Use all land in the ownership of Dublin City Council to directly build the public housing the people of Dublin so badly need. Presently, Dublin City Council owns enough zoned residential land to provide 18,000 new dwellings, with Dublin County having enough land to provide 29,278 dwellings. Bizarrely, Dublin City Council is currently fineing itself because it has twenty-one sites on the Derelict Sites Register with the potential to provide 1,900 homes. We have the land, we need the political will. This will involve not only submitting motions at the city council Housing Strategic Policy Committee and full council meetings but linking in with the national housing campaigns and grassroots groups to demand that public homes are built and a new cost-rental model introduced.
This is a national government competency but as a public representative I would make the call and demand that real rent controls and rent reductions are brought in to ensure that nobody is paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent. More long-term, however, I believe a radical transition from the current social-housing model toward a new cost-rental model, similar to the housing model in Vienna and Copenhagen, needs to be introduced. This would see individuals, couples and families of all income levels becoming eligible for public housing and paying fair rents which would be up to 40 percent less than private market rents, which are currently squeezing the life blood out of people.
Remind the powers that be that we have declared a national housing and homelessness emergency and introduce some real urgency in setting about the work involved in constructing the new dwellings on public land and introducing the new cost-rental model of housing.
Increase the Derelict Site Levy from 3 percent to 10 percent and the Vacant Sites Levy from 3 percent to 10 percent for the first year, and 15 percent for every subsequent year. We are in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis in the city so any land laying idle has to be brought into productive use. This will not only have an immediate positive impact on the housing crisis but will also visually improve the look of Dublin and enhance the many local communities and particular streets that are currently blighted by derelict and vacant site.
I would continue to advocate for the prioritisation of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users over the private motor car. Unfortunately, due the weak nature of local government in Ireland, Dublin City Council has little real influence in public transportation matters, that competency lies with the National Transport Authority. So I would call for more public transportation decision-making powers to be devolved to local government, so that our Transport Strategic Policy Committee becomes the forum through which elected representatives, members of the public and all the other stakeholders can democratically discuss and decide on public transportation matters.
As someone who walks, runs, cycles, hops on the buses and the odd Luas, as well as driving around the city, I am convinced, more so now than ever, that we have to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport and allow the people of Dublin and the city itself to breathe a little more easily. I fully support the demand to increase the percentage of the national capital budget for transport allocated to cycling and walking to 20 percent and would use my position as a Dublin City councillor to ensure that the five principles of the Cycling4All campaign are adhered to when trying to achieve a more cycle-friendly city, namely: that the space for walking and cycling needs to be segregated; priority must be given to pedestrians and cyclists; routes need to be coherent and comprehensive; permeability for cyclists and pedestrians needs to be far better than that of cars, with contra-flow being regarded as an obvious, sensible and inexpensive way to achieve that permeability; and finally, that best cycling guidelines need to find their into the planning policy and practices of both national and local government.
Call for the full implementation of the Dublin City Climate Change Action Plan, which seeks a 33 percent better energy use by the Council by 2020, a 40 percent reduction in the council’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, aims to make Dublin a climate resilient region, by reducing the impacts of future climate change-related events and wants to actively engage and inform citizens on climate change. Alongside these minimum targets at the council level, I will use my public position to call for a more enhanced role for local government in tackling climate change, identified recently in Mary Murphy’s report More Power To You: Stronger Local Government Means Better Local Services as a key actor in the public administration sector in leading the initiatives that will help us transition to a low-carbon society.
To fully implement the motion passed that I proposed in July 2017 to fully remuncipalise waste services in Dublin City. Dublin City Council spends €1 million of taxpayers’ money each year collecting illegally-dumped waste, a by-product of the privatisation of the service. Increase the number of pubic bins and dog poo bins in every estate in the city.
I will continue to ensure that every new residential development includes 20 percent green space and will work with communities, other stakeholders and the city council to identify any suitable sites that have the potential to be transformed into green spaces.
Dublin’s parks and green spaces are places where people can relax and enjoy themselves. So as a councillor I would ensure that our public “breathing spaces” are properly maintained, with long opening hours and proper security in place.
One of the biggest problems facing the city of Dublin is the increasing privatisation of public space. Beyond our parks and green spaces, there are not many public places in the city so I fully support the pedestrianisation of College Green as Dublin city is crying out for new public spaces for people to enjoy, and welcome the initial designs for the new Dublin Central library on Parnell Square which will see one of our five Georgian squares partially pedestrianised.