#GE2020: What candidates say about the big topics in Dublin West

by Gazette Reporter
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Dublin Gazette have reached out to all the confirmed candidates in Dublin West, who will be campaigning for a spot in the Dáil in General Election 2020. We asked them all the same set of questions, to help inform you about where they stand on just some of the main issues of the day.

Here are the questions asked:

  • Q1 – How would you address the chronic problems that are prevalent in the Health Service?
  • Q2 – How would you address the chronic problems in the housing sector?
  • Q3 – What ways would you address education issues in your area at a Government level?
  • Q4 – What is your stance on Climate Change? How green/accessible is your campaign?
  • Q5 – Do you think Public Transport in your area is sufficient? What changes might you make?
  • Q6 – Why do you think people should vote for you?

Here is what the general election candidates had to say* – the following answers were from those who had responded by our deadline.

Joan Burton, Labour

Q1 – Invest in primary care and a new emphasis on mental health, especially for young people. We need to increase the number of hospital beds and improve step-down facilities. Morale is a big issue among health care staff, at all levels, and that needs to be addressed.

Q2 – The main issue is the supply of energy-efficient affordable homes, and this could be addressed by using state-owned land. It is time to look at ways to control speculation in building land, because that is the cause of the inflation in house prices.
Q3 – The area is experiencing a rapid population bulge, and a school places crisis is developing. New schools are urgently needed in many areas, and others need to be refurbished.
Q4 – Climate change poses as big as challenge as Brexit and the Peace Process, and needs a dedicated whole-of-government response. I think a large-scale home retro-fitting programme, and transport investment, are key parts of that. My campaign has cut back hugely on both the numbers of posters and their size so as to minimise their environmental impact.
Q5 – To improve public transport requires a wholehearted commitment to an electrified commuter rail service. The BusConnects plan needs to be reconfigured to meet local concerns. Public transport has to have priority in investment decisions.
Q6 – My experience as a TD, Minister and Tanaiste gives me the know-how to pursue these issues effectively in the Dail.

Ruth Coppinger, Solidarity – People Before Profit

Q1 – We need a one-tier Irish[-style] NHS funded through progressive taxation and free at the point of use, and to raise the pay of health workers – nurses in particular – to deal with the chronic staffing shortages.

Q2 – Build public housing on public land, [both] affordable and social; introduce strict rent controls and ban economic evictions.
Q3 – Abolish college fees and ‘voluntary’ contributions; end two-tier pay for teachers to improve recruitment and retention; reverse all legacy cuts to SNAs.
Q4 – Ireland and the world needs a just transition to a zero-carbon economy by 2030 to avert further catastrophic changes to our environment.
Q5 – We need to move to free and more frequent public transport to end gridlock and drastically reduce emissions.
Q6 – Whatever government we have after this election, we will not get the scale of improvements we need in health, housing and climate change. Therefore, we need a strong Left presence in the Dail, including myself, linked to people-power movements outside to fight for the real change we need.

Paul Donnelly, Sinn Fein

Q1 – Sinn Fein would completely transform the public health system by putting people first – we would implement the Slaintecare plan as quickly as possible, and recruit permanent nurses to replace agency nurses. We would open up 1,500 new beds to address the emergency department crisis.

Q2 – We will build 100,000 social and affordable homes within five years. We would also implement measures to control rents and create certainty in the rental market.
Q3 – We need to ensure that we build schools in Dublin West to cater for the growing population. There are too many students unable to get a school place close to their homes. We need to invest in our teachers and SNAs. The cuts to new entry teachers must be repealed. We need to ensure that students with additional needs have all the support and early intervention teams in place when needed.
Q4 – Sinn Fein is committed to climate justice and a just transition for Ireland, [the] North and [Republic], and is opposed to carbon taxes in the absence of viable alternatives.
Q5 -We need a massive investment in public transport as the current system is not working.
We need BusConnects to listen to the people by improving the services, with the protection of existing direct services. We need to ensure the Irish Rail address overcrowding on the Maynooth line.
Q6 – I have been a hard-working and committed public representative on Fingal County Council and will commit to ensuring that we have the legislation in place to create a fairer and more equal society, protect the vulnerable in our communities and put money back into workers’ pockets.

Edward MacManus, Aontú

Q1 – The key to resolving most of the difficulties in the health care system is by providing increased resources to primary care in the community to take pressure off the hospital sector. Currently, primary care centres such as at Corduff are used at a fraction of their apacity, resulting in unnecessary pressure on Connolly Hospital.

Q2 – The crisis results from a failure to deliver social and affordable housing as provided in previous generations. The building of 10,000 social and affordable housing units on public land will address this problem.
Q3 – Education resource problems are primarily caused by a failure to use the State Census information. Aontú believe that college fees and student rent should be reduced. I believe in increased special needs supports and a dedicated school in Dublin West for special needs children.
Q4 – Aontú supports a reduction in the production of CO2 by the increased use of insulation of homes, the use of solar, tide and wind energy, and by reducing, re-using and recycling. My leaflets are printed on partly recycled paper from managed forests. My posters are re-used for new elections and for public meetings.
Q5 – BusConnects was a huge missed opportunity to provide a proper plan for increased bus coverage. I believe that the 39 and 70 buses should be retained, a direct connection must be kept between the Clonsilla Road and Dublin city centre, and the train service needs to be substantially resourced to cope with the huge demand from our increased population.
Q6 – Dublin West needs strong leadership rather than weak politicians. I will deliver that change in leadership, if elected.

Aengus O Maolain, Social Democrats

Q1 – The Slaintecare plan – a key demand for the Social Democrats in any formation of government – will make GP visits and hospital care free for all, reduce waiting lists in hospitals, move diagnostics like X-rays and MRIs into primary care centres, and set up community care teams for older people and mental health issues.

Q2 – For renters we need an urgent strengthening of their protections. We also need to introduce an immediate rent freeze and rent caps that match inflation (currently under 1%). There are over 700 local authority and housing agency-owned sites, and we need to use this public land to build social and affordable housing.
Q3 – We have a chronic shortage of school places in Dublin West, which needs to be urgently addressed as more and more housing developments are under construction, or planned for the near future. We need more capacity in the schools we have and enough schools for the coming generation. Where possible, children should be able to walk to their local school, and not have to be driven.
Q4 – We need to be Greener, but we also need to be fairer to ensure that Green measures don’t impoverish people. We have real solutions to the issue of climate change in Ireland, costed to make sure they don’t unduly burden lower income people.
Q5 – We need to invest heavily in our transport infrastructure – first of all by electrifying train lines, increasing their capacity and dramatically improving their frequency. Then we need to put Metro West back on the table.
Q6 – I believe in evidence-based policies that will fix our ailing public services and make Ireland the country we all know it can be.

Deputy Jack Chambers, Fianna Fail

Q1 – The problems in the health service, like the overcrowded emergency departments and the longest ever waiting lists, are down to insufficient capacity within the system. Fianna Fail would prioritise recruitment, particularly in primary and community care.

Q2 – I believe tackling the housing crisis is an economic, social and moral imperative, and I am confident my party has the policies to deliver the largescale public and private housing projects to turn around policy in this area. We will open up clear pathways to social and affordable home ownership.
Q3 – There has been a population boom in Dublin West, but public services have not kept pace, particularly in education, where parents can find it impossible to secure primary and secondary school places. I am prioritising the many long-promised but never delivered school building projects across the constituency.
Q4 – I am focused on modernising our public transport system by introducing more electric vehicles and delivering improved, cost-effective bus and rail services. I will also prioritise the development of our cycling infrastructure so that people are given a safe, reliable alternative to their car.
Q5 – I am working to fast-track the electrification of the Dublin-Maynooth rail line which has been de-prioritised by the outgoing government. I would also like to see much greater investment in cycling infrastructure, and take cycle tracks out of bus lanes, which are dangerous and a deterrent to people cycling.
Q6 – I am hard working, passionate and energetic about representing people, and am the only candidate that can provide the change people in Dublin West want to see in areas such as housing, health, education and public transport reform.

Cllr Emer Currie, Fine Gael

Q1 – [I believe that our health focus should be on] Slaintecare; invest in community healthcare to alleviate the pressure on acute services; increase homecare, beds and frontline staff; and complete government negotiations and reviews with consultants and GPs to address resources.

Q2 – More social, private and affordable housing options in sustainable communities.
Pace of delivery is only going to increase from here. Some 60,000 social houses will be delivered over the next five years, and the total number of houses will rise from 25,000 to at least 35,000 per year. Continue investment in ‘Housing First’ to help homelessness and our most vulnerable.
Q3 – I help parents and schools daily with school capacity, building projects, access to school meals, school traffic, mental health, special education, and more.
Q4 – I will drive the national Climate Action Plan locally, expanding Green Flag schools to Green Flag Communities, so wider communities can come together to reduce landfill and single-car use and increase mass retrofits and biodiversity projects. I campaign for suburban co-working spaces, which, as well as increasing people’s quality of life, reduces transport emissions.
Q5 – No. We need an integrated transport system for D15, and delivery of long-awaited projects. Money is now ringfenced to electrify the rail line, upgrade the bus network, segregate more cycle lanes, for the Royal Canal Greenway and Blanchardstown-Phoenix Park cycle route. We need a D15 outer ring road to reduce congestion in our villages.
Q6 – As a young mum, I know how stretched and squeezed people are, so I have the practical ideas and experience to make their lives better – from childcare to elder care, the cost of living to living more sustainably.

Cllr Roderic O’Gorman, Green Party

Q1 Deli on the Slainte Care Report, which is the agreed road map to repairing our broken health system. Put a focus on primary care, mental health services and much better oversight of new building projects, to avoid another Children’s Hospital fiasco.

Q2 The Government must financially support county councils to deliver more affordable and social housing on land it owns, and create a new model of renting – cost rental – which would be affordable to those priced out of the current rental market.
Q3 The Green Party proposes that each Junior, Senior and First Class should have an automatic SNA, to support any children in those classes who are awaiting a diagnosis. The Department of Education must improve on the delivery of new school buildings.
Q4 From Australia to the Amazon, we see the cost of failing to act on climate change. We need to elect TDs who have a track record of fighting for a better environment.
Q5 We need to see extra buses and more priority for buses on the way in and out of the city.
The Maynooth line must be upgraded to DART standard.
Q6 Over the past 15 years as a campaigner and a councillor, I have always put the needs of our community in Dublin 15 first. I’m asking voters to trust me with their number-one vote.

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