Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Declan Meenagh

Labour candidate for Cabra-Glasnevin
 

We can build more houses that people can actually afford to live in. This was done in the past and if we work together we can do it again. The only way to get this done is if the state builds houses. The government’s policy has failed and the market can’t answer the housing crisis. Everybody knows someone impacted by greedy landlords. Labour’s plan involves €16 billion over five years to build 18,000 social and affordable homes. We will not let the failed market continue to destroy lives. If elected, I will fight for sustainable housing to be built. I want to prevent profit-driven companies from destroying our city with developments that nobody wants.

 

One part of the solution is to build affordable houses. We also need a well-regulated rental market. I am proud of the role that I have played in developing the Labour policy on housing. Because of my work in this, Labour now supports a mandatory rent reduction. I believe houses should be homes for people, not a source of income for the few.

 

Building houses and regulating the rental market will help. The biggest cause of homelessness is the private rental market and we need national legislation to stop evictions. [Labour TD] Jan O’Sullivan is doing great work holding the government to account for their failure to properly regulate the rental market. We have some very good homelessness services in the city, but we need more of them. It is wrong that people are kicked out in the morning and have nowhere to go until late at night. Labour is working for union rights and the right to a living wage. My Labour colleague Councillor Brendan Carr highlighted living-wage employers as lord mayor and this is something I would like to see increase. It is wrong that two parents could be working and they are homeless.

 

It is not moral for a vacant site to sit on someone’s balance sheet being forgotten about and falling apart until they remember they own it or feel like building on it. If you own a vacant property in the middle of the housing crisis you should be fined and eventually the property should be taken and put to productive use. We need to deal with property rights. It is not a definitive right and there are exceptions to it. We need to deal with this either by legislation or a referendum.

 

Because of my disability I will never own a car or be able to cycle by myself, so walking and public transport are things I am very passionate about. A lot of changes are on the way for transport. We need to have affordable public transport so it can be a viable substitute to driving. This is not just about unclogging our city, it is about saving our planet. Sadly, the NTA consistently ignores community voices, leading to severe and numerous problems. I will continue to fight for a solution to the terrible parking situation at Broombridge, on the issue of the BusConnects and MetroLink proposals, reflecting the real needs and best interests of the community. We need to have safe footpaths that are accessible to people with disabilities, as well as safer cycle lanes and a public transport system that people can rely on. DublinBikes was a great success for Labour, and I will fight to extend this successful scheme to Cabra and the Navan Road.

 

I want safe, segregated cycle lanes across the community. I support the Phibsborough Local Environmental Improvements Plan recommendation to create an underpass under the Phibsborough Road in the old Blackwire Bridge for a segregated cycle lane along the old canal route. I am worried about providing safe ways for older people and people with disabilities to cross cycle paths, and this needs to be dealt with so everyone can get around safely.

 

This is the issue of our generation and I attended the climate strike with Labour Youth. Labour wants a just transition for those whose jobs were lost because of climate change. We need to create new, greener jobs. We need renewable energy cooperatives to speed up adoption of these technologies. I am part of the Royal Canal Clean-up and Phibsborough Tidy Towns, and a founding member of Cabra Tidy Towns. I know that we are making too much single-use packaging and we need to reduce this. We need a response to climate change at all levels, from the EU and Irish government, all the way to local Tidy Towns groups.

 

I am an active member of Phibsborough Tidy Towns, and I am a leader on the Royal Canal Clean-Up and helped set up Cabra Tidy Towns. Through volunteering with these clean-ups I have done a lot to tackle this issue. Some of the illegal dumping is as a direct result of the failed policy of privatisation of the bin services. I am totally against this and want it to be brought back into public ownership. Having competing bin trucks driving up and down the same streets is stupid. This is up to the central government though, and local authorities can’t make this change. We also need to continue to put pressure on companies to reduce unnecessary packaging. I am delighted that a new zero-waste shop called Noms has opened in Phibsborough and I shop there regularly. I have a "keep cup" and try to reduce the amount of waste that I generate, but companies don’t make it easy and the government is doing nothing about it.

 

We are very lucky in Cabra/Glasnevin that we have a lot of green spaces. I think Phibsborough is the exception and it would be nice to expand the amount of green space there. I am working on a submission to the OPW on the future of the Phoenix Park. I want the community to continue to benefit from it and keep the wild areas intact.

 

We have some good opportunities with the redevelopment of Dalymount Park, and I will support Bohs and put pressure on the government to play its part and fund this important facility for the city. I think there is a lack of civic space. If elected I will have very few options for places to run clinics. I will need to run them in pubs and I think this is not good. I want there to be more public events, campaign events, and engagement. I want these to be run in publicly owned, fully accessible and affordable venues. I have campaigned for public provision of services and for good pay and conditions for those who provide our public services for a long time now and this is something that remains important to me and Labour. I think electing someone with a disability to the council will give a new perspective on how to make spaces truly accessible to all.

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