Meenagh horrified at levels of litter on beaches, rivers and canals

Declan Meenagh standing with a bag of rubbish next to the Royal Canal

Declan Meenagh, Labour Area Rep for Cabra/Glasnevin is horrified at the recent reports that only 8% of beaches and rivers are classified as clean to EU standards.

"As someone who enjoys walking and the outdoors, I find it horrifying that this damage is being done. Animals are being harmed and the environment is being damaged"

"As a regular volunteer with the Royal Canal Cleanup and Phibsborough Tidy Towns, I know that this isn't just a coastal issue. Massive amounts of single-use packaging is being generated and we need to call a stop to it"

"I'm calling for the government to urgently support Labour and the Green Party's bottle deposit scheme. Microbeads are also very dangerous and the government needs to ban them."

"I'm also calling on businesses to stop campaigning against environmental laws and to make a serious effort to reduce waste generated by their products."

"We only have one planet and the damage we do to it can't be repaired. Rubbish dumped in Ireland is harming animals and envirnments all around the world. The process of producing single-use plastics and packaging is also doing damage. Government needs to act. "

Scrap FG/FF plan for a Rainy Day Fund and build homes says Declan Meenagh

Labour Local Area Rep Declan Meenagh has criticised the plans by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to put €500 million into a Rainy Day Fund next year when we are in the middle of a housing crisis. Instead Labour is calling for 2,000 affordable homes to be built with the money and offered for rent to tackle the housing shortage and give people security of tenure.

Declan Meenagh said:
"Rather than creating a so-called "Rainy Day Fund" of €500 million which will be invested who knows where, a much better use would be to invest this into building affordable housing for rent. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, with the latest figures should nearly 4,000 homeless children, rents reaching record highs across the country, and house prices continuing to rise.

"It's time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to scrap their plans for a rainy day fund and tackle the crisis Ireland faces now. The question has to be asked why two years into this Government they still haven't tackled this major issue.

"Here in Dublin we need more affordable housing, we have a massive housing list, homelessness crisis and not enough investment from the Government.

"Such a fund could build over 2,000 homes and costs would be reduced by doing this on publicly owned land. There are over 700 sites available across the country, adding up to 1,700 hectares. Estimating a build cost of €250,000 per unit which is a conservative estimate of the cost of building apartments, at least 2,000 new homes for rent could be built.

"This would provide an assert for the state as there is an urgent need for quality rented housing that is also affordable.

"We've a situation where some companies are delaying expansion plans because of a lack of housing for future workers, and it has been reported that multinationals are leasing whole blocks of apartments before they are even completed so that they have somewhere to house their workers.

"Creating affordable rented housing is crucial to allow people to take up jobs in a context where private rents are exorbitant. This investment would benefit the economy, and allow job growth.

"This would be a one-off, capital investment, so that there is no recurrent commitment, and a much better use that putting €500 million away in a bank account somewhere or invested in stock exchanges around the world

"It is not prudent to "save" money, if a lack of affordable housing is holding back sections of the economy. It would also reduce

"This is the kind of strategic investment that the Government should be leading on, not putting Irish taxpayers money into some kind of cold storage where we have no idea where that money will actually be invested."

I am voting YES

TL:DR Vote Yes and you don’t have to read all this!

I’m asking you all to vote yes on Friday! Women have suffered under the 8th amendment for too long. We have tried regulating reproduction through the constitution and it failed, and as a result, women have died!

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If you are pro-choice or not, the question is simple. Will you vote yes for safe and regulated abortion in Ireland to give the so-called hard cases compassionate care? Or will you ignore their voices and say we can't do anything for them. Voting No means we run out of letters in the alphabet for the awful court cases and the 8 women a day travelling alone.

Staying at home would be a victory for the people who think plastering our streets with disgusting images is acceptable. The lies on those posters and the graphic images are awful and we need to send a resounding message that it is not ok by voting yes!

As a person with a disability, I am horrified at how the no side used disability in this campaign. People with disabilities are at risk during pregnancy, they are at a higher risk of being raped and they need access to safe abortion! The no sides claims about disability have been exposed as either misleading or complete lies! The no side does not speak for me and they can’t use my disability to deny women healthcare! During the campaign, I have worked with a lot of people with disabilities, through Labour Disability and People With Disabilities Together for Yes.

Men need to vote and they need to vote yes! If you believe a woman should have the right to decide and that this is a woman’s issue, stop interfering with it by taking the constitution out of the way.

The no side were exposed on the Primetime debate. They have no answers to the hard cases. Yes is on the side of facts, no is on the side of dodgy figures and disgusting posters. Please vote yes on Friday!

#Together2Vote #Together4Yes #YourVoteMatters

Metrolink and the NTA must listen to the views of Phibsborough and surrounding areas

Today I made a submission to MetroLink on how it might effect Phibsborough and surrounding areas. For more information on the project visit www.metrolink.ie 

With some changes, the Metrolink project can be an important part of the City's public transport infrastructure. I think the southside root represents a lost opportunity as it could take a different root and cover more ground. On the north side, the position of several of the stops is questionable at best. 

I fully support the position of Na Fianna GAA Club. Taking their pitches is completely unreasonable. It would have a devastating impact on the children, the club and the wider community. This can't happen! 

The rail interconnector at Crossguns bridge is a good idea, but we need to try figure out a better way of doing it. Taking down the pub and 25 apartments is very expensive, demolishing homes in a housing crices seems not to make sense. For people living in the area, reassurances need to be given that the construction works will have a minimal impact on their lives. In Cabra and Phibsborough, when the Luas Cross City was being built, the work disrupted a lot of rats and caused a lot of distress for people living in the area. 

The Mater stop can't close off Berkeley road. This would result in the diversion of the 120, 38, 38a and 46a, Dorset street is already massively congested, so it's not clear where these busses can be diverted to.

For the people living in the area, the Foremasters park is an important green space, there really aren't a lot of green spaces in the area, taking one away is not acceptable. Why can't the existing station site under the new hospital wing be used instead? 

For the O'Connell street stop, if this is built, it must not have any impact on the existing Luas. There is already a serious problem getting trams across the city, we can't disrupt this more.

Vacant houses are a scandal, government inaction inexcusable!

Local representative Declan Meenagh has said that the thousands of vacant homes lying idle around the country remain the low hanging fruit option still underutilised by Government to deal with the housing crisis. It follows the release of new figures from the Department of Housing this week.

Declan said:

“Amid the release of new housing figures this week, there was a noticeable absence of detail of any action taken on the vacant housing front, with just a general reference to ‘voids’ included in the stock brought into use in 2017.

“This would also only cover the Local Authority empty units and does not take into account private dwellings.

“We know that there are thousands of vacant properties currently gathering dust around the country that could be used for the provision of homes in the midst of this crisis, but we are not seeing enough urgency on it.

“It has been said for some time that we need to drill down into the reasons that these properties are lying idle, but there is still no sign of the Government’s Vacant Homes strategy that was promised last year.

“With nearly 11% of total housing stock vacant here, bringing these homes back into use is the low hanging fruit option still underutilised by Government.

“Making use of existing vacant dwellings can, and must, be a quick win and a real solution for those families who have no home or are at risk of losing theirs.”

Fianna Fail conversion on affordable housing welcome but far too late

Labour Representative Declan Meenagh has said that reports that Fianna Fáil will pursue an affordable housing plan in their manifesto is welcome, but far too late!

Declan said:

“For the last two years Labour has called for a State Agency to drive the delivery of affordable housing. It has been clear for some time that the private market has completely failed in housing.

“Reports today that Fianna Fáil will adopt the same approach is welcome but comes too late to make any difference this year. In fact, it wouldn’t have any impact until after the next election if it is to be part of their manifesto.

“Supporting Fine Gael for the last 20 months, Fianna Fáil could have ensured such a housing body was set up and active as Labour has consistently proposed.

“Instead Fianna Fáil were happy to support the Government, and their only idea before the last Budget was tax cuts for developers.

“It is quite clear that any strategy to tackle this crisis must also include a national Affordable Housing Scheme. We have heard mutterings from Government on this over the past year but as yet, no concrete plans. In the meantime local authorities are giving planning permissions for new developments without any conditions on affordable housing.

“With supply at an all-time low, the State needs pick up the slack from where private developers have failed. There are simply not enough homes being built.

“In NAMA, we have an existing body with the resources and expertise to drive the development of affordable housing. It’s time now for action, not just leaked plans.”

Deadline for Commission on the Future of Policing and Public Meeting

The deadline for submission to the public consultation of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland is 31st January, 2018.  Submissions (with attached files) can be made at policereform.ie.  On the website you can also read the terms of reference and some other information which gives a good sense of how the Commission is approaching its task. 

There is a public meeting on the consultation

When: Monday, 22 January (6.30pm for 7pm), 

Where: Wood Quay Venue, Dublin 8. Town Hall meeting

Department of Education advice needed for schools on flu outbreak

As schools across the country prepare to re-open next week following the Christmas break, Labour Party Local Area representative Declan Meenagh, has said that the Departments of Health and Education need to immediately issue clear advice on the flu outbreak so that it is comprehensively circulated over the weekend.

Local Area Rep for Cabra/Finglas Declan Meenagh said:

“With schools due to re-open across the country next week, there is understandably concern among parents that their children may be at increased risk of catching the flu.

“As children up to the age of 15 are considered to be at risk from the so-called ‘Aussie flu’ that we have been seeing in Ireland this winter- it is vital that the warnings of doctors and medical experts are heeded, and children showing symptoms of flu are kept home from school.

“We have heard warnings from the Clinical Director at Temple Street Children’s Hospital that the current virus has not yet peaked, who has also expressed concern that a flu outbreak could occur when schools re-open.

“Parents should be advised on what to look out for, and the Departments of Health and Education need to issue clear advice on this issue immediately so that it is comprehensively circulated over the weekend.

“Parents need peace of mind that their children won’t be exposed to the risk of catching the flu from other children who may be showing signs of the virus.

“The health service is already stretched to capacity at the moment with several hundred people waiting for a hospital bed, and every effort must be made before schools re-open next week to prevent further pressure being piled on the system."

ENDS-

More information contact Declan Meenagh, declanmeenagh@votelabour.ie +353876806199

Below is the text of my submission on the draft Renewable Electricity Support Scheme.

I want everyone to take part in the transition to renewal energy and I strongly believe that rooftop solar is the best way to do that.

Public buildings like schools, libraries and community buildings should have solar panels and so should homes and businesses.

I find it hard to believe that the draft doesn’t include any payments for small-scale rooftop solar. Everyone has to be paly their part, not just big business and property developers.

I believe there is a moral argument for including everyone in this and a practical one. Everyone should be let save money and take part in renewals. Ireland is missing our targets already and unless we do something radical we will be fined by the EU>

The Government's Energy White Paper sets a target of reducing climate pollution from energy by 80-95% by 2050. The largest part of this is by electricity use. We need to give people a way to reduce their own emissions.

Ireland has been at the fore in international agreements in the past and we need to continue this with the Paris Agreement. We should use all options on the table and make more ambitious targets. Rooftop solar has to be part of this and it needs to be open to everyone in all our communities.  

We need more action on illegal dumping in Phibsboro[

In Phibsboro, The Navan Road and Cabra, I have gotten a lot of complaints about illegal dumping.  Most recently in Phibsboro, bags thave been illegally dumped.  

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In light of the Minister for Environment Denis Naughten's announcement of an extra €650,000to deal with illegal dumping, I am calling for some extra funds to be spent in Phibsboro to deal with this issue. 

Through my work with Phibsboro Tidy Towns, I know the great work being done to improve the village, and I believe Illegal dumping is having a negative effect on this work.  The government and Dublin City Council need to do more to deal with this. 

Dublin City Council is responsible for managing litter and illegal dumping. If you are aware of illegal dumping, you can report it to the litter hotline, so that it can investigate and take any necessary enforcement action.  Call Dublin City Council on 01 222 2222 or email info@dublincity.ie.  Alternatively, you can report it to the 24-hour National Environmental Complaints Line 1850 365 121.

We also need to tackle the rising costs of bin service.  It is not sustainable to have competing bin providers driving the same streets, and we need to have tighter regulations on these providers.  The waiver for those who can't afford bin service needs to be re-introduced. 

Proposing Housing Cooperatives at Labour Party Conference

22nd April, 

We need public investment in housing to stop the crisis, but I believe Housing Cooperatives can be a better model for providing housing in the future.

At the conference, Brendan Howlin outlined his plan for our future focusing on the future of work, the environment and Brexit.  Labour is looking at a basic income, Introducing Electric Busses to Dublin Bus and banning Microbeads, and has published 20 Brexit Proposals

Speech:

"Comrades and Friends,

We all know the housing situation is bad.

And we know that nothing this government has proposed is going to make it any better.

A do-nothing government is one thing.

But what we have in the area of housing is far worse than that.

This is a government whose housing policies are actively making things worse for people all over our country.

Worse for renters, worse for first-time buyers, worse for those struggling to find any home at all.

The Eurostat figures show that Irish people are now spending 5% more of their income on housing than they did ten years ago.

That’s a shocking statistic.

5% extra, and where’s it going?

To banks that won’t lend, and big companies that won’t contribute.

To the speculators that this government and their Fianna Fáil allies have always been in bed with.

Now if these parties had followed Labour’s advice and introduced proper rent controls much earlier;

We know that things would be very different and a great deal better.

But how do we change things now, after so much inaction and so many half-measures?

The sad truth, comrades, is that cooperatives alone can’t solve this crisis.

There’s no substitute for major investment in public social housing.

But what cooperatives can do is this:

They can provide us with a new model for our housing system;

One that values public good over private speculation.

That sees a home as a right and not an asset.

That grants people the dignity of a good place to live;

Without chaining them to skyrocketing rents or an impossible mortgage.

Comrades, as the great song says: which side are you on?

Labour at its best stands for doing things differently.

So let’s stand up to dodgy capital and to heartless speculation.

Let’s build a cooperative housing system for the 21st century. "

Motion passed: 

"Conference condemns the failure of this government to propose real solutions to the housing crises.

Conference notes the Eurostat Report which finds in 2016 Irish people spent on average 24.6% on housing costs, a 5% increase over the previous 10 years.

Conference notes the success of housing cooperatives in other countries, particularly in Germany.

Conference calls on the Labour Party to develop a strong policy on housing cooperatives to include:
• Ways of keeping cooperative assets in cooperative ownership and preventing them from being sold for profit
• Government supports to develop housing cooperatives including loan guarantees and practical supports
• Ways for the Credit Union movement to get involved
• Work with PES to secure EU funding for housing cooperatives."

More DART and LUAS for north Dublin.

Below is the submission I made to the National Transport Authority on a proposal to serve the Airport with public transport, you can find more about the consultation here.  

I wish to support option C1, which is a combination of HR1 and LR3.  This option involves a DART line to the airport from Clongriffin as well as a Luas line from Cabra to the Airport and Swords.  

I support the mainline spur from Clongriffin to Airport as the DART network covers much of Dublin and, therefore, this option will bring a lot of people to the airport via the DART network.  

I also believe that LR3, the Cabra to the Airport and Swords line, is the best Light Rail option.  I think that to fully provide for the airport, both options should be used.

I live in Cabra and getting to Swords from Cabra via public transport currently requires getting into town.  This option would make this a lot easier.  

However, to reap the full benefits of the Luas line, it should include a stop at Glasnevin Cemetry.  This is a massive tourist attraction and with the increasing popularity of genealogy and the development of the visitor centre and redevelopment of the round tower, a LUAS station here would be very important.