Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Bernie Hughes

 

The housing and homelessness crisis is a national disgrace. It is a result of a policy by FF, FG and Labour to abandon public housing over th last 30 years and rely soly on the private sector. The state is paying up to €1 billion a year now to private landlords for so-called social housing. This is money that would be better spent building public housing. I believe only public housing only should be built on public land. I fully support a mix of cost-rental apartments with affordable rent and long-term leases, and local-authority differential rent for housing.

 

We need a five-year rent freeze. The RPZ [Rent-Pressure Zones] policy is not working. It is too easy for landlords to get around. We need long-term rental leases. It is increasingly impossible for the younger generation to even think of gettng a mortgage and their own home.

 

Public housing is the short- and longer-term solution to homelessness. It would be possible to build 100,000 units on already zoned state-owned Iand.

 

We need a more effective vacant site tax, plus a policy of "use it or lose it" to stop land hoarding.

 

The "bus disconnects" proposals will undermine services for our communities. We need much more investment in affordable and clean-energy public transport. The subsidies for public transport here are the lowest in the EU.

 

Cycle lanes are a good idea. We need an awareness programme for motorists, but also we need to make cyclists aware that the rules of the road also apply to them.

 

Climate change is the number one problem now facing human society. It needs an international and radical solution. Just 100 major fossil fuel companies are responsible for 70 percent of all carbon emissions. Unless this is tackled no amount of piecemeal measures such as the Paris Accords will work. We need an international agreement to replace fossil fuels with renewables. To achieve this we need a "new world order" based not on profit and the interests of the 1 percent but on rational and sustainable planning to use the world’s resources for the many not the few. Single-use plastics must be banned immediately.

 

Part of this problem is the huge cuts in council staffing that have taken place over the last 20 years. These need to be reversed.

 

In an area as densely populated as Ballymun-Finglas we need to develop our parks and green spaces. That will benefit the people and area by providing the means for the community to get involved in tree-planting and market gardening and develop horticulture interests in the area. A green space on the perimeter of the area should be developed as a scrambling track to try to rid the area of the scourge and dangerous use of scramblers on our roads and in our parks.

 

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