Time to use Compulsory Purchase Powers on Vacant Sites

Vacant City Council owned lands on Dublin’s Bridgefoot Street

The Green Party has called for State Authorities to take action as Councils publish lists of vacant lands on their Vacant Sites Registers. The call comes as Dublin City Council publishes twenty-five entries on their Vacant Site Register which was initially published with an empty list in early January.

Green Party Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said:

“The Register is revealing: it shows that almost €80 million worth of valuable lands are lying vacant in Dublin City, and these twenty-five entries are only the tip of the iceberg. I have been informed by Council Officials that a further 174 sites came in under the size threshold. Many of these sites could be used to tackle the housing crisis.

Dublin City Council must now use its Compulsory Purchase Powers to acquire privately held sites that have been empty and vacant for far too long. We can then ensure that they are used to provide housing by ourselves or others. The Council must also put its own house in order and make better use of Council owned lands. Senior Management must review their very conservative approach to  determining whether a building and /or site is derelict or vacant and take a more proactive approach to dealing with owners.

I am calling on the Minister for Simon Coveney to review the size threshold so that smaller sites are included. He should also increase the levy so that the annual payment is significantly higher than the increases in land costs that we have seen in recent years. There is still a danger that land owners will hold onto their holdings after the levy kicks in 2019, as owners can make more profit from the rise in land value than they might if they were to sell. This is a slap in the face to homeless families, and the Urban Regeneration & Housing Act 2015 must be reviewed and its powers strengthened.

“While greater measures are needed to push private land owners into action, it is also revealing how much vacant land is controlled by the Health Services Executive, the Office of Public Works and state agencies including Dublin City Council. Much of this can be attributed to the impact of the recession, but this is no longer an excuse for inaction.

“Vacant and derelict sites such as the lands owned by Dublin City Council in Dublin’s Liberties at the corner of Marshal Lane and Bridgefoot Street must be developed. If the Council can’t develop these sites, than we should sell them on to someone or some body that can, and we should prioritise affordable housing on such sites.

“It is unacceptable for anyone to leave vacant lands empty in our towns and cities in 2017. Such lands can, and must be used to tackle the homeless crisis that has left thousands of families homeless.”.
ENDS

Page first published 03April2017, last updated 03April2017

Green Welcome Unveiling of Extended 30 km/h Areas in Dublin


The Green Party has welcomed the extension of 30 km/h speed limit zones in Dublin’s Inner City stating that this is an important step towards creating calmer communities.

Councillor Carán Cuffe who chairs Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee said:

“This is a good day for those who live in the 30 km/h speed limit zones. In addition to saving lives the new speed limits will allow more children to walk and cycle, and play outside. The new signs not only display the speed limit, they also feature an image of a car playing ball. This sends out a clear message that streets are for people, as well as cars.

“As drivers we all have to play our part in slowing down and making our communities safer. Not only will these measures reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, they will also make our streets more sociable places. These measures aren’t just about road safety, they are about fostering a new pride of place in our city. We can all contribute to this.

“It is important however to stress the safety benefits. One fifth of road deaths are caused by excessive speed and over half of those fatalities being pedestrians. Twenty one people died on Dublin’s roads last year. Extending lower speed limits can contribute to lower casualties in future years. Studies show that pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving a car crash at 30km/h or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving an impact at 45 km/h*.

“As we unveil these new speed limits I want to pay tribute to the work  of Roseann Brennan who lost her three year old son Jake who was struck by a car outside his home in Kilkenny  on 12th June 2014. Her campaigning role, along with that of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and the ‘Love30’ group has contributed to our work. ‘Jake’s Legacy’ will be safer streets and more livable communities.

“Our research has shown that these new speed limits have 80% approval in the areas where they are being unveiled, and will add at most a minute to car journey times. The signs themselves cost between €300,000 and €350,000. The Dublin Fire Brigade tell us that the cost of a serious collision is €1,500,000. This initiative will pay for itself in no time.”

“Other European cities such as Paris, London and Edinburgh have rolled out are-wide 30 km/h speed limits in recent years. We are now joining this club of progressive European cities cities that believes people, and communities are more important than cars.

ENDS

Note

*https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/knowledge/vehicle/key_issues_for_vehicle_safety_design/what_forces_can_be_tolerated_the_human_body_en

http://www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-services-roads-and-traffic/speed-review-frequently-asked-questions

Released 31Mar17, page last updated 30Mar17

Cuffe: Ross and Fitzgerald must tackle road deaths

The Green Party today called for Government action as a fourth cyclist dies in less than three weeks on Ireland’s roads.

It has called for a real commitment from Government to improve safety on Ireland’s roads for the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists.

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said today: “Tackling cycling deaths must be placed higher in the Government’s transport priorities. Minister Ross should reverse the cuts in walking and cycling that have been implemented over the last two years. There was a 21% reduction in walking and cycling expenditure in 2016 and there is projected to be an 18% reduction for 2017. These cuts cannot be justified. Instead he should allocate twenty per cent of transport funding to walking and cycling measures. Too many cycling projects that would save lives have been stalled due to lack of funding.

“The Minister for Justice must also ensure that An Garda Síochána take speeding seriously. As the Garda Commissioner struggles to justify controversies over penalty notices and the exaggeration of Garda drink driving statistics it is time for action to make our roads safer. Minister Fitzgerald must ensure that speed limits are adequately enforced, that cycle lanes are kept free of parked cars, and that minimum passing distances between cyclists and other vehicles are enshrined in law.

“More and more people are walking and cycling in Dublin, and the Government must ensure that are roads are safe for all road users. That means enforcing the law, and building new safe segregated cycle lanes on major roads without delay. Bodies such as the Dublin Cycling Campaign have presented clear and achievable demands for short-term action. It is time for Minister Ross to act.”

ENDS

Issued 28Mar17,page last updated 28Mar17