Luke Corkery

Fine Gael candidate for Swords

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

Firstly, our stated goal of 250,000 homes over the next five years will require doing everything we can to make more land available for construction and to ramp up capacity.

Swords is one of the youngest and fastest-growing regions in Ireland. It's vital that we continue to build more homes of different kinds to suit the demand out there. People want to be able to buy their own home locally and enabling home-ownership for all must be our priority.

One of my key areas of focus is the development of purpose-built affordable housing, in bulk, in the Swords area; similar to what has been delivered elsewhere in Fingal. I have already asked Fingal County Council to buy over vacant land and build housing developments that include a significant amount of affordable homes. If elected to the Council, I will continue to advocate for that.

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

A lack of community infrastructure has been a particular problem for a number of housing estates built in Swords in the past, yet nothing seems to change. Amenities and services seem to follow years later; I have experience of this having fought for adequate public transport, the opening of public parks, and a post box, for the Miller’s Glen community.

I am adamant that where housing is built, it is always coupled with plans for public transport connections, retail units, and other essential services. It is also important that green space is retained, especially for the abundance of young families that are moving into new homes in our area.

Our planning needs to improve at both local and national level. For example, I would advocate for an overhaul of planning guidelines to make way for a new model of creche delivery in housing developments. Another example would be the need, in my opinion, for the Government's Sports Capital Fund to increase in line with our increased housing targets.

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

I am conscious that this is a live case and that there are ongoing issues involving both daa and Fingal County Council.

Dublin Airport is an enormous economic force in Ireland, as well as a major local employer; however, the benefits brought by our Airport do not excuse the detrimental noise impact of the new runway on so many homes on the southern end of Swords. It is vital that daa commence noise mitigation and soundproofing measures, as promised to the affected residents.

In relation to the expansion of the Airport, it is apparent that this will become a necessity given the projected rise in passenger numbers. That does not give daa a free pass; they must adhere to planning laws, the same as the rest of us. Any future expansion of the Airport must be conducted in accordance with the planning system and must follow the advice and findings of Fingal County Council's Aircraft Noise Competency Authority.

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

Metro, Metro, Metro. We're tired of it being talked about, we're tired of it being trivialised, and we want to see it a reality. I am a huge advocate for the MetroLink project and the need to fast-track this crucial piece of transport infrastructure. We needed it ten years ago, we need it even more now, and we're going to pay the price if we keep kicking the can down the road.

I recently had a letter published in The Irish Times in which I called out the trivialisation of MetroLink by those who would rather spend the money elsewhere. With various issues being addressed and resolved along the R132 following the recent public hearings, we're far along enough in the planning process that we must see this project through.

Like so many in Swords, I'm a commuter to the city centre, and one of the few candidates in this election who is dependent on public transport. BusConnects will bring huge benefits to Swords in terms of capacity and frequency, and I hope reliability. If elected I will advocate for that project (around the 'A Spine') to be delivered to Swords communities on schedule and without delay.

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

This is a broad question. Nationally, this involves Government efforts to slow drivers down and prevent tragedy on our roads, through better enforcement of speed limits and revised strategies to clamp down on the scourge of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Locally, we need improved road signage. We need an improved walking and cycling network, and improved crossing points, as mentioned previously. We also need to look at speeding blackspots and addressing the problem in specific areas, rather than relying on the Gardaí to enforce speed limits purely based on the type of road.

New measures should be considered for major roads, including Average Speed Cameras, which have been trialled elsewhere in the past.

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

I will always advocate for improvements to active travel infrastructure in Swords. We can do this in a way that is sensible, and that involves proper consultation with communities. 

That means repairing existing roads and footpaths, many of which are unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists at present. It means ensuring there are ways for pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross busy roads. It means segregated cycle lanes where appropriate, and learning from past mistakes when it comes to the layout of cycle schemes. It also means the upgrade of cycle lanes that are not fit for purpose; for example, where they are not clearly marked or where cycle lanes end abruptly and force cyclists onto busy roads or footpaths.

I also fully support the NTA’s Safe Routes to School Programme and encouraging parents and children to use active travel methods when travelling to and from school.

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

My submission to the Sustainable Swords Draft Plan stated the importance of maximising the amount of green spaces in the town. This includes more green space, however big or small, in and around the town centre, e.g. the Rock Garden, as well as realising the Masterplan for the Ward River Valley Regional Park. I would also add that more trees should be planted around the town centre where appropriate, and that we should examine the possibility of urban gardens and “living roofs” for pollinators.

As previously stated, new housing developments must always include green spaces.

The scourge of illegal dumping must be properly tackled by the Council through a quick response and a follow-up to reports. I would also like to see CCTV deployed in spots where illegal dumping has become a significant issue.

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

Swords needs more playing pitches, full stop. We have an abundance of clubs for a variety of sports but we need to prioritise working with all stakeholders to buy land and build the sporting amenities we need.

With regard to sites that already belong to sports clubs, I will always encourage those clubs to apply for investment through the Sports Capital Grant Programme. I believe we need to significantly expand that Programme and I spoke to a motion calling for same at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis.