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Dublin's only the 46th most liveable? We can change that

It could have been the fall-out from those cancelled Garth Brooks concerts.

How else to explain the fact that in June Ireland was deemed to be "the best country in the world" by the Good Country Index, and yet this week Dublin came a measly 46th in an index of "liveable cities", according to new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

What's going on here? 46th? Behind Helsinki. And Toronto. Yes, I know we beat London, but that's no cause for celebration anymore now that we're all besties with the Brits.

But 46th? Seriously? Oh dear, we have a little work to do.

As a born-and-bred Dubliner I feel I am qualified to suggest some ways that Dublin can be improved so that this embarrassing result is not replicated.

First up, O'Connell Street. How many times have we been told that O'Connell is - bar the Champs Elysee - the widest street in Europe?

Beautifully designed as the centrepiece to Georgian Dublin, it's just gorgeous. Or at least it could be. If only we could get rid of all those nasty fast food joints and gambling dens that line the street.

No wonder poor Daniel O'Connell (below), a God fearing Christian, has turned his back on the thoroughfare named after him.

Why can't we insist that businesses who have the honour to be situated in that grand old avenue, have street frontage appropriate to the history and heritage of the area?

Why don't Dublin City Council demand it? Other cities manage to do it, so why can't we? And then why can't we pedestrianise it and make it into a beautifully managed public space?

potential

And after we get O'Connell street sorted, how about we actually start to maximise the potential of all the other amazing sites we have in Dublin - not just for tourists but for ourselves as well?

Dublin Castle and its environs has got to be one of the most under-used historical attractions in the city, ditto both of our Church of Ireland Cathedrals and the Bank of Ireland on College Green to name just a few.

And while we're on pedestrianisation why not go the whole hog and make the entire city centre a car-free zone?

Yes, yes I know. How on earth are you supposed to get around if you can't drive? Well, what's wrong with extending the Luas? And installing Grafton to Henry Street buses?

Or how about...gasp!...walking from street to street? On your legs? Radical I know.

But again, it seems to work in other cities (that are scoring far higher than us on the blasted Economist index). Maybe we should try it.

Which brings us to the litter problem. Remember when we were known as "Dirty Dublin"?

As someone who regularly walks through Dublin city centre I can tell you that not much has changed - since the introduction of bin charges, it seems to have got even worse.


Why isn't there all-out-war being waged on people and business who litter?

It's not just an insult to tourists who are it's also an insult to those of us who live here. We deserve better.

And who, in all their wisdom, decided that so many drug clinics should be situated cheek-by-jowl with tourist amenities in the inner city?

I know they have to go somewhere, and my heart goes out to those poor souls I see come in and out of them daily, but there seems to be no question that they add to the considerable anti-social behaviour we see on our streets.

Which brings me to my final suggestion for the improvement of quality of life for the people of Dublin.

Dickensian

We need to start looking after each other. Every time I leave my home to walk through the city, I pass increasing numbers of homeless people, people begging, people who look as if they are at the end of their tether and have nowhere or no-one to turn to.

Sometimes I wonder if Dublin has been turned into a Dickensian film-set, as I step over yet another body scrunched up in a sleeping bag.

Celtic Dublin has become poverty-stricken Dublin.

My last suggestion? We need every penny of our property taxes to be spent here.


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