Carolyn Moore

Green Party candidate for Kimmage-Rathmines

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

So many of the frustrations people have with living in Dublin are caused or exacerbated by the housing crisis - the cost, the stress and the uncertainty of renting and the desperation people feel that their hope of owning a home is slipping away. As a councillor I’ve always tried to make constructive contributions to planning applications in Kimmage-Rathmines, acknowledging that the housing crisis is not just one of supply but of affordability. We need to be building communities, not just constructing units for profit, and I’ve worked with local residents to try and secure the best outcomes for their community where new developments are concerned.

I’m committed to doing all I can to help address the housing crisis, and I believe the cost rental model of housing - which is a cornerstone of Green Party housing policy - offers a sustainable, flexible and community-oriented solution. Housing is a right, not a commodity and cost rental (aka ‘the Vienna Model’ of housing) involves constructing affordable rental properties on public land, only charging the cost of construction over the lifetime of the property and thereby removing the profit motive. Delivered at scale it would drive down rents and the security of tenure it offers would take some of the pressure off the housing market. In Dublin we should be working with approved housing bodies and the land development agency to ensure cost rental makes up a sizeable chunk of the social and affordable housing we’re delivering, building in ideas like life-cycle housing so that people can stay settled in their community through different life stages.

Existing properties also offer a sustainable and efficient way to increase housing supply. The council needs to improve the turnover time for bringing empty social homes back into use and play an active role in turning vacant and derelict properties into homes. I want to see more resources allocated to identifying and reclaiming vacant or derelict properties, I want to see a proper crackdown on illegal full-time Air BnBs, and a strategy to increase over the shop living opportunities. The Green Party has supported the introduction of a scheme to repurpose space above shops for residential use, and we are making this a reality through the existing Croí Connaithe Scheme.

Ultimately the individual needs within the housing crisis are varied and require a range of solutions designed to bring a sustainable supply of mixed accommodation options on stream.

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

Good quality housing is the cornerstone of a healthy community, and I’m committed to ensuring we achieve high standards across the board. In social housing, this will involve a significant increase in maintenance budgets, so that repairs are undertaken in a timely fashion and urgent issues like mould, draughts or poor ventilation can be resolved quickly. We also need to adequately support an ongoing programme of work to upgrade social housing so it’s healthy, warm and energy efficient and the quality of life for residents is improved.

It’s important that we continue to expand direct labour and apprenticeships within Dublin City Council, addressing any skills shortages and ensuring this work continues to progress. As Green councillors we sought apprenticeships, which Dublin City Council are now actively recruiting for, and we advocated for increased resources for direct labour which DCC implemented in 2023.

To improve life for renters, I will advocate for more resources for the council's private rental inspection team, to bolster their ability to enforce minimum standards and safeguard tenants’ rights. By prioritising regular inspections, we can hold landlords accountable and uphold the rights of renters. Additionally, the tenant-in-situ scheme, which empowers the council to purchase homes from at-risk private tenants, remains a valuable tool in preventing evictions and ensuring housing security, and again, my hope is that more cost rental housing will drive down rents and contribute to a higher standard of affordable, secure, quality rental accommodation.

Additionally, I return to the point that we need to be building communities not ‘units’. As chair of Dublin City’s Local Community Development Committee I played a significant role in developing Dublin’s next Local Economic and Community Plan and in discussions around housing we saw a universal recognition of the importance of community services and civic amenities. Parks and playgrounds and community spaces are not ‘nice to have’ add ons that can be delivered years after housing - they’re just as essential to the quality of life of residents as the four walls around them and the roof over their head; invaluable for families, young people, social activity and community cohesion.

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

For me this one requires a top down and bottom up approach. From the top down we need to be allocating enough resources to ensure we’re setting a solid baseline for street cleaning and sweeping regimens that maintain a satisfactory level of care and cleanliness on our streets - and on all our streets, not just between the canals. Yes the city centre requires a heightened level of attention but we have busy urban centres beyond the canals that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Building upon the success of last year's increase in street cleaning staff for the city centre, I want to see this staff expansion extended to our urban villages and suburbs. I believe that getting this very basic thing right would enhance the overall quality of life for residents and their sense of satisfaction with living in Dublin.

Once the resources are there, we need to start tackling the known root causes of much of our street litter: plastic refuse bags left out on the streets overnight to be torn asunder by wildlife, overflowing litter bins / a scarcity of litter bins, and, sadly, human behaviour.

I sat on the Climate and Environment committee during this council term so I’m well acquainted with the challenge and the stats on litter, but we’ve already identified some good solutions through pilot projects and these need to be rolled out more widely. The Bag Bin scheme, trialed in the city centre last year, should be rolled out to businesses and residents who don’t use wheelie bins - no one should be placing unprotected plastic refuse sacks on the street when we all know what’s going to happen to them.

I have also requested, supported and advocated for more and bigger litter bins across our communities and in parks and social spaces - I feel there’s been an attitude at executive level that if a litter bin attracts illegal dumping or residential waste you should get rid of it and that will eliminate the problem. It doesn’t, it just moves it somewhere else. I think, thankfully, that attitude is changing. Ultimately, I would love to see shared and underground bins, the kind you see in other cities, but I think it’s important that we continue to act on other, more immediate solutions in the meantime.

In terms of street litter, waste streams also need to be tackled at source, and I think with the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme and the ban on single-use plastic products we’re going to see less of these items littering our streets, beaches and parks. I’d be supportive of the levy on single use coffee cups for the same reason and have had a motion agreed that licenses to sell tea and coffee in our parks should be contingent on providing reusable cups. I’ve also had water refill stations funded in three of our Kimmage Rathmines parks, and an agreement to provide them in libraries so people can use refillable bottles instead of buying plastic.

There are dumping blackspots that also need to be monitored and I hope we can soon start leveraging recently enacted CCTV powers to catch people fly-tipping and dumping.

To tackle the issue of littering and dumping (the human behaviour element) people need to feel there’s a realistic prospect of a fine. I would like to see more litter wardens and stronger enforcement measures, but I have also advocated for the creation of a new ‘community warden’ role - a visible presence on the streets, someone who could issue parking, dog-fouling, litter or other fines. I had a motion agreed that we would trial such a role, one on the north-side and one on the south-side, and I would continue to pursue this trial in the new council term. But there can be creative and community-led ‘bottom up’ solutions too - it doesn’ have to be all stick, no carrot. I’ve had the great fortune of working closely with the fantastic Crumlin Community Clean Up group over the last number of years, and supported by the council they’ve taken the approach of beautifying litter black spots, with really impressive results. I think there’s opportunity for peer-to-peer, community-to-community learning on issues like this, and it would support our circular economy objectives too.

The issue of dog waste sometimes feels like the problem without a solution, but every problem has to have a solution. More regular cleaning would of course get it off the streets quicker, but at the same time there’s a human behaviour element here that requires a multifaceted approach. We need an appropriate number of litter bins on dog walking routes and in parks, but we also need people to realise that not picking up after your dog is hugely anti-social, inconsiderate and just wrong. People should feel really ashamed if they do it. Effective signage, enforcement and fines will remain essential tools in curbing this problem, but we also need to look at solutions that have worked elsewhere, like a crowd-sourced mapping tool that had great results in Cambridgeshire.

As you can tell by the length of this response, working towards a circular economy and reducing waste is a big passion for me, and my vision for a cleaner Dublin would include the right mix of proven, proactive measures to tackle waste at source, improve our waste management, promote recycling and reuse, and ensure our communities are clean, enjoyable places to live.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

There are few things that frustrate Dubliners more than the sight of vacant or derelict buildings that we know could be put to good use as homes, artists studios, retail spaces, work hubs or other community spaces. I support a robust response to tackling vacancy and dereliction, and one that includes a more assertive use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs). Dublin City Council should be actively looking to add eligible buildings to the derelict sites register, rapidly moving forward with acquisition and progressing to refurbish or repurpose buildings to get them back into use. Instead of being eyesores and magnets for dumping or other anti-social behaviour, these buildings and sites have huge potential to contribute positively to our communities, and we should be unlocking that potential.

Again, my experience chairing the Local Community Development Committee and developing the city’s next Local Economic and Community Plan has shown me how important it is that we take a holistic approach to community development, and tackling vacancy and dereliction is key to that. It doesn’t just present an opportunity to provide housing, it can also bring on stream more space for community services, social enterprises, and amenities like parklets and community gardens. Regenerating underused spaces, particularly in communities with a high rate of vacancy and dereliction, can be a real driver for community cohesion and create a sense of belonging and connection within our neighbourhoods, particularly with heritage buildings that have been part of the fabric of a community for generations.

For this reason, I support measures like the Vacant Homes Tax and the Residential Zoned Land Tax to stimulate the supply of much-needed accommodation in our city, and also I think grants like Croí Conaithe that allow people to regenerate vacant buildings at an individual level are proving very successful. We do need to see a quicker release of grants though, to speed up the process and make it more attractive to people. There’s also a great heritage revival fund called ‘Thrive’ that provides up to €7m to renovate disused heritage buildings and councillors have a role to play in ensuring these funds are tapped into for the benefit of Dubliners, addressing a huge issue and turning it into a community gain.

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

There’s no silver bullet for this one, and while a bigger Garda presence on the streets is the obvious answer, policing alone won’t make our communities safer or eliminate people’s safety concerns. Our local Gardaí do of course have an important role to play and should be well resourced in that regard, and councillors have a role in terms of identifying and highlighting areas where greater resources are needed. We can also work with Gardai and community policing teams to ensure the right approach is taken to tackling the issues that cause people to feel unsafe, and the Joint Policing Committees and Community Safety Forums have been great platforms for that.

We need investment in the Garda Youth Diversion Programme and in fighting the root causes of crime by providing more space for young people and improving youth work supports. Ultimately (and again, I refer to my experience on the Local Community Development Committee) strong communities are safe communities, so we need to support our local partnerships and the community and voluntary sector to provide structure, activities, guidance, social outlets and empathetic engagement to ensure that young people don’t get caught up in criminality.

Finally, our communities need to be safe by design - a liveable city is a city where people feel safe in their communities. Social spaces, rest areas, walkability, permeability, and accessible local services all equal people on our streets and that provides a level of passive surveillance that naturally discourages bad behaviour and makes everyone feel safer. I’ve completed a Women’s Safety Audit of Crumlin and Kimmage that identified a number of issues I was able to get resolved, like poor or broken lighting, lack of safe crossings etc. It was a really valuable exercise and it’s something I would seek the council’s support to carry out in other neighbourhoods in Kimmage Rathmines in the future.

And for those whose safety concerns emanate from traffic, speeding cars or footpath parking, I want to ensure that everyone feels safe walking, cycling, relaxing, socialising, exercising and enjoying themselves in their community. We can achieve that sense of safety by lowering speed limits, building more cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings and increasing pedestrianised areas.

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

Over the last four years I’ve made some very comprehensive submissions to BusConnects and the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy and these outline in great detail my approach to prioritising public transport and making it a safe, accessible, reliable and efficient mode of transport for more people.

At a national level the Greens have made public transport a priority, massively increasing investment, funding major projects, green-lighting Metro, and cutting fares by 20% for adults and 60% for young people. Public transport use grew by 25% last year alone, which shows the value of this investment. And while Councillors don’t have direct control over the provision of public transport, we do have some say on the allocation of road space. In the long term the most important thing we can do is advocate for and support public transport projects and infrastructure, but in the short term we need to dedicate more road space to bus lanes so the existing service is reliable and efficient. It isn’t acceptable that a bus with 60 or 80 people on it would be stuck in traffic behind multiple cars carrying just one person, and I strongly support the introduction of camera-based enforcement to act as a deterrent for people using the bus lane (and to prevent red light breaking). 

Improved accessibility of our buses and trains is also key, so that public transport can be an option for everyone, especially older people, people with disabilities, and those traveling with children in buggies. We also need safe, well lit bus stops with seating and reliable real time information as standard.

Dubliners who want to see, use and benefit from an improved public transport service need to elect councillors who will stand up for public transport and not buckle under the extreme pressure exerted by the motoring lobby. We need to work openly, willingly and constructively with the NTA and other bodies who are leading on public transport delivery to ensure the projects, when they come on stream, maximise the opportunity to bring huge benefits to our communities. We also need to ensure network and other changes are well-communicated locally, and that local concerns or issues can be addressed and worked on. It will always be my position that a better public transport system is to be welcomed, but that won’t stop me pushing for maximum safety for people walking and cycling, greening and public realm improvements, and traffic calming.

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

The ongoing delivery and completion of Dublin City Council’s ‘Walk, wheel cycle’ Active Travel Network is absolutely paramount if we are to make it safer for people to get around on foot, wheeling or by bike. Kimmage Rathmines is home to Dublin’s cycling hotspot - the electoral division of Terenure A, where 20% of people chose to cycle daily to work, school, college or childcare. In this area alone we are looking at the delivery of seven active travel projects in the next five year term - our slice of a 310km safe, connected, city-wide active travel network. If people want to see those routes delivered, in spite of any opposition that may arise, they need to vote for councilors who will support active travel.

Making cycling a safe transport option for everyone from young children to pensioners means reallocating road space to provide for a connected network of bike lanes, segregated from motor traffic by a small kerb at the very least and not just a white line.

That becomes especially important near schools, and if we empower children to travel to school by active means (independently or otherwise) we can create the habit of a lifetime, have healthier, more independent kids, and take so much of the dreaded school commute traffic off our roads. Studies and lived experience show that active travel infrastructure brings untold benefits to communities (not least cleaner air, quieter streets and the passive surveillance mentioned earlier) but the work of delivering it is politically difficult - in the next council term, as we take the bulk of the active travel network from proposal through design stage to completion, it will need the backing of councillors who strongly believe in the cycling and walking agenda, as I do.

Additionally, I will continue to prioritise making our roads safer with lower speed limits, including a move to a default 30km/h. This is a measure most communities support, yet it failed to get the support of a majority of Dublin City Councillors in 2021. As well as a default 30km/h I will continue to push for the infrastructural improvements that reduce speeds and ensure our roads are designed to prioritise road safety, particularly that of children and other vulnerable road users. The pedestrian should always be at the top of the hierarchy of road users and it will require significant reconfiguring of existing road layouts to achieve that, along with the reintroduction of zebra crossings with raised tables at minor junctions to provide for pedestrian priority, and increased investment in pedestrian crossings generally. 

I sat on a working group that devised a pilot programme to deliver new zebra crossings and reduce the cost so we can get more of them, and that - combined with improved and widened footpaths, and tightened corners to slow down turing traffic - would really improve things for pedestrians, especially those who need extra time or space to complete a crossing or navigate a footpath. Benches are also key to ensure that people who are walking can get a rest, but in many of our urban villages the footpaths are so narrow that there isn’t even room to put a bench. I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you design for people, you get people. For Dublin to be a city that everyone can enjoy, we need to unpick decades of car-centric design and make space for people on our streets.

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

Coming out of a decade in which we saw huge social change driven by a desire for an Ireland that was kinder, more diverse and more inclusive, I think we thought were immune to the kind of rhetoric that was gaining traction elsewhere in the world, but in recent years we have seen familiar tactics used by a small number of people with a particular agenda to stoke fear and division in our communities.

Like most people I have been horrified by the arson attacks, the riots last year, and by attacks on people from minority groups. I believe there’s strength in diversity and our new communities have so much to offer. I’ve seen this in my work on the Local Community Development Community where we developed a new integration framework for the city. I’ve also seen first hand the extraordinary work of our community officers and local partnerships responding to emerging needs in our communities and putting inclusion and integration at the heart of their work.

As politicians and public representatives we have to stand firmly against the kind of hateful, divisive and intolerant rhetoric we are hearing amplified by a minority within some communities. I will always stand up for a Dublin that’s welcoming, inclusive and kind, and play whatever role I can in the integration work that is happening at a very grassroots level in our communities. We need to adequately support and resource the work of our LCDC and ensure the framework is there to support asylum seekers and integration initiatives, and we need to ensure that all Local Authority Integration Teams (LAITs) are fully staffed and can help to welcome new arrivals into our communities.