If elected to the city council on 24 May I will campaign for the establishment of the office of directly elected Lord Mayor for Dublin with executive powers and a budget to run the city. This is a long-term objective of the Labour Party and we believe that such an office would facilitate a resolution of the difficult issues of the day such as housing and homelessness, transport and climate change. Housing and homelessness are a national scandal and will be the biggest challenge facing the new city council.
In March of this year over 10,000 men, women and children were homeless. This is the first time the number exceeded 10,000. Despite all the plans and targets the situation is deteriorating. Dublin City Council is the statutory body with responsibility for housing in the city. To date, it has failed dismally to fulfil that responsibility and builds only a handful of housing units each year. If elected, I will insist on the city council fulfilling its statutory remit and building social and affordable housing on city council and state-owned land of which there is an adequate supply within the city boundaries.
The city council must stop relying on the private and voluntary sectors to do what it should be doing itself. Renting accommodation in Dublin is exorbitant. The rental market has become dysfunctional with the most expensive rents only 1.8 times the cheapest compared to other countries, where the most expensive rents would be triple the cheapest. This dysfunctional market condemns low and middle- income earners to rental poverty.
Young working couples find it impossible to rent and save for a home of their own. I will urge my fellow councillors to declare a housing emergency, halt evictions and introduce stringent rent control for the duration of the housing crisis. Homelessness is at unprecedented levels. It is exacerbated by high rents and shortage of housing supply. However, no child or family should ever be homeless. A moratorium on evictions would go a long way to protecting families against becoming homeless. Restoration of the local authority grants for building extensions for overcrowded families would help to prevent homelessness in many instances.
Derelict sites and vacant properties are a valuable resource for housing. At present, they are an eyesore and a blight on neighbourhoods all over Dublin. The derelict sites tax should be increased and rigorously enforced and the powers to compulsory purchase such properties should be increased in proportion to the housing need. Large numbers of underused family homes are also available where the elderly occupants are looking to engage with Dublin City Council for smaller senior citizen accommodation but cannot because of the 8-10 year waiting list.
An urgent programme by the city council to build senior citizen complexes is required. I would also designate the entire country a Housing Approved Payment (HAP) area so that families and individuals on the housing and homeless list who might wish to transfer out of Dublin would have the option to do so.
I want to ensure that DCC delivers both traditional social housing and affordable publicly-built homes for rent to a wider range of people. There are needs to be greater opportunity for affordable home ownership. I would like to see the units at the Irish Glass Bottle site fast tracked as well. In addition to that I would like to work with residents and groups around the delivery of cooperative housing.
By proposing motions in City Hall, and by lobbying government officials to increase the amount of social and affordable homes. This can be done by using the land the state owns already to build houses, and using CPOs to turn vacant buildings into homes for us all.
Yes, I have always worked in the interest of social housing over my 35 years on the council. Recently along with the Labour group we managed to bring the council with us to stop the manager selling off 32 waste management depots across the city. We got a commitment from the council that these sites will be project managed by the council for social and affordable housing. Also see answer three below.
I’ve sat on the Housing SPC for the last five years and have used my role to speak out against the current model whereby we have a very slow increase in social housing and an insecure and uneconomical dependence on the private rental model. I’ve also spoken out about the lack of a proper affordable-housing model. DCC can only do as much as the funding afforded to it. Too much is controlled centrally and this makes progress with regard to direct-builds frustratingly slow. However, despite not having an affordable-housing scheme, I have supported retaining part of the Oscar Traynor Road Land Initiative for affordable housing – perhaps by the time we actually build, the government will have delivered a scheme we can use! If elected, I will continue to ensure progress is made on sites marked for development, and that any development is planned in a sustainable community-focused way – for example, my most recent motion to the North Central Area Committee calls on DCC to lead the development of an ambitious infrastructure and connectivity plan for the Oscar Traynor Road site to ensure we do not have massive congestion on the Oscar Traynor Road and rat-running though adjacent estates such as Castletimon and Lorcan. Another issue I hope to continue to progress is increasing the number of one-bed units [in DCC's social housing]. The longest list across all housing areas is the one-bed list, generally for single people. DCC is beginning to listen at this stage to my constant advocacy, so in the next term I hope to see some real progress in this area.
I will continue to actively initiate new housing schemes as I have done in the past – examples include new housing in Spenser Street and 35 new homes that we built on my own estate in Beech Hill in Donnybrook. I will work to ensure that the agreement we reached on 900 social and affordable homes as part of the Poolbeg agreement are delivered and I will press for direct delivery by the council of additional and new types of housing. Solving the housing crisis is not rocket science – it has been done in the past and we can do it again. Essentially, it involved direct social and affordable housing delivery by the council and through local agreements with voluntary housing bodies.
We can build more houses that people can actually afford to live in. This was done in the past and if we work together we can do it again. The only way to get this done is if the state builds houses. The government’s policy has failed and the market can’t answer the housing crisis. Everybody knows someone impacted by greedy landlords. Labour’s plan involves €16 billion over five years to build 18,000 social and affordable homes. We will not let the failed market continue to destroy lives. If elected, I will fight for sustainable housing to be built. I want to prevent profit-driven companies from destroying our city with developments that nobody wants.
I am fully supportive of the development of social, affordable and a new way of using public land to develop homes along the cost-rental model. While on the last council, I proposed that the government buy the Player Wills site to develop cost-rental homes on the land.
The Labour party has developed a new model of public housing that is open to everyone, in order to solve the problem of housing costs. Labour’s solution is the same as what Labour parties have delivered throughout European cities for decades: good quality housing, built by local authorities, and rented out at a fair affordable rent to people from a wide range of backgrounds. More than two-thirds of people living in Vienna rent publicly provided housing (“cost-rental housing”) and this is a normal housing option right across Europe. The great state-led house-building programmes of the 1940s, 1950s and 1970s owe a lot to the role of Labour, and this can be done again to deliver affordable public housing in our towns and cities.
Our use of HAP for delivering social homes is simply a transfer of wealth from the taxpayer to landlords which leave people in insecure rental tenancies. The state and Dublin City Council need to take an active role in both delivering and managing our social housing stock if we are ever to bring housing costs to affordable levels again.
For more information on Labour housing policy published last year , Labour’s Affordable Housing for All policy document is available here.
We need to reverse the long-term trend that lead to the financialisation of housing. They are not investments but homes. Cost-rental model delivered by councils and the Housing Agency.
Dublin’s housing crisis will only get worse if the council does not start building housing itself on a large scale. If elected, I will be pushing for Dublin City Council to roll out a major plan of public housing on public land. This will require cross-party support and one I am absolutely committed to achieving. The private sector cannot and will not meet existing and future housing demand which is affordable in our city. If elected, I will be pursuing the following targeted actions within Dublin City Council:
Planning: 1) Set explicit targets for residential housing in the city development plan and local area plan and thereby achieve a better mix between student accommodation and residential housing. 2) No to selling off residentially zoned public land to private developers. Instead this land must be used to develop housing by the Dublin City Council. 3) Push proposals for a change in zoning of under-used industrial estates and support proposals to work with public agencies to develop large tracts of land for housing such as the Broadstone bus depot.
Funding: 1) Local Authorities have been starved of adequate funding for housing and other services from central government for decades. Dublin City Council will need to fight for more funding and a change in how it can access borrowing. Instead of councillors quibbling about the composition of the existing Dublin City Council budget, I will be pushing for collective campaign by the executive of Dublin City Council to seek sustainable and adequate funding for housing.
Derelict sites and vacant housing: 1) Push for more aggressive targeting of derelict sites to go on the Derelict Site Register. In Cabra alone, where there is very significant housing demand, there are a number of derelicts sites that could be used to build hundreds of residential units. 2) Push for more compulsory purchase orders of derelict sites. Notwithstanding the major legal difficulties, Dublin City Council needs to accelerate the pace at which it is taking over derelict houses.
We need to make sure that the new legislation around short term lets is being enforced, and that the relevant bodies have funding to do so. In addition to that new developments of affordable housing should be a combination of affordable purchase and affordable rental. We should also prioritise the development of affordable quality housing over offices or hotels. I would also like to see stronger rights and protections for renters that are already in place. The precarious nature of renting doesn’t get the coverage it needs.
Supporting any motion that calls for rent caps and lobbying government for the same.
The first answer to this is to increase supply and when we do that we need to set a fair-rent mechanism and security of tenure as they have in other European cities.
I believe in the concept of public housing whereby anyone, regardless of income, can choose to rent from their local authority at a differential rent that is proportionate to their income. We are a long way from that and need the central government support to facilitate this. Another approach is the cost-rental model, which could be funded by trusts looking for low-risk, long-term investment. However, despite not having a cost-rental housing scheme or framework, I have supported retaining part of the Oscar Traynor Road Land Initiative site for cost-rental housing – perhaps by the time we actually build, the government will have delivered a scheme we can use! Ultimately, increasing housing supply should help reduce rents as demand will reduce.
This will be tackled through a mixture of legislation and supply. On the legislative side my party and I have a long track record of supporting tenants' rights and on supply I will continue to push for more build.
One part of the solution is to build affordable houses. We also need a well-regulated rental market. I am proud of the role that I have played in developing the Labour policy on housing. Because of my work in this, Labour now supports a mandatory rent reduction. I believe houses should be homes for people, not a source of income for the few.
I am a strong supporter of rent control and stronger regulation is needed to give more rights to tenants as we are moving to a greater proportion of the population renting.
I am fully supportive of the new rules governing whole unit short-stay rentals (such as Airbnbs) which is taking much needed housing stock out of the city. In particular in my own area of Dublin 8, knocking on doors in the Liberties you see every second house with the tell-tale key box outside. These houses for generations have been long-term homes for people but now are short-stay rentals for tourists.
There needs to be stronger democracy for tenants and owner-occupiers of apartment buildings and housing estates, to give them control over management companies and a greater say in the management of common areas.
Again cost-rental model. For this to work it will need unused land in the city to brought into use. This will need more urgent approach to vacant sites and greater use of compulsary purchase orders.
This will only happen if Dublin City Council starts building houses on a sufficient scale. We know that the price of a site alone accounts for approximately 35 percent so if Dublin City Council build on land they own or is owned by another state agency, that will automatically make the cost of housing cheaper. If elected I will be pushing for Dublin City Council to start building more. With regard to enforcement of holiday letting/Airbnb restrictions, I will put forward motions and work with others to ensure that this can be undertaken as effectively and as cost efficiently as possible.
We need to deliver more housing first and foremost. Specifically we need to see more housing delivered by the state. Market based solutions only serve the wealthiest people and don’t play a major role in actually addressing the crisis. I would work with councillors and relevant agencies to improve the services that are already in place. This requires a series of policies
The state needs to build on its own land and turn long-term vacant houses into social housing. As above, I will support and propose motions on building strong affordable housing.
We need a state-led approach to spend €13 billion to build 80,000 homes on public-owned land. Labour has been calling for the establishment of a National Housing Development Bank which would replace the existing Housing Agency and the Housing Finance Agency and will take resources, including land and expert staff, from NAMA. NAMA's resources must be put to use to deliver public housing, and not continue to be sold to the private market at the cost of those tenants vulnerable to homelessness.
Again, the central government needs to step up to the mark and better regulate the private rental sector. Research by Dublin Region Homeless Executive shows that most of those who enter homelessness do so because they have lost a private rental tenancy. As a councillor I will continue to advocate that that those who attend our services receive the most appropriate support, particularly in the area of securing another home.
We need a mixture of policies here – the key one is to build more homes and the second is to ensure decent facilities for people who don't have permanent homes. My record is one of consistent support for quality homeless facilities and unlike some who make public comments of support on the issue I have never opposed any new homeless facility.
Building houses and regulating the rental market will help. The biggest cause of homelessness is the private rental market and we need national legislation to stop evictions. [Labour TD] Jan O’Sullivan is doing great work holding the government to account for their failure to properly regulate the rental market. We have some very good homelessness services in the city, but we need more of them. It is wrong that people are kicked out in the morning and have nowhere to go until late at night. Labour is working for union rights and the right to a living wage. My Labour colleague Councillor Brendan Carr highlighted living-wage employers as lord mayor and this is something I would like to see increase. It is wrong that two parents could be working and they are homeless.
The Labour Party will give local councils the resources they need to end the homelessness crisis. A state-led housing building programme is needed to ensure the delivery of homes as what has been happening in my area are that all applications going in are for hotel or student accommodation. Homelessness won’t be addresses until we take action to ensure that developers are building long-term housing units. I have opposed and made submission to ABP on student accommodation in my area pointing out that as long as permission is granted for lower-standard higher-yield housing, then developers won’t have the incentive to build housing on their land.
A housing or homes-first policy should be properly resourced and implemented.
Again, an increase in housing supply that is affordable is the single most important measure that Dublin City Council must undertake the reduce the numbers becoming homeless. Anything other than will ensure that the numbers finding themselves without a home will only get larger into the future. I support the council’s existing work through the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and if elected, will push the housing first approach.
The vacant sites levy could and should be higher. If it is going to have an impact it needs to have teeth. I would support measures that encourage the development of sites and properties
Something I think should be done, would be to increase the vacant-site levy. Unused land does indeed have a cost for those who hoard it, but the cost needs to be higher.
When I chaired the Planning and Development Strategic Policy Committee I set up a working group when we produced a report on levies on vacant sites. Alan Kelly was the first minister who was prepared to address our report and bring in the levy. As he was a minority in a coalition it was compromised and I would like to see a stronger levy on smaller sites and shorter vacant timespan.
Any time I see a house/site that I think might be derelict or vacant I report it to DCC and encourage others to do the same. This allows DCC to follow up and apply the various sanctions (which should be increased in severity) that are in place or encourage the use of the Repair and Lease Scheme. I proposed that DCC set targets for compulsorily purchasing vacant houses, but this proposal was rejected due to constitutional concerns!
I welcome the new Vacant Site Levy, which was a Labour initiative. We need to encourage owners to develop sites and that can mean helping to bring adjoining owners together for best use of perhaps smaller sites. I have done so in the past and will again if re-elected.
It is not moral for a vacant site to sit on someone’s balance sheet being forgotten about and falling apart until they remember they own it or feel like building on it. If you own a vacant property in the middle of the housing crisis you should be fined and eventually the property should be taken and put to productive use. We need to deal with property rights. It is not a definitive right and there are exceptions to it. We need to deal with this either by legislation or a referendum.
Local councils need to have stronger compulsory purchase powers for the development of housing and managers need to be willing to use them and given the resources to bring them back to life.
Councils should be empowered to impose large fines on those who leave buildings and land vacant for unacceptable periods of time. The Labour Party supports legislation for the compulsory purchase of lands at existing use value, building on the 1973 Kenny Report proposals.
Levies need to be increased and greater use of compulsary purchase orders. We are in the middle of a housing crisis and the balance between private property and public good is unbalanced.
Same as above! I want to see a push for more aggressive targeting of derelict sites to go on the Derelict Sites Register. In Cabra alone, where there is very significant housing demand, there are a number of derelicts sites that could be used to build hundreds of residential units. Push for more compulsory purchase orders of derelict sites. Notwithstanding the major legal difficulties, Dublin City Council needs to accelerate the pace at which they are taking over derelict houses.
Public transport is very poor in Dublin. The transport committee of the city council has lacked a coherent approach to planning a city transport system. I believe that a Dublin Transport Authority needs to be established to plan and supervise the transport system in Dublin. A whole new fleet of electric buses is required. There must be practical incentives to use public transport.
There should be park and ride facilities along all bus and rail routes and fares should be very reasonable or at token levels during peak hours to entice commuters out of their cars. To protect fragile urban communities a congestion charge should be introduced to reduce private transport between the canals.
I would insist that all city development plans fully integrate improvements for infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking. I would fight for sustainable public transport and infrastructure. We also need to be willing to properly subsidise public transport.
Lobby for a carbon tax which could be ringfenced to improving our public transport, by increasing the amount invested in it each year. The cost of public transport as well needs to be kept low, and a carbon tax can help keep the cost at point of use very low indeed.
Sadly public transport is not part of our city council competency. (By the way, since 2005 we have lost competencies in tourism, water, traffic, health, port and docks and now the minister is interfering with the development plan. Ireland is the most centralised country in Europe and has least democracy below Leinster House-level. It was always poor but further deteriorated since the dual mandate went in 2000. That’s an interesting story for another day).
I would like to see a commitment for underground metros. There is an ideological opposition to subsidising public transport in this country. If you read all the reports they tend to fall down on lack of willingness to invest and subsidise, that’s why we get inadequate proposals. I was working in Sofia recently and I was taken on a tour of the tunnelling they are doing for an underground metro. If Sofia in Bulgaria, one of the poorest countries in Europe can do it, so can Dublin.
I strong believe in proactive public consultation on local development and infrastructure. At present we are in the process of deciding on new bus routes, core bus corridors and a possible Metro line. As a local councillor I have disseminated pertinent and relevant information on these proposals and held local public meetings to explain them and to hear local concerns. I view it as part of my role to make observations to these public consultations that not only reflect their concerns but that also suggest possible alternatives.
My long-held belief is that we need a single Dublin Transport Authority chaired by a directly elected mayor to bring all the transport services in Dublin under one platform.
Because of my disability I will never own a car or be able to cycle by myself, so walking and public transport are things I am very passionate about. A lot of changes are on the way for transport. We need to have affordable public transport so it can be a viable substitute to driving. This is not just about unclogging our city, it is about saving our planet. Sadly, the NTA consistently ignores community voices, leading to severe and numerous problems. I will continue to fight for a solution to the terrible parking situation at Broombridge, on the issue of the BusConnects and MetroLink proposals, reflecting the real needs and best interests of the community. We need to have safe footpaths that are accessible to people with disabilities, as well as safer cycle lanes and a public transport system that people can rely on. DublinBikes was a great success for Labour, and I will fight to extend this successful scheme to Cabra and the Navan Road.
When drafting city and county development plans, Labour councillors will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.
We support a strategic overhaul of bus transport in Dublin, while we will also advocate for revisions to the BusConnects plan in particular where it is breaking up villages and making the public sphere less welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists. Our city, and village within it should be a place to live and not just travel though.
More investment. New flat fare structures. Biggest obstacle to improving public transport though is congestion due to sharing road space with cars. Dublin City Development Plan 2022 needs to move us towards a carless city.
BusConnects is a good concept but the route and infrastructure design proposals need a lot more work to ensure it works better for cyclists, pedestrians, bus users and the sustainability and safety of our urban villages. If elected, I will push at council level for greater coordination between Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority (NTA) project team on the BusConnects project. In particular, this coordination is vital where BusConnects and the Metro proposals interact. If elected, I will also push the council and the NTA (whom I understand largely fund the schemes) to extend the Dublinbikes scheme into more of Phibsborough, Cabra, Navan Road, Drumcondra and Glasnevin.
The 2016 Census showed that cycling was the fastest growing form of transport in Dublin in the previous five years. However, the cycling infrastructure is woefully inadequate. Safe, segregated cycle lanes are necessary along travel routes to work and to school, in particular. The announcement this month by the National Transport Authority (NTA) that the Liffey Cycle Route was finally selected is to be greatly welcomed. It will provide safe cycling from the Phoenix Park to the sea along the Quays.
The recently announced ambitious plans by BusConnects to provide 200 kilometers of cycle lanes in the city are also welcome. I would extend the Dublinbikes scheme to every area in the city and encourage the other Dublin local authorities to establish their own bikes scheme.
We should commit to a minimum level of investment into cycling and cycling infrastructure. There should also be a dedicated cycling office in Dublin City Council. I would actively support the development of new infrastructure for cyclists.
As a cyclist I know how important this will be for our city in the years ahead. I will use my position as councillor to ensure that all Part VII road developments include spaces for cycling, and that existing cycle lanes are maintained and improved so that cycling becomes a realistic option for all.
Part of the difficulty right now with some proposals is the lack of interaction with residents which has caused trust to breakdown. We need a more co-operative approach to make things happen.
I have supported the Sutton-to-Sandycove cycle route and took an active part in the discussion around the city-centre-to-Clontarf route. I am very conscious that any new development needs to support good permeability for cyclists and pedestrians.
By continuing to support cycling infrastructure such as the Sutton-to-Sandycove (S2S) cycleway and the Dodder Greenway and helping to reduce conflict between different sectors on this issue. Too often good ideas are spiked by lack of preparation by sponsoring councillors. Experience helps deliver. The provision of better cycling facilities would also be helped by the establishment of a single Dublin Transport Authority.
I want safe, segregated cycle lanes across the community. I support the Phibsborough Local Environmental Improvements Plan recommendation to create an underpass under the Phibsborough Road in the old Blackwire Bridge for a segregated cycle lane along the old canal route. I am worried about providing safe ways for older people and people with disabilities to cross cycle paths, and this needs to be dealt with so everyone can get around safely.
When drafting city and county development plans, our group will make sure that we will include initiatives that improve our infrastructure for public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce our reliance on cars.
Greater investment is needed to improve and promote walking and cycling facilities, such as the Grand Canal cycle route which has been subject to long delays and initiatives such as cycling quietways which is a new idea to me but one that I find very appealing as a daily cyclist.
We need to invest in continuous and segregated bike lines through urban centres, safe counter-flow cycle lanes, secure cycle stands in towns and at schools, and safe routes for schoolchildren cycling to school and support them when they run into opposition
Our budget for cyclists is too low and 10 percent of the national transport budget should go into improving our cycling infrastructure.
As above. Also need to dedicate percentage of transport budget to cycling infrastructure. Cycling office rather than cycling offier in Dublin City Council.
Ultimately, safe cycling depends on segregated, continuous and consistent surface cycle paths. If we are to encourage more families, adults and older people to cycle, this type of infrastructure is vital. If elected, I will be pushing Dublin City Council’s road maintenance department and its traffic department to improve its remedial work of existing cycling paths. A concern is that some improvements will be delayed until the BusConnects investment becomes available. Cyclists' lives depend on immediate improvements. I will be pushing for this within the city council’s budget.
Climate change is the global challenge for us all. Ireland has a dismal record in almost every sphere. Our schoolchildren had to march on Dáil Eireann recently to remind us, the adult population, that our negligent behavior was jeopardizing their future and the future of the entire world.
If elected to the city council I will seek to establish stringent targets for an electrified rail, bus and taxi fleet in the city and place a deadline on the use of diesel and petrol in private vehicles. Dublin is a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (2008). That covenant contains a comprehensive set of proposals for reducing CO2 emissions and achieving and exceeding EU energy targets. A new Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) should be established to deal with climate change.
I would seek the implementation of practical actions to reduce Dublin’s greenhouse gas emissions through local Climate Action Funds. I would seek to establish a retrofitting programme for council homes and buildings. I would also like to prioritise public transport and cycling.
Proposing motions on Dublin City Council to make Dublin a green city, and supporting environmentally friendly and renewable-energy-based planning proposals.
As we say in the EU, co-operation with the citizen is key. In the next council, I would like to see working groups in each local area committee that sets objectives and works with communities to achieve them.
DCC has just completed a Climate Change Action Plan consultation. If re-elected I will actively engage with realising an ambitious, sustainable plan for our city. One small project that I would like to progress is the idea of some sort of acknowledgement – perhaps a plaque and official list – of all cafés/restaurants that use compostiable coffee cups, do not use straws or any other single-use plastics and offer a price reduction for using "keep cups" for take-away beverages. I think this would both provide those of us who want to make environmentally friendly consumer food choices a list of appropriate places to eat/drink and encourage other establishments to get more environmentally friendly.
This is a complex issue, but the biggest contribution we could make in city is to improve public transport and improve its environmental sustainability – primarily through ensuring that all new public-transport vehicles are electrically powered. I also believe there is a huge case for a completely free public transport system in this regard. There are other ways such as reducing waste, improving green spaces, and planting more trees. Dublin City Council should in the aftermath of the local elections establish a Climate Change Committee as one of its principle structures and not as a sub-committee of a committee.
This is the issue of our generation and I attended the climate strike with Labour Youth. Labour wants a just transition for those whose jobs were lost because of climate change. We need to create new, greener jobs. We need renewable energy cooperatives to speed up adoption of these technologies. I am part of the Royal Canal Clean-up and Phibsborough Tidy Towns, and a founding member of Cabra Tidy Towns. I know that we are making too much single-use packaging and we need to reduce this. We need a response to climate change at all levels, from the EU and Irish government, all the way to local Tidy Towns groups.
Labour as a party is committed to real change to Ireland’s economy so that we are less reliant on fossil fuels. We are calling for there to be Climate Action Committees on every council to drive an ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions and to ensure sustainability such as the DCC Climate Change Action Plan which has been championed by Cllr Claire Byrne.
The Labour party have proposed an ambitious state-led programme to insulate over 100,000 homes a year, including existing council housing. Insulating homes helps reduce energy poverty as people save money on their energy costs.
Councils can take action such as the inclusion of green roofs on building, which will reduce our flood risk as a coastal city and greening the city wherever possible, such as allowing unused land for allotments or “guerrilla gardening”, or ensuring there is greening along pavements. I have always been supportive of any measure which increase greening in the city and have advocated that Dublin City Council explore green roofing options when building their own units.
Transport and housing are big areas where carbon reduction can happen as are commercial buildings. Passive standard for new build needs to be implemented, mandatory use of energy-recovery systems. Move from private cars to public transport as norm. Dublin City Council's Climate Action Plan should be at heart of next city development plan.
Local government can and must take the lead on reducing our carbon footprint. Changes to how we consume, we build and we travel can’t be left to the distant future. Given that Dublin City Council is responsible for the provision of social housing, coordination of public transport and the regulation of waste collection in the city, I believe it can play a vital role in tackling climate change. If elected, I will be pushing for sustainability to be at the forefront in how the council builds new housing, upgrade existing homes, manages our waste collection system and oversees the development of public transport in Dublin. But these changes will only work if made affordable and widely available. If elected, I will be pushing for a review of how the city council’s budget can deliver on this and to push collectively for greater resources from central government to deliver on these objectives.
Litter, dog poo and illegal dumping is a problem in many parts of the city. I believe the carrot and stick is the approach that is most likely to succeed. Good civic education in the home and school will teach children to have respect for their environment and for their neighbour. Many communities now engage in neighborhood clean-ups which bring people together to create local pride of place.
However, there are areas where littering and dumping are endemic. In these areas CCTV should be used more extensively and bags of dumped rubbish should be checked more rigorously for identification. Landlord accommodation should be checked regularly to ensure that there is adequate storage space for tenants’ rubbish and landlords should be made responsible for ensuring that their tenants are registered with a reputable waste disposal company. The city council must lead the way and engage more proactively with local communities.
I would lobby to increase funding for a new Community Warden role to be a familiar face in every area, keeping an eye out for dumping, dog fouling, and graffiti, with the power to issue fines. Campaign for zero tolerance on dog fouling and introduce “brown zones” for streets and roads where persistent offending occurs.
An increase of bins is needed, and where possible, giving the public the option of recycling bins alongside general waste so that people can recycle on the fly. The city council’s “Green Dog Walker” scheme needs to be advertised a bit more, which has proven successful in other local authorities in Scotland and I would aim to make this more known, perhaps also making dog waste bags more readily available in public.
The council has a plan where they work with communities but I do think a lot more is needed, I suppose more wardens and more bins would be a start. It's probably not widely enough known that council offices and libraries supply biodegradable bags free of charge.
We need more litter wardens and dog wardens – this is a budgetary choice that I will advocate for. I supported the name-and-shame photos of illegal dumpers that DCC used a couple of years ago – this approach needs to be revisited. Fines need to be increased as a deterrent, but this will only work if there is an efficient process in place to catch offenders. People’s attitudes need to change and I do not buy into the argument that because of the bin charges people cannot afford to dispose of their waste. There is no excuse for not picking up your dog’s poo!
I have proposed that we create new post of community warden that would be a mixture of litter warden, dog warden and traffic warden – these would be allocated to areas and would get to know them and I believe could be very instrumental in tackling these matters in a financially sustainable way. We need to ensure that people do not get away with anti-social behaviour in this way.
I am an active member of Phibsborough Tidy Towns, and I am a leader on the Royal Canal Clean-Up and helped set up Cabra Tidy Towns. Through volunteering with these clean-ups I have done a lot to tackle this issue. Some of the illegal dumping is as a direct result of the failed policy of privatisation of the bin services. I am totally against this and want it to be brought back into public ownership. Having competing bin trucks driving up and down the same streets is stupid. This is up to the central government though, and local authorities can’t make this change. We also need to continue to put pressure on companies to reduce unnecessary packaging. I am delighted that a new zero-waste shop called Noms has opened in Phibsborough and I shop there regularly. I have a "keep cup" and try to reduce the amount of waste that I generate, but companies don’t make it easy and the government is doing nothing about it.
Enforcement is a very difficult issue when it comes to litter and dumping. There has been a policy in Dublin City Council of removing bins when we need to provide more bins in public places, in particular the solar-compacting bins which reduce the waste we send to landfill. More litter officers need to be employed directly to tackle litter hotspots.
The worst decision taken by Dublin City Council management was to sell off the direct waste collection. Labour proposed improving the quality of waste collection by direct employment by local authorities where possible, and strong enforcement of regulations on private operators.
There is also a need to increase the the number of people working as litter wardens, dog wardens to tackle the issue of litter and dog dirt. Without enforcement this will continue to be a blight on our city. I am supportive of using CCTV in dumping or litter hotspots, which was piloted in the North Inner City.
As a dog owner I have no time for owners who don’t pick up after their own dog. However, we need to make free biodegradable bags available and bins in area where dog walkers gather.
I am in favour of councils being responsible for waste collection and support the #morepowertoyou campaign. I believe that charges for waste collection has led to needed behavioural change but that a purely commercial approach is neither fair nor produces the best result. Also there needs to be greater pressure on producers to eliminate packaging .
Illegal dumping or the threat of same has lead to dog poo bins being withdrawn in some places due to misuse. More bins needed. However only lasting solution is change in dog owners' behaviour. Just as it is now unthinkable for most people to smoke in proximity of babies, same social change needs to happen re: letting dogs foul in streets and parks.
This requires a number of specific actions which, if elected, I will push for at city council in terms of allocation of resources and funding:
1) More bins and more waste-enforcement officers. The decision to not roll out any further dog litter bins across the city is to be regretted, although the collection system was very poor. Instead, the new model of street bin must be rolled out across the city to enable diligent dog walkers and others to dispose of waste.
2) More planting, landscaping and improved lighting to deter illegal dumping in known blackspots.
3) Investigation of exploitative overcrowding in the rental sector and the effect of inadequate space for bins, lack of information, on the incidence of illegal dumping.
4) Lastly and most importantly, I will be pushing for cross-party support to ensure Dublin City Council takes over waste collection services across our city. The current system of provision by multiple private providers does not work. I want to Dublin city councillors together to campaign to central government to allocate sufficient funding to allow re-municipalisation of this service.
It is not an easy matter to increase the number of parks and green spaces in the city as space is at a premium. In the first instance existing green space must be preserved. For example, BusConnects and the MetroLink have proposals which would encroach on significant chunks of green space along their routes through the city. This should be avoided at all costs.
Good planning is a way to provide new parks and green spaces. Rather than each planning application standing alone and making provision for a sliver of greenery, good planning practice could require a pooling of green spaces into a coherent larger space or a public park.
I would work to improve existing spaces and seek, where possible, to acquire new spaces for public use.
I will use my position in the council to ensure that new developments are either near green space as it is, or include green space as an integral part of the development. Building houses alone does not solve this crisis. Building communities will.
In my area we have done quite well on this. That is why the Labour Party got Z15 zoning agreed that all institutional lands if there is a change of use, that 25 percent of the land must be used for public open space.
There is a good consciousness among all councillors about the need for parks and green spaces. Indeed we voted to keep green spaces in our Development Plan that could have been used for building, which caused some frustration at the executive level [in the council]. At local level, I would be imaginative about small local spaces and work with locals to secure funding to enhance their appearance, particularly through the use of our discretionary fund.
There is a park in the middle of Dublin city that is locked and chained. That park is in Fitzwilliam Square. That to me is an anachronism in this day and age and I have long sought its acquisition by the city. We can also enhance existing green spaces such as along the Dodder and the Tolka and, in particular, around Dublin Bay.
We are very lucky in Cabra/Glasnevin that we have a lot of green spaces. I think Phibsborough is the exception and it would be nice to expand the amount of green space there. I am working on a submission to the OPW on the future of the Phoenix Park. I want the community to continue to benefit from it and keep the wild areas intact.
I have been a leading voice on Dublin City Council for the provision of green spaces in Dublin 8 which has the lowest amount of green space for population density in the City.
I led the campaign to develop a derelict site on Cork Street as a park which is now the very popular Weaver Park. I worked in the development plan to keep the Boys Brigade pitches and expand them as a sports pitch for local sports clubs in the community. A liveable city is a green city where every citizens has access to green lungs and public recreation space.
When derelict sites are being developed , a "greening" provision should be introduced. In many cases this may be relatively small strips, in others larger. Good recent examples of both e.g. Weaver Park and strips of land at North King Street and at Dolphins Barn.
Where there is demand, yes. I will support motions that seek to ensure amenities and green space for local communities. In addition, I will support tree-planting programmes particularly within the residential and commercial parts of the Phibsborough and Cabra villages.
The proliferation of gated communities is alarming. They privatize the city and prevent other communities and citizens from engaging with each other or sharing their environment. Incidentally, they make it impossible to canvass people personally during elections which is not good for democracy. The community sector of Dublin City Council needs to be greatly strengthened and resourced. Strong open neighborhoods with good community engagement are the best places to live and work and are the best protection against crime and anti-social behavior.
Increasing the number of public spaces will be an important part of the work of the next council. The plaza at College Green is something I am supportive of and would work to see that advanced. I would also prefer that council land be developed for public use rather than being sold.
I will vote against any proposal that sells off public land. State land needs to remain in state hands or else development won’t be public orientated or community led.
I have always taken a strong position on this and am very slow to agree selling off council land. I am more interested in the council developing for public use.
DCC councillors have to approve the disposal/sale of any DCC-owned property, including public spaces. This simple action can prevent them from being privatised. At local level, I would be imaginative about small local spaces and work with locals to secure funding to enhance their appearance, particularly through the use of our discretionary fund.
One of the great challenges for the next city council in this regard will be creating the public plaza on College Green. I have long supported this proposal and believe we should relaunch it for the city. In addition I believe that the Bank of Ireland building on College Green should be transferred to public ownership by the bank and developed as a Dublin Museum and an Institute for Dublin Affairs.
We have some good opportunities with the redevelopment of Dalymount Park, and I will support Bohs and put pressure on the government to play its part and fund this important facility for the city. I think there is a lack of civic space. If elected I will have very few options for places to run clinics. I will need to run them in pubs and I think this is not good. I want there to be more public events, campaign events, and engagement. I want these to be run in publicly owned, fully accessible and affordable venues. I have campaigned for public provision of services and for good pay and conditions for those who provide our public services for a long time now and this is something that remains important to me and Labour. I think electing someone with a disability to the council will give a new perspective on how to make spaces truly accessible to all.
Our cities and towns should not be overly focused on commercial concerns. Vibrant cities and towns need to be focused on people’s needs. I will work promote public spaces, as I have done though my time on the council, though initiatives such as proposing in the development plan that a proportion of mixed-used developments should be used for artistic work spaces which enhances the city and working with people such as the Dublin Flea Market to find spaces for these community and social spaces in the city.
I have also opposed the closing of pubic spaces by developers who have wanted to block access to square to the public (unfortunately planning found against us). I will always promote the primacy of public open space over private open space.
Firstly the public spaces that are there need to be reclaimed from the profusion of clutter (junction boxes, unnecessary signage, overspill from shops etc) that make them unattractive and also hamper easy mobility. Biggest available land bank for public space is roads. As we move to reduce car usage we need to reclaim road space as public space and develop it in an attractive way.
Planning is one of the most important functions of Dublin City Council. In the new city development plan, local area plans and in other planning decisions, if elected, I will push to retain the public realm within our city within the hands of our city council and local communities.