“It’s very hard to stomach walking past a perfect boarded up house in my estate for the last 12 months while hearing homeless figures climb and rents rising. The Green Party is trying to introduce legislation that will help bring properties like this back to life
“It is absolute madness that we have a situation in Ireland where we have 27 empty homes for every one person in emergency accommodation. We also have significant issues with dereliction, and land hoarding by developers. This needs to change, and change fast.
“We have almost 5,000 of empty houses here in Fingal, with 198,358 empty nationwide, according to the CSO. This number doesn’t include derelict buildings, and doesn’t measure the potential housing units that could be developed on vacant land in city and town centres.
“We need to start bringing life back to our towns, villages and estates. Through installing units above shops, refurbishing derelict buildings, and tackling land hoarding. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Living Cities Bill.
“The aims of this Bill are simple, and have the potential to instigate meaningful change. The bill aims to remove the minimum site size from the current vacancy legislation, which is currently set at larger than a basketball court, which rules out a huge number of sites. This would bring far more vacant and derelict sites under the scope of the legislation. There is a real opportunity here. The country is full of empty buildings and vacant sites. These dwellings are pre-existing infrastructure and returning them back to a usable condition would go a long way not just towards providing more cost effective solutions to tackle the crisis, but would also be of benefit in terms of reinvigorating communities.”
O’brien selected by Greens for election
By JOHN MANNING
7 Nov 2017
THE Green Party is preparing early for the next General Election with the selection of local party representative, Joe O’brien as the party’s candidate in Dublin Fingal. Joe O’brien went up against constituency colleague, Mark Henry in the party’s…read more…
Fingal needs progressive, hardworking representatives that are constructive and are not duped by empty spin that seems to be increasingly mistaken for good government. This government which is effectively a Fine Gael and Fianna Fail coalition is a very stagnant one that is largely unwilling and unable to tackle to big core issues that are facing the country and Fingal. It is a government of stagnation which is being spun as stability. It is a government of fear and reticence being spun as prudent and careful.
Two of the big issues that underline this approach are the governments decisions on the big issues of the housing and homelessness crisis and the climate change challenge which the government has been totally incapable of seeing for its huge economic and social potentials. The world via the Paris Agreement has decided to move on from the inaction phase and restructure economic, energy and transport systems but curiously government is looking backwards on this issue rather than forwards. From an economic point of view this is infuriating and tragic. Adaptation to new systems as mentioned is a huge opportunity for developed economies like Ireland but there is a failure of political vision in this respect and unfortunately the new Taoiseach is confirming the old saying of ‘all style and no substance’ with no big decisions being made to move Ireland in a different direction in the recent budget, despite previous positive soundings.
It’s the housing crisis that really has shown that this government is incapable of making the decisions needed to bring the change we are all looking for. The ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan is already proving to be wholly inadequate, but it is reflective of a government that has made a clear policy decision and choice when it comes to the housing and homelessness crisis. This government has left the housing and homelessness crisis largely to the markets in an unacceptable ‘wait and see approach’, which is primarily benefitting developers. This is not the only approach and is not an acceptable approach when the lives of thousands of children are being damaged for a longer and longer period of time as this crisis grows ever longer and ever larger. There is denial about the scale and depth of the problem and denial about the ineffectiveness of the so-called solutions being relied on. In any other field the people tasked with solving this problem would have been shown the door.
It is very difficult for people in Fingal to have faith in government when they continue to see the same mistakes being made over and over again. There are housing developments and areas all over Fingal poorly served by the Celtic Tiger era that are still suffering from inadequate transport, community and educational infrastructure. Now we see further poorly planned and supported development often in areas where these infrastructure issues have not been resolved.
Connected to this shallow and disingenuous approach is an over emphasis on image and the appearance of change – this has been crystallised is the €5m spin office in the Department of the Taoiseach. In short, we have a vain and fearful government that is more interested in tweeting to improve image and only tweaking policy as it is afraid to make the big decisions that this country needs.
The Green Party is growing again, and our three parliamentarians have seriously punched above their weight. With minority government and coalition government the reality for the foreseeable future the Green Party is in an increasingly strong position to be a positive and progressive influence in the direction the country needs to go. I commit to being a tireless and progressive voice for Dublin Fingal and a representative that will not be sucked in by the spin and complacency of this government.
Public must have a say in local budget
By JOHN MANNING
3 Oct 2017
IN the run up to the Fingal County Council budgeting process Green Party representative for north Fingal, Joe O’brien has called on the Chief Executive to allow the public to get more involved in the spending decisions of the council. At the national…read more…
Green Party calls for more heritage funding for Fingal
29 Aug 2017
DURING National Heritage week, Green Party representative for Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush, Lusk and Rural Fingal called on Minister Heather Humphreys and Fingal County Council to â€�fully recognise and support the untapped social and economic capital of…read more…
US President’s action is â€�deplorable’ says O’Brien
7 Feb 2017
Local Green Party representative, Joe O’Brien wants the Irish government to suspend the agreement that allows the United States Immigration Department to operate out of Ireland. He said: â€� The actions of Donald Trump have now gone way beyond what is…read more…
Last year I wrote a report that the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive are trying to bury. Under the protection of whistleblower legislation I am able to reveal what was in that report – in short unacceptable treatment of homeless people by State services and massive and deliberate undercounting of the issue.
My story as told by Irish Examiner journalist Mick Clifford is at this link:bit.ly/1Qb1H98
My full statement is at this link: http://bit.ly/1TLmLSy