Saturday 24 August 2019

Open spaces and cycle lanes aplenty: Here is the new Green Party councillors' plan for Dublin

Michael Pidgeon and his proud mum
Michael Pidgeon and his proud mum

Gabija Gataveckaite

Publicly owned housing, cycle lanes aplenty and green spaces – these things could soon become a more prominent part of every day Dublin life, if the newly elected Green Party councillors are successful in their goals.

A total of 63 seats have been filled in Dublin City Council (DCC) - 10 of them will be Green Party councillors. This is in stark contrast to the three Green Party Councillors that won seats in the 2014 local elections.

Their plans include priorities to not only address climate change and the biodiversity emergency, but the housing crisis in Dublin.

Councillor in the Cabra/Glasnevin Neasa Hourigan explained that the council needs to explore what the vision for housing is in the city.

"We want to look at building standards and see what the vision of housing for Dublin really is," she told Independent.ie.

"Fine Gael have this dystopian vision of 40 people sharing a kitchen."

Councillor in the south-west inner city Michael Pidgeon added; "Dublin City Council has a lot of public land, we want to build traditional social housing and also offer public owned housing like they do in Vienna.

"The rent is decided by how much it costs to build and how much it costs to rent out for the next 30 years. This is an asset that’s a return to the taxpayer."

Green Party councillors will also prioritise congestion in the city and efforts to reduce it, such as encouraging the public to cycle.

For Councillor Caroline Conroy in Artane-Whitehall, this trend will begin with schoolchildren.

"We’re definitely focusing on putting in cycle lanes on to the main routes and around schools. Parents are worried about schoolchildren cycling to school as it’s not safe.

"But if they start cycling as kids, then they’ll cycle as adults."

Councillor Hourigan said the party are hoping to "revitalise" the city with cyclists.

"It’s very clear that we want climate action, we need to talk urgent action - the house is on fire," she said.

"We want to turn Dublin into a climate friendly city."

As well as tackling the housing crisis and climate change, protecting green spaces and the environment will be a key focus for the party.

"Particularly in Dublin 8, I’ll be hoping to protect green space and existing pitches," Cllr Pidgeon said.

"We also want to ensure that new large developments have an access to a green space."

In terms of air pollution, Cllr Conroy said she hopes to investigate air pollution, particularly towards the airport.

"We’re looking to conduct a couple of studies and see what the situation is and compare it with other areas in Dublin," she said.

"Solution is planting more trees, reduce the traffic and encourage active travel, walking, public transport and cycling."

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