Cieran Perry

Independent candidate for Cabra-Glasnevin

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

To be clear, councillors have very little power to build houses and anyone claiming otherwise is a bullshitter. Housing policy is dictated by Government and carried out by unelected local authority officials. Governments over the past decades, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens, have ideologically opposed the building of public housing. Judge these parties by their actions not their promises at election time.

In relation to housing, councillors have the power to dispose of public land and we seen the disgraceful giveaway of the lands at O’Devaney Gardens to a private developer. I was centrally involved in the campaign to stop the giveaway of the public lands and councillors from the Greens, the Social Democrats, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour voted in favour of the giveaway. Over 1,000 public and social homes could have been built on the lands but instead a developer will make huge profits on public land gifted to them.  

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

One simple and effective way to improve conditions is to resource the departments carrying out checks on both public and private rented properties. Again, we have seen the previous Government's ideological opposition to employing local authority staff and the dubious relationship between landlords and the major political parties. The number of TDs who are also landlords is a clear conflict of interest.

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

The primary issue in relation to illegal dumping and dog poo is the weak legislation. If any of the parties who are or were in Government are serious about tackling the illegal dumping crisis the legislation must be strengthened immediately.

Secondly, the existing laws must be enforced. Ireland doesn’t do enforcement well!

Thirdly, the enforcement sections in local authorities must be properly staffed.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Vacancy and dereliction are also at crisis levels and require radical action. The Derelict Sites levy and the Vacant Site levy are a very good start but Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) need to be used more frequently. The CPO legislation has to be strengthened and the process simplified. This may require challenging the constitutional property rights.  

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

Simple solution is to have a more visible police presence and a judiciary willing to enact the laws. Open drug dealing and anti-social behaviour must be tackled.

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

A free, properly resourced public transport service and policies to discourage private vehicle use.

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

Simple solution is to have a more visible police presence and a judiciary willing to enact the laws. Open drug dealing and anti-social behaviour must be tackled.

Properly resourced public domain improvements will encourage both cyclists and pedestrians.

Safe cycling facilities are also essential.  

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

Government policy on immigration is almost solely to blame for the rise of the racist right. Dumping refugees (and I use that word purposely) in working class areas with no consultation and no increase in already scarce resources was a recipe for disaster. The pantomime of giving taxpayer funded tents to desperate refugees and then removing them in a coordinated public showcase keeps the immigration issue on the political agenda.

This cynical policy has played well for Fine Gael with them holding their own in the polls and Sinn Féin seeing a drop in support. The irony of the situation is that the very political parties responsible for the housing and homeless crisis and the dysfunctional health service are not being targeted by the racist right. Given the historical evidence of the racist right, we should not be surprised that they and the establishment parties are actually on the same side.

The only way to counter the parasitic racist right is to organise in communities. Preaching at communities or demonising communities will only further disaffect ordinary people. The weakness of the racist right is that they have never tackled the drug dealers damaging our communities, have never campaigned for resources in communities, never fought against the political parties who have forced austerity on our communities or defended workers as union reps.