Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Mary Fitzpatrick

 

The housing crisis is most acute in Dublin Central, where there have been zero new social, affordable or private homes built by the state since 2011. Low- and middle-income workers can no longer afford to rent or buy in Dublin Central. Young families are forced to move to and commute from the midlands due to the lack of affordable housing in Dublin Central. The Cabra/Glasnevin area suffers huge shortage of social and affordable homes yet there are a great number of vacant, boarded up sites and units which could be renovated rapidly and use to house the homeless, those on the DCC housing waiting list and those priced-out of the private market. If I am elected to Dublin City Council I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors' support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Motion calling for Dublin City Council to formally adopt the “Vienna Housing Model” and co-operative housing models to deliver affordable public housing for people of all ages and at all stages of their lives –Motion seeking approval, funding and support from central government for accelerated and increased provision of public housing in Dublin city –Propose motion calling for constitutional amendment to make access to housing a basic human right –Call for all state-owned lands in Dublin Central to be used to provide public housing –Re-introduction of an affordable-housing scheme for working people in Dublin city –Review and revision of the qualifying income bands for social housing in Dublin city –Introduction of a tax break for owners who renovate and re-let derelict residential accommodation in Dublin city –Accelerated regeneration and refurbishment of all DCC owned residential units/complexes e.g. St Finbarr's Court, Matt Talbot Court, St Mary’s Place, Constitution Hill, Henrietta House including all bed-sit senior citizen units, e.g. Broombridge, Dunard, Canon Burke Flats –Increased investment in the building of high-quality senior-citizen accommodation and buy-back of city council units via the Financial Contribution Scheme –Introduction of a development levy on any new student accommodation and/or REIT developments in Dublin Central. Funds raised from the levy to be ringfenced for provision of public housing in Dublin Central. –Increased action from DCC to address derelict sites, ensure monthly review of all derelict sites, multipliers penalties and tax incentives for refurbishment.

 

Rental accommodation in Dublin city has become unaffordable for the average worker and this is totally unacceptable. Unaffordability of residential accommodation is market driven. Failed government housing policies of the past eight years has resulted in an inadequate supply of new homes, zero new homes have been built in Dublin Central. The rent pressure zones were introduced too late and are having only minimal impact. In the absence of increased housing supply affordability will never be achieved. Demand for residential accommodation in Dublin city far outweighs supply and the state must intervene to correct the market and make residential accommodation affordable for working people. Dublin City Council, acting on behalf of the state, must take a lead in reversing this situation and ensuring that Dublin City is an affordable place for working people to live. If I am elected to Dublin City Council propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Introduction of a fast-track system for development of new-build cost-rental apartments which would have affordable rent controls

–Reduced development levy for affordable rent controlled residential accommodation

–Propose and seek all city councillors' support for a motion to Dublin City Council calling on DCC to formally adopt the “Vienna Housing Model” and to seek approval, funding and support from central government for same

–Call on the government to amend our constitution to make access to housing a basic human right

–Call for all state-owned lands in Dublin Central to be used to provide public housing as per the “Vienna Housing Model”

–Support for the re-introduction of an affordable housing scheme for working people in Dublin City

–Review of the qualifying income bands for social housing in Dublin City

–Introduction of a tax break for owners who renovate and re-let derelict residential accommodation in Dublin City and make it available as affordable houing

–Increased investment in the building of high-quality senior-citizen accommodation and buy-back of city council units via the Financial Contribution Scheme

–Introduction of a time-limited, development levy on any new student accommodation and/or REIT developments in Dublin city. Funds raised from the levy to be ringfenced for provision of public housing in Dublin Central

–Increased action from DCC to address derelict sites, ensure monthly review of all derelict sites, multipliers penalties applied and tax incentives for refurbishment and relets as affordable homes

 

Homelessness in Dublin city is being primarily caused by the totally inadequate supply of social and affordable housing to rent or buy and the exiting of small private landlords from the private rental market. To reduce Homelessness in Dublin city, if elected to Dublin City Council I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Propose motion calling for constitutional amendment to make access to housing a basic human right

–Housing first. Call on the government to invest in homes instead of homeless, i.e. to prioritise the provision of homes as per my suggestions in sections 1 & 2

–Call for minister for housing to attend city council meeting and report on progress being made by his department to address homelessness at least once a year

–DCC to put measures in place to prevent tenants/homeowners from becoming homeless. Currently, a family or individual can only register as homeless 30 days prior to their notice to quit. This is an insufficient length of time to be approved for homeless HAP and/or to find alternative accommodation. By extending the timeframe it may be possible to house homeless families and individuals prior to their eviction date.

–Where a private-rental tenant, who is on the DCC housing list, is being made homeless because the landlord is selling the property, DCC should make a fair market offer to purchase the property to prevent the tenant becoming homeless and entering emergency accommodation

–Homeless hubs and accommodation should be converted into permanent homes

–Simplify the process of switching between self-accommodating and homeless HAP options

–Liaise with national government on social housing policy to increase supply – see 1 & 2 above

–Liaise with national government in relation to mortgage and banking issues so that DCC can take over properties from qualifying families and they can avoid homelessness

 

The 2016 census indicated there are more than 4,000 derelict sites in Dublin Central yet there are less than 30 sites on DCC’s Derelict Sites Register. To reduce the number of derelict and vacant properties and sites, if I am elected to Dublin City Council I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Penalties for property owners that allow properties to fall into disrepair, become derelict and lie idle when it could be possible for them to be used for commercial or residential purposes.

–Penalties collected to be ringfenced and used for the building of new homes in Dublin city

–Tax breaks for property owners who renovate and return to productive use derelict sites in Dublin city

–Compulsory purchase and development of all derelict sites where the owner persistently fails to return property to productive use

 

I support development of an integrated, efficient, reliable and affordable public-transport system. Public transport should connect city communities not divide them. Public transport provides independent city travel and an opportunity for the city to reduce its carbon footprint. To improve public transport, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Public transport services that connect and do not divide city communities

–Local bus services so that the elderly, young and those with special needs can have access to public transport, i.e. not just main-corridor bus services

–Support migration of all public transport to low or zero emissions

–Park-and-rides for out-of-town commuters

–Free public transport for commuters in the city area

–Time-based restrictions for private-vehicle traffic in the city

 

To improve cycling infrastructure in Dublin city, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Minimum 10 percent of national transport budget to be spent on public transport, walking and cycling

–Increased segregated cycle paths

–Off-road dedicated pedestrian and cycle path along the Royal and Grand canals from the M50 to the city centre and along city rivers where possible

 

To address climate change, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Propose that minister for climate change attends public meeting of Dublin City Councillors and reports on government action to address climate change

–Reduce city carbon emissions by getting DCC, as cities largest residential landlord, to retro-fit its residential housing stock

–Reduce the number of private cars in the city by improving public transport and cycling infrastructure as per 5 & 6 above

–Support and champion Dublin City Council Climate Change Action Plan

–Drive DCC to achieve 33 percent better energy use by 2020

–Drive DCC to achieve 40 percent reduction in the council’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

–Propose that DCC calculate commercial rates based on carbon footprint and financially incentivise by charging reduced rates for reduced carbon emissions

–Propose that DCC give homeowners the opportunity to reduce their Local Property Tax by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes and reducing their carbon footprint

–Seek funding for environmental retrofit of existing DCC housing stock

 

To tackle litter, illegal dumping and dog poo on the streets of Dublin city, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Reintroduction of annual household junk collection

–Reintroduction of domestic bin waiver for low income households

–Introduction of levy to commercial operators who generate excessive non degradable or recyclable packaging and plastic

–Increase frequency of DCC street cleaning

–Support community clean up events by providing council sponsored refuse bags, equipment etc.

–Increase number of dog wardens and have them conduct high visibility patrols with community clean-up groups and community Gardaí

 

local parks play a vital role in our city’s health, and in citizens’ health too. Parks and other green spaces keep cities cool, offer places of recreation and can assist with curtailing obesity by providing play facilities for children and exercise equipment for adults/teens. To increase the number of parks and green spaces in Dublin city, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Ensure that the City Development Plan adequately allows for the creation and maintenance of green spaces and parks.

–Ensure that DCC and An Bord Pleanála when granting planning permission protect and uphold the provision of adequate green spaces and parks

–Ensure that all existing green spaces and parks are maintained and protected by DCC or other owners

–Explore all solutions to increase green space in our city. For example, examining the stock of existing unused/vacant sites with a view to developing additional parks/green spaces, e.g. former industrial sites (brown fields), possibly abandoned infrastructure, etc

–Create incentives for greening of all new city developments

 

To increase the number of public spaces in the city, protect them from privatisation and make them nicer places to be, if I am elected to Dublin City Council, I will propose, champion and seek all city councillors support for the following motions and initiatives:

–Ensure Dublin City Development Plan adequately allows for public spaces

–Ensure DCC and An Bord Pleanála when granting planning permissions protects and upholds the requirement for public spaces

–Support all initiatives that encourage the public to use public spaces and green areas, e.g. Smithfield

–Reduce development levies for developments that include public spaces

–Increased development levies for privatised/gated/closed spaces within the city

–Improved public lighting, increased greening, reduced traffic congestion and speed to enhance city spaces

–Ensure all DCC events are held in public spaces

–Ensure all public spaces are designed for maximum inclusiveness – measures to encourage multigenerational use

–Encourage community engagement with public space through active and broad public consultation

–Make public spaces safer places to be – by incorporating different elements to appeal to as broad a population as possible

–Establish a “friends of public spaces” network for Dublin City which identifies and supports local ambassadors and champions of local public spaces

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