Local Election Candidates

By Eoin Meegan

With the upcoming local elections this May, NewsFour invited all of the area’s declared and potential candidates to respond to the same set of questions regarding being your representative and responses to specific questions regarding the community and some of its issues. Everyone was invited to participate. Only three were non responders; Claire O’Connor (FF), Linda O’Shea Farren (FG) and Mannix Flynn. The questions are as follows:

1: As a councillor you’re a local representative. What precisely are your powers, and how do you intend to implement these? 2: Why did you join your chosen party, or opt to be independent? 3: What are your views on the Irish Glass Bottle site, and on Social Housing needs? What actions will you take / how will you make yourself heard on it? 4: How do you feel about the Bus Connects proposals for the local routes? And the city’s future transport plans? 5: What are your views on the rapid development of the area for residents and local businesses? 6: What makes you frustrated, and what makes you happy?

Cllr. Dermot Lacey – Labour candidate for Pembroke South Dock

Dermot Lacey is one of the most experienced members of Dublin City Council serving this area since 1993 and was Lord Mayor in 2002-2003. He is a former Chairperson of the Housing, Social and Community Affairs Policy Committee and the Arts and Youth Committee. He was Chairperson of the Dublin Regional Authority and the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly and Cathaoirleach of the new Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly. He is the only person to have served in all three posts.

Dermot has been a Councillor since 1993 and is Leader of the Labour Group. He is a Board member of the Royal Hospital Voluntary Housing Association, the Dublin Town – Business Improvement District Scheme and of several local community development Boards. He was a founder member of the Beech Hill Housing Initiative and co-founded the popular NewsFour Newspaper. Dermot is Chairperson of Ringsend College and a former Chairperson of Ballsbridge College. He is a member of the Dublin City VEC/Education and Training Board and was a member of the Dublin Docklands Development Council where he proposed the introduction of the 20% Social and Affordable Housing requirement in the Docklands area a move that was followed by legislation across the State for all developments. He served on the UCD Governing Authority 2014-2019. He has published proposals “A Fair City – One Dublin Many Dubliners”. He is a life-long member of the Scout Movement and recently published “All the Red Ties” – the history of Donnybrook Scout Group.

1: As a Councillor I can use my “Reserved Powers” to direct Council Officials to take actions that are of benefit to Dublin and my Area. These include powers in relation to budgetary allocations. However, most of the “powers” are through persuasion and negotiation and knowing how best to use the various systems and structures. Helping to deliver the new playground at Sean Moore Park was for example through co-operation between Councillors, the Sandymount Tidy Towns Committee and the Community Gain Fund Committee. Delivering new Social and Affordable Housing in Donnybrook was through knowledge of how the system works and delivering the agreement on the 900 new social and affordable homes on the Poolbeg area was through political tenacity. Delivering them will require political obstinacy. Councillors regularly complain about lack of powers and real Local Government in Ireland and they are right… but we do have soft power that I hope I have learned to use well on behalf of the Area and of Dublin.

2: I chose Labour partially through my older brothers involvement and my Dad’s commitment to sensible trade unionism. I stayed through the many years that Ruairi Quinn represented the area as his record of delivery to Dublin South East and Ireland is second to none and I have remained because as a social democrat I believe that Labour is best placed to deliver the values of fairness and decency that I am committed to.

3: I helped negotiate the Agreement for 900 Social and Affordable homes on the IGB site at Poolbeg with the then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney along with Cllr Doolin and the then Lord Mayor Brendan Carr. I expect it to be honoured and delivered and will use every ounce of my political strength to make sure it is delivered.

4: The principles behind Bus Connects are correct but the devil is in the detail. We have to ensure that there is sufficient public transport to and through our local villages. That is what keeps communities and trade alive. I passionately believe that Dublin needs a single Dublin Transportation Authority to take over from the many disconnected public bodies who all have their own vested interest approach to traffic. That should be under the direction of a new Dublin Regional Authority with a directly elected Mayor for Dublin.

5: This regeneration and intensive development is similar to developments in inner suburban areas all over the developed world. What we need to do is to learn from other countries. We need to ensure that there is real community involvement in strategic planning and that real community gain stems from developments. I have helped achieve this through planning conditions attached to the Aviva Stadium and the Covanta incinerator for example. The critical thing for our area is the delivery of Social and Affordable Housing as part of any new developments and in my view, Sandymount in particular, needs a community meeting place. That, for example, could be  achieved in partnership with the Educate Together school at Roslyn Park. 

6: This is easy, bureaucracy and public officials who don’t put the interests of the citizen first make me angry and frustrated. My family and my many happy memories of great scouting events make me happy.

Hazel Chu – Green Party candidate for Pembroke South Dock

Born and raised in Ireland, I currently live with my daughter Alex and my fiancé Patrick in Pembroke. A graduate of UCD, I went on to study law in Kings Inns and was called to the Bar in 2007, after which I worked in Sydney, Guilin and New York and was awarded a Fellowship by UCD Smurfit. For a number of years I ran our family’s food business which consisted of four restaurants and also held the position of Head of Communications and Project Manager for Diageo. Currently, I am the National Coordinator for the Green Party, Chair of the Executive Committee, as well as their Spokesperson for Enterprise. In my spare time I advocate on issues of diversity and equality on various media platforms. 

1: One of the most important items a city councillor gets to feed into on the council is the city development plan. To ensure that we have a sustainable city we must ensure that the plan is future proofed, this includes proper provision and planning for housing, transport, community. It is essential that we have more Green voices on the council to ensure that we build a sustainable city for our generation and the ones to come.

2: I am the National Coordinator, Chair of Executive and Spokesperson for Enterprise for the Green Party. I spent a long time deciding on a party, I wanted a party which aligned with my views on economics, social justice and climate change, ultimately the Greens were the ones who reflected my values.

3: We are now over 10,000 homeless in Ireland. We seem to have made a practice of putting our homeless in hotels and our tourists in houses via Airbnb. We simply need to do better. The only way to do that is build. We have viable developable land all over Dublin. Even in our own backyard we were promised 900 social and affordable housing in the Irish Glass Bottle site but the receivers are in the process of repealing this agreement by putting in an appeal to an Bord Pleanála. Dublin City Council and its councillors had to compromise with the then Minister of Housing Simon Coveney to deliver the 900 units. This would have greatly increased the sense of community of the area instead of having multiple one bedroom apartments to facilitate individuals who are in transit from working multinationals. However, since the agreement, another Minister has stepped into place and the decision is being appealed by the receivers. Ultimately, the losers in this scenario are the individuals on the housing list, the community of Ringsend, the kids who have hung up art on the site asking where should they sleep at night yet the Minister responsible for them is nowhere to be seen. What needs to be done is support for the Irish Glass Bottle Housing Action Group. A series of questions presented to Minister Eoghan Murphy on why a previously agreed workable solution is now being reneged on and we must also ask if the current regulation of only 10% social and affordable housing on site is fit for purpose in a city that currently has thousands waiting to be housed.

4: From the Green Party and my perspective we need a proper vision for Dublin as a city in regards to transport, this must include motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. As it stands, we have over 40-odd groups and voices that look after various forms of transport in the city, why not have one? We have the National Transport Authority but we don’t have a connected vision for the future for Dublin. The current Bus Connects proposals are good ones with travel times for local routes being halved if implemented but we need to go a step further, how do we connect up the overall city and ensure that we have proper infrastructure that can withstand a growing city for the next 50 years and not just 5 to 10.

5: I think growth is good but we need to retain a sense of community for the residents. For example, development of 3,500 apartments on the Irish Glass Bottle site, many of which are one bedroom would not encourage community building and would actually increase traffic and resource pressure on the current community. This is where a good city development plan comes in, we need to start seeing our city as a whole while looking at communities individually and see where we can improve the health and wellbeing for those who reside and grow the community. Just because you have a growing city doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice individual communities, you need to plan for them and ensure that it’s properly integrated.

6: I think my answers may already show what makes me frustrated – bad planning, and possibly my 16 month old toddler throwing tantrums. I’m happiest when I’m able to fix something, I’ve always been the fixer in my family and at work (I trained as a barrister, worked in crisis management and communications and then project management for site development). And walking along Sandymount Strand jumping into puddles with my toddler on a sunny day, Dublin can be spectacular on a sunny day!

Cllr Claire Byrne – Green Party candidate for South East Inner City.

As a Dublin city county councillor, I am working to deliver in the areas I promised during the elections in environment, waste, housing, planning, arts, culture and transport. I am also working to ensure that economic, social, political and environmental sustainability is placed at the core of the decision making process on how our city develops now and in the future.

1: Our main responsibilities as Councillors is to oversee and adopt the annual budget and area discretionary funds, make, amend and revoke City bye laws, create and vary the City Development Plan, influence policy development on housing, transport and public realm improvements etc and ultimately to represent the needs of our communities. My aim has always been to use these powers, even if they are somewhat limited, to create a liveable, accessible, clean, green and more sustainable City. I would like to see significant Local Government Reform and to devolve more power to Councils, but there doesn’t seem to be the political will at a national level to deliver that.  

2:I have been involved with the Green Party and working in politics for 15 years. My background is in Environmental Science and activism, so it was a natural step for me to get involved with them as their values and policies match my own. There is no other political party for me and I am very proud to be a Green Party elected representative and I hope to continue to be so after May this year. 

3:The current council, of which I am a member, agreed on 900 social and affordable homes for the Poolbeg West SDZ development, and these simply have to be delivered. I fully support the local residents and their campaign. I have attended many meetings with them, joined their protests and action events, and have raised the issue in the Council and in the Dail with my colleague Eamon Ryan TD a number of times. I think this is an ideal site for a cost rental scheme that is affordable. Throughout the SDZ process I also ensured that we increased the number of three bed homes on the site so that we can provide housing for families, and secured agreement that 5% of the development would go to cultural, community and creative purposes, including 40 artists’ studios, which is unprecedented in the City. Obviously the decision on the scheme is with An Bord Pleanála at the moment, but the Minister for Housing has a responsibility to ensure these homes are funded and to come up with an affordable scheme to deliver that element, but he doesn’t seem to be taking any action. The delays are inexcusable. 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. 

4: 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. The Bus Connects project is not without its flaws and challenges, particularly in the Ringsend / Irishtown area, but hopefully through the public consultation process they can be worked out. I do believe 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. I believe that by providing efficient, affordable and healthier alternatives, we can our reduce our transport related carbon emissions, create a healthier city and secure a more sustainable future for everyone. 

5: There is no doubt there is significant large scale development taking place in the area and across the City, and this is having a real impact on the residents. While it’s good to see vacant land being built on, I think the biggest issue is that what is being built is mostly offices, hotels, student accommodation, and short term rentals. We are not building any housing or creating sustainable communities or supporting local indigenous businesses. This flies in the face of our housing, development, economic and planning policy, and in my mind is creating a transient, homogenous city, which is very worrying. It seems we are back to the days of developer led planning and it is incredibly frustrating. 

6: Things can move very slowly in the Council, and that can be very frustrating. Influencing and changing policy on how we plan and develop our City in a more sustainable way, and helping people by making small changes that can make a big difference to their lives is important to me. Achieving those is what makes me happy and is one of the main reasons a Councillor’s role can be fulfilling and hugely rewarding.

Danny Byrne – Fine Gael candidate for South East Inner City

Danny Byrne – Fine Gael. Originally from Donegal, but in Dublin since 2005. My background is hotel management, but I recently moved to an estate agent practice.

1: The key power that I believe good councillors have is forming a good relationship with the relevant officials who deal with the key issues on the ground and then being able to use that relationship to deliver the improvements that people want. So I expect that if elected my first months as a councillor will be focussed on building a relationship with officials who deal with issues important to South East Inner City such as housing, parking, traffic management and street cleaning. Another key power for a councillor is garda liaison; there are serious problems with crime in parts of my area and the councillors need to focus gardaí resources on tackling this and encouraging greater visibility of community gardaí and improved response times.

2:I have always been a Fine Gael supporter and have worked closely with some excellent public representatives both here in Dublin and in Donegal.

3:It is clearly essential that a considerable number of housing units are provided on that site. I am aware of arguments that it should be either largely private or largely, if not exclusively, social housing, neither of which I support. My own view is that there needs to be a mix. However, as I know from canvassing doors, there is a large demand for social housing in Ringsend and there has to be a meaningful contribution to meeting this demand. If elected as a councillor, I will be focussed on achieving this while also ensuring that the development is financially soundly based.

4:BusConnects does not seem to have much of an impact on the area I am contesting. There are some issues such as bus services being taken off South Circular Road. In practice being able to walk or cycle to work safely is the transport priority in the area. I would be broadly supportive of the need for more commuters to use the bus or train instead of their cars.

5:In principle, it seems good that there is rapid residential development in the area. However, I would have concerns that either the quality is poor or that the residents are highly transient, as neither is good for the area. I do have concerns about excessive development of hotels and student accommodation in the inner city area.

6:As a resident of the inner city all the time I have been in Dublin, I am frustrated by the comparative lack of focus by the city authorities on the areas within the canal, so far as residents are concerned. On the plus side, I am happy that there is huge vibrancy in the area, which makes it quite an attractive place to live in terms of things like restaurants, gyms and theatre/cinema facilities.

Cllr. Chris Andrews – Sinn Féin candidate for South East Inner City

Chris has been involved in community development work in the South Inner City, working with residents’ associations, environmental groups, charities and local community projects focused on Homelessness and Mental Health. He is an active member of a number of local sports clubs and is a founding member of the ‘Friends of the Grand Canal’. Chris was central in setting up the Ringsend/Irishtown Darkness into Light Walk which has raised, in two years, over €200,000 for Pieta House and suicide awareness. Chris has been involved in international activism since his teenage years and has long campaigned on matters relating to overseas aid and development, inequality and injustice throughout the world. He has been particularly active on matters relating to Palestine, Nicaragua and Gambia. He is a member of the Council’s Housing Committee and the South Inner City Drugs Task Force. He holds a BA in Community and Youth Work from NUI Maynooth.

1:My powers are the same as all other Councillors and if elected I will use them to represent the community as best I can.

2: I am very happy in Sinn Féin because Sinn Féin takes sides. Sinn Féin clearly takes the side of working people and those struggling in life and does not try to be all things to all people.

3: I have been very vocal on one of the most defining issues for Ringsend and Pearse Street and was one of the Councillors who reached agreement with this Government to provide 900 social and affordable on the site. I have worked with and will continue to work with the local housing Action Group. I will continue to hold Government to account. 

4: We need change and the proposals are good in theory but, like everything, the Devil is in the detail and I will work with residents to ensure we get the right balance for the Ringsend community.

5: I am very concerned about the rapid development in the area. I can see Ringsend and Pearse Street being turned into Googletown and old families cannot afford to buy or rent in the area because of the rapidly increasing costs in the area because of deliberate Government inaction.

6: What makes you frustrated, and what makes you happy? 

Answer: Editors of newspapers editing my comments to suit their narrative frustrates me. That the Four TD’s for Ringsend and Pearse Street are rarely seen in the area when there is not an election frustrates me. The lack of housing for the community, poor homelessness and mental health supports in the community makes me angry. When I see the community standing up for themselves that makes me happy. When I see that Sinn Fein makes a positive difference I am happy.

Sarah Durcan – Social Democrats candidate for Dublin South East Inner City. 

Global Ops Manager for Science Gallery International, Abbey Theatre board member, a leader of #WakingTheFeminists campaign, and former theatre producer. 

1: Councillors develop the vision and policy framework for the city, including the City Development Plan. Our responsibilities, or reserved functions, include: adopting the annual budget, making and amending local byelaws, approving borrowings and council land sales. I believe my role is to represent the people of Dublin South East Inner City, to work in partnership with local communities, and ensure the council delivers good quality services and improved quality of life for citizens. 

As an experienced board member for several non-profits, and an effective activist for gender equality in the arts, I have the governance skills to ensure the executive are held accountable, and that the council can make real progress on the big issues such as social housing.  

2: It’s time for a new era of grown-up politics that deliver a better quality of life for all citizens. We can reimagine politics as true public service, service to benefit the entire community, service for inclusive progress and prosperity, service that respects everyone’s dignity and right to thrive throughout their life. For me, the party to deliver that is the Social Democrats, and why I’m running for a seat on Dublin City Council on May 24 to represent the people of Dublin South East Inner City. I’m particularly proud to be part of a party where more than half of our candidates in the upcoming election are women. 

3: As a Social Democrats Councillor, my number one priority will be to ensure that Dublin City Council’s resources are dedicated to increased provision of social and affordable housing. We should use the extensive public land that is zoned for residential development in Dublin to build homes that are affordable to rent or buy, including at the Irish Glass Bottle site, and that those homes have sufficient public services, transport links, schools and recreation facilities. I will work positively and collaboratively with the community, and my fellow councillors to ensure the executive are held to account on this. 

4: There are merits to rethinking our bus system in the city, but not at the expense of those who have mobility issues. More dedicated cycle lanes are needed in the city. We must become a much less car-dependent city, while ensuring those who need to commute can access the city easily and affordably. 

5: Development that supports innovation and jobs should be welcome in the city – but we need to rebalance the current overemphasis on large commercial developments like hotels and offices, and build houses and apartments and ensure local businesses and community amenities – playgrounds, sports fields, cultural facilities, green spaces – are intelligently integrated.

6: Frustrations: The level of entrenched homelessness and poverty in the city; Lack of action on climate change and our overreliance on plastics and carbon fuels; Inequality and intolerance of difference; 

What makes me happy: Working on projects/movements that bring about lasting positive change, such as #WakingTheFeminists and Repeal; experiencing the beauty and friendliness of the city while walking; Baking and sharing food with friends and family. 

Elizabeth Watson – Fianna Fáil candidate for South Inner City Ward.

I grew up in the Pearse Street area and continue to live there.  Both my parents, Betty and Peter Watson, also grew up in the area. As a family we are very actively involved in the life of our community.  

In particular I have volunteered with youth football teams, Greenore Senior Citizen’s Centre and many local heritage projects about the area. 

For many years I have worked as a Social Worker with experience supporting people through homelessness and with housing issues. I completed my Social Work Masters with UCD and my Masters in Management with DCU. 

I will do my upmost to bring my life experience and professional skills to benefit the community.

If elected I will focus on individual needs and: Local initiatives; Community services and resources including health and transport; Local housing for local people; Fairer rents and rental issues; Local heritage; Better living spaces that are safe, clean and peaceful; Environmental issues. Mobile: 0877507650; email: watsonno12019@gmail.com

1: The key feedback from meeting residents in the local area is that they want their views represented by someone who understands them. As a local person running for election this is precisely what I intend to do. 

One of the most significant powers a councillor has is to influence policy. If elected I would ensure that I feedback the impact the policy decision is having on people’s lives. In particular I would highlight any negative impact of policy and seek that this is addressed.  There is a great opportunity as a councillor to develop policies based on based on emergent need. 

Communication with a variety of people is another power of a councillor. I plan to engage in productive discussion with people whether they are residents, traders, officials, community groups, or statutory agents.

2: As a family we have been activity involved in our local community for many years. Therefore, when I was approached to run for election it seemed a natural next step. I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by strong female community activists. They have been a role model for many local people. I would hope to also be a role model for the upcoming local community members. 

The Fianna Fail theme is “An Ireland for All”. I want to make sure that everyone, especially those most marginalised in society or powerless, are included in current government policies and future visions of the local area.  

3: Regeneration is much needed in some areas of the community. However, this regeneration must protect and preserve the local communities already existing in the area. There is dire need for local housing for local people for both now and in the future. There is also a need for better integration between the new builds and the local communities. If elected I would support the community in their current way of having their voice heard e.g. protests and public meetings, media and via the local county council. 

4: We all recognise the importance of transport. The trend shows an increase in population over the next twenty years thus, as a knock on there will be an increase in vehicles.  Already people are experiencing traffic congestion and worrying safety issues for cyclists who are often caught in the squeeze of a narrow road. However, compulsory purchase and the removal of community amenities cannot be the price paid for progress. 

5: Our local communities are boundless in heritage and culture. It makes me very happy to see that shared and enjoyed in various ways around the community.

Cllr. Sonya Stapleton – Independents4Change candidate for South East Inner City

I am an Independents4Change councillor at Dublin City Council. I was elected at the last local elections in 2014. I have lived in the South East Inner City for the past 25 years. My family roots are from Ringsend and Bath Avenue. Before becoming elected I attended Trinity College and worked as a community employment supervisor in the area while raising my now 15 year old son. I am a member of the Unite in the Community and support people having the right to trade union membership in the workplace. I also support and will campaign for the right to a living wage, one which corresponds with real living costs and our national growth. This would raise the standard of living for all here in Ireland. I believe everyone has a right to an adequate standard of living and would like to see Dublin lead the way in becoming a living wage city. Through our Right2Change policy principles I believe that people are entitled to fundamental rights such as water, housing, education, decent jobs, Healthcare and debt justice. Furthermore as a society we must enact measures to achieve equality, a sustainable environment, democratic reform and the unequivocal right of the Irish people to own our country’s national resources.  

1: As a Councillor I have reserved functions in the Planning and adopting of the city development plan and the budget for our city: Holding the management to account and highlighting issues my constituents have on housing, traffic, policing, environment in the council chamber meetings. Putting forward motions that benefit community, like securing funding for community groups, playgrounds, affordable childcare, the upgrade of our flat complexes etc…

2: I opted to be independent as I’ve yet to find a party that lives up to what they promise when they get elected. Far too many parties have done completely the opposite to what they say they will do. I would like to see a real alternative party that represents the people. A party that is passionate about sharing national wealth more equally, a party that understands people and their needs, not just economics. I really believe Ireland needs a fresh look at politics and fresh new policies. Why we keep voting in the same parties and expecting different results I will never know. 

3: I am disgusted at the latest developments re the IGB site. As a local councillor I fought on the ground and in the council to secure as many Affordable/Public houses as possible. It was agreed and voted on in the council that we would get 900 Public/Affordable housing units. Now the developer wants to go back on the agreement, confirming yet again the standard greed out there when it comes to private developers. I believe public land should be used for public housing as was the case in Ireland in the 50’s and 60’s. The O’Cualann housing project in Dublin has shown that Three Bedroom A Rated cost-rental houses can be built to a high standard for under €200,000 when built on public land. The government needs to speed up the procurement process to enable the council to build housing at a much faster rate. We await an Bord Pleanála review of the case at present but I will continue to highlight this on the council and by standing with the community on protest or whatever other measure need to be taken so that the deal is honoured.

4: We have a growing city and if we don’t take steps to address our public transport system and traffic congestion the problems will only get worse. I appreciate that the plans do not suit everyone but overall I do believe it will make life easier for communities and commuters if it is done right. Taking into account the needs of elderly people and disabled people etc… I would also like to see the Metro link going ahead but not at the cost of people losing their homes or the proposed demolition of Markievicz swimming pool and Gym. I would really like to see another proposal in this respect.

5: My view is that residents and local businesses are getting left out. The rapid development of the area is not inclusive. Meanwhile there are hotels, student accommodation, office blocks going up all over the city. We need Public cost-rental/Affordable homes and schools, yet the government refuse to empower and finance councils to harness state land for public cost-rental housing. Instead they disgracefully sell off our land-banks to private developers who typically develop profit-maximising estates.    

6: I’m frustrated that the government continue to ignore the fact that we have a housing crisis, thereby jacking up the cost of rents and housing. I’m happy that I get to represent people in my community and also when I get good results in the council that have a positive impact on the South East Area and across the wider city.

Annette Mooney – People Before Profit candidate for South East Inner City 

Annette Mooney has worked as a community nurse in the Dublin Bay South area before becoming a secondary school teacher in the area She is a mother of three children. She was one of the main figures in the Right2Water campaign in the constituency and helped organise marches. Annette was the founder of the Repeal the Eighth Dublin Bay south coalition group which returned the highest national YES vote. She also started the successful Irish Glass Bottle campaign for social affordable housing. She has hosted meetings on the need for rent controls and more social housing. She was one of the main figures in achieving Council Tenants right to access an independent complaint agency.

1: Local democracy is limited in Ireland because of the power of unelected officials. We have had, for example, an incinerator foisted on us because an unelected Chief Executive Officer pushed it through despite the fact that it only supported by two councillors while 52 voted against. However, there are some ‘reserved powers’ that councillors can exercise. They can amend a draft budget; they can help make decisions on housing policy; they have an input into waste management. There are a number of things I want to do. I want to continually reduce the local property tax because I believe this was an illegitimate tax that was forced on people. I want waste collection brought back into public ownership so we don’t have increased charges. I want Dublin City Council to get back to building social and affordable housing. I want it to ensure that vacant property does not sit idle for years while people are homeless. I want to ensure there is proper respect and repairs carried out for Council tenants. In other words, I will be an advocate for people’s rights and will monitor and question the actions of unelected officials.

2: As an independent you can achieve very little. We need a left wing council in Dublin that is really going to change how the city works. That is a council that is not beholden to corporate interests but really serves the people. One of the things that I propose, for example, is that Dublin becomes a Wi-Fi Free Zone City. But to even get back small reform, you will need an organised group of councillors who are determined to push it through. A left wing political party also will ensure that you will not sell out. In People Before Profit, for example, we have a rule that no councillor can go on a junket. We are accountable to our members and supporters in a way that an individual cannot be.

3: I called a meeting two and a half years ago with Richard Boyd Barrett TD and from there a campaign was launched to use the Irish Glass Bottle site for social and affordable housing. In view of the housing crisis in Dublin, I thought that the site should be used for 3,500 social and affordable houses. Later a compromise proposal emerged to build 900 social and affordable houses. But even this promise is being undermined today as a game is played between Eoghan Murphy’s Department, the NAMA receiver [Deloitte] and Dublin City Council. This is a disgrace and I think that we should step up the protests. We should vote out landlord parties like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil whose policies have led to this disaster.

4: There are some good things in Bus Connects – not least the notion of a core bus corridor from Ringsend to Talbot Memorial Bridge. But, unfortunately, there is a wider agenda to this at play. There is a plan to create a number of corridors but this is not linked to an increase in the number of buses. After the Celtic Tiger collapse, nearly 300 buses were cut from the Dublin Bus fleet by the Fianna Fáil-Green government. The first thing we should do is to restore those buses and increase the fleet. I am for Dublin moving to a system of free public transport so that we get people out of cars. But before you even cut fares you will need to increase the number of buses. So before we have any more ‘radical’ plans we need an increased bus fleet and cheaper fares.

5: There are a number of things to bear in mind if want to create a living city. We need to preserve and maintain public spaces. We need community, mural schemes, free drinking fountains to get rid of reliance on plastic bottled water, and proper monitoring to ensure we have clean air. Dublin City Council, however, are engaged in a strategy of clearing out the inner city and supporting the building of more hotels and expensive student hostels. We need re-generation of the inner city’s flat complexes whereas at the moment many face a problem of rat infestation because of all the building works nearby. I support a new policy on rates so that it is tied to turnover. This will mean that big retail outlets like Tesco should be forced to pay more in rates while the rates should be cut for small local business.

6: Frustrated: Dealing with smug right wing politicians who cannot speak the truth.

Happy: When people get off their knees and look for their rights.

Susan Gregg Farrell – Sinn Féin 

My parents belonged to established Ringsend families. My mum, Margaret Quinn, is from Pigeon House Road and my Dad, Edward Gregg is from Pembroke Cottages. I attended primary school in Ringsend’s Saint Patrick’s Girls School and then went onto Ringsend Technical College. We lived in Beggars Bush on the Shelbourne Road and then as the Ringsenders say we crossed the bridge and moved to Pearse Streets City Quay area. I’m a mother to one daughter Kathrina, and my professional background is in the construction industry enforcing Health & Safety regulations for onside crews. It was this expertise that led me to discover and expose faults in the apartments in the Docklands. After setting up a working group of neighbours and leading a long seven-year fight, we finally got the apartments in Gallery Quay renovated and brought up the building standards. As a lifelong activist on community issues I am passionate about equality and fairness for all the people of Dublin East Inner City.

1: Councillors are responsible for policy-making, with implementation of their decisions resting with the city or county manager. Power is shared between the council and an appointed executive official known as the Chief Executive. Councillors’ powers are many and varied which include adopting the annual budget, setting the commercial rate, land zoning, making or varying a development plan, making or changing bye-laws, and approving council land sales etc. Councillors help decide how and where Dublin City Council finances are spent in various departments, such as Housing, Maintenance, Local Parks / Recreational, Street Furniture etc. As an elected official it is my duty to ensure all decisions are made in the best interests of the community. For me to implement this I will continue to hold my public clinics in the Ringsend / Irishtown Community Centre every second Thursday between 7pm and 8pm, and where needs be dropping into visit residents in their homes who make contact but can’t make my clinics. I will represent each individual or group with whatever issue they bring to my attention be it a personal or public issue to the best of my capabilities. I never promise anything to the people or the community, but I will always do my best to represent them.

2: Over time I became unhappy with our governments and what was happening to Ireland and its people. I like many others voted for these parties thinking that they would make a difference, make changes, improvements for my family and my community, but it was the same speak from them and nothing changed. So while been disheartened with the government at the time I then looked around at other parties and I attended a Sinn Féin meeting, where I listened to what was been said and I learned that SF are the only party who are out knocking on doors and working in the community all year round and not just at election times. I believe with Sinn Fein in government that we can deliver on our election promises, I believe that we can do more on our housing, on our health, but we also all need to work together to achieve what our families, friends and our community needs. Sinn Féin’s policies endeavour to equally provide for all classes of our society.

3: Fine Gael has been saying that the housing crisis can only be solved by delivery.The previous Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, gave a firm commitment to the delivery of 900 units on the IGB site, 350 social units and 550 affordable homes and this is written into the strategic development zone plan that is before An Bord Pleanála at the moment. My colleague Cllr Chris Andrew raised the issue at February’s council meeting regarding the social and affordable housing on the Glass Bottle site, expressing the worries that the community are having regarding the site due to the increase in land costs and construction costs. 

The council management said that there will be no affordable or social housing on the Glass Bottle site unless the Government make the Glass Bottle site a “special case” this is a real worry as we don’t believe government will make a special case for Ringsend IGB site. The Manager indicated that there is going to be less and less social and affordable housing in Dublin Pearse Street and Ringsend unless the Government intervenes. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, who is a resident in this community is in charge of housing and has a responsibility to deliver on the objectives of the SDZ, but he and his department are not doing so. His department is allowing the officials in Dublin City Council to choose off-site location for social housing. This is not acceptable to the communities of Ringsend, Irishtown and Pearse Street and the Government must start to deliver on the objectives of the SDZ. 

The residents and their families have a right to social and affordable housing in their own area. Why should people have to move out of their communities to find affordable housing? Why should people have to live miles and miles from the rest of their families and lose out to landlords. I, along with my Sinn Féin colleagues in Dublin City Council and Dáil Éireann, will continue to fight and be a voice for the people in this community.

4: Bus Connect’s plans are to basically streamline the bus network in our city. And while a few services may be improved others will suffer, or should I say, the public will suffer. For example, at the minute, someone wishing to travel from Ringsend to St. Vincent’s hospital only needs to take one bus. One of the proposed changes has that passenger take 3 buses to do the same trip. It’s ridiculous! The overall future transport plans are obviously designed to save money for the Government but at the cost of the public’s convenience. It is also shaping the public services up for privatisation, which will be disastrous. 

5: I do understand that development is needed to improve our community, but it seems to be geared more towards the Googles and Facebooks of the world, providing for corporate structures rather than social structures. This Government claims to promote local economics but there doesn’t seem to be enough done to help local businesses to survive. Small local long-time established business in the area are now closed or closing due to the high cost in rents. They just can’t compete with the big companies. Just one example is at the moment from the top of Pearse street down to Irishtown we now no longer have a local butcher, the local everyday shops are disappearing bit by bit. The community now have to travel further afield to do their daily business, be it getting the shopping or attending the post office to collect their pensions / social welfare etc. It’s the same situation when it comes to property which come up for rent or sale in the area. Local people just can’t afford the prices that are been quoted because the corporate giants are snapping up as much as they can by bidding / offering unbelievable prices which the ordinary person cannot compete with.

6: Frustrated: the amount of red tape and hoops you have to go through, be it in the council or Dáil Eireann just to get a simple answer to a request or question. I know there is a process for everything but why does it take so long? Happy : when you see the relief and joy on the face of someone who you have been helping for months – knowing that you can make a difference to people’s lives even if it is only a small thing to you it could be a massive thing to them and that simple smile just says it all.

Cllr. Paddy McCartan – Fine Gael candidate for Pembroke South Dock

I grew up in Ballsbridge and was educated in Marian College. I have worked all my life as an Optician both in Baggot Street and in Ringsend.

Having retired from practice I am now a full time Public Representative. I have served on Dublin City Council as an elected Representative since 2007. I am currently a member of both The Transport and Finance strategic policy committees. I am also on the board of the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and a member of the Joint Policing Committee Commemorations and Commemorative Naming Committee. These are exciting and challenging times for our city with major decisions to be made on many fronts. Issues I am currently dealing with include Bus Connects, and its impact on the communities in Sandymount Ballsbridge, Donnybrook and Merrion; review of the Local Property Tax for the reassessment date in 2019; reducing insurance costs for local residents by concluding the final stages of the Dodder Flood alleviation works.

1: City development plan 2016 to 2022 Councillors concluded this plan which will shape the future of the city till 2022. Each year we pass a budget and strike a commercial rate. Councillors have the power to vary the local property tax.

2: Having been inspired by Garret FitzGerald I joined Fine Gael in the 1980s

3: Fine Gael along with all other parties on DCC agreed on the social and affordable requirement on the IGB site for 3,500 apartments and  currently we are awaiting a decision from on Bord Pleanála.

4: I am liaising with residents groups who are expressing their concerns about Bus Connects proposals. I am also very supportive of College Green plaza proposals.

5: Overall of benefit to the city but locals feel left behind as they struggle to find homes in the area. Also extremely frustrating to see delays and cost overruns on major projects.

6: When a constituent reports back that their outstanding issue has been resolved.

Maria Bohan – Fianna Fail candidate for South East Inner City.

I am a local from Ringsend where my family continue to operate a business. I have studied Diploma in Justice Studies and a Diploma in Sign Language. I am a big fan of Dublin GAA Football team and I go to as many matches away and home as I possibly can. I help and support active retirement groups, community welfare providers, local clubs and residents’ groups in the local area.

1: As an elected local representative you have a number of powers and duties from contributing to policies and strategies to setting budgets, to taking part in decisions on planning etc. but central to the job for me is the privilege of representing the people, being a vital link between the council and the wide range of interest groups and individuals in the local community. As a councillor I want to be a key influencer and to be able to have a leadership role in developing strong community engagement with all stakeholders in the area. To be a well recognized voice in promoting the unique identities of our proud communities in the South East Inner City. To achieve that objective I will continue to be available to make representations and interventions on behalf of all of our constituents. 

2: I joined Fianna Fáil years ago as I felt they would represent everyone fairly. I feel I will access to the additional influence one can have as an elected representative of a larger party – access to local and national TDs – ability to implement key policies etc. The power to articulate positive policies and influence decision makers. 

3: My views on the Irish Glass Bottle site is that we were promised the 900 units and we should get them. We have a great community and we need to keep it so we need housing to be affordable so local people can live in our community. The housing crisis needs to be given top priority, the present policies of this government are not working and the response to the crisis needs to be much more urgent. We need to address both the immediate needs of the homeless and those living in emergency accommodation and the longer terms issues of providing decent housing for all. A series of measures must to be taken including fast tracking of a Social Housing building programme, integrating Social Housing into the broader context of local community development. Legislation to give tenants more security of tenure and regulations to reduce the number of evictions. Some control on spiraling rent raises. We need to remember that housing effects people’s quality of life, a decent place to call home is a basic human need. 

As an elected representative I will make housing a priority issue and will work with and support those groups highlighting the issue. 

4: To expect local people not to have a bus service to Ringsend Village, Pearse St, Sandymount Village and a direct route to St Vincent’s Hospital is madness. Also the bus only leaving to Matt Talbot Bridge and back is no good for people who can’t get around freely. This will isolate people as they won’t have public transport to get them to where they need to go (e.g. shops, doctors, hospital). And this can lead also to local business closing. On the future transport plans, the need for investment in an effective and efficient public transport. As with all types of planning, consultation with local communities is essential.

5: All development needs to have community engagement and consultation at its centre, we know that has not always happened in the past and we also know the level of problems that result from such failures. It is vital that local businesses are supported as a very important element of the community. I am particularly interested in this as my family are still involved in business in the Ringsend area of the constituency. 

6: One of the things that makes me most frustrated is how slow the process of change can be, I am someone who believes in getting things done effectively and without delay. One of my reasons for going into politics is because I regard it as a privilege to be able to help and work with people locally to build a better stronger more cohesive community for all. Many things make me happy, I have always had a great interest in sport, so the Dubs winning five in a row would be a major highlight of 2019 for me.

James Geoghegan – Fine Gael

Husband to Claire from Sandymount, father and practicing barrister with a decade of experience working in law and politics, including US Congress, EU Commission and the Banking Inquiry. 

1: If elected, as a member of Dublin City Council, I would have a number of what are called ‘reserved functions’. The most important parts of those functions are adopting the annual budget, varying the basic rate of the Local Property Tax by +/- 15%, setting the level of commercial rates to be charged; borrowing money; deciding to dispose of land held by the local authority; making, amending or revoking of bye-laws; and making a development plan. 

Those are my legal powers, but I want to use the power of local government to help enhance communities, and particularly community groups that volunteer their time to contribute to the betterment of their neighbours and the environment around them. I want to be a councillor that can bring together the power and resources of local government with the ingenuity of local people who are already doing so much for their own community. 

2: I decided to seek the nomination of Fine Gael for several reasons, but perhaps most significantly because there is no other party in my view that is embedded in, and supportive of, the European Union project than Fine Gael. In these testing times of BREXIT, in my view similar to when Fine Gael took over from Fianna Fáil following the financial collapse, Fine Gael’s longstanding ties and support of the European Union has paid dividend to the unwavering support we have received from the EU to defend Ireland’s interest against the threats that BREXIT poses to our country. 

3: I think its important that the appeal to An Bord Pleanála first be heard and completed and I don’t want to prejudge that outcome but I do hope it will have been dealt with soon and once it is completed, I intend to scrutinise very carefully the finalised proposal and listen very carefully to the community and future residents’ views. 

4: Dublin desperately needs better public transport and better cycling and pedestrian facilities given it is now the most congested city in the world. Equally however, major infrastructural change requires comprehensive consultation with those communities who will be effected in the short-term from construction works, and in the long term from changes made to their community and environment. I have had the opportunity to knock on every door in Nutley Lane, Nutley Avenue and Nutley Park to hear the resident’s views on the impact that the Bus Connects proposals are going to have on their area and I will be attending the Bus Connects consultation meeting scheduled for the 27th of March. I have heard understandably major concerns from those living on Nutley Lane and equally concerns about safety from parents and other vulnerable road users in the wider area. I believe it is essential that the public consultation which has been extended to the end of May 2019 ensures that their views are fully and comprehensively considered and addressed. 

5: I believe a lot of the community disruption that has been caused by development and public transport proposals, particularly BusConnects was entirely avoidable and with better consultation with the affected communities and greater political accountability, more cohesive solutions could have been put forward. I don’t believe in pitting car drivers against cyclists or pedestrians because all it does is create unnecessary tensions in communities when most people want good public transport, better cycling facilities and improved pedestrian amenities for vulnerable road users. If elected, I would hope to use my power to close the gap between residents, business owners, commuters and members of the community to deliver better solutions for this area. 

6: Partisanship in politics makes me frustrated, and my wife and son make me happy.

Kevin Donoghue – Labour candidate for South East Inner City

Kevin is an active member of his community in Ringsend and is a trustee of his local residents association. He works as a Trade Union organiser supporting vulnerable workers in employments across the country.

1: A councillor’s official role is largely in setting policy on housing, roads, sanitation, planning and environment. The precise powers are outlined in the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The powers of councillors were significantly curtailed in recent years but there are still a few reserved functions. Having said that politics is the art of the possible and the bulk of the work is done behind the scenes and out of sight. I would like to see the council move back to basics and focus on the provision of housing and clean, green, safe environments in the city. 

2: The Labour Party is about taking a pragmatic approach to delivering the best outcome for ordinary people. It is a difficult way to do things and very few people are willing to genuinely engage with it. For various reasons it tends to be easier to either address problems with no real desire to solve them or just to ignore them altogether. The Labour Party tries to engage with issues and provide real solutions that help the most vulnerable in our society. That is why I joined the party and it is the mind set I would apply to my work as a councillor.

3: The social and affordable housing promised for the Glass Bottle site has to be delivered. It appears to be clear that certain groups would like to socially cleanse the area and it is the responsibility of the community and the public representatives to resist this in the strongest possible terms. The notion that you could be a second or third generation and suddenly be told your children aren’t good enough to live in the area is a disgrace. It is hard to underestimate the magnitude of the problem faced by communities campaigning for social and affordable housing in the South East Inner City. If we are serious about tackling the housing issue in our area we need to be willing to work together towards that aim. The delivery of mixed housing will be an absolute priority for me if I am elected. 

4: The future is in public transport. I am in favour of Bus Connects and improving public transport infrastructure in general. However, it is important to understand that residents will have genuine concerns about the proposed changes and their views should be heard. Those best placed to assess the impact of the new routes are the ones who live on them. I have worked hard to ensure that people know as much about the changes as they can and know how to make their voices heard on them.

Last summer I worked with Kevin Humphreys to ensure that the proposal for the number 1 bus route would continue to stop in Sandymount Village. The work we did, along with the residents, shows that we can make sure our voices are heard on changes that have an impact on the area.

5: The rapid development of the area risks allowing the balance to be tipped in favour of those who prioritise making profits over building communities. A number of large companies have made jobs announcements for the area in recent times and I am concerned this has been done with little regard to the impact on the local community. It is great to see that there is such a willingness to invest in Ireland and to create jobs here but we need to be careful that it is not done at any cost. The increased spending power brought by these new jobs coupled with the intention of the council not to provide social housing in the area are an obvious risk to healthy development of the area. 

6: My work makes me very happy. I like working with residents and activists in the area. Everyone knows each other and they bring a strong sense of community with them. It is hard not to get caught up in it. I am a trade union organiser too and I help workers build strong unions and fight for better terms and conditions in their workplaces. It is a very fulfilling role. I get frustrated by the idea that politics has become about defining ourselves by what we are against and not what we are for. An environment like that becomes toxic very quickly and little, if anything, ever comes from it. The activism becomes about highlighting problems and attacking opponents rather than looking for solutions and it is ordinary people who always lose out.