Ian Nunoo

Fine Gael candidate for South West Inner City

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

Dublin South West inner city is a densely populated urban area and can’t be viewed in the same way as other areas and the current approaches are ineffective to cope with the requirements people have for housing. Younger people, even those working in well paid jobs are facing extremely limited options when it comes to buying or renting a place to live in the city in which they work.

If we are to have vital cities in which to work, rest and recreate, we cannot make it impossible for people to live in them. We don’t need another hotel or student accommodation being approved and I believe a cap level should be put in place for such developments as we over index on those types of properties. Priority should be given to residential developments.

Fine Gael is the party of home ownership and that makes sense for a number of reasons however I would like to focus on one reason in particular from the RTB. Their statistics show that average monthly rent payment in Dublin is around €2000 while average monthly mortgage instalments according to Bank of Ireland Calculators, can range between €1,300-€1,700 for a reasonably sized property, therefore meaning that paying a mortgage especially if you are living in Dublin, could be cheaper than renting a home.

Home ownership is not just a cost saving measure, it’s security, it’s a sense of belonging, it’s a freedom, it’s a home. I want to tackle the chronic housing and homelessness problem by promoting the construction of more social and affordable houses and introducing key worker housing for people in health, education, emergency service, etc.

There are a number of ways to get more housing built. Pilot retail / accommodation development schemes, increase utilisation of public private partnership development schemes. Employ modern methods of construction such as rapid build as has been done in commercial and residential settings up and down the country. There is also a huge opportunity with regeneration and commercial to residential redevelopment. Going forwards Dublin city council and planners issuing permissions for large scale build to rent schemes should do so with affordable and social housing at 20% and not 10% which could factor in a percentage ( 5% - 10%) for key workers.

All of the above does not work unless you take a very pragmatic approach to housing so the approach need to be twofold and address the construction labour shortages as well. Being progressive in responding to these challenges through schemes like the new ‘Careers in Construction Action Plan'. With the aim to recruit and retain a higher number of workers than is currently provided will go some way in giving a solution that is scalable, sustainable and deliver results.

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

We need to ensure that we not only have a focus on quantity of new homes, but also the quality of existing one as well. Accountability is vital we have all seen and read the reports from the Oliver Bond flats in what sadly seemed like a long saga for the residents. People in that sort of situation should be able to go to their elected councillors and or TD’s have their concerns heard and dealt with particularly with social housing.

I have been a strong advocate for people in Dublin 8 and have successfully resolved a number of remedial issues. If elected I intend to carry on being a strong voice in Dublin city council and assisting anyone who needs help and support no matter who they are or where they live.

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

Litter and street cleanliness has been an issue in the area for a while and have come to the conclusion that there needs to be two levels of accountability the first is personal accountability and understanding the reason why people litter, laziness or carelessness seem to be the main culprits, however carelessness is more of a mindset issue and with education and promotion of consequences I believe will go some way to reducing litter.

The other side of the spectrum is penalty and enforcement through things such as fines or community clean up days that must be attended by people that continue to litter. DCC also need to be held accountable as well by getting more bins installed and collected frequently. Ensuring that street cleans happen when they are meant to happen. There was one incident that I dealt with recently where the block of streets had not been cleaned in 17 weeks. Infrastructure needs to be in place too.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Currently there is the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant which if approved means you can avail of up to €70,000.00. It’s a great initiative and has gone some way to assisting people to develop homes form vacant and derelict properties. With that being said I do believe the grant needs to be adjusted in relation to process. As it stands the grant is applied retrospectively meaning it is not as accessible as it could be. I would advocate for a similar style of process to the HTB scheme. The HTB scheme once approved pays the money to the builder directly and they can draw down on it at any given time.

There are 81,712 vacant properties and 21,140 derelict units in Ireland according to a recent report from GeoDirectory, however just one in 50 paid out to date which suggests to me that some adjustments need to be done to the scheme to allow more people to access it. The current measures in relation to vacant and derelict properties are mainly punitive and prohibitive. We have to incentives more people to engage in bringing these properties back into use and not just increase taxes and penalties.

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

For Dublin South-West Inner City we need a more visible garda presence in the area. It’s great to hear there will be 10 new recruits operating out of Kevin street, but we do need more. Making the city safe in my opinion needs a multifaceted approach which includes youth services and sporting facilities. It has been widely reported that there is a large deficit in both in the area. 3 community centres have shut down with no replacements on stream. 8500 kids without access to a playing field in Dublin 8.

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

There needs to be increased frequency on public transport and greater choice.

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

With the exception of a few “Bottle necks” Dublin 8 is fairly well served with bike lanes. There is a need for far greater traffic safety measures so that all road users have a better experience.

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

Misinformation is the biggest issue in this area. The best way to combat this, is to be transparent, engage with all communities and allow for dialogue with established communities and new ones that may be entering.