Ge16 candidates

Eamon Ryan

1. Are you for or against the elimination of the local property tax?

Although this election is about many things – health, crime, the economy – there is no doubt that it is a housing election, specifically a housing crisis. The lack of affordable homes, and people worried about escalating rents, are the number one issue coming up on the doors. That’s why the Green Party has called for the creation of a National Housing Authority, mandated to deliver 20,000 units a year, 7,500 of which would be social and affordable.

Dublin Bay South has ample space for new housing – the 25 acre Glass Bottle Site and RTÉ’s Montrose campus being just two examples – and if we can build high-quality homes on these sites, ensuring that they’re well connected to public transport links and in proximity to public services, we could tackle the housing crisis in a huge way.

I’d encourage people to read our housing policy but, among other things, we’re also calling for a referendum to guarantee the right to a home, the immediate application of a vacant site levy to land that speculators are hoarding, replacing the LPT [local property tax] with a fairer Site Value Tax, reforms to the rent supplement system and greater resourcing of the PRTB.

2. Are you for or against repealing the 8th Amendment?

We are advocating the repeal of the 8th Amendment and have proposed legislation to allow for termination in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, rape, incest and endangerment to the health/life of the mother.

3. Are you for or against the creation of a directly elected mayor for the Dublin area, with greater powers over, housing, transport and revenue raising?

I fully support the creation of a directly-elected mayor for Dublin, and have campaign vigorously for the creation of such a post. Our city desperately needs a single figure to oversee the housing, waste, energy and transport systems, and to act as a focal point for those who want to invest here. After all, who do you call when you want to call Dublin?

4. Who should be responsible for setting minimum apartment standards, local authorities or the national government?

Local authorities are best placed to consider local needs in development plans, however there are some situations where national government should set national standards.

5. Are you for or against ending religious patronage of all schools?

We are not against religious patronage in schools, however, discrimination in the admissions process on the basis of religion has no place in modern Ireland.

6. Are you for or against you support the provision of medically supervised injection centres in Dublin?

The War on Drugs has been a failure. I support a move away from a criminal-justice based approach to drugs in favour of a more compassionate, health-based policy. The primary goal of policy should be to minimize harm caused by drug use alongside demand reduction measures. Decriminalization of drug use would be a good first step, but harm-reduction measures such as supervised injection centres are necessary if we’re truly going to start tackling this problem.

7. Are you for or against giving asylum seekers the right to work?

I support the call by [European Commission] President [Jean-Claude] Juncker to allow existing asylum seekers to work while their application is being processed. This would represent a radical departure from our “direct-provision” system, which causes real stress for people waiting to be processed. If the government wants to signal a real change of heart from the conservative approach they have taken to date then, they should immediately allow asylum seekers already here to look for work.

8. What, if anything, should be done about Irish Water?

Water is one of our most precious resources and every human has the right to sufficient, safe, and affordable water. I believe that every individual is entitled to a guaranteed free allocation of water, with an extra free allocation for people with specific health needs. There would be a charge for use and disposal of water over this amount. Further assistance should be given to low-income households for the installation of water-efficient appliances.

Further to a charging system that penalises waste and provides for sustainable funding of our water network, the Green Party was the first to propose a referendum on the public ownership of water to ensure that our water is never sold off to the highest bidder. We would propose the insertion of a new clause into the Constitution, Article 10.4, stating: “The State shall treat drinking water as an essential resource and in the interests of the common good the State shall not provide for the privatisation or commercialisation of water services for the people.”

9. Are you for or against the immediate introduction of a vacant-land levy in Dublin?

I absolutely support the introduction of a vacant-site levy. It is just one of the measures included in our housing policy and I firmly believe it would go a long way towards tackling the scandal of vacant sites and derelict homes in our city during a housing crisis.

10. Are you for or against banning zero-hour employment contracts?

More and more people are falling into a trap where work simply doesn’t pay. We urgently need to look at issues like the living wage, zero-hours contracts, and exploitation of young people by internship schemes. What good is a falling unemployment rate if many people are in a worse position than when they were when claiming social welfare?

11. Are you for or against ending unvouched expenses for TDs and councillors?

I absolutely support the system of unvouched expenses and believe it would lead to greater transparency in our political system.

12. Are you for or against bringing in a new system of independent building inspections carried out by government inspectors to ensure that buildings are built to code?

My party has campaigned relentlessly against the dumbing-down of building regulations by Alan Kelly. The introduction of independent building inspections would be a good step towards ensuring that no more Priory Halls blight our city and inflict real hardship on families.


In preparation for 26 February, we asked candidates running in Dublin for their views on a dozen issues. You can read what all the candidates had to say here.

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Sam Tranum

Sam Tranum is deputy editor of Dublin Inquirer. He's been a newspaper reporter, a newspaper editor, an assistant professor of journalism, an author and a book editor, among other things. You can follow him @samtranum.

 

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