In the past decade provision of social housing has effectively been privatised, meaning councils are gifting large publicly owned sites to private developers in return for a few hundred completed houses being given back as ‘social housing’; the remainder being sold at huge profits.  I have highlighted this scandal on Dublin City Council and I have also been vocal in opposing the Department of Environment proposals to the re-introduce ‘shoebox’ apartments at the behest of private developers.

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Health Crisis

In January 2016 the number of patients on trolleys in A&E was up 20% on the figures for January 2015. We reached an all-time high of 600 patients on trolleys on one day. There has been no recruitment in the health service in the past 5 years of this government. In Beaumont hospital alone there are 235 vacancies, 116 of them being nurses. Nationally 70,000 people are waiting for surgery and 400,000 awaiting a specialist appointment. Savage cuts to funding for community based carers, respite care, mental health services, etc. results in increased pressure on A&E services. The introduction of prescription charges for medical card holders means many ill people on low incomes are not taking required medicines due to the cost.

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Living Wage and Social Protection

Ireland is the 8th wealthiest country in the world. However consistent child poverty here increased to 11.7% in 2013, with 17.9% of children at risk of poverty (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission).

The low wage economy acts to benefit of private landlords, now a couple who are both employed often struggle to pay rent if they are stuck in low paying or minimum wage positions. Such precarious private sector employment also prevents workers from defending their rights in trade unions.

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Everyone has a right to education. Education opportunities from a child’s earliest years determines their future life, employment opportunities, income and basic happiness. The provision of education should be free – without “voluntary” contributions – up to at least primary degree level. Professional and technical qualifications should be available at reasonable cost and be equally accessible to all.

Special schemes should be introduced to encourage early school leavers – typically working class teens - to return to education at any stage of their lives. State funded apprenticeship programmes must be re-introduced.

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In the past two years the scale of nationwide public opposition to Water Charges has been one of the most important social and political movements in the history of this state. The government, other establishment parties, and the media were completely taken by surprise when the ordinary people refused to swallow the bullshit, educated and organised themselves on the streets and came out in their hundreds of thousands to defeat water charges. The first effects of this political revolution will be revealed next week, but the ongoing political lessons learned will impact positively on our communities for decades.

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Repeal the Eighth Amendment

As an ‘angry young man’ in 1983 I was active in the small progressive campaign opposing the introduction of the 8th Amendment into the Constitution. At the time both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael competed with each other to appease the church by restricting the rights of women to contraception and abortion. After the 8th amendment was passed right wing groups went on to oppose the legalisation of divorce and tried to prevent sex education in schools, sale of condoms in chemists, and censoring women’s magazines to ban information about abortion clinics in England.

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Submission to the Draft Replacement Litter Management Plan 2016

As a preamble to my specific recommendations I would like to express my disappointment with the Draft Replacement Litter Management Plan. In my opinion the draft doesn’t contain any specific actions to impact on the ongoing illegal dumping and litter crisis. The plan also lacks important targets and KPI’s to evaluate the success of the plan on an ongoing basis…

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15% Reduction in Local Property Tax

Last night on Dublin City Council myself and my Independent colleagues voted to reduce the Local Property Tax by 15%, the maximum allowed. The LPT is a regressive tax, it may be less regressive than the Water Tax for example, but it is still regressive. Income equality or wealth distribution should be achieved by progressive taxation, where those who can afford to pay contribute more. The mandate I have from my community is to abolish this unfair property tax but I used the opportunity last night to minimise the amount of regressive property tax we have to pay.

The hypocrisy of the Labour Party was on display again when they proposed limiting the decrease to 7.5% to fund services such as footpath and verge cleaning. These are core council services which have been slashed due to Government cuts to the council budget sanctioned by the Labour Party. And on South Dublin County Council the Labour Party voted for the full 15% reduction!

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Meeting an Absolute Legend!

It was an honour to meet the legendary Max Levitas with the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House today 25th September 2015. Max is still a passionate anti-fascist at 100 years of age. Max was born in Dublin in 1915 to Jewish refugee parents from the anti-Semitic pogroms of Tsarist Russia. His family had to leave Dublin in 1927 because his father was blacklisted for being a trade unionist. The family eventually settled in the East End of London and Max was involved in the famous Battle of Cable Street in 1936 when thousands of people from the Jewish, Irish and local communities stopped the fascist Blackshirts marching through the Whitechapel area in London. As always, the police sided with the Fascists. The defeat of Sir Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists at the Battle of Cable Street was a serious setback for the British Nazis at a time when Fascism was gaining ground all over Europe.

Max was a Communist councillor in London’s East End for 17 years and has spent his life fighting for the betterment of working class people. Even today he is involved with his local tenants organisation fighting for their rights against a privatised housing association. A life well lived!


Cllr Cieran Perry, Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh and Max Levitas in front of an image of the First Dáil


Stop Political Policing – Support the Jobstown 23

The attempt to intimidate and bully the ordinary people of Jobstown for daring to protest against Joan Burton is blatant political policing. Burton and her Government have devastated working class areas like Jobstown all over the country and yet expect to be able to come into our areas to patronise us without any protests. The protest in Jobstown was a legitimate, peaceful protest against the political choice by this Labour/Fine Gael Government to impose an austerity agenda on the Irish people. Hundreds of similar protests have taken place in the past but the difference now is that the Government is terrified of the scale of the protests against the Water Tax. Out of touch with ordinary people, Burton, Kenny, Kelly and their cronies actually believe charging ordinary men, woman and children will frighten the rest of us into submission. They couldn’t be more wrong! I believe this whole political circus will strengthen the anti-water tax movement and damage the Labour Party.

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Refugee Crisis

The heartbreaking photo of Aylan Kurdi, the dead 3 year old refugee washed up on a beach in Turkey, should shock the world into finally tackling the migrant ‘crisis’. It won’t, of course. Similar to the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie in Dublin last December, there will be genuine outrage but the problem will continue because the political will isn’t there to really resolve problem such as these. Most countries will be embarrassed into reluctantly accepting slightly more refugees than they had already agreed to. Positive noises will be made about tackling the crisis ‘humanely’ but reducing the flow of refugees and reinforcing border controls will be the primary reaction of the European countries. The cause of the problems - western interference in countries, poverty, civil war – requires a political solution but the worldwide dominant neo-liberal ideology will not allow the root causes to be tackled.

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Dublin City Development: Planning Failures to be repeated

While much of the media uncritically praises all new developments as positive, local communities know better. Nowhere was a better example of disastrous and corrupt planning than the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. The DDDA was a disaster - a combination of bad planning, developers greed and self-interested politicians failed the existing community. And the signs are there that ALL the mistakes of the 'Celtic Tiger' years are being repeated.

It has been revealed that a major international developer, nicknamed 'the Shoebox King' has his greedy sights set on the Docklands. With the Dublin City Council planners proposing ‘studio’ apartments 27% smaller than the current minimum size in the recent Draft Dublin City Development Plan and another Government agency calling for a reduction in housing standards, it’s no wonder the ‘Shoebox King’ is interested in developing in Dublin.

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Family with Young Children Sleeping in a Public Park in Dublin in 2015 is an Absolute Disgrace

The comments by Anto Flynn from the Inner City Helping Homeless organisation in relation to the family with three young children sleeping rough in Mountjoy Square were very apt. Anto’s organisation, totally voluntary and not state funded, allowed the family to sleep on their office floor because a number of state funded organisations were unable to provide accommodation for the family. To have children of 2, 4 and 5 years of age sleeping in a public park in the capital city of a first world country in 2015 is an absolute disgrace. Anto made the very important point that it isn’t more funding that is required, it is a co-ordinated and intelligent approach to what continues to be a homelessness crisis in the city. This is a point that I have continually made over the past year.

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Deputy Lord Mayor

On the 29th June 2015 I was honoured to be unanimously voted Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin. I would also like to congratulate Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh on her election as Lord Mayor.

It is also very appropriate that a republican woman is the first citizen for the centenary of the 1916 Rising given the fact that the majority of women, and the role they played in 1916, has largely been written out of history. Along with Criona, I hope to play a small part in celebrating the revolutionary history of this great city during our term of office.

I also hope to have an opportunity to highlight the possibility of society being run for the benefit of the majority and not exclusively for the wealthy minority. I’m sure the heroes of the Rising would also have held such a belief. 


Poll Topping Councillor to Contest General Election

Following on from his poll topping success in the local elections, where he received one of the top ten votes across Dublin, and with the endorsement sitting TD’s Paul Murphy and Joan Collins, Independent Dublin City Councillor Cieran Perry has announced his intention to run in the upcoming General election in Dublin Central.

Councillor Perry said
 “It is my intention to offer the electorate of Dublin Central an opportunity to elect an active and campaigning TD, to represent their interests and who will campaign for equality for all in Housing, Health & Education.”

Independent Councillor Perry is a leading activist in the massive anti-water tax campaign. He has repeatedly called for an end to this unfair water tax and for legislation to prevent the privatisation of Irish water.

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Cllr Cieran Perry with Joan Collins TD and Paul Murphy TD

Illegal Dumping Crisis in the North Inner City

I believe the privatisation of Dublin City Council's Waste Management Service has been an unmitigated disaster and has resulted in a litter crisis citywide but particularly in the North and South Inner City. It is clear from investigating illegal dumping that it is a small minority of residents, landlords and businesses who dump regularly and drag down the appearance of the area. The majority of compliant residents should not have to suffer because of the minority.

I have met the City Manager a number of times to discuss this issue. As a first step towards regaining control of the illegal dumping problem DCC should re-enter the waste collection business. In the current situation DCC find themselves 'unofficially' providing a waste collection service in tackling the illegal dumping. The cost of this unofficial service is unknown as DCC don't record all illegal dumping collections. Approximately €800,000 was allocated for this service in last year's council budget but this wouldn't include money spent by the various local areas or the parks department etc… In the North Inner City area alone there are reports ofover 100 illegally dumped bags being collected on particular days!

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Community Action Receives Praise

A recent report by the Finglas/Cabra Drugs Task Force (Click here) highlighted the lack of open drug dealing in Cabra due to the successful actions of our community which marched against drug dealers several years ago. The results of the report show the importance of communities not allowing drugs to be openly available to the young people of an area. The report is welcome praise for the hundreds of parents, grandparents and young people who chose to stand up against the drug dealers. I am proud to have been one of those residents. As secretary of the Coalition of Communities against Drugs (COCAD), I was active against this scourge across our City. And while sadly, the issue of drugs is still a problem, we in Cabra must be proud of our achievements. By coming together and taking a stand, as well as stopping open drug dealing, we built the Sports Centre in the Bogies, opened the Family Resource Centre on Dowth Avenue and established the local Policing Forum. We also forced the formation of the Joint Policing Committees, an acknowledgement by the Government that policing in working class areas was seriously lacking.  Campaigning over our concerns for our children’s future also brought about these benefits. Well done to us all. 

Bad News on Cabra East Flood Alleviation

In October 2011 a weather event described as ‘monster rain’ caused serious flooding all over the Cabra and Naven Road area. Numerous houses were flooded on the night. In the immediate aftermath of the flooding I met with the Dublin City Council engineers responsible for flood relief to discuss possible alleviation works. At the time I also had several meetings with affected residents. Following these meetings I organised a meeting between the engineers and a delegation of residents from the affected roads in Cabra and the Navan Road so that residents could voice their concerns directly.  

Since the flooding occurred I have been in constant contact with the engineers from Drainage department of Dublin City Council and some alleviation works have been undertaken in Cabra West and the Kinvara area of the Navan Road.

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Anti Home Tax Campaign Defeated by Fear

While the outcome of the anti-Property Tax campaign (Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes) can be described as disappointing, I think it’s important to recognise the mountain which we needed to climb to succeed. Bearing in mind that almost 60% of voters cast their ballots for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, parties which clearly accepted the Property Tax precisely because of its unfair nature, our campaign was seeking the support of those who would suffer most from this extra tax. Supporters of this unfair tax calculated that they would pay less if more people were forced to pay, even those struggling on the breadline. It must also be conceded that the government learnt from our success in the campaign against the Household Tax and organised the imposition of the so called Property Tax in a more effective way.

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Council Attempt to Bully Residents

Unbelievably, Dublin City Council has attempted to bully a respected residents association by threatening them with legal action. BLEND, a residents association representing the Mountjoy area in Dublin 7, engaged in a an act of civil disobedience by placing twenty uncollected bags of dumped rubbish on the steps of the Civic Offices on Sunday April 28th , the day of the An Taisce Spring Clean,   to protest at the lack of action on illegal dumping by Dublin City Council. This public protest was pre-publicised and the media informed.

One of the participants recently received a summons to appear in court as an illegal dumper. This irony of the situation would be humorous if it didn’t involve such a waste of public money and personal upset to the person involved.

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Excellent News! New Dublin Bridge Named After Trade Union Activist

Dublin City Councillors voted to name the new bridge between Burgh Quay and Marlborough Street as the Rosie Hackett Bridge. Rosie was factory worker and trade unionist who dedicated her life to defending workers’ rights. As well as her involvement in the Lockout, at 18 years of age Rosie had led a successful strike in the Jacobs factory and had co-founded the Irish Women Workers Union in 1911. During the 1916 Rising she fought with the Irish Citizen Army and occupied the Royal College of Surgeons with Countess Markievicz.
It is a sad fact that Rosie and people like her have been written out of the official history of our country. Hopefully the naming of the new bridge in her honour will encourage people to rediscover our true history.

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Neither Berlin nor Boston but Bust...

As a parent, one of the lessons we teach our children is that when they make mistakes, they should learn from them. Sadly, this Fine Gael/Labour government has not learned any positive lessons from previous Fianna Fail corruption and incompetence.

Austerity is not working. The Irish Times of the 17th December reported that, according to CSO figures, the domestic economy suffered its sharpest fall since the worst of the recession at the end of 2008 and investment in the economy has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1997. This is after approximately €12.5 billion has been cut from the economy since 2009. The additional cuts in the latest budget can only further depress the economy.

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MONEYLENDERS - The Irish Story of Public Private Partnerships

We all know what moneylenders are. They lend you something and then charge you exorbitant interest rates of say 100-200% before your debt is clear. And they all look like thugs, don't they?

Well, in Ireland, the greatest moneylenders are the financial consortiums behing the Public Private Partnerships (PPP). PPP's are when a consortium of financial bankers, large developers bid to undertake development schemes advertised by the Government. So why do I refer to them as moneylenders? Take for example the new Conference centre built in the Docklands under a PPP scheme.

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Educational Disadvantage

Last Thursday the Irish Times reported that teaching supports for special needs children have been cut by 10 per cent. This is another example of the most vulnerable in our society paying the price for the criminality of the bankers, politicians and developers.

The importance of education in the development of our young people, and therefore in the future development of our country, cannot be emphasised enough. It is with this in mind that the continued cuts to our educational budget must be resisted and the scandalous policy of subsidising private fee paying schools must be eliminated.

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