Dublin Bay South voters have been urged to look to Green policies in the upcoming byelection to "guide us out of the pandemic".
Claire Byrne, the Green Party's candidate in the July 8th vote, launched her campaign on Sandymount Strand on Sunday urging voters to look towards Green policies to "guide us in the direction we need to go", as the State turns its attention to crises in climate and housing.
She also emphasised that Dublin Bay South currently is without a female representative, arguing: “I really believe only women can represent women effectively. We need to look at recognising a woman’s work in the home properly, financially and otherwise.”
Ms Byrne, who is a Dublin City Councillor, said her campaign would focus on improving housing provision and standards, renting, waste and recycling issues and Dublin Bay, as well as recovery in the arts.
“We need more, we need multipurpose venues, we need flexible venues. All of this ties into revitalising and creating a sustainable night-time economy, which is also critical to the survival of the city.”
Eamon Ryan, a TD in Dublin Bay South and Green Party leader, claimed the party has a "real chance" of taking a seat, where Fine Gael is seen as among the frontrunners to retain the seat vacated by the retirement from politics of former Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.
"This is a constituency that really does think green, that votes green," he said. Deputy Leader Catherine Martin echoed her candidates call for female representation for the constituency, saying "it's incredible in 2021 that Dublin Bay South doesn't have a female TD, that our Dáil has less than a quarter of female representatives".
National Maternity Hospital
Ms Byrne, who was a board member of the National Maternity Hospital at the time the decision was taken to relocate the institution to a site owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity, said she did not regret voting for that move, and urged resolution to the current controversy over ownership of the site where the hospital is to be built.
“We’re already 10 years trying to get this project over the line, the sooner we can resolve these issues and move forward with the maternity hospital, the better.”
Mr Ryan said there was a need to “get a resolution quickly” on outstanding issues such as the ownership of the land, the associated lease to the State of the land for the hospital, and State-appointed representatives on the board.
“This has to happen in the coming weeks. It’s been years in the making, we now need to start building, and I believe it can be resolved, and we’ll play our part.”
Mr Ryan also said that while the Government was committed to funding a redress scheme for family homes impacted by mica and other defective materials issues, all parties would have to face up to how funding was provided for significant projects in the years ahead.
“There is a wider issue all the parties are going to have to face in the coming weeks as we debate the big issues – the national development plan, housing for all. We do have significant choices ahead of us in terms of how we fund the housing, how we fund public transport, how we fund the water improvements, and also provide for current expenditure,” he said.
“There is building inflation coming, there is supply chain disruption at the moment. We have a real challenge to, particularly in my mind, build all the capital infrastructure we need.” He said there should be a particular focus on young people, post-pandemic.
“We now need to invest in our young people. We need to invest in their housing, in their jobs, their education, in their training. There will have to be prioritisation. I think it is for the next generation coming… to make sure we have funding for that more than anything else.”