Vedh Kannan

Independent candidate for Howth-Malahide

How would you help get more housing built in Fingal?

Housing is a challenging issue in Fingal. I am, of course, committed to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and quality housing. There are many derelict sites, that must be utilised for housing and other amenities. Derelict sites across local authorities in Dublin are tracked. However, not only is Fingal’s register of derelict sites heavily outdated, it is a physical book sitting in Fingal county council! While other local authorities across Dublin have their registers available for easy viewing on their websites, we must book an appointment with the council online to go and visit the register. If elected, I will make it a priority to modernise and update this register so that all derelict sites are subject to the appropriate levy/charges that must be paid. As someone with reasonable experience in computer science, I would be glad to volunteer my time for this as well.

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

To ensure new housing developments include adequate amenities and services, I would advocate for a planning approach that integrates community needs. Essential elements like shops, schools, outdoor spaces, and well-equipped libraries are vital for thriving communities. My plan is to use zoning laws to designate areas near any new housing for community services and amenities. Making improvements to the Howth library and expanding on multi-use community centres would be key priorities, providing essential resources and spaces for community activities.

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

Dublin Airport is a massive job creator for Fingal and the rest of Ireland. However, its operations and expansion plans must be balanced with the needs and concerns of local residents. Living in proximity to the airport and on the flight path myself, I can appreciate the noise complaints brought forward by other residents and I believe it is important that the DAA should engage transparently with residents and all stakeholders, addressing their concerns about noise, traffic, and environmental impact appropriately before any expansions are made. Benefits such as job creation and improved infrastructure should be maximised, but not at the expense of community well-being. We need a balanced approach.

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

Improving public transport in Fingal is essential for reducing traffic congestion, cutting emissions, and enhancing connectivity. I have had the opportunity to discuss research I have worked on regarding the management of traffic congestion at Sutton cross with Minister Paschal Donohoe.

I would advocate for increased investment in the expansion of bus routes. Expanding bus routes in the Howth-Malahide area is crucial, especially for school students. For example, the popular 102T bus runs at extremely low frequencies, resulting in overcrowded buses and forcing secondary school students across the peninsula to adjust their home times, in many cases, missing extra-curricular activities. No one should have to adjust their lives for public transport schedules. Extending the regular 102 route by a few more kilometres would remedy the issue.

Additionally, increasing the frequency of the 42 and 43 buses on weekends is an important step to incentivise residents to take public transport and reduce car usage. I strongly believe that improving existing bus services is the most “bang for your buck” way to make our public transport a more reliable and convenient option for all residents, ultimately reducing congestion and improving quality of life in Fingal. This will be much faster and cost-effective than any other method.

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

Road safety is a top priority. I would advocate for stricter enforcement of traffic laws, particularly around speeding and distracted driving. Investment in road infrastructure, such as better lighting, clearer signage, and well-maintained road surfaces, is essential. As mentioned above, it is unacceptable to have anything but smooth road surfaces in Fingal. It is the shared responsibility of the road users’ to avoid being distracted by mobile phones while walking, driving or cycling and the responsibility of the council to introduce more traffic calming measures in high-risk areas, creating safe school zones, significantly reducing risk of accidents.

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

As an avid cyclist and member of MacNally’s Cycling Club, I recognise the importance of safe and accessible cycle routes. I have found myself trying to avoid potholes and find smooth surfaces when descending Howth Hill. This is unacceptable. Howth Hill is a popular area for cyclists and motorists alike. Repairing these potholes and having smooth surfaces is the easiest way to protect our cyclists and the first step in making roads safer. I would also advocate for strict enforcement of regulations to prevent cars and vans from parking on cycle lanes, which is a significant issue for cyclists. The Portmarnock-Baldoyle greenway + walkway was a brilliant development and we need to see more like it.

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

Firstly, I would advocate for policies that protect existing green spaces. This involves using zoning to classify existing areas as protected open space. Much of the Howth peninsula is currently designated as a high amenity zone and not protected as open space, which it should be.

I would work to ensure that any new housing or infrastructure projects incorporate green spaces into their plans, following a "green infrastructure" approach that integrates nature into urban settings. Community involvement is crucial to the success of these initiatives. By organising community events, clean-up days, and educational workshops, we can foster a sense of stewardship and pride in our natural environment.

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

I advocate for the development and expansion of exercise and recreational areas in Malahide, Howth, and Portmarnock to ensure residents have free access to essential recreational facilities. New housing developments should allocate space for parks and sports facilities as part of their planning requirements. The Howth-Malahide area is known for popular sports like cricket, rugby, tennis, and GAA, but there's room for improvement. I believe in creating more all-weather pitches with options for putting up volleyball and badminton nets. Additionally, partnerships with local sports clubs and community groups are vital for developing and managing these facilities. Anti-social behaviour that damages not just these amenities, but any property of the community, must not be tolerated. I advocate for stricter penalties and higher fines to prevent such actions.