Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

South-West Inner-City

11 candidates competing for 5 seats
 

The shortage of housing impacts on all Dubliners, but most acutely on those on the housing list. Given that 10 percent of housing in new developments is designated for social housing, one of the quickest things we can do to increase the provision of social and affordable homes is to increase the speed at which housing development can take place across our city. By cutting back on bureaucracy and unnecessary red tape, together with the strict enforcement of the Vacant Sites Levy, we can promote a new wave of housing development across Dublin, benefiting both those in the private rental sector (through stabilising rents) and in the social housing sector (through increased supply). Dublin must also strengthen its ability to build social and affordable housing through public bodies and non-profit housing associations.

I have been chairing and building the National Homeless and Housing Coalition for the past four years so as to make sure that the housing crisis is put firmly on the political agenda. The campaign had a cross motion passed in the Dáil last October which called for practical measures to be implemented so as to bring the housing crisis under control. The motion included measures to deal with high rents, evictions from the private sector, the building of homes, a constitutional right to housing.

In the council, I have consistently advocated and fought for the building of public housing on public land, and if elected will continue to do this. Building public housing on public land is the solution to the issue of supply and affordability so continuing to work on this at the council and at the national level will make a difference and so it will be a priority for me.

I am fully supportive of the development of social, affordable and a new way of using public land to develop homes along the cost-rental model. While on the last council, I proposed that the government buy the Player Wills site to develop cost-rental homes on the land.

The Labour party has developed a new model of public housing that is open to everyone, in order to solve the problem of housing costs. Labour’s solution is the same as what Labour parties have delivered throughout European cities for decades: good quality housing, built by local authorities, and rented out at a fair affordable rent to people from a wide range of backgrounds. More than two-thirds of people living in Vienna rent publicly provided housing (“cost-rental housing”) and this is a normal housing option right across Europe. The great state-led house-building programmes of the 1940s, 1950s and 1970s owe a lot to the role of Labour, and this can be done again to deliver affordable public housing in our towns and cities.

Our use of HAP for delivering social homes is simply a transfer of wealth from the taxpayer to landlords which leave people in insecure rental tenancies. The state and Dublin City Council need to take an active role in both delivering and managing our social housing stock if we are ever to bring housing costs to affordable levels again.

For more information on Labour housing policy published last year , Labour’s Affordable Housing for All policy document is available here.

Sinn Féin’s position is that government policy needs to change so that the state builds houses. It happened in the past and can happen again. Successive governments have insisted on depending on private developers to solve the housing crisis. That has failed and policies like this caused the economic crash in the first place, and are not a solution. Only a radical change in policy with the state taking responsibility to supply social and affordable homes will solve the problem.

Currently, citizens in Ireland do not have a right to housing. Sinn Féin has continuously advocated for a rights-based approach. If you had a right to housing, amongst other things, then the government would have a legal responsibility to deliver on that right. Currently housing is a commodity and not a right for our people.

In our 2019 alternative budget, Sinn Féin proposed to double government spending on social and affordable homes, delivering twice as many units. In the short-term this would help, but a change of policy as I mentioned earlier is ultimately needed.

At a local level, I would continue to push for: 1) public housing on public land and a much quicker turn-around time for government approval of housing projects; 2) the return of the financial-contribution scheme to allow for the downsizing of older people to smaller accommodation and freeing up much needed family sized accommodation; 3) changing Part V from 10 percent back to 20 percent of all units in private developments to be social units; and 3) addressing the oversaturation of expensive student accommodation in the Liberties and the increasing transient developments of hotels, aparthotels and Airbnbs by changing the Dublin City Development Plan.

The council simply isn't empowered to take the kind of action we need, especially in expensive capital projects like house building. That requires the central government seriously investing. Locally, the main thing councils can do is ensure that public land is used for public, affordable housing – preferably aimed at a mix of income groups.

I would also like to see a greater requirement for every new large-scale development to require social/affordable housing. I previously worked for Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and saw first-hand how a directly elected mayor can force developers to include social and genuinely affordable housing in new developments. I’d like to see that power replicated here.

 

While the current rent-control system has gone some way towards preserving affordable rents for those already in the rental sector I don't believe the measures have helped those who need to move or people moving to Dublin for the first time. Many other European cities, such as Stockholm, have tried to address their chronic housing shortages with rent controls, which has created a two-tier housing market in which long-time tenants enjoy excellent housing at a good price but young people moving to the city are left on 10-year-plus housing lists or couch-surfing for months before they secure a rental property at an inflated price. Other cities, such as Tokyo, have built more as the population of the city grew, resulting in stable housing prices despite their colossal size. The only long-term solution is to increase the supply of housing through expediting construction of both private and social housing to match housing construction to population growth.

I am a strong supporter of rent control and stronger regulation is needed to give more rights to tenants as we are moving to a greater proportion of the population renting.

I am fully supportive of the new rules governing whole unit short-stay rentals (such as Airbnbs) which is taking much needed housing stock out of the city. In particular in my own area of Dublin 8, knocking on doors in the Liberties you see every second house with the tell-tale key box outside. These houses for generations have been long-term homes for people but now are short-stay rentals for tourists.

There needs to be stronger democracy for tenants and owner-occupiers of apartment buildings and housing estates, to give them control over management companies and a greater say in the management of common areas.

Housing is not a place to park capital. It’s a place to live, raise families, work and play.

Across Europe renting is much more prevalent than in Ireland. Some of this is due to historical reasons, but it also has to do with the legal structure. Renting can be good for some, but only if properly regulated. In Europe, the legal infrastructure is in place with regulation on security of tenure and rent levels. These models are available and whereas no two systems are the same, this problem can be solved.

Fixed long term leases, backed by strong regulation on both sides, are necessary. This government has consistently refused to examine these alternatives, mainly because ideologically they give more importance to property than to people.

Sinn Féin were the first party to advocate for an immediate rent freeze for a period of three years, preventing any further rises in rents. This would be accompanied by a renters' tax relief equivalent to one month's rent for every renter in the state.

As a member of the Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum where we are to deliver a cost-rental model, I am very aware that the government still has not issued a cost-rental policy. I will, as I always have, push for a proper affordable cost-rental model for this site.

I’m renting myself, so know the problems first-hand. We need three main things: increased supply of homes, increased requirements for social/affordable units, and improved tenant protections. Unfortunately, the council does not have much power on the last point, but locally I would:

–Amend Dublin’s City Development Plan to deliver more homes, not just hotels or overpriced student accommodation. Increased supply should help reduce prices.

–Ensure strict enforcement of new rules cracking down on homes being used for full-time Airbnbs.

–Aggressively use the Derelict and Vacant Sites Registers to tax or purchase derelict buildings and empty land to restore to a useful purpose.

–Use central Dublin sites (such as Marrowbone Lane, which is going to be a depot with some houses) to build more ambitious levels of social and affordable housing.

–Support cost-rental, Austrian-style apartments for long-term affordable renting.

 

Homelessness in Ireland is the biggest issue on the doors. High rents are driving families into situations where they are no longer able to afford to pay the rent and need to find alternative accommodation. This is not easy. There should be rent regulation and increased rights for tenants. There should be a rent cap, linked to the general rate of inflation. I support the introduction of a national rent freeze while the support of housing is increased to match the demand.

There is, however, too much of a reliance of the private sector to produce the housing required. In the South West Inner City, enough student accommodation and hotels have been built over the last number of years. Residents are not happy with the lack of housing for their children who were born and raised in the area and cannot afford the rent and/or to buy in the area. Ringfence 20 percent of all new developments for affordable housing, this is in addition to the existing social housing. Support those in mortgage distress. Establish a new government agency with an explicit role to get homes.

As a councillor, my number one priority is to ensure that the council does its duty to increase housing provision. I feel it is vital that housing is mixed social housing which is affordable. Housing alone does not make a community. Sports, recreation and community centres as well as amenities and services need to be delivered as part of the development. We should be building communities not economies.

There are two distinct elements to the current homelessness tragedy which is unfolding in our city. The first is those who have been priced out of the private rental sector, are on the housing list and cannot secure a home under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the second is those who are suffering with addiction and who are using shelters and sleeping rough. I believe these two communities have distinct needs. Those who have been priced out of private rental accommodation will be best served through a rapid increase in the provision of social and private housing both by direct state construction of affordable and social housing and facilitating greater private development by consolidating building requirements, speeding up the planning process and strict enforcement of the Vacant Sites Levy. By treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal matter, I hope we can help those who are suffering from an addiction to address this issue and support them through the health service into assisted living facilities as they hopefully return to a healthy lifestyle free of substance addictions.

The Labour Party will give local councils the resources they need to end the homelessness crisis. A state-led housing building programme is needed to ensure the delivery of homes as what has been happening in my area are that all applications going in are for hotel or student accommodation. Homelessness won’t be addresses until we take action to ensure that developers are building long-term housing units. I have opposed and made submission to ABP on student accommodation in my area pointing out that as long as permission is granted for lower-standard higher-yield housing, then developers won’t have the incentive to build housing on their land.

This cannot be separated from the previous two questions. An adequate supply of social and affordable homes, alongside a properly structured rental market, will reduce homelessness. It won’t solve it, as there are many reasons people end up in homelessness, but it would go a long way. However, the state also has a responsibility to all its citizens, even those who do end up in homelessness.

On top of our above proposals to tackle the severe undersupply in the housing market, and to reduce the financial burden on hard-pressed renters, Sinn Féin advocated for an increase in investment in homeless emergency accommodation and support funding in our alternative budget. In the same document we proposed allocating more funding for accommodation of survivors of domestic violence. We would also ensure that those leaving homelessness and going into mainstream housing get all the supports they need.

Both of the above answers apply. Homelessness is the greatest challenge facing Dublin and utterly unacceptable in a wealthy country. It is, in part, a function of our high housing prices and low supply. But it’s also tied in with wider issues of inequality – and in the case of rough sleeping: mental health and addiction.

The homelessness crisis is why we need to shift the focus from transitory accommodation (hotels, student accommodation) to permanent housing, as listed above. We simply need to build more public housing.

For direct homelessness services, I would also vote to at least maintain the Local Property Tax rate so that Dublin City Council has extra resources to provide homelessness services, enforce housing/planning rules, and invest in social housing.

Most candidates would likely agree on many of these issues, but on the tax issue there is a genuine difference. Everyone on the current council (bar the Greens, Labour and Social Democrats) voted to lower the current tax rate by 15% – depriving the council of vital resources.

 

Dublin 8 has a significant number of vacant and derelict sites. There are currently 15 sites on the register. Many others are not on this list but are vacant/derelict. There should be penalties for owners who leave sites like this. These sites are unsightly, potentially dangerous and do not enhance communities. They could be developed. Ireland is experiencing a chronic housing problem and these sites could be used. Our neighbourhood shops need to be maintained so that our community looks well and improves the appearance of the area. Several areas in the South West Inner City have vacant shops, pubs, other spaces previously used for services. These need to be improved and maintained.

I believe the recently introduced Vacant Sites Levy, which began implementation in January of this year, is an excellent tool to encourage derelict urban land to be developed. This levy places an annual charge on a vacant development site that has not been developed and recently increased to 7 percent of the value of the site per year. This has to be strictly enforced to ensure that the policy is effective. I hope by the end of this year this policy will encourage many vacant and derelict sites into development.

In my first year on the council I drafted a motion calling for a register to be established that would log derelict and empty buildings so that we could make sure they were put to good use or purchased by the council. Despite support from all other parties and the passing, the council management have refused to implement the register. I am consistently highlighting vacant and derelict sites in our area, ensuring that the council is pursuing the owners to address the dereliction.

I have had motions passed and am actively campaigning to have the Iveagh Markets brought under public control for community use and for public housing and amenities to be built as a matter of urgency at the Player Wills site. Three years ago, Dublin 8 was voted by the UCD school of Geography as the ugliest part of Dublin. It has been my mission since to make sure we are never awarded this again!

Local councils need to have stronger compulsory purchase powers for the development of housing and managers need to be willing to use them and given the resources to bring them back to life.

Councils should be empowered to impose large fines on those who leave buildings and land vacant for unacceptable periods of time. The Labour Party supports legislation for the compulsory purchase of lands at existing use value, building on the 1973 Kenny Report proposals.

For residential properties, Sinn Féin would introduce measures to stop the widespread practice of land hoarding. In Dublin 8, dereliction is a huge issue. I have supported the call for the introduction of a vacant property tax, and increasing the vacant site levy. Again, the reason these investors and developers can get away with this is that government policy is dependent on them to build houses and they don’t wish to upset them. A state building programme would remove that dependancy.

For commercial property, Sinn Féin have developed a policy aimed at investing funds from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) in run-down town and city centres, instead of underperforming investment funds abroad. In partnership with local councils across the island, the ISIF would purchase disused sites and vacant commercial properties and then let them out on a commercial basis, creating more revenue for councils and regenerating Irish towns.

The tools for this are in place – the Derelict and Vacant Sites Registers. Once properties are added, the owners are ordered to put the site to use or at least secure and clean it up, or face fines of 3 percent of the site’s value. This is already working, but there are three things which need to change to improve the problem:

  1. Increase the fine/levy percentage, possibly as a sliding scale which goes up. This would require national legislation.

  2. Increase enforcement and council willingness to add sites to the register. This would take some extra resources.

  3. Loosen the criteria for being added to those registers, which leave many vacant or derelict sites go untouched.

 

Public transport should be available to use by everyone. People with disabilities should be able to access public transport like others can. Wheelchair users are often unable to access buses due to lack of space if there is another wheelchair or a buggy. People using trains often need to ring ahead to ensure there will be a ramp. This curtails their lifestyle.

BusConnects has been a hot topic in the area. People are dissatisfied with losing gardens, entrances and also the very old trees in areas like Inchicore, which is also something that affects climate change and also reduces green areas in this heavily urbanised community. We need to move away from carbon intense, car-based transport towards high-capacity public transport options. We must also drastically reduce emissions in transport if we are to meet emissions reduction targets.

The cost of public transport should be reduced in order to increase numbers of people using public transport. The ticketing system should be usable on all forms of transport within the Dublin area, like in London/Berlin etc. Increasing incentives and subsidies to purchase electric vehicles, including subsidies for the installation of charge points domestically. We would increase the availability of fast-charge points nationwide.

Public transport in Dublin is woefully inadequate and doesn't serve the needs of the city well. We have for too long tried to please everyone, with the result being that we are pleasing no one. Firstly, Metro North has to be built without any more delay. Secondly, the previously planned comprehensive network of Metro West, additional Luas lines and importantly, Dart Underground, need to happen. Dart Underground – connecting Heuston to Pearse Street with intermediate stops across the city centre – would dramatically improve the interconnectedness of our whole transport system. Finally, our current bus network is not user-friendly or properly integrated. I hope that the BusConnects plan will go some way towards addressing these weaknesses in the short term.

It is very important that our area is developed in a sustainable way. This includes green space, cycle lanes, sports facilities, community amenities, decent housing and public transport. It is an area that I have worked very hard on over the past five years and if elected, it will continue to be a priority. I have fully engaged with the BusConnects consultations and will continue to engage with the process. I have worked with and campaigned with communities in the past to defend our public bus services and will continue to do so.

When drafting city and county development plans, Labour councillors will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.

We support a strategic overhaul of bus transport in Dublin, while we will also advocate for revisions to the BusConnects plan in particular where it is breaking up villages and making the public sphere less welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists. Our city, and village within it should be a place to live and not just travel though.

Sinn Féin have advocated for increased capital investment in low-carbon public transport to increase the capacity of our transport network. A properly functioning public transport system is a service that brings benefits to all sectors of society. Greater state involvement in a joined-up transport system – e.g. linked bus and rail, integrated ticketing – would ensure proper infrastructure. This government’s policy is to promote privatisation of profitable sectors and transport routes, which will lead to inefficiencies, low pay and bad working conditions, for the enrichment of the few. There can be a place for private transport providers, but only as a support to a properly supported public transport system. Ensure that state transport companies can tender, alongside the private companies for public-service obligation (PSO) funding for the unprofitable routes, and that the amount available be increased to reduce fares by 10–12 percent.

I’ve spent the last number of years abroad in London and Brussels. The transport system in Dublin simply doesn’t compare. This is because the philosophy of building and expanding roads still dominates. Recent Green Party proposals to flip spending 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads were voted down in the Oireachtas.

I think Dublin needs to put pedestrians, cyclists and public transport before the needs of private cars and commercial vehicles, and I’d consistently vote in that manner. That means getting smaller decisions about individual road works right, but also supporting bigger reform and infrastructure projects.

BusConnects, for example, has some localised flaws which I want to see fixed (specific turns and issues with trees), but broadly is a smart reform of our bus system, moving away from a hodge-podge, inconsistent network to a purpose-designed one. We have decent buses, drivers and roads – we just need the bus network to match.

 

I am a commuting cyclist. I gave up driving to and from work and bought an electric bike to travel daily from the Tenters to Ballymun, where I work. It currently takes me the same length of time to cycle the journey as it did to drive. I am getting fitter and it is better for the environment. However, it is often dangerous to cycle. One must have nerves of steel and an assertive disposition. The cycle paths are not in good condition. The roads are too narrow for cycle lanes and cars and buses drive in them. Bus stops in cycle paths are problematic. it is too dangerous for families to cycle in the South West Inner City.

I propose that Dublin City Council use 10 percent of its transport budget for cycling. There should be dedicated separated cycling paths like in other mainland European countries. There should be cycling greenways, like along the canal. The South West Inner City residents should be able to cycle safely in their neighbourhood. Initiatives to support safe cycling in the area should be established to support all ages cycling safely.

As someone who cycles every day around Dublin, this issue is extremely important to me. There are a few immediate "wins" that cycling in Dublin needs to encourage more people out of their cars and onto bikes. The first of these is the Liffey Cycle Route, which would open up safe cycling to thousands of people who currently have to negotiate horrible conditions on the Liffey quays to get in and out of the city. Cycle lanes on other major routes in and out of the city also need to be grade separated. Another key consideration for cyclists in the city is the lack of enforcement of traffic rules in relation to parking in cycle lanes, which forces cyclists out into car traffic, which is both stressful and dangerous for cyclists. Some of the plans in BusConnects should improve cycle infrastructure in Dublin, but if elected I would like to use my position to work with council officials to improve enforcement and enhance the design specifications of our existing infrastructure.

The cycling infrastructure in our city generally and in our area in particular is wholly inadequate. I regularly engage with cycling campaigns and support their work at the council level, calling for practical measures that can easily be implemented (like two-way cycle lanes, more bike stations) while also making the case for a serious investment in the infrastructure and the rollout of the Dublinbikes scheme. I also use cycling as a major form of transport and am frustrated by the lack of funding and the lack of progress. If re-elected I will make a point of meeting with cycle campaigns to develop a strategy for improving cycling in our area.

When drafting city and county development plans, our group will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.

Greater investment is needed to improve and promote walking and cycling facilities, such as the Grand Canal cycle route which has been subject to long delays and initiatives such as cycling quietways which is a new idea to me but one that I find very appealing as a daily cyclist.

We need to invest in continuous and segregated bike lines through urban centres, safe counter-flow cycle lanes, secure cycle stands in towns and at schools, and safe routes for schoolchildren cycling to school and support them when they run into opposition

Our budget for cyclists is too low and 10 percent of the national transport budget should go into improving our cycling infrastructure.

In Sinn Féin’s capital investment plans we identified the need for additional resources for cycling infrastructure, especially in Dublin, along with the creation of additional routes and bike services in smaller towns without such infrastructure. We also see cycling as part of the overall transport system and again called for the integrating cycling infrastructure with bicycle-friendly buses, trains and trams.

I cycle every single day in Dublin. My daily commute takes me through some of the nicest cycles in the city (the Royal Hospital Kilmainham) and some of the worst (along the Quays).

Dublin city should be a fantastic city for cycling. We’ve seen a major growth in numbers recently, but the infrastructure hasn’t kept up. I’d work to add extra secure cycle parking (as in Drury Street), promote quietways on residential streets (which reduce motor traffic while allowing walking and cycling) and begin a wider network of properly-segregated cycle routes – not just paint on the road.

Many candidates agree with promoting cycling in theory, but in practice will give in to complaints about the loss of a single car space or a few metres of traffic lanes for cars. I think our roads need to change and will always stand up for infrastructure that meets the needs of pedestrians and cyclists – not just car parking. Cities aren’t thoroughfares or car parks.

 

This issue is something which children and young people ask me about at the doors and in my role as co-ordinator of the School Completion Programme in Ballymun. These young people are concerned that the issue of climate change has not been taken seriously by those in power. I think it is time that there are radical changes in how the issue of climate change are addressed. Ensure Ireland meets its emissions targets by investing in high-capacity transport, retro-fitting for home and work-places.

Ensuring that grants are available to those who retro-fit. Ban single-use plastics like other cities around the world are doing. Increase the types of plastics which Dublin City Council can recycle. Levies on unrecyclable plastic. Making bring centres more available and have increased opening times. Having a deposit return scheme, like in Germany for plastic and glass bottles. Social Democrats pledge that the party will prioritise a switch to electric vehicles, cycling and public transport. We would like to increase the provision of off-shore wind energy, solar and biomass energy.

Climate change is the key challenge facing our civilisation over the next decades and indeed we will need to plan the city for mitigating the effects that we already know will happen due to our collective inaction in tackling the issue. A lot of the best ways to address climate change have been detailed above in my responses on public transport and cycling. Transport is one of the key areas where the city can encourage low-emission or zero-emission transport to reduce our impact on the environment. Cycling must be made attractive and safe. The city council can also implement other schemes that encourage the greening of our city, such as the expansion of allotments to reduce the carbon embodied in foods having to be transported over great distances. Finally, unfortunately there is a certain amount of climate change that we will have to deal with due to our inaction thus far. I believe flooding may become a key risk for Dublin in the years ahead, as a low-lying costal city. A large increase in urban tree planing will help our built environment absorb excess rainwater and the protection of green spaces will allow for better drainage in times of heavy rainfall. Flood defences will have to be made more robust for those living near rivers in the city.

Campaigning for public green space, sports facilities, and ensuring our area meets benchmarks for greening and tree-planting is important. People Before Profit are opposed to the carbon tax as it does not address the real culprits: the major corporations. I have worked with my colleague Bríd Smith TD on her Climate Emergency Bill to keep fossil fuels in the ground and will continue this work. At the council level, I worked hard on the Dublin City Development Plan and if elected, will ensure greater inclusion of climate and sustainable measures as well as ensuring the city's Climate Strategy is implemented and monitored. I am a huge advocate of greening communities, improving our green-space benchmarks and cycling infrastructure.

Labour as a party is committed to real change to Ireland’s economy so that we are less reliant on fossil fuels. We are calling for there to be Climate Action Committees on every council to drive an ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions and to ensure sustainability such as the DCC Climate Change Action Plan which has been championed by Cllr Claire Byrne.

The Labour party have proposed an ambitious state-led programme to insulate over 100,000 homes a year, including existing council housing. Insulating homes helps reduce energy poverty as people save money on their energy costs.

Councils can take action such as the inclusion of green roofs on building, which will reduce our flood risk as a coastal city and greening the city wherever possible, such as allowing unused land for allotments or “guerrilla gardening”, or ensuring there is greening along pavements. I have always been supportive of any measure which increase greening in the city and have advocated that Dublin City Council explore green roofing options when building their own units.

Climate change is the most pressing problem of our age. The effects of climate change are visible to us all. Sinn Féin advocates that climate change issues should be addressed in all areas of government. We oppose the regressive carbon tax, and believe it is the government passing the buck onto hard-pressed families for the government's abject climate failures.

Sinn Féin advocates increasing grants for electric vehicles, providing state-funded retrofits to thousands of homes to improve efficiency and tackling fuel poverty, and investing heavily in our renewable energy infrastructure.

We support more and cheaper public transport and have laid out spending plans to achieve this. We also provide for increased funding towards Science Foundation Ireland, and believe the state should do more itself in generating cutting-edge research and development to get the most out of our renewable energy potential and place Ireland at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

The current Green councillors have pushed really hard for a Climate Action Plan for Dublin, which sees the council make direct reductions in their own emissions. The more Green voices we have on the council, the stronger the backing for implementing that.

Locally, the council can also work to improve infrastructure for cycling, walking and public transport, which will reduce our city’s emissions. Climate change needs to be part of every decision the council is taking. Its impact must be included when assessing any project – not simply seen as an optional extra.

The effects of climate change are already being felt globally. In addition to reducing our emissions, we also need to prepare for the effects of climate change. That means obvious preparations as a coastal city, but also for unusual weather events and issues such as the recent weather-related water shortage.

 

Apart from the housing issue, dog poo and litter is mostly spoken about on the doors. It is something which is the main conversation at residents association meetings also. Some areas of the South West Inner City have widespread cleaning of streets etc and others seem not to have the same service.

There should be a regulator for the waste industry so that the environment and consumers are better protected. There should be a restriction on charges for household recyclables collection. There should be annual collections over-size household and garden furniture, machinery etc, like there is in Germany. This reduces illegal dumping. It is also used by communities to reuse the items by others. Dog fouling must be tackled by having more dog wardens patrolling areas. There needs to be an education piece also. Dog dirt is often collected in bags and then the bags are disposed in drains thus blocking them in heavy rainfall.

I believe stronger enforcement is the best way we can address littering across Dublin. The fines and consequences of littering in Dublin today are not enough of a deterrent. If elected I would campaign for stronger penalties for those caught littering or allowing their dogs to foul on footpaths.

I am an advocate of returning waste management to the city council and will continue to fight for this. The local councillors are consistently raising the issues of illegal dumping, dog poo, litter and the lack of bins generally. The council needs more resources to put measures in place to address this.

Enforcement is a very difficult issue when it comes to litter and dumping. There has been a policy in Dublin City Council of removing bins when we need to provide more bins in public places, in particular the solar-compacting bins which reduce the waste we send to landfill. More litter officers need to be employed directly to tackle litter hotspots.

The worst decision taken by Dublin City Council management was to sell off the direct waste collection. Labour proposed improving the quality of waste collection by direct employment by local authorities where possible, and strong enforcement of regulations on private operators.

There is also a need to increase the the number of people working as litter wardens, dog wardens to tackle the issue of litter and dog dirt. Without enforcement this will continue to be a blight on our city. I am supportive of using CCTV in dumping or litter hotspots, which was piloted in the North Inner City.

As a dog owner I have no time for owners who don’t pick up after their own dog. However, we need to make free biodegradable bags available and bins in area where dog walkers gather.

Dog poo is a growing problem in our city. It is constantly being raised with me, especially at policing forum meetings. I have consistently called for additional dog poo bins and dog wardens to try and tackle the problem, but we also need to enforce existing by-laws and encourage responsible dog ownership.

I believe the privatisation of waste collection was a disaster. We now have an inefficient waste-collection mode, with multiple companies and waste trucks clogging up small residential streets and at times providing a poor service. It has also led to an increase in dumping across the state. I would support waste collection services being brought back into public ownership and treated as a service to society and not simply to the individual. Sinn Féin supports the introduction of a franchising model for local waste services, in order to secure one waste collection provider per council area. This state is alone in the EU with a fully privatised waste-collection model. Because of this, up to 25 percent of homes opt out of expensive waste collection entirely, leading to illegal dumping and litter. Our franchising model would reduce costs, and make waste collection more accountable and more efficient.

I would support councils providing residents with the basic facilities to ensure they can keep their communities clean and tidy. We need more public bins and dog litter bins, as well as more recycling centres that allow people to reduce their waste output.

Dumping and dog poo are probably the most frequently raised issues when I’m canvassing. For me, there are three approaches:

  1. We need to reduce the amount of waste we generate. The council can do this directly and build in low-waste provisions into its contracts and licences.

  2. With extra resources, regular dumping could be investigated and searched more to identify dumpers. Part of this is also simply hiring more litter wardens (and perhaps widening their tasks to include other enforcement actions) – Dublin city only has 13 at the moment.

3.As has been trialled in Barking (no pun!) in London, dog poo can be tested against a database of dogs, which could be linked in with the dog licensing system. It sounds implausible, but has worked well in London. It can also be funded through the fines levied.

Aside from deliberate dumping, there is also a problem with waste bags breaking or being torn apart. Shared bins for streets (as in Spain and Portugal) could go some way to improving this, where individual wheelie bins are not appropriate.

 

In the part of the city that I live in we have a chronic undersupply of green spaces and parks. I believe that as sites are redeveloped across the city the provision of public green space should be one of the key planning considerations as a balance to more dense residential development. In addition, some of the publicly owned sites in the city should be developed as parks and playgrounds for the benefit of the entire community. Weaver Square in Dublin 8 is a perfect example of what can be achieved with a solid effort and good decisions taken by the council.

I worked very closely with the community campaign for a public park at Bridgefoot Street, fought with the allotment holders and community gardeners at Weaver Square and will continue to fight for more green space in our area. In the development plan, I was successful in having a greening benchmark included. I will continue to work to ensure that we not only reach but pass the benchmark. As well as parks and gardens, it is essential that our neighbourhood has sporting facilities and so I 100 percent support the Sporting Liberties Campaign for sports facilities at Marrowbone Lane and will fight with Kevins Hurling and Camogie Club to save Dolphin Park.

I have been a leading voice on Dublin City Council for the provision of green spaces in Dublin 8 which has the lowest amount of green space for population density in the City.

I led the campaign to develop a derelict site on Cork Street as a park which is now the very popular Weaver Park. I worked in the development plan to keep the Boys Brigade pitches and expand them as a sports pitch for local sports clubs in the community. A liveable city is a green city where every citizens has access to green lungs and public recreation space.

Urban green spaces are a necessary component for delivering healthy, sustainable and liveable cities. Dublin 8 is the most urbanised paved area in the city, with only 6.4 percent public green cover. It has one of the lowest proportions of space under grass in Dublin or any city in Europe according to the World Health Organisation. I have been part of the campaigns to address the lack of green spaces and fought for Weaver Park, Bridgefoot Street Park, a full size GAA pitch and sports campus at Donore, but even with all this delivered we will still be below the recommended green space, so a lot done, but a lot more to do.

This is a problem city-wide, but is perhaps most acutely felt in the Liberties and the area around it, where people have some of the lowest access to green space in the country. This has impacts not only on the local environment, but makes team sports and casual play difficult and hostile. It also means that dog owners have to travel to give their dogs a bit of space.

In a dense urban environment, it can be difficult to open more parks, but there are opportunities which need to be treated as a priority.

This can be done on public land, such as with the Marrowbone Lane site near Rialto. The council currently use it as a depot. They’re planning to keep the depot and add some housing and a small bit of playing pitch. I’d vote to move the depot to a better-connected industrial estate and use the land for more pitches, playgrounds, parks and housing.

It can also be done with private land, either by making green space a condition of development, or simply as zoning spaces as park/open space. I’ve been involved opposing changes to a student development in Mill Street, which saw land which should was supposed to be public closed off.

 

The third largest issue on the doors is green public space in the South West Inner City. Having some down time is vital to our health. But where do teenagers go for this? Our young people spend more and more time in school or online. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to physical and mental health problems. They are often lonely and isolated – and may feel overwhelmed by the real life and virtual worlds that they occupy at the same time. Young people and teenagers need to be able to chill out with their friends in a safe environment. Dublin City Council should follow South Dublin South County Council in providing robust playing facilitites for teeangers. For the sake of our young people’s health and well-being they deserve places to be themselves, act like teenagers, entertain themselves and enjoy their limited free time.

The Social Democrats call on councils to prioritise recreation, play and sport. Dublin 8 is densely urbanised. The use of green spaces for development is not acceptable to the residents. Community gardening and allotments are sources of physical, mental and emotional health. It is an education is healthy eating and living. Space should be given and maintained for people in Dublin 8 to partake in this activity.There should be a dog park for Dublin 8, particularly in the Liberties area, so that dogs can be off lead. People love their dogs and would love to be able to have them off lead and yet safe. Large roads in the community should be tree lined. For example, Cork Street is a windswept road due to the lack of trees, which add to the beauty and environment of the area. The canal is a beautiful attraction in the area – but it is somewhat neglected from Sally's Bridge heading towards Rialto. Although the residents welcome the new path along by Dolphins Barn.

Dublin City Council is currently looking at its Play Strategy. Everyone of all ages can contribute their voice to the plan here. Sporting facilities in Dublin 8 are lacking, especially for sports like hurling and camogie. Areas like St Teresa’s Gardens, the Marrowbone Lane Depot, the Player Wills site are not being used for such activities. This lack of vision for community but instead economy is unsatisfactory to the residents of this area. Quality of life from a recreational and work perspective is vital to mental, physical and emotional health.

Dublin can do public space very well, such as Meeting House Square in Dublin 2, and quite badly, such as the Liffey boardwalk. The key things to consider are the overall attractiveness of the space by reducing the noise from traffic to create tranquil spaces within the city. and making sure there is good oversight from surrounding residents and businesses to ensure anti-social behaviour is reduced to ensure that everyone can enjoy the spaces. I would like to see the city development plan incorporate more courtyard-type spaces found across Europe in areas of high density housing so that city residents can enjoy shared outdoor space. In order to make them nicer places to be, I think broadening the variety of events that take place in these spaces would be a key way to ensure that people know about them and use them to their full potential.

Our cities and towns should not be overly focused on commercial concerns. Vibrant cities and towns need to be focused on people’s needs. I will work promote public spaces, as I have done though my time on the council, though initiatives such as proposing in the development plan that a proportion of mixed-used developments should be used for artistic work spaces which enhances the city and working with people such as the Dublin Flea Market to find spaces for these community and social spaces in the city.

I have also opposed the closing of pubic spaces by developers who have wanted to block access to square to the public (unfortunately planning found against us). I will always promote the primacy of public open space over private open space.

As well as the reply to question 9, Dublin 8 has some of the most historical sites in Dublin. The south-west inner-city is an area steeped in history and character and is often under threat or overshadowed by developments. Our parks should be safe and enjoyable places to visit but some of them have become no-go areas due to high levels of anti-social behaviour, drug taking/dealing, open drinking and gangs. As a member of the local policing forum I’ve supported residents' calls for the reintroduction of park wardens, monitored CCTV and more investment in the upkeep of our parks.

Public streets being pedestrianised and greened is probably the single-quickest way to improve our city’s public realm. It can be politically difficult and logistically awkward, but so too was pedestrianising Grafton and Henry streets in the 1980s. I doubt anyone wants cars back on those streets.

I think we need to be looking at College Green (and connected streets), the quays, and some village centres. We can take public streets back for people or continue to surrender them to cars. The junction at Christ Church is a perfect example. We have a beautiful medieval cathedral, which is right beside this 10-lane junction, part of which runs through the cathedral.

Dublin also has a problem with unnecessary poles, barriers, advertising boards and other street furniture. I’d look at ways to remove them, consolidate them or – where possible – mount street signs on buildings instead of a path-blocking pole. This would make the streets prettier, but more importantly improve access for anyone with extra mobility needs or parents with buggies.

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