I will continue to actively initiate new housing schemes as I have done in the past – examples include new housing in Spenser Street and 35 new homes that we built on my own estate in Beech Hill in Donnybrook. I will work to ensure that the agreement we reached on 900 social and affordable homes as part of the Poolbeg agreement are delivered and I will press for direct delivery by the council of additional and new types of housing. Solving the housing crisis is not rocket science – it has been done in the past and we can do it again. Essentially, it involved direct social and affordable housing delivery by the council and through local agreements with voluntary housing bodies.
This will be tackled through a mixture of legislation and supply. On the legislative side my party and I have a long track record of supporting tenants' rights and on supply I will continue to push for more build.
We need a mixture of policies here – the key one is to build more homes and the second is to ensure decent facilities for people who don't have permanent homes. My record is one of consistent support for quality homeless facilities and unlike some who make public comments of support on the issue I have never opposed any new homeless facility.
I welcome the new Vacant Site Levy, which was a Labour initiative. We need to encourage owners to develop sites and that can mean helping to bring adjoining owners together for best use of perhaps smaller sites. I have done so in the past and will again if re-elected.
By continuing to support cycling infrastructure such as the Sutton-to-Sandycove (S2S) cycleway and the Dodder Greenway and helping to reduce conflict between different sectors on this issue. Too often good ideas are spiked by lack of preparation by sponsoring councillors. Experience helps deliver. The provision of better cycling facilities would also be helped by the establishment of a single Dublin Transport Authority.
This is a complex issue, but the biggest contribution we could make in city is to improve public transport and improve its environmental sustainability – primarily through ensuring that all new public-transport vehicles are electrically powered. I also believe there is a huge case for a completely free public transport system in this regard. There are other ways such as reducing waste, improving green spaces, and planting more trees. Dublin City Council should in the aftermath of the local elections establish a Climate Change Committee as one of its principle structures and not as a sub-committee of a committee.
I have proposed that we create new post of community warden that would be a mixture of litter warden, dog warden and traffic warden – these would be allocated to areas and would get to know them and I believe could be very instrumental in tackling these matters in a financially sustainable way. We need to ensure that people do not get away with anti-social behaviour in this way.
There is a park in the middle of Dublin city that is locked and chained. That park is in Fitzwilliam Square. That to me is an anachronism in this day and age and I have long sought its acquisition by the city. We can also enhance existing green spaces such as along the Dodder and the Tolka and, in particular, around Dublin Bay.
One of the great challenges for the next city council in this regard will be creating the public plaza on College Green. I have long supported this proposal and believe we should relaunch it for the city. In addition I believe that the Bank of Ireland building on College Green should be transferred to public ownership by the bank and developed as a Dublin Museum and an Institute for Dublin Affairs.