Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019
 

In terms of social and affordable housing, let's face it, whatever policies Dublin City Council has, if you don't have the supply of homes, you don't have the supply. Dublin City Council should at least begin to build suitable housing and purpose-built emergency homeless accommodation.

Rather than the ad-hoc way of accommodating people in family hubs, ad-hoc buildings like Carman's Hall, or B&Bs, Dublin City Council should begin to build purpose-built. York House Salvation Army. Or Granby House. Or the Iveagh on Bride Street. The council can do that. Also where you have an AHB with property that hasn't been developed, the council should take that back, and put that to use.

In terms of social and affordable, we're going to be very much dependent on the private sector, so we should up the percentage from 10 percent of social in private developments. We also end to look at student accommodation and the way that whole model is being rolled out. It just seems to me to be a situation where all that accommodation is being built, but it doesn't seem to be homes, and it doesn't seem to be permanent. We were led to believe that students would leave apartments and flats, and go into student accommodation but no such thing is happening.

What you're looking at here is where you actually make homes available for your cities and people. I did support the new policy document from the council whereby 50 percent of voids would go to people who are long-term homeless. I think the lead group of Dublin City Council, Sinn Féin have really failed on this front.

 

This business of affordability is a myth. People can barely afford a cup of tea. That is not going to change. We are not going to get to a place where housing becomes cheap. I think in relation to our most vulnerable people I think there should be stronger subsidies. I think we have an obligation to actually subsidise those who have the lower economic standing, lower wage jobs. I also think if it is possible for a person to go back to the family home, we should be able to subsidise that. People are being put into what's now going to be known as rent poverty, whereby all of the money is being spent on the rent and people aren't going out, and this will end up in all sort of emotional and mental conditions because you aren't socialising and you're isolated.

Also, I think we should be calling on the Irish Catholic Church, to begin the process to coming to the aid of the poor and those who are need of housing and shelter. It makes no sense that church grounds lying idle are not being turned into family homes. If I was to be re-elected these are the policies that I'd be advocating for.

 

You are never going to eliminate homelessness. Homelessness is something that is global, how you respond to homelessness is what you need to think about. You have to keep people from falling into a poverty trap. It's not just about being homeless, it's about being vulnerable. We need to be able to look at the health fallouts first and foremost of homelessness. In terms of being able to assist people. Assisting people with rent. Whenever possible if the landlord is selling the property, the council should move in and buy that property. Dublin City Council should be appealing to people who are selling their homes to first and foremost come to them. And the Revenue should offer tax incentives if owners sell to the council or approved housing bodies. That would make sense.

Basically what we are looking here at, if you are looking at 10,000 people on the homeless list, we need immediately 20,000 homes immediately to alleviate that situation. We also need seriously to look at the possibility of relocation programmes to other parts of the country. We need to see if we can make it attractive for people in this situation to resettle maybe somewhere else with good housing, good social programmes. Won't be be able to provide enough housing in the short- or even medium-term, but what the councul can do fror people who are homeless is provide them social centres and programmes, places for them to go and good things for them to do during the day. We also have to be very careful that we don't build homeless compounds, where people are contained, and there should be a way for people to exit homelessness.

 

The thing about vacant and derelict properties, some of those properties are not fit, some of those are in shocking state. Dublin City Council isn't going to turn around and disband regulations where you can have people living over shops and it's a fire hazard, it's just not going to do that. So unless we do that, this is going to remain an issue.

 

The best way to improve public transport is to appeal to people to be less hostile while they are out there on the road. There is a finite amount of space out there. There's the Luas coming through, bus corridors stopping and coming and changing, bike lanes that go nowhere. I think the best thing we can do is set out an entire plan to give people an idea of how this whole plan altogether is going to work.

At the moment, one week it's cycle tracks, another week it's metro underground, next week it's trains, it all gets very confusing. There was a time when people could get around the city on foot but now the footpaths are such a mess. I think if people move their cars out in their apartments or wherever, you're still going to have congestion. I'd also be very careful of privatised public transport coming in.

 

The point of the matter is you can improve cycle infrastructure but you have to improve road use behaviour. We know when we have improved cycle tracks we haven't improved road use behaviour. I've gone out and watched. It's just chaos, you don't have enforcement. And on top of that you have people going around willy nilly with a complete disrespect for the rules. So I think we need to grow up as a city. I think at the end of the day when people are in transit and they're moving from place to place, they need to have more respect for each other.

 

I think there's so much the council can do to address climate change that it's like where to you start. We have vast amounts of senior elderly buildings that need to be retrofitted or they need to be taken down. In terms of the council's own waste management in its social housing, it's disgraceful how we do that. In terms of how we incinerate waste down at Covanta, I'm totally against that. We should be getting into more recycling. We should be looking at reducing emissions from cars. Planting more trees within the city area. And we need to be monitoring these situations really really really well. And we need to be giving incentives to people to improve their behaviours in these areas.

The council has a climate action plan that has been formulated. The government in contrast really hasn't done very much. The city is growing enormously. We have to get real here. We have the capacity we can do this. We can only do this together. But we can only do it if we change our behaviour.

 

Where people do illegal dumping and where there's dog poo on the street, the council has laws and we need enforcement. We need more staff out every day, more public domain officers out on the street 24/7 proactively tackling offenders. I know the street cleaners do a great job. But if people are going to keep dumping then these people have to be targeted, they have to be prosecuted and they have to be identified. It's all too bad since we brought in waste charges that people are going out and dumping waste.

And I believe that people who see people's dogs dumping on the street, they should report them. You're not informing on them. This is not some sort of 1960's IRA thing. We seem to be very hostile. When you ask someone to clean up after their dog, they'll get very abusive. People are fearful. Council officials and staff know that, that when they go out and do this job, they could be attacked.

 

Councillors can designate in big developments that a percentage has to be set aside for amenities, and for green spaces. We're going to get more boardwalks with the Liffey Cycle Way. But the current boardwalk, there's issues of anti-social behaviour. In terms of the green spaces, the public domain spaces, like Temple Bar, it's a nightmare, those public spaces. There's some beautiful green spaces in other parts of the city, the gorgeous and underused Phoenix Park which is very underutilised because we never advertise it. And I'd like to see the Dublin Bay better used too. But when people do use these spaces a lot of times there are issues with anti-social behaviour. So again, it goes back to behaviour. We need to grow up. I want to see green spaces, but I don't want to see green spaces with anti-social behaviour. So like the plaza, they didn't have a plan to manage it once it was built.

 

The whole of the city is a public place. Every place in the city centre is a public place. In order to provide seating, in order to provide small set-aside parks, and sports facilities, and small little play areas for children. But there's no place in rolling these out when people are just going to come along and vandalise them and burn them. We need to offer our citizens a reconstituted way of how we're going to come to their aid and provide them with the facilities they want. We need to up our game here, we need to change the dynamics, and we need to be able to enjoy our cities.

I would like to see the council take control of Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park and make the city one of the greenest and family friendly places in Europe. We need to get more land off institutions like the church, and get more land off the big developers, and we need to be able to build the infrastructure. Not just a city for the future, but a city for the people who are in it right now.

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