Mary Martin

People Before Profit-Solidarity candidate for Pembroke

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

Fine Fáil & Fine Gael have encouraged and nurtured the hoarding of accommodation & land by vulture funds whilst we witness record numbers of homelessness, with the current stats recorded at 13,000 homeless and over 4,000 of these are children, and record numbers of young people emigrating.

The council should feel consistent pressure in compulsory purchasing derelict and vacant property in the area to make way for affordable housing in every ward in the country. This method has been successful in other wards in the city, such as Palmerstown/Nth Clondalkin/Lucan, due to the work of PBP councillor Madeleine Johansson. Myself and my branch would advocate for this in the Pembroke ward, where there is an urgency for accommodation for all, with plans to address the council and mobilise the community.

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

In March 2023, we were devastated to see the No Fault Eviction Ban stripped away from renters across the country, as this was some of the only legislation keeping tenants and families out of homelessness. I would campaign for the reinstatement of the Eviction Ban whilst supporting the PBP mass retrofitting campaign across all social housing in the city and proper compensation for tenants living near construction sites in Pembroke.

A major issue preventing retrofitting under current grant schemes is the retroactive grant payment conditions, significant numbers of people can’t afford to put up the money first and receive the grant at a later date, these conditions need to be reversed. Housing is a human right and the standard of housing needs to maintain the physical and mental health of the people.

We seek to directly employ vastly more maintenance crews in Dublin City Council as the privatisation and outsourcing of the main jobs of the council has left waiting times now stretching into years for urgent repairs.

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

Bin collections have been privatised and are now run by private companies. Privatisation has brought increased charges, a decline in recycling and an increase in dumping. Ireland is unlikely to reach EU targets for recycling for 2025. Municipal waste recycling rate was 41 per cent in 2020, the same as 2016, however it must reach 55 per cent by 2025.

We need to take waste management & bin collection back into proper public ownership with the council being the driving force of upkeep. With the council to be held accountable, this would prevent illegal dumping in the area and incentivise the public to sustainably manage their waste.

It is also necessary to see a major campaign by Dublin City Council in relation to responsible dog ownership and littering, with more litter wardens being employed this would also open up more employment opportunities within the Dublin City Council and I believe there would be a massive difference seen in maintenance around the ward.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

We are living in a housing dereliction crisis with 166,000 derelict or vacant homes across the country. Too many homes are lying empty during a housing crisis when a family could be living in it. We will be calling for a comprehensive audit to be carried out on vacant and derelict properties and People Before Profit already report any derelict properties as part of our campaigns.

A punitive tax should be applied to vacant and derelict property if not used within a specified period, to encourage owners of the property to put it back into use. In the cases of the property owner being unable to make the property usable, Dublin City Council should compulsory purchase the property, the previous owner will receive funds from the sale and the council will increase its housing stock.

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

We have to tackle the socioeconomic underpinnings of society, that means more funding in social projects. The key issue around anti-social behaviour is giving people an outlet whether it be in social, leisure and sports facilities. This would include our council investing into local arts organisations, gyms and community centres and protecting them as essential facilities in our society.

There’s little to no concrete investment for teenagers and young people in public spaces, areas where they are safe to socialise. We need to give young people a prosocial outlet for their spare time that is safely lit, safe from the roads, free public wifi and maintained.

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

Free and frequent public transport needs to be introduced to encourage people out of their cars and free up the streets from traffic. We hear complaints all year round, that the luas should run on Christmas timetables throughout the year, with more frequent trams and later operating hours. In the long term we strive towards 24/7 public transport, as we believe the importance of feeling assured that getting home from the city centre or night shifts shouldn’t rely on taxis or walking home at night.

The current government has rejected PBP’s proposal in the Dáil for free public transport instead indicating towards congestion charges. Congestion charges will work as a class barrier with richer people not impacted by the fee continuing to drive into the city and it will be another tax on the working class crucially not offering an alternative to car dependency that free and frequent public transport will do for all.

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

We want to see much more protected bike lanes so that cyclists of all ages and abilities can feel safer. Cycle lanes need to be introduced in conjunction with free public transport so that traffic is reduced significantly, and road space is made available. A reduction in car dependency will also reduce emissions and the harm that emissions cause to people. Secure bike parking would help encourage cyclists into 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?

The far right continue to fearmonger and spread false information, with their incentive on working class communities. This has not appeared out of nowhere and what we see at the moment is the accumulation of years of austerity, dismissal and anger. There is a lot of false information regarding immigrants, and it is urgently necessary to widen and build Housing For All groups to help counter.

A broad housing movement, similar to the water charges, demonstrates that it’s not your immigrant neighbour, your traveller neighbours or the asylum seekers sleeping rough on the streets that are creating economic devastation that the far right are capitalising on, it's the banks, the vulture funds and years of Fine Fáil and Fine Gael reign. As a People Before Profit Rep, I would work with local community groups in an effort to increase diversity and ensure that people from every background feel welcome, as the housing crisis impacts us all.