Dublin City Council needs to engage more with Clontarf residents on sea wall issue

Deputy Terence Flanagan has today (Friday) reacted to the findings of an independent report into the height of the flood defence wall in Clontarf:

“I welcome the recommendation of the independent report that the sea wall height should be reduced.

“The report also suggests some alternative options instead of the concrete sea wall including demountable barriers and glass panels. Although they are more costly options, they would be more agreeable to local residents and have less of a visual impact on this area of natural beauty.

“The construction of the sea wall has been controversial and a matter of contention for many local residents.

“I have concerns that Clontarf groups have said that there has been a lack of genuine engagement by the Council with them regarding the best way forward for the sea wall project.

“This is in spite of a commitment made by the Council in November that there would be a concerted effort to communicate with residents and allow them greater input into the flood defence project.

“There are significant worries that work will restart on the sea wall without full consultation with local residents.

“I call on Dublin City Council to listen to the concerns highlighted by residents and to ensure that these are taken into account.

“It is essential that communication between the Council and local residents does not deteriorate on this important issue.

“These residents voted the current Council in place and they need to be listening to their concerns”.

Government needs to stop dragging its heels on housing crisis

Responding to reports in the media today regarding the lack of rental properties available in Dublin, RENUA Ireland TD for Dublin Bay North, Terence Flanagan said:

“I have substantial concerns that only 1,400 rental properties were on the market in Dublin at the start of February.

“There is huge demand for these properties, as the population of Dublin continues to grow and more employment opportunities are created in the capital.

“Housing supply is now at a critical shortage and steps need to be taken urgently to take effective action on the issue.

“It is also reported today that of the more than 1,000 new homes currently under construction in Dublin, 75% of these are apartments.

“It is vital that more good quality homes are built to accommodate larger families.

“That is why RENUA Ireland is committed to both short-term and long-term measures to respond to the housing crisis.

“In the short-term, we propose to allow private landlords to write-off income tax on rental income from tenants in receipt of housing benefit. This will ensure that people who claim rent allowance will be able to secure rental properties as easy as private renters.

“Our long-term solution is to build high-density, affordable housing on State-owned land. Money will be made available for these developments through pension funds and private investors who are seeking sustainable returns on their assets.

“This affordable housing stock will provide family homes, accessible homes for the elderly, starter homes and studios.

“The Government is dragging its heels on the housing crisis facing our hardworking citizens. It is not fair that hardworking individuals cannot find a home to purchase, even though they have the money to purchase one.

“With more and more people unable to secure mortgages and having to rent properties, it is especially concerning that there are so few rental properties available in Dublin.

“How are we to appeal to multi-nationals looking to establish themselves or expand their existing business here, if we do not even have accommodation for their workers?”.

Flanagan horrified with lack of transparency in costings for modular homes

RENUA Ireland TD for Dublin Bay North has today (Monday) expressed his outrage at the lack of transparency in the construction of temporary’ modular homes.

“I keep getting different figures about how much these units cost to purchase and assemble.

“It is said that each unit will cost close to €200,000 to build, which is around €50,000 more than it is to build a concrete house.

“If this is the case, it is absolutely ludicrous. I am seeking the actual figure that these units are costing, but there is a lack of clarity and transparency yet again.

“The idea behind these units was to get families out of hotels and into homes, but this method is typical of Government not joining up the dots.

“The money allocated for the construction of modular homes could have been used much more wisely.

“Dublin City Council recently advised me that they are unable to confirm the number of vacant buildings in Dublin city centre, as ‘it would be very difficult and expensive to establish this’.

“However, it is clear for all to see that there are a substantial number of vacant properties around the city.

“Instead of building modular housing, this money could have been used to renovate these vacant properties.

“The Government has thrown money at this problem to get modular units up quickly, however in reality they have not been constructed in a swift manner.

“Modular homes are not the solution to the housing crisis and it is yet again more waste. These homes do not represent a proper solution to the housing problem from this Government”.


Flanagan calls on Marine Minister to commit to a much-needed dredging programme in Howth Harbour

RENUA Ireland TD for Dublin Bay North, Terence Flanagan, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, to commit to undertaking a dredging programme in Howth Harbour.

The build-up of silt in the Harbour is causing huge difficulties for vessels navigating the waters, sometimes resulting in boats running aground.

“Howth is one of the busiest fishing ports on the east coast and many local livelihoods depend on the fishing industry.

“The Harbour has not been dredged for many years and this is having a substantial impact on trawlers, leisure craft and the growth of the tourism industry.

“Dredging needs to be carried out to resolve this problem, before the safety of boat users is severely compromised.

“It is also important the valuable services provided by Howth RNLI and the Irish Coastguard are not restricted by the build-up of silt preventing access to the Harbour.

“A pivotal event in our country’s history – when the Asgard sailed to Howth in 1914 to arm the Irish Volunteers with guns – could not take place today because of the silting problem in the Harbour.

“It is sad to note in this important centenary year of the Easter Rising, the Asgard would not even be able to sail into the Harbour today”.


Flanagan highlights the need for Clontarf tram shelter to be fully restored

Deputy Terence Flanagan has highlighted the concerns of Clontarf residents today (Thursday) regarding the demolition of the tram shelter on the Clontarf Road.

“Constituents have raised concerns this week in relation to the removal of the tram shelter.

“The old shelter dates back to the 19th century and many people in the area want it to be protected because of its historical importance.

“There are worries amongst Clontarf residents that the building has not been dismantled with the care required to protect the old materials. The Council has provided assurance that they are carefully dismantling the shelter and will re-use original materials where possible when constructing the new structure.

“The new tram shelter will be a focal point of the Sutton to Sandycove scheme.

“I am happy that the Council will remove asbestos from the structure and it will be utilised as a bus shelter in the future.

“It is very important that the Council retains the historic character of the tram shelter when the structure is rebuilt”.


Flanagan expresses concerns about Garda numbers

RENUA Ireland TD for Dublin Bay North, Terence Flanagan, has today (Wednesday) expressed concerns regarding Garda numbers.

“I am very concerned by reports in the media today about the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors highlighting that Garda numbers are decreasing.

“I have welcomed recent Government announcements in relation to Garda recruitment drives. These announcements have been made with great fanfare and made it look like the Government had recognised that we need to increase the size of our police force. However, the Minister has not made it clear that the number of Gardaí leaving the force has been greater than the number of recruits in the last 2 years.

“I strongly believe that in Dublin, we need more Gardaí on the beat, patrolling our city centre streets and our communities. This will act as a deterrent and should reduce crime levels, especially burglaries and muggings.

“We need to look towards Scotland, which has a similar population to Ireland, but over 4,000 additional police officers.

“Under this Government, 139 Garda stations have been closed throughout the country. It is most concerning that the closure of these stations only results in a saving of just over half a million euro per year. This is slim pickings considering the negative consequences of the closures.

“RENUA Ireland has a strong plan to get tough on crime.

“We want to put an end to the growing sense of fear amongst our citizens about increasing crime rates throughout the country.

“That is why we will undertake a nationwide survey to independently assess crime black-spots in rural areas to more efficiently match Garda resources to this areas.

“It is not good enough that our citizens continue to feel unsafe in their own homes.

“I am calling on the Government to assess this situation and look at more Garda recruitment as a priority.

“They also need to look at encouraging existing Gardaí who are on career breaks or who have left, back to the force”.


No end in sight for Beaumont Hospital overcrowding

RENUA Ireland TD for Dublin Bay North, Terence Flanagan, has expressed his concern regarding the ongoing overcrowding crisis in Beaumont Hospital.

“Beaumont Hospital management took the step yesterday of advising the public not to attend the A&E Department if they are in need of treatment.

“The Hospital has been inundated with patients and treated the highest number of people in 18 months on Tuesday.

“It is shocking that 54 patients had to wait on trolleys in Beaumont Hospital yesterday and I have received several phone calls from families pleading for assistance and it is heart-breaking to hear these stories.

“I have urged the Government for years to put measures in place to plan ahead for the winter months, when our hospitals obviously get busier and clearly no strategy has been put in place in advance of winter this year. It is a disgrace that this is continuing to happen and totally unacceptable.

“It is very clear that we need consensus on the priorities for change in the healthcare sector. That is why RENUA Ireland is proposing to establish a National Health Forum, involving all stakeholders including the HSE, Department of Health and medical professionals, to develop a comprehensive 20 year forecast for healthcare requirements.

“Often forums are created and reports are undertaken that take years before they are finalised. We do not need more of the same.

“RENUA Ireland proposes to order The National Health Forum to have a thorough report finalised within a six month period and their findings will be made available to the public.

 “In my opinion the overcrowding crisis in our country’s A&E Departments would be a priority for the Forum. We need input from everyone to determine exactly what action is needed to address this shocking ongoing neglect of our citizens when they are at their most vulnerable point.

“We also want primary care services to be fully utilised, with more services being provided to patients by their GPs in a local setting, to ease the pressure on our Hospital’s A&E Departments. RENUA Ireland will prioritise the roll out of a network of local multi-disciplinary primary care services and prioritise home-care options for the elderly.

“The INMO announced on Tuesday that its members have rejected the WRC proposals and as a result strike action will take place in seven Emergency Departments nationwide on Thursday, 14 January.

“Nursing staff have concerns that patient safety is compromised as a result of the overcrowding problem and the immensely pressurised conditions they are working under.

 “This is a huge issue and I am very much aware that it cannot be solved in an instant. However, year on year we are seeing the same reports regarding patients waiting on trolleys and no real progress has been made.

 “This must become an immediate priority for the Government”.


RENUA Ireland’s manifesto provides an alternative for voters

Speaking out after the launch of RENUA Ireland’s 2016 election manifesto on Monday, Deputy Terence Flanagan highlighted RENUA’s plans to reward work.

“We believe that workers should be rewarded with lower taxes. We propose to introduce a flat tax of 23% on all income to acknowledge the contribution that workers have made to bring Ireland’s economy back from the brink in recent years.

“Flat tax will allow employees to take home 77% of their income. This will have a substantial positive knock-on effect for our economy.

“RENUA Ireland want to give proper support to the self-employed, entrepreneurs and small businesses who are the backbone of this economy. We believe that they need to be valued more for the huge contribution they make to the economy. We plan to put an end to unfair discrimination that self-employed workers are currently subjected to. As a priority, we will apply the tax credit – that is already available to all PAYE workers – to the self-employed immediately.

“We plan to abolish unnecessary bills such as the TV licence and motor tax. Motor tax will be replaced with a fairer system of pay-at-the-pumps charge to ensure that vehicles owners are no longer charged excessive rates. The TV licence will be abolished and RTÉ will move to a model that is directly funded by commercial revenue.

“We have a strong commitment and plan to get tough on crime. We want to put an end to the growing sense of fear amongst our citizens about increasing crime rates throughout the country. We believe that a three strikes rule for serious criminal offences, resulting in a mandatory life sentence, will help to stamp out the problem of repeat offenders.

“One of my priority areas has always been and continues to be addressing housing needs for my constituents in Dublin Bay North. Many couples and families are left with no choice other than to live with their parents, some are facing eviction and many are barely surviving due to paying excessive mortgage rates and rent. This is all due to the shortage of housing currently available, which unfortunately this Government failed to address. We propose the development of high-density, high-quality, affordable housing developments on state owned land. It is a big worry for us that at present working people including nurses, teachers and gardaí are not in a position to purchase their own home.

“Childcare costs are astronomical here and one of our key issues is providing help to working parents to meet these costs. This will be done initially by introducing a €500 million tax cut to relieve the pressure on parents. Community childcare facilities will be developed using €200 million of property tax revenue each year.

“Accountability and transparency are of paramount importance to citizens. This Government’s progress in reforming the political system has been far too slow.

“Our reforms involve introducing rules such as dismissing corrupt members of the Oireachtas, ensuring that politicians are focussing on national issues and not solely on local ones and giving the power to town mayors and residents to run their own communities.

“RENUA Ireland provides an alternative for voters. Our new politics will restore the public’s trust in politicians and provide a fresh start for Ireland”.

Link to Manifesto: