Everyone should be able to live decent lives in the city, no matter your age or means.

There is too often an assumption that having a family or getting older means moving out of the city. We should be working to make the city and its surrounds a place where you can live every stage of your life: whether growing up or retiring or anything in between. That means building and acting upon civic pride to make Dublin a liveable city.

Below are my ideas on how to do it – you can read my plans on other themes here.

Playgrounds

Playgrounds are in short supply in Dublin 8 – the proof is visible where they are installed, with high levels of use. Recent playgrounds such as at Weaver Square, Bridgefoot Street or on James Walk show how brilliant playgrounds can be, and how well the council can do them.

I would seek to identify other locations for such playgrounds, in particular using existing spaces which are unloved and concreted over to develop infrastructure for play.

Space for sports

Dublin 8 – particularly at the Liberties end – is short on pitches. I have worked tirelessly to advance the pitch projects at Teresa’s Gardens and Marrowbone Lane. In both cases, we have made real progress, and a 2022 rezoning strategy seems likely to pay dividends. I want to complete that work and get both full-size, multi-sport pitches over the line, and complete the core work of brilliant campaign groups like Sporting Liberties.

I would also seek to expand the successful pilot of rentable sports equipment, which has been trialled in Eamonn Ceannt Park, and seek that the council identify smaller sites for tennis and basketball courts, which get huge use and are easy to maintain.

Benches

Providing a safe, comfortable place to sit down is a basic city function, yet Dublin has often failed this simple test. Everyone – especially older people or those with disabilities – should be able to walk our streets in comfort. Part of that means providing places to take a break.

Proposals for benches are often met with suspicion and opposition by some, but I am enthusiastically in favour of them, and would allocate funds and support plans for more of them across the city. Rather than imaginging potential problems with a bench, I would instead seek to trial install one and modify if any problems arise.

Expanding education

Dublin 8 has strong provision for primary education, but falls down when it comes to second level. We have excellent schools, but there is a real gap for those seeking local, multi or non-denominational education, or for Irish-speaking secondary schools.

In some cases, this can be dealt with expansions to existing schools and changes of patronage, but it may also require new second-level schools in the area – particularly for Irish-language education

Beautifying streets

A beautiful street sets the tone. Dublin City Council operates a shopfront improvement scheme in Dublin 8, which supports businesses who want to beautify their shopfronts. It works really well, as these projects show.

I would continue funding this project, to tie in with the various public street improvements.

Public toilets

During COVID, the city council opened temporary public toilets in the city centre. These worked well, but portaloos were never going to work as a long-term solution.

I would seek to install public loos in key locations, using a combination of on-street booths and repurposed shops in council-owned sites in high footfall areas. Other cities provide this service: Dublin should be able to too.

Drinking fonts

Drinking fonts reduce the need to buy bottled water when on the go: they reduce plastic use and save Dubliners money. Several have been rolled out in Dublin city centre, but we need a wider network of them. I would again allocate specific funds in the city council budget and support their installation in busy areas.

Space for arts

A knock-on effect of the housing crisis is that many artist are doubly squeezed: workspace has become more expensive as housing have risen too. Dublin City Council provides some space for artist’s studios and for display, and I would seek to expand this and identify other potential sites.

We also have a growing, positive culture of artistic murals on Dublin buildings. I don’t believe that it is possible or desireable to allow a total free-for-all, as this can sometimes mix in advertising into the arts in an unhelpful way. I would support clarifying and simpifying the process by which artists can get financial support and legal permission to bring more murals and expression to our city’s buildings.

Little parklets

The small things matter. Small sections of unloved, under or misused streets can give us places of beauty. I think small parklets with trees, shrubs, softer surfaces and benches can make a big difference to a given street. I’ve proactively suggested, budgeted for, and set citywide targets such sites in the past, and would continue to push for them if re-elected.