Shay L'Estrange

People Before Profit-Solidarity candidate for Kimmage-Rathmines

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

I will call for a prohibition on Dublin City Council selling public land to private developers. Too much land has been given over to developers for private houses and apartments to be built on. These homes are so expensive that local people cannot afford to buy them. I will also be pushing for the establishment of a state construction company that won’t be lining the pockets of private developers who Fianna Fail and Fine Gael promote and protect. The state construction company should be tasked with developing vacant and state land for social housing.

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

I will be seeking for the home retrofitting insulation upgrade work to be carried out immediately to social housing across the constituency. With particular attention paid to flats complexes such as Rathmines Avenue Flats and Seagull House where black mould is a constant problem and detrimental to the health of the residents. This will also have a positive environmental action.

On the wider issue of maintenance I will be calling for DCC to increase the number of people directly employed to carry out maintenance. Once an adequate number of people have been employed, DCC should move away from outsourcing maintenance to private contractors. In relation to private rental accommodation DCC and the RTB should be given the enhanced powers to hold landlords to account where they rent out sub-standard accommodation.

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

I want to introduce a designated dog area into some of the local parks in the Crumlin Kimmage and Rathmines areas. This will allow dog owners to safely allow their dogs off the lead with bins provided to clean up after their dogs. I would also call for a major campaign by DCC in relation to responsible dog ownership. The aim is to make it socially unacceptable for dog poo to be left on the street.

On the wider issue of rubbish I believe that refuse collection should be taken back into public ownership and the rates should be scrapped. This would prevent illegal dumping in the area and incentivise the public to sustainably manage their waste.

What would you do to help tackle vacancy and dereliction?

I will be calling for a comprehensive audit to be carried out on vacant and derelict properties in Crumlin, Kimmage and Rathmines. 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. Too many homes are lying idle during a housing crisis when a family could be living in it. DCC should be given strict deadlines on the time it takes them to turn their own vacant properties around. There are currently DCC houses left idle for months and in some cases even years.

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

I volunteered as a sports coach in the area for over 25 years. I firmly believe that Dublin City Council should make substantial investments in social, leisure and sports facilities for young people in the area. This will give young people a prosocial outlet for their spare time and reduce the risk of them causing harm or being harmed while out on the streets. I have met with representatives from local sports clubs and the needs of the clubs in the area are not currently being met. We should also look at improving street lighting. This would act as a deterrent to people who engage in anti-social behaviour. It would also have the impact of making people feel safer.

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. While I welcome many aspects of Busconnects there are still many areas of concern for residents in Crumlin, Kimmage and Rathmines. I have been working with local residents to address their concerns.

After I was contacted by residents in Crumlin about the removal of a bus service between Armagh Rd and Crumlin Village we collected 2,000 signatures for a petition which we then submitted to the NTA. I am glad to say that recent correspondence from the NTA has stated that the service will be reintroduced in the coming weeks. I am using this approach in other parts of the constituency where I hope for similar positive outcomes.

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

As a cyclist, I would like to see an increase in protected cycle lanes so that cyclists 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. However we will only ever reduce car use if a reliable alternative public transport system is in place. Children should also feel safe while walking and cycling on the streets and a reduction in traffic will encourage them to do so. This will have the added advantage of giving children additional exercise.

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 would work with local community groups in an effort to increase diversity and ensure that people from every background feels welcome. There is a lot of false information regarding immigrants and I have been working with the Drimnagh For All and other groups to help counter that false information. Sports clubs can play a pivotal role on the issue by helping to make new residents feel welcome in the area and by helping local residents overcome some of the fear that they have towards newly arrived immigrants. Special attention must also be made to ensure no level of hate or discrimination is acceptable against members of the LGBTQ+.