Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Jen Cummins

     

Homelessness in Ireland is the biggest issue on the doors. High rents are driving families into situations where they are no longer able to afford to pay the rent and need to find alternative accommodation. This is not easy. There should be rent regulation and increased rights for tenants. There should be a rent cap, linked to the general rate of inflation. I support the introduction of a national rent freeze while the support of housing is increased to match the demand.

There is, however, too much of a reliance of the private sector to produce the housing required. In the South West Inner City, enough student accommodation and hotels have been built over the last number of years. Residents are not happy with the lack of housing for their children who were born and raised in the area and cannot afford the rent and/or to buy in the area. Ringfence 20 percent of all new developments for affordable housing, this is in addition to the existing social housing. Support those in mortgage distress. Establish a new government agency with an explicit role to get homes.

As a councillor, my number one priority is to ensure that the council does its duty to increase housing provision. I feel it is vital that housing is mixed social housing which is affordable. Housing alone does not make a community. Sports, recreation and community centres as well as amenities and services need to be delivered as part of the development. We should be building communities not economies.

 

Dublin 8 has a significant number of vacant and derelict sites. There are currently 15 sites on the register. Many others are not on this list but are vacant/derelict. There should be penalties for owners who leave sites like this. These sites are unsightly, potentially dangerous and do not enhance communities. They could be developed. Ireland is experiencing a chronic housing problem and these sites could be used. Our neighbourhood shops need to be maintained so that our community looks well and improves the appearance of the area. Several areas in the South West Inner City have vacant shops, pubs, other spaces previously used for services. These need to be improved and maintained.

 

Public transport should be available to use by everyone. People with disabilities should be able to access public transport like others can. Wheelchair users are often unable to access buses due to lack of space if there is another wheelchair or a buggy. People using trains often need to ring ahead to ensure there will be a ramp. This curtails their lifestyle.

BusConnects has been a hot topic in the area. People are dissatisfied with losing gardens, entrances and also the very old trees in areas like Inchicore, which is also something that affects climate change and also reduces green areas in this heavily urbanised community. We need to move away from carbon intense, car-based transport towards high-capacity public transport options. We must also drastically reduce emissions in transport if we are to meet emissions reduction targets.

The cost of public transport should be reduced in order to increase numbers of people using public transport. The ticketing system should be usable on all forms of transport within the Dublin area, like in London/Berlin etc. Increasing incentives and subsidies to purchase electric vehicles, including subsidies for the installation of charge points domestically. We would increase the availability of fast-charge points nationwide.

 

I am a commuting cyclist. I gave up driving to and from work and bought an electric bike to travel daily from the Tenters to Ballymun, where I work. It currently takes me the same length of time to cycle the journey as it did to drive. I am getting fitter and it is better for the environment. However, it is often dangerous to cycle. One must have nerves of steel and an assertive disposition. The cycle paths are not in good condition. The roads are too narrow for cycle lanes and cars and buses drive in them. Bus stops in cycle paths are problematic. it is too dangerous for families to cycle in the South West Inner City.

I propose that Dublin City Council use 10 percent of its transport budget for cycling. There should be dedicated separated cycling paths like in other mainland European countries. There should be cycling greenways, like along the canal. The South West Inner City residents should be able to cycle safely in their neighbourhood. Initiatives to support safe cycling in the area should be established to support all ages cycling safely.

 

This issue is something which children and young people ask me about at the doors and in my role as co-ordinator of the School Completion Programme in Ballymun. These young people are concerned that the issue of climate change has not been taken seriously by those in power. I think it is time that there are radical changes in how the issue of climate change are addressed. Ensure Ireland meets its emissions targets by investing in high-capacity transport, retro-fitting for home and work-places.

Ensuring that grants are available to those who retro-fit. Ban single-use plastics like other cities around the world are doing. Increase the types of plastics which Dublin City Council can recycle. Levies on unrecyclable plastic. Making bring centres more available and have increased opening times. Having a deposit return scheme, like in Germany for plastic and glass bottles. Social Democrats pledge that the party will prioritise a switch to electric vehicles, cycling and public transport. We would like to increase the provision of off-shore wind energy, solar and biomass energy.

 

Apart from the housing issue, dog poo and litter is mostly spoken about on the doors. It is something which is the main conversation at residents association meetings also. Some areas of the South West Inner City have widespread cleaning of streets etc and others seem not to have the same service.

There should be a regulator for the waste industry so that the environment and consumers are better protected. There should be a restriction on charges for household recyclables collection. There should be annual collections over-size household and garden furniture, machinery etc, like there is in Germany. This reduces illegal dumping. It is also used by communities to reuse the items by others. Dog fouling must be tackled by having more dog wardens patrolling areas. There needs to be an education piece also. Dog dirt is often collected in bags and then the bags are disposed in drains thus blocking them in heavy rainfall.

   

The third largest issue on the doors is green public space in the South West Inner City. Having some down time is vital to our health. But where do teenagers go for this? Our young people spend more and more time in school or online. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to physical and mental health problems. They are often lonely and isolated – and may feel overwhelmed by the real life and virtual worlds that they occupy at the same time. Young people and teenagers need to be able to chill out with their friends in a safe environment. Dublin City Council should follow South Dublin South County Council in providing robust playing facilitites for teeangers. For the sake of our young people’s health and well-being they deserve places to be themselves, act like teenagers, entertain themselves and enjoy their limited free time.

The Social Democrats call on councils to prioritise recreation, play and sport. Dublin 8 is densely urbanised. The use of green spaces for development is not acceptable to the residents. Community gardening and allotments are sources of physical, mental and emotional health. It is an education is healthy eating and living. Space should be given and maintained for people in Dublin 8 to partake in this activity.There should be a dog park for Dublin 8, particularly in the Liberties area, so that dogs can be off lead. People love their dogs and would love to be able to have them off lead and yet safe. Large roads in the community should be tree lined. For example, Cork Street is a windswept road due to the lack of trees, which add to the beauty and environment of the area. The canal is a beautiful attraction in the area – but it is somewhat neglected from Sally's Bridge heading towards Rialto. Although the residents welcome the new path along by Dolphins Barn.

Dublin City Council is currently looking at its Play Strategy. Everyone of all ages can contribute their voice to the plan here. Sporting facilities in Dublin 8 are lacking, especially for sports like hurling and camogie. Areas like St Teresa’s Gardens, the Marrowbone Lane Depot, the Player Wills site are not being used for such activities. This lack of vision for community but instead economy is unsatisfactory to the residents of this area. Quality of life from a recreational and work perspective is vital to mental, physical and emotional health.

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