I will be supporting the government’s plans for more social and affordable homes to be provided in 2019, 2020 and beyond, and urging the council to make more council property available for this, and also to do what it needs to do with the Land Development Agency to develop the brownfield sites along the Luas Red Line, a prime zone for housing with already excellent transport infrastructure.
Support Minister Eoghan Murphy’s policy in relation to the rent-restriction zones, but also press for more resources and powers for the Residential Tenancies Board to ensure that some landlords are not using the excuse of refurbishment to circumvent the maximum 4 percent increase and inflating the rental market and in some cases making people homeless for no other reason other than excessive profits. In relation to Dublin City Council, I will continue as I have done to press for the whole area of regulations in relation to short-term lets to be enforced by the council, particularly given the new legislation which is expected to come into effect this summer.
Work with my colleague councillors and council officials to speed up the provision of homes and short-term hubs, whether this is through building, purchasing or converting properties. In terms of specifics, the council should also be turning around "voids" [empty social homes] quicker and revisiting the policy of leaving some one-bed council flats vacant for prolonged periods with a view to another one coming on stream and converting the two into one two-bed flat for the longer term. This policy needs to be revisited during the current housing crisis.
Firstly, the council needs to identify quickly the council’s own derelict and vacant sites and bring them back into the housing stock as quickly as possible. In relation to private derelict and vacant properties, the councils, in conjunction with the Department of Housing, need to introduce much stronger incentives and penalties to address this unacceptable and highly visible weakness in relation to housing. Also, a "Stubbs" [Gazette] type list of derelict and vacant properties (vacant for a prolonged period) should be considered, detailing names of owners, etc.
I would like to see a public transport authority for Dublin, rather than the disjointed approach currently with Dublin Bus, the NTA and Dublin City Council all working away on their own strategies and plans with poor consultation processes with the public, cycling advocates, small businesses, schools, etc. BusConnects, the College Green plaza, the Donnybrook-to-Kimmage cycleway etc. are all cases in point.
We need: 1) Metro or a light-rail line from the city centre to Rathfarnham/Ballycullen; 2) bus routes that work for people; 3) Joined-up, safe, segregated cycling routes for commuter cyclists on heavy-usage routes; 4) electric/hybrid buses; 5) greater enforcement of all modes of transport by Gardaí/dedicated traffic corps; 6) a canals congestion charge to reduce the number of cars traveling into the city; 7) a standard bus fare to speed up buses, i.e., the driver would not be required to tap in a location for every commuter.
Finally, what would be good to see is a "citizens' forum"-type approach on service provision in the city, including transport, that would inform how we should meet the needs of the traveling public and the communities along the way.
Joined-up thinking and engagement between DCC, the NTA, cycling-advocacy groups, Gardaí and community groups rather than the current siloed approaches, which are divisive, inefficient and ineffective (e.g. BusConnects, stop-start approach to segregated cycle ways). I would be urging Dublin City Council to take the lead on this, but not the current siloed/vanity project approaches. The Manchester model is worth learning from.
Progress the council’s climate change plan and engage with citizens in a "citizens' forum"-type approach. There should be experts presenting, and it should be well-facilitated, time-specific and with specific action outputs. "Low-hanging fruit" actions are really important, as well as large, more fundamental actions. Also a congestion charge for between the canals and consideration of ultra-low emission zones, as recently launched in London.
I would like to see a significant increase in litter wardens, and not confined to 9am–5pm hours as a lot of these issues occur early in the morning, late in the evening and at weekends. I would also like to see more resources put into the "Big Belly" bins and a roving CCTV approach whereby the cameras are set up in certain areas for random periods and moved to address areas of repeat problems, e.g. lanes, riversides, etc.
I am also supportive of the recently council-approved by-laws to insist that households must show evidence of how they dispose of their litter, e.g. payment to a refuse-collection company.
I also think that consideration needs to be given to taking back the refuse collection function into council control or at least allowing areas to be tendered for so that we don’t have multiple providers going up and down the same roads collecting a few bins each. If one provider was covering Harold’s Cross, they could also be responsible for cleaning along the kerbsides as well as collecting bins. We need to get more efficient as the public are not happy that our streets are as clean as they should be.
I would also like to see businesses being required to keep the area in front of their own premises clean and tidy as in other European and US cities, and perhaps there could be a rates or other incentive to do this.
Generally, the council does a good job of providing the city with parks and green spaces. However, there are some areas of the city that could do with more investment in this area, e.g., Dublin 8, which has a growing population of young children, who mostly have to travel to other parts of the city for football, camogie, etc. Also, I would like to see more small public spaces provided for young teenagers who are not participating in group games but sometimes just need safe, pleasant space (with wifi) to meet and hang out. So whether this is in small urban parks (green or hard-surface), it is a gap we should fill for teenagers. Hanging out should not be viewed as being a nuisance, it’s part of growing up too!
We need more public spaces to keep our city looking good for those living in it as well as visiting. I would love to see more seating around the city in arbitrary places as well as parks. We have an ageing population as well as a young population and we need to make it attractive for people to stop and sit down and chat and just look around them. We need to make our city more age-friendly for all ages.