Housing and Oppostion to Cap on Rent Allowance: Lab/FG Government housing policy will lead to homelessness and a return to slum landlords and tenement conditions. Last year’s budget brought in new limits to the rent that a tenant on rent allowance can pay to a landlord. For example, in Dublin a tenant with 2 children used to be able to rent a home with a maximum rent of 1100 that was reduced in January to €925. The government claims this is to force landlords to reduce their rents but in reality it means evictions and insecurity for thousands of families.Richard has raised this issue in the Dail and is campaigning to have this overturned.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This government’s housing policy is quite simply unbelievable. It is even worse than that of their predecessors in Fianna Fail. It represents a counter-revolution in the state’s approach to providing housing for low income families and households.
Over the last year tens of thousands of young families have been devastated to discover that their long waits for a home of their own have come to nothing. They will now never have a home they can really call their own. They will be subject to private developers, speculators and banks – many of whom helped bankrupt the country – as their landlords.
Many more families are being forced into precarious conditions as the new rent allowance caps mean they are being pushed out of their homes and into homeless accommodation, over-crowded conditions with their parents or sub-standard accommodation miles from where their children go to school.
Save our Seafront: After years of delay and campaigning by Save Our Seafront (SOS) and local residents, the Council produced a plan for the baths that looked something like what the public asked for. There were to be no high-rise, the amenity was fully public and the proposal would retain the existing main baths building. At between €15-20 million, the estimated cost of redeveloping the baths would also be a tiny fraction of the hair-brained earlier plans, which were estimated at between €89 million and €140 million. Concern, not least the phasing of the development were well founded and in July 2012 Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council councillors from Labour FG and FF voted to effectively abandon this plan. Through people power and public protest, we have come along way from previous crazy plans. Public pressure and the SOS campaign saved our seafront.
Dun Laoghaire County Council is moving to abandon previous commitments to provide a public swimming pool on the site of the Baths. At the beginning of July the Council voted to give €1.5 million to the Harbour Company for a “Badeschiff” (a floating swimming pool) situated in the Harbour with access from the East Pier.
Introducing this proposal, the county manager stated that this would allow the council to “exit from the whole baths thing”.
Clearly, the manager, and a majority of the councillors believe that by providing this pool on a barge off the east pier they no longer have any obligation to continue with the plans for a public swimming pool at the baths site.
The Victorian swimming baths have lain derelict for over a decade. In 2004 Save Our Seafront organised 15000 people to sign a petition and 5000 people marched to demand the refurbishment of the baths with a public swimming pool and to stop a crazy scheme to build ten storey apartments on the site. This magnificent display of people power prevented privatised high rise development on the seafront and the councillors at the time finally promised to give the people what they wanted.
Since then the council has dragged its heels, until finally at the end of 2010 under public pressure a plan for the full redevelopment of the Baths site was agreed by the council.
Last year this plan was once again long fingered as all the Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors voted to give €35 million to the new Central Library at Morans Park but only €1.5m for “interim works” at the baths site, which did not include the promised swimming pool. It now seems that these “interim works” will be the ONLY works and that all previous commitments to redeveloping the public swimming baths is a thing of the past.
Are we going to let the councillors away with this? Can they just ignore the will of the people? What is the point in electing councillors when they seem to dance to the tune of the county manager rather than listening to the people who elected them.
Contact Cllr Melisa Halpin 086 3805793
Wage Cuts: Richard continues to campaign for the abolition of the pension levy, in defense of JLCs and for the reversal of public sector pay cuts. He believes the universal social charge unfairly hits low paid workers and should be abolished. He campaigned nationally against the bank-bail outs and NAMA, organising protests, most recently as part of The Right to Work Campaign, a national campaign for Jobs.
Defend Local Bus Services: In September 2010, Dublin Bus re routed the 46a, got rid of the 746 and slashed the 4/4a service. Residents in Monkstown/Stradbrook and the People Before Profit Alliance have been campaigning vigorously to restore the services. We have held protests both locally and at the head quarters of the Department and Dublin Bus. Dublin Bus have promised to “review” the new schedules but so far they have not responded to our protests. Residents have carried out their own review. This shows that the new services not only leave many residents stranded, but also are utterly unworkable and constantly result in buses being cancelled. Campaigners are determined not to give up, the government is feeling the heat but we need to keep the pressure.
Anti War: As Chairperson of the Irish Anti- War Movement Richard organised mass protests against the Iraq war, the attacks on Gaza and the fatal attacks on the aid flotilla last year. He continues to campaign for freedom for the people of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and supports movements for democracy in countries such as Egypt.
Connolly Shoe worker still on strike: The Connolly Shoe shop strike is now going on for over 18 months. The George’s Street shop has re-opened as Shu Valu but the strikers have continued picketing to demand that the management pay them what they are owed. They are there every day – and would appreciate your support and solidarity in their efforts to get what they are owed. Say hello and stand with them for a few minutes. Management still claim they are unable to pay them. Don’t shop in Shu Value!
St Anne’s Square – fighting for safety and fair play: Residents of St Anne’s Square in Blackrock are campaigning for ‘residents only’ parking. In this small enclave of Council houses and apartments the square is the only common area where children can play or residents can park their cars. With the assistance of Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett, the residents have organised a petition and held protests early in the morning to prevent commuter traffic parking. As a councillor Boyd Barrett put a motion to the council, seeking to designate the Square “resident’s only parking”
TEK mast victory: In June 2010, Residents in Stradbrook and Deansgrange scored an important victory when Meteor were ordered to remove an illegally erected mast in the grounds of TEK FC in Stradbrook. Local residents organised public meetings, protested at a Council meeting in January, and submitted formal objections to the relevant authorities. As a councillor, Richard Boyd Barrett, also made representations on behalf of local residents and was the only elected representative to put in formal objections to the Council and An Bord Pleanala. The residents were victorious. An Bord Pleanala, refused Meteor’s appeal and told them to take down the mast.
Council maintenance Essential maintenance for council tenants is a disgrace. In Brookfield Place and Emmet Square tenants have been complaining for months about warped hall doors. The sound proofing in the Maisonettes in Brookfield is also desperately in need of upgrading. Tenants can hear everything that goes on in their neighbour’s houses inevitably leading to tensions. People Before Profit’s motion to deal with this issue was passed by the council last month and the county manager admitted that the maisonettes were not up to current standards. However, tenants still need to put pressure on the council to act on this motion. As a elected councillor, Richard raised many important issues at council level; such as; housing, local services and the use of public funds by the council. People Before Profit councillors on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council, Cllr Hugh Lewis & Cllr Melisa Halpin continue to raise these issues.
EU/IMF Deal: Richard continues to campaign on the issue of the IMF/EU Deal. The Enough Campaign was launched at a public meeting in Dublin City Centre on April 5th 2011.