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Question: What's the one thing you think you could realistically achieve at European level that would affect people's day-to-day life in Ireland?

Candidates focused on issues like transport, housing and sustainability.

In our audit of the Dublin European election candidates, we asked candidates to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years. 

What’s the one thing you think you could realistically achieve at European level that would affect people’s day-to-day life in Ireland?

Mark Mullen

mark mullan for europe

If elected, I want to immediately work with my fellow MEPs on finding our common ground so we can go into Brussels with unity on a number of issues. I’d like them to support my Fair Settlement Scheme, which would call for EU funding to go towards rebuilding already-existing communities.

This scheme would tackle overcrowding in cities like Dublin, by investing in other communities thereby giving people a reason to stay. Too many people from outside of Dublin have felt the need to move into the capital in search of work and a better way of life.

This has contributed to overcrowding and sky-high rents. For too long, refugees have been dumped in direct provision centres in the middle of nowhere. This scheme would allow them to take part in rebuilding the communities they now call home.

This EU money should therefore be invested in housing, health and education in such areas. It is a problem for many other European cities, which is why the solution should be tackled at EU level as well as domestically.

Alice Mary Higgins 

People’s lives are directly affected by EU standards on employment, equality and environment and as an MEP, I will be working to improve laws on decent work, care, gender equality and disability rights. In the Seanad I have already used progressive interpretation of EU directives to win important changes in areas like data protection.

However, I think one of the most important and different things, I can do is strengthen the practical connections between the Irish public and EU decision-making. I formed the Civil Engagement Group in the Seanad because I am passionate about wider participation in decisions about how we live together. Europe is more than its institutions and having worked with groups like the European Women’s Lobby and the Better Europe Alliance I know how to forge effective cross-border alliances around specific policy change.

Alex White 

Declare a climate emergency.

If elected I would sit with the S&D group, currently the second largest group in the Parliament.  This power and influence will allow us, along with other progressive groups, to take real action to tackle climate change.

At a political level we have yet to acknowledge the urgency about this vital issue.

Declaring a climate emergency should entail:

  • Commit to accelerate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050

  • End of the use of fossil fuels and provide strong support to energy efficiency, renewable energy and emission cuts outside the energy sector.

  • Ensure a just and fair transition for European workers and for the developing world.

Mark Durkan

One of the first jobs of the European parliament is going to be the next seven-year budget. I want to make sure that budget reflects full commitment to the sustainable development goals, which are about making sure that the budget helps us to achieve changes in economic behaviour and performances that we need to arrest climate change.

As well as making sure the overall EU budgets directly reflects the sustainable development goals and helping Europe make that transition, Ireland will be a net contributor in this budget cycle – but that shouldn’t make us afraid to make sure that the priority of that budget reflects some of our investment purposes and making sure the European Investment Bank is able to support infrastructure development for Dublin and Ireland including in relation to housing.

I think it is important that housing is recognised as infrastructure and particularly sustainable housing needs to be recognised as well. Given Dublin’s challenges and priorities, I think it is important that the EIB goes in that direction. There are already examples of where the EIB has supported housing here such as Corkagh Grange in Clondalkin but we need to see that ramped up.

Frances Fitzgerald 

Funding for sustainable and well-connected transportation. Travelling around Dublin over the past few weeks and months, the congestion in the city is immediately apparent. We need to draw down funding that is available under the InvestEU fund to develop clean, sustainable and necessary public transportation so that we can make sure that Dublin is a liveable city.

Barry Andrews

Dublin is a vibrant, modern European city that has been transformed over the last two decades. But people are frustrated by the shortage of affordable housing, limited transport options, and the lack of child care facilities.

If we want to maintain Dublin’s competitive position as a location for business and jobs, we urgently need to tackle these quality of life issues.  We have a real opportunity at a time of rapid development to use technology to create a smart city that is more efficient and more sustainable.

The EU plan over the next seven years is to focus on the creation of smart, efficient cities that work for their citizens.  Under the Urban Agenda beyond 2020, there is funding available for projects that will promote sustainable urban development and that will sponsor projects from local communities.

As an MEP, I will seek funding for such projects as well as  investment from the EIB for mixed housing development funding to retrofit existing housing to make it more energy-efficient EU investment in the infrastructure for electric vehicles around the city.

We have a lot to learn from other European cities and from EU policy on Smart Cities as we move on to the next challenge of making Dublin a welcoming integrated place for the many new communities that have made the national capital their home.

In that respect, I am proposing the establishment of a Dublin Office in Brussels that would seek out funding opportunities for urban projects and to monitor the impact of EU initiatives on the capital.A number of European cities have a Brussels office, among them, Vienna and Gothenburg.

The Dublin Office would bring together the four local authorities, the universities and tech companies based in the capital, as well as community organisations to collaborate on projects to advance sustainable development for a smarter Dublin.

Rita Harrold 

If elected I will live on an average wage and will donate the rest of the €105,000 salary to the struggle to change society, as former Socialist MEPs Joe Higgins and Paul Murphy did.

I will use the position to highlight the interests of working class people and all the oppressed and to work with and to do everything I can on a daily basis to help build a major left-wing, socialist and working class movement and challenge to the corporate and pro-big business political establishment in Ireland and across Europe.

As an MEP working in solidarity with the movement outside the parliament I would seek to expose the completely compromised and biased nature of the EU Commission and the EU itself.

Gary Gannon

As an MEP, my role would be to amend, approve or reject laws that have tangible impacts upon the lives of people in Ireland every day. In doing so, I would be guided at all times by the UN Sustainable  Development Goals ensuring that all legislative decisions are scrutinised with the objective of enhancing environmental sustainability, human rights, gender equality and the eradication of poverty.

While applying development goals to legislative scrutiny may seem somewhat mundane to the everyday lives of Dubliners, the implications of these decisions are anything but.

I also believe that Irish politics has been devoid of politicians who are unashamedly idealistic in their approach and seek to build consensus through an assertion of their values and beliefs. The fascist elements throughout Europe have had little legislative success and yet they’ve fundamentally altered the direction of the European Union through the manipulation of public sentiment and fear.

You can see the consequence of their influence in the catastrophe that is Brexit, in the rise of Right-wing hatred throughout Europe and in the unconscionable decision by the EU to suspend the rescue missions associated with Operation Sophia that sought to preserve the lives of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

Membership of the European Union has been a force of positive change in Ireland and if the everyday benefits of that institution are to be preserved long into the future, then I believe myself to be a person who is diligent in the scrutiny of legislation, and who is ferocious in opposing those who seek to undermine our values of tolerance, inclusion and decency.

Lynn Boylan

If re-elected by the people of Dublin, I will fight to maintain our right to opt out of domestic metered water charges as currently provided for in article 9.4 of the water framework directive.  I was successful in the last term in forcing the Irish government to avail of this right and I’m committed to ensuring it continues for the next five years, saving families much-needed money.

Clare Daly 

I will stand firm in the face of the corporate lobbyists, in particular from the military industrial and fossil fuel sectors & in particular bring the information home before the decisions are made so that the people of Ireland have a chance to put the political establishment under pressure to change direction is necessary.

Ciarán Cuffe

Source: Claire Behan

I think I can make changes in how Europe tackles transport and how it tackles housing and that could mean a better bus service, it could mean a warmer home. So I think there are practical things I could achieve in the European Parliament.

About the author:

Kathleen McNamee

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