Hazel de Nortúin

People Before Profit-Solidarity candidate for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh

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

I will call for a prohibition on Dublin City Council selling public land to private developers. Too much land has been given over to developers for private houses and apartments to be built on. These homes are so expensive that local people cannot afford to buy them. Like all People Before Profit councillors I will also be pushing for the establishment of a state construction company that won’t be lining the pockets of private developers. The state construction company should be tasked with developing vacant and state land for social housing. The Council should Compulsory Purchase properties on the vacant property register. They will also, however, need more funding from central government to restore the vacant properties that they have on their register. There are far too many vacant council properties in the South Central Area.

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

I will be seeking for the home retrofitting insulation upgrade work to be carried out immediately to social housing across the constituency. With particular attention paid to flats complexes where black mould is a constant problem and detrimental to the health of the residents. On the wider issue of maintenance I will be calling for DCC to increase the number of people directly employed to carry out maintenance. Once an adequate number of people have been employed, DCC should move away from outsourcing maintenance to private contractors. In relation to private rental accommodation DCC and the RTB should be given the necessary powers to hold landlords to account where they rent out sub-standard accommodation. 

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

I want to introduce a designated dog area into some of the local parks. This will allow dog owners to safely allow their dogs off the lead with bins provided to clean up after their dogs. I would also call for a major campaign by DCC in relation to responsible dog ownership. The aim is to make it socially unacceptable for dog poo to be left on the street.  On the wider issue of rubbish I believe that refuse collection should be taken back into public ownership and charges should be scrapped. This would prevent illegal dumping in the area and incentivise the public to sustainably manage their waste. More litter wardens need to be employed.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

I will be calling for a comprehensive audit to be carried out on vacant and derelict properties. I want to see a use it or lose scheme whereby a punitive tax should be applied to vacant and derelict property if not used within a specified period, to encourage owners of the property to put it back into use. Too many homes are lying idle during a housing crisis when a family could be living in them. DCC should be given strict deadlines on the time it takes them to turn their own vacant properties around. There are currently DCC houses left idle for months and in some cases even years. Again, more resources are needed to address this.

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

I firmly believe that Dublin City Council should make substantial investments in social, leisure and sports facilities for young people in the area. This will give young people a prosocial outlet for their spare time and reduce the risk of them causing harm or being harmed while out on the streets. I have met with representatives from local youth and sports clubs and the needs of the clubs in the area are not currently being met. The government need to restore the funding to the youth sector that they slashed during austerity years and allow long term investment into needed resources.

We should also look at improving street lighting. This would act as a deterrent to people who engage in anti-social behaviour. It would also have the impact of making people feel safer.

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

Free and frequent public transport needs to be introduced to encourage people out of their cars and free up the streets from traffic. To do this we need to increase investment and capacity. Of course you won’t see uptake of public transport if the buses are already full, running late or not in the areas they need to be.

While I welcome some aspects of Busconnects there are still many areas of concern for residents especially in Ballyfermot. I have been working with local residents to address their concerns. Following a number of protests in Ballyfermot I have presented their concerns to the NTA and am now waiting on a response.

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

I would like to see an increase in protected cycle lanes so that cyclists can feel safer. Cycle lanes need to be introduced in conjunction with free public transport so that traffic is reduced significantly and road space is made available. A reduction in car dependency will also reduce emissions and the harm that emissions cause to people. However we will only ever reduce car use if a reliable alternative public transport system is in place. Children should also feel safe while walking and cycling on the streets and a reduction in traffic will encourage them to do so. This will have the added advantage of giving children additional exercise.

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

Whether it’s single mothers, the poor, Travellers, LGBTQ+ or immigrants, the far right have always targeted vulnerable minorities, seeking to blame them for society’s problems, while deflecting attention from the ruling class.

We have to recognise the high cost of living, the crises in housing, health, education and local services are giving rise to justified anger. But we also must identify the real causes of these crises – the government and the big businesses and corporate landlords whose interests they represent. It is privatisation and profiteering which is wrecking our public services and causing misery for so many.

In the Ballyfermot-Drimnagh we have a diverse community and if elected I will continue to work with the many groups which draw upon and celebrate that strength, so that everyone can feel safe and welcome here.

Whether it’s fighting for housing, education places, street maintenance, local services, funding for healthcare or more sports facilities and green spaces – it’s by united community action that we can make Dublin a better place to live for everyone. In doing that we push out the far right and their hateful, dead-end politics. I will also continue to stand up against hate and discrimination wherever it raises its ugly head.