Richard Murray

Independent candidate for Ballyfermot-Drimnagh

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

Push for refurbishment of current unoccupied council properties and for council led housing projects on zoned land rather than focusing solely on the construction and of private and commercial properties lost to the inflated rental markets and to large funds making multiple purchases.

I’d actively push for the council to rethink how they are currently assessing planning applications and to focus more on the needs for housing. Council led housing projects would lend itself to lowering costs of housing purchases in the affordable housing schemes.

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

Conditions in existing social housing is hampered and impacted by the current methods utilised by the council in how these properties are managed and maintained. The council currently outsource their maintenance and repairs to private contractors leading to long delays.

The council and its tenants would be best served if the council were to take back ownership of these services and directly employ the needed trades to manage this maintenance and modernisation work therefore ensuring a better quality service and greater oversight.

For private rental we should look to grade properties in terms of conditions, energy efficiency and access to local amenities and services and this would then dictate cost of rent using a graded system to identify a price cap.

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

Increase bin services for rubbish and dog poo. Currently the council do not provide sufficient numbers of bins and more recently have reduced bin numbers. Cleaning and maintenance are overstretched and not fit for purpose to maintain the streets of which is a very large geographical area. There is a need to ensure each area has its own maintenance team to ensure that streets are well maintained.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

Each derelict and vacant property needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. Many vacant properties may be in individual ownership and there may be very genuine reason for the current status and presentation of the property.

The council must work with such individuals or organisations to assess what can be done and to allow a proper return to usage as needed, without allowing some of our older and more historically relevant properties to fall into ownership of big developers and corporations who are intent on levelling these properties and removing our cultural assets and heritage.

The council can work to maintain the visible appearance of a property at a reasonable rate to the owner whilst planning for longer term works.

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

More Gardaí and more focus on community-type policing initiatives. Policing would be best served by members of the Gardaí walking the beat as opposed to being mainly station-bound and responding to calls. Prevention and education are much better approaches to take. Intervention initiatives are also a key area of working towards crime prevention and diversion. Safety is a massive issue currently within the city and surrounding areas, with visible Gardaí on the streets knowing the local community and having more established relationships we can return troubled parts of our community to what they once were. In a wider context at the national level, the judicial system plays an integral role, especially in relation to sentencing for crimes and how anti-social behaviour is managed.

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

Safer public transport system is needed. There is everyday impact on people using public transport due to anti-social and criminal behaviours which take place on or at stops. There also has been an impact on the public transport network due to how roads and streets have been shut, diverted or travel directions changed. The bus network was redesigned, not for the betterment of the community as it left many areas without service and stops or with overcrowded services in place. There is a need to rethink and redevelop how public transport serves the community as opposed to serving operators and consultancy companies.

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

Much of the above covers this. Safer, cleaner streets and communities with a focus on keeping the heritage and history of our areas.

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

I don’t believe that this is something that is easily addressed in a forum such as this. I believe that solely stating that problems exist because of what is termed the far right is narrow-minded. I have listened to many people's concerns at the doors when canvassing and regarding such a question it is not a simple solution. The government of the day both at national and local levels have a lot to answer for in regards to failed policies and initiatives. Any response or planning in how this is managed and responded to would involve many agencies and groups. As this is a national-level issue with a local response needed, policy change, educational input, and community initiatives are all necessary and I feel that there needs to be an approach that is inclusive of all that. But we must also be ready to look at and assess what has occurred to drive the actions of some and alienate some of our local communities.