People Before Profit
Housing is one of my key priorities. Public land should be used to build public housing, this would include social and public and be available to people on average incomes. State funds should be used and stop the reliance on the market and private developers to build homes. A major house-building programme could also reduce the "stigma" associated with council housing by providing it to people on every level of income.
Establish a rental board with the express aim of cutting rents by linking them to the Consumer Price Index. Introduce legal measures to stop landlords refusing state payments like HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] and RAS [Rent Accommodation Scheme]. Existing rent controls should be enforced and extended. Homes in the city, not hotel accommodation, should be the planning priority. I also favour action on limiting the levels of Airbnb accommodation until the housing crisis is dealt with. This could include an examination of how other cities have dealt with the issue.
I would seek to have the council unify the agencies providing homeless services in the city. The current crazy situation where agencies compete against each other to get contracts for providing homeless services must stop. This is a prime example of neo-liberalism gone mad. I would also favour the council using CPO [compulsory purchase order] powers on vacant city buildings for use as emergency, short-term, homeless accommodation.
The Vacant Site Levy should be increased and enforced. Properties and sites, after six months on a register of vacant sites, should be CPOed for public use. Fear of constitutional property rights is being used to hide behind the responsibility of the city council and state to provide for the human and public right to a home.
There are fewer buses operating in the city than 10 years ago. Fares are too high and many buses are overcrowded. The fleet needs to be increased and fares cut. There should be an immediate reduction of all fares to €1. A massive expansion of the bus fleet is required and a move to a fare-free policy. This would also be a significant contributor to reducing our carbon emissions. At the moment we have an agency, the NTA, which has huge powers and little accountability. Its neo-liberal thinking is obsessed with competition and facilitating private transport operators, rather than the provision of a public service. The city council should have a greater role in public transport policy and provision.
I support all the current ideas for dedicated, continuous, cycle routes separated from vehicular traffic. However my policy focus would be to find ways to encourage children to cycle. If we are comfortable with our children cycling, we will be satisfied of its safety, and are more likely to cycle ourselves.
Leave fossil fuels in the ground. People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith currently has a bill in the Dáil banning further extraction of fossil fuels. It has passed its first reading, but is being blocked at committee stage. A free public transport system, as currently planned for Luxemburg, would help significantly reduce car traffic in the city.
At the heart of current problems was the privatisation of the bin collection service, which made what was a public service into a commercial operation. This as a priority must be reversed. The city council should have an annual free "big waste collection" for each area. Regular recycling days for furniture and other household goods should be established as exist in other major European cities. The issue of dog poo is both one of public education and awareness and having, close to hand, the necessary facilities to dispose of it.
There should be an objective in the City Development Plan for 10–15% public green space in each electoral area. The opportunity of derelict sites should be used for the development of small pocket parks and community managed allotment gardens.
There has been a tendency for what should be public space to be privatised – this is particularly evident in the suburban shopping centres that ring the city but is also a trend in new developments in the city centre. It should be a planning objective that the public, non-commercial, areas of such developments should become part of the public realm, under the control of the city council.
Community mural schemes: commission murals and free-space art walls where people can experiment with their own designs.
Culture Night: The annual culture night is a great event, which encourages visits and participation of thousands young and old. The city council should take the idea and extend it to a monthly event, coordinated by them in cooperation with the cultural sector.