Eddie McGuinness

Labour Party candidate for South East Inner City

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

It is my strong belief that City and County Councils across Ireland, and especially Dublin City Council (DCC) need to be given back the ability to build significant amounts of housing again. If these powers are given back to Councils across Ireland, DCC should undertake substantial building projects, utilising both brown and green field sites to deliver social and affordable housing for people living in Dublin. Additionally, I would propose a plan for DCC to conduct a full audit of its current housing stock to identify all vacant properties in their possession - which is currently estimated to be in the thousands. To upgrade and repurpose these properties so that they can be readded into the DCC housing stock and made available to the people of Dublin as additional social and affordable housing options.

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

It is vitally important that DCC increases its provision of vitally needed property upgrading, retrofitting, and maintenance to ensure that its current housing stock meets today's building regulations and standards. Over the past number of months, I have been contacted by many DCC residents across Dublin’s South-East Inner City who have long-term and ongoing maintenance issues and requests logged with DCC. From broken radiators to leaking roofs. Despite their multiple attempts to engage with DCC, several of these residents asked for my assistance with getting these issues addressed by DCC. Although we have eventually gotten recognition and a commitment to fix some of these issues from DCC, many of which I am happy to say have been addressed satisfactorily. I do not think that it should take a political representative to secure engagement between DCC and its tenants. I think that DCC should have much more approachable services and develop a set of proactive strategies to deal with maintenance issues which their tenants are experiencing and reporting. Regarding the private rented sector, I think that both the Government and DCC need to support the growing number of people living in private rented accommodation across Dublin. Renters in Dublin (and across Ireland) deserve legislatively protected and long-term security of tenure with a fixed and affordable rental price attached. Although this action is needed at the Dáil level, DCC can also do more to help private renters. Some suggestions of support I will call for DCC to introduce if elected are increased DCC inspections of rental properties to ensure that landlords are maintaining the property and any associated gardens or communal spaces in line with the current legislation. These inspections are not to inspect the tenants, but to ensure that landlords are maintaining and providing the necessary services and amenities for their tenants. I firmly believe that Dublin City Councillors need to work more collaboratively with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to ensure that any/all tenants who make a complaint against their landlord (whether that is a private individual/organisation or DCC) are fully supported throughout their complaints process and that their tenancy is fully secured and maintained. This could be achieved through the development of a working group or sub-committee of Dublin City Councillors who engage fully with the RTB and residents, to advocate for residents and ensure their rights are maintained. If elected I would also advocate for DCC to ensure that people living in privately rented accommodation have access to adequate DCC facilities, such as bottle banks, bring centres, adequate bike parking/locking options, public bins, etc. Additionally, I think that DCC should provide all residents across the city (in all accommodation types) with a full contact list of DCC services which they are entitled to request, from street cleaning and maintenance teams to pest control.

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

I feel that better communication between residents and businesses across the communities of Dublin can foster better community relationships. This will help to ensure that everyone across Dublin City has a real sense of pride and ownership about the area we all live in, work in, and share. I think that developing a better community spirit will help to reduce the disrespect people show our urban communities by littering and dog fouling. However, there are also several practical solutions which are needed to address these issues. Such as the provision of more bins, public toilets, and dedicated dog poo bins (which provide “poo bags” free of charge) from DCC. Additionally, I will be strongly calling on DCC to employ more dedicated Dog and Litter Wardens for Dublin City to assist in ensuring our city is kept clean.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

The national government and all local councils need to urgently address the issues of long-term vacancy and dereliction across Ireland’s towns and cities. I propose that DCC should bring all the derelict and long-term vacant properties and sites across Dublin. Into public/DCC ownership (via compulsory purchase orders) to be turned into community facilities and spaces as well as social and affordable housing units. Additionally, new taxes should be introduced to penalise the owners of long-term vacant and derelict properties and/or sites, which would increase incrementally each year until these properties and sites are put into active use.

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

Dublin needs more community policing all year round across the city. We need more Garda on the streets through regularly scheduled patrols, who also engage proactively and cooperatively with local communities and resident groups to police the areas they serve in a collaborative and constructive manner. I feel these steps will help to make Dublin safer and reduce anti-social behaviour.

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

As a major European City Dublin both needs and deserves considerably better public transport than we currently have. The public transport options which Dublin needs to develop and progress are a Dublin Metro (which has been long promised by the Government), the expansion of the LUAS to West Dublin and for the current LUAS services to finally be connected to provide a unified and affordable rail system for all the Dublin city area. I also think that people in Dublin should be able to travel across the city via Dublin Bus without having to travel from their area into town and back out to their destination. For this reason and many more, I think that the routes and services of Dublin Bus need to be redesigned and move away from the current radial system which is currently in place. This would offer a truly connected and convenient Bus service for everyone living in Dublin city.

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

Dublin needs better maintained and safer footpaths. Currently, a significant amount of our footpaths are not properly maintained which results in serious issues for everyone who walks them daily. DCC needs to dramatically increase the ongoing maintenance and upgrading works of all footpaths across Dublin, especially across the South-East Inner city and the Canal Walkways. I also think that increased public outdoor (traffic-free) spaces are needed across Dublin city to better develop public spaces for residents to walk and relax in throughout the city centre. This could be achieved through DCC redesigning more of the city’s plazas, squares, and private parks for public use. DCC should also provide seating options and arrange the planting of trees, flower beds, planters, and green areas to decorate these public spaces. I also think that cyclists in Dublin deserve a much better, and most importantly safer cycling infrastructure for them to use. The additional cycle Green Ways which have been developed and opened across Dublin have provided some beneficial additional cycling routes for the city. But what is needed most is more designated (and properly segregated) cycle lanes across the city centre to ensure the safety and comfort of all who cycle through and into Dublin city centre. I also think that DCC and An Garda Síochána need to do a far better job at monitoring and policing motorists who disregard cycling infrastructure and choose to block (and park in) cycle lanes. The addition of more public bike parking/locking facilities from DCC across the city centre is also something that I will be strongly advocating for if elected to Dublin City Council this June.

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

As an active member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have experience dealing with the far-right for several years now. From my experience, I feel that the best way to counter the hate and misinformation aimed at all minorities or vulnerable groups is through community engagement and education. We need to talk to residents and the public about the lies and misinformation that these far-right groups are spreading. Once these open and constructive conversations are happening across communities in Dublin the lies and hate of the far-right can finally start to be challenged and discreated by all. I also think that DCC and residents across Dublin need to fully engage with immigrants and asylum-seekers who are starting to call Dublin their home. It is only with full engagement and integration between all communities in our city that we as Dubliners can start to properly counter the lies and hate spread by the far-right. I would suggest that DCC help to arrange welcome committees and integration groups for immigrants and asylum-seekers who are living in Dublin. The Labour Party has already begun setting up such groups informally, but a more coordinated approach would be beneficial. This can be achieved through collaborating with resident groups, religious groups, sports clubs, etc. For the planning and strategising of these welcome groups, I suggest that DCC and Councillors seek the advice and input of the brilliant activists and welcome groups which are already in operation across Dublin and are welcoming, integrating, and supporting asylum-seekers and immigrants into their communities.