Josh O'Rourke

Sinn Féin candidate for Artane-Whitehall

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

The housing crisis has caused untold misery for countless people across Artane and surrounding areas. Many people are struggling paying sky high rents while unable to save up for a deposit to buy their own home. Others are having to live at home with family, putting their lives on hold. Many people feel forced to emigrate to places like Canada, Australia and the US, because they can’t picture a future here in Ireland.

Everyone should have the right to a secure and affordable home. A change of government is needed to unravel and reverse decades of bad housing policy.

By electing a strong team of Sinn Féin councillors will put pressure on the council to tackle the housing crisis too. We'd work to deliver affordable purchase homes through Local Councils and Approved Housing Bodies at prices people can genuinely afford. Local councils and Approved Housing Bodies will deliver the new affordable homes in Sinn Féin’s government plan, on public land.

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

I know of many cases in my local area where people are living in harsh conditions, in both social and privately rented accommodation, whether this be waiting for far too long for repairs to be carried out, or mould taking over the property.

We in Sinn Féin have proposed significant increases in Government funding for Councils to maintain, refurbish and retrofit Council homes. This includes a specific fund for local authorities to respond proactively to maintenance issues including windows and doors, damp, mould and leaks. We would work towards every local authority producing a preventative maintenance plan. We would also introduce a regeneration scheme for apartments and flats that are past their lifespan.

People should not have to live in damp, mouldy or unmaintained homes. I would prioritise those homes in greatest need of repair and reduce waiting lists for basic maintenance.

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

Dublin should and can be a beautiful city to live, work or visit. However, much can be done to ensure we have a clean environment, including clean streets. I would support the process of bringing bin services back into public ownership, as well as public waste services such as bins and recycling centres.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

In my area there are many would-be homes left in vacant and dilapidated states, many of these left idle for many years. This brings a further blight on communities in my area and across the city.

We in Sinn Féin would encourage the councils to compulsory purchase these properties and give them a new lease of life, increasing the housing stock available. We would also seek monthly updates to increase the collection of the Derelict Sites Levy, and speed up the return of vacant back on stream.

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

People in my community have the right to feel safe and protected. Far too many people in our city feel unsafe. We in Sinn Féin have set out our plans to invest in An Garda Síochana, so that we can have more Gardaí on the beat protecting our communities. We would call for a public transport policing unit to tackle fears and anti-social behaviour on our public transport. We would also get to grips with the recruitment and retention crisis within the Gardaí.

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

Road safety and accessible transport are imperative to ensuring people can live, work and socialise in our city. In 2023, we saw the highest number of road deaths in almost a decade.

In a survey of 30 European cities, Dublin ranked worst, in terms of public transport. It is time for change.

We in Sinn Féin recognise that many children cannot safely get to and from school without relying on a lift from parents. This is a barrier to parents but it also reduces the independence given to children and young people. In government, Sinn Féin would increase funding to ensure getting to and from school is safer and more accessible.

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

Ensuring more access to active travel such as cycling and walking, would play a key role in tackling the climate crisis. In order to make this realistic, people need to feel safe doing it.

I support an audit of all footpaths and putting in place a programme of footpath restoration so everyone can move around their area with confidence.

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

I will be a voice for a fair, equal and a diverse society. Everyone in our communities must be able to feel safe and included. Arson attacks on would be accommodation for asylum seekers is wrong and must be condemned.