Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Social Democrats

10 candidates

 

We need to change our housing system so that we deliver good quality housing at low cost to purchasers and renters rather than the highest possible profit to developers and land speculators.

To do this, we need to stop approaching housing and land like they are commodities and start building homes using the extensive resources of the state. Local authorities have a crucial role to play in this, especially in building on public land at their disposal and working with other government agencies to plan and deliver new homes.

We need to use the extensive residentially zoned public land that is available to public authorities to build homes that are affordable. The Ó Cualann housing model – which has very successfully delivered housing at low cost in Poppintree – should be rolled out in other areas of Ballymun-Finglas.

The next council should also make step-down housing a priority. More step-down housing would give older people the option to live in more manageable homes. In turn, it would free up family homes at a time when we desperately need them.

The government over-reliance on the private sector to deliver the extra homes hasn’t worked. And even if the private sector supplies more homes, they won’t be at affordable prices. We need to stop approaching housing like it’s a commodity, and start building homes. As a Social Democrats councillor, my number-one priority will be to ensure the council plays its part in tackling our housing shortage. We will use the extensive public land that is zoned and suitable for residential development within the Dublin City Council area to build homes that are affordable to rent or buy. I will ensure that every significant council housing proposal is put out for public consultation, has a good social mix, and that amenities and services are central to all plans in order for us to build quality sustainable communities.

Our local council has not done its job on housing. It has not built even one affordable home in the recent past and built just 74 social homes last year with 69 of them being rapid-build modular housing. Discounting modular housing, the council built just five social homes in 2018. It’s time we changed the mindset on the council. We must use public land to deliver thousands of new public homes – both social and affordable – in mixed and well-designed communities.

Accommodation costs have soared out of many people’s reach in the city, having a major negative impact on daily life and mental health. Housing should not be dictated only by market forces: government-driven social and affordable housing underpins a thriving economy and all our well-being by stabilising prices in the market. We need to prioritise public housing on public land, and to reskill and refocus council staff around the provision of housing. The council should increase its own capacity to develop social and affordable housing, alongside increased direct employment in housing maintenance and repair so housing stock is energy efficient and not detrimental to people’s health.

I would also encourage more co-housing initiatives, working with the community to design their own homes and communal spaces, especially for key public benefit workers (such as those in healthcare and education, and live/work spaces for artists), who are currently priced out of the city.

The next council should also make step-down housing a priority. More step-down housing would give older people the option to live in more manageable homes. And in turn it would free up family homes at a time when we desperately need them. There are over 300 people on a waiting list for such a scheme in Dublin at the moment.

Dublin city council must urgently embrace the "Vienna model" to increase the supply of affordable homes for the huge cohort who aren't eligible for social housing, but for whom renting is precarious and unaffordable. At the heart of the Vienna model is investment in "cost-rental" housing. Put simply, cost-rental would allow the council to use public lands and sustainable financing to build affordable homes for Dubliners. Land costs and the cost of construction is averaged out in the rent over 20 or 30 years, so that the cost of rent is decoupled from market forces. International experience would suggest that cost-rental results in rents that are around 30 percent less than the open market. This removes private interests and profit motives from the construction of affordable housing and recognises that adequate housing is a public good, a human right and a duty of local authorities. It's important to remember that the Vienna model is about more than just cost-rental. It is also about creating carefully and thoughtfully planned socially integrated places that people want to live in.

As a person who lives in Direct Provision, I know and I have the first hand experience with what it like to be uncertain in your home and to worry about where you will have to move to. I believe that a secure and decent home where people and families can flourish, is something that every person in this city and country is entitled to. The housing crisis is a national problem, but Dublin City Council has a big part to play in the solution. We need massive investment in the traditional social-housing construction, but this must be alongside increased investment in a cost-rental housing.

Dublin is a very low density city and the supply of homes needs to increase dramatically. These must be not just high-end luxury homes – we need a mix of cost-rental homes, apartments and accommodation suitable for older people trading down. There are over 700 local authority and Housing Agency-owned sites (1,700 hectares). This land should be brought into use immediately to deliver homes with good social and tenure mix. Targets for the Dublin housing plan need to be increased.

Use public lands to deliver more housing as an immediate measure to build more social, affordable-purchase housing and affordable-rental housing. Give the Land Development Agency an explicit role to get homes built, to raise finance, and to plan for the future with a target of 20,000 homes per year (currently 7,500). Scrap the Rainy Day Fund and use the money to invest in housing. Introduce a new affordable-housing scheme to target first-time buyers and the “locked-out” generation. Significantly improve funding for local authorities and voluntary housing, and site enabling works. Take carrot and stick measures to free up vacant land, and vacant and underused homes. Introduce a land-hoarding tax. Ring-fence 20 percent of new developments for affordable housing – in addition to the existing 10 percent social. End overcharging by banks on mortgage interest payments.

If elected, measures to address the housing and homelessness crisis will be my number one priority. I have made this clear throughout my campaign, and have supported all protests and demonstrations by both the National Housing and Homelessness Coalition and Raise the Roof.

Every day, I speak with people in the Clontarf LEA [local election area] whose lives are impacted on by the need for housing. I meet young families who are renting and living in fear of rent increases, or of evictions. I meet people in situations of overcrowding, who have been on the housing list for up to a decade. I meet adults living with their parents because they can’t afford Dublin’s excessive rents or house prices. This is an issue which is blighting people’s lives and leading to increased anxiety and damaged childhoods.

I will commit to using the extensive residentially zoned public land available to Dublin City Council to build affordable homes for both rent and purchase. I believe we need to adopt the cost-rental model seen in Vienna to deliver public housing that people can afford to rent and still have quality of life. I would also call for the replication, across the city, of the successful Ó Cualann housing model which has delivered low-cost housing in Poppintree. This is a prime example of the role that Dublin City Council can play in facilitating affordable housing. I will ensure that every significant council housing proposal is subject to public consultation, has a proper master plan, has a good social and tenure mix, and that amenities and services are central to all significant plans.

The government’s reliance on the private market to resolve this crisis has failed. We need to change our housing system around so that its aim is to deliver housing at its lowest possible cost to purchasers and renters, instead of generating the highest possible profit for developers and land speculators.

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The Social Democrats' clear overall objective is to tackle the housing shortage and homelessness crisis by ensuring homes are built and are made available at affordable prices to rent or buy and this will ease rental prices

We will continue to campaign strongly for improved rights for renters. Our Rental Charter plan includes a ban on rental-bidding wars, the extension of legal rent caps throughout the country, and a deposit protection scheme. We would also introduce extensive rent control, security of tenure, and regulation of short-lets. We will continue to campaign strongly for improved rights for renters.

The Social Democrats commit to ending the preferential tax treatment of REITs [real estate investment trusts] and use the savings from this initiative to provide increased funding to local authorities.

High rents are driving more and more families into homelessness. In Dublin rents are now an average of 30 percent above their 2008 peak and show no sign of stopping. I support the introduction of a national rent-freeze, applied to every county in Ireland and kept in place until housing supply catches up with demand.

The Social Democrats’ Rental Charter plan includes a ban on rental-bidding wars, the extension of legal rent caps throughout the country, and a deposit protection scheme. We would also introduce extensive rent control, security of tenure, and regulation of short-lets. We also need much more family-size units in the city centre, not just one and two bed apartments.

Living in a city-centre apartment, I’ve seen first-hand how short-lets begin to fray the fabric of our city community, and price out those who wish to live long term in the city. Tourists are very welcome, but we need to be first a foremost a city neighbourhood. I support significant fines for those abusing short-let legislation, and ensuring that the council has adequate resources to ensure compliance across the city.

Dublin is suffering from a rent crisis. This will not be news to anyone who rents or who has family members or friends who do. As of the end of last year the standardised average rent for Dublin stood was €1,650, up from €1,530 a year earlier. The rental crisis is a national problem, which can only be solved by the government, but it is a problem that effects Dublin more than any part of the country. Two out of every five tenancies registered nationally are in Dublin. On a national level, we need action from the government on strengthening security of tenure and proper enforcement of the Rent-Pressure Zone legislation.

Recent announcements by the government in relation to restrictions on short-term lets are welcome, but they rely on local authorities taking enforcement actions. It is vital that Dublin City Council are proactive and zealous in using the powers they are to given. According to Threshold, 3,476 housing units are currently potentially removed from the capital’s housing stock due to short-term letting.

The problems in Dublin's rental market will ultimately only be permanently solved by increased supply, but not only supply of privately built homes. The rental sector is currently being used by the government to provide social housing via the HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] scheme. Sixty-six percent of all social-housing provision in 2018 was sourced in the rental sector via HAP. This is only necessary because of the disgraceful under-investment in social housing over many decades. HAP tenancies are a lifeline for those who can source a property, but they are insecure, temporary and often still unaffordable. According to a recent survey almost half of those in receipt of HAP are paying a top-up to their landlord. Twenty percent are spending over 30 percent of their income on rent and 10 percent are paying more than 40 percent.

People on the housing list deserve more. They deserve a permanent, stable home where they can put down roots and build communities.

The cost-rental solution would bring a massive amount of publicly owned affordable rental homes to people who traditionally haven’t been able to access public or affordable houses. I think that expecting the private market to deliver homes that people can afford by itself won’t work – though rent controls and controls on evictions have a massive part to play.

Again it's about supply. Local-authority house-building targets need to be increased. In the meantime tenants’ rights need to be strengthened.The Social Democrats' policy is to have a rent freeze until enough supply is back in the system. And a transparent register of rental amounts in the council area. Security of tenure via indefinite tenancies – which are widespread in mainland Europe – is required.

Freeze all rents at current levels for next two years. Strengthen tenants' rights. Provide incentives for business to convert "over-the-shop" accommodation. This accommodation would be in older buildings, and may have noise, traffic issues, but therefore would not command premium rental. Take the lead from other European cities, e.g. Vienna, where the city council plans and provides for affordable-rental homes and apartments, it works with developers, under stringent conditions, to provide a wide selection of types of accommodation to suit people at different stages of life, larger homes for families and "step-down" dwellings for older people/those wishing to downsize. Support budget increase for DCC to enforce new legislation with regard to short-term rental properties.

Rents have been pushed out of control in Dublin by a number of factors, including real estate investment trusts [REITs], the Housing Assistance Payment [HAP] and short-term letting as seen with Airbnb. This situation benefits no one. Renters are put under extreme financial pressure, and employers and businesses are suffering, from both a lack of rental accommodation for employees and from increased wage pressure due to high rents.

The tax benefits enjoyed by REITs allow them to buy property in bulk, giving them an unfair advantage over first-time buyers and ensures that rental properties are supplied only to the most expensive end of the market. The Social Democrats are committed to ending this preferential tax treatment of REITs, and to the regulation of these bulk-buying practices.

The over-reliance on Housing Assistance Payment works for no one except the major landlords. It leads to greater demand for rental housing, which only inflates prices for those looking to rent privately. I believe that the best way to move away from HAP is the provision of public housing. I would advocate for a transition away from the reliance on the Housing Assistance Payment, and expansion of the role of cost-rental. We should be exploring how the Vienna Model could be applied in Ireland, to destigmatise public housing and bring rents down to affordable levels for all.

I welcome the limits imposed on Airbnb lettings, which remove a substantial proportion of properties from the Dublin rental market. I am concerned, however, with how these regulations will be enforced.

I am committed to a number of measures improving conditions for renters, including an immediate rent freeze pending greater supply of social and affordable housing, greater security of tenure and a rental register to make the previous rental prices of properties more transparent. The Social Democrats’ bill to reduce the risk of homelessness by extending notice-to-quit periods for renters has been accepted by government, and now forms part of the government’s Residential Tenancies Bill.

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The overall aim of the council’s housing policy should be to reduce the cost of housing so that housing is affordable and homelessness is prevented. The council alone can’t effectively address homelessness – urgent action is needed at government level to strengthen tenants’ rights to prevent homelessness and exploitation. I support increasing housing supply by drastically increasing funding for not-for-profit building, co-op housing, and renovation of derelict buildings. The council should also ringfence a higher proportion of all new development for affordable housing in addition to the existing 10 percent social provision.

Homelessness in Ireland is the biggest issue on the doors. High rents are driving families into situations where they are no longer able to afford to pay the rent and need to find alternative accommodation. This is not easy. There should be rent regulation and increased rights for tenants. There should be a rent cap, linked to the general rate of inflation. I support the introduction of a national rent freeze while the support of housing is increased to match the demand.

There is, however, too much of a reliance of the private sector to produce the housing required. In the South West Inner City, enough student accommodation and hotels have been built over the last number of years. Residents are not happy with the lack of housing for their children who were born and raised in the area and cannot afford the rent and/or to buy in the area. Ringfence 20 percent of all new developments for affordable housing, this is in addition to the existing social housing. Support those in mortgage distress. Establish a new government agency with an explicit role to get homes.

As a councillor, my number one priority is to ensure that the council does its duty to increase housing provision. I feel it is vital that housing is mixed social housing which is affordable. Housing alone does not make a community. Sports, recreation and community centres as well as amenities and services need to be delivered as part of the development. We should be building communities not economies.

Housing costs across Dublin continue to spiral. High rents are the main driver of families entering homelessness. If we want to tackle homelessness then we have to tackle high rents. People from all backgrounds are struggling to keep up with rent payments or rising house prices and I constantly meet people on the doorsteps who have two or three related families all living under the same roof. Government figures show that more than 10,000 people are homeless; almost 4,000 of our children are homeless. This will continue to rise unless government policy changes urgently.

With concerted changes, the Social Democrats want to: 1) Prioritise public land banks to deliver homes with good social and tenure mix; 2) Improve funding for direct builds and allow Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to build affordable houses; 3) Impose severe penalties against land hoarders. We are in an emergency and hoarding is not acceptable; 4) Introduce proper rents cap and rent regulation and give people certainty; 5) Provide new rights for tenants.

The overall aim of the council’s housing policy should be to reduce the cost of housing so that housing is affordable and homelessness is prevented. The council alone can’t effectively address homelessness – urgent action is needed at government level to freeze all rents at current levels for two years, strengthen tenants’ rights to prevent homelessness and exploitation (see our rental charter). I support increasing housing supply by drastically increasing funding for not-for-profit building, co-op housing, and renovation of derelict buildings. The council should also ring-fence a higher proportion of all new development for affordable housing in addition to the existing 10 percent social provision.

The best way to address homelessness is to stop it happening. Dublin City Council and Dublin Region Homeless Executive are focused on addressing the needs of people once they have become homeless. This is obviously very valuable work and must increase, but more also needs to be done to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place. At the end of March there were 1,297 families homeless in Dublin. Dublin must lead the way in prevention.

Dublin City Council and the other Dublin authorities must invest in early intervention to save tenancies, solve issues and source accommodation. Every people who becomes homeless in our city should be a failure of the system designed to prevent it. It should not be just be when the system kicks in.

Much more investment is needed in both primary and secondary homeless-prevention services. Primary prevention services are available to everyone. Secondary prevention services target specific groups at risk of homelessness. The great majority of people who become homeless do so, directly or indirectly, from the private rented sector. In the context of the private rented sector these might be particularly vulnerable groups. This is what makes it an effective and valuable homeless-prevention service.

Currently, the majority of expenditure on homeless prevention is on tertiary services provided to people already experiencing homelessness or exiting homeless. The expenditure on prevention is often less than 30 percent of what is spent on homeless accommodation and in the Dublin region was less than 5 percent of what was spent on emergency accommodation in 2017.

We need to limit the grounds on which a landlord can evict tenants and ensure that these grounds are used only when necessary. At the end of 2016 the government introduced a rent-control measures that limited rent increases to 4 percent [per year] but many people in this area and beyond have not felt the benefit of these protections. We need proper protection for renters. We need a rent register to close to close the loopholes in the rent-control system, so people can know for sure what a lawful rent is.

We need to drastically increase the number of affordable and social housing units built. We must simplify the very complex set of housing bodies, charity provision and council provision. As with many of these questions on housing and homelessness we need to ensure vacant sites are put back into use through proper use of the vacant sites register.

Many of the above points, if implemented, would go towards reducing homelessness. If rents are affordable, and kept at an affordable level, and if the supply of housing is increased, there will be an automatic reduction in homelessness. The current government see housing as an issue, like all other social issues, to be solved by the "market". This neo-liberal attitude to social issues is one of the key causes of the current situation. Instead of creating REITs for foreign investors to purchase whole blocks of newly built apartments the government should be providing funding for DCC to purchase to add to its stock.

We must stem the flow of people from private rented accommodation into homelessness. This can be achieved through some of the measures above, including immediate rent freezes, greater tenure security, and by ensuring that more rental properties are available in the short term until more public housing becomes available, through regulation of short-term lets like Airbnb.

I will absolutely prioritise resolutions to the family homelessness scandal. We are doing untold damages to these parents and children, by forcing them to spend their precious childhoods in emergency accommodation. The burden of anxiety and shame for these families is absolutely unacceptable. Dublin City Council must agree to new homelessness procedures so that children’s rights are considered and respected when council officials deal with homeless families.

Furthermore, the Social Democrats will insist on the development of a youth homelessness strategy for each council that we are represented on. In particular, I am committed to finding strategies to support young people leaving care, and ensuring that they do not face homelessness.

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I will work to significantly reducing voids and re-let times of council properties so that social housing tenancy is offered quickly to people in need. Empty properties are a wasted resource, and adversely affect homelessness and waiting lists. I will also work to bring derelict houses back into use.

Dublin 8 has a significant number of vacant and derelict sites. There are currently 15 sites on the register. Many others are not on this list but are vacant/derelict. There should be penalties for owners who leave sites like this. These sites are unsightly, potentially dangerous and do not enhance communities. They could be developed. Ireland is experiencing a chronic housing problem and these sites could be used. Our neighbourhood shops need to be maintained so that our community looks well and improves the appearance of the area. Several areas in the South West Inner City have vacant shops, pubs, other spaces previously used for services. These need to be improved and maintained.

Derelict and vacant sites are not just a waste of land, they are an eyesore that affect quality of life across the community. As a councillor, I will support the Vacant Site Levy to ensure precious land in the heart of our city is put to productive use for the benefit of young and old.

Ringfence the vacant sites levy to bring derelict houses back into use along the lines of the McVerry Trust’s ReUsing Dublin project; and develop vacant sites into social and affordable housing, community gardens, wildlife preserves, and vegetable patches.

It has been clear for some time that land-hoarding has been a significant part of the housing crisis. Land is being held back from development while its value increases. Sites are being flipped from one speculator to another. It is particularly galling to see sites formerly controlled by NAMA or other state entities being traded in this “pass-the-parcel” process with little supply at the end of it.

The Vacant Site Levy was a welcome intervention in 2015 but there are so many loopholes in the legislation that it is completely ineffective in activating vacant sites.

There should be a specific tax on land-hoarding. This should be a site value tax (with appropriate but limited exemptions) that is variable by local authorities and is set at an annual rate that exceeds inflation in land values in that local authority.

The Social Democrats have committed to introduce a vacant housing levy for vacant homes (duration to be set by each local authority with appropriate but limited exemptions applying) and set down a higher levy the longer the home remains vacant; reform the Fair Deal Scheme to remove financial barriers to letting a vacant home; and introduce legislation to provide for compulsory letting orders for vacant homes.

We need a higher tax on vacant and derelict homes and land – so that it’s no longer profitable for people to hoard properties that could be homes for the ordinary people of Dublin.

Dublin City Council needs the resources to properly maintain and update the Vacant Sites Register. As a councillor I will support motions to prioritise development on vacant sites. Business owners and site owners must be actively incentivised to rent out empty spaces for local businesses, community groups and recreation. Empty overshop floors should be used for residential rental which offers more choice for young renters and brings life back to empty urban streets.

As above – introduce a land-hoarding tax. Provide incentives for small builders/individuals to build on brownfield/vacant sites in the city. Vote for more local area plans to be drawn up, so that more vacant sites can be identified.

I’ve been out in canvassing in my area for nearly a year now and when you’re knocking on doors you see just how many of those doors are vacant or derelict. It impacts negatively on the communities and houses around derelict properties and it’s a terrible waste given our housing situation. The Social Democrats will work to ensure that Dublin City Council has sufficient full-time vacant housing officers and that their remit will extend beyond the current two years. We will use this service to bring hundreds of vacant units back into use.

It has also been brought to my attention how many vacant properties belong to elderly people in nursing homes and, at present, the incentive to let these out is low, as up to 80 percent of the rental income would be clawed back by the Fair Deal Scheme. I believe we need to incentivise the letting of these properties, and that we should examine avenues to exclude rental income of a primary residence from the Fair Deal Scheme. We will seek to use compulsory purchase orders where appropriate, and nationally, we favour the introduction of compulsory letting orders and a vacant unit tax.

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The Social Democrats believe the National Development Plan should be redrawn so that public transport and cycling are re-prioritised over roads expenditure. This simply has to happen in order to reduce carbon emissions from the sector and to be able to plan for additional housing and sustainable communities.

We will continue to campaign for lower fares so that the use of public transport is encouraged and congestion reduced. We would like to see no/low fare public transport piloted in Ireland.

We will promote active travel to schools and ensure that the local authority prioritises the provision of safe walking and cycling paths around every school in the country, so that those children who choose to walk, scoot or cycle to school, can do so safely.

We must also end the practice of building homes before we build the infrastructure that new communities will depend on.

Public transport should be available to use by everyone. People with disabilities should be able to access public transport like others can. Wheelchair users are often unable to access buses due to lack of space if there is another wheelchair or a buggy. People using trains often need to ring ahead to ensure there will be a ramp. This curtails their lifestyle.

BusConnects has been a hot topic in the area. People are dissatisfied with losing gardens, entrances and also the very old trees in areas like Inchicore, which is also something that affects climate change and also reduces green areas in this heavily urbanised community. We need to move away from carbon intense, car-based transport towards high-capacity public transport options. We must also drastically reduce emissions in transport if we are to meet emissions reduction targets.

The cost of public transport should be reduced in order to increase numbers of people using public transport. The ticketing system should be usable on all forms of transport within the Dublin area, like in London/Berlin etc. Increasing incentives and subsidies to purchase electric vehicles, including subsidies for the installation of charge points domestically. We would increase the availability of fast-charge points nationwide.

The Social Democrats are committed to significant investment in both urban and rural public transport. We believe that the National Development Plan was a missed opportunity with too little provided to this sector. We believe the National Development Plan should be redrawn so that public transport and cycling are re-prioritised. This simply has to happen in order to reduce carbon emissions from the sector and to be able to plan for additional housing and sustainable communities.

As a councillor, I will campaign strongly on behalf of the Kimmage/Rathmines communities for significant improvements in local public transport. We will use every power available to local councillors to facilitate the expansion of public transport services in our communities. The Social Democrats are campaigning in favour of directly-elected mayors for Limerick, Galway, Dublin, Waterford and Cork. We strongly believe that these mayors should assume responsibility for transport planning in each of these cities.

We will put transport planning at the heart of all significant housing plans. We must end the practice of building homes before we build the infrastructure that new communities will depend on. We will ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are heard and responded to in all transport decisions affecting our council areas. We will continue to campaign for lower fares so that the use of public transport is encouraged and congestion reduced. We will seek to ensure that council officials are responsive to local traffic concerns and that requests for roads repairs, traffic lights, pedestrian lights, filter lights, yellow boxes, bollards, ramps and all aspects of traffic management and roads maintenance are dealt with promptly and efficiently.

We will seek to change legislation so that the National Transport Authority (NTA) must attend local authority meetings when requested to do so. The response of the NTA has sometimes been found wanting in this regard. We will ensure that the public know about every significant transport and traffic proposal relating to their community and that their voice is heard in the decision-making process.

Dublin City Council policy needs to encourage more use of public transport, reduce the use of private cars, and support better flow of public transport through the city.

There are few actual competencies reserved for city councillors in the area of public transport but it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate leadership to our constituents as Dublin evolves from what is still effectively a mediaeval town, to a modern European capital.

This will require councillors to be brave in listening to the fears of their residents around the BusConnects project but not resorting to simple nimbyist responses to the detriment of the city. BusConnects is an ambitious plan that has some designs faults that can be worked out through effective consultation and dialogue between communities and the NTA [National Transport Authority]. Councillors should be honest brokers to these discussions and not seek to take advantage from the anxiety that exists in communities around this project.

Dublin is a changing city. This means that our transport network needs to work for our diverse, growing population. As a councillor I will work to make getting around our city safer, easier and more fair for all, to ensure a sustainable public transport network that is fit for a modern, diverse city of the 21st century, while maintaining the historical character that makes Dublin the beautiful city that it is.

I am a huge advocate for public transport. It’s more efficient and more eco-friendly. For decades we have encouraged private-car use in Dublin city centre through very cheap on-street parking and very little in the way of cycle lanes and decent public transport. Public transport should be made cheaper to incentivise use. Much of the road space in the city that is currently dedicated to cars must be given over to safe, segregated cycle lanes and better bus lanes.

The BusConnects redesign may go some way to addressing these issues, particularly in the suburbs. As a councillor I will facilitate sensible changes to road layouts under BusConnects, redesign of junctions to help ease congestion for all road users while ensuring that the public consultation process continues.

On the council I will advocate for sensible and simple measures like transfer tickets between buses, reduction in fares, local link services for the elderly.

Put transport planning at the heart of all significant housing plans. We must end the practice of building homes before we build the infrastructure that will serve them.

Improving public transport is a key priority for my campaign. At present, Ireland has one of the highest rates of car usage in Europe, at 84 percent. This didn’t happen by accident. It has come from longstanding neglect of public transport investment. We’ve seen abandoned and delayed public transport plans time after time, through successive governments. Our national inability to adopt and implement long-term plans comes back to haunt us, again and again. At a local level, plans for evidence-based improvements and public transport schemes are often prevented by local politicians stoking fears amongst residents.

The Social Democrats are committed to significant investment in public transport. I believe that the National Development Plan should be redrawn so that public transport and cycling are re-prioritised over road expenditure. This simply has to happen if we are to reduce our carbon emissions in the transport sector and if we want to be in a position to plan for additional housing and sustainable communities. The Social Democrats would like to see no or low fare public transport pilot schemes in Ireland, but in order to increase capacity, this must go hand in hand with increased investment.

I will use every power available to me as a local councillor to facilitate the expansion of public transport services in this community and in the city as a whole. I will advocate for putting transport planning at the heart of all significant housing plans. It is also vital that the needs of people with disabilities are heard and responded to, and that universal accessibility is central in all transport decisions affecting our council areas.

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We need to make cycling a safe, realistic alternative to the car and encourage more people to take up cycling as a normal part of their everyday lives. Ireland is far behind much of Europe in terms of cycling policy. We need to recognise that cycling is a major transport area that can contribute hugely to society. The benefits of cycling are enormous. And cyclist or not, everyone gains from them.

We have produced “Safer Cycling for Healthier Communities”, our 12 point plan for cycling. It sets out clear commitments to cycling including:

–Significantly improved funding for cycling

–Proper segregation for safe cycling and improved infrastructure

–More cycling greenways and urban bike schemes

–Safer cycling to school

–Better enforcement

–Improved cycling tax schemes

–Cycling officers and training

–All Local Area Plans should provide for the delivery of public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure and community facilities, in tandem with new homes being built.

I am a commuting cyclist. I gave up driving to and from work and bought an electric bike to travel daily from the Tenters to Ballymun, where I work. It currently takes me the same length of time to cycle the journey as it did to drive. I am getting fitter and it is better for the environment. However, it is often dangerous to cycle. One must have nerves of steel and an assertive disposition. The cycle paths are not in good condition. The roads are too narrow for cycle lanes and cars and buses drive in them. Bus stops in cycle paths are problematic. it is too dangerous for families to cycle in the South West Inner City.

I propose that Dublin City Council use 10 percent of its transport budget for cycling. There should be dedicated separated cycling paths like in other mainland European countries. There should be cycling greenways, like along the canal. The South West Inner City residents should be able to cycle safely in their neighbourhood. Initiatives to support safe cycling in the area should be established to support all ages cycling safely.

Our roads are not safe for cyclists and I want to change this.

Firstly there should be a national budget for cycling. I support the campaign for at least 10 percent of transport budgets to go to cycling this would help to: 1) Build more cycle tracks that are separated from other traffic, like the one being proposed by the National Transport Authority which would run along both the north and south quays; 2) We could hire more cycling officers to promote cycling in schools and teach children the rules of the road; 3) We could also create new cycling greenways across the county.

As a councillor for Dublin City Council, I will ensure that the council adopts a cycling plan for the county and city, and have a long-term plan to build cycling into everything we do as a city and county. I have recently started an online petition at www.change.org to bring Dublinbikes to our area that I plan to present to Dublin City Council in the coming weeks.

Dublin cyclists face unacceptable levels of danger in navigating the city. Many more dedicated cycling routes must be introduced to make cycling not only a better transport choice for climate action and health, but also a choice that won’t put lives at risk. I support safe cycle tracks and junctions, investing in cycling officers, and having a long-term plan to build cycling into everything we do as a city. I also support reducing non-resident parking spaces in the city, with more provision for cycle lanes and cycle parking.

Allocate funding, including councillors' discretionary fund to making roads safer for cyclists. The first priority for extra funding for cycling should be the construction of a network of cycle lanes so that they are as segregated as much as possible from other traffic. This does not need to be a typically convoluted plan that takes 20 years to draft and implement. There is a lot of best practice already available to use from cities such as Copenhagen, Seville and Amsterdam.

I support building cycling lanes to make cycling in our city much safer. I also believe that this should be done in consultation with local communities so that we can make sure that our communities are safer, less clogged with traffic and greener for all.

I’m a daily cyclist and my bike is my primary mode of transport. I am an active campaigner to improve Dublin’s very poor cycling infrastructure. In short, we need to Copenhagenise. That means we need to have an over-arching policy to prioritise cycling as a major transport solution. First, last and always we need safe, segregated cycle lanes throughout the city.

There was no consultation process on allowing cars to dominate our city over the decades – so why did it take eight years for the Liffey cycle route to be approved. We need to end these ridiculous delays in cycling planning throughout the city. We need to be experimental in our approach to changes throughout the city centre to discourage car use and encourage bicycle use. We must measure the success of these measures and adapt as necessary.

Specific measures include segregated cycle lanes as the norm, the roll-out of more bicycle parking spaces, priority green lights for bikes, left turns on red for bikes and so on.

First and foremost – SEGRATE CYCLE LANES. Allow for left-hand turning for cyclists, when safe to do so, on a red light. Start making certain streets in the city centre cycle-only. It has taken almost eight years to decide on a route for the Liffey Cycleway, and work has yet to start, so be more experimental –try out different ideas and see do they work – copy how this has been pioneered in Copenhagen. Reduce the number of on-street parking spaces available. Discourage people from driving into town and remove obstacles to cyclists. On all of the above, I would hope to make proposals and work with DCC officials to make cycling a viable and option for Dubliners.

I am absolutely committed to improving cycling infrastructure in our city. Cycling is an issue of both quality of life and of equality, and I will aim to do everything I can to make our city both safe and enjoyable for cyclists of all ages and levels. The benefits are too many to list, from decreased pollution, congestion, and carbon emissions, to a healthier and more active population. Increased cycling will improve commute times, and contribute to safer streets and more liveable neighbourhoods.

Ireland is significantly behind much of Europe in cycling policy. We need to recognise that cycling is a major transport area which can contribute hugely to society, and fund it as such. As I councillor I would commit to significantly improving funding for cycling, improving infrastructure and segregation necessary for safe cycling, and increasing cycling greenways and urban bike schemes, specifically extending the DublinBikes project to the Clontarf LEA [local election area]. I would also like to see safe cycling to school, improved tax schemes for cyclists, and the implementation and training of cycling officers.

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The Social Democrats believe that Ireland can do much more to promote sustainable and affordable energy and that local authorities can be significant players in this.

Climate change is a real thing and the role of carbon is undeniable. Equally, energy poverty is a real thing and blindly lumping more taxes on the most vulnerable in our society is simply creating another problem and undermining public support in the fight against climate change.

We will ensure that housing energy standards on all new developments is rigorously applied in planning conditions. We will heavily promote the retro-fitting of existing local-authority housing stock to reduce carbon emissions from this sector.

We will cut the carbon footprint of all councils, from transport planning and street lighting to tree planting and recyclingand extend the number of public charging points for electric vehicles

We will also support zoned "green communities" where councils promote biodiversity, boost investment in public transport and cycling under the National Development Plan, and reduce spending on roads.

This issue is something which children and young people ask me about at the doors and in my role as co-ordinator of the School Completion Programme in Ballymun. These young people are concerned that the issue of climate change has not been taken seriously by those in power. I think it is time that there are radical changes in how the issue of climate change are addressed. Ensure Ireland meets its emissions targets by investing in high-capacity transport, retro-fitting for home and work-places.

Ensuring that grants are available to those who retro-fit. Ban single-use plastics like other cities around the world are doing. Increase the types of plastics which Dublin City Council can recycle. Levies on unrecyclable plastic. Making bring centres more available and have increased opening times. Having a deposit return scheme, like in Germany for plastic and glass bottles. Social Democrats pledge that the party will prioritise a switch to electric vehicles, cycling and public transport. We would like to increase the provision of off-shore wind energy, solar and biomass energy.

We all have to do our part on climate change. For my part, I am pledging that my party will prioritise: 1) a switch to electric vehicles, cycling and public transport; 2) the expansion of offshore wind energy; 3) a fair level of carbon tax that penalises polluters but doesn’t push people into poverty; 4) And a new grants scheme for insulating homes that is available to everyone.

Recycling: Our council needs to up its game on recycling. We need more recycling centres and they should open longer in the evenings and weekends to make it easier to recycle. The council can do much more to inform residents about what goes in each bin – and if it can’t go in the recycling bin then where it can be recycled. It should be much easier to get rid of items such as soft plastics, old toys, couches, paints, mattresses etc and to ensure that these are recycled as much as possible. We all have to play our part for a cleaner environment. Help me make the council play its part.

Climate change and inequality are the two biggest challenges we face locally and globally. On the city council I will prioritise: 1) A new grants scheme for insulating homes that is available to everyone; 2) Promoting switch to electric vehicles, cycling and public transport; 3) City-wide reduction in plastic packaging, and ensuring more recycling; 4) Increased monitoring and accountability for air and water quality in Dublin Bay; 5) Increase biodiversity in the city by more planting, encouraging community gardens, and planting of appropriate trees; 6) Support Dublin becoming a smart city, using data analytics to monitor the environment (including air and water quality) and adjust our resources accordingly.

–Councils leading by example in housing design and energy saving in their own buildings

–Designated drop-off points around our urban centres within 1 km radius of schools so students walk on dry mornings

–Agree Local Area Plans that plan for public transport and community facilities before homes are built

–"Cycling buses" for children travelling to school

–Promote the use of heat waste in district energy schemes

–Promote public awareness events on climate change, energy conservation etc.

–Reduce the energy consumption of public lighting

–Promote and expand number of community gardens and allotments where feasible

–Public recycling bins

–Better collection opportunity at amenity centres for mattresses, sofas, large plastic toys etc.

–An end to single-use plastic at council events and time lines to end or reduce them in council-supported events

–Bicycle shelters and secure lock-ups at all public buildings

–Wildflower gardens

–Water fountains

–Awards for the most environmentally friendly and most-environmentally improved multiple in your area

–Car-charging points in every small town and village

–Car-pool initiatives

–Tree-planting initiatives

We have less than twelve and a half years to stop the worst effects of climate change from happening. There’s no doubt about it – this is an emergency. I support keeping oil and gas in the ground where it belongs, and investing in new and renewable energy sources. I think that Dublin City Council has a massive part to play in developing a climate strategy that really delivers and I want to be on the forefront of this.

The local council level is a great place to tackle climate change. Microgeneration, renewable energy schemes and better municipal recycling can be driven locally by the council. While I welcome the city council climate action plan I believe it could go further. Public lighting and building upgrades need to be rolled out across older suburbs as well as new developments. Council policy should be to take the energy saving and transport initiatives to the people through schools, community groups and online. We can't rely on just promoting within council buildings.

Ensure that Ireland meets its emissions targets by investing in high-capacity transport, retro-fitting for homes and workplaces, helping agricultural business to reduce their carbon footprint. A new Home Energy Grants scheme were home owners and small businesses can avail of retro-fit grants and pay for the work through their utility bills. The above is Social Democrats party policy on climate change, which I would use my position to promote. However, as a councillor, I would actively work to fund improvements to infrastructure for electric cars, cycling and public transport in Dublin city.

Could DCC be a pioneer in making Dublin plastic-free? I would work to improve the waste recycling and reducing options for the public with better information, more civic amenity centres, and a focus on upcycling/repairing unwanted goods. Charges for household recyclables should be restricted. I would vote to introduce a ban on micro-plastics and on certain single-use plastics, encourage the introduction of a deposit-return scheme and to provide more options for householders to recycle plastics. Work on a scheme whereby businesses, particularly convenience stores, are incentivised to provide plastic recycling options for the public, at their premises.

Plant more trees.

Climate Change is the single biggest threat to our environment, our living standards, and our existence. On both an environmental and an economic level, it is vital that we respond to this threat urgently. We simply cannot keep kicking this can down the road – the buck stops here, with our generation. Nationally, I would favour a Green New Deal, by putting renewable energy, green collar jobs, and investment in green technologies at the centre of government policy, with a focus on a just transition. On Dublin City Council, I will push strong long-term planning of sustainable communities, support cycling and public transport, promote biodiversity, recycling, and strong anti-dumping measures, and I will encourage new energy solutions.

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We will seek to reverse the trend of councils removing public bins. We are particularly anxious that bins are provided in areas such as bus-stops and taxi ranks, on approaches to schools, outside neighbourhood shops, ATMs etc.

We want to set strict enforcement targets for local authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency to deal with the chronic problem of illegal dumping and infringements of conditions attached to waste licences and permits and we would improve national funding to allow the recruitment of additional staff in this area.

We will also promote the expansion of council furniture/junk collection days as resources allow.

Charges for bringing disposable items to public facilities should be as uniform as possible across the country and should be pitched at a level that discourages dumping. We favour doubling the on-the-spot fines for littering and further increasing fines for illegal dumping.

Regarding the problem of dog poo, we wish to replicate a successful community experiment carried out in Beaumont in Dublin where dispensers with free doggy bags were erected at entrances to a park. The experiment has resulted in a very significant decline in the problem and we are keen to expand it to as many areas as possible. The marginal cost for the council is very low and can be met out of existing funding.

We also wish to expand the number of bins so that dog-owners can easily dispose of dog litter. On the spot litter fines should be doubled from €150 to €300 to improve the deterrent of dog-owners not picking up after their pet.

Apart from the housing issue, dog poo and litter is mostly spoken about on the doors. It is something which is the main conversation at residents association meetings also. Some areas of the South West Inner City have widespread cleaning of streets etc and others seem not to have the same service.

There should be a regulator for the waste industry so that the environment and consumers are better protected. There should be a restriction on charges for household recyclables collection. There should be annual collections over-size household and garden furniture, machinery etc, like there is in Germany. This reduces illegal dumping. It is also used by communities to reuse the items by others. Dog fouling must be tackled by having more dog wardens patrolling areas. There needs to be an education piece also. Dog dirt is often collected in bags and then the bags are disposed in drains thus blocking them in heavy rainfall.

We have too many dumping black spots in Kimmage and Rathmines. The culprits have no respect for our environment or our laws. There’s really no excuse for it. I want to get the council much more involved in enforcing anti-dumping laws. I believe fines should be significantly increased so that there is a proper deterrent. There are unfortunately particularly estates, roads etc that seem to be targeted and I would like to engage in discussions with Dublin City Council around monitoring this, be it through CCTV or another mechanism that would help prevent this behaviour.

Dog dirt: So many people have mentioned the issue of dog litter to me. It’s a real nuisance as well as presenting a danger to public health. It’s a difficult issue to deal with but I want our council to try out a simple experiment that has worked well in Beaumont in Dublin in recent years. This involved placing doggie-bag dispensers at entry points to the local park with free doggie bags for the past few years. This has very significantly reduced the problem there and it’s time we tried it.

In terms of litter on our streets and neighbourhoods, I have all too often walked past bins that are full to capacity. We need to increase the number of general litter bins in the Kimmage/Rathmines area, not only for dog litter but also more general waste. We must ensure they are emptied as frequently as possible. Finally by promoting and funding events like "Street Feast" which will take place in May, we are getting people out of their homes and socialising together on their roads and estates. This gives residents a sense of connection and also a sense of pride in their street, which in turn encourages more people to get involved in events like community clean-ups.

These are all social behaviour matters, where citizens have to take individual responsibility for the upkeep of our shared spaces. The council can do more to encourage better civic-mindedness. We need to build stronger communities not only housing.

Litter and illegal dumping: I will call for the adoption of policies to reduce the production of packaging and plastic waste in the city, encouraging local businesses to adopt zero-waste approaches where possible. We also need much better enforcement of rules and fines to tackle dumping, illegal waste.

Dog poo: Take a data-mapping approach, and encourage citizens to report dog littering sightings – such as the DoodooWatch in some UK towns – so solutions can be focussed on areas with habitual fouling. Supply free doggie bags at park entrances. Fines need to be enforced, so there are costly consequences for owners, so we need to increase the number of dog wardens in the city. Other cities have installed public dog toilets, and methane digesters in parks so poo can be turned into energy, (powering some street-lamps for example) so that’s something Dublin City Council should consider as well.

One of the most dispiriting aspects of being a city councillor was the prevalence of illegal dumping on the streets of Dublin. The privatisation of waste-management services was an abdication of responsibility from the state that has done a disservice to the city but we shouldn’t have to teach people that it is wrong to illegally dump waste on to the streets of Dublin.

We need to fine those responsible for illegal dumping and proper enforcement, where necessary, to include the Gardaí to target those unlicensed collectors who are collecting large household waste and dumping it in side streets.

Illegally dumping waste is a form of anti-social behaviour that has a multitude of negative impacts for the communities who are experiencing it, there should be a greater role for the Gardaí in confronting this type of behaviour.

On dog poo, we need more pooper scoopers and bins for doggy bags on our streets, but it must take a particular mindset for a person to believe that they should remove their own dog's mess from the streets of Dublin. This requires a cultural change and collective pressure from the community to call out those responsible.

I think that enforcement of existing laws is key – and that as a city councillor I can play a vital role in making sure that city workers have the resources they need to make sure that our city is kept as a clean and healthy environment for our communities.

Illegal dumping is a big issue in parts of the ward and the laws are in place to deal with it. What we are missing is consistent enforcement and the Garda resources to deal with the problem. Council sweeping and cleaning services are inadequate and we need to provide those resources based on need and population – to help people living in "black spot" areas. We need more litter wardens, active on the street.

Encourage people to report dog-littering sightings – similar to the DoodooWatch in some UK towns – so solutions can be focussed on areas with a high level of fouling. Supply free doggie bags at entrances to parks and sufficient bins to dispose of waste nearby. Substantially increase fines for all of the above and, importantly, enforce fines. Employ more litter and dog wardens, deliver on-the-spot fines. Illegal dumping – greater investment in and use of cctv and drones. Increase fines to fit the crime, especially when illegal dumping is being carried out by businesses. It all boils down to providing more funding to DCC to employ more staff to enforce laws already in place.

Dumping and dog fouling have a really negative impact on our daily experience of the city and it’s an area where I feel DCC could be doing more. Some of the measures I would support at council level include:

–Naming and shaming policy for people found guilty of illegal dumping and using technology wherever feasible to catch culprits.

–Increased availability of public bins and particularly of bins for dog fouling. I would like to see bags made available with these bins to encourage clean-up of dog poo. It’s also vital that bins are emptied regularly enough as often they are overflowing.

–For both illegal dumping and dog fouling it’s vital that fines are applied and enforced. There must be a substantial deterrent to this antisocial behaviour.

–Public facilities for disposal of non-recyclable material should have longer weekend and evening opening hours. The easier it is to dispose of unwanted goods the less likely there will be a problem with dumping.

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The Social Democrats want to set a general target of a community centre in every significant population base in Ireland. This can be made available to young and old alike and funded by an enhanced sports capital programme and the two regeneration funds earmarked under the National Development Plan.

I will play an active part in maximising the funding of community facilities, such as swimming pools, skate parks etc through the sports capital programme and we are committing that if in government we will maintain a funding programme on an annual basis.

We want to expand the number of parks with strip lighting so that joggers can use parks safely after dark. We will also seek to improve access to and expand the number of public allotments and community gardens.

There are some fantastic examples around Ballymun-Finglas where councils have partnered with local communities to deliver superb local festivals, cultural and heritage events and I will be supporting more of these types of events.

Open green space provides many advantages for sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments thus green space must be a key consideration in planning if the health of our city and its people are considered important. Dublin City Council’s own development plan states: “Open space and recreation areas are a key component to quality of life for citizens and visitors to the city.”

As a councillor I will ensure that we adhere to this, and ensure provision of parks and green spaces is a priority and must be seen a crucial part of any new developments in the area. The emergence in recent years in certain council areas of midnight leagues, passports for leisure, and the park run phenomenon shows that councils can play a huge role in keeping people active – parks and green spaces are a crucial part of that. I would like to further develop these types of initiatives.

I support a green living city, with urban parks, trees and community gardens. Everyone in Dublin should have access to a public green space within a five-minute walk. Our green spaces make us happier, and healthier: filtering air and water and urban noise, helping regulate temperature, reducing energy costs, and supporting essential biodiversity in the city.

City planning needs to take more account of integrating green spaces into all development plans, planting of suitable trees, greening of waste-land, and supporting community gardens. We also need more arts and recreation spaces in the city. Artists are being priced out of the city, and they help make the city a more joyful place to live and work. I support the provision of free and low-cost spaces for artists and cultural initiatives, especially in Temple Bar. Our Cultural Quarter has seen too many artists and arts organisations depart for more affordable spaces far outside the city.

Through the City Development Plan, I’ll be prioritising that more green space is written into any developments that are to occur in the city. Green space is vital for the health of our city – we need a lot more of it!

I believe that public green spaces, especially near public-housing projects are essential. As a councillor I will push for these to be included in the plans we make for our city.

Parks and green spaces are one of the easiest ways to improve people’s quality of life. We have some very good examples in Donaghmede and Raheny like Father Collins Park and St Anne's. New developments must be planned with sufficient "high quality" green space, which includes amenities and furniture, not just empty greens. This is something that the council can control. As stated above, we are in the midst of a housing crisis but building on our community park lands is not the answer. I’ve set out above many ways in which the housing crisis based around policy change but, for example, allowing the sale of the school lands within St Anne’s Park for luxury apartments will do next to nothing to address the housing crisis. St Anne’s, the lungs of the north side, is an example of the type of green space that must be protected.

More institutional lands behind high walls should be opened up to the public. Increase the number of small green spaces, on corners of city-centre residential streets. I saw this done really well recently in Amsterdam. Knock down one-off derelict buildings to achieve this. People have a greater sense of ownership of small, local green spaces and play areas, as opposed to the the huge empty greens that you find in housing estates all over Dublin.

Here in the Clontarf local electoral area we’re pretty lucky in terms of green spaces – the beautiful St Anne’s is at our doorstep and local parks and playgrounds such as Fairview and Maypark are excellent amenities also. I would like to see an increase in pocket parks and greater use of smaller green areas. In my own neighbourhood of Donnycarney, the Mucky Lane Project, which I have had some involvement with, is a fantastic example of a community coming together to make use of an unused and unloved green area. The space has been planted with flowers of all kinds – blooming from the first snowdrops onwards – and fruit trees. Local residents have built insect hotels to encourage biodiversity and it’s a pollinator’s paradise. Dublin City Council and the parks department have been very supportive of this project and I’d love to see it replicated across the city. Another local campaign I’d like to see given priority is a playground for Rockfield Park – there’s an obvious area in the park for a playground and local parents and grandparents are crying out for it.

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I want to improve planning and development in our area to enhance the overall quality of life for residents by increasing and improving public spaces and enhancing common areas like shopfronts and town centres. I will also prioritise a healthy, pleasant environment which is an essential component of a thriving community. We also need development designs that promote “passive policing”, and seek to ensure that all public parks and public places are well lit and safe for all users and support initiatives.

The third largest issue on the doors is green public space in the South West Inner City. Having some down time is vital to our health. But where do teenagers go for this? Our young people spend more and more time in school or online. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to physical and mental health problems. They are often lonely and isolated – and may feel overwhelmed by the real life and virtual worlds that they occupy at the same time. Young people and teenagers need to be able to chill out with their friends in a safe environment. Dublin City Council should follow South Dublin South County Council in providing robust playing facilitites for teeangers. For the sake of our young people’s health and well-being they deserve places to be themselves, act like teenagers, entertain themselves and enjoy their limited free time.

The Social Democrats call on councils to prioritise recreation, play and sport. Dublin 8 is densely urbanised. The use of green spaces for development is not acceptable to the residents. Community gardening and allotments are sources of physical, mental and emotional health. It is an education is healthy eating and living. Space should be given and maintained for people in Dublin 8 to partake in this activity.There should be a dog park for Dublin 8, particularly in the Liberties area, so that dogs can be off lead. People love their dogs and would love to be able to have them off lead and yet safe. Large roads in the community should be tree lined. For example, Cork Street is a windswept road due to the lack of trees, which add to the beauty and environment of the area. The canal is a beautiful attraction in the area – but it is somewhat neglected from Sally's Bridge heading towards Rialto. Although the residents welcome the new path along by Dolphins Barn.

Dublin City Council is currently looking at its Play Strategy. Everyone of all ages can contribute their voice to the plan here. Sporting facilities in Dublin 8 are lacking, especially for sports like hurling and camogie. Areas like St Teresa’s Gardens, the Marrowbone Lane Depot, the Player Wills site are not being used for such activities. This lack of vision for community but instead economy is unsatisfactory to the residents of this area. Quality of life from a recreational and work perspective is vital to mental, physical and emotional health.

Our neighbourhoods shopping streets are the flagships of our communities. If they look well, our whole area looks well. One of my priorities is to improve the appearance and layout of our shopping streets in the Kimmage/Rathmines area. I’d like the council to have a specific plan to enhance every neighbourhood shopping area – no matter how small. We need more variety, not just pubs, bookies, and takeaways, and there should be an individual plan for parking, vacant premises, litter, flowerbeds, and access.

Sometimes the little things can make a big difference. I would also like to replicate a project rolled out in other councils that could help this. South Dublin County Council run an award-winning project and set aside €300,000 and asked the community for suggestions on what it should be spent on. Everyone, including children, got a vote. The winning projects included a hurling wall, a playground, recycling facilities and a community orchard. I want to bring community budgeting to communities’ right here in Dublin City Council.

Public land is the greatest resource available to the state at this moment in time. I will oppose the selling off of any public land that can be developed by the city council as housing or a public amenity.

Making them nicer is the key! Investing in ensuring that they are green, well-lit, family-friendly with toilets and nappy-changing facilities gives people a sense of feeling safe and welcomed in these areas.

I believe that the city needs safe injecting facilities and a well-resourced Garda presence to stifle the effects of anti-social behaviour around our public spaces.

Ensuring that there are cafes and shops that don’t all simply close at 6pm too helps create vibrance in our public spaces.

My party colleague Cllr Gary Gannon put forward a motion to halt the sale of the former Magdalene Laundry site at the Sean MacDermott Street to a Japanese budget hotel chain.

We believe this site should be a centre of commemoration of both the women who were incarcerated at this particular laundry and all those who suffered from the unimaginable abuse since the formation of the state.

As a councillor, and also a woman who has suffered the similar institutional system of Direct Provision, I will campaign to ensure that this site remains public property and honours those who have been denied basic rights and dignity by the state institutions.

The availbility of quality public spaces is vital to keep our communities connected and to attract art, life and business to our streets. We need to draw on international best practice for design and maintenance of our public spaces. Proper investment in street furniture, traffic management and designing with the pedestrian and the public in mind. We need to ask experts and to only make changes to good plans when we have evidence that the change will have a positive impact on the space, not based on who shouts the loudest.

I would work with council officials to bring more public spaces into public ownership, if they are not already. I would investigate whether it would be possible to introduce a new scheme, whereby high-net-worth individuals or companies could be encouraged to fund public spaces, art, culture and heritage. Request that when leases of new public spaces are being drawn up, that provision is made to maintain them in public use. To make public spaces ‘"nicer", I think people should be encouraged to develop a sense of ownership of said spaces. So, as already mentioned, create smaller more localised public spaces, encourage more use of public spaces by organised groups and continue/improve the work of Public Domain staff, in conjunction with local groups, to have regular "clean-up" days.

I’m in favour of increasing the number of pedestrianised areas and quietways. The Social Democrats would love to see Dublin City Council prioritise recreation, play and sport and make our city a place for play as well as work. In other European cities I’ve visited I’ve seen life-sized games such as chess in public areas and would love to see more of this in Dublin. In addition, we need to think about recreation facilities for teenagers and consult with them as to what would best suit their needs. In my local area I see teens hanging around the children’s playground in the evening and it’s easy to blame them but what are we doing about alternatives?

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