Pat Dunne

Right to Change candidate for Kimmage-Rathmines

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

For my 13 years on the Council, I have always stood for public housing on public land. Historically speaking, 22% of all housing was built by local authorities. The local authority estates were built by workers for workers. We should return to this model, and I argue for it at every opportunity.

We need the state to build more houses, but it is important we build the right types of houses. We have a disastrous lack of three, four homes We need to build apartments and houses that reflect the need out there.

Most importantly we need to take the profit making and price gouging out of our housing model. We need a state construction company to build the housing we need. It needs to be delivered on a scale that not only houses those on the housing list, but also so we can raise the income threshold to €50,000 for a single person and €75,000 for a couple. We need a Vienna type Model that allows all ordinary workers and those in need to avail of public housing that creates cohesive and sustainable mixed income communities with security of tenure for life.

I will continue to fight on the council for this model of mixed income public housing, built by workers for workers and those in need, there should be no place for the massive profits and price gouging from big developers and landlords. We need a housing model that exists to house people who need homes, not for companies to make money out of.

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

I work extensively with issues from private and council tenants. The reality is that Dublin City Council’s policy of outsourcing much of its construction and maintenance has failed. I continue to argue that the Council should expand its operations so that we have the staff to properly maintain and improve our existing housing stock.

We also need a national campaign to retrofit all our buildings, but most importantly our existing public housing. Retrofitting all of 2,690 Dublin council houses would cost €83 million, for reference Ireland took in €22 billion extra in corporate taxes last year. We have the money, but the Government does not have the political will to do it. Their current plan is 14-year program to retrofit council houses, this could take significantly longer.

For private renters we need serious improvements to renters’ rights and security of tenure. This must include a permanent no-fault eviction ban, greater protections from poor housing conditions and proper rent controls. The Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) needs to be expanded to properly enforce these new rights.

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

First and foremost, we need to take our waste collection services back into public hands. The privatisation of bins has been a disaster for Dublin, the people living here and the waste workers. I played a major role in, and was endorsed by, the local Anti-Bin Tax campaigns and I was summoned to the High Court by Greyhound for defending the union workers that were locked out when they did not accept pay cuts. I have not stopped fighting for the re-municipalisation of bins and see this as very much unfinished business.

Taking our bins back under council control would expand waste collection of public bins, make private bin collections more convenient and more affordable, improve pay and conditions for waste workers, and stop the impetus for illegal dumping.

With regards to dog fouling, at the March area committee I submitted the following motion: “Motion 13 from Councillor Pat Dunne This area committee once again notes that dog fowling continues to be a huge problem in our parks, footpaths, and greens. We note that the problem is caused by a minority of dog owners. These dog owners need to be named and shamed. We call upon all relevant sections in Dublin City Council to step up actions to tackle this problem.”

DCC management response was weak citing GDPR legislation, but I will continue to pursue this demand. 

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

The level of vacancy and dereliction in Dublin is totally immoral in such a deep housing emergency. I continue to encourage the Council to compulsorily purchase these buildings. I have proposed a 20% ‘use or lose it’ tax on vacant and derelict sites to stop speculation, end land hoarding, and encourage these sites to be sold to the Council for increased public housing and amenities construction.

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

I represent my area on the Dublin 12 Drugs Task Force and the Dublin 12 Safety Forum. I work very closely with Crumlin and Sundrive garda station. I have always supported increases in community policing as a way of tackling crime and anti-social behaviour from the ground up and in the heart of the communities most affected by it. We also need dedicated public transport policing for the trains, buses, and the Luas.

The wider issue is the affect rising poverty and deprivation is having on Dublin. We know issues such as drugs and anti-social behaviour increase with poverty. Dublin needs a policy that not just increases community and frontline policing, but targets the root of crime by tackling poverty, supporting families and communities, increasing addiction services, and raising the standard of living for everyone.

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

From the start have opposed the ethos behind the Bus(dis)Connects scheme. We need a public transport system that ties communities together and is accessible to all, not just to get people in and out of town for work. Public transport is a public service we all pay for, not a service just for employers to get their workers in to work. I am a daily user of Dublin buses having ceased driving a private car many years ago.

We need proper investment in public transport. I have seen too much of Bus Connects reducing bus services in my area while at the same time making it harder to get around by car. We do need to reduce car use, this needs to come through massive investment in buses and the Luas and making public transport free, not by making it harder for people to live their lives while reducing bus services. That just makes no sense.

I will continue to work with my community to improve public transport and defend existing bus routes. We need city-wide investment for a public transport system that is free, accessible, and frequent if we want to reduce car use.

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

I have worked hard to bring improvements into my area for footpaths and cycle lanes, but this needs to work together with a better public transport system. There is no point building bike lanes if we are just squeezing everyone together on the road because we have cut bus routes.

This needs to be included in a wider program to make Dublin easier, more accessible and cheaper to get around. Public transport, walking, and cycling needs to be made a cheaper, more attractive option.

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 preys on problems that do exist: the housing crisis, the crisis in our health and public services, falling standards of living and rising costs. The far-right exploits these issues to push their own agenda, we need to starve them of the issues they exploit.

There are issues around policing, better protections for vulnerable communities, information and community support campaigns and regulating the giant social media companies making millions off the views the far-right attracts, but the only way we get the far-right out of communities is by tackling poverty, housing, and the public service crisis head on.

We are one of the richest countries in the world, the problem is how distribute our wealth and how we tax it. Ireland is now a country where working-class people pay high taxes for failing public services while the rich pay low-taxes and can afford the best private services. That needs to change.

What we need to remember is that the far-right offers our communities nothing. They have an agenda, and they will use the housing crisis and other issues to push it, but they don’t really care about the real-world issues people are facing.

Only a mass movement of workers, like we saw during the Rigth2Water campaign, can end the housing crisis, fix our public services, and give everyone a decent standard of living. The far-right would stand against that movement, they don’t want to improve this country, they just want to divide us.