Local politics and international protests

 

Sir, – I note the decision by Dublin City councillors to fly the Palestinian flag over City Hall for the month of May.

Ireland has a proud tradition of peace-building, international development aid, and defending human rights around the world. This is the role of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. Ireland has many diplomats and Irish Aid officials who do a superb job in Palestine, the developing world, and elsewhere. Dublin Chamber applauds their work.

Dublin and its people face many challenges. The chronic housing shortage is pushing rents and house prices upwards, driving many workers further and further from their places of employment. Lengthening commuter times are undermining both economic productivity and quality of life. Meanwhile, local politicians continue to resist practical changes that would help to alleviate these difficulties – such as greater housing density in Dublin. For example, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney’s department recently had to intervene to force Dublin City Council to accept a greater number of new homes in Poolbeg West.

Dublin Chamber commends Dublin City councillors on their concern about international conflicts. We share those concerns. However, there is a tendency among some local politicians to focus on issues of symbolic importance while giving insufficient attention to the pressing issues facing the ordinary people who live, work, study, and do business in Dublin. Last year, Dublin City Council devoted much consideration to the question of whether the word “Lord” should be kept in the title of “Lord Mayor of Dublin”. There is a distinct sense of exasperation amongst Dublin businesses and residents regarding the time and energy politicians are spending on such debates.

Dublin City centre is effectively a second home to people from throughout the Greater Dublin Area. What happens here has an impact on people throughout East Leinster and indeed throughout the country. Dublin has inadequate infrastructure due to low investment and bad planning over many years. We face significant demographic pressures in the future. In this context, it is important that local politicians in Dublin City focus on actually delivering for the residents of our national capital. – Yours, etc,

MARY ROSE BURKE,

Chief Executive,

Dublin Chamber,

Clare Street,

Dublin 2.