Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Peter Dooley

 

Fine Gael's Rebuilding Ireland has completely failed low- and middle-income earners where having a secure and truly affordable home is out of reach of the vast majority of us. By failing to build public housing, Fine Gael backed up by Fianna Fáil has facilitated land hoarders, developers, landlords, vultures and enriched the wealthiest sectors leaving many struggling in housing poverty. Working people will never be able to afford their own home.

We in People Before Profit see housing as an essential human right that must come before the needs of speculators and the wealthy. I reject the commodification of land and housing and demand a major expansion of public housing that would be open to all income levels. Stop the sell-off of public land, build public housing on public land. The state has to directly build public housing, acquire vacant houses, increase Part V from the current 10 percent to a statutory minimum of 20 percent, task NAMA to deliver homes under its social remit, affordable student accommodation.

 

Rents have almost doubled over the past six years while wages stagnate. Renters are being forced from their community and 70 percent of people forced into homelessness are from the private-rented sector because of no security of tenure and unaffordable rents courtesy of deliberate FG/FF policies. Over 20 percent of the population are now renting and are totally unrepresented and have no voice, I am fully committed to changing that. I co-founded the voluntary Dublin Renters Union in Rathmines in early 2017 to provide help, support and advice to renters struggling under constant threat of eviction and collectively have taken on and beaten landlords locally. If you are in the area please contact me.

We need to build a massive social movement to take on the landlord class in Dublin and nationally to deliver a truly secure and affordable home that everyone in society deserves. By increasing public housing, that I spoke about earlier, and enacting measures on restricting entire apartments and houses being let out on Airbnb and other short-term letting platforms, it would supply more homes and reduce the reliance on the private sector.

I will demand real rent controls, where rents are reduced to 2011 levels and move towards rents linked to income and fight for real security of tenure with long-term leases for renters, where the renter decides to leave at their own choosing not the landlord's.

 

It's absolutely disgraceful there are 10,264 people, official figures, in emergency accommodation of which there are about 4,000 children. As I said earlier, FG/FF deliberate policies that profit their friends have led to our crisis. A month, 100 families are forced into homelessness because of the failure of market policies. This is disgraceful in a country that has over the last two years has grown at more than three times the EU average, we need a recovery for all not for the wealthy and that is why we need to vote for People Before Profit representatives on 24 May.

We would immediately ban evictions to stop the flood of people into homelessness and by demanding real security of tenure to renters. By ramping up directly built public housing we would provide long-term secure homes, end the use of B&Bs, hotels for emergency accommodation.

 

We propose a vacant site tax, a use-it-or-lose-it policy on sites where developers have a specific timeframe to build on it, the Derelict Sites Register and action taken on them and to take them back into public ownership, CPO vacant properties to provide homes for people.

 

We are one of the most car-dependent societies in the world. Over-reliance on cars damages the environment and human health. Each year, 1,400 people die from poor air quality, often caused by car emissions. We would invest in vital public transport. It links communities, reduces congestion, and helps control our carbon emissions. Public transport must be properly funded and supported.

In Dublin, we oppose the corporate agenda of BusConnects. This service will make it more difficult for older people, those with prams and mobility issues to access public transport. We favour upgrading services. In light of the multiple benefits coming from a well-resourced public transport system, we propose making public transport free.

 

As a cyclist myself, we need safe and joined-up cycle ways throughout the city where cyclists of all ages can access. By building cycle ways, it would encourage people to travel in more environmentally friendly ways.

 

We are in a race against time. Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity. The relentless need for corporations to increase their profits is destroying our eco-system. One hundred of the world's corporations are responsible for 71 percent of carbon emissions. This is not compatible with a stewardship model for the environment. A global strike of school students is the latest in a wave of protests over the threat of extinction.

People power is our best chance to save the planet. Ireland has committed to legally binding targets of reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but the EPA has admitted that, at best, Ireland will manage a percent reduction. This is directly due to government policy where emissions are accounted for by: agriculture at 33 percent, energy at 20 percent, transport at 25 percent, residential buildings at 12 percent, and fossil fuel exploration.

We have our Climate Emergency Bill which will stop the issuing of licensing for fossil fuel exploration and keeps fossil fuels in the ground. We are opposed to carbon taxes. They are not the answer and are regressive. We have to tackle the big corporations. Free public transport, invest in rail, trams, and buses. Proper planning to reduce commuter times in cars, state investment in offshore wind energy and solar power, state investment to retrofit houses, tax the profits of fossil fuel corporations and force them to reduce production while using the taxes to build new renewable energy sources, reafforestation programme.

 

The privitasation of our bin services has been a disaster with extortionate prices and leading to more fly-tipping. I will fight to get bin services brought back under the control of Dublin City Council, increase litter bins throughout the city with frequent, regular collections.

Increased recycling facilities and put pressure on manufacturers, producers, retailers to reduce plastic and non-recyclable packaging. More dog litter bins, with bags attached and dog parks. More education and awareness-raising programmes.

 

It is vital that we have really sustainable communities. We need parks and green spaces for the good of the community and environment. I will fight for our city to be a liveable city and that real community participation in deciding where we have parks and green spaces where everyone in the community can enjoy and feel the benefit from. We will fight for more people to be directly employed by the council to work on essential public services such as parks and really create socially and community valuable work.

 

It is vital that we have really sustainable communities and I will fight to keep all public land, spaces to be kept in public hands for the good of all the community. The same would apply to derelict or vacant sites which could be used for the good of the entire community. Community gardens, allotments, skate parks, etc.

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