Linda O'Shea Farren

Independent candidate for Pembroke

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

It will come as no surprise to anyone that my No. 1 priority is delivering housing in this city, reversing the skyrocketing rise of rents well beyond people’s reach because of the lack of housing and tackling the causes of homelessness. The % requirement for social and affordable housing must be increased and enforced. Social and affordable housing co-ops must be incentivised by local and national government. Owners of property that is underutilised, such as floors above shop level, should be offered tax incentives and meaningful grants, and actively assisted by Dublin City Council with the process of bringing the underutilised part of their property up to residential standard. Where a property has fallen into disuse, owners/occupiers should also be incentivised and assisted to bring it up to residential standard for social and affordable housing. The planning process for conversion of excess office accommodation and commercial properties to social and affordable housing should be streamlined and prioritised. Where new modular homes can be built, this should be incentivised and resourced in a sustainable way that serves all the community.

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

Tax incentives and meaningful grants should also apply to improving conditions in existing housing. In addition, increase in housing supply across the spectrum would help to kick start improvement of conditions in existing housing, both social and privately rented, since it’s the extreme pressure of lack of supply of housing that makes landlords think that they can charge exorbitant rent for sub-standard properties.

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

Dublin City Council has to dedicate more funding and alot more time to waste management and street cleaning on an ongoing basis. We need more rubbish bins in Dublin, and they need to be emptied more regularly. We need more ‘bin it’ awareness campaigns. The effect of the recent introduction of refundable plastic bottles and cans in terms of waste management needs to be monitored to see its impact on litter as well as the environment. Only one fine for dog fouling has been paid in Dublin city in the past 4 years and it was cancelled on appeal. Dog fouling laws must be actually enforced.  

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

First and foremost, Dublin City Council should bring all vacant and derelict buildings that it owns itself up to residential standard. Also, where private property has fallen into disuse, owners/occupiers should be financially incentivised and actively assisted to bring it up to residential standard for social and affordable housing.

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

Whatever policies and resources it takes, we cannot succumb to the violence that we witnessed in Dublin last November. Our streets must be adequately policed. Drug addiction is wreaking havoc in cities all over the world. Dublin is not immune from this, and the problem is not simply going to go away. The causes must be tackled, and drug abuse on our streets must be managed through adequate supports for people struggling with addiction. 

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

Irish people embrace new initiatives that make sense, like smokeless fuel, prohibiting smoking in public buildings, city bikes, reducing use of plastic bags.  We need people who live in and know Dublin to plan our public transport, not international consultants from faraway desks who don’t have to navigate Dublin daily as we do. Public transport in Dublin has to be made more available, more frequent, more integrated and more affordable. For environmental reasons as well as serving our community, we need to stop talking and crack this nut once and for all in relation to buses and a major expansion of light rail in a way that dovetails with the need to increase cycling and walking in our city.  

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

Roots of trees breaking through footpaths and poor maintenance generally, including after works on utilities have been carried out, are treacherous hazards for people of all ages. Utility companies have to be contractually obliged to repair paths after carrying out works, and this has to be enforced. Dublin City Council has to dedicate more funding and alot more time to replacing and maintaining Pembroke’s footpaths on an ongoing basis. This must be done in a way that maintains and increases the trees on our city streets, which are valuable both environmentally and aesthetically. For environmental and health reasons, cycling needs to be actively encouraged in consultation with local communities and invested in by DCC. 

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

Ireland of the welcomes is not a myth. The vast majority of Irish people abhor hatred. But we have to make sure that our voices are heard over the far right minority. While awareness campaigns help to counter racism and discrimination of all types across the city, communities actively, warmly and openly welcoming the diverse population of today’s Dublin tackles this at grassroots level. In the Pembroke area, the Sikh community in Sandymount is a good example of how this can be achieved, and I would engage with other communities to follow this example.