Dublin City Council is dependent on government schemes and funding to deliver social and affordable homes. At the moment, with the funding caps from central government, and the quotes for building from developers, it is very difficult for the council to build new social housing. This needs to change. I also think that the last FG/Labour government's decision to reduce the Part V provision [of social homes in new developments] from 20 percent to 10 percent and to scrap the affordable-housing scheme has had a detrimental effect on housing supply in the city. Not only that, developers are getting away with providing the 10 percent off-site, particularly in the Docklands area, so local people can’t even stay in their own community. This is unacceptable.
We did just recently, however, have some good news in relation to the Poolbeg West Strategic Development Zone, as An Bord Pleanála upheld the 25 percent provision of social and affordable homes. Local councillors (including myself) did agree on 900 units during the negotiations, so I am hoping through the planning process we can deliver the extra 25 units. The minister needs to come up with a scheme to deliver the affordable element here. I personally think this is an ideal site for a cost rental scheme, that is affordable. It is absolutely crucial that we develop a long-term, mixed-use sustainable community on the Poolbeg West sites. I think the SDZ will provide that and I am fully committed to delivering that.
The cost-rental housing model works really well in other European cities and we need more of that here, particularly on council- and state-owned land. I am working with my Green Party colleagues on the council and in the Dáil to look at state-owned sites such as Griffith Barracks, where a feasibility study is now proposed for cost-rental housing.
We need to ensure that the public land owned by the council is used for public housing. This is the best tool available to councillors, as most other decisions have been taken away from us by central government. This is also a key policy of the cross-party National Housing and Homelessness Coalition, which the Green Party are members of.
We also need to stop granting planning permission for hotels and student accommodation, and prioritise building housing, even private, to increase the supply in order to reduce costs, something I am currently pushing for on the council and hope to continue to do so.
With 10,000 homeless and thousands more in insecure, unaffordable or unsuitable accommodation, Dublin’s housing crisis is one of the biggest issues of our time. We simply need to do better. The only way to do that is build. We have viable, developable land all over Dublin but time and time again we do not plan for social and affordable housing properly in new builds. In a city with so many homeless it is simply appalling to have so many derelict and vacant properties. The current threshold for a property to be deemed derelict is too high. Properties may be derelict but unless they have visible structural damage, officials are slow to categorise them as derelict. The 3 percent charge on derelict sites is also far too low and does not incentivise the property owners to act, we need to push for a higher levy so that derelict sites can be revitalised and become new homes. We need a new model for renting similar to what can be seen in cities across Europe, America and Asia. We need to look at introducing rent control, as well as cost rental schemes. Cost rental is where rent charged is used to cover the cost of constructing the accommodation over the life of a long-term building loan. This enables the government to plan affordable housing and to continue to build homes even during a downturn. A cost rental scheme is due to come online in Shankill soon, if elected to Dublin City Council I would work to bring similar schemes to the city centre.
I will push for Dublin City Council to work intensively with the new Land Development Agency (LDA) to significantly increase supply in the short and medium term, given the need to ramp up the supply of social and affordable homes in a very short time frame. Like all city and county councils, Dublin City Council is dependent on government funding to build social housing. If the LDA fulfils its promise, it can work in partnership with DCC to rapidly build both affordable and social housing. It is critical, however, that public land owned by the council is used for public housing. This is the best tool available to councillors, as many other decisions regarding housing have been taken away from local government by central government, and is one of the key demands of the National Housing and Homelessness Coalition.
Build cost-rental high-quality homes, providing homes for all as a service and need rather then as a commodity. Similar to the Vienna model. Rent will be means tested and rents will pay back the money borrowed by state or local authorities. This then is cost-neutral.
Dublin City Council, like all councils, is dependent on the Department of Housing and the government for funding to build social housing, funding which they have not provided in the amounts needed. We need to ensure that the public land owned by the council is used for public housing. This is the best tool available to councillors, as most other decision have been taken away from us by central government. This is also a key policy of the cross-party National Housing and Homelessness Coalition.
If re-elected I will seek funding from central government for the staff and funding to build public housing. I'll also try and reduce the red tape around housing. Currently Dublin City Council has to go through a four-stage approval process when we wish to build. That needs to be simplified.There is also scope to use innovate finance from credit unions, semi-state pension funds, and allowing councils to issue bonds, but that requires central government action.
There is a chronic shortage of social and affordable homes in Ireland. I would push Dublin City Council to start building homes as they did previously in the '70s. One of the factors preventing DCC from being able to build land is the zoning laws. Greenfield sites zoned for housing development are extraordinarily high in Ireland, and far above what the council can afford to offer. There are 1,000s of brownfield sites across Dublin lying vacant and derelict. These must be levied into sale or use. The only type of housing development is developer-led. The current requirements for social housing in such development is too low. This figure should be brought up significantly. We need housing to be provided by the council, housing associations and private developers, not just the latter.
My area of Dublin is one of the worst hit areas in the rental and housing crisis so social and affordable housing is top of the agenda. My first action would be to address the skyrocketing rents and frequent evictions that are occurring in Cabra Glasnevin and I have listed a few points on how I would do this in the answer to the second question.
The second issue would be to increase and support the supply of new homes through the creation of new public housing schemes and through the revitalisation of the very high numbers of vacant homes we have in the city. Finally I think it's really important to resist the gentrification of inner-city neighbourhoods so that all but the most well off cannot afford to live in the communities where they grew up and where their extended family still live.
New homes and vacant homes: to build housing we need land. We should introduce a site value tax and increase the vacant site tax to disincentivise land hoarding. No county or city council should sell public land to private developers for building projects. The main housing model supported by the state should be the cost-rental model with provides a long-term asset to the public. Procurement methods for housing developments should be updated to support high quality community creation and foster a skillbase within local authorities on housing provision.
Affordable urban communities: the government should create Community Land Trusts to protect urban communities from property speculation by large financial groups. Local authorities should seek to identify areas under threat and those that are becoming unaffordable. In such areas all new development should require 65 percent social and affordable housing for new planning permissions.
I believe everyone has a constitutional right to a home. I will work with my fellow councillors who share the same vision and I will organise multi-party protests as soon as elected to show the council that Ballyfermot-Drimnagh will not fall under the hands of property investors. We propose tackling supply and affordability by rolling out a cost-rental scheme. Under such a scheme, the government would build housing on state land and then recoup the costs slowly over time through affordable rents.
The council simply isn't empowered to take the kind of action we need, especially in expensive capital projects like house building. That requires the central government seriously investing. Locally, the main thing councils can do is ensure that public land is used for public, affordable housing – preferably aimed at a mix of income groups.
I would also like to see a greater requirement for every new large-scale development to require social/affordable housing. I previously worked for Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and saw first-hand how a directly elected mayor can force developers to include social and genuinely affordable housing in new developments. I’d like to see that power replicated here.
As a renter myself, I fully understand the expense, uncertainty and stress of renting in Dublin right now. We urgently need real rent controls, rights and security of tenure for tenants.
About two years ago I had a motion passed in the council to introduce rent controls in the city. Ultimately, this is a central government decision, but our motion was dismissed by the housing minister. And his recent announcements regarding rent-pressure zones are too little too late. The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) model, while it has its benefits, is a short-term solution that is also taking rental properties out of the private rental market, further reducing supply.
We also need to build more housing, public and private to increase supply and reduce costs. Again this is where the cost-rental model is an important part of the solution.
It’s incredibly frustrating to see a housing sector where changes could be made that would help reduce homelessness very quickly and effectively, but are ignored like this.
We need models like we have in other European cities, in US cities like New York, and in Asian cities like Hong Kong, where there is rent control. In addition there need to be more cost-rental schemes available. There is one to come online in Shankill, but we need more. Cost-rental, simply put, is where rent charged is used to cover the cost of constructing the accommodation over the life of a long-term building loan. This enables the government to plan affordable housing and to continue to build homes even during a downturn.
I will push for a major expansion of both social housing and "cost-rental" housing. This will reduce rents for many people who are currently at the mercy of market rents, which are unaffordable for most tenants. Vienna and other European cities have shown how a hands-on and proactive approach by city councils can deliver. This, combined with a cost-rental model which can reduce rents significantly through removing profits from the equation, can ease the pressure on tenants if we can ramp up our ambition and achieve scale.
But it’s not just about the cost of renting, it’s also about security of tenure. I will work with my colleagues to ensure that tenants renting in the private rented sector are afforded all the protections of the law as it stands, and that the Residential Tenancies Board is provided with the powers and resources it needs to ensure that tenants’ rights are enforced and enhanced. There are weaknesses in current regulations in this area, and I will add my voice to NGOs and others who advocate for greater protections for tenants.
The state, local authorities and cooperatives building housing and renting will bring down rents
We need real rent controls and rights for tenants. In both these areas, we compare poorly with other European countries. The difficulty is that the only rents the council controls are its own rents! The key to making renting more affordable is to build more public housing. Vienna shows what can be achieved with high-quality public housing. The council building more will help make rents affordable.
Increasing housing supply is crucial, but we also need to move towards the cost-rental model as is in place in cities like Vienna. I've been to Austria and I've seen what can be done. We need to build, and build in the numbers necessary to tackle the housing crisis. Rent caps, and strict limits on evictions in order to increase tenant security are also required.
The cost of renting a home in Dublin is preventing a whole generation to get on the property ladder, and the money we’re handing over to landlords is money we’re not spending in the local economy. The tax on rental income is in the region of 52 percent. While there is a housing crisis it is abhorrent that government would collect tax at that rate from people struggling to make payment. Rental tax needs to be substantially reduced to bring the cost for renters down.
I would push for 10-year leases, with proper protections for renters, with inflation-linked rent reviews, which could be determined by the Central Bank. I would fight for a cost-rental housing model, successfully used in many other European countries, where the state would build houses to rent. These houses should remain in state ownership.
Short-term rentals let on Airbnb to tourists are choking the supply of available accommodation in Dublin. While new measures have been brought in I would call on DCC to develop a new body, the Dublin Housing Agency, to manage renting in the city to ensure there is compliance with the law and to set targets to drive rental prices down. This role would involve the review of rental market, inspection of rental properties, provide a register of rental property rates (to ensure rent cap compliance) and license and manage short term-lets.
Nobody should pay more than 30 percent of their disposable income on rent. The current crisis means we need a set of short-term measures to avoid pushing more people into homelessness and then implement a number of longer policies so that people can be confident that they could live in rental accommodation long term and think of it as home.
Long-term secure rental: we must introduce greater tenants support including long term or "forever" rental agreements that cannot be broken through sale of property.
Rentmanagement: We need an immediate freeze on rent increases while the housing crisis is ongoing. In the long-term, the local authority should employ a system of rent benchmarking similar to the German Mietspiegal which review average rents over a four year term.
Public housing not HAP: I would propose an end to evictions for refurbishment that result in homelessness for a fixed period and that in the longer term the state actively seek to move away from the HAP rental model towards the provision of appropriate, public housing with no upper or lower income limits.
I will work with council officials to set cost-rental schemes interdependent with good planning, transport, infrastructural development, and land management. Under such a scheme, the government would build housing on state land and then recoup the costs slowly over time through affordable rents. Overall the scheme is cost neutral to the exchequer because the rent received matches the cost of providing the homes over time. I will use my position as a platform to push for the Green Party housing policy to remunerate tenants who make an improvement to the condition/energy efficiency of their property.
I’m renting myself, so know the problems first-hand. We need three main things: increased supply of homes, increased requirements for social/affordable units, and improved tenant protections. Unfortunately, the council does not have much power on the last point, but locally I would:
–Amend Dublin’s City Development Plan to deliver more homes, not just hotels or overpriced student accommodation. Increased supply should help reduce prices.
–Ensure strict enforcement of new rules cracking down on homes being used for full-time Airbnbs.
–Aggressively use the Derelict and Vacant Sites Registers to tax or purchase derelict buildings and empty land to restore to a useful purpose.
–Use central Dublin sites (such as Marrowbone Lane, which is going to be a depot with some houses) to build more ambitious levels of social and affordable housing.
–Support cost-rental, Austrian-style apartments for long-term affordable renting.
It is difficult to see the numbers of homeless people rise over recent years, but this is due to the reasons I have outlined above. A lot of people entering homelessness today are coming from the private rented sector due to unaffordable rents or insecure tenancies, and frequently both. We also have a huge number of hidden homelessness, with generations of families living under one roof as people can’t afford to move out, rent or buy, or are on the ever-growing social-housing waiting list. Providing more public housing, cost-rental models and more affordable rents will help stem the tide of homelessness as people will have affordable secure accommodation and no longer be pushed onto the streets. But we need to find ways to fund this and to speed the process up.
It may sound simple, but you reduce homelessness by providing more housing.
I will advocate strongly for a change in the law to ensure that tenants are not evicted into homelessness as a result of their homes being sold or being refurbished. Research by Focus Ireland has clearly established that the most common reason for people becoming homeless is that their landlords have provided them with notice to quit from their homes on the grounds that the landlord is selling the property, is providing it for family use, or is refurbishing it. Unfortunately, councillors have little say on this, as responsibility lies with central government, but we can exert some pressure to change the current regulations to tighten up in this area, alongside NGOs and tenants themselves.
In terms of direct actions the council can take, as set out above, I will push for the provision of more public housing and more affordable rents to stem the tide of homelessness, as people will have affordable secure accommodation and no longer be pushed onto the streets. Most directly, the best thing we can do in Dublin City Council is to build more public housing.
Most people entering homelessness today are coming from the private-rented sector due to unaffordable rents or insecure tenancies, and frequently both. Providing more public housing and more affordable rents will stem the tide of homelessness as people will have affordable secure accommodation and no longer be pushed onto the streets. The best thing we can do is to build more public housing.
Increased housing supply and a "Housing First" approach will help. Ten years ago we had 1,400 homeless beds. We now have 2,300, and people are still unable to be accommodated. This is wrong and housing construction needs to be prioritised by the Department of Housing instead of hostels and family hubs.
The fact that there are approximately 10,000 homeless people in Ireland and 3,700 children is a national disgrace. I would look at new ways Dublin City Council could access funding from the EU in order to start building cost rental and social housing.
The lack of supply at a time of economic growth results in every available home in Dublin being rented at exorbitant rates. Meanwhile, the government is paying millions to provide homeless people with temporary accommodation in hotels. The Dublin Housing Agency I am proposing would be set up to help renters, and one element of the agency's work would be to work with communities living in social housing to maximise room usage through voluntary inter-complex rotation, where communities could be maintained but where needs for families (e.g. more rooms) and the elderly (e.g. ground-floor dwelling) are met through house swaps.
On the point of homelessness itself, we have a desperate need to reform the way homeless hostel are being managed. I would fight to change the booking system, which is of great stress to homeless people. People should absolutely be able to book accommodation for more than one night at a time and the booking system should be managed in such a way that is practicable for the people using the services. People who are homeless should be given the maximum dignity that can be achieved while they are homeless and there should be easy access to free sanitary, contraceptive and hygiene products and access to washing facilities.
I believe it is really important to make a distinction between systemic homelessness that is a result of government inertia and long-term homelessness due to addiction or mental health issues. Homelessness of the second type is more complex than simply providing affordable and suitable housing as I outlined in previous questions. This type of homelessness is as much an issue of health care and public health policy as it is housing. As chair of policy council for the Green Party, I am very much in favour of our drugs policy that decriminalises most drug use and instead focuses on treatment, support and healthcare.
Services and dignity: where homelessness is a result of more complex social issues I believe that every person should have access to health services that are respectful, appropriate, and tailored to their owns needs. This more often than not means services based in the community, received regularly and at low cost.
Housing First: I support the idea that rehabilitation and healing is best done in a stable and secure environment. This means that rather than existing in shelters or halfway housing those struggling with homelessness should have access to a long-term home as a first step to recovery.
Integrated services: One of the most challenging issues facing those in long-term homelessness is the lack of integration and communication between service providers in Ireland. Clear and appropriate lines of communication between mental health services, health services, drug treatment services and housing providers would greatly improve outcomes.
I believe and the The Green Party believes in giving everyone the opportunity of living in a good home at a reasonable cost, in a stimulating, secure and sustainable environment. In particular, I believe housing policy should promote good outcomes for children, young people, disabled people and those most vulnerable in society.
I will use my position as a platform to push for the Green Party policy on reducing homelessness: state-funded constructed homes based on need rather than cost; allocation of housing officers to geographic areas for a consistent point of contact; restore welfare payments for under 25s at a parity with other recipients; urge the government to ensure HAP payments reflect the cost of rental in the private sector.
Both of the above answers apply. Homelessness is the greatest challenge facing Dublin and utterly unacceptable in a wealthy country. It is, in part, a function of our high housing prices and low supply. But it’s also tied in with wider issues of inequality – and in the case of rough sleeping: mental health and addiction.
The homelessness crisis is why we need to shift the focus from transitory accommodation (hotels, student accommodation) to permanent housing, as listed above. We simply need to build more public housing.
For direct homelessness services, I would also vote to at least maintain the Local Property Tax rate so that Dublin City Council has extra resources to provide homelessness services, enforce housing/planning rules, and invest in social housing.
Most candidates would likely agree on many of these issues, but on the tax issue there is a genuine difference. Everyone on the current council (bar the Greens, Labour and Social Democrats) voted to lower the current tax rate by 15% – depriving the council of vital resources.
We still have an unacceptable amount of vacant and derelict properties and sites in the City, and you really notice this when canvassing. The fine for a property on the Derelict Sites Register is currently 3 percent of the market value of the property. This is still too low to have any meaningful impact. In addition, the criteria for a building to even get on the Derelict Sites Register is too strict, and this needs to be reviewed.
We need higher fines and stronger penalties for owners of vacant and derelict properties and sites. But we also need more initiatives to make it attractive for redevelopment. The Dublin City Council Living Cities initiative, for example, while well-intended, is riddled with limits and obstacles making it more hassle then it’s worth in most cases, so the uptake has been minimal. The Vacant Sites Register could also be much more robust. If re-elected, these are the areas where I will work to make necessary changes, and lobby central government to play its part also and strengthen the consequences of inaction by property and land owners.
Currently there is a Derelict Sites Register, however the threshold for a property to be deemed derelict by officials is too high. A property may be derelict, but unless it appears to have visible structural damage, a hole in the roof etc., officials are slow to categorise it as derelict. Also the charge on a derelict site is 3 percent of the property's value is far too low and does not incentivise the property owners to act. We need to push for a higher levy so that the owners would act. In a city with so many homeless it is simply appalling to have so many derelict and vacant properties.
I will actively work to change the rules around derelict sites. Many derelict sites are not on the Derelict Sites Register as they do not meet the standard of being derelict, as currently set out. Some unscrupulous owners, who should be facing penalties to encourage development, are able to avoid them. If elected I would use the council’s Planning and Property Strategic Policy Committee to review the thresholds and have a more realistic approach to dereliction.
But this, by itself, will not solve the problem. A house on the derelict sites register will be charged 3 percent of the market value of the property as a fine. The growth of property prices has meant that this can be easily covered by the developer’s profit as prices rise. The consequences of being on the register need to be made more severe. The challenge is that these consequences are set by national legislation and are not under the control of the council. If elected I will raise awareness of this among other councillors, from all parties and none, and work with them to lobby government to strengthen provision in this area.
I'm on the record campaigning for this. The Green Party want a higher penalty for vacant sites and houses with a higher vacant site and vacant building tax. We have earmarked vacant sites and buildings for cost-rental homes.
In Harold’s Cross, there were three houses in a row, all boarded up and empty, all covered in graffiti. Only one was on the Derelict Sites Register – the one with a hole in the roof. The others were not felt to meet the standard of being derelict. This is just one example of how the standard is too high, and of how houses which should be facing penalties to encourage development avoid them.
If elected I would use the Planning and Property Strategic Policy committee to review the thresholds and have a more realistic approach to dereliction. However, getting a house on the Derelict Sites Register means it will be charged 3 percent of the market value of the property as a fine. With property prices growing so fast, a fine that is 3 percent of last year's value will easily be covered by the developer’s profit this year as prices continue to soar.
The consequences of being on the register need to be made more severe. The challenge is that these consequences are set by national legislation and are not under the control of the council. If elected I would work with councillors from all parties and none to lobby the government to strengthen the consequences.
Property rights are making it difficult for the council to take action. We need to be clear. The right to the common good trumps the right to private property. It is wrong that buildings are sitting empty for more than twenty years. I'll try and establish a hit squad to tackle long-term vacant property (including state-owned lands such as court offices on Smithfield that have been empty for twenty years), and I'll seek a report on these every month until the problem is solved.
We have the data on derelict and vacant properties and sites in Dublin. The numbers are staggering. At present it appears all to easy for landowners to allow otherwise good quality properties and acres of land lie idle during chronic homelessness in the city. Land hoarders must be compelled to use or sell land and property lying idle. In many cases the owners of sites are not developers or landlords first or foremost as the have other business interests or sources of income so the motivation to either sell or develop is low. I propose that a levy would be places on vacant and derelict sites to act as a stimulus to create new opportunities for development. If landlords refuse to pay the levy, or take action to sell or develop Dublin City Council should be able to CPO property at preferential rates to bring land into sustainable development.
There are two main blocks to the efficient use of land in the state at the moment over and above our identification of land and housing as an asset or profit generator. Firstly, the active hoarding of land in order to speculate on future profit and secondly the lack of incentive for building or landowners to return to the market properties that are not in use. Both these conditions can be addressed through a number of actions but we should also try and make active use of accommodation such as "above the shop" that is currently not often thought of as housing.
Site Value Tax and the Vacant Site Levy: I believe that a site value tax would be a fairer and more effective version of the property tax. I also believe it would reduce the profitability of land hoarding.
Vacant sites: I think we should amend the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 to extend the definition of a “vacant site” to include sites below 0.05 hectares. (This would be particularly important in a highly urban area like Cabra Glasnevin.) We should also dramatically increase the levy placed on derelict sites.
Vacant homes and other opportunities: I believe that we should further empower local authorities to CPO homes that have been vacant for over a year and make it as straightforward as possible for them to utilise them as housing. We should also think about underused spaces such as housing units "above the shop" where building owners could be incentivised to refurbish premises for this use.
I will work with my colleagues on the Green Party's proposition to replace the property tax with a site value tax. This means that properties would be taxed based on the zoning of their property and the amenities available rather than market value. This would make it much more expensive for property owners to keep properties that are not being used.
At the same time I will actively make sure that such sites are known to all. I will publish a map of all derelict/vacant buildings and publish it in my newsletter to the residents. I will powerwash every footpath in front of such buildings to make the issue as visible as possible.
The tools for this are in place – the Derelict and Vacant Sites Registers. Once properties are added, the owners are ordered to put the site to use or at least secure and clean it up, or face fines of 3 percent of the site’s value. This is already working, but there are three things which need to change to improve the problem:
Increase the fine/levy percentage, possibly as a sliding scale which goes up. This would require national legislation.
Increase enforcement and council willingness to add sites to the register. This would take some extra resources.
Loosen the criteria for being added to those registers, which leave many vacant or derelict sites go untouched.
For decades we have underinvested in public transport in the city, and indeed the whole country, with successive governments prioritising building roads over public transport, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. This is still happening while traffic in the city is getting worse and our transport emissions keep increasing. We need to plan our city for more sustainable and affordable modes of transport.
While the BusConnects and Metro projects are not without their flaws and challenges, which can hopefully be worked out through the public-consultation processes, I do think that these are the kind of big, brave and somewhat radical projects we need to deliver, along with better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, in order to get people out of cars and into more sustainable modes of transport.
We also need to look at ways of improving transport options to and from our schools, such as more school buses, safer cycling and walking routes. Over 30 percent of peak morning traffic is school-run traffic.
I also think a directly elected mayor for Dublin, and a Dublin Transport Authority would help greatly in terms of improving public transport infrastructure.
I believe that by providing efficient, affordable and healthier alternatives, we can reduce our transport-related carbon emissions, create a healthier city and secure a more sustainable future for everyone, and that is something that, as a local councillor, I am committed to delivering.
Dublin needs one overall transport plan for the city not multiple plans for different areas. We have the NTA, but we also have many transport working groups that are not coordinated. What is required is an overall masterplan that facilitates and future-proofs our infrastructure for public transport, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
I will push hard for the early adoption of a key policy demand of the Green Party: the creation of a directly elected executive mayor for Dublin. We will never solve Dublin’s transport problems without a strong mandate for action within Dublin. Currently there are 60 separate bodies and agencies with some input into transport decision in Dublin city, creating an unholy mess. We need a strong executive mayor to be able to cut deliver on public transport, and Dublin’s councillors need to demand that government make it happen.
In the meantime I will work to solve some of the "pinch points" that councillors already have an influence on. Public transport suffers when buses get stuck in traffic. When bus-priority measures were introduced on the north quays recently, journey times for buses improved significantly, making public transport a better option. This is a lesson that should be applied in other parts of the city.
Thirty percent of traffic in the mornings is composed of the school run. Reducing this will reduce congestion and help public transport work better. If we improve cycling infrastructure so that more school students can cycle to school, as I’ve set out below, this can also benefit users of public transport.
I support the climate change report, with 60 percent of the transport budget on public transport and 20 percent on cycling.
There are 60 separate bodies and agencies with some input into transport decision in Dublin city, which is one of the reasons it is such a mess! We need a strong executive mayor to be able to cut through this mess and deliver on public transport. However, a strong mayor is something that central government must create, and has repeatedly failed to do so. Until then, we need to improve public transport by ways that are actually available to councillors.
One key difficulty that councillors can do something about is the fact that public transport suffers when buses get stuck in traffic. When bus priority measures were introduced on the north quays recently journey times for buses improved significantly, making public transport a better option. This is a lesson that should be applied in other parts of the city.
Likewise, 30 percent of traffic in the mornings is the school run. Reducing this will reduce congestion and help public transport work better. This can be done by providing safe routes to walk and cycle to school. To do just this, I recently proposed creating “school streets”, and the motion was passed at the transport committee. If elected, I would continue to work for the implementation of my motion.
BusConnects is good in principle but in some areas has taken a bulldozer approach to green space, heritage and trees. This is wrong. I want inter-disciplinary design teams that can bring communities, landscapers, and place-makers around the table to improve the public realm, and public transport. We need to move away from engineers' obsessions with "parallel lines" on the map. We also need to lower fares, and increase the number of buses as we've less in service than 10 years ago.
I believe that a well-developed underground network would have an incredible effect on Dublin city and this is something I would fight to see delivered. An underground network would facilitate the development of a prosperous and highly connected city as it has done in London for over 100 years. One of the major advantages would be in helping people travel from work to home in the city and connecting families and friends living in different areas without needing a car. Most importantly it would get people our of their cars which would free up road space, which is highly limited and dangerous for cyclists and creating space for buses and improve punctuality, while reducing driver stress and burnout.
I am supportive of the BusConnects plan as this city deserves a reliable and more dispersed route network and I would support and contribute to the consultation process. Current plans for BusConnects place hundreds of trees – the lungs of our city – at risk of felling. It is essential that we do not fell trees in order to make extra space for buses in addition to cars. The goal here should be improve access to bus lanes by reducing the need for space for cars by reducing the number of cars on the road through greater use of public transport.
Private cars have been the solution to transport in Ireland for decades and the number of cars continues to increase. There are a number of reasons for this, including the availability of public transport, the proximity to transport links, the regularity and reliability of services and, very importantly, the cost of using these services in the context of reliability, proximity and regularity. Public transport must not be the "leisure option" for those not under pressure to arrive at a destination punctually.
I think BusConnects and an underground network must be made available to the public at fares that incentivise their use above using cars. In the context of the climate emergency it is critical that the public transport option is attractive to users as replacing car journeys with public transport will help drive carbon emissions down.
To improve public transport I would like to see us redefine what public transport is. At the moment, and even within these questions, there is space to talk about public transport (buses, trains, Luas etc), private transport (motor cars) and cycling. But there isn't always the space to talk about the individual moving around the city. I would suggest that a Dubliner walking through the public realm of the city on their way to work or the shops is also part of the public transport system. In fact they are the very first building block in that system, but we often forget them. I would suggest that every kid that scoots to school is engaged in transport and it is a very public version of transport so lets include that too.
Streets are the first step in public transport. The very first thing I would do to improve public transport would be to bring a new focus on the experience of the pedestrian. I would like to see a full audit of every footpath and crossing in the city. I will be asking the council to set a standard for pedestrian surfaces and to nominate a footpath champion to walk the city so that every street is suitable for its most vulnerable user.
Small system, big system. I believe that no one mode of transport will solve the city's transport problems and that only a tapestry of well-integrated and varied solutions will allow people to leave the car at home. So you may walk to the bus stop (on a good path), hop off the bus, get a Dublinbike to the library and then go home on the Luas. This will require some very long-term planning and some decent funding. Perhaps most importantly it will require different agencies and authorities to talk to each other and to the general public in a transparent and honest way.
Complimentary ideas: one of the areas we are weakest in, in Ireland, is coming to terms with all the details-based user-orientated issues that really make a difference when you're using public transport. Do you have a ticket that you can use on every mode of transport? Does the ticket pricing make sense across multi-leg journeys? Are the interchanges close to each other? Does every node point have a shelter and a point of information? These are the little things we need to get right to achieve the big ideas.
I will push for the reduction of car traffic and road surface for cars. Less cars would ease bus flow, decreasing travel times and increasing public-transport efficiency. I will use my position to oppose the National Transport Authority (NTA) taking people’s gardens and cutting public trees: road surface for public transport and soft modes of transport need to be created by reducing car journeys. I will work with council officials on making sure that all human movement-related infrastructure is 100 percent disabled accessible and usable.
I’ve spent the last number of years abroad in London and Brussels. The transport system in Dublin simply doesn’t compare. This is because the philosophy of building and expanding roads still dominates. Recent Green Party proposals to flip spending 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads were voted down in the Oireachtas.
I think Dublin needs to put pedestrians, cyclists and public transport before the needs of private cars and commercial vehicles, and I’d consistently vote in that manner. That means getting smaller decisions about individual road works right, but also supporting bigger reform and infrastructure projects.
BusConnects, for example, has some localised flaws which I want to see fixed (specific turns and issues with trees), but broadly is a smart reform of our bus system, moving away from a hodge-podge, inconsistent network to a purpose-designed one. We have decent buses, drivers and roads – we just need the bus network to match.
As a cyclist, I am fully aware of our sub-standard cycling infrastructure in the city. So one of the first things myself and my Green Party colleagues did when we were elected in 2014 was to reinstate a cycling and walking officer for Dublin City Council.
We have made some progress in terms of cycling infrastructure. For example, as a member of the Sutton 2 Sandycove Sub-Committee, I have progressed the Sean Moore Road to Merrion Gates section of the route, and we have seen recent headway on the Liffey Cycle Route recently and the Dodder Greenway, some of the key cycling routes for the city.
I also secured another 2,000 bike parking facilities for the city, delivered bike parking at the South Bull Wall, and achieved funding for secure shared bike parking in residential areas with the Dublin City Beta Projects. I also got agreement to resurface Camden Street/Aungier Street and the Stillorgan Road to improve cycling along these routes.
Again, supporting cycling infrastructure sometimes means taking positions that can be unpopular with local residents, such as the Fitzwilliam Cycle Route and the recently proposed South Dublin Quietway. But we need to deliver safe cycling infrastructure if we are to get people out of cars, onto more sustainable and healthy modes of transport and reduce our carbon emissions. Better cycling infrastructure has numerous benefits – it reduces congestion and so improves public transport, helps address climate change, and promotes physical and mental health.
If re-elected I will continue to fight for better, safer cycling infrastructure in the city.
In the canal cordon report by the NTA for 2018, figures showed that cyclists and pedestrians now account for 50 percent of the traffic in Dublin city. Between 2006 to 2007, the number of motorists has decreased while the number of cyclists has increased fourfold, yet there is still no proper cycling infrastructure. As mentioned, we need a proper overall masterplan for transport that facilitates all modes of transport. We need proper cycle routes that are active for 24 hours a day rather than only during peak hours. The current canal cycle route, the proposed Liffey Cycle Route and the Sutton-to-Sandycove Cycle Route are all positive steps to increasing safer infrastructure for cyclists but we need more. My colleague Councillor Patrick Costello’s proposal of safe school zones and his motion with Councillor Paddy Smyth on public consultation for a quietway from Kimmage to Ballsbridge are great initiatives showing how we can plan for better cycling infrastructure. Equally, the great work done by the Dublin Cycling Campaign, Cyclists.ie in terms of advocating and lobbying for cyclists is what we need more of to ensure that cyclists are heard. I would very much like to see leadership in the area similar to that of [Mayor] Anne Hidalgo in Paris, where she closed sections of the motorway along the Seine in Paris to give space over to walking and cycling. We need to look at cities like Paris, Aarhus and London and learn from their transport planning.
I will work for the creation of new separated cycle routes in Dublin. I will ensure that the position of cycling officer in Dublin City Council is filled so that we can take a more strategic approach to delivering improved cycling infrastructure in the city. We can’t let cycling routes be an "add-on" to new busways. We need to learn from other cities and how they have achieved a significant increase in cycling by designing the infrastructure around the cyclist. This bottom-up approach is more participatory, but is likely to make for better design. For example, it can be used to create routes to help children to get to school safely by bike, and to amend design traffic light systems and intersections to make it easier and safer for cyclists to traverse main roads, etc.
We also need to involve other organisations and agencies. Taking the case of safe routes to school for children and young people – schools and the Department of Education need to get involved. As councillor, I will work to ensure that the council engages with schools so they can invest in better and more secure bike shelters, with support from the Department of Education. We also need to involve school students themselves, and their parents, in a significant effort to encourage bike use. There is a significant gender aspect to this, as cycling to school by girls at second level is at a very low level, and I am committed to working within the council to encourage schools, parents and students to devise ways to change this.
Finally, I will work to increase the number of cycle stands throughout the city.
I'm a cyclist, a cycling advocate and an elected member of the Dublin Cycling Campaign. I campaigned sucessfully for an improved cycleway plan for Clontarf. I work to increase cycling for all ages and for women, who are a minority in the cycling community, through my #Freedommachine initiative. I'm giving an oral presentation at the Dublin Velo-City conference on gender and cycling.
Better cycling infrastructure has numerous benefits – reduces congestion and so improves public transport, helps address climate change, promotes physical and mental health, and has been shown to increase the amount of money spent in local shops. I have happily and consistently supported improvements to cycling infrastructure , even in case where I was warned by a residents association they would actively campaign against me for that support as happened in relation to my support for public consultation in relation to the South Dublin Quietway.
If re-elected, I will ensure that the position of cycling officer is filled so that councillors have an ally in the officials to deliver improved cycling infrastructure. I have been one of the councillors on the Dodder Greenway Steering Committee, just one key route in the Greater Dublin Cycling Network.
If elected, I would hope to continue on this committee and help deliver this much-needed piece of cycling infrastructure. Cycling infrastructure is of course more than safe segregated cycle lanes. In the most recent budget, I helped deliver an increase in cycle stands for the city and will continue to push for more.
Segregated cycle lanes are the way to go. Let's beef up the staffing in our local authorities and set up a Dublin Cycling Office that will co-ordinate cycling improvements for the entire city. We'll also need to put [Transport] Minister [Shane] Ross under pressure, as we are only receiving a drip-feed of funding. This means that we're only two phases along with DublinBikes, despite having a plan for fifteen phases. We also need to speed up the roll-out of cycle parking and allow the public to nominate where they want to see new cycle parking.
As part of my involvement with the Irish Pedestrian Network, I am a signatory on the "Active Travel, Health and Climate Action Call" to government to properly fund modes of active travel in the state. This request is as much about the excellent health benefits of cycling as it is about the huge and beneficial impacts it has on our transport-based carbon emissions.
More funding: I have already lent my support to the call from the CyclingForAll campaign to allocate 20 percent of all capital transport funding to cycling infrastructure.
A clear plan for cycling infrastructure: I believe that our current best practice in road design for cyclists is below par compared to other countries. We need segregated lanes, preferred routes and a clear hierarchy of the road to protect more vulnerable road users from motorcars.
Appropriate policy: Current government-funded bodies such as the Road Safety Authority have a chequered history in supporting cyclists and often place the responsibility on the more vulnerable road user to "light up" or be seen rather than asking motorists to be more careful. We need to create clear policy principles for transport, climate and health to support cycling.
Again I will push for the reduction of car traffic and road surface for cars . I will work with council officials to increase the 30km zone. Less cars driving more slowly will make cycling in the city a safer experience. I will organise road-closure events during the year for an afternoon so kids can play on the street in a car-free zone, so all can enjoy an afternoon with no noise and exhaust pollution.
I cycle every single day in Dublin. My daily commute takes me through some of the nicest cycles in the city (the Royal Hospital Kilmainham) and some of the worst (along the Quays).
Dublin city should be a fantastic city for cycling. We’ve seen a major growth in numbers recently, but the infrastructure hasn’t kept up. I’d work to add extra secure cycle parking (as in Drury Street), promote quietways on residential streets (which reduce motor traffic while allowing walking and cycling) and begin a wider network of properly-segregated cycle routes – not just paint on the road.
Many candidates agree with promoting cycling in theory, but in practice will give in to complaints about the loss of a single car space or a few metres of traffic lanes for cars. I think our roads need to change and will always stand up for infrastructure that meets the needs of pedestrians and cyclists – not just car parking. Cities aren’t thoroughfares or car parks.
As a member of the council's Environment Strategic Policy Committee, one of the first things I did when I was elected in 2014 was to ensure we developed a new climate change strategy for the city, as the previous plan had not been reviewed or updated since 2009 (the last time there were Greens on the council). I went on to establish and co-chair the council's Climate Change [Sub-]Committee, and we are in the process of publishing the new Dublin City Climate Action Plan after the recent public-consultation process. The plan looks at the key areas of energy and buildings, transport, resource use, nature-based solutions and flood resilience.
I want to be a member of the next council to ensure this Climate Action Plan is delivered, that it is reviewed and updated regularly, and that there are annual performance reports in terms of reaching targets, which are crucial to its success.
Climate action needs to be at the core of every decision we make. We need to climate proof all our policies. While other parties talk about climate change, I don’t always see them willing to walk the walk in the way that they vote on projects. It is simply no longer sufficient for climate action to be a "nice to have" option, and this means making brave and sometimes unpopular decisions. As an environmental scientist and educator, this is essential part of my role as a Green Party councillor.
The Green Party has always been the leading party in Ireland for climate action. Time and time again we introduced measures for climate action which were blocked by the government. Climate action needs to happen at a national and local level. From a local level we need to support the city to fight climate by using more renewable energy, divesting from fossil fuels, providing more greener commuting options and using energy wisely. My colleagues Councillor Claire Byrne and Councillor Ciarán Cuffe were part of a committee that hosted a series of workshops on what we can do in terms of climate action in the city. We need similar workshops across the city, in schools, in companies, and at public events. We need climate action to be part of the daily conversation and not just a call to action. On a personal level, I set up a group called Mothers4Climate to support the FridaysForFuture climate school strikes.
In everything I do in Dublin City Council, I will ask myself the question: how will this help Dublin to address climate change? Tackling climate change is not just one area of policy in the council, it needs to be is a key dimension of everything we do.
Improving cycling infrastructure and public transport will be part of addressing climate change. Ensuring we build housing in the right place, and in the right way with the highest levels of energy efficiency, will help address climate change. New innovations, such as installing micro-generation technologies on all council buildings, will also play their part. What pulls this all together and ensures everything we do in the council does indeed consider climate change is a strong Climate Action Plan. If elected I will work to ensure a strong action plan, with concrete action and clear targets for the next council to work towards.
The danger of treating climate change not as an foundational issue but as a distinct policy is that many councillors will speak in favour of action on climate change, but when it comes to supporting concrete actions, like supporting cycling and walking, they may bottle it. I will follow through.
I'm a climate change activist for many years. I've held many actions over 20 years, climate film nights, and public meetings. I have campaigned to divest from fossil fuel to keep it in the ground. I myself live by my words and have a very small carbon footprint. I believe we have solutions to climate change and can build fairer resilient communities.
Addressing climate change is not done with one policy alone, everything we do in the council should consider climate change! Improving cycling infrastructure and public transport will be part of addressing climate change. Ensuring we build housing in the right place, and in the right way with the highest levels of energy efficiency, will help address climate change. New innovations, such as installing micro-generation technologies on all council buildings, will also play their part.
What pulls this altogether and ensures everything we do in the council does indeed consider climate change is a strong climate action plan. This has recently been put out to public consultation and will be coming back to councillors for approval. If elected, I will work to ensure a strong action plan, with concrete action and clear targets for the next council to work towards. The danger of treating climate change not as an foundational issue but as a distinct policy is that many councillors will speak in favour of action on climate change, but when it comes to supporting concrete actions, like supporting cycling and walking, they will vote them despite voicing concerns.
Along with Cllr Claire Byrne I've co-chaired a Climate Action Committee of the city council. Our draft plan will hopefully be approved at the May city council meeting. The plan only tackles the city council's own emissions, so we'll also seek funding from government to tackle fuel poverty by bring our homes up to an A energy rating, and make it easier to walk and cycle around town.
We tend to think of climate change as something that happens at a national and international level but there is so much we can do locally to make a difference. I fully support Dublin City Council undertaking a Climate Action Plan. Implementing it will be the first step towards change.
Carbon budgets: For decades, we have relied exclusively on GDP and fiscal budgets to inform policy and implementation. We now know that the climate crisis requires us to look beyond those narrow considerations and start to budget for the next generation and their right to live free from climate chaos. Yearly carbon budgets for all state agencies and local authorities would allow us to plan our move away from a carbon heavy economy
All the answers: there is no one answer to how to combat our climate overheating. We need to change our way of operating and let that change move into every sector of our society. As someone who worked in the construction sector in environmental design I have first-hand experience of taking every component of a building and looking at it with fresh (climate-action) eyes. We need to remake our building sector, our agriculture, our textile industry, our transport methods, and so on.
Change is coming, it needs to be fair: I am a huge supporter of just-transition policies that make sure that where old carbon-heavy or polluting industries are wound down, the workers involved in them are retrained, upskilled and found work in new environmentally responsible industries such as renewables. I am also an advocate of universal basic income which would provide everyone with a baseline income below which they couldn't fall and which would lift thousands of children and families out of poverty.
I will be against any urban sprawl. We need to prioritise brownfield sites for new developments and preserve greenfield sites for recreation. I will propose a motion in City Hall to implement a minimum population density limit for all housing projects. This would help to reduce car dependency, to create better public transport services, to offer more public amenities, to keep more green spaces. I will work with council officials to create sustainable living neighborhoods to live and to work.
I will work with council officials to build self-sufficient sustainable neighborhoods with water-collection systems, using solar energy and wind energy. I will use my position as a platform to push for legislation to allow homeowners and businesses to sell surplus energy to energy providers. I will use my position as a platform to create more co-op type or social enterprises as recycling centres, compost centres. This will save every resident money by recycling organic waste.
The current Green councillors have pushed really hard for a Climate Action Plan for Dublin, which sees the council make direct reductions in their own emissions. The more Green voices we have on the council, the stronger the backing for implementing that.
Locally, the council can also work to improve infrastructure for cycling, walking and public transport, which will reduce our city’s emissions. Climate change needs to be part of every decision the council is taking. Its impact must be included when assessing any project – not simply seen as an optional extra.
The effects of climate change are already being felt globally. In addition to reducing our emissions, we also need to prepare for the effects of climate change. That means obvious preparations as a coastal city, but also for unusual weather events and issues such as the recent weather-related water shortage.
In relation to litter: there are only 13 litter wardens assigned throughout the city, which – it is clear from the litter around us – is not enough. Councillors have responsibility for the city budget, and so if elected I will seek additional funding for more litter wardens and more enforcement of fines.
In relation to dog poo: myself and my colleague Councillor Patrick Costello recently proposed a wide-ranging motion to tackle dog poo that received cross-party support. If elected again I will work hard to have all parts of the motion implemented, delivering more dog-poo-only bins, more free dog-poo bags, looking for an increased fine, and piloting innovative techniques that have worked in other countries such as DNA testing dog poo. This motion was accepted, and now I want to make sure we can progress these initiatives.
I also recently secured agreement from the council to look at communal bin storage in certain areas. Part of the problem in the city is that many households still use bags for their waste. This means there is easy access to food for birds, foxes and vermin, who tear the bags apart causing more litter. By providing secure, communal bin storage we can reduce the impact of bag use and address the illegal dumping issue, and this is something I would like to be on the next council to progress.
I would introduce better enforcement to combat illegal dumping. Currently we only have 13 litter wardens. This is simply not enough. We need more on-the-spot fines and ways to monitor illegal-dumping activity. For areas with frequent activity, these areas need to have deterrent measures to stop individuals from taking advantage. In relation to dog fouling, we need to incentivise individuals to pick up after their dogs, and provide free bags and more bins, but we also need to deter them by actually applying fines and other methods such as naming and shaming.
I will work to increase the number of litter wardens in Dublin City from the current inadequate level of just 13. Enforcement is critical, and it is clear every day on the streets and roads of Dublin that our current systems to tackle litter, illegal dumping, and yes – the dreaded dog poo – are not working. Councillors have responsibility for the city budget, and if elected I will seek additional funding for more litter wardens. For dog poo, my Green Party colleagues who are already serving as councillors on Dublin City Council put together a wide ranging motion to tackle dog poo, and their proposals received cross party support. If elected I will work hard to have all elements of the motion implemented, delivering more dog poo only bins, more free dog poo bags, looking for an increased fine, and piloting innovative techniques that have worked in other countries such as DNA testing dog poo.
I campaigned for poo scoopers on the promenade. I'm lucky to have a dog friend and clean up after her on our walks together. I clean the streets and parks as I run Friends of Fairview Park clean-ups. I organise regular clean-ups. Also, we need to tackle waste at source. I help at Sick of Plastic events. Reduce and eliminate packaging especially plastic waste. More recycling and collection of bulky household waste. Reduce waste with Repair Cafes, which I've run in my community, and upcycling.
In relation to litter, there are only 13 litter wardens assigned throughout the city, which clearly from the litter around us is not enough. Councillors have responsibility for the city budget and so if elected I will seek additional funding for more litter wardens.
In relation to dog poo, I recently proposed a wide-ranging motion to tackle dog poo that received cross-party support. If elected again, I will work hard to have all parts of the motion implemented, delivering more dog-poo-only bins, more free dog-poo bags, looking for an increased fine, and piloting innovative techniques that have worked in other countries such as DNA-testing dog poo. This motion was accepted. Now I want to make it happen.
–Publish the names of those convicted of littering online and in the local papers.
–Produce and distribute a simple one page leaflet in English and other useful languages that explains how to dispose of your rubbish legally and where to buy bin bags/tags.
–Place CCTV and signage in areas that have a high incidence of illegal dumping. Use still images from CCTV with the faces pixellated on posters to name and shame serial offenders.
–Run a competition to design an app that would streamline the reporting of illegally dumped waste from smart phones, or consider publicising existing apps.
–Allocate the amount of litter wardens to areas proportionate to the amount of illegal waste and dumping.
–Distribute two free ‘"pooper-scooper bags", envelopes and an information leaflet when people apply for or renew their dog licence, and increase the number of bins for dog waste.
–Publicise the Dublin City Council Litter hotline (1800 248 348) and the yearly free bulk-waste collection for large household items.
–Seek changes in the private rental tenancy legislation to ensure that landlords make clear how waste will be disposed of in rental agreements.
–Place a small sign on a utility pole at the end of each street stating what days of the month the street or road will be cleaned, along with contact details for the council.
–Provide a mandatory domestic waste-collection service for multi-occupancy units and bill the owners.
We tend to think of litter and dog poo as minor irritants in daily life but they can have a big impact for some people. A street littered with dog poo can be impassable for a family with a buggy or someone in a wheelchair.
Enforcement: probably the most useful action to take on illegal dumping and dog fouling would be proper enforcement of the existing laws. Almost no dog fouling tickets were given out in Dublin last year. This is partly because our local authorities are hugely underfunded compared with our European counterparts and one of the biggest areas affected by this enforcement services.
The quality of the street: I believe we should introduce street wardens who would focus on achieving safe and pleasant streets. Such street wardens would have powers to deliver fines for dog fouling, illegal dumping, littering and illegal parking and could also work with the community to identify broken footpaths and obstructions.
Community action: although communities shouldn't have to collect litter, active community involvement in keeping streets free of fly tipping and dog fouling is really important.
I will support my Green Party colleague Councillor Patrick Costello and his proposed motion on dog poo. One of the actions his motion proposes is to get the Minister for the Environment to increase fines related to dog fouling. The other one is to introduce a pilot scheme of DNA testing. I will use my position as a platform to push for the government to increase funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tackle illegal dumping and to remove unnecessary red tape so the council, the Gardaí and the EPA can do their job.
I will organise a roundtable with my fellow councillors, affected communities, council officials and any interested private parties to discuss ways to prevent the problem: could we use incentives to encourage people to stop illegal dumping? Could we use incentives for people to clean up litter? Would it be less costly and less damaging for the environment and safer for all? I will use my position as a platform to encourage local businesses to reduce the amount of packaging they supply to customers.
Dumping and dog poo are probably the most frequently raised issues when I’m canvassing. For me, there are three approaches:
We need to reduce the amount of waste we generate. The council can do this directly and build in low-waste provisions into its contracts and licences.
With extra resources, regular dumping could be investigated and searched more to identify dumpers. Part of this is also simply hiring more litter wardens (and perhaps widening their tasks to include other enforcement actions) – Dublin city only has 13 at the moment.
3.As has been trialled in Barking (no pun!) in London, dog poo can be tested against a database of dogs, which could be linked in with the dog licensing system. It sounds implausible, but has worked well in London. It can also be funded through the fines levied.
Aside from deliberate dumping, there is also a problem with waste bags breaking or being torn apart. Shared bins for streets (as in Spain and Portugal) could go some way to improving this, where individual wheelie bins are not appropriate.
There is one thing the council does have full control of and that is the City Development Plan. This sets out the rules for planning decisions and provides councillors with an opportunity to demand more green space from large developments. For example, in the last City Development Plan, I successfully rezoned the vacant space at the end of South Great Georges Street/Dame Lane (the Why Go Bald Square) to be used as a park, and secured funding to add the furniture and bike parking that is there now. It’s a great space and I love seeing people use it every day.
Should I be re-elected I would use the City Development Plan to increase the number of green spaces and pocket parks. We need more places in city to sit, relax and reflect.
Like vacant and derelict sites we have spaces around Dublin that if "greened" would make great public spaces and parks. I would propose to make a list of any available sites and request that the council take these areas in charge and provide more green spaces for our city. This would include pocket parks.
If elected I will push for an increase in the number and extent of green spaces within the city in Dublin’s City Development Plan. The Development Plan sets out the rules for planning decisions and it provides councillors an opportunity to demand more green space. I will also fight moves to take existing green spaces out of public use.
We need pocket parks in higher-density housing. Urban parks dotted about as little oases, with play areas and places to sit and chat with neighbours of all ages. Table tennis, games tables, and exercise equipment bring fun and play into our communities.
The city development plan sets out the rules for planning decision. This provide councillors an opportunity to demand more green space that are public out of large developments. Should I be elected I would use the development plan to increase the number of green spaces.
Thankfully we've opened up the Croppies Acre park to the public in recent years. We now need to roll out more on-street tree planting, and pocket parks with a tree, a bench, and a patch of grass where parents can bring young children without having to cross a road. Some parks (such as the one by the Mater Hospital) are still closed, and I'll try and push our staff to open these small parks to the public once more, as well as seek publicly accessible green space in new developments.
Here's my four-point plan to green-up our local neighbourhoods and make sure all our families and friends have access to green space, clean air and a healthy environment.
Take back the tarmac: we need to protect and expand the green areas we already have. This means fighting for our existing mature trees, insisting on well-tended and biodiverse planting in public areas and replanting the very many verge areas and tree bases that were once green, and are now covered in tarmac. Green resources in the city do an important job helping to reduce air pollution and supporting our wellbeing.
Places for pocket parks: our area of Dublin is densely populated and diverse. We could make great use of small-scale green space on sites that are unsuitable for other development or adjacent to new builds. We could have dedicated uses such as sensory parks, pocket parks, bee-friendly parks, dog parks and many others.
Rewilding Cabra Glasnevin: You don’t need to release wolves into the area to really make a difference to our urban wildlife! Increasing our green amenities by implementing the two points above would give birds, insects and small animals places to rest and feed in what can be a harsh urban environment. Dublin City Council could also encourage wildlife by planting indigenous, bee-friendly plants and making sure water sources are available around the area.
The public realm should be publicly owned: the recent privatisation of the public realm in some of the new docklands areas in Dublin have been a harsh lesson in how private business has separate and distinct priorities to those of local authorities. Streets and the public realm should always be vested in public hands.
I will push for areas with higher but moderate population density to preserve space for nature. I will work with council officials to make our existing green spaces places for active biodiversity. I have already contacted Dublin City Council's Parks Department to ask for a playground in Chapelizod. I will propose a motion to City Hall demanding that brownfield sites left derelict for six months be made automatically available to local residents on a temporary basis to use as community gardens.
This is a problem city-wide, but is perhaps most acutely felt in the Liberties and the area around it, where people have some of the lowest access to green space in the country. This has impacts not only on the local environment, but makes team sports and casual play difficult and hostile. It also means that dog owners have to travel to give their dogs a bit of space.
In a dense urban environment, it can be difficult to open more parks, but there are opportunities which need to be treated as a priority.
This can be done on public land, such as with the Marrowbone Lane site near Rialto. The council currently use it as a depot. They’re planning to keep the depot and add some housing and a small bit of playing pitch. I’d vote to move the depot to a better-connected industrial estate and use the land for more pitches, playgrounds, parks and housing.
It can also be done with private land, either by making green space a condition of development, or simply as zoning spaces as park/open space. I’ve been involved opposing changes to a student development in Mill Street, which saw land which should was supposed to be public closed off.
We do need more public space, and to make the city calmer and safer. There are some big projects that can deliver that, such as the pedestrianisation of College Green, which I fully support. Here we could create a great part of the city that would not only reduce traffic, but would allow for more public events such as concerts and markets and create a real civic space in the heart of Dublin.
In my own neighbourhood, we recently fought hard against a hotel being built on the Portobello Harbour Plaza, whose entrance will open onto the square, with proposed seating and an awning outside on the square. This, in my mind, would effectively privatise this public space. Unfortunately An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the hotel. However this has prompted the council to re-design the plaza, so that it is more fit for public use and to counteract the affect of the hotel development.
This is something I am currently working with the council and the local community, and if re-elected I will continue to progress this, along with College Green, and the part-pedestrianisation of Drury Street and South William Street. More green infrastructure is also important in terms of biodiversity and climate action, but it also helps to make the city more attractive.
One of the most important roles of a councillor is to write the City Development Plan. As part of this, I would insist that all developments include publicly accessible green space.
I will work to significantly improve the public spaces in Dublin. I’ll work alongside my Green Party colleagues who have already been driving this work, such as the efforts to take traffic out of College Green and pedestrianise it. I will push for a city councillor to chair the public-realm working group and seek to provide detailed public-realm improvement plans for an improved pedestrian and cycling environment at a range of sites, including in my own area in Ballymun, Finglas, Glasnevin and Santry.
I believe passionately in protecting public places, both outdoors and indoor spaces that can be lovely environments to be in. This is so necessary for our health and well-being. As a former councillor, I rezoned land to Z9 to protect it for development as community spaces and listed buildings used by communities. Also grants to rejuvenate community spaces.
Dublin City Council desperately need a forward-looking and visionary public realm strategy. One aimed at making Dublin a nice place to be with full details of where to increase the numbers of benches, where to put water fountains, where to put new trees.
If elected, I would push for this work to be taken on by the Arts, Culture, and Recreation Strategic Policy Committee. To help prevent the privatisation of public spaces if elected, I would use the development plan to put in stronger planning rules about public space and about ensuring they are taken in charge quickly so the public at large can use them.
We need to massively improve the public realm in Dublin. I'm working hard to take traffic out of College Green and pedestrianise it (we'll hopefully have a new application to Bord Pleanála later this year). I also want a city councillor to chair the public-realm working group and seek to provide detailed public-realm improvement plans for an improved pedestrian and cycling environment at: Cathal Brugha Street at Thomas’ Church, Parnell Square, Parnell Street; Townsend Street/D’Olier Street, Kevin Street/Patrick Street, Kevin Street/Bride Street, Merrion Row, etc.
Conserve existing large parks: Dublin is unique in so far as we have a decent proportion of green space but this is distributed in large blocks like the Phoenix Park and St Anne's Park. Having large-scale parkland is a massive resource for the city (see my previous answer for how we should roll out a scheme of pocket parks across the city). You can achieve all sorts of amenities and improve biodiversity in those large areas in a way that you simply couldn't with smaller parks. We should ring fence those larger parks as nature preservation areas that have an active plan for indigenous planting and rewilding and then look at how we can allow the public to experience those incredibly important aspects of the city in a way that supports their well-being, their health and their families. All the councils in the Dublin area should undertake to no further building development on those sites other than optimising existing facilities. We should also be mindful not to allow those large chunks of nature to be "used up" as only sports facilities. Sports facilities are important but they are not a good substitute for natural habitats and terrains.
Deepen our connection to green space: We all know someone who has lived in our area but is surprised to find out there is a park or green space on their doorstep. If we really want to protect and support our parks we need to foster a connection between the public and the green space they own. Local children and their schools could be a key way to do this – we should encourage our kids to spend time outside in a natural setting. Schools should adopt a park and bring kids for walks in nature, support them to ask questions and make observations about the natural world around us as we embark on a replanting and rewilding process. We have a policy that every child in primary school in the country should be entitled to two weeks of learning in nature, either in a block or one day a week over a term.
Safer and cleaner green areas: It is really important that people feel their parks are safe places to be as the best green spaces are often ones where you feel alone in nature. As we have seen with the battle on scramblers in Tolka Park policing of parks is sometimes a grey area and proper funding would be required to ensure a feeling of confidence for park users. Finally along with many of my Green Party colleagues I use parks on a "leave no trace" basis. "Leave no trace" is a set of ethics for interacting with the outdoors in a thoughtful, sustainable manner. Some of the basics include planning ahead to minimise waste, taking care not to disturb plants and animals, and only BBQing etc. in appropriate areas.
I will work with council officials to make Dublin a World Health Organization Healthy City. A healthy city is one that creates and improves the physical and social environments and expands the community resources which enable mutual support among people to live and develop each and everyone of us to our maximum potential. I will work with public health and town planner officials to create Dublin, the healthy city for the common good and not for shareholders.
I will propose a motion requesting the erection of public benches. I will propose a motion requesting the erection of markets for fresh produce, fish, meat, etc on public spaces. I will propose that there is at least one market taking place daily in Dublin City on a rotation basis. Again I will use my position as a platform to publicly push for all new and retrofitted public spaces to be 100 percent disabled accessible and usable. I will work with council officials to keep all public spaces chemical free to protect local fauna and flora and people’s health.
Public streets being pedestrianised and greened is probably the single-quickest way to improve our city’s public realm. It can be politically difficult and logistically awkward, but so too was pedestrianising Grafton and Henry streets in the 1980s. I doubt anyone wants cars back on those streets.
I think we need to be looking at College Green (and connected streets), the quays, and some village centres. We can take public streets back for people or continue to surrender them to cars. The junction at Christ Church is a perfect example. We have a beautiful medieval cathedral, which is right beside this 10-lane junction, part of which runs through the cathedral.
Dublin also has a problem with unnecessary poles, barriers, advertising boards and other street furniture. I’d look at ways to remove them, consolidate them or – where possible – mount street signs on buildings instead of a path-blocking pole. This would make the streets prettier, but more importantly improve access for anyone with extra mobility needs or parents with buggies.