I have been a member of the council's Housing Strategic Policy Committee since my election in 2009. I have consistently argued for increased social and affordable-rental public housing. The main difficulty in getting more public housing built is the ideological opposition to public housing from Fine Gael in government. The mistaken insistence that the private market can resolve our housing emergency is an example of this ideological bias. The ridiculous public-service procurement process also makes it extremely difficult to get homes actually built.
The provision of affordable public rental housing is the solution to the housing crisis and homeless. The vast majority of people presenting daily as homeless are primarily victims of the private rental market, so there should be an immediate ban on economic evictions and the loopholes allowing landlords to evict tenants if they wish to sell or give their property to a family member should be suspended while the crisis continues.
Immediately implement the existing derelict sites legislation and the existing vacant site levy. If this doesn’t improve the situation, the vacant site levy should be increased.
I support the positive aspects of the BusConnects and MetroLink projects. I have always supported increased public transport services and I believe the aim should be to provide cheap, or ideally free, public transport to discourage car use and encourage public transport use.
I commute to work by bike and I understand the dangers and difficulties of cycling in the city centre. I have been supportive of improved cycling infrastructure across the city where the proposals do not involve routing vehicular traffic through residential areas. Viable cycling infrastructure will discourage car use with the resulting health and environmental benefits.
Discouraging car use, encouraging walk-to-school initiatives, banning unnecessary plastic wrapping, installing solar public lighting where appropriate, etc. are some of the initiatives that we as individuals or councillors can support to play a small part in tackling climate change. The major causes of climate charge are the large industrial companies and multinationals so until we seriously tackle that section of society we cannot impact on the dangers to our living environment. Unfortunately, profit will always be prioritised over the environment unless public opinion or legislation force a chance of attitude. Frighteningly, the president of the USA is leading the charge against acknowledging climate change even exists.
This is a particular bugbear of mine. Litter, illegal dumping, dog fouling, etc. impact hugely on an area. They drag an area down and encourage even more dumping and anti-social behaviour. The solutions are simple: 1) enforce the existing legislation and properly resource the council departments responsible for tackling this problem, DCC appear to be incapable of or uninterested in seriously tackling this issue; 2) take the waste collection services back into public control.
The benefits of parks and green spaces are indisputable and increased green areas should be a condition of all planning approvals. The current levels of green space required by the planning legislation are not sufficient. Councillors have the power to increase funding for new parks and green spaces as part of the budget negotiations and this should be prioritised to counter the increasing use of green spaces for building. I must acknowledge that Dublin City Council’s parks department are some of the most proactive and progressive people in the council.
To be fair to Dublin City Council they are proactive to identifying and supporting appropriate locations for increased public spaces. I am opposed to all privatisation, whether of services or spaces. Privatisation invariably results in a poorer services or facilities. With profit as a motive, it’s logical for the service or facility to suffer.