Brigid Purcell

People Before Profit-Solidarity candidate for South East Inner City

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

Building social and genuinely affordable housing is key to ending the housing crisis, but we run into two problems: land and property hoarding and the lack of a state-run construction company. 

Tackling land/property hoarding is fairly straightforward:

  • Dublin City Council must start closely documenting vacant and derelict sites. 
  • Dublin City Council must actually enforce the Vacant Site Levy. DCC was owed €6.8 million in Vacant Site Levies as of September 2023. If the law is not enforced, it is not a deterrent for rogue land and property hoarders.
  • The Vacant Site Levy should increase the longer a property hoarder leaves a site idle. 
  • After a period of time the site is still vacant, DCC should compulsory purchase the site. Rent it, use it or sell it to the Council.


On a state-run construction company:

  • DCC and councillors need to be the government for funds to boost the Council’s capacity to build homes. 
  • DCC and councillors need to support the establishment of a state-run construction company that would work with the LDA and councils across the country to build social and affordable housing. 
  • DCC needs to stop the sale of public land to private developers, and instead use that land for social and affordable housing projects.


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

There are chronic issues with lack of maintenance of council housing. Damp, black mould, blocked shore causing flooding, all because repairs and maintenance are not being properly addressed. There are simply not enough maintenance workers, and too much out-sourcing to private contractors.

We need to hire DCC maintenance workers on permanent contracts, and we need to provide new trade apprenticeships. Maintenance and repairs should be a well-paid, rewarding job that attracts new workers. With more council workers, maintenance and repairs would be completed in a much more timely manner, as well as shortening the turnaround for vacant council housing, allowing that housing to come back into use. 

These workers could also carry out retrofitting council housing, bringing energy bills down for council tenants and cutting our carbon emissions. 

For private rental tenants, we need new legislation around housing. We need to bring in a ban on “no-fault” evictions, rent controls and we need to give the RTB teeth to deal with bad landlords. 

In council, I would push to restrict short-term letting such as AirBnB and expand DCC’s capacity for inspecting private rentals for breaches in minimum standards for tenancies. 

What would you do to help make the city feel less dirty, tackling the rubbish and dog poo all over the streets?

DCC has been systematically removing public bins from the city. In 2021 it was reported that they have removed 2000 public bins, and anecdotally I know that number has only increased. 

I fundamentally believe that if you give people a resource, they will use it. I would push to reinstall the bins that have been removed and install more, as well as increase the number of dog poo bins, recycling bins, focusing particularly on areas with a lot of litter/very few bins. 

I would revive the People Before Profit motion to take back control of our waste collection out of the hands of private companies like Greyhound or Panda that are extorting their customers and have created monopolies in the areas they service. I would push for more free recycling centres and to hire more council street sweepers.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Vacant and derelict property is a monument to decades of failure of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing policies. As the candidate for People Before Profit, I am currently leading a campaign on highlighting “voided” Council housing in the South Inner City, demanding DCC take action on their empty properties. 

As stated above, DCC must more closely document vacant and derelict properties. Their current register is not reflective of reality in the city. 

We need a punitive tax to apply to vacant privately-owned houses and sites, with the rate escalating with duration of vacancy, to encourage the owners to bring the property back into use or to sell. After a specified period, or where an owner can not be found, DCC should use its power to compulsory purchase and use these acquisitions for housing.

I would push for DCC to hire more maintenance workers to speed up the turnover of vacant council housing, bringing it back into use faster on a strict timeline. 

What needs to be done to make the city feel safer?

  • Increase investment in youth services to pre-austerity levels.
  • Increase investment in youth outreach programmes to engage young people not currently using youth services.
  • Increase investment into clubs and sports. Subsidise gym membership for young people, attach more training opportunities to existing sport and leisure facilities to allow young people to earn money in the growing fitness industry and elsewhere.
  • Introduce adult drop-in social centres that offer a range of activities and facilities including showers. Integrate with homeless services, addiction support workers and other services. 
  • Support the establishment of more supervised drug consumption facilities practising harm reduction and integrating addiction support services. 
  • Increase street lighting.


What needs to be done to improve public transport in the city?

Dublin City needs free and frequent public transport, like what we see in Luxembourg. DCC can lobby the government for increased investment into public transport. 

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

We should continue to pedestrianise parts of Dublin, but we also need to take people out of their cars rather than just redirecting them. Better, cheaper, reliable public transport would help hugely to take cars off the roads. DCC should lobby the government for this investment from the state. 

I would support the expansion of protected bike lanes and cycle safety campaigns in schools. 

What would you do to help counter the rise of the far right, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ hate, and anti-asylum-seeker arsons?

I am a proud and ardent anti-racist. I have played an active role in the Ireland for All campaign and Stronger Together campaign, and am involved in volunteering with homeless asylum seekers. I led an information campaign in Ringsend after the arson attack on January 1st this year, and have done my best to counter racist and dangerous lies from far-right agitators with bad intentions. 

The rise of hate movements is partly a result of failures by the state and local councils, particularly in addressing housing issues, providing essential services, and addressing growing inequality. These issues are real and cannot be brushed aside or overlooked. In anti-racist and anti-fascist efforts, it's crucial to remember this. There can be no room for ambiguity or alliances with government parties that have created the conditions allowing this problem to thrive.

That aside, the council could also be doing more to promote inclusion, like funding more cultural events and initiatives. 

DCC should also provide stronger support for its staff members facing abuse by the far-right, be it in public libraries, civic offices or elsewhere.