Karen Hinkson-Deeney

Social Democrats candidate for Pembroke

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

Facilitation of community, safety, health and well-being of residents are not the goals of an exclusively profit led model of housing provision. But they should be the goal of our council. It is my view that Dublin City Council must take a more active role in the provision of social housing. We are beyond leaving it to the market.

I will advocate for the council to build and keep more stock in public hands. Long term leasing of social housing is wasteful and does not deliver long term housing solutions. Instead we should build more on public land and bring more housing into council hands. I will tirelessly advocate for this. 

I believe we should increase cost rental projects in Dublin and tackle dereliction through supporting the implementation of the Residential Zoned Land Tax legislation. 

The task of tackling housing in the capital will require the dedicated focus of the Oireachtas, statutory bodies, and Dublin City Council. The Planning and Development Bill that is currently going through the Oireachtas will see the consolidation of planning law. As things stand, our powers as councillors are limited. I eagerly await the finished legislation to see how the role of councillors may change in the planning process and will engage with any elements of it that can benefit the provision of housing in our city. 

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

The Environmental Health Section carry out inspections, order improvements to substandard housing and enforce those orders. They must be resourced properly by our city council. This work is crucial to ensuring homes in Dublin are safe to live in for their inhabitants. I will work hard to support and promote the resourcing of this work. 

Private tenants must be made aware of their rights. I will work towards empowerment of renters in Dublin by communication of their rights, through direct communication and the sharing of information through Council and citywide initiatives. 

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

Our streets and shared spaces are for Dubliners to enjoy. We as citizens have an individual responsibility but our city must also work with and for us by simply providing more bins in public places for people to dispose of their litter appropriately. Overflowing bins in parks on sunny days should be a thing of the past.

The supplying of free dog poo bags by park entrances and by public bins should also be introduced. We have a duty to keep our city clean, but we should all be supported in doing that duty. 

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

We need to see real enforcement of vacant property tax at council level to tackle vacancy across the city but the Government must introduce a vacant property tax with teeth if we truly want to fix this problem. The exercising of compulsory purchase powers for derelict properties must also be carried out across the city to stop the waste and depreciation of would-be homes. In a housing crisis with the highest levels of child homelessness that the state has ever seen, there is no excuse for the levels of dereliction and vacancy that we currently see in Dublin. 

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

Strong communities are safe communities. As well as infrastructure like CCTV and street lighting, community initiatives and safe third spaces for people of all ages are needed to make our streets safe. We’ve seen issues of vandalism of playgrounds recently in Pembroke, and require the city and Gardaí to be responsive to these issues as they arise in our communities, but we also must address issues like vandalism at their root. 

It is not just social issues that make our streets unsafe, poor infrastructure keeps people from accessing their own communities, for fear of injury or accidents. The city must see an increase in its lighting of outdoor public spaces and streets, properly maintain footpaths, and ensure vulnerable road users are adequately protected.

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

At a time when we should be seeking to incentivise use of public transport, the reliability of the services must be of paramount importance. We must increase the numbers of buses on our popular routes and ensure ghost buses, instead of disappearing off the timetable, disappear from our lives. The council should be engaging with operators and the NTA to highlight and resolve these issues. 

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

The maintenance of our roads and footpaths is one of the most basic but important things done by our Council. It is clear from the state of many of our footpaths and roads that the funding and work in this area is in desperate need of attention. Segregated safe cycling infrastructure, the joining up of greenways and increased pedestrianisation will make Dublin safer and more enjoyable to be in. 

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

In a toxic and frightening time we must be bold and steadfast in our advocating for the vulnerable and marginalised groups that are demonised and dehumanised by the far right. I will be outspoken in this regard.

We must ensure that the far right are not permitted to prey upon fears and we must support inclusion and participation of new members of our communities here in the capital. This can be done in part through proper funding of community initiatives and events by Dublin City Council, but councillors also have a duty to show leadership in their communities by wholeheartedly and publicly rejecting fear and hatred of immigrants. That is a duty I will take extremely seriously. 

I want to live in a Dublin that is inclusive and celebrates diversity. I will not concede anything to those whose goal is dissemination of hate and vitriol. Dublin should be a safe and secure place for everyone who calls it home. All representatives must show leadership when it comes to the protection of our LGBTQ+ and our migrant population.