Jamie McGlue

Independent candidate for Howth-Malahide

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

I would contact and visit the relevant public officials in charge of housing and seek to understand their challenges, and seek to provide them any insights that thus came to me; beyond this, the most I could do is to advocate for reductions in red tape such that reasonable and appropriate developments are not stymied by undue interference from the bureaucracy. It doesn't make a great deal of sense that dozens of huge skyscraping apartment blocks can be put up in the middle of Howth (against the wishes of a vast majority of locals) and yet extensions to one's own home can encounter such fierce resistance from local government. There must be a middle way where development can be decentralised and let loose, while still being monitored properly.

Long-term, the solution is to get government (a.k.a. central planners, a.k.a. socialist-style technocrats) out of the business of business, and let we the people take care of wealth creation via the free market of mutually beneficial voluntary exchanges; the very force of natural leaderless organic organisation that powers the whole universe and got us through history on an upward trajectory to the point where societies were rich and productive enough that their governments could start hiking up the taxes in order to begin their ambitious spending programmes which year on year seem only to make things worse, and yet always call for a bigger budget (more of our money) to finally solve the problem. The truth is that capitalism is the only historically proven sustainable way forward, and yet this traditional paradigm will need to be transitioned back into over many years, because a sudden pull all the way out of our current system of socialistic crony capitalism would likely be damaging to economy and society.

I would instead advocate something like 80% less taxation, 80% less regulation, and 80% less government spending, say over the course of a decade, which I believe historical experience as well as a priori principle both vindicate and support as being the surest way to increase the quantity and quality of everything we need, from housing to education to healthcare to shoes to phones to food. Imagine if we let bureaucrats try to make our clothes, phones or food – and yet we are surprised when their attempts at building houses are prone to serial disappointment. The market has competition, thus excellence. However, to be clear, I am aware such 'classical liberal' or 'libertarian' or 'free market capitalist' thinking is not currently well understood by the Irish public, and thus such a radical change in political economy would first require extensive public debate and discourse to raise awareness of the fact that limited government is indeed the magic bullet that our dire problems have been waiting for.

What would you do to help make sure adequate amenities and services would be added along with any new housing built?

Negotiate respectfully and kindly but very assertively and directly with developers (and government officials), requiring they provide a reasonable slice of their projected profits to a local government amenities fund, and communicate well with the bureaucracy in charge of such amenities and services to ensure they are well provided.

What are your views are on Dublin Airport’s current operations and its proposed expansion?

Dublin Airport is not always what one would ask for, but when we zoom out at the world as a whole, it's comparatively not too shabby. We do, however, need more strict enforcement of basic common sense, such as ensuring passengers are processed through security efficiently, and making sure that the airport is making maximum use of the land it has been granted to operate.

What needs to be done to improve public transport in Fingal?

Reliability and frequency of buses and trains must be improved, and a massive effort should be put in to transform our often despairingly ugly and dirty train stations into places of beauty and order. A few pot plants. Replace steel prison bars with ivy-covered brick walls. Replace brutalist concrete stairwells with ramps with elegant railings. Machines, elevators and Leap-card validators which break down should be fixed within 24 hours, with a phone number listed there for the public to contact. Litter and filth should be cleaned up regularly and the cleaners fired if standards are too low. Bland grey walls can be done up with mosaics of local history or legend. Such changes will persuade more people to take public transport for certain journeys instead of driving, which thus also helps to free up the roads and parking for those who do choose to drive. The phenomenon of "ghost buses", buses never arriving, must be ended; one solution is to implement the simple technology already in use in such places as Korea, where every bus has a unique ID code and is tracked with GPS and visible on a smartphone map interface, so its arrival is predictable and any deviation from course requires explanation. Finally, of course, greater frequency of buses and trains would be welcome, to the maximum extent that these can currently be afforded.

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

Bicycle lanes must be simple, safe, continuously linked (not frequently separated by stretches of motorist-filled road which the cyclist must veer onto), and gracefully integrated into the road system, so that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can move in harmony. A perfect example of such a system is seen in the Netherlands, and so an information-gathering visit to that country would be wise; we needn't reinvent the wheel when the Dutch have already figured out how to do this with ease and style. Pedestrianised streets are great, but we mustn't overdo it; automobiles have an important role to play in our communities, and shouldn't be demonised but respected.

What should be done to make the roads safer for all road users?

We should run education campaigns to help people understand how deeply distracting and thus dangerous texting and listening to podcasts etc. can be in heavy traffic. However, beyond this I think the safety of our roads is really only improvable to the extent that we can culturally evolve toward greater mindfulness and present-moment awareness, as such single-pointed focus is the core solution to every kind of accident in society. For example, in India, everyone knows that everyone else is constantly breaking the road rules, overtaking one another and running red lights; but paradoxically this makes things safer, as everyone knows they cannot afford a single moment of inattentiveness. In two months travelling in India, I never once saw a road accident. For many other reasons besides, meditation should really be taught in our schools.

How would you help create more natural green spaces and promote biodiversity in Fingal?

I would first of all stop the overdevelopment of Howth; refuse planning permission to Tetrarch's attempts to turn large swathes of the grounds of Howth Castle into housing estates, and keep future developments in the area to a certain reasonable height limit so as not to distort the views of the forest, hill and sea from the village. I would also urge everyone who litters to give up the habit, and all of us to pick up more litter, so as to create a little bit more green in the area and less toxic material for the creatures who live there and in many cases think plastic is food. Also, certain kinds of garden pesticides might be prohibited, if proven too damaging. As for creating additional green space, I would support turning unused or underused government properties into parks and wildlife sanctuaries, with the help of professional gardeners to clear out the areas and plant some greenery to get things started. I would also strongly support planting trees along the sides of our streets, anywhere and everywhere that has the space to support it. This would make a radical change in the atmosphere and resultant emotional and mental well-being of those who walk past and beneath these trees. 

How would you help get more parks and sports facilities built in Fingal?

The levies drawn from developers when they are given permission to build somewhere (for them an affordable part of their lucrative business) should be conscientiously reinvested into the communities which are enduring the construction and in some cases enduring additional burdens on traffic and amenities. For example, Howth has seen such moneys being distributed elsewhere in Fingal, when there is a lack of amenities here for the locals who are suffering the presence of huge unwanted buildings and the eye-sores of open construction sites for months on end. Such funds should go to the locals. However, both for sports facilities and parks, at the end of the day I believe getting things done comes down to striking a balance between empathy, courtesy, respect and friendliness on the one hand, and on the other hand directness, unapologetic communication on behalf of the electorate, and a willingness to upset the other side in the course of respresenting locals. Only a careful balance of kindness and willpower can persuade such powerful entites as corporations – and indeed government departments – to see the light and put in the work to enrich a community.