Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019
 

I am fully supportive of the development of social, affordable and a new way of using public land to develop homes along the cost-rental model. While on the last council, I proposed that the government buy the Player Wills site to develop cost-rental homes on the land.

The Labour party has developed a new model of public housing that is open to everyone, in order to solve the problem of housing costs. Labour’s solution is the same as what Labour parties have delivered throughout European cities for decades: good quality housing, built by local authorities, and rented out at a fair affordable rent to people from a wide range of backgrounds. More than two-thirds of people living in Vienna rent publicly provided housing (“cost-rental housing”) and this is a normal housing option right across Europe. The great state-led house-building programmes of the 1940s, 1950s and 1970s owe a lot to the role of Labour, and this can be done again to deliver affordable public housing in our towns and cities.

Our use of HAP for delivering social homes is simply a transfer of wealth from the taxpayer to landlords which leave people in insecure rental tenancies. The state and Dublin City Council need to take an active role in both delivering and managing our social housing stock if we are ever to bring housing costs to affordable levels again.

For more information on Labour housing policy published last year , Labour’s Affordable Housing for All policy document is available here.

 

I am a strong supporter of rent control and stronger regulation is needed to give more rights to tenants as we are moving to a greater proportion of the population renting.

I am fully supportive of the new rules governing whole unit short-stay rentals (such as Airbnbs) which is taking much needed housing stock out of the city. In particular in my own area of Dublin 8, knocking on doors in the Liberties you see every second house with the tell-tale key box outside. These houses for generations have been long-term homes for people but now are short-stay rentals for tourists.

There needs to be stronger democracy for tenants and owner-occupiers of apartment buildings and housing estates, to give them control over management companies and a greater say in the management of common areas.

 

The Labour Party will give local councils the resources they need to end the homelessness crisis. A state-led housing building programme is needed to ensure the delivery of homes as what has been happening in my area are that all applications going in are for hotel or student accommodation. Homelessness won’t be addresses until we take action to ensure that developers are building long-term housing units. I have opposed and made submission to ABP on student accommodation in my area pointing out that as long as permission is granted for lower-standard higher-yield housing, then developers won’t have the incentive to build housing on their land.

 

Local councils need to have stronger compulsory purchase powers for the development of housing and managers need to be willing to use them and given the resources to bring them back to life.

Councils should be empowered to impose large fines on those who leave buildings and land vacant for unacceptable periods of time. The Labour Party supports legislation for the compulsory purchase of lands at existing use value, building on the 1973 Kenny Report proposals.

 

When drafting city and county development plans, Labour councillors will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.

We support a strategic overhaul of bus transport in Dublin, while we will also advocate for revisions to the BusConnects plan in particular where it is breaking up villages and making the public sphere less welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists. Our city, and village within it should be a place to live and not just travel though.

 

When drafting city and county development plans, our group will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.

Greater investment is needed to improve and promote walking and cycling facilities, such as the Grand Canal cycle route which has been subject to long delays and initiatives such as cycling quietways which is a new idea to me but one that I find very appealing as a daily cyclist.

We need to invest in continuous and segregated bike lines through urban centres, safe counter-flow cycle lanes, secure cycle stands in towns and at schools, and safe routes for schoolchildren cycling to school and support them when they run into opposition

Our budget for cyclists is too low and 10 percent of the national transport budget should go into improving our cycling infrastructure.

 

Labour as a party is committed to real change to Ireland’s economy so that we are less reliant on fossil fuels. We are calling for there to be Climate Action Committees on every council to drive an ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions and to ensure sustainability such as the DCC Climate Change Action Plan which has been championed by Cllr Claire Byrne.

The Labour party have proposed an ambitious state-led programme to insulate over 100,000 homes a year, including existing council housing. Insulating homes helps reduce energy poverty as people save money on their energy costs.

Councils can take action such as the inclusion of green roofs on building, which will reduce our flood risk as a coastal city and greening the city wherever possible, such as allowing unused land for allotments or “guerrilla gardening”, or ensuring there is greening along pavements. I have always been supportive of any measure which increase greening in the city and have advocated that Dublin City Council explore green roofing options when building their own units.

 

Enforcement is a very difficult issue when it comes to litter and dumping. There has been a policy in Dublin City Council of removing bins when we need to provide more bins in public places, in particular the solar-compacting bins which reduce the waste we send to landfill. More litter officers need to be employed directly to tackle litter hotspots.

The worst decision taken by Dublin City Council management was to sell off the direct waste collection. Labour proposed improving the quality of waste collection by direct employment by local authorities where possible, and strong enforcement of regulations on private operators.

There is also a need to increase the the number of people working as litter wardens, dog wardens to tackle the issue of litter and dog dirt. Without enforcement this will continue to be a blight on our city. I am supportive of using CCTV in dumping or litter hotspots, which was piloted in the North Inner City.

As a dog owner I have no time for owners who don’t pick up after their own dog. However, we need to make free biodegradable bags available and bins in area where dog walkers gather.

 

I have been a leading voice on Dublin City Council for the provision of green spaces in Dublin 8 which has the lowest amount of green space for population density in the City.

I led the campaign to develop a derelict site on Cork Street as a park which is now the very popular Weaver Park. I worked in the development plan to keep the Boys Brigade pitches and expand them as a sports pitch for local sports clubs in the community. A liveable city is a green city where every citizens has access to green lungs and public recreation space.

 

Our cities and towns should not be overly focused on commercial concerns. Vibrant cities and towns need to be focused on people’s needs. I will work promote public spaces, as I have done though my time on the council, though initiatives such as proposing in the development plan that a proportion of mixed-used developments should be used for artistic work spaces which enhances the city and working with people such as the Dublin Flea Market to find spaces for these community and social spaces in the city.

I have also opposed the closing of pubic spaces by developers who have wanted to block access to square to the public (unfortunately planning found against us). I will always promote the primacy of public open space over private open space.

This is a project by Dublin Inquirer, a reader-funded local newspaper covering Ireland's capital. You can support our work by becoming a subscriber.