Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019
 

Even though our urban population is rising, the number of homes being built has stalled. The number of homes being built needs to double to meet demand and deliver genuinely affordable prices.

Dublin City Council must be equipped with enough skills and expertise to deliver social and affordable homes on state-owned, zoned land in the city and county. For instance, there is an abundance of this to the north my area in south Fingal

The level of bureaucracy in local authorities has certainly hampered our ability to take hold of the crisis in housing to date. It’s my view that discretionary spending limits on how much the city council can spend without the Department [of Housing]'s approval should be increased to allow them to get on with building much needed homes. Long-drawn-out planning decisions are also delaying construction – establishing a new specialised planning court can breakdown that bottleneck.

Our party’s affordable-housing scheme is also aimed at those who are above social housing thresholds but are priced out of owning a home in their local area.

 

The severe dysfunction in the city’s housing system is not only failing families in homelessness but also those desperately trying to juggle a full-time job and household bills and paying exceptionally high rent with no hope of saving for a mortgage.

I very much support the accelerated roll-out of a cost-rental scheme in the city, which would mean providing land for building units for rent at a not-for-profit cost. This could be achieved in collaboration with the Land Development Agency.

 

Homelessness is a scandal of proportions never previously seen in our city. The government’s housing strategy is not working. It has been frustrating over the course of the past number of years as a councillor I am acutely aware of the emergency but restricted by the council’s inability to make moves quickly because of unnecessary red tape. Prioritising a Housing First approach, drawing on the model adopted in Finland, has potential. There is no reason why the success in Finland cannot be emulated here. Ultimately ramping up social housing targets is critical.

 

Since Fine Gael entered power the number of vacant buildings has increased by nearly 60 percent. The owners of vacant property haven’t been remotely encouraged to refurbish the premises to bring it back onto the market and subsequently improve the housing supply. The number of properties being added to the council’s Derelict Sites Register is simply not happening at a fast-enough pace.

The impact of reintroducing the Vacant Site Levy on tackling urban dereliction remains to be seen. Although I am optimistic that by also strengthening CPO [compulsory purchase order] powers, we can make progress on regenerating the abundance of vacant, derelict properties in Dublin.

 

Those depending on public transport services in Dublin are at their wits' end – crammed onto dangerously overcrowded Dart carriages and Luas trams like sardines. There are several elements of our public transport infrastructure that need to be dramatically improved.

Reducing the overall over-reliance unsustainable forms of transport and decarbonising the Dublin Bus fleet are critical.

Over the past two years, especially, the rate of anti-social behaviour on public transport has escalated. That’s one of the reasons why I believe that a dedicated Dublin Transport Police must be established as a unit of An Garda Síochána to deter anti-social behaviour and clamp down on public-order offences on services.

As any daily commuter can tell you, increasing the capacity of Irish Rail services and improving on both the frequency and efficiency of all Dublin based public transport services are urgent.

 

Cyclists in our city continue to endure appalling conditions and so it is no surprise a great number of them are left injured, or hospitalised following road traffic accidents each year. These are usually caused by dangerous weaknesses in infrastructure due to lack of national transport funding.

A funding scheme that ringfences a proportion of Dublin City Council’s Local Government Fund is the only sustained way of properly investing in improving the city’s cycling infrastructure.

Fixed penalty cameras should be put in place to free up cycle lanes and segregated cycle lanes need to be introduced if we are serious about increasing access to bike sharing schemes or encourage more commuters to get back up on their bikes.

 

Positive change starts from the grassroots up and as a local representative I support pragmatic politics that prioritises solutions.

Over the next five years on Dublin City Council, if elected, I will remain committed to the health and prosperity of our urban communities. The existing Local Climate Change Action Plan must be fully administered. While the 119 targeted actions contained in the National Biodiversity Plan are still to be fully achieved.

I believe that the capital raised from a carbon tax should be ringfenced and used to assist those in fuel poverty and to increase supports and incentives to assist Dubliners to change their unsustainable and environmentally damaging use of fossil fuels.

Dublin City Council should be given more flexibility to incentivise local efforts to decarbonise. City councillors have an important part to play in the decision making that is required to address this existential crisis.

 

Bringing waste collection services back under Dublin City Council control is one of very few ways to improve the city's worsening waste problem.

Making legislative changes to the Litter Pollution Act is crucial to sending a clear, strong message to dog owners that people will not tolerate those who fail to clean up after their pet.

 

Fianna Fáil proposes setting up a €25m Park Development Fund for each local authority to bid on to finance development new sites into parks and mini parks. Emphasis will be placed on re-developing derelict spaces throughout the city.

Local Environment Improvement Plans should be commonly used to examine whether it is possible to increase the number of parks in a given area or how best to protect the already limited amount of public green space.

Plans to remove popular green space to provide for other developments must be avoided and an alternative solution identified. This is achievable and can be set out in any fair and transparent planning and design process for any proposed residential, commercial or transport project.

 

St Anne's Park, Fr Collins Park and Streamville Park are popular open spaces in our locality that not only contribute to a healthier environment but are also important recreational amenities.

As Dublin expands and the demand for commercial and residential space only grows, we must work hard to ensure that those tasked with urban planning will prioritise the need to preserve the importance of green areas environmental health.

As a major European capital city, Dublin should be known only as a modern, inviting, sustainable urban centre. The vision for Dublin is to continue to evolve, that must be matched with political will and government capital for it be achieved over the next five years.

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