At the start of every council term, the new and re-elected councillors get together to sort out who will chair some of the committees, and who gets to be the Lord Mayor. However, this time around there were 10 Green Councillors who took the opportunity to put together a ‘Dublin Agreement’ which as well as the usual also includes the widest-ranging policy agreement for Dublin “in living memory”
The ten page document, which can should be published on the council website soon, sets out actions for the capital’s council on climate change, housing, waste, culture, transport, and accessibility, with a new emphasis on tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
Some key proposals include:
- On climate change, there will be a new Strategic Policy Committee to deal directly with climate change, set emissions targets and plant more trees. There will be a push to retrofit council housing, energy efficiency improvements for council buildings, and a new biodiversity and ecology officer for the city.
- On housing, there will be a new Dublin City housing plan, increased enforcement on derelict and vacant sites, an increase in housing above commercial units, and a rejection of selling off public land for private development without clear evidence. There will also be a review of how the city allocates emergency homelessness accommodation.
- On transport, there will be a full pedestrian strategy for the city, including the full pedestrianisation of busy streets such as Moore Street, Drury Street, and South William Street. The cycle lane network will be expanded, with protective battons added to many existing lanes. The Council will also implement a car-free day, reduce speed limits, and develop a new “street warden” role to improve enforcement.
- For the arts and culture, the city will have a set target for city space to be set aside for cultural, creative, and community uses. The city will protect the 1916 Moore Street site, regenerate markets, and support local sports clubs.
- On the city’s public realm, the Council will install new benches and public toilets across the city.
- On waste, the Council will work to remove single-use plastics from their offices and public events. The city will aim to add more local bottle banks and that new public water fountains will be installed to reduce plastic waste.
There will still be a chance to get a lot more done with the cooperation of the other 50+ councillors, but this is a great start for the council.