Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Ellie Kisyombe

 

As a person who lives in Direct Provision, I know and I have the first hand experience with what it like to be uncertain in your home and to worry about where you will have to move to. I believe that a secure and decent home where people and families can flourish, is something that every person in this city and country is entitled to. The housing crisis is a national problem, but Dublin City Council has a big part to play in the solution. We need massive investment in the traditional social-housing construction, but this must be alongside increased investment in a cost-rental housing.

 

The cost-rental solution would bring a massive amount of publicly owned affordable rental homes to people who traditionally haven’t been able to access public or affordable houses. I think that expecting the private market to deliver homes that people can afford by itself won’t work – though rent controls and controls on evictions have a massive part to play.

 

We need to limit the grounds on which a landlord can evict tenants and ensure that these grounds are used only when necessary. At the end of 2016 the government introduced a rent-control measures that limited rent increases to 4 percent [per year] but many people in this area and beyond have not felt the benefit of these protections. We need proper protection for renters. We need a rent register to close to close the loopholes in the rent-control system, so people can know for sure what a lawful rent is.

 

We need a higher tax on vacant and derelict homes and land – so that it’s no longer profitable for people to hoard properties that could be homes for the ordinary people of Dublin.

 

Dublin is a changing city. This means that our transport network needs to work for our diverse, growing population. As a councillor I will work to make getting around our city safer, easier and more fair for all, to ensure a sustainable public transport network that is fit for a modern, diverse city of the 21st century, while maintaining the historical character that makes Dublin the beautiful city that it is.

 

I support building cycling lanes to make cycling in our city much safer. I also believe that this should be done in consultation with local communities so that we can make sure that our communities are safer, less clogged with traffic and greener for all.

 

We have less than twelve and a half years to stop the worst effects of climate change from happening. There’s no doubt about it – this is an emergency. I support keeping oil and gas in the ground where it belongs, and investing in new and renewable energy sources. I think that Dublin City Council has a massive part to play in developing a climate strategy that really delivers and I want to be on the forefront of this.

 

I think that enforcement of existing laws is key – and that as a city councillor I can play a vital role in making sure that city workers have the resources they need to make sure that our city is kept as a clean and healthy environment for our communities.

 

I believe that public green spaces, especially near public-housing projects are essential. As a councillor I will push for these to be included in the plans we make for our city.

 

My party colleague Cllr Gary Gannon put forward a motion to halt the sale of the former Magdalene Laundry site at the Sean MacDermott Street to a Japanese budget hotel chain.

We believe this site should be a centre of commemoration of both the women who were incarcerated at this particular laundry and all those who suffered from the unimaginable abuse since the formation of the state.

As a councillor, and also a woman who has suffered the similar institutional system of Direct Provision, I will campaign to ensure that this site remains public property and honours those who have been denied basic rights and dignity by the state institutions.

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