Fine Gael have shown themselves to be utterly irresponsible by killing the climate bill

In the face of the increasing climate crisis, the Government today has killed the Climate Emergency Measures Bill by putting it into committee limbo.

The bill, which would have helped Ireland meet its climate change responsibilities by keeping oil and gas in the ground, is now stalled with no clear way forward.

The Leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, said:

“Despite dire warning from climate scientists and reports showing we are the worst in the EU, we still see this Fine Gael government brazenly stop clear measures that would help us meet our climate change responsibilities.

“By stopping this bill moving forward they are holding future generations, who will have to deal with this growing crisis, in contempt.

“It is utterly irresponsible not to react to this growing crisis. Climate experts say we have just 12 years to tackle climate change yet Fine Gael are again sitting on their hands. 

“This action is clearly morally bankrupt but it is also economically damaging as it keeps investment in fossil fuels when it should be moving to renewable energy. We need to signal to investors that the way forward is in renewable energy. Our communities and businesses need to be supported to make that change.

“We are not going to accept this decision to stall the Bill and we will continue to fight this through the Committee on Procedure.”

Polling Station for Pelletstown- One Step Closer



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Following a number of queries about getting a polling station for Pelletstown, myself and Cllr Roderic O'Gorman have finally had it confirmed that responsibility for this falls fully under Dublin City Council. This information brings us one step closer to addressing the issue of voter access for residents as the area is located North of the Royal Canal, at a boundary that lies in Dublin City Council but in the Dublin West Dail constituency . This has led to some ambiguity around which local authority could facilitate the much needed polling station.

 

Everyone should have the ability to access a polling station in your locality with reasonable ease. At the moment voters in Pelletstown must travel a significant distance just to take part in referendums and elections and this can impact voter turnout and participation. Roderic and myself have been working to identify which section of local government can address this issue.

 

Roderic wrote a number of times to the Dublin County Returning Officer suggesting a new polling station (the County Returning Officer looks after the Dublin West constituency) but this approach was unsuccessful. Our Green Party representatives in the Dail also put in a question to the Minister for Housing (who looks after electoral issues)but it was ruled out of order, as the selection of polling areas was deemed outside his responsibility. At the June 2018 Dublin City Council meeting, the Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe put a question to the City Manager on whether the County Sherriff could provide a new polling station in Pelletstown. Finally, in the last week, we’ve been officially informed by the County Returning Officer that responsibility for deciding on a new polling station rests with Dublin City Council and that they are specifically looking at the issue in Pelletstown.

 

Dublin City Council franchise section have now been tasked with considering this issue and are in the process of undertaking a review. Dublin City have just published a draft poll scheme and submissions are due before 15th December. https://consultation.dublincity.ie/city-managers/draft-polling-scheme-2018/

Cabra Needs Homes First

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Homes, Not Student Units Needed in Cabra

The 'Matts of Cabra' site has recently gone on sale with a proposed planning permission for up to 250 student accommodation units on a site of 1.21 acres. While Cabra is the next stop on the Luas line from Grangegorman almost 3,500 student units have been built in Dublin over the last year and that number is likely to double in the coming months. Recent activism by students has highlighted the high rents and profit margins resulting from these types of developments which can cost up to 1,500 Euro per month.

I'm calling on Dublin City Council to insure that a key site in the area is only used for social and affordable housing and not for yet more short term, aparthotel buildings.

Cabra desperately needs family housing and this site would be an inexcusable, lost opportunity to provide that to people who are increasingly being pushed out of the area. While the completion of the Luas line has been a fantastic asset to Cabra it has also seen house prices and rents increase sharply. The cost of an average 2 bed home is now approaching 300,000 Euro while rents are approximately 1,800 Euro per month. Many families who have lived here all their lives are now being pushed out of their communities due to the incredibly high costs of living and the minimal amounts of new housing available in the area.

The reality is that this government needs to focus on the right to housing and part of that discussion includes supporting people to live in the communities in which they grew up. Family support is one of the most important aspects in quality of living. It should be a particular focus in areas where we know social challenges and families on low incomes are struggling to get by. The ability to call on extended social and family networks has huge benefits for communities; for example it is often the only way single parents can return to work, it can allow families to support elderly relatives to continue living in their own home. It is incredibly short sighted for Dublin City Council to prioritise developers profits over the wellbeing of the people it claims to serve.

The 1.21 acre site, surrounded by local schools, shops and excellent public transport links, could accommodate more than 50 family size units if built to a three storey level.

Submission on Local Policing

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Dear Mr Ward,

I am writing to you in relation to your notice to submit contributions on local and national policing.

I am the parent of a six year old white cane user and I have some contributions to make on how the Gardai can help improve access to the street for people such as my daughter.

1. Full parking enforcement: it is our family's experience that DSPS does not respond to calls for clampers in a large section of Dublin 7, certainly in Cabra. Even after reports by phone where parked cars are dangerous and pushing children into oncoming traffic they have not been removed at all. (In one case a car parked fully blocking a footpath outside a school remained there for 3 days despite being reported twice.) The parking enforcement email to Gardai is also time consuming and often ineffective. It is also difficult to see that any action has been taken as no visible tickets are attached to cars now. This is unfortunate as visible ticketing has an impact on the behaviour of other drivers.

2. Waste disposal review: Tuesdays are an incredibly difficult day to be in Dublin suburban streets as bins are pulled across the path and left for hours throughout the day. It would be very helpful if the waste contractors could inform both their staff and the general public of the best practice in placing these huge bins in the kerbside. It should also be considered that some streets are not suitable for such large bins and will fully blocking footpaths. The Gardai could have an impact here in holding waste companies to account when bins are irresponsibly positioned.

3.  Integrated accessibility: the quality of the city is really impacted by small things such as thoughtless placement of sandwich boards or outdoor seating. It would be helpful if some local Gardai were more permanently out in the community and could address these issues on the street as they arise, calling into local business or to households where action was required. The optimum would be to have a staff member in each local district whose primary role was engaging with these matters.  

Summary

- Bring back visible ticketing on cars breaking the law

- Reduce the reliance on DSPS for traffic enforcement and encourage the local authorities to reinstate traffic wardens as regular staff

- Take action against waste companies who act irresponsibly and require waste companies to inform the public of best practice

- Nominate a Garda staff member whose sole role would be an integrated approach to public accessibility and the civic realm

- Stop relying on public reporting to deal with traffic and dangerous situations. Visible and constant regulation through staff being on the street would be far more effective.

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Neasa Hourigan.

Rise for Climate

Holding the very heavy climate sign

On September 8, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide displayed the growing strength and diversity of the climate movement.

Together they showed the world what real climate leadership looks like. People everywhere are turning away from the age of fossil fuels and it’s time for politicians to follow. There’s no time to lose.

The huge sign in place on the bridge

I spent the day hanging our ridiculously large sign from a bridge in Dublin! Cause you know, you can't really miss it.

Me, giving orders probably..

Housing Sit Down

Impromptu housing sit down on O'Connell Street

Following the violent eviction of housing activists from Take Back the City a sit down protest took place on the 22nd Sept. The rally highlighted the housing shortage and the amount of vacant buildings in the city.

A huge crowd came out and shut down the city for approximately 2 hours. The Garda support for the landlord’s heavies and the manner in which the eviction was done is less than we can expect from our guards of the peace.

Take Back The City

On the very first Take Back the City protest

In August I went along to what I thought was a standard housing protest, how wrong I was. After gathering everyone together on O'Connell Street we marched up the street to a row of vacant buildings in Summerhill.

Very early morning outside the Summerhill occupation

These buildings had been rented by a huge number of people up to the point that fire concerns finally pushed the landlord to evict them. They then stood empty for months. It is likely that these buildings will be redeveloped at a large profit by the landlord.

The sit down protest after that very scary eviction

The Take Back The City movement has electrified housing activism in Dublin. And even peripheral people like me can lend a hand in the occupation. It's really important that we call out the naked profiteering of large-scale landlords on those on the lowest incomes. Onwards and upwards.

Homes for All

Dublin Footpath Blockers

Twitter page of Dublin Blockers

So I started a little campaign in the last few months. As you may know my 6 year old is a white cane user. As we try and encourage her to use it on the street it has become very apparent that our public streets and civic environment isn’t actually very friendly to people with disabilities. Cars parked up everywhere, overgrown hedges, broken pavements, dog dirt, the list is endless. (On some level I knew this of course but it becomes very immediate and undeniable when you have to explain it to a small child.)

Instagram page of Dublin Blockers


So I have created Dublin Blockers. We're on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You should contact you're local Garda station or DSPS to report dangerous or inconsiderate parking but also take a snap and send it to one of our accounts. It can be useful to chart this kind of thing in an easily accessible place. (And also if I reported every example of this I would be on the phone 5-8 times everyday!)

Facebook page of Dublin Blockers

Repealed!

Me with the Green Party Posters

As spring turned into summer the campaign to repeal the 8th was a whirlwind and we still can't believe the result. The legislation is all important though so all of us organisers with Dublin Central Together4yes will be keeping our eyes peeled and our ears open.

Me leading a huge group of canvassers in Cabra

It was a rainy cold February when we started but we didn't let that slow us down. Something important happened with Repeal. Representatives across the political divide put everything aside to deliver this important ref. We will (of course ) disagree in the future but it was an honour working with everyone this year.

We did it! Repealed!!!

Yet another canvas