Ashtown · Cabra · Drumcondra · Glasnevin · Phibsborough

Housing, dereliction and vacancy — My DubInq Voter Guide answers

I’m sharing my responses from the Dublin Inquirer Voter Guide here on my website under different themes.

How would you help get more housing built in the city – especially social and affordable housing?

I believe that housing is a right and not a commodity. I’m part of a whole generation of Dubliners stuck living in their parents’ home and I’m deeply committed to addressing the housing needs of our city. While progress is being made, urgency is paramount in moving from conception to delivery.

I’m a huge supporter of the cost rental / Vienna Model of housing – this involves the state constructing housing and only charging rent proportional to what it cost to build. This eliminates the profit motive and provides sustainable, high quality and affordable homes for people. While this Green policy has resulted in cost-rental homes finally being built in Ireland recently, its delivery needs to scale up much quicker and, if elected, I will advocate for this type of housing in our area. We must also avail of every opportunity to develop social and public housing on publicly owned land.

I will push for new housing on large underutilised industrial areas such as lands on Ballyboggan Road, Bannow Road and Botanic Road through mixed-use regeneration plans. It’s vital that we ensure that these redevelopments include amenities such as shops, markets, parks, public spaces and services such as creches, schools and healthcare to build sustainable and resilient future communities.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Dereliction and vacancy is a huge issue in our area. Restoration and efficient use of existing buildings could provide much needed housing and commercial, public and arts spaces in our city. Dublin City Council is not properly staffed to tackle this anti-social behaviour. From my own experience of trying to get buildings placed on the derelict sites register and ensure that the levies are collected from their owners, I know how slow and arduous this process can be. If elected, I will advocate for a well-staffed planning enforcement unit to inspect derelict buildings, collect levies and issue compulsory purchase orders to uncooperative owners.

I’m also fully supportive of measures such as the Vacant Homes Tax and the Residential Zoned Land Tax to discourage hoarding and stimulate supply of much-needed housing in our city.

How would you help improve conditions in existing housing, both social and privately rented?

We need stronger renter’s rights and increased enforcement of existing regulations to protect tenants. Dublin City Council has powers to inspect and issue enforcement notices for privately rented houses. However, the level of enforcement actually carried out is very poor. I’m dedicated to getting increased resources for Dublin City Council’s private rental inspection team to ensure housing standards are met by landlords and safeguard tenant rights. By increasing regular inspections and following through with enforcement proceedings, we can hold landlords accountable and uphold the rights of all renters.

While Dublin City Council has been retrofitting and refurbishing its existing housing stock, there are still a lot of people living in poor public housing. I would like to see accelerated regeneration and renovation of existing public flat complexes in the area as well as increased maintenance budgets to deliver modern housing standards and enable swift upgrades such as double-glazed windows, insulation and combatting draughts and mould problems.

Dublin City Council must also do more to inform people of the supports available to reduce home energy bills and create warmer homes such as the free home energy upgrade scheme for people on low incomes and the grants and low-interest loans available to everyone in the area.