a new application that suddenly the structure is not safe and, therefore, must be demolished. I would respectfully ask that the Council conduct their own report on this matter and also consider any alternative expert opinions which will be submitted to them as part of the planning process.
Broad support for previous development applications at the site
It is important to note that the community in large numbers chose not to object to previous planning applications to develop this site because such applications planned to retain the Mill structure. It is most disappointing that now, after permission being given to develop the site, further permission is being sought to remove the historical structure from the site. There is no doubt that this will increase public cynicism about the planning process.
The need for an over-arching view of heritage and historical buildings in Greystones
It would greatly concern me that heritage issues such as an application like this one could result in serious damage to the heritage value of our town and the character of our town without having an over-arching heritage strategy or view. Between this planning application and the draft Local Area Plan, the people of Greystones could see the loss of two major heritage/historical structures in our town (the La Touche Hotel and the old Mill). I would call on the Council’s Planning Section and Heritage Office to put in place an over-arching plan for the protection of heritage sites in our town rather than the potential demolition of such sites, one by one.
Impact on wildlife
I have been informed that there is significant wildlife living in the Mill including nesting barn owls. I would ask that the Council examine this issue and give consideration to the impact of the demolition of the old Mill on such wildlife.
Mature trees & the existing landscape in the vicinity of the old Mill
I would ask that the Council ensure the protection of the mature trees on this site during any development and that the existing landscape surrounding the Mill is maintained.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this submission and I would ask that you take on board these points and the points made by many local residents in their submissions on this application. It is very important to note that permission already exists for the development of a retail facility at this site. However, this latest application is a step too far for many.
Simon Harris TD
Posted January 8th, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD and Greystones resident, Simon Harris, has today congratulated the Delgany Running Club on its forthcoming appearance on ‘Operation Transformation’.
’The appearance of Delgany Running Club on RTE’s ‘Operation Transformation’ will no doubt be a great source of encouragement for people across Wicklow to get out and get fit. This is an ambition of mine for the new year and I hope to stick to the resolution.
’Delgany Running Club was set up in October 2012 as a free community fitness club. Since its creation the club has gone from strength to strength with increasing numbers of people coming out to get fit.
’I hope my New Years resolution will allow me to join the club for a run sometime in the near future.’
For further details see