Isabel Oliveira-Da Silva

Fianna Fáil candidate for North Inner City

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

The State has a lead role in enabling the delivery of new homes, public and private. Since entering government in 2020, Fianna Fáil, with our Housing for All plan, has overseen the largest numbers of homes being built and bought in a generation. Working together with my party and local authorities I aim to increase the availability and supply of housing. Supporting home ownership is a core objective of our party.

The implementation of the Planning Bill, under the direction of Minister Darragh O’Brien, with the support and endeavour of the local authorities will de-risk and accelerate the building of new home, helping to achieve our goal of 300,000 homes by 2030.

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

The improvement of the conditions in existing social housing has also been accelerated since 2020, with new modern developments finished and underway to replace outdated existing developments. In the private rented sector, too many homes are in a state of disrepair, causing threats to the health and wellbeing of their occupants. Addressing this issue is top of my list, and I am committed to enhancing these conditions so that everyone has access to affordable and high-quality housing, regardless of whether it’s through social or private rental avenues.

A lot of my constituency have pointed to the high rents they are paying to private landlords for tiny spaces. I would like to champion a rent cap on rented property based on size among other factors to help alleviate the problem.

I am completely dedicated to exploring the measures available to local councils, empowering them to take action and clamp down on unscrupulous landlords, subject their tenants to substandard living conditions, leading to adverse health effects and emotional distress.

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

Rubbish and dog poo all over the city is not a good look and creates an unhealthy environment. I want to provide a Healthy, clean and pleasant environment for everyone to live and work in. The management and disposal of waste, the upkeep of sewage systems, and the creation of urban recycling programmes all constitute significant allocations within a local authority’s budget. With the correct planning and appropriate expenditure, the local authority can create a healthy environment, minimal pollution, visually appealing streets and public areas.

I will work hard to ensure this is a reality. I will fight to increase penalties to combat illegal dumping littering and dog pooing while also ensuring enough public bins, including those for waste separation and animal waste and dedicated dog pooing areas. I will work to ensure that local authority services such as Litter wardens, street cleaning and litter picking are increased to improve the public realm and to ensure that everyone has a clean and healthy place to live, work, and relax.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Vacant and derelict sites around the city are unsightly and can pose a danger to the community. Addressing vacancy and dereliction is a key priority for Fianna Fáil, and this is no different at local authority level. The Vacant Homes Action Plan, which was launched in January 2023, outlines the significant progress that has been made in addressing vacancy, along with the actions that are being pursued to return as many vacant properties back into use as possible. There are now a range of schemes and supports in place to support addressing vacancy.

The Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant along with other schemes such as the Repair and Leasing Scheme, the Buy and Renew Scheme, and the new CPO Activation Programme are all working to decrease rates in vacancy and dereliction. I will continue to support and push these programmes to ensure we see further increases in properties being made available to buy and rent.

I will work with my colleagues to ensure that the local authority is utilising everything available to it under planning regulations to bring vacant properties back to the market and ensure that the Vacant Homes Officer is doing everything in their powers to speed up this process.

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

Safety in the city has never been more at the forefront of everybody’s thinking. Prioritising public safety is paramount. Making the city ‘feel’ safe is not enough, I will commit to making it a reality that the city is safe. This will involve the local authority, An Garda Síochána, community organisation, and residents all working together.

The Gardaí are doing a great job protecting everyone and deserve our continued and increased support Greater Gardaí visibility in high-traffic areas and crime hotspots can deter criminal activity and provide reassurance to residents and visitors. I will look to implement community policing programmes that can create positive relationships between law enforcement and the community, ensuring collaboration and information- sharing to prevent crime.

Adequate street lighting is also key to ensuring public safety. I will work to improve street lighting so pedestrians are safer by reduce opportunities for criminal behaviour. Similarly, CCTV in strategic locations can act as a deterrent to crime and aid in the investigation and prosecution of offenders. This will all need to be backed up by initiatives aimed at addressing specific types of crime prevalent in the city such as theft, vandalism, and antisocial behaviour.

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

Improving public transport in the City requires an approach that addresses various aspects of the transportation system. We need to see an expansion of services that increase the frequency and coverage of public transportation routes to serve more areas within the city and its outskirts. This includes expanding the bus, Luas, and DART services to connect underserved neighbourhoods and suburbs. Enhancing the availability of real-time information on schedules, routes, and service disruptions through mobile apps, digital displays at stops, and online platforms to improve passenger convenience. I will work with transport providers to ensure that this becomes a reality.

I am also passionate about the need to ensure that we have the correct services in place for people with disabilities. They need to be offered the same level of service as other public transport users. I will engage with all transport operators to ensure that public transport infrastructure, vehicles, and services are accessible to people with disabilities and reduced mobility, including the provision of wheelchair ramps, priority seating, audible announcements, and tactile paving at stations and stops. By implementing these measures, and many others, in a coordinated manner, we can create a more efficient, accessible, and sustainable public transport system that meets the diverse needs of its residents and contributes to the city’s overall liveability and economic prosperity.

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

Dedicated protected bike lanes in suitable areas need to be explored. But that these lanes need to be well-maintained and clearly marked to enhance visibility and safety. Too often we see bike lanes that are covered in mud, rubbish and have uneven surfaces forcing cyclists to travel in car lanes. This needs to be urgently fixed for the safety of all road users.

Similarly, we need to see the implementation of more traffic calming measures, such as raised crosswalks, speed bumps, and narrower lanes, to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections and along residential streets. Once cyclists have made their journey, they need to be provided with secure bike parking facilities, this is something that is currently lacking. We need to provide secure bike parking facilities, at strategic locations throughout the city to encourage cycling as a convenient and sustainable mode of transportation. These facilities should be well-lit and monitored to deter theft and vandalism.

Everyone wants to live in a pleasant space that is easy to get around. To achieve this, we need upgraded footpaths with wider pathways, tactile paving for visually impaired individuals, and ample lighting to enhance safety and accessibility for pedestrians, particularly in high-traffic areas and near public transport hubs. More greenery, trees, and public seating along footpaths and bike lanes to create a more attractive and inviting environment for pedestrians and cyclists would also be a welcome step. Beautification efforts can also include public art installations and decorative lighting to enhance the streetscape.

For visitors to the city, we need to see the installation of clear and consistent wayfinding signage for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate the city easily and safely. This includes directional signs, distance markers, and maps at key locations to help users plan their routes effectively.

Local residents, businesses, and advocacy groups must be involved in the planning and design of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed. Community feedback can help identify priority areas for improvement and inform decision-making processes. By implementing these measures in a coordinated manner, we can create a more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly city that prioritizes safety, accessibility, and sustainability for all road users. The recent pedestrainization of Caple Street show how the right decisions could bring a new lease of life back to other areas of the city

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

Addressing the rise of far-right extremism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and hate crimes targeting marginalised communities in Dublin City requires a concerted effort from us all. Education and awareness, community engagement, adequate law enforcement response, support services, and the creation of safe spaces and support networks all must form part of this response and I will do all that I can to ensure that these actions are implemented.