Sineád Lucey Brennan

Fianna Fáil candidate for Balbriggan

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

I have worked closely with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD, who has served Fingal well during his political career. He, and the Government, are making steady progress in alleviating our housing crisis and his actions and policies are evident throughout Fingal.

My view is that it is essential to have a direct link between Fingal County Council, the Government, planning authorities and residents to make sure that there are no unnecessary blocks to new housing projects, to bring vacant homes back to the market and to encourage town living with appropriate community services, and that any concerns are listened to carefully and remedied for the benefit of all.

I will work hard to expand supports available to first time buyers and renters, while also incentivising landlords to stay in the rental market and to provide long-term leases through tax cuts. This includes protecting, extending and expanding the Help to Buy Scheme, the First Home Scheme, and the Vacancy Refurbishment Grants, among others.

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

As a young mum, an essential amenity for me in any new build estate is a crèche. Also, as a disabled person, it is essential that all new build estates work for all people with disabilities, whether those are visible or invisible disabilities.

As with anything, these essential viewpoints cannot possibly feed into planning and action unless people with these experiences are at the table. This is lacking in our current representation in the Balbriggan LEA and I want to bring fresh thinking to the table.

As we build more housing, the demand on services in our existing communities will be felt significantly so we need to be thinking ahead on GP services, schools, local club capacity, traffic management, and building the right amenities and shared space relative to the number of houses built in our community.

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

Dublin Airport is obviously an extremely important piece of infrastructure for Ireland, and it is also a huge local employer in Fingal. However, it is important that DAA continues to work closely with local residents, local politicians and local groups to make sure that all stakeholders are working together and informed of any expansion plans or new operations, and that any new operations or works do not interrupt local peoples’ lives unnecessarily.

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

The short answer is: much needs to be done. As the Balbriggan LEA is North County Dublin, it is essential that links with Dublin City are working on time and well and working for the needs of all commuters. Our trains and buses are good when they work, but an issue is with infrequent timetables, delays without notice or replacement and overcrowding with no solutions.

A lot of my constituency is under-served by public transport and there needs to be more cohesive thinking on connectivity. I am hugely supportive of Metrolink; however, it would be a real missed opportunity if this does not join up with the existing Dublin-Belfast railway line with DART and Commuter railway services as well as bus services in Fingal. Also, disabled people need to be offered the same level of service as any other public transport user.

I will engage with all transport operators to ensure that public transport infrastructure, vehicles, and services are accessible to people with disabilities and reduced mobility, including the provision of wheelchair ramps, priority seating, audible announcements, and tactile paving at stations and stops.

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

Fingal County Council has done great work in using active travel funding to improve our roads. However, due to the need for cars as a mode of transport in rural areas such as mine, and for people with mobility issues, it is important that car users are factored into any further planning and works.

It is also essential for planners and engineers to take account of farm machinery given the more rural nature of North County Fingal. The towns of Skerries, Balbriggan, Loughshinny and Balrothery are all historic and beautiful and they are friendly places for people to visit on foot or by bike. My view is that constant and continual communication between all stakeholders is the way to make sure our roads and spaces work for everyone.

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

Education from early years at school is an important first step in making our roads safer and this should then filter through to up-to-date theory and driving tests. Speed limits that suit individual roads and that work for road users should be considered, but again, as with any change, it is essential to bring all stakeholders together in planning any changes.

We must listen carefully to victims’ families and victim advocacy groups and hear first-hand their experiences and then learn from these experiences to help improve our roads and make them safer for everyone.

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

Everyone wants to live in a pleasant space and environment and access to green spaces is necessary for our health as well as the wellbeing of our natural habitat. I am passionate about supporting local sustainability and environmental groups to push for more greenery, trees, and public seating along footpaths to create a more attractive and inviting environment for everyone.

Living in a coastal community, I see daily the impact that climate change is having on our community and need to do our utmost to support bees, our animals, natural flora and fauna and plant more trees to safeguard our environment.

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

I am deeply embedded in my community, where access to land to build parks and sports facilities can be a real challenge. However, despite being a first-time candidate, I have already worked closely with my elected colleagues on leveraging available funds to develop parks in Skerries & Balbriggan to date. The refurbishment of the Floraville sensory garden in Skerries is nearly complete and the Our Balbriggan funds enabled building a pocket park in Balbriggan.

We have sports clubs on land and sea in the Balbriggan LEA that only continue to grow and so their need for better facilities is massive – notably upgrading of waterlogged pitches and drainage needed as well as halls to host indoor sports and events. Our young population in the North County is only increasing so a heavy focus on parks and sports facilities is needed.