Affordable housing: yes, this is the most urgent crisis facing the council and if elected I will work to bring back the affordable housing scheme to Dublin City Council. Dublin City Council should be using its own land to build houses and not selling it off to private developers.
Social housing: yes, of course I will be supporting an increase in development of social-housing projects but only where it is done as part of social-mix development plan, this has been proven to be a better planning method for areas to ensure continued development of the community and attracting employers and local businesses to areas. Only in exceptional circumstance would I vote for 100 percent social housing and even at that it would need to be very small amount in an area with a good residential mix.
Of course, the government as a whole should be providing more affordable rent conditions. The 4 percent-increase rent cap is being breached and not enough is being done to tackle this. I would be in favour of bringing back rent relief to tenants and that the government build private lets for those that are within the affordable housing cap earning limit.
Supply is the key issue here and we simply need to start building homes, however I am very much in favour of supporting the work that focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust are doing in this area, as they are experts in tackling long-term homelessness and with the right support and resources I believe that they would be able to have a huge impact on this problem. It’s high time the council and government began listening to those working at the coalface of this issue, rather than paying consultants with little to no experience in the area to tell them how to act.
By and large I am in favour of the derelict and vacant properties tax levy, with an open-minded review process to ensure that it is not unduly penalising those that may not be able to look after properties in their care but who’s hope is to pass them as inheritance to their families.
We need to be concentrating on penalising property speculators who are only interested in increasing profits not punishing people who simply don’t have the resources to develop sites. The option of Dublin City Council purchasing derelict and vacant properties in something similar to a compulsory purchase order scenario should be a consideration with the appropriate suitability to build homes being one of the key factors.
The north side of Dublin needs Metro North starting development now. We have been waiting for over a generation for it, and the delay is not acceptable and would not happen in any other major European city. Also every major city in Europe has direct transport from the airport to the city centre; I can’t understand why this project is continually redrafted.
While there are many restrictions on the lanes on our national roads, for new cycling lanes we need to be looking beyond the main roads and see where cycle lanes and tracks can be developed. Simply looking at including cycling lanes along existing roads is not enough, there is plenty of opportunity to create tracks in safer locations. A great example is some of the New York City cycle tracks that do not rely on the road network. There are also many areas across the city that could have dedicated cycle lanes alongside the road network created and I think this should be in the greater Dublin city plan.
Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet that we are likely to see in our life time. Having a positive impact for our children’s and the planet's future must be a priority. The council itself needs to lead by example and there should be more of the new solar-powered compactor bins and lighting along our streets. Dublin City Council should also be looking at the direction An Post has gone in order to reduce their carbon footprint and move towards electric vehicles and other alternatives which are cost effective and better for our environment in the long term.
I would be in favour of Dublin city taking back the refuse collection for a start; privatisation of the industry has only served to worsen problems. There is plenty of space for a limited Dublin City Council service to operate, allowing for those who struggle to pay private companies to avail of for a nominal charge.
I think that there should be a compost facility in Dublin City Council from the brown bins which would be completely free and available to the public. I would also be in favour of bringing back the bulk collections on a more frequent basis. Illegal dumping needs to be tackled better and more resources needs to be allocated to litter wardens. More dog poo bins is of course a good thing but we also need more litter wardens enforcing fines in area affected by dog fouling otherwise with all the good will in the world this will remain a major issue in our communities.
Encouraging local residents to be more active in their communities is key to having better facilities, advocating for community spaces and assisting Dublin City Council in upkeep of these spaces has been very successful in certain area. There are lots of small verges and wasteland around the city that can be used for recreational use. The council needs to advertise the local grants scheme better and the clean-up facilities they offer. The council could also look into a deduction on business rates for business that partake in an environmental and community facilities. There is also the possibility of looking into an allowance for volunteer part-time park caretakers.
Not every public space needs to be park land, so it is important to have community facilities especial for youths. There is also a strong need for more communal work spaces for those setting out in their business and for community organisations. There are a number of old industrial buildings that could be converted into community spaces and this could also create employment and training opportunities.