People Before Profit
First we must build on what available DCC land there is, establish a state developer managed by DCC, building to an agreed set number of house and appartment designs, and compulsorily purchase any hoarded land that has been lying idle for years. Scrap [the government's flagship housing programme] ‘’Rebuilding Ireland’’, it has failed.
Ban Airbnb in the city and its suburbs and fast-track funding to all existing DCC housing projects. More homes on the market will apply downward pressure on rents. At present, the Department of Housing is slowing the finance to projects. This has to stop. The private rental sector needs to be challenged by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) issuing fines and jail sentances for breaches of rules on rental costs and standards. Rental costs need to be slashed and rental caps enforced.
The homeless will not be helped until government decides it wishes to help them. Funding is required to build proper accommodation with care staff and facilities. The system of night shelters is inhumane and this problem has to be tackled head-on by government. Presently, the homeless sector is buckling under the pressure of the demand for its services.
DCC should be given crisis funding and emergency legal authority to compulsorily purchase all vacant properties and build through a state developer managed via DCC with an agreed set of project designs.
Firstly, all public transport should be free into the city and urban destinations at peak time or altogether. This could be described as a commuter bail-out. We pay taxes and it's time we saw a return on that investment. Secondly, remove all cars from the city, and permit driving only after we have established the first point. Public transport should be publicly owned. Stop privatising bus services by stealth. The National Transport Authority is a quango that is in danger of running BusConnects and Metro North into the ground. We desperately need these transport projects to progress, or we need to bite the bullet and fund a proper underground system.
There are a number of cycling projects being carried out at present, but our road structure has many pinch points and a lot more investment is needed. A massive reduction in the number of cars in our city will aid the redesign of our city roads for cyclists and public transport. But drivers need an alternative mode of transport to take them out of their cars. It is all connected. We need a massive improvement of the cycling network with immediate separation of cyclists (with kerbs) from all traffic, including buses.
All homes in our city should be properly insulated and future-proofed. Home owners should be assisted where necessary, and private landlords of substandard properties given a set time to upgrade their properties or have their homes compulsorily purchased by local government. Public transport projects should be fast-tracked. We should increase pressure to reduce any further increase in fossil fuel use in homes and transport, and promote solar, wind and heat-pump applications in all aspects of our daily lives. Let's keep fossil fuels in ground. Let's improve the locations and standards of recycling. A deposit return for glass and aluminium can incentivise recycling.
Privatised bin collection has led to a changed and disasterous mindset in our attitudes to litter and waste control in general. It would be better to take back control of waste collection and it should be paid for through general taxation. Our citzens have to feel they have a collective ownership of what happens to our waste. This includes dog owners and people who think dumping on your neighbour is not a problem. Our citizens do not want privatised services. We pay our taxes, we want our public services not privatisation.
A number of derelict sites exist across our cities. These sites now need to be taken by the city and returned to their community for use as allotments and community gardens. The sanctity of private property above all else has now to be challenged. Existing parks and play areas need to be improved to attract more people with investment on facilities within our parks, for example, with more gym and play equipment and dog-run play areas.
I put forward a motion last year on this very issue, which was agreed and passed by all our councillors for the protection of our public spaces. At present Central Bank Plaza has been privatised, which was the topic of this motion. DCC management have ignored this issue with a shrug. As we lose our public spaces to wealthy landlords and vulture funds public pressure will have to exert itself. A public campaign, people power if you will, is the only way we can defend our public spaces. All planning has to change to consider community gain and giving our local councils a chance to claw back some room for our citizens and communities. At present, government ministers are interfering and allowing projects to get bigger and bigger, but with absolutely no gain or compensation to local communities.