Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Fianna Fáil

22 candidates

 

Our council needs to start looking at solutions to the housing shortage, which in my area hasn’t seen one affordable housing unit built yet. If the city wants to deal with this issue it must have a council chamber united to solve the problem.

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.

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 lack of an affordable housing scheme is clearly evident throughout the city . Successful schemes like Ó Cualann housing in Ballymun have been severely oversubscribed showing the clear need for similar schemes.

I am in favour of social-mix housing developments that cater for social, affordable , senior citizen , privately rented and privately owned dwellings. We now have a whole generation of young adults myself included who cannot afford to live in Dublin for the first time in the history of the state. It is very clear a shift in policy is needed.

In my home area of Finglas, there are approximately 5,000 3 to 4 bedroom housing units that have a sole occupant. In a lot of circumstances these are senior citizens who might like to downsize and stay in the area if senior citizens' accommodation was available. Selling their home back to council for a fee and moving into smaller more manageable rental accommodation in the heart of their communities should be a possibility. This in turn frees up larger houses for families on the relevant housing lists.

I have been writing about planning, housing crisis, homelessness, and human rights for the past five years in the Irish Independent. On 15 September 2018, my opinion on the Land Development Agency was published – well before it was suggested that I run for local election. Dealing with the housing crisis is nothing new to me.

In my article I wrote that the taoiseach "considers the LDA to be a radical idea, saying it is the first time that State land is in place and the first time such an agency has been put in place to meet the present and future needs of our growing population. The major factor is that 30pc of State land is to be used for affordable and social housing.” I will engage with the LDA and seek information on procedures, and report on progress or lack thereof.

Next is my recent opinion on the "cuckoo/vulture funds" published on 8 April 2019. Note that when I say "rental is not part of our culture", I mean rental for life, and then having a pension to keep paying rent until you pass away. That is not part of our culture. We must have an opportunity to purchase and pay off in 20 or 30 years. We all rent for a few years and should be able to save or get a mortgage to buy a property, nearly always with a partner, unless you’re lucky enough to inherit.

I will also seek construction budget costs from established contractors and the CIF and provide this essential information to the local authority. Ireland has a Housing Agency which came into effect on 1 August 2012 and seven years later the housing crisis is worse than ever. There is a gap in the provision of housing – no joined-up thinking.

Housing development should connect with transport infrastructure – that is the whole point of my campaign for underground transport, to generate affordable housing in the greater Dublin area and bring commuters – new affordable house owners – into the city-centre workplace or recreation faster and SAFER.

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.

This is a key priority of mine. As someone in their twenties, I simply cannot afford to get on the property ladder in Dublin city. There simply are not enough social and affordable homes being built and this government seem ideologically opposed to building these houses. The solution is for local authorities to take the initiative, identify where social and affordable homes should be built and then begin the building process. There is enough state-owned land to build over 40,000 units. This land needs to be used to build houses on.

Lobby the government through the forum of Dublin City Council to fast-forward the development of city council-owned "brownfield" sites for the provision of social and affordable housing. Currently the city council is purchasing houses on the open market, which in turn results in the council competing against first-time buyers.

In the last five years, Dublin City Council has built no social or affordable homes in the north inner-city yet at the same time, thousands of student accommodation units have been built. It has become totally unaffordable for working people to rent or buy a home. This is unacceptable. State-owned lands should be used to deliver public housing and all city-council flat complexes to be redeveloped and brought-up to modern building standards.

–Create further zoned development land in the Docklands by expanding the land area of Dublin from land reclamation over the next 20-25 years and create an industrial zone akin to ‘La Defense’ in Paris.

–Lobby for extra funding from the government to fund such developments further.

–Support develop areas plans that build higher and support the preservation of quality green spaces.

–Fight against the growth of short term lettings within Dublin city to ensure houses aren’t lost from the housing stock.

–This housing crisis must be addressed, now. People have a right to housing and I will support efforts to include it within the Irish Constitution.

Everybody needs a home. Affordable housing is a major issue that affects all people, from every background. For young people especially, the fear of never owning a home and being priced out of their community is huge. Fianna Fáil’s affordable-housing scheme is aimed at those who are above social-housing thresholds but are priced out of owning a home in their local area. There is enough state-owned land that could be used to build hundreds of social and affordable homes. Dublin City Council has to be equipped with the skills and expertise needed to deliver housing on these lands. Discretionary spending limits on how much a council can spend without departmental approval could be raised to allow greater flexibility and allow them to get on with the job. There should be no excuses getting in the way of action when homes are so desperately needed.

Support an ambitious public-housing programme for a wide range of incomes in mixed-income estates and demand from the minister to give greater resources for this programme. Providing affordable housing is the only way to keep Dublin’s economy competitive.

To increase the supply of social and affordable homes, there is a simple solution and this is to build more social and affordable housing. The stark reality is that we are not building anything like the number of social houses we require for a population of our size. The reason for this is a lack of political will. I want to see quality social housing as a key priority of local and national government and I will use the platform the council gives me, if elected, to push for this, both in my own party and as a city councillor. I feel passionately about this because the right to a home should be a basic entitlement for everyone and the state does have an obligation. I am a republican and this is surely what “cherishing all the children of the nation equally means". The performance of the present government is pitiful. Right now, we are building 4,000 houses a year. This is nowhere near good enough. I don’t absolve my own party from blame as we are part of the confidence-and-supply arrangement. I will be making it bluntly clear, both through Fianna Fáil’s internal structures and as a city councillor, that a message needs to be delivered to the taoiseach that housing is at crisis levels in our city and that if it is not adequately dealt with than the government is no longer entitled to our party’s support.

By working with the city council and with central government I would hope to highlight the many "voids" [empty social homes] in my area as well as the many sites that could be used for social and affordable housing

As a civil and structural engineer, the provision of housing is something I’m well experienced in. We have much greater capacity to build housing here than is currently being allowed for by the government. Like Fianna Fáil oversaw in the 1930s and again in the 1950s, the only way to meet housing demand is to allow the local authorities to directly build. It’s evident the Fine Gael government is not interested in doing this. Currently, the city council has not been innovative in proposing alternative solutions or finding innovative ways to raise the funds to build. Pointing at problems does not solve them. DCC should be looking to start a “housing bond” program that would allow the council to directly raise funds in order to start a wide-ranging building program in the city to both help people get on the property ladder and alleviate rents. The social-housing stock built under this initiative itself would act as collateral for the bond, meaning the rest of the DCC budget would be completely unaffected. The contracts to build this housing should be split up into smaller tranches to allow small- and medium-sized builders locally to compete for the tenders to build the housing, rather that it being solely restricted to big developers and massive construction firms. This would massively increase the rate at which social and affordable housing is being built.

 

We need to look at ways to reduce rent in our city. I believe it is time to limit rents in Dublin or we will risk another generation leaving this city because of high rent.

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.

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.

The council, with the help of housing agencies, need to build more homes. The over-reliance on the housing assistance payment (HAP) for those who meet the threshold for social housing has inflated the rental market. In 2014, €390,000 was paid to private landlords through HAP. In 2018, the figure has inflated to €276.6 million. This is gravely affecting the rental market. Fine Gael have failed the people of Dublin on housing, Rebuilding Ireland's budget has already reached capacity.

I would also be in favour of the Vienna model of renting in Dublin where the council build apartments and houses and individuals can rent them. The rent is linked to the individual's income.

I am aware of people obtaining accommodation through Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in the city centre, but that relies on means testing and low income. I am also aware of individuals being offered two- or three-bedroom apartments in the city centre and refusing them as they don’t like the location.

I don’t own property in the city, nor do I have a share in anything other than a family home with a mortgage. I note from working in the city that new build is predominantly student accommodation funded by international investors and tall office blocks in the Docklands.

I know from personal experience that derelict protected structures get constant refusal for adaptation into good-quality apartments, not dysfunctional bedsits. This has to change so that derelict buildings can be used for affordable rent.

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

The more people who are living in new social and affordable housing, the fewer people will have to rely on the private rental market. Rents in Dublin city have become extortionate and I know many people who simply can’t afford to move out or have tried but have had to move back in with their parents. If Dublin City Council starts to use state-owned land to build social and affordable housing, there will be less pressure on the rental market, reducing rents.

Continue to impress upon the chief executive of Dublin City Council the need to introduce our own "affordable rent"-type accommodation so as to offer some hope to renters out there who can totally ill afford to rent in the current market.

Unfortunately, the powers of local city councilors in this area are limited. The general solution is increased housing supply to reduce the price of rent. However, increasing the enforcement budget of the housing authority in Dublin City Council to ensure adequate inspections are carried out across the city for building regulations and raise the bar for removing tenants from properties for renovations would also be a good idea. There should be a prohibition on rent advertisements being "student-only" as it is a form of discrimination to ordinary people simply looking for a place to live. I will work with my party colleagues to ensure that this crisis is addressed on a national level.

If elected to the council, I see it as a responsibility to help ensure that the city of Dublin remains a great place to live with a high quality of life. Friends and colleagues are struggling to make ends meet while forking out upwards of €800 a month each on rent. How can young people save for their futures if half, or more than half, of their income is spent on this basic need? This represents severe dysfunction in a system that is failing young people. Fianna Fáil supports the accelerated rollout of a cost-rental scheme in the city. This means providing lands for building units for rent at a not-for-profit cost.

Continue to increase the rights of tenants, including incentivising landlords to take up long-term leases.

Again, we need to increase supply in the private rented sector and we need to ensure that rents are fair and affordable. I believe that rent levels should be capped in the capital at a fair rate set by an independent arbitration panel. I also believe that people, especially young people, living and working in Dublin are at a financial disadvantage as the cost of rents and the cost of living is far, far higher in our capital city than elsewhere in the country. I will be bringing forward a motion to create a "dublin allowance", which will mean people renting (or struggling with a mortgage) in Dublin will get an allowance in their tax or in their social welfare, which ever is applicable.

This isn't something that city councillor has control over. Realistically, the only way we can do this is by building more homes, therefore creating the supply to meet the current demand.

As stated above, by getting more and more people into purpose-built social and affordable housing, the number of people relying on the private rental market for accommodation will decrease. The simple economics of supply and demand would dictate that rents would recede in line with the decreasing pressure on the private rental sector. Government attempts to place rent caps have had the opposite effect and led directly to landlords jacking up rents in response. The only way to meet the demand is to increase the supply. Only when the supply reaches sustainable levels will rents begin to fall to more affordable prices.

 

Homelessness in Dublin is continuing to spiral out of control. A renewed effort from every city councillor is needed to deal with this head-on. We must not forget about the forgotten homeless that are continuing to live with their families. They need solutions too.

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.

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.

I believe the two policies above will help to reduce homelessness. I also believe the majority of rough sleepers need to be dealt with separately . If they have addiction issues, supports should be put in place to help them in the form of addiction support services, outreach workers and education programmes.

On 13 January 2017 my opinion piece on Apollo House and homelessness was published.

I donate to the Capuchin Day Centre and the Peter McVerry Trust. I raise donations by doing the Calcutta Run for the last three years. I commend the effort of all the various bodies that aid homeless people. However, the crisis is on the increase. There are different scopes of homelessness. The very worst that I see is individuals lying on footpaths in a sleeping bag. What kind of state economy can allow this to continue, within yards of the government building?

Some individuals without accommodation are seeking homes near their parents and refuse offers of homes not close enough. Some people are accommodated in hotels. Sadly this is not ideal for schoolchildren. Other people have to work long hours, to save, to sacrifice, to pay for accommodation, and have to move far away from their family in order to find something affordable. Our society – like any other – is diverse. If you earn over a certain level, you receive no social welfare, if you earn very little, you can seek housing, but you can’t afford anything in Dublin. A balance is required to aid those trying to earn and save, and have to live at home way past their late twenties.

We have a small population and reducing homelessness must start in childhood, by providing essential education, inspiration and encouragement to help find suitable employment, find affordable rental accommodation in order to save, to eventually purchase, if that is the choice of the individual. In that regard, every government must supplement childcare costs, education and provide affordable rental accommodation and affordable housing to purchase.

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 homelessness crisis seems to be getting worse and worse and it is a national disgrace that there are over 10,000 homeless people in Ireland and 4,000 of these are children. The lack of delivery on social and affordable housing has made this crisis worse. If these issues were resolved, housing waiting lists would shorten and our homelessness crisis would be alleviated.

Lobby the government through the forum of Dublin City Council to fast-forward the development of city council-owned "brownfield" sites for the provision of social and affordable housing. Currently, the city council is purchasing houses on the open market, which in turn results in the council competing against first-time buyers. Development of brownfield sites would provide more housing, which would lead to a reduction in homelessness.

Best research has shown internationally that given the longer-term costs to the city, direct housing provision is the best long-term solution. There is no easy answer to this matter as it can be a conflux of simultanous problems, from relationship break-downs and rent increases for example.

On a national level, we need adequate mental-health services with residential care provisions and drug decriminalisation in order to minimise the potential for homelessness.

It’s astonishing that the rate of homelessness continues to rise, but this only stands to prove that the problem lies in poor policy. This crisis must be given full political attention, a fundamental shift in attitude and immediate action. If this happens the problem can be solved. There, of course, needs to be a significant increase in new local-authority housing. A Housing First approach that takes a holistic view of addressing long-term homelessness and their complex needs should be at the core of government policy.

The solution to the housing crisis is simple: build more houses. While we will always have an element of rough sleeping, which is different than the housing crisis, the reason we have people sleeping in hotels and other emergency accommodation is because Fine Gael squandered a housing surplus and failed to prepare for the housing needs in Dublin and elsewhere.

Homelessness is a sad blight on the face of modern Ireland. Every single person on this island is entitled to a place called home and it is a failure on the part of local and national legislators that we have a homelessness crisis. The state has to take responsibility. At the moment, we need more emergency accommodation, but we also need lasting solutions. In Dublin, we have to build more social housing and we have to make renting more attractive and sustainable. I would like to see a constitutional referendum on the rights of everyone to own their own home, as this will set an obligation for all future governments. I would also like to see meaningful housing targets set by each local authority in the country, including Dublin City Council.

There are many different charities and NGOs along with DCC that are trying to reduce the number of homeless while also working with those in emergency accommodation. I would like to engage with these groups and see if we can get all the different stakeholders working together

With less pressure on the rental sector, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme would become more attractive to private landlords across the city, who themselves would have greater availability. This means that getting temporary housing until such a time as a purpose-built social house was constructed should not be so difficult for the many homeless families in Dublin. Ultimately though, providing quality, appropriate permanent social housing has to be the goal.

 

While canvassing in my area I have seen a number of properties empty. This needs to be tackled. Our council needs seek out vacant lands across Dublin and ensure there is a measured plan for them.

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.

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.

The Derelict Sites Act works to some degree on vacant properties throughout the city. I would like to see legislation or by laws that would see the 3 percent levy charged per annum on sites that quality as a derelict significantly increased after a period of five years. The turnaround on council-owned properties also has to be much quicker.

Legislation is enacted to cover this issue. Owners of derelict buildings and vacant sites need to be contacted. Chartered surveyors are also involved in this issue. I have asked Dublin City Council directly as to why so many derelict buildings are left in disuse around the city. The response is that the owners can be difficult to find, they may be very old and disabled people who inherited property and are not in a position to sign contracts. I will continue to pursue this issue. But I have been writing about it for years, see below.

On 27 OCTOBER 2016, I published opinion on derelict buildings in the Irish Independent, here is the headline and the link: "Refurbishing our derelict, decrepit buildings could help ease housing crisis". "Hiding in plain sight, one solution to the housing shortage has been staring successive governments in the face for decades. Derelict and decrepit Victorian and Georgian buildings scattered within our cities had, in the most part, fallen victim to pre 1963 multiple occupancy."

Here is my opinion piece published on 5 January 2017, where I state that "pumping people into homelessness" is the fault of the state and Central Bank – not county registrars. This opinion is about homeowners who lost their homes due to negative equity and comments made by the master of the high court, Edmund Honohan, blaming county registrars: "The Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, takes no prisoners in motions before him concerning defendants in mortgage arrears – any advocate acting on behalf of the bank must be able to exhibit every email, letter and phone-call to the defendant. There is zero tolerance for financial institutions in his court."

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

One only needs to look around their area to see the amount of vacant and derelict sites. On the north side of the city we see sites such as Lawrence Lands, which has been vacant for decades. This 17-hectare site would be perfect for social and affordable housing and despite local and community groups support, has remained derelict for years. Dublin City Council needs to develop sites such as this. There is also a significant amount of derelict properties which are simply going to waste while we have this housing crisis. A significant vacant property tax would incentivise owners of these homes to sell or rent to property.

Dublin City Council's Living City Initiative and Living Over the Shop scheme have failed to encourage property owners to redevelop their properties as viable residential units. I have lobbied, and will continue to lobby, the chief executive of Dublin City Council to agree to set up a workshop to identify current barriers and propose potential solutions, with input from the Departments of Environment and Finance, Dublin City Council an DublinTown, and to also carry out an audit of suitable properties and identify property owners; if successful, this initiative has the potential to provide a large number of residential properties which Dublin people could rent or purchase.

Fight to have the Vacant Sites Levy be index-linked with the value of the property. That way if a property’s value rises by more than 3 percent (the current rate of the levy) there will be a greater incentive for the property owner to develop or sell the vacant property thus increasing the supply of housing within the north inner-city.

Drive a campaign to the government to ensure that land rezoned from industrial use to residential does not result in a colossal windfall by imposing a windfall tax.

We need to regenerate the abundance of vacant and derelict properties. This is a crucial element of any meaningful response to the city’s worsening housing crisis. The Vacant Site Levy was recently reintroduced but for it to make a real impact and reach its potential more vacant properties need to be added to Dublin City Council’s Derelict Sites Register. The owners of vacant property across the city need to be strongly incentivised and encouraged to refurbish the premises or bring it back onto the market to improve the housing supply locally. One potentially useful incentive worth examining to tackle urban dereliction would be to provide tax breaks. We need to do whatever we can to make housing available to people in this city as quickly as possible.

Restore government funding for the renovation of council voids to 100 percent, pressurise financial institutions to take greater responsibility for the houses in their possession, reduce the turnaround time and the cost of refitting council homes.

I will bring forward proposals to demand that if a site is derelict or vacant for too long that ownership is forfeited too the city council. I will also ask for a system of meaningful fines to be introduced. Too many developers and property tycoons are sitting on vacant sites as part of a speculative strategy, waiting for prices to go up. In other cases, it is just a sheer lack of civic responsibility. Derelict and vacant sites are an eyesore and can be a danger, especially to children. Such vacant sites are hogging space when we need to use all of the city’s resources to house our people and to provide proper amenities. It is in the power of the city council to stamp out derelict and vacant properties and sites and make them a thing of the past. I want to work with like-minded colleagues to address this.

We need to encourage development of these lands. The north inner-city has many vacant properties and DCC is the largest land hoarder in the country. We need to start using what we have now, instead of waiting for things we don't have to come down the line.

According to the 2016 census, there are roughly 1,000 vacant properties in the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh area alone. This in itself is a scandal. The council has utterly failed to make use of this housing stock. A substantive vacant property tax would motivate those hoarding housing privately to either sell it or make it habitable for renting. The huge number of social houses left vacant around the city is inexcusable. Both local and national government should be putting more effort into bringing these properties up to standard for renting urgently. There is also a great opportunity for DCC to start an apprenticeship programme in tandem with the refurbishment of this housing stock. In doing so, not only will there be more social housing on offer in time of crisis, but a new generation of skilled tradespeople will be trained up within DCC in order to allow the council greater scope to maintain its housing stock as well as giving employment opportunities across the city.

 

Public transport in our city is beginning to buckle with demand at peak times. Our city needs to have serious investment in transport on our Dart and bus services in the coming years.

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.

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.

I am not in favour of BusConnects. I am particularly concerned about the lack of a localised service in this plan for older residents. While the idea of a quick spine route every 3-5 minutes sounds great there is no spine in Finglas despite the vast amount of commuters living in the area. I believe the funding should instead be invested in improving the current bus service and the extension of the Luas and Metro. The quality bus corridor has potential but I am concerned about the costs of compulsory purchase of private gardens.

The Metro North cannot come quick enough. The fact that Dublin airport has no rail link to the city centre is embarrassing for a developed country like Ireland. Fine Gael need to stop announcing policies and get on with securing funding to build them.

The Luas should be extended from Broombridge through Finglas, Charlestown and Ballymun eventually connecting with the Metro North.

I held a public meeting THIS WEEK on 16 April with expert speakers on the potential provision of this best solution. Circa 200 people attended (as seen in the Irish Times video – not the "over 80" mentioned!) and it was brought to the attention of the Dáil the following day. The coverage and videos are in today’s Irish Times, here is the link.

I would very much appreciate improved public transport through south-west, and west Dublin, bringing commuters from the greater Dublin area to work and home again. The coastal routes are so lucky to have the Dart. The Luas is a very positive advantage in certain areas.

The recent proposals privately issued by National Transport Authority to individual homes who would be directly impacted by the new bus corridors through suburbs and historic villages have begun to become public due to the shock of other residents and traders when they found out what was being proposed and that the deadline for submissions was so short. I have produced impact assessments for five communities.

Other European and global cities have had a metro underground for over 100 years. It is time that Dublin moved on from destroying what’s left of the city by adding more double-decker buses, increasing carbon emissions and segregating communities.

We need more park-and-ride locations for drivers coming from long-distance Dublin and beyond, free bus links, and school buses. We should build better and safer cycle lanes. And an underground rapid rail system – a metro.

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

Public Transport is a public service, providing transport for the citizens of Dublin to work, hospitals, schools and other vital services. I was disappointed to see certain Dublin Bus routes be privatised and come under the ownership of private operators. I believe this is a dangerous move away from the notion of "public" transport. Routes should not be scrapped because they are not profitable.

I was disappointed with the NTA’s proposed BusConnects plans that were released last summer. Under these plans, towns and communities all over Dublin were losing their direct buses to the city centre. Some of these communities have had these routes for decades but would now have to interchange and get a second bus or walk considerable distance to get a bus. This will particularly effect elderly commuters and wheelchair users. Under these plans, routes in my area as the 29A, 31, 31A, 31B, 32, 32x, 14, 16, 17A, 27 and 104 were to be removed.

Take for, example, route 14. This serves the people of Beaumont to the city centre; and connects Beaumont Hospital, our north-side hospital, to various other parts of the city. The NTA proposed this bus would be scrapped. I await the NTA’s revised plans and I hope residents' concerns and submissions will be considered. Criticism of BusConnects has itself, been criticised. But it is a reasonable position to argue that public transport be improved, not downgraded.

Congestion on our roads would be reduced if people saw public transport as quicker and cheaper than driving. If are buses and DARTs are higher frequency and there are quicker journey times, commuters will opt for public transport rather than their cars.

Public transport provision is not within the remit of Dublin City Council, however, there is a serious problem on the Dart line with overcrowding, particularly at Harmonstown, Killester and Clontarf stations. There is an urgent need to provide additional carriages for use at peak Dart times and I intend to continue to lobby government and the NTA to increase the number of Dart carriages in order to ease the dangerous over-crowding in carriages at Harmonstown, but more particularly at Killester and Clontarf stations.

Again, unfortunately this is a policy area not currently within the remit of powers for councilors at local level. Increased infrastructural development across Ireland to improve services is a core priority for Fianna Fáil at national level. If a directly elected mayor for Dublin becomes a reality in the future, I would support efforts to have give that office clear powers in relation to transport development for the city.

For Dublin, reliability is the greatest issue and the lack of orbital bus routes across Dublin for the bus network. I support the principle of BusConnects. However, I do not believe the current plans proposed which put the development of one community above another as fair or sustainable for the development of Dublin city.

I rely on public transport every single day, so I know the struggle faced by the average commuter trying to make their way around this city. We are fed up with being squeezed onto claustrophobic buses and crammed into overcrowded Luas trams and Dart services. We are tired of unreliable and infrequent buses. We are tired of ever-increasing fares without any improvement in services. I am focused on improving a number of elements of the public-transport structure in the capital: 1) increasing the capacity of Irish Rail commuter services; 2) improving the efficiency of the Dart; 3) introducing Dublin Transport Police to deter anti-social behaviour; 4) establishlishing a Dublin Transport Commission focused solely on transport in Dublin; 5) increasing bus and train frequencies with additional capacity.

We have to give consideration to the Luxembourg model of free public transport. While it may be too ambitious, we need to at least think big in order to tackle climate change. We also need to see a rapid and city-wide rollout of the DublinBikes scheme, one of the most cost effective ways to increase the use of public transport and cycling.

I have brought forward a detailed policy on improving public transport by making it free in our capital city. We can ensure more people use public transport by not charging for it, as is the case in Luxembourg city and other progressive cities across the world. This will benefit the environment and people on low incomes. It will require extra investment in the Luas and suburban rail and buses, but it will alleviate traffic congestion and make the city more environmentally safe for this and future generations.

The city council has to play an active role in funding and planning for Dublin’s transport needs, irrespective of what [Transport Minister] Shane Ross says. Our capital city is bursting at the seams and gridlock is a daily issue, costing businesses and individuals time and money. Free public transport would cut congestion, benefit the environment and, most importantly, it would be a progressive, socially inclusive measure that would help low-paid workers and young people with little disposable income as a result of spiralling rents and bloated mortgages.

For those concerned that free public transport will inflict an unaffordable charge on the exchequer, it is worth noting that public transport in Dublin is already heavily subsidised. In 1999, the government introduced the Taxsaver [Commuter Ticket] Scheme, which incentivises people to use public transport to and from work, and, in some cases, results in savings of over 50 percent of the regular ticket price.

The city council should have a hands-on role in delivering free public transport for Dublin, a measure which would also make our capital more attractive to tourists. This in itself will generate more income for investment in a better and more environmentally friendly transport infrastructure. This can be done if the city council is prepared to take a stand on it and push my policy. Free public transport will mean better public transport. By going the whole way and abolishing ticket charges on public transport, we can help tackle air pollution and get Dublin moving more freely. Surely this is a worthwhile investment in our capital city’s future?

We could be using our local property tax (LPT) to improve it. Free transport around the city is achievable if we can apply the will.

Public-transport improvements are vital for environmental, public-health and economic reasons. Congestion on our roads could be greatly reduced with proper public transport. We need to increase capacity on the Red Line Luas. Orbital bus routes are vital to get people out of their cars and onto public transport. These should be prioritised ahead of any of the proposed BusConnects programme, which requires much greater scrutiny in order to bring about a bus system that works for the people. Furthermore, the public-transport system should remain in public ownership. Greater coordination of the Leap card system to make it cheaper and easier for commuters to travel across the various public transport options is also a must. If travelling by public transport takes longer and is more expensive than travelling by private car, we cannot possibly win the hearts and minds of people to travel by bus/tram/rail. Greater-frequency, quicker journey times along prioritised routes and cutting the cost via increased public subvention are all required.

 

We have seen an improvement on cycling infrastructure across Dublin in last few years, but a continued improve on cycling links will help reduce the burden on other transport links across the city.

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.

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.

Cycling in Dublin needs to be made safer and easier. Additional cycle lanes on key routes is a must along with extending the very successful Dublinbikes scheme throughout the city.

There would be an instant improvement if underground transport was provided.

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

As stated, commuters need to see the benefits of cycling if they are to be convinced to leave the cars at home. I hear of cyclists every day who say it is more and more dangerous cycling in and out of the city. There needs to be an increase in segregated cycle lanes which would encourage cycling, reduce congestion by getting cars off the road and make cycling safer.

I will continue to support the introduction of proper and additional safe cycle routes. I will also continue to argue for cyclist contraflow routess on certain city routes (to encourage more cycling) and city bike schemes.

While much of this is decided at national level, I support the campaign for a 10 percent minimum allocation of the national transport budget providing for cycling nationally.

–I support increasing the capacity of city-centre bike parking, in particular, so we can increase local businesses and decrease congestion in our streets.

–I will fight to keep to cycle lanes free from parked cars by supporting enforcement of fines for those who park in cycle lanes.

–Ensure that local road works prioritise the repair and consistent cleaning of cycle paths.

–Support cycle lane segregation initatives to keep our streets safe for cyclists.

–I welcome the developments of the Liffey Cycle Route and the creation of the walking and cycling officer post within Dublin City Council.

As I mentioned above, I rely on public transport to get from point A to B. I would love to be able to cycle, but I feel that the safety of cyclists in our city is being jeopardised on a daily basis as a consequence of poor infrastructure and planning. A high number of cyclists each year are left injured and even hospitalised following road-traffic accidents in Dublin. These are often caused by dangerous gaps and oversights in our infrastructure that put cyclists, drivers and pedestrians at risk. In order to ensure ongoing quality improvements to cycle lanes, junctions and road verges, I would advocate putting in place a funding scheme that earmarks a portion of the Local Government Fund in DCC. I also propose: 1) extending the DublinBikes scheme; 2) ringfencing funding for cycle-lane maintenance and clean-up; 3) freeing up cycle lanes by putting fixed-penalty cameras in place to support stricter enforcement; 4) introducing segregated cycle lanes; 5) fulfilling the UN recommendation to allocate 20 percent of a national transport budget to cycling.

We have to give consideration to the Luxembourg model of free public transport. While it may be too ambitious, we need to at least think big in order to tackle climate change. We also need to see a rapid and city wide rollout of the Dublin Bikes scheme, one of the most cost effective ways to increase the use of public transport and cycling.

We need better cycling infrastructure as this dovetails with my plan for free and environmentally sustainable public transport. We need more dedicated cycleways throughout the city that are safe, especially for children to use. After an initial consultation process with the public, the city council should produce an annual report on the upkeep of cycleways and plans to expand their footprint throughout the city. An increased percentage of the local and national transport budget must be allocated to cycleways, as if cycling facilities are better, more people will use this healthy and sustainable means of getting around. I would also look at extending the the Cycle to Work Scheme, which is a tax incentive scheme that aims to encourage employees to cycle to and from work, by seeing how the city council can make an additional contribution.

We give near €20 million out of our LPT each year to central government for other underfunded councils. This money could help with better public transport and improving our cycling infrastructure.

I recently launched a plan for improved cycling infrastructure across the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh area, including a "West Dublin Historical Cycle Route". This route would bring greater tourism to the area, connecting the Phoenix Park, the historical sites in Kilmainham, down through Inchicore via Richmond Barracks, on through Lansdowne Valley Park in Drimnagh before meeting with the Long Mile Road in Walkinstown, adjacent to Drimnagh Castle. Enhanced, segregated cycle paths would encourage more people to cycle further reducing congestion on the roads and overcrowding on public transport. The Metropolitan Greenways plan must be prioritised to give cyclists safe radial routes in and out of the city. The appeal to Europe's large cycling tourism market would bring greater investment to the city also. The expansion of the DublinBikes scheme into our suburbs is vital if any worthwhile cycling program is to succeed. The short-term tourism benefits and long-terms health benefits would pay for the investment in cycling infrastructure many times over.

 

We have seen a renewed appeal for action on climate change. We need to begin tackling the day-to-day habits that will help reduce use of single-use plastics across our city and beyond. Ireland has set a clear example before and we need to continue to set the agenda for climate change.

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.

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.

I feel this is more of a national issue, however there needs to be more grants made available for renewable energy methods e.g electric cars, solar panels .

I would also be in favour of grants to improve the energy efficiency of homes. The threshold for the current SEAI grants is far too low.

Decrease the cost of electric cars. Provide electric buses. Introduce an underground metro system. Increase Luas tramlines. All to reduce carbon emissions. Reduce plastic in retail.

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

This is a very topical issue and I commend young people for bringing this to the fore of national politics. The government simply is not doing enough to tackle climate change. The improvements in public transport and cycling which I have mentioned above will have a positive knock-on effect on our city by reducing fuel emissions. Greater recycling facilities are needed in Dublin to incentivise people to easily dispose of their rubbish in a greener way.

I am and continue to be concerned about the speed of climate change and intend to speak out and make people aware of what we can do as a society to make a real contribution to slow down the rate of climate change. We need change at policy level. It's no longer acceptable to think that we can solve the crisis of the speed of climate change simply by changing domestic behaviour ourselves. We need policy change at city, national, and global level in order to have any real impact.

Transport, agriculture and so on all have an impact here. It's a multifaceted problem, though, and on a local level we can make a real difference. Above all, sustainable transport development is key.

–Support efforts on national level for the development of clean home-heating efforts.

–Promote regular tree planting within residential estates to support local wildlife.

Ireland has been without a coordinated strategy to tackle its growing emissions for far too long despite coming under increasing pressure from Europe to step up in the global fight against climate change. Any further delayed action will result in higher costs and a greater burden that will be inherited by the next generation. I will push to decarbonise the Dublin Bus fleet and to reduce the over-reliance on unsustainable forms of transport in this city by improving our public-transport services and cycling infrastructure.

While at a council level, we have limited powers in this area, we can provide leadership. We can start with a reduction in plastic posters in election time. A focus on the reduction of single-use plastics is also extremely important. While we have seen a start in terms of the reduction in use of plastic straws, this doesn’t go far enough.

Having a public transport system that is efficient, sustainable and that cuts the number of private car journeys would be a great help in addressing climate change. That is why I am putting free public transport for Dublin at the core of my campaign and at the heart of my political agenda. This will hugely reduce damaging emissions and keep our capital moving in a clean, green manner.

My background is in education so people will also understand that I believe learning is important. We need to ensure the importance of good environmental behaviour is an integral part of the school curriculum at primary and secondary levels. It makes no sense to me that geography, where young people learn about the damage climate change can do to our communities and to the planet, has been dropped as a core Junior Cert subject and I will be fighting to have this subject and history restored in our schools.

It was great to see so many young people take to the streets and staging a protest to express concerns about the lack of action on climate change. I share this concern and the city council needs to do more. Climate change is about the future of our city, our country and our planet. Dublin has to play a part. Therefore, I will be asking that every single full plenary meeting of Dublin City Council proposes on its agenda at least one measure to tackle climate change.

If we can improve our public services like transportation, then we can encourage people to leave their cars at home. This would make a massive difference to the climate issues we face. We should also be looking to make all DCC vehicles climate friendly

As a climate-change ambassador with An Taisce, one of the main things I hope to achieve as a city councillor is for a greater focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly policies. The moves for greater public transport and cycling will have a positive impact on the fuel emissions released each year by Dubliners. That's just a start. I would like to see the City Development Plan changed such that all new commercial buildings being built above a fixed square metreage footprint would be obliged to incorporate a mix of green roof and solar panels to promote renewable energy production and sustainability. Grants for community gardens should be made available by DCC in order to promote people to "grow their own" and live more sustainable lives. Greater recycling facilities should be rolled out across the city in order to make it easier for people to live greener lives. Our public-transport fleet simply must move away from diesel. From 2020, all new mass-transport vehicles acquired for use in Dublin should use electricity, bio-fuel, hydrogen fuel cells or similar. We also require a greater number of electric charging points for electric cars around the city. A better public-lighting system should be designed to reduce the 30 percent energy waste lost to "sky glow", which also has negative ecological impacts via light pollution.

 

Dublin City Council must continue to fight litter and illegal dumping. As public bins are becoming less visible, we need to make bins available to the public and more bins for dog poo to combat this locally.

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.

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.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues at the moment is illegal dumping.

I am in favour of new by-laws that will give the council the authority to prosecute, not just fine, offenders caught illegally dumping. The current max fine of €75 is not adequate and the council should be given powers like the Environmental Protection Agency to prosecute.

In the whole of Dublin North West, we have one litter warden. This is simply not good enough and more need to be employed. The wardens could also monitor the poo situation and visit parks and hotspots regularly.

With the help of CCTV and if GDPR guidelines allowed it I would be in favour of a name-and-shame style campaign for anyone caught illegally dumping.

In parts of the city, regular street-cleaning rotas have ceased and it is now only done on request. This is appalling and really makes me question what our councillors have done in the last five years. The least people can expect is for a road sweeper to visit their road once a month.

I cleaned up after my dog for 14 years until she died recently. It is a duty.

The most litter and dog poo on the streets of Dublin I have seen is in the inner-city and poor areas, where there is insufficient signage warning about litter, and insufficient litter bins.

The local citizens expect Dublin City Council waste department to send out humans to pick up their litter and clean up after their dogs. The local residents need to be trained to put their litter into bins, pick up dog poo with appropriate bags provided by DCC and into special bins provided by DCC.

In the past DCC and DLRCC provided free special paper scoops for dog poo. This was not possible to continue due to cost during the recession. The Local Property Tax and other increased taxes could be used to distributed these paper dog scoops again.

I dismounted from the Luas Red Line at 6pm one evening and a commuter threw a squeezed can on to the platform. I turned around and said "pick that up". A man behind me shouted. "It’s none of your business." That is an attitude that the council cannot challenge. More local groups need to deal with their local residents on this matter.

Underground containers beneath bins should be provided in order to avoid the excess litter falling out of bins. The issues in this city have a lot to do with the attitudes of individuals – basically, the belief that other people should clean up after them.

I did a travel feature on Llubljana – the most litter free city in Europe – last September. The city has litter bins with underground containers. It is something that DCC should look into.

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

I believe waste services should not be operated privately and should come back under the control of Dublin City Council. The cost of waste services is far too high and would be reduced if brought back under control of DCC. This could be paid for by the Local Property Tax, which constituents often say they see nothing to show for. There also need to be more signs and bins put in place to deal with litter and dog poo. There should be increased litter wardens and much higher fines for those found to illegally dump or not clean up after their dog. Regarding dog poo, on community clean-ups we often find dog poo that is put in a plastic bag and tied to a tree. This is actually worse than just leaving the poo on the grass, as the plastic will take hundreds of years to decompose.

Continue to ask parents and schools to ensure that we educate our young people about the negative effects that litter of all types has on our communities. I recently officiated at a Green Flag ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy College, Beaumont, where students in the school's eco committee successfully achieved Green Flag status for their school with a project on encouraging young people not to litter and also to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste. A very positive way to tackle litter.

The key way of tackling these problems is through building a sense of shared responsibility in caring for the area you live in. Litter is a scourge on our environment and it is a key priority to tackle if elected.

–Fight to end the privatisation of waste collection services and the re-introduction of the low-income household waste-collection subsidy.

–An increase in the community wardens budget for increased enforcement patrols.

–Fight to have the dog licence fees increased to fund increased enforcement and provide "pooper scoopers" bags with each new licence provided.

–Name and shame illegal dumpers online and with local public notice boards.

–Promote the development of an illegal dumping app to assist waste-collection services.

When local authority-led affordable waste collection was abolished in Dublin it didn’t just affect the city households that had availed of it, but it also led to the collapse of a well-organised, consistent system of street cleaning. I want to push for stricter enforcement of fines and public-awareness campaigns, but solving the illegal litter problem that continues to affect Dubliners' everyday quality of life can only truly be done by re-entering the waste collection market. In addition, the Green Dog Walkers anti-fouling initiative in Fingal should be rolled out to all local authorities, backed up by adequate provision of dog-fouling bins.

We have to examine the possibility of restoring a single, council-controlled domestic-waste collector in the city that coordinates collections with a more frequent, scheduled street-cleaning service. I also think that we need to see more authorised officers to issue fines to those who break our litter laws.

There is no excuse for this behaviour. I think the penalties are too soft. Illegal dumping is a deliberate attack on the community and our shared environment. I will be examining ways to ensure that those who engage in this behaviour receive custodial sentences. In regard to minor littering and dog poo, people need to take more responsibility and to be proud of the civic space in which we all live. There are already fines in place for littering and not cleaning up dog poo and rightly so as these constitute a health risk. I will ask for the fines to be increased and for offenders’ names to be published on the City Council’s website and newspapers as a further deterrent.

The north inner-city is routinely the number one black spot in the country for illegal dumping and litter. Dog fouling has become a major issue also. If elected, I want to go into schools and local clubs to encourage a change in attitude towards these issues.

Waste disposal services must come back under the control of DCC. Privatisation of the waste collection services has not worked and has led directly to a huge increase in illegal dumping. What's more, the cost of private waste collection to households is greater than it would be if paid for via the local property tax, which is what the property tax was supposed to be for in the first place anyway. The DCC policy of removing public waste bins has also been a disaster. This was done in an effort to stop illegal dumping but, again, this has proven a massive failure. We need more public litter bins and with them, dog litter bins. On top of this, we also require enforcement. There is no point is having a parking warden, litter warden and a dog warden if none of the three are effectively doing the job in front of them. All three roles should be amalgamated into one "Street Officer" who could then tackle the issue of dog dirt, littering and anti-social parking concurrently. Enough of these street officers would act as a good deterrent. It's not good enough that in all of Dublin last year there were only four fines for dog fouling when the problem is so prevalent. With the correct disposal facilities in place, which must be the priority, people should know that if they ignore their obligations to clean up after themselves, they face a high risk of receiving an on-the-spot fine.

 

With a continued threat to park and green spaces locally with St. Anne's Park, if I am elected as councillor to Dublin City Council I will fight to retain our parks and green areas locally!

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.

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.

Dublin has a number of well-maintained parks such as St Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park to name but a few. Any current zoning for recreational needs to be maintained.

I feel our parks could be utilised more to accommodate community groups and sports clubs. Walkways, trails, cycleways, skateboard tracks, sports pitches, bowling greens and community gardens need to be increased and developed to get more people using our parks.

As a teacher and as public relations officer of a large football club, I would like to see more multipurpose sports areas developed throughout the city. These are prominent in other European cities and help combat the issue of anti-social behaviour.

I am aware that some local residents are concerned about development plans for St Kevin’s hurling grounds. This is something that I am looking into.

I would like to know who wants more green space and parks and where? Crumlin has an extensive park with football grounds, running tracks in Eamonn Ceannt Park. Kimmage has Mount Argus park and Poddle Park. Terenure has the enormous Bushy Park with tennis courts, a skate park, a bandstand, attractive landscape and the river. Rathgar has no park. Rathmines has no park other than the small squares, Palmerston Park and Belgrave Park, which have improved playgrounds. Harold’s Cross has a tiny park. Islandbridge has a fantastic park – the Memorial Park. North-west has an incredible park – Phoenix.

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

As stated, we have a housing crisis, but that does not mean we should build on and destroy our beautiful public parks in Dublin city such as St. Anne’s in Raheny. These parks need to be protected and not sold off. Already we see huge problems on the north side, with sports teams unable to play matches in our crowded green spaces and parks. Dublin City Council needs to look to providing more green spaces and maintaining our current ones.

I will continue to try and protect our current green space amenities through work on our City Development Plan as well as ensuring there is adequate green space provided for in the plan. Regularly, major planning applications include attempts to remove trees and green spaces and I will continue to work hard for the preservation of same.

While there are few green spaces available within Dublin’s north inner-city, future developments must protect the green space we have. The planting of fruit trees within certain areas would increase opportunities for bees to pollinate and help promote local biodiversity.

Urban parks and green spaces add huge value to a city and protecting the already limited amount of public green space in our area needs to be a priority. I would first set out about examining whether it is possible to increase the number of parks in the city. Where possible, plans to remove popular green space to cater for other projects must be avoided and an alternative solution identified. This could be achieved at the planning and design stage of any proposed residential, commercial or transport development. In addition, Fianna Fáil proposes setting up a €25 million park development fund for each local authority to bid on to finance development of new sites into parks and mini-parks with particular emphasis placed on re-developing derelict spaces in the city.

In my area we are lucky to have a large number of green spaces and parks, however I believe we could do more with our existing spaces. We need to increase the activities and amenities within the parks and give sports and youth groups greater freedom to organise events.

We already have many beautiful parks and green spaces throughout the city, but as Dublin grows we will need more. I want to see existing parks and green spaces properly funded and maintained to the highest standard and this will be a big part of my work as a councillor, if I am elected. I will be asking for regular reports in this regard and will share them with constituents. As the city continues to develop, I want all new housing developments to have sufficient green spaces and I will support this being an integral party of the planning process. I also want a review undertaken of the feasibility of all new apartment buildings in the city boundaries having a safe roof garden that residents can relax in.

When I look at what's happening down on Mayor Street Lower and New Wapping Street, I feel such anger that parts of my constituency are being taken over by big business while residents are getting nothing back. Some green space is not a lot to ask for and is vitally important to people's mental health and well-being.

With huge pressure to provide housing across the city, planners could be tempted to build on any and all space that becomes available to them. However, it's important to ensure that appropriate green space is incorporated into all development plans into the future. Already we have a dearth of playing pitches and parks in many areas of Dublin. The Dolphin Park situation is a good example of this issue, where playing pitches are being sold off for housing development in an area that already does not have enough green space. Local sports clubs are vital for the community spirit as well as the general health of people in all areas. As a sports enthusiast I see this regularly. Another example is in a club I'm a player and committee member. Our playing grounds have recently been bought by a private interest and as such, the club's rents have dramatically increased, putting the club's future viability, and that of our partner clubs in other sports, in question. The loss of these clubs in Dublin 12 would be a huge loss to the area as, given the lack of appropriate alternative playing facilities locally, the future is one where we either get a major, sustainable cash injection to meet even-increasing rents or the club may fold. This has been driven completely by the lack of playing facilities/green spaces in the city, which has led to schools and institutions in the city centre moving out to the suburbs and buying up green spaces there for private use. DCC must look at providing better green areas and playing facilities right across the city. Dublin cannot become another concrete jungle. The council should also ensure that playing facilities bought privately should have a stipulation that protects the future viability of local clubs that have a noted historical association with the grounds in question.

 

We must continue to look at our city centre as a hub for the public to thrive. Public ownership is the only way to protect our spaces across the city.

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.

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.

A discretionary fund could be established to display work and projects throughout various parts of the city to garner improvements and make areas more inviting.

This could also be done on a philanthropic basis to allow members of the public to visit interesting places in our beautiful city for free.

The boardwalk along the Liffey was very expensive to build, and it has turned out to be an unsafe public space, despite the attractive and high-quality materials. It was made a very much "nicer place" to be, but is abused.

It would be nice to have some open-seating spaces, like the Flat Iron area in New York. Just places where people can sit and have their own coffee, read a paper and talk to each other. It is very common throughout European towns. However, they have many more sunny days for sitting out.

Restaurants are restricted from having open-terrace eating space. Irish weather restricts the ability to have expanded public open space – we don’t have enough warm weather to make the College Green area a total pedestrian zone – and all pedestrian zones, particularly Grafton Street and Henry Street are covered in chewing gum that people spit out – this is another issue, despite all the advertisements about not wrecking the ground with gum.

In regard to open public spaces in the city, I am informed by legal practitioners in the city centre that the NTA bus corridor proposals will congregate, muster, call it what you will, into Parliament Street. The Liffey quays will be thronged with buses. Our city council must review this entire NTA proposal and engage with government on underground transport.

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

The College Green plaza plan has been a failure from the get-go, and a new plan that can be agreed on by all parties must be a priority. Our public parks are enjoyed by many and I would encourage residents to set up or get involved in community groups that organse events and clean-ups in their local parks and greens. I am a committee member of the newly formed May Park Activities Group in Donnycarney and it's fantastic to see events happening now in May Park and the support Dublin City Council has given to this new group.

I will continue to lobby to provide additional public spaces in our city such as the Parnell Square development, again through work on our City Development Plan.

Protect existing green spaces within the city and plant more trees within public spaces. I also support increased pedistrianisation of areas in future local development plans.

Dublin is becoming a more and more urban every year, but we are so fortunate to have a number of public spaces to get fresh air, exercise, relax in the sunshine or socialise. The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin and Blessington Street Basin in Phibsborough and the Phoenix Park are great examples of open spaces that not only contribute to local’s better mental and physical well-being but are equally important cultural amenities. As our city continues to grow and expand we need to guarantee that while there is increasing demand for space for development, urban planning will prioritise the need to preserve the benefits of green areas for human and environmental health. Maintaining these spaces is central to creating a modern, sustainable city. This vision must be matched with government funding.

Our public spaces will only be safer and utilised if we see an overall increase in the number of Gardaí in Dublin city, particularly in foot patrols.

Public spaces are important to the sense of community in the city and the city council should publish within 12 months of the local elections a review of the existing public spaces alongside plans to develop more public spaces that are aesthetically and socially necessary for a city that promotes sustainable living. These public spaces belong to all of us and should be held in trust for us by the city council. I will completely oppose any efforts to privatise or sell for profit any viable public space. I also believe the re-designation of any large-scale public space for alternative use should only be sanctioned by the council if it is sanctioned by a local plebiscite. This initiative, which I will sponsor, reminds planners that the city belongs to all its people and this will allow the voice of citizens to be heard.

In regard to making our city’s public spaces a nicer place to be, it is important to face up to the realities of anti-social behaviour. The community should not have to tolerate public spaces and parks being hijacked by those who engage in anti-social behaviour. There is a major drug problem in this city. The first thing we should do is stop denying this and then we should move swiftly to tackle it. The city council has a role to play in resolving this, but so too do the Gardaí. Public spaces and parks cannot become no-go areas for ordinary citizens who do not want to be intimidated by drug-taking, drug-dealing and public drunkenness. I will use my role, if elected, to ensure that the Dublin city joint policing committees make sure that all our wonderful public amenities are safe for families and that there is a discreet but active Garda presence in the area.

I also pledge to ensure that all our public spaces and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. Fifteen percent of the population of Dublin city have at least one disability and these citizens and their families have the same entitlement to all our public amenities as everyone else. As a candidate in this election, I am strongly supporting the Disability Federation of Ireland’s campaign to make sure all local public services are open and accessible for people who have a disability. These include housing, education, transport, leisure, and health services.

This would be a similar answer to question 9. Public space is important for a city. Thousands of people call the inner-city home and they need spaces where they can relax and enjoy their community.

Dublin needs a central civic plaza. With the failure of the College Green plaza idea, we must go back to the drawing board and find something on this site that is agreeable to all. Additionally, all public spaces need improvements, from the provision of drinking-water fountains, to more public toilet facilities, to benches and trees and flower planters. Brightening up the city and making it more welcoming to locals and visitors alike will do wonders in getting people out and about and enjoying the city. The Metropolitan Greenway initiative would encourage Dubliners to explore more of their city and lead to more healthy, active lifestyles outdoors, separate from heavily trafficked streets. There is huge scope to look at civic spaces all over the city, which would not only act as a great amenity for Dublin, but also help protect some of our cultural heritage. As a descendent of a 1916 combatant and War of Independence martyr, it sickened me that the government allowed the Moore Street site fall to private development rather than transform it into a new cultural quarter celebrating the birth of the nation. We need large-scale visionary ideas for Dublin like that to rejuvenate the city. One area crying out for such large-scale thinking is the Davitt Road green- and brown-field sites along the canal in Drimnagh, mostly owned by the HSE currently. The scope is there for a new "canal village" incorporating public buildings, like a theatre, apartments, retail units, public services and a civic plaza, all along an existing public-transport route. We need a greater vision for Dublin when it comes to councillors drafting the City Development Plan.

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