Feljin Jose

Green Party candidate for Cabra-Glasnevin

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

I believe that housing is a right and not a commodity. I’m part of a whole generation of Dubliners stuck living in their parents’ home and I’m deeply committed to addressing the housing needs of our city. While progress is being made, urgency is paramount in moving from conception to delivery.

I’m a huge supporter of the cost rental / Vienna Model of housing – this involves the state constructing housing and only charging rent proportional to what it cost to build. This eliminates the profit motive and provides sustainable, high quality and affordable homes for people. While this Green policy has resulted in cost-rental homes finally being built in Ireland recently, its delivery needs to scale up much quicker and, if elected, I will advocate for this type of housing in our area. We must also avail of every opportunity to develop social and public housing on publicly owned land.

I will push for new housing on large underutilised industrial areas such as lands on Ballyboggan Road, Bannow Road and Botanic Road through mixed-use regeneration plans. It’s vital that we ensure that these redevelopments include amenities such as shops, markets, parks, public spaces and services such as creches, schools and healthcare to build sustainable and resilient future communities.

Restoration and efficient use of existing buildings could provide much needed housing and I have outlined my views further in question 4. 

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

We need stronger renter’s rights and increased enforcement of existing regulations to protect tenants. Dublin City Council has powers to inspect and issue enforcement notices for privately rented houses. However, the level of enforcement actually carried out is very poor. I’m dedicated to getting increased resources for Dublin City Council’s private rental inspection team to ensure housing standards are met by landlords and safeguard tenant rights. By increasing regular inspections and following through with enforcement proceedings, we can hold landlords accountable and uphold the rights of all renters.

While Dublin City Council has been retrofitting and refurbishing its existing housing stock, there are still a lot of people living in poor public housing. I would like to see accelerated regeneration and renovation of existing public flat complexes in the area as well as increased maintenance budgets to deliver modern housing standards and enable swift upgrades such as double-glazed windows, insulation and combatting draughts and mould problems.

Dublin City Council must also do more to inform people of the supports available to reduce home energy bills and create warmer homes such as the free home energy upgrade scheme for people on low incomes and the grants and low-interest loans available to everyone in the area.

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

Littering and illegal dumping is a disgusting blight on our city and is contributing to the unpleasant and unwelcome feeling of some of our streets and laneways. Legislation has been enacted by the Oireachtas this year to give Dublin City Council CCTV powers to tackle illegal dumping. If elected, I will make it a priority to ensure that Dublin City Council rolls out much-needed camera enforcement at blackspots to deter illegal dumping and to identify and prosecute those responsible.

Ultimately, I would like to see large underground bins for shared use by local residents as seen in many other European countries as opposed to individual wheelie bins, bin bags on footpaths etc.

There must be a large increase in the number of wardens employed to enforce laws against littering and dumping of domestic waste, dog poo etc. This role does not need to be limited to litter but could include enforcement of bylaws in parks, issuing fines for illegal parking as well as identifying and reporting broken footpaths and streetlights, overflowing bins, abandoned cars etc. on the job. These would be community wardens with a strong visible presence in local areas to ensure the city provides a clean and friendly atmosphere to all its residents and visitors. 

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Dereliction and vacancy is a huge issue in our area. Restoration and efficient use of existing buildings could provide much needed housing and commercial, public and arts spaces in our city. Dublin City Council is not properly staffed to tackle this anti-social behaviour. From my own experience of trying to get buildings placed on the derelict sites register and ensure that the levies are collected from their owners, I know how slow and arduous this process can be. If elected, I will advocate for a well-staffed planning enforcement unit to inspect derelict buildings, collect levies and issue compulsory purchase orders to uncooperative owners. 

I’m also fully supportive of measures such as the Vacant Homes Tax and the Residential Zoned Land Tax to discourage hoarding and stimulate supply of much-needed housing in our city.

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

While councillors do not have direct influence over policing, they can highlight issues and ask for more resources in areas that need it. I would like to see more Gardaí walking on our streets and on our buses, trains and trams. A greater presence of garda members in local communities is needed to strengthen relationships and prevent crime. The reduction in community garda numbers in recent years has had a drastic effect in our community and these units must be urgently expanded.

However, policing alone can’t solve our safety problems. We need to be investing in the Garda Youth Diversion Programme and fight the causes of crime by providing more youth and community spaces in our area and improving youth work supports. They provide activities, guidance, safe social outlets and ensure that young people’s lives aren’t lost to chaotic behaviour and crime.

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

I will answer this question and the next one together as I believe they're intrinsically linked and must not be viewed in isolation.

In my vision for Dublin, everyone — young and old — can move around easily and efficiently on public transport and by walking and cycling. There are many elected representatives who support this vision in principle and quote ambitious party policies but fail to show leadership when it comes to implementing the measures needed to deliver it — supporting MetroLink but not the alignment, supporting faster buses but not bus lanes, supporting cycling but not cycle lanes. Just this month, we've seen councillors who called for more bus routes objecting to new bus stops.

I got involved in politics through years of advocating for better public transport, walking and cycling facilities and greener public spaces for Dublin city. Over the years, I’ve learned the minute details about all the major transport projects in the area and have been involved in stakeholder engagement for all of them. 

Over the next decade, this area will be transformed through an unprecedented level of investment in public transport, walking and cycling. The scale and number of projects planned in this area is more than any other part of Dublin. New DART stations are planned for Cabra and Cross Guns along with electrification and higher frequencies at Ashtown, Pelletstown, Broombridge and Drumcondra. MetroLink will connect the city centre with Berkeley Street, Cross Guns, Mobhi Road and beyond. BusConnects will deliver faster buses and safer cycling infrastructure along the Drumcondra Road, Mobhi Road, Botanic Road, Finglas Road and Navan Road and Dublin City Council’s Active Travel Network will deliver better walking and cycling facilities on the Royal Canal, North Circular Road, Cabra Road and Ratoath Road.

Only one party has shown unwavering commitment to and delivered on improving public transport and walking and cycling across all its elected representatives. To sustain the momentum on improving public transport, pedestrianisation, cycle lanes, better footpaths, zebra crossings, speed limits, greener public spaces etc. we need to ensure there's a Green councillor in every area. I will continue to advocate for sustainable transport to decrease pollution and congestion and build a safer, healthier and greener city.

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

See answer to previous question.

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’m proud of the societal change we’ve achieved in recent years. We built a kinder and more equal Ireland that cherishes diversity and protects vulnerable people. However, recent events have shown that there are those who wish to take that from us — by spreading xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, hatred and division — and there are politicians who indulge them. I’m worried about the escalation in threatening behaviour towards members of our community. I experience the increase in abuse and hatred first hand both on our streets and online. This is not the Dublin I grew up in. I will stand up against intolerance and discrimination and work to build a fairer city with equality and respect at its heart.

I moved to Dublin as a child almost twenty years ago when my mother got a job as a nurse in the Mater Hospital. My answers to the previous questions had a common theme of the urgent need to recruit more staff in several roles. We desperately need more bus drivers, nurses, builders, mechanics, engineers, childcare workers, urban planners. We're at full employment and the list of staff shortages is endless. Ireland is not full.