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Dublin: 7°C Friday 28 January 2022

The best thing about Dublin? The people. The worst? Drink and drugs.

Results of Your Dublin Your Voice survey reveals polar attitudes towards the capital city – and some interesting ideas to improve it.

One suggestion put forward in the survey was that a weir be installed on the Liffey to generate power and make the river more of an amenity
One suggestion put forward in the survey was that a weir be installed on the Liffey to generate power and make the river more of an amenity
Image: Nic McPhee via Flickr

A SURVEY OF Irish people has found that while 90 per cent would recommend the city as a nice place to visit, drugs and begging are considered major problems.

The Your Dublin Your Voice survey was conducted among 2,300 people made up of over 60 nationalities and with representatives from all 32 counties on the island. Eighty-six per cent of the respondents were Irish and 68 per cent lived in Dublin. Sponsored by Dublin City Council, the survey reveals that while people identify many strengths of the capital city, a number of significant negatives consistently popped up in responses.

People think that the worst things about Dublin are:

  • Anti-social behaviour and crime – 36 per cent. (The survey authors wrote: “Fix our ‘drugs and begging’ problem in the capital – this is the message from Dublin’s first opinion panel survey’.”)
  • Traffic/transport/cycle lane issues – 21 per cent
  • Litter/cleanliness/appearance – 17 per cent
  • People – rude/apathy/negative/too busy – 4 per cent
  • Poor planning/ development/ maintenance – 3 per cent
  • Poor leadership – local and national – 3 per cent
  • Unemployment/ poverty/ social exclusion – 3 per cent
  • Weather – 2 per cent
  • Loss of character/identity/Irishness – 1 per cent.

They believe the best things about Dublin are:

  • The people – 31 per cent
  • Culture/arts/activities – 17 per cent
  • Size of the city/convenience/access to amenities – 15 per cent
  • Diverse/cosmopolitan/vibrant/character – 13 per cent
  • History/heritage – 5 per cent
  • Family/friends/home 4 per cent
  • Location/sea/mountains – 4 per cent
  • Parks/green areas/amenities – 3 per cent.

Positive feelings towards Dublin:

  • 88 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I like the fact that my job is based in Dublin”. (This percentage doesn’t include the 599 people surveyed whose job is not based in Dublin).
  • 71 per cent said they would prefer to live in Dublin than anywhere else in Ireland.
  • 90 per cent said they would recommend Dublin to family and friends as a good place to visit.
  • 77 per cent said they believed Dublin was a welcoming place
  • 83 per cent said Dublin is a family-friendly place
  • 88 per cent said diversity is a good thing for Dublin
  • 72 per cent said they were proud of Dublin
  • 70 per cent feel safe when I am in the city centre during the day

Negative feelings towards Dublin:

  • Only 31 per cent of respondents agreed that they felt safe in the city centre at night
  • 32 per cent think that Dublin feels like an environmentally-friendly city
  • 32 per cent think that Dublin city centre is clean and tidy
  • Only 16 per cent believe that Dublin is a city where it is easy to find a job.

It seems that some of the major infrastructural and building projects in the city over the past decade have impacted positively on people’s lives. The Luas scored highest with 98 per cent of people thinking it had a good impact; the Dublin Bikes scheme was approved by 95 per cent; M50 completion (95 per cent); Port Tunnel (89 per cent); Docklands/IFSC (89); Grand Canal Theatre (84); the O2 venue (82); Ballymun regeneration (79); Dublin Airport expansion (71); the National Convention Centre (62).

In addition, a majority of people (95 per cent) want to see an expansion to the Dublin Bikes scheme; 85 per cent want the Metro North; 74 per cent would like water for the Dublin region to be sourced from the River Shannon and just over half (54 per cent) would like a directly-elected mayor for the region.

Probably most interesting of all are the responses from people when asked for their ideas on future projects. Here is some of them:

  • Something similar to what’s done in Swedish cities – a garden, landscaped area to be exclusively used as a meeting point (AWAY from the city centre) where drug addicts can go, instead of on the boardwalk, city streets etc. it seems to have worked wonders in the cities it is in already.
  • Install a water barrier that would always keep the Liffey at a level whereby it could be used as an amenity for visitors and the people. The barrier could also be used to generate electric power.
  • More cross-town bus routes (most routes now start and terminate in city centre, necessitating 2 bus trips if you want to go from suburb to suburb.
  • Bike rack attached to the front of buses (it’s available in the US and New Zealand). You attach your bike to the rack on the front of the bus so you can use the bus and cycle thereby decreasing the number of people in cars.
  • Speedy integration (ticketing and linking of different forms) of public transport system.
  • Each household / apartment block (where possible) should harvest rainwater for their own use. It shouldn’t be necessary to use the Shannon.
  • Doing some work on the canals to make them a tourist attraction and beauty and nature spots, something like you might see in the UK.
  • Development of former ESB power station at the Pigeon House (now owned by Dublin City Council) as a major visitor attraction displaying the history of Dublin Port and the City’s dependence on the sea and seafaring.
  • A Dublin-based university (linked to one of the existing colleges e.g. Trinity) specifically focused on the arts which exploits Dublin’s international reputation as a City of writers, poets and musicians (Behan, Joyce, Beckett, Bono, Geldof, Kavanagh) -I have global clients who just love this aspect of the Ireland. We should exploit it more.
  • Bring back the trolley cars from the 1950s.
  • Cycle paths throughout the city (not just painted areas of roadway).
  • Public free wifi would be brilliant to Dubliners but a major selling point for tourists, in particular business tourism.
  • Using empty buildings, like the Habitat building on college green, as art galleries for students with cafes, performance spaces etc.
  • A car rental scheme whereby you pay a certain amount per month & have use of a car. Would work in a similar way to the bike scheme… It works well in Paris.

We’ve chosen a few of the more unusual suggestions from the survey and want to know: Which of these do you think would most improve Dublin as a city?

Poll Results:

Free public wi fi (162)
Create a landscaped park area for drug users to keep them out of the city centre (154)
Create proper cycle paths, not just painted parts of the road (129)
Redeveloping the Liffey/canals as leisure amenities (112)
Sort out more cross-city bus routes (53)
Bring back trolley cars from the 1950s (29)
Develop the Pigeon House towers as a tourist amenity (15)

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