Angela Donnelly

Sinn Féin candidate for Ongar

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget for Housing 2024 outlines the party’s detailed proposals to address the deepening housing crisis by focussing on the delivery of affordable homes. This includes provision for an additional €1.4bn of capital expenditure and €300m Approved Housing Body borrowing to deliver 21,000 social, affordable-rental and affordable-purchase homes next year. Our Alternative Budget would deliver the radical change of direction needed to address a housing crisis that has gone from bad to worse under this government.

The Sinn Féin team have tabled questions at both area and council meetings seeking tenant in situ information to keep the focus on those tenants that have been given a notice to quit. The current system is taking too long with many landlords opting to sell their properties in the private market. We will continue to put pressure on FCC to streamline this process. We continue to advocate for the use the public residentially zoned land in Fingal to be used to deliver social and affordable homes.

At our October council meeting we agreed the next phase of 300 homes with sporting amenities in Churchfields, Mulhuddart. The scheme consists of 37 hectares and is part of the Churchfield’s master plan. Work commenced late last year on the scheme that will deliver 180 affordable purchase homes, 80 cost rental homes and 40 social homes.

The site in its entirety will deliver 1000 new properties in total. A creche, a local community facility, retail units and a number of public green spaces will be constructed along with the mixed development, in addition to a linear park and the rejuvenation of an existing nearby park.

What would you do to help make sure adequate amenities and services would be added along with any new housing built?

Accommodation alone does not make a community. We have all seen how the disastrous planning decisions of previous governments have impacted on communities. In Dublin West huge housing estates were built with little of no community, education or transport infrastructure to support it. The Development Plan adopted last year strongly supports amenities and services. Developments given the green light in Fingal, have these incorporated within their plans, the phasing of this work is paramount. The homes cannot be built without the accompanying infrastructure. There is also work being undertaken to address areas without adequate amenities. FCC recently carried out a play review for Dublin 15 which has highlighted those areas needing play facilities for children. We are lucky to have adequate community centres, although there is significant work required on some to bring them up to standard. Hartstown Community Centre, on which I am a board member is about to undergo a major refurbishment following it being taken over by FCC a year ago. Corduff Resource centre will shortly close for major refurbishment also.

What are your views are on Dublin Airport’s current operations and its proposed expansion?

The plans are very impressive and the DAA provide a fantastic service however consultation with residents and adherence to planning agreements (this is disputed by the DAA) has been lacking with legal action being taken by both FCC and the DAA. There have been many motions brought before the council, Ann Graves, the SF councillor for Swords have been leading the charge in supporting residents in relation to noise from the additional nighttime flights that were taking an incorrect path.

What needs to be done to improve public transport in Fingal?

Although Dart + West will be welcomed by the residents of Dublin West, it is many years down the road. Dublin 15 needs public transport to the airport. Bus connects is set to deliver this but although promised for 2024, it has been pushed back to next year.

The bus connects project has made a lot of promises, most of which are very welcome, but some are not and the SF team in Dublin West will continue to advocate for acceptable solutions for residents. Currently there is an issue in Dublin 15 with buses not turning up, so called ghost buses, which was raised with the NTA, when I tabled a motion requesting that they meet with the area committee.

Staff shortages were cited as the reason for this and the NTA assured us that there staffing levels are now adequate. The problem still persists however, and the issue continues to be raised directly with the NTA, at council level and in the Dáil by Paul Donnelly TD.

What should be done to make it nicer and safer for people to get around the city on foot and by bike?

A lot of work has been undertaken to improve cycling and walking infrastructure in Fingal. In Dublin West we have several new cycle lanes. The design of these is improving constantly as there were mistakes made initially, in my opinion. The Hartstown/Huntstown cycle lanes were not welcomed by many residents of Dublin 15 and the poles are not aesthetically appealing, but the lanes are being used more and more now. I have submitted many representations about the upkeep of the cycle lanes to ensure they are maintained to an acceptable standard.

I’m a board member of Blanchardstown Centre for Independent Living. We help those in our community live independently. Trip hazards are a major problem for those residents who have limited mobility/sight, older residents with walking aids and parents pushing prams. I have submitted over 1,000 representations to FCC in the two years since my co-option, over half of which related to trip hazards, that were addressed by the operation’s team.

What should be done to make the roads safer for all road users?

As a councillor I receive many communications from residents about speeding and dangerous parking. FCC will introduce ramps into areas that are thoroughfares but there needs to be agreement from the majority of the residents and the gardai have to approve it. This is difficult to achieve, and a case need to be built with a record of reports to gardai of incidences in the area of concern.

All our housing estates have a 30kph speed limit and there are signs in every estate to inform residents of this. People don’t like to inform the guards of dangerous driving by their neighbours but unfortunately it is necessary if we are to tackle it.

Dangerous parking is a very difficult issue to address and goes back to the lack of housing for residents. Houses with six adults in them is not unusual, because of our inadequate public transport. This results in 3 to 4 cars in some houses. Those residents struggle to find parking and so park on corners and grass verges which cause problems with sight lines and damage to the grass verges.

I have asked out traffic engineer to investigate many of these issues to see if solutions can be found. On the slip road from the N3 to Littlepace I asked that the left lane be made left turn only, as the traffic was backing up down the N3. The traffic engineer agreed to this, and it has made a huge difference to the traffic flow in the area. A further representation has resulted in VAS sign on the Ongar Distributor Road.

How would you help create more natural green spaces and promote biodiversity in Fingal?

We are lucky in Dublin West to have a lot of green areas and parks. I submitted a motion to rezone our community allotment in Powerstown to open space to protect the allotments going forward. It is a great amenity and a fantastic biodiversity hub which we need more of.

FCC has agreed to 100 biodiversity actions and wildflower meadows are introduced on many of our roundabouts and suitable green areas. All of our parks have wild areas and there have been hundreds of new trees planted. I’m a member of Clonsilla Tidy Towns and only last month planted tree whips on an area of greenspace on the Clonsilla road.

How would you help get more parks and sports facilities built in Fingal?

We just recently approved the plans, after some tweaking following public consultation, for Corduff FC’s facilities in Corduff. The plans are fantastic with sporting facilities, a play area and a biodiversity area included. This is the template we must use going forward.

Sports clubs are a vital part of our community and I work closely with those in my area to help them improve their facilities. I got a motion passed for lighting in Hartstown park to enable children from the area walk to the all-weather facility safely on dark evenings.

There are many clubs in Fingal that do not have adequate facilities and no changing facilities which is unacceptable in 2024, particularly for our girls and young women that we are trying to encourage to continue their sporting involvement.

FCC starting a transition year programme for girls soccer which was hugely successful last year. This follows on from the boy’s programme that has been in place many years. All these actions help to keep our children playing sport. We need to play our part by providing facilities for these and I will continue to advocate for that.

In addition to parks and sports facilities there is work undertaken to include all our community in activities. A new Arch club, Thrive, was just recently set up for children with dyspraxia in Dublin 15, this allows those children to play sports in a safe environment. There is a skate park in the Millennium Park that is hugely successful that needs to be replicated elsewhere. A lot of work has been done to encourage cycling by people of all ages and abilities. Sport is for everyone and should be inclusive. I will do whatever I can to promote that.