People Before Profit
The state needs to build social housing, even if this means transgressing the laws set by the EU. For too long housing supply has been left to the private sector, leading to a complete failure to address the housing needs of working families, single workers, the unemployed, students and those who are generally on the margins of society. Local authorities and state agencies own a vast amount of land around the city. But Fine Gael want to hand it over to private developers who will charge high prices for homes. This should be resisted and the public land should be used to build social and affordable housing at cheaper rates.
People Before Profit has campaigned for:
1) The declaration of a national housing emergency to release funds for local authority and affordable housing;
2) The holding of a referendum to insert a "right to housing" clause into the Irish constitution;
3) The creation of a national construction company to take control of building supply;
4) A five-year programme to house 100,000 families and individuals in secure, permanent public housing;
5) Raising the income thresholds for public housing to €60,000 per annum. People on modest incomes should be able to be housed through state provision;
6) An end to gentrification: the south and north inner-city areas are being saturated with aparthotels, hotels and student accommodation, with few or no social and affordable homes. Local people are being driven out of the city for the sake of profit. Dublin's inner-city will be a dead zone except for tourism in the next decade. We will put a halt to this policy and re-generate inner-city council property.
The unaffordability of rent and mortgages is affecting people from all backgrounds in society. The latest figures show that the average rent in Dublin has reached two grand a month while the average house price is 383 grand.
Developers, landlords, vulture funds and the very wealthiest in society have benefited enormously from the housing crisis while everyone else has suffered. Fine Gael, propped up by Fianna Fáil, have not only facilitated the crisis but actively created it.
The main parties are ideologically opposed to building public homes on public land. They are deliberately aiming to keep rent and house prices high. The supply of homes has been reduced to a trickle in order to facilitate this shameless profiteering.
We need to fight to stop the government and councils selling off our public land. Our public land needs to be used for a mass programme of public housing. This country is now the richest it has ever been and yet we are not seeing the wealth reach most people in society. Ireland could have afford a mass programme of housing in the '50s and '60s when the country was at its poorest. This goal is perfectly achievable. The problem is that the government does not want to achieve it.
People Before Profit wants to see high-quality public housing available to everyone, regardless of their income. We see this model in other places in Europe, where people pay a proportion of their income and have long-term security of tenure without the threat of eviction or the stress of being unable to afford payments. High-quality public housing in Vienna, for example, means that 75 percent of the city rent their homes.
Aside from a state-led public-housing construction programme, I will also work to pressure NAMA to deliver social homes with its current portfolio. Any vacant or derelict properties which have lain unused for a number of years must also be subject to a compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) and renovated for public housing.
Any housing development must also come with proper consultation to ensure that the area has the facilities and green spaces necessary for a vibrant and sustainable community. "
Fine Gael's Rebuilding Ireland has completely failed low- and middle-income earners where having a secure and truly affordable home is out of reach of the vast majority of us. By failing to build public housing, Fine Gael backed up by Fianna Fáil has facilitated land hoarders, developers, landlords, vultures and enriched the wealthiest sectors leaving many struggling in housing poverty. Working people will never be able to afford their own home.
We in People Before Profit see housing as an essential human right that must come before the needs of speculators and the wealthy. I reject the commodification of land and housing and demand a major expansion of public housing that would be open to all income levels. Stop the sell-off of public land, build public housing on public land. The state has to directly build public housing, acquire vacant houses, increase Part V from the current 10 percent to a statutory minimum of 20 percent, task NAMA to deliver homes under its social remit, affordable student accommodation.
First we must build on what available DCC land there is, establish a state developer managed by DCC, building to an agreed set number of house and appartment designs, and compulsorily purchase any hoarded land that has been lying idle for years. Scrap [the government's flagship housing programme] ‘’Rebuilding Ireland’’, it has failed.
I have been chairing and building the National Homeless and Housing Coalition for the past four years so as to make sure that the housing crisis is put firmly on the political agenda. The campaign had a cross motion passed in the Dáil last October which called for practical measures to be implemented so as to bring the housing crisis under control. The motion included measures to deal with high rents, evictions from the private sector, the building of homes, a constitutional right to housing.
In the council, I have consistently advocated and fought for the building of public housing on public land, and if elected will continue to do this. Building public housing on public land is the solution to the issue of supply and affordability so continuing to work on this at the council and at the national level will make a difference and so it will be a priority for me.
Last year, for example, Dublin City Council built just 74 social homes and 69 of these were rapid-build modular housing. In other words, just five standard social homes were built in 2018. This helps to explain why there are 17,745 people languishing on the housing list in the city. In my view the unelected city management is in dereliction of its duty. If there was a genuine left-wing council this would not be tolerated. I believe that public land should be used exclusively for social and affordable housing. At present the council majority is agreeing to the sell-off of public land if they can achieve a 30 percent target of social and affordable housing. I don’t agree with this. There should be no sell-off at knock-down prices to developers. If land was available, then houses can be built for less than €200,000. The council should start assembling its own direct-labour unit – so that the city is not dependent on builders whose main aim is profit. I want to see the promised 900 social and affordable homes at the Irish Glass Bottle site go ahead. That would allow people who grew up in the area and want to live near family and friends, get a home there.
I believe the state should take responsibility for the construction of affordable and social homes for its citizens as it has done in the past. We need to build communities that put the needs of our citizens above the need for profits. We need to implement a system by which no one is without a home and no child has to sleep in a hotel room. This can only be achieved by a state-led programme of housing for all, a programme based on the one that was implemented when our state was first founded,and not one that sees housing and people as commodities.
Housing is one of my key priorities. Public land should be used to build public housing, this would include social and public and be available to people on average incomes. State funds should be used and stop the reliance on the market and private developers to build homes. A major house-building programme could also reduce the "stigma" associated with council housing by providing it to people on every level of income.
The government has deliberately allowed rents to rise so that they now consume nearly half of many people’s weekly incomes. People Before Profit councillors will back up any tenant fighting evictions. We shall mount a city-wide campaign for reduction in rents and for rent controls. Rents in high pressure areas are too high and this is leading to social cleansing. The poor are being pushed to the outer suburbs. Rents must be reduced to 2011 levels and only landlords who show clear evidence of improvement should be allowed to increase rents above this. Simultaneously, we need real rent caps. Rents should be based on transparent criteria and rent increases are linked to the Consumer Price Index. Tenants must be given greater security of tenure.
We have seen an astronomical increase in rent in the past few years while people have seen their wages stagnate or have received a pay cuts since the crash. Rents are 37 percent higher now than they were during the boom. This is a huge amount of money (imagine if you were given a 37 percent pay rise!) and yet the government expects us to put up with this situation because it keeps the developers and landlords happy.
People are forced to move out of our areas where they have friends, family or jobs in order to find somewhere to rent. Once they are renting, they find themselves at the mercy of landlords with unaffordable rent and no security. The cost and threat of eviction leads to serious stress and impacts people’s mental health.
Loopholes in current rent caps are being exploited or else regulation is being ignored altogether. Tenants are afraid to challenge these violations and most people do not know their rights. We need to strengthen regulation, close down these loopholes, and inform tenants of their rights. Rent controls must be instated to lower rent and keep it at an affordable cost. Tenants must also have the threat of eviction removed and be given long-term leases with security of tenure.
Short-term solutions like HAP [the Housing Assistance Payment] and RAS [the Rental Accommodation Scheme] have become the government’s main sticking plaster. These measures have seen a huge transfer of wealth into the hands of private landlords at a cost which continues to increase as landlords demand more money.
A mass programme of public-housing construction would see the cost of renting fall as options would open up and people would no longer be forced into the private rental market. I will fight at every opportunity to deliver public housing at local level, along with the facilities and public spaces needed for sustainable community living. For the radical shift in national housing policy that we need, however, it is necessary to build a people-power housing movement of activists, trade unions, political parties and other people who want to see an end to this crisis. We need a movement which will take on the landlord parties and secure the right to housing to provide homes for all.
To that end, I am proud that People Before Profit are active in building and promoting movements such as the Homeless and Housing Coalition and the recent Raise the Roof rallies. The victory we saw over water charges can be replicated if people organise in their communities and take to the streets to demand real change.
Rents have almost doubled over the past six years while wages stagnate. Renters are being forced from their community and 70 percent of people forced into homelessness are from the private-rented sector because of no security of tenure and unaffordable rents courtesy of deliberate FG/FF policies. Over 20 percent of the population are now renting and are totally unrepresented and have no voice, I am fully committed to changing that. I co-founded the voluntary Dublin Renters Union in Rathmines in early 2017 to provide help, support and advice to renters struggling under constant threat of eviction and collectively have taken on and beaten landlords locally. If you are in the area please contact me.
We need to build a massive social movement to take on the landlord class in Dublin and nationally to deliver a truly secure and affordable home that everyone in society deserves. By increasing public housing, that I spoke about earlier, and enacting measures on restricting entire apartments and houses being let out on Airbnb and other short-term letting platforms, it would supply more homes and reduce the reliance on the private sector.
I will demand real rent controls, where rents are reduced to 2011 levels and move towards rents linked to income and fight for real security of tenure with long-term leases for renters, where the renter decides to leave at their own choosing not the landlord's.
Ban Airbnb in the city and its suburbs and fast-track funding to all existing DCC housing projects. More homes on the market will apply downward pressure on rents. At present, the Department of Housing is slowing the finance to projects. This has to stop. The private rental sector needs to be challenged by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) issuing fines and jail sentances for breaches of rules on rental costs and standards. Rental costs need to be slashed and rental caps enforced.
Rents should not consume more than 25 percent of a person’s income. But in Dublin, it is not uncommon to find that they now account for 50 percent. This is a scandal. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have allowed rents to escalate because they are dominated by property interests. I have three proposals: 1) There must be rent reviews to enforce a reduction in rents, and where individuals or a group of individuals can show that rents have risen above an acceptable proportion of their income, there has to be a rent reduction; 2) after that there must be strict rent controls, and rental increases must only be linked to rises in the Consumer Price Index; 3 )tenants must be given security of tenure, where a building is sold off, the tenants must keep their homes, and there should be a ban on evictions, except in exceptional circumstances, while the present housing crisis persists.
We would like to see a cost model of affordability created based on incomes and homes built, homes provided for rent by the state to its citizens, homes that would have security of tenure and rents not higher than what would been seen as a normal rate of no more the 30 percent of your gross income.
Establish a rental board with the express aim of cutting rents by linking them to the Consumer Price Index. Introduce legal measures to stop landlords refusing state payments like HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] and RAS [Rent Accommodation Scheme]. Existing rent controls should be enforced and extended. Homes in the city, not hotel accommodation, should be the planning priority. I also favour action on limiting the levels of Airbnb accommodation until the housing crisis is dealt with. This could include an examination of how other cities have dealt with the issue.
We could create a national construction company to take control of building supply. There should be no evictions where there is genuine economic distress. People Before profit supports:
1) Transfering 20,000 Nama housing units to local authorities. Nama has failed the public –we need to change its mandate and take back housing units for those on waiting lists;
2) A clamp-down on short-term letting for tourism or corporate rental in this time of the housing emergency;
3) Stopping the sell-off of public land to private developers at knock-down prices;
4) Fine Gael wants to sell off as much public land as cheaply as possible to their developer friends. This must be stopped. Public land should be used for council housing and community amenities;
5) The imposition of a vacant-dwelling levy. There are over 200,000 vacant properties in Ireland – even though thousands have no home. We need a "use it or lose it policy" whereby private property owners will pay a special levy if their property is left empty for more than six months (except under particular circumstances such as probate);
6) The use of compulsory purchase orders. In some cases a levy will not be enough. If the public good demands it, the state should be able to use a CPO to attain appropriate accommodation;
7) PBP also supports specific drug- and drink-free hostels so that those in recovery or at risk can still use homeless services in an emergency, and the introduction of legal measures to outlaw discrimination: an end to “Rent allowance not accepted”. Too many landlords discriminate against people on government-led schemes. PBP would outlaw this practice.
The latest official figure place the amount of homeless people in Ireland at 10,305, including 4,000 children. The government’s official figures have been widely criticised. We know the real number of homeless people is much higher than what we are being told. There is the hidden homeless of people sleeping on sofas, staying in friends' houses or living in overcrowded accommodation. There are families staying in hotel rooms or family hubs, forced to comply with restrictions on visitors, the use of communal spaces and curfews.
People Before Profit is pushing for an immediate ban on evictions to stop the soaring homelessness figures. We demand real security of tenure for all tenants. An emergency programme of public housing would provide much-needed homes and we would no longer have the scandal of families being raised in hubs and hostels.
We have been told by successive governments that there are no solutions overnight. This has been the excuse now for years as we have watched the homeless figures climb up and up. It is not a question of the government failing to act overnight. Their deliberate policy is to actively facilitate the profits of landlords, developers, and vulture funds.
The market has not delivered. New developments on the market are instantly snapped up by landlords or the very wealthiest in society. The only solution is a programme of public housing on public land.
We are also calling for a referendum to put the right to housing into the constitution. This is a fundamental human need and it should always be the priority of any government to house its people.
Our candidates in People Before Profit are not just going to vote on committees, they are dedicated activists who are committed to building a mass movement to achieve real change.
It's absolutely disgraceful there are 10,264 people, official figures, in emergency accommodation of which there are about 4,000 children. As I said earlier, FG/FF deliberate policies that profit their friends have led to our crisis. A month, 100 families are forced into homelessness because of the failure of market policies. This is disgraceful in a country that has over the last two years has grown at more than three times the EU average, we need a recovery for all not for the wealthy and that is why we need to vote for People Before Profit representatives on 24 May.
We would immediately ban evictions to stop the flood of people into homelessness and by demanding real security of tenure to renters. By ramping up directly built public housing we would provide long-term secure homes, end the use of B&Bs, hotels for emergency accommodation.
The homeless will not be helped until government decides it wishes to help them. Funding is required to build proper accommodation with care staff and facilities. The system of night shelters is inhumane and this problem has to be tackled head-on by government. Presently, the homeless sector is buckling under the pressure of the demand for its services.
Through the above measures. Evictions, for example are one of the main causes of homelessness. We also have to stop Dublin City Council culling the figures for the numbers of homeless people simply because people do not return questionnaires on time .The homeless figures, for example, should include all those who are forced into couch surfing because they have nowhere to live. I also want to see an expansion of homeless shelters and an end to the degrading practice whereby people have to ring every day at a certain time to see if they can secure a bed. In particular, we need an expansion of refuges from domestic violence. A 2014 report indicated that 14 women a day were being turned way because there was no accommodation.
I would want to see a state-led program of housing for those who are not in a position to be able to afford a mortgage or rent model. These houses would be owned by the state and afford citizens who need a home the dignity and the opportunity to overcome whatever issues that have lead to their homelessness.
I would seek to have the council unify the agencies providing homeless services in the city. The current crazy situation where agencies compete against each other to get contracts for providing homeless services must stop. This is a prime example of neo-liberalism gone mad. I would also favour the council using CPO [compulsory purchase order] powers on vacant city buildings for use as emergency, short-term, homeless accommodation.
As stated above PBP supports:
1) The imposition of a vacant-dwelling levy. There are over 200,000 vacant properties in Ireland – even though thousands have no home. We need a "use it or lose it policy" whereby private property owners will pay a special levy if their property is left empty for more than six months (except under particular circumstances such as probate);
2) The use of compulsory purchase orders. In some cases a levy will not be enough. If the public good demands it, the state should be able to use a CPO to attain appropriate accommodation.
There should be a tax on vacant properties and sites which is high enough to be effective. As it stands, land and property hoarders are still free to speculate on the value of land and properties. As the value goes up, these sites are sold for a huge profit. There is no incentive to build when these developers can simply wait and not lift a finger to alleviate the housing crisis.
There should also be a set time frame for developers to commence construction or else they forfeit the site to the local council. We have seen sites in Dublin sitting for so long that planning permission has expired.
I am in favour of a Derelict Sites Register which would include both council-owned and private properties. Properties which have been vacant for longer than a reasonable period of time should be subject to compulsory purchase order (CPOs) in order to provide homes for people.
People Before Profit proposed a motion on Dublin City Council for all derelict properties owned by Dublin City Council to be registered. Our motion passed. However, council management has completely ignored the democratic will of the local elected representatives. This is a constant pattern on Dublin City Council, where unelected management push the government’s agenda at the expense of elected councillors. This illustrates the need for local and national people-power campaigns. People Before Profit activists will give voice to these struggles both inside and outside the council chamber. In order to see substantial change we also need to see real action from people organising in their communities and rallying on the streets.
We propose a vacant site tax, a use-it-or-lose-it policy on sites where developers have a specific timeframe to build on it, the Derelict Sites Register and action taken on them and to take them back into public ownership, CPO vacant properties to provide homes for people.
DCC should be given crisis funding and emergency legal authority to compulsorily purchase all vacant properties and build through a state developer managed via DCC with an agreed set of project designs.
In my first year on the council I drafted a motion calling for a register to be established that would log derelict and empty buildings so that we could make sure they were put to good use or purchased by the council. Despite support from all other parties and the passing, the council management have refused to implement the register. I am consistently highlighting vacant and derelict sites in our area, ensuring that the council is pursuing the owners to address the dereliction.
I have had motions passed and am actively campaigning to have the Iveagh Markets brought under public control for community use and for public housing and amenities to be built as a matter of urgency at the Player Wills site. Three years ago, Dublin 8 was voted by the UCD school of Geography as the ugliest part of Dublin. It has been my mission since to make sure we are never awarded this again!
We need a vacant site and property register. The city council should carry out regular inspections and follow up immediately on reports on vacancy. I want to see more compulsory purchase orders to bring vacant property back into use,. Dublin City Council has requested just 25 houses since 2011 while Louth, with a much smaller population, has had compulsory orders for 141. Vacant sites worth more than €400 million have been identified at 114 locations across Dublin city and county – and this is an underestimate. I am totally against a practice whereby big developer companies are buying up land banks and then leaving them idle while they seek planning permission to change their use to commercial or residential. This is simply a means for escalating the price. I will highlight and oppose such activity.
Local council should be given the authority to identify and engage with owners of vacant sites and dwellings. Where vacant sites/dwellings are still not in use within six months of identifying them and no valid response has been given by the owner then a compulsory acquisition should be invoked to bring them into use.
The Vacant Site Levy should be increased and enforced. Properties and sites, after six months on a register of vacant sites, should be CPOed for public use. Fear of constitutional property rights is being used to hide behind the responsibility of the city council and state to provide for the human and public right to a home.
In general terms PBP favours a major shift to public transport and the prioritisation of public transport and cycling across the city, but particularly in the centre of Dublin. This is not just good for the people of Dublin, but can help in the fight against climate change. We need to follow countries like Luxembourg and make public transport free. We need major investment in public transport – expand the bus fleet nationally and in Dublin, increase rail services on suburban lines. We support the electrification of transport as far as is possible. Following an expansion of public-transport services we will support the restriction of car use.
The IPCC report made it clear that we have 12 years to avert a climate catastrophe. We need to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions to tackle climate change. We are also seeing 1,500 people in Ireland die premature deaths every year due to poor air quality. There is therefore an urgent need to reduce the amount of cars on the road.
An underfunded public transport system encourages people to choose cars over public transport. We need to oppose the privatisation agenda of Fine Gael, which has seen several of our bus routes handed over to private operators Go Ahead. Our public transport must not be run for profit. Any money made should be invested back into the service to improve its quality and ensure the employees are fairly paid.
People Before Profit are in favour of significant investment in our public transport services to put more buses on the road and provide a better service for people overall. To encourage more people to use public transport, we also propose that the service is free to use and funded by progressive taxation. This model has worked in other European cities and has proven to be effective.
There are aspects of the BusConnects plan we would support but we have great concerns about the absence of proper consultation. The previous version of the plan would have seen many parts of our local area without any bus service at all. The elderly, people with disabilities and people with children, in particular, would have suffered the most with these plans.
We are one of the most car-dependent societies in the world. Over-reliance on cars damages the environment and human health. Each year, 1,400 people die from poor air quality, often caused by car emissions. We would invest in vital public transport. It links communities, reduces congestion, and helps control our carbon emissions. Public transport must be properly funded and supported.
In Dublin, we oppose the corporate agenda of BusConnects. This service will make it more difficult for older people, those with prams and mobility issues to access public transport. We favour upgrading services. In light of the multiple benefits coming from a well-resourced public transport system, we propose making public transport free.
Firstly, all public transport should be free into the city and urban destinations at peak time or altogether. This could be described as a commuter bail-out. We pay taxes and it's time we saw a return on that investment. Secondly, remove all cars from the city, and permit driving only after we have established the first point. Public transport should be publicly owned. Stop privatising bus services by stealth. The National Transport Authority is a quango that is in danger of running BusConnects and Metro North into the ground. We desperately need these transport projects to progress, or we need to bite the bullet and fund a proper underground system.
It is very important that our area is developed in a sustainable way. This includes green space, cycle lanes, sports facilities, community amenities, decent housing and public transport. It is an area that I have worked very hard on over the past five years and if elected, it will continue to be a priority. I have fully engaged with the BusConnects consultations and will continue to engage with the process. I have worked with and campaigned with communities in the past to defend our public bus services and will continue to do so.
Dublin is one of the slowest cities in Europe, with drivers spending a staggering 246 hours in their cars over the course of a year. Losing these days of your life in traffic jams is bad for your mental well-being – and the climate. Three hundred buses were cut from the Dublin Bus fleet by the last Fianna Fáil-Green government. I want those cuts to be reversed and want to see an expansion of the fleet. Once that occurs, we can move to cheap and reliable public transport. I think, for example, there should be a single €1 fare throughout the city. We should then move to free public transport. How will be pay for it? By closing the tax loopholes given to banks – or by taking some of the Apple money.
I would like to see current public transport fares halved to encourage people to move away from the automotive and petrol polluters. Our public transport system should never be allowed to enter into private ownership. The state has a duty to its citizens to provide a working transport system, one that is more environmentally effective then it is now and one that can accommodate passenger numbers especially at rush hours. I would like to see the development of a public transport network that includes our disabled and our mobility impaired elderly community. The current model excludes the needs of this cohort of our population and forces restrictions on them that no person should tolerate. I would like to see a new engagement process developed involving disabled groups whereby they can express their needs and see how our current transport system can be more inclusive and thus improve their quality of life.
There are fewer buses operating in the city than 10 years ago. Fares are too high and many buses are overcrowded. The fleet needs to be increased and fares cut. There should be an immediate reduction of all fares to €1. A massive expansion of the bus fleet is required and a move to a fare-free policy. This would also be a significant contributor to reducing our carbon emissions. At the moment we have an agency, the NTA, which has huge powers and little accountability. Its neo-liberal thinking is obsessed with competition and facilitating private transport operators, rather than the provision of a public service. The city council should have a greater role in public transport policy and provision.
PBP supports a major expansion of cycling across the city. While levels of cycling have increased in recent years, many people are afraid to cycle as it is too dangerous. PBP wants:
1) To create proper cycleways. We need safe cycleways that are separated from cars and pedestrians. This will mean using soft barriers to demarcate them.
2) To make more free bicycles available. For a limited deposit, people, should be able to pick up a bicycle and leave it back in a different space. We aim to expand the free bike scheme, run by the council itself.
Cycling infrastructure, along with better public transport, needs to be improved to reduce our city’s reliance on cars. As it stands, it is often unsafe to cycle in many parts of the city. We need to provide more cycle lanes to ensure both children and adults can cycle for recreation and as a form of transport which produces no emissions.
Cycle paths can be developed in tandem with green spaces in our city. This would be hugely beneficial for both physical exercise and mental health.
The rental bikes have proven to be a success in Dublin city centre. This system should be expanded to other areas of Dublin, particularly the suburbs.
As a cyclist myself, we need safe and joined-up cycle ways throughout the city where cyclists of all ages can access. By building cycle ways, it would encourage people to travel in more environmentally friendly ways.
There are a number of cycling projects being carried out at present, but our road structure has many pinch points and a lot more investment is needed. A massive reduction in the number of cars in our city will aid the redesign of our city roads for cyclists and public transport. But drivers need an alternative mode of transport to take them out of their cars. It is all connected. We need a massive improvement of the cycling network with immediate separation of cyclists (with kerbs) from all traffic, including buses.
The cycling infrastructure in our city generally and in our area in particular is wholly inadequate. I regularly engage with cycling campaigns and support their work at the council level, calling for practical measures that can easily be implemented (like two-way cycle lanes, more bike stations) while also making the case for a serious investment in the infrastructure and the rollout of the Dublinbikes scheme. I also use cycling as a major form of transport and am frustrated by the lack of funding and the lack of progress. If re-elected I will make a point of meeting with cycle campaigns to develop a strategy for improving cycling in our area.
I want to see proper cycle lanes. This means a soft barrier to clearly delineate a cyclist’s space from motorists.
I am an avid cyclist and I would like to see more investment in a proper upgrade of our road networks to include safe and efficient cycle infrastructure. I would also like to see proper community engagement for cyclists and motorists to promote positive road use.
I support all the current ideas for dedicated, continuous, cycle routes separated from vehicular traffic. However my policy focus would be to find ways to encourage children to cycle. If we are comfortable with our children cycling, we will be satisfied of its safety, and are more likely to cycle ourselves.
Above I have listed actions that will contribute to combatting climate change by expanding public transport and cycling across the city. PBP stand for a major programme of retrofitting homes in order to save energy and reduce energy bills. New builds should be to near zero energy standards. PBP has opposed the carbon tax as an unfair tax on working people and called for a levy on corporate polluters to reduce emissions and to pay for the necessary investment in transport and buildings to reduce fossil-fuel use.
The relentless pursuit of growth and profit by the world’s corporations is leading to environmental destruction. We are heading towards a cliff edge and, rather than applying the brakes, the people in charge are pushing the accelerator. The IPCC report gives us 12 years to prevent a climate catastrophe. The government has consistently failed to meet its targets for climate change. [Taoiseach] Leo Varadkar himself has admitted his government have been “laggards” on climate change. The target of reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent from the years 2005 to 2020 has failed spectacularly. The government is on target to reduce emissions by just 1 percent.
[People Before Profit TD] Bríd Smith’s climate emergency bill would ban the government from issuing any further licences to extract fossil fuels. Fine Gael have vigorously opposed this measure as they do not want to upset their allies in the oil and gas industry.
A hundred of the world's corporations are responsible for 71 percent of carbon emissions, yet Fine Gael would rather punish people for heating their homes than tackle the real culprits. The right-wing tactics of blaming the individual will not solve climate change. Fuel poverty in Dublin is already a serious problem. We need to retrofit homes to reduce energy usage, target the profits of fossil fuel companies and shift away from regressive methods of energy production. Ireland can provide a cleaner, greener alternative by investing in wind, solar and wave energy.
A key issue when shifting towards renewable energy will be a just transition for workers. Workers in the existing fossil fuel industry should be trained for these new jobs. Energy production should also be state-owned to provide maximum benefit for the taxpayer.
Ireland’s beef and dairy herd is responsible for 33 percent of emissions. Rather than move towards more sustainable farming, the government is flying around the world to find new markets in Asia and the Middle East. We also need to reduce the amount of plastics, packaging and food waste that we see in our local supermarkets.
A programme of afforestation would be hugely beneficial to the quality of our air and would allow local wildlife to flourish.
Crucially, we must also reduce the reliance on cars by expanding our rail and bus networks, investing more in these services to improve their quality, and making public transport free to all.
It has been inspiring to see the school students’ strike and the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations here in Ireland and across the world. These movements should give us all hope for the future and the courage we need to tackle one of the greatest threats to humanity.
We are in a race against time. Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity. The relentless need for corporations to increase their profits is destroying our eco-system. One hundred of the world's corporations are responsible for 71 percent of carbon emissions. This is not compatible with a stewardship model for the environment. A global strike of school students is the latest in a wave of protests over the threat of extinction.
People power is our best chance to save the planet. Ireland has committed to legally binding targets of reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but the EPA has admitted that, at best, Ireland will manage a percent reduction. This is directly due to government policy where emissions are accounted for by: agriculture at 33 percent, energy at 20 percent, transport at 25 percent, residential buildings at 12 percent, and fossil fuel exploration.
We have our Climate Emergency Bill which will stop the issuing of licensing for fossil fuel exploration and keeps fossil fuels in the ground. We are opposed to carbon taxes. They are not the answer and are regressive. We have to tackle the big corporations. Free public transport, invest in rail, trams, and buses. Proper planning to reduce commuter times in cars, state investment in offshore wind energy and solar power, state investment to retrofit houses, tax the profits of fossil fuel corporations and force them to reduce production while using the taxes to build new renewable energy sources, reafforestation programme.
All homes in our city should be properly insulated and future-proofed. Home owners should be assisted where necessary, and private landlords of substandard properties given a set time to upgrade their properties or have their homes compulsorily purchased by local government. Public transport projects should be fast-tracked. We should increase pressure to reduce any further increase in fossil fuel use in homes and transport, and promote solar, wind and heat-pump applications in all aspects of our daily lives. Let's keep fossil fuels in ground. Let's improve the locations and standards of recycling. A deposit return for glass and aluminium can incentivise recycling.
Campaigning for public green space, sports facilities, and ensuring our area meets benchmarks for greening and tree-planting is important. People Before Profit are opposed to the carbon tax as it does not address the real culprits: the major corporations. I have worked with my colleague Bríd Smith TD on her Climate Emergency Bill to keep fossil fuels in the ground and will continue this work. At the council level, I worked hard on the Dublin City Development Plan and if elected, will ensure greater inclusion of climate and sustainable measures as well as ensuring the city's Climate Strategy is implemented and monitored. I am a huge advocate of greening communities, improving our green-space benchmarks and cycling infrastructure.
I will move a resolution to declare a climate emergency in Dublin. That means that all pubic buildings will have to shift to renewable energy. New planning permission will be made conditional on use of renewable energy. Dublin City Council will also have to embark on a major insulation programme for all the homes it lets. Currently, those in inner-city flats complexes are spending huge sums trying to heat their homes and avoid dampness.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I have been involved in activism around the “leave it in the ground campaign”, a bill developed by our own [People Before Profit] TD Bríd Smith. I have held climate change public meetings to highlight this issue and discuss how we as a people can collectively effect change and force the big global polluters to account for their inaction. Also I can see the need to open more dialogue with our disabled community who have advised that they often feel very left out of this debate and in certain instances targeted for using life essential equipment needed to live a full life in our society. So again we need everyone to be included in this discussion.
Leave fossil fuels in the ground. People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith currently has a bill in the Dáil banning further extraction of fossil fuels. It has passed its first reading, but is being blocked at committee stage. A free public transport system, as currently planned for Luxemburg, would help significantly reduce car traffic in the city.
PBP want to take bin collection back into control of the councils: the privatisation of the bin service is a disaster. Waste companies are charging high prices – then dodging their tax obligation by locating in the Isle of Man. Waste is being dumped around the city by those who cannot afford to pay, creating a health hazard. It needs to be brought back under public ownership. We need more smart bins around the city that can use solar power to decompose waste. The Dublin councils should organise an annual "big waste collection" for recyclable furniture and make it available free for those who need it. PBP want to work to make Dublin plastic-free. Ban single-use plastic in all public buildings. Impose special rate charges on supermarkets who use needless plastic wrapping.
The privatisation of waste management has been a complete failure. This is a fact which is growing increasingly popular and it is now common sense to the majority of people that waste management needs to be brought back under the control of local councils. We would see an immediate drop in illegal dumping once privatisation was reversed. Local councils should also promote recycling.
To reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets, we need to see more litter bins available throughout Dublin and for the councils to have proper funding available to them for effective street cleaning.
The problem of dog fouling also needs to be met with more dog litter bins, street cleaning and education programmes.
The privitasation of our bin services has been a disaster with extortionate prices and leading to more fly-tipping. I will fight to get bin services brought back under the control of Dublin City Council, increase litter bins throughout the city with frequent, regular collections.
Increased recycling facilities and put pressure on manufacturers, producers, retailers to reduce plastic and non-recyclable packaging. More dog litter bins, with bags attached and dog parks. More education and awareness-raising programmes.
Privatised bin collection has led to a changed and disasterous mindset in our attitudes to litter and waste control in general. It would be better to take back control of waste collection and it should be paid for through general taxation. Our citzens have to feel they have a collective ownership of what happens to our waste. This includes dog owners and people who think dumping on your neighbour is not a problem. Our citizens do not want privatised services. We pay our taxes, we want our public services not privatisation.
I am an advocate of returning waste management to the city council and will continue to fight for this. The local councillors are consistently raising the issues of illegal dumping, dog poo, litter and the lack of bins generally. The council needs more resources to put measures in place to address this.
The privatisation of the bin service has been a disaster. Costs are escalating and the private companies who gain contracts also are tax dodgers. High costs mean that many poor people cannot pay and so drop off their rubbish in side streets. Nineteenth-century Britain brought in waste collection as a public service to avoid risks to health and safety. Twenty-first-century Dublin should do the same. We need a return to a public bin collection, conducted by council staff. We also need a regular "pick-up and recycle scheme" where the council collects furniture that is no longer wanted, and lets people pick it up for free so that it is recycled.
On the issue of litter and illegal dumping I feel we should return control of the collection and disposal of littler and waste to the councils. Before the introduction of private for-profit operators the state cleaned and controlled bin collection in our community, now the privatisation model has increased costs on people leading them to find alternative ways to dispose of their rubbish. Dog poo is a major issue in our communities. I am very much aware of this issue as it frequently effects and upsets my own daughter as a wheelchair user. There is nothing worse then having your wheels covered in dog poo which then gets on your hands and gloves, many parents with push chairs also have to contend with this issue. I’d like to see the parks and certain streets provide environmentally friendly dog waste bags and bins, and a program of education developed to inform people that you have to clean up after your dog.
At the heart of current problems was the privatisation of the bin collection service, which made what was a public service into a commercial operation. This as a priority must be reversed. The city council should have an annual free "big waste collection" for each area. Regular recycling days for furniture and other household goods should be established as exist in other major European cities. The issue of dog poo is both one of public education and awareness and having, close to hand, the necessary facilities to dispose of it.
We need to restore a sense of community and fight social isolation. We will create "urban living rooms", which are places where people can sit down and chat to strangers. Dublin needs more green spaces. Planning standards recommend devoting 15–20 percent of the land in cities to open green spaces. Phoenix Park is clearly a large open space – but smaller open spaces are needed in built-up areas. Currently, Dublin City Council appears to have an "in-fill" approach to new housing, but this sometimes involves taking away green spaces from neighbourhoods, as occurred at Weaver Square in the Liberties. People Before Profit will adopt a planning strategy of 10–15 percent green space for each electoral division. We shall also push for parklets – the use of waste empty space for art installations and seating and planting. A recent study ranked children’s mobility in Ireland in 12th place out of 16 countries, and found that only 17 percent of children surveyed walk to school, compared to 47 percent in 1981. Children have less free areas to play because the city is shaped by profit and designed for cars. Planning must be linked to the provision of more playgrounds and more informal spaces for play.
A community is not just somewhere where we live but somewhere where we should be able to feel a sense of belonging, interact with others, and have the facilities and services we need for an enjoyable life. Parks and green spaces are vital for a sustainable community and important for our mental health.
Community consultation must be central to any new developments across Dublin to ensure that communities have the parks and green spaces they need.
Our existing parks must be properly funded to ensure they are maintained. People deserve to have a local park which is clean and vibrant.
It is vital that we have really sustainable communities. We need parks and green spaces for the good of the community and environment. I will fight for our city to be a liveable city and that real community participation in deciding where we have parks and green spaces where everyone in the community can enjoy and feel the benefit from. We will fight for more people to be directly employed by the council to work on essential public services such as parks and really create socially and community valuable work.
A number of derelict sites exist across our cities. These sites now need to be taken by the city and returned to their community for use as allotments and community gardens. The sanctity of private property above all else has now to be challenged. Existing parks and play areas need to be improved to attract more people with investment on facilities within our parks, for example, with more gym and play equipment and dog-run play areas.
I worked very closely with the community campaign for a public park at Bridgefoot Street, fought with the allotment holders and community gardeners at Weaver Square and will continue to fight for more green space in our area. In the development plan, I was successful in having a greening benchmark included. I will continue to work to ensure that we not only reach but pass the benchmark. As well as parks and gardens, it is essential that our neighbourhood has sporting facilities and so I 100 percent support the Sporting Liberties Campaign for sports facilities at Marrowbone Lane and will fight with Kevins Hurling and Camogie Club to save Dolphin Park.
Dublin needs more green spaces. Planning standards recommend devoting 15–20 percent of the land in cities to open green spaces. Phoenix Park is clearly a large open space – but smaller open spaces are needed in built-up areas. Currently, Dublin City Council appears to have an "in-fill" approach to new housing, but this sometimes involves taking away green spaces from neighbourhoods, as occurred at Weaver Square in the Liberties. I will advocate for a planning strategy of 10–15 percent green space for each electoral division. I will also push for parklets – the use of waste empty space for art installations, seating and planting
We need to insist that proper community parks and spaces are included when planning applications are made for large-scale developments. They need to offer areas for people to be able to interact with nature and areas for sports enthusiasts and children to be able to play. We must insist on these before any building works can commence, in case they are some how forgotten about.
There should be an objective in the City Development Plan for 10–15% public green space in each electoral area. The opportunity of derelict sites should be used for the development of small pocket parks and community managed allotment gardens.
As can be seen in my answer above, PBP wants a city run by the people for the people. The city needs left-wing city council that is willing to bring change. It won’t be easy because we are currently run by people who think of the city is a just a marketplace for business. Change will mean standing up to an unelected city manager who controls our local authority. We want high-quality public services, especially housing, transport and leisure facilities, provided across the city. We want public and green spaces where people of all generations can socially interact and enjoy living in a vibrant city that meets their needs rather than the needs of a wealthy elite. We want a democratic city where local communities are given a real say on issues that affect them and city officials work under the direction of elected councillors.
In a world where the privatisation agenda is constantly pushed by those in power, it is necessary to fight back on the streets and in our communities. As an activist, I will support any local campaign to keep our public spaces out of private hands. Residents should be entitled to have their amenities such as community centres and sports facilities in public hands. We should also be free to enjoy ourselves in our city without having to pay.
Football pitches, community gardens, allotments, playgrounds, equine centres and skate parks would be welcome additions to many communities who do not have these facilities. Vacant land should be used to promote more public spaces which would be beneficial to people’s health and allow our communities to flourish.
It is vital that we have really sustainable communities and I will fight to keep all public land, spaces to be kept in public hands for the good of all the community. The same would apply to derelict or vacant sites which could be used for the good of the entire community. Community gardens, allotments, skate parks, etc.
I put forward a motion last year on this very issue, which was agreed and passed by all our councillors for the protection of our public spaces. At present Central Bank Plaza has been privatised, which was the topic of this motion. DCC management have ignored this issue with a shrug. As we lose our public spaces to wealthy landlords and vulture funds public pressure will have to exert itself. A public campaign, people power if you will, is the only way we can defend our public spaces. All planning has to change to consider community gain and giving our local councils a chance to claw back some room for our citizens and communities. At present, government ministers are interfering and allowing projects to get bigger and bigger, but with absolutely no gain or compensation to local communities.
Include a plan for children’s space, youth clubs, public leisure centres, and playgrounds. Here are my proposals on extending the public realm:
1) Free wifi. You should not have to go to Starbucks to get free wifi. Free wifi should be made available in Dublin city centre and in all council and state public parks – those managed by the Office of Public Works (Stephen's Green, the War Memorial Garden, Phoenix Park, and St Enda's).
2) Drinking fountains. Why do we have to buy bottled water in plastic containers which have an adverse effect on human health? We should provide drinking fountains in areas of heavy footfall.
3) Street furniture. Ever get tired walking around and just want to sit down? We need more benches around the city.
4) Community mural schemes. We can brighten up our city with murals. We need more commissioned murals and free-space art walls where people can experiment with their own designs.
5) Urban living rooms. We need to restore a sense of community to break down social isolation. We will create "urban living rooms", which are places where people can sit down and chat to strangers.
I believe that our current parks and community green spaces should never be allowed to be sold off for development and should be protected by the council. We need to regenerate the parks that we currently own and invest in amenities that offer the community as a whole the resources to create clubs and networks that are accessible to all those living in these city areas. We should look at areas where there is the opportunity to create city gardens so that the community can create spaces to be proud of and spaces that bring people together.
There has been a tendency for what should be public space to be privatised – this is particularly evident in the suburban shopping centres that ring the city but is also a trend in new developments in the city centre. It should be a planning objective that the public, non-commercial, areas of such developments should become part of the public realm, under the control of the city council.
Community mural schemes: commission murals and free-space art walls where people can experiment with their own designs.
Culture Night: The annual culture night is a great event, which encourages visits and participation of thousands young and old. The city council should take the idea and extend it to a monthly event, coordinated by them in cooperation with the cultural sector.