Cathal Haughey

Fianna Fáil candidate for Howth-Malahide

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

Since Fianna Fáil entered Government in 2020 there has been a significant increase in new houses being built, while I know this needs to continue to ramp up massively. The State and Local Authorities must have a large role in the supply of housing and if elected to Fingal County Council I would work with my colleagues to support and vote for the building of more housing developments.

I will advocate for the retention and expansion of the schemes available to help potential buyers, including the Help to Buy Scheme, First Home Scheme, Croí Cónaithe scheme, among others.

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

When planning permission is being granted for new housing or apartments, there should be requirements for amenities and services to deal with increase in population in that area. There has been a strain on school places and crèche places in certain areas in my constituency, with schools and crèches not meeting the needs of the area due to the increased population.

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

We are an island nation and Dublin Airport is vital for our country. It is hugely beneficial for the people of Fingal to have the Airport on its doorstep, which provides huge employment and connectivity. I count myself lucky to live close-by to it. There is a trade-off with living close to the airport, with residents under the flight-path having to put up with noise pollution. I believe most people accept this during the day, whereas there is obviously more inconvenience caused by night-flights which can disrupt sleep.

The Dublin Airport Authority has breached its planning permission regarding night-time flights at the Airport. This has caused increased noise pollution for residents when they are sleeping. The DAA is now seeking to change the planning permission and remove the cap of night-time flights, and extend night-time hours. This would have an impact on residents. I am pro-Airport, but Fingal County Council must hold the DAA to account when it is in breach of planning permission. I hope An Bord Pleanala will endeavour to take into account the views of residents in terms of the DAA's plans on night-time flights and the passenger cap.

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

Simply put, there needs to be more staff, more routes, more frequency, and more reliable public transport. On this note, in my own Electoral Area it is very regrettable that under Irish Rail's DART Coastal North plans, Howth, Sutton and Bayside could potentially lose it's direct DART to the City, instead having to get a shuttle service to Howth-Junction Donaghmede.

This is a part of Dublin that by its geography, is naturally cut-off from the rest of the County. Howth is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Dublin. It is crazy that we may see a downgrade of the public transport service to the Peninsula. I made submissions to the two public consultations held by Irish Rail on these plans, along with many others who oppose these plans. I will continue to advocate for the retention of the direct DART to the City from Howth, Sutton and Bayside. I will also advocate for improved public transport across my Electoral Area.

Another issue for users of public transport is the inaccurate real time information, as well as the lack of synchronisation between various transport apps and the digital boards. Accurate real time information would be a big improvement in terms of efficiency for commuters.

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

We must improve cycling infrastructure across the City and County. On a very basic level, fixing potholes and repairing and improving roads and existing cycle lanes would improve safety. The same applies to footpaths for those walking.

We need to improve traffic calming measures in appropriate locations. More public lighting would also help those on foot as well as the provision of more benches, and widening of paths to help those with mobility issues or those with prams. We also need to increase the amount of bike parking facilities to make cycling more efficient and to ensure there is reduced bike theft.

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

I support traffic calming measures on roads where speeding is an issue. I will support increased footpaths to give people the option to walk instead of having to take the car. Many roads and bends would need to be widened and Fingal County Council should take a more proactive role in ensuring this can happen, through compulsory purchases orders if necessary.

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

Clearly there is limited green space in urban areas compared to rural areas, so we must focus on developing our existing greenspaces into areas of biodiversity. Many residents associations and Tidy Towns have paved the way in terms of biodiversity projects in their greenspaces and Fingal County Council have supported this. Local Authorities should continue to support residents with workshops on biodiversity. This should also be explored further in schools. It would be great to see more community gardens across Dublin.

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

I have been made aware of a number of sports clubs who have applied for permission to install new pitches, which have been turned down by Fingal County Council, which I think is very regrettable. There is a lack of all-weather pitches in the Howth-Malahide LEA which leads to a reliance on grass pitches which are unplayable when there is heavy rain. The delays in developing Racecourse Park in Baldoyle due to "legal issues" is exacerbating these issues. There needs to be a change in direction from Fingal in terms of approving applications, but also in proactively developing and building green spaces and sports facilities on Council owned land.