John Nisbet

Labour Party candidate for Artane-Whitehall

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

The Council currently has a strong social and affordable housing pipeline but it needs much more, to significantly reduce social housing waiting lists and support those who are above the social housing income thresholds and need affordable rental of affordable purchase accommodation. I along with my Labour party colleagues would demand a change in the bureaucracy and processes that delay housing development. It's notable that the Land Development Agency don't jump through the same hoops as Dublin City Council does to get hosuing plans and projects shovel ready. It should also be possible to speed up the planning process. It worked when we needed development in the Docklands - we should consider out-of-the-box ideas like that.

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

It is much cheaper and more energy efficient to retrofit and improve existing houses than build new ones. Dublin City Council needs guaranteed rolling finance to retrofit all its social houses. It should also be given the resources and the funding to retrofit private homes so whole streets could be retrofitted and made energy efficient at the same time - this would be more efficient. The government needs to introduce a scheme whereby a portion of the tenants rent is ring-fenced for this retrofitting over a period of 7-10 years - than landlord would benefit through a long term pay-back and the tenant would benefit from lower heating bills. 

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

This has to be a two part process - the Council staff need more support, funding and better equipment. They need to be resourced to tackle the problem. Alongside this the local communities and schools need to be encouraged to take care of their area and fix the small issues before they get big. In fairness the Council do a lot with local Residents Associations but little thought is given to helping areas without Residents' Association to start them up and involving the young people in the area. The Council staff are wonderful but there needs to be more of them to manage the situation. We need to remember that it's a culture problem - while not the marjorty, too many people are throwing their litter on the ground and expecting others to clean up after them so perhaps we need to look at increasing the number of litter wardens monitoring our streets and engaging with people.

Dog poo is a particular concern of mine. Never mind the awful situation where poo on a pavement can get on shoes and be brought into houses. The worst is when dogs are free to poo all over playing pitches and parks and kids are then playing right in that poo. We need to create a situation where letting your dog foul an area is as disgusting as humans doing the same thing. Education and enforcement are so important here. It is also community pressure - people should feel that they can call out bad behaviour and say it is unacceptable.

I am particularly interested in the Council funding more sports facilities for local sports clubs - of all kinds.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Generally, houses don’t go vacant or derelict through badness or carelessness. Often they go that way because it is too expensive for their owners to do anything with them. We have various schemes whereby the owners can get funding to repair the house and and once habitable it is leased to the Council realising a long term income for the owner. However, too few take up this scheme so we need to promote to better. We have started acquiring buildings and adapting them for residential use - we need significantly more resources to increase our capacity to do this as it could really transform our city, get more people living in the city and make it an attractive vibrant place again. The only organisation that can realistically achieve this is the Local Government - it just needs the political will. at national level.

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

There are four solutions - the first is the renewal of the public spaces with lighting and more pedestrian spaces and the renewal of vacant and derelict buildings.  The second is  the licensing of move events in the city centre with more road space given over to activities and festivals. Alongside this - there must be transport to and from the venues for families and individuals. The more people there are living and moving around the city the safer it will feel and the safer it will be. Combined these give people a desire to be in the city and come into the city.

The third is the on the ground presence of Gardaí. The Gardaí work immensely hard for us and do a wonderful job. They need more members and more resources to provide the local policing that is based on a street and a locality. People should be able to know a Garda and know that they will be there tomorrow and the day after that. This is a job for National Government but the Council can lobby strongly for this.

Finally we need to invest in local community amenities, facilities and local youth groups and clubs - so many young people have no where to hang out, to get together with their mates, to knock around a ball or sit and play online games together. We need to invest in such spaces and in more youth leaders and organisers.

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

There is a really strong plan in place for the improvement in public transport in the city. Bus Connects alongside the improvements in the LUAS and DART services will do an amazing job to keep Dubliners moving. People need to pause and give Bus connects a chance to happen before discounting it or fighting it.  From a public infrastructure perspective we need investment to ensure all bus stops have good lighting and shelter spaces and real time information - this supports females in particular to feel safe when taking public transport outside day light hours. Our public transport also needs to be fully reliable so people can really depend on it to get them to where they want to go in time.

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

The balance is key here. Those that can cycle should be encouraged to cycle. Those that cannot should not be punished, balance. To protect pedestrians - the pavement should be protected - no cars! To protect cyclists there should be segregated cycle lanes - everywhere there can be. But in return - cyclists and pedestrians must respect other road users and mind the traffic lights as well. We also need more cycle parking racks locally for people who go about their general business by bike as opposed to those who commute in and out 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?

Not everyone who has concerns about people coming to Ireland is far right. The far right are using their concerns to whip up hate.  We have also had migration and indeed our hospitals, shops and the hospitality industry would not function without migrant workers. I am in favour of Ireland supporting those who seek our refuge and protection from harm. We should have clear streamlined processes in place to manage their applications. We should enable those people to use their skills and contribute to the workforce as soon as possible. Systems like direct provision do very little to help anyone and create division. I would suggest a new model where people who come to Ireland are supported into work and supported into accommodation not as a handout but as a welcome handshake.