We only use strictly necessary cookies to provide, secure and improve our service. Learn more
Sarah Durcan
Sarah Durcan
Social Democrats
Party 10


Incumbent : No

Main message to voters:

I believe a fair, thriving and caring country is possible. As a SocDem, I believe in evidence based policy which furthers our long-term interest, not vested interests. We need to invest in the basics that uphold our communities - housing, healthcare, education, transport, and just climate action.

Election history:

Dublin Bay South has been my home for nearly 30 years. I work in the arts, as a community activist and now with Science Gallery International - linking science technology and arts. I was a founder of #WakingTheFeminists, and served on the board of the Abbey theatre. I ran as a SocDem in GE2020.

Priorities:

  1. Housing Using public land for housing that is affordable to rent or buy. A new renter's charter with a ban on rent increases for 3 years. Close tax loopholes
  2. Tax & spending Childcare: A publicly funded accessible model Increasing State investment to 1% of GDP Paid leave for parents for 1st year of child's life
  3. Environment Increased investment in cycling and public transport Better air and water quality management Supporting more biodiversity initiatives in city.

Candidate positions on the election issues:

Housing

Providing financial supports for first-time buyers is an important part of the solution to the housing crisis in the short term.

Measures such as the proposed ‘shared equity’ scheme and the ‘help-to-buy’ tax relief are aimed at helping first-time buyers to purchase a property. Critics say they contribute to the problem by driving up prices, while supporters say that they enable people who would not otherwise afford it to buy a home.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"It's important to support first time buyers sensibly, and not further push up the cost of housing. We believe the main solution is to build public housing on public land as the most effective and efficient way to increase supply and make housing affordable, especially for first time buyers."

The state should borrow heavily to invest in house building

Some (including the Fiscal Advisory Council) argue that current levels of debt are already too high, and additional borrowing should be limited. Others (including the ESRI) argue that now is a good time for the government to borrow heavily to invest in a large-scale house building programme.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to double the investment in public housing on public land, end short-term shoddy solutions and invest now for long-term sustainable housing that supports community and social connection. "

A rent freeze should be introduced in Dublin

Currently, rent increases are limited to 4% in ‘rent pressure zones’. A temporary ban exists on rent increases for people whose incomes were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some argue that a blanket rent freeze would drive landlords out of the sector, or that it might be unconstitutional. Others say it is needed to address the very high cost of renting in Dublin.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"A temporary rent freeze/ban on rent increases should be introduced. Too many landlords now aim for 4% increase pa as a target rather than a maximum. "

Investment funds should be prevented from bulk-buying apartments

The government recently introduced measures to discourage bulk-buying of houses by international investment funds. However, apartments are currently not covered by these measures. Some argue that apartments would not be built without these investors, while others say that bulk-buying of apartments locks individuals out of the property market.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Tax loopholes need to be closed immediately so that individual buyers have a fairer chance of securing a home, and not end up renting at huge rent set by institutional for-profit investors. "

More accommodation for Travellers should be built in this constituency

The government makes funding available for local authorities to build Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes). Some local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition. Representatives of the Travelling community argue that more accommodation is needed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Local authorities should spend the money they are allocated for Traveller accommodation on ensuring Travellers have appropriate, safe and sustainable accommodation. "

Tax & spending

In the wake of the pandemic, most people should have to pay more tax

Compared to other EU countries, the overall tax burden for most people is relatively low. Some argue that, particularly in light of the high level of borrowing during the pandemic and the need for additional spending in areas such as health and housing, taxes should be raised or new taxes introduced. Others disagree and think that most people already pay enough.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"It's more about getting value for the tax we already pay, stopping waste in the system, and ensuring we collect the taxes already owed - especially corporation tax and vacant site taxes. "

Should taxes on high earners be increased or decreased?

Earnings above €35,300 (for a single person) or €44,300 (for a married couple) are taxed at 40%. The Universal Social Charge is 8% on earnings over €70,000. Some argue that high earners are taxed too much, which makes it difficult for companies to attract talent. Others argue that high earners (e.g. annual incomes over 100k) should pay more to fund better public services.
Increased
Stay the same
Decreased
No opinion
Comment:
"We believe that people on very high incomes can afford to pay a little bit more, but income tax increases are not our priority when it comes to additional revenue raising. Life should be made more affordable for everyone, and we need better value and services for the taxes we pay. "

Ireland should increase its corporate tax rate to bring it in line with other countries

Ireland’s corporate tax rate is 12.5%, which is low by international standards. This is one feature that makes Ireland an attractive location for multinational companies, which are a major contributor to the Irish economy; it has also led to accusations of Ireland being a ‘tax haven’. The US and many European countries support a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"It's about ensuring we are collecting the full rate of tax owed to us, and closing loopholes where companies can avoid taxes. "

The Local Property Tax is needed to fund local services

The LPT is a tax that homeowners must pay, based on the value of their property. The LPT currently makes up around 8% of the total revenue for local councils and is used to fund local services. Some claim it is unfair to have a tax on the family home, while others argue that this is a significant component of people’s wealth and so should be taxed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Property taxes are an important part of a stable and fair tax base. However, the current system whereby a large portion of money raised does not stay locally has to change. People need to the local value and services for their taxes. "

Covid-19

What is your view of the mandatory hotel quarantine system?

Currently, anyone coming to Ireland from countries designated as high-risk are required to quarantine in a hotel for 11 days or more (depending on test results) at their own expense. Ireland is the only EU country with such a system. Some believe that the system should be extended to everyone coming into the country, while others believe that it is an unnecessary infringement on individuals’ rights.
It is excessive
It is appropriate
It does not go far enough
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to ensure we keep new and dangerous variants out, while taking a compassionate and sensible approach on humanitarian grounds. "

Covid-19 emergency powers should be ended immediately

During the pandemic, legislation was passed to give the Minister for Health the power to make regulations such as restricting travel, stopping public gatherings, and closing premises. The Gardaí were given additional powers to fine and arrest people for breaching Covid-19 regulations. These powers are currently due to be in place until November, but some argue they should be ended sooner.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"This is premature until we are out of the pandemic. However, Government must ensure that the the Gardaí exercise their powers in a proportionate manner. "

Pandemic unemployment payments should be reduced in the coming months

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a social welfare payment for people who were prevented from working due to Covid-19 rules, with rates varying from €203 to €350 per week. Some argue that it the PUP is acting as a disincentive to get back to work and should be wound down, while others argue that the scheme should be extended until all Covid-related restrictions end. Under current plans, rates will be reduced from September and the scheme will end in February.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"The supports should remain while there are restrictions in place for certain sectors. Government should taper the payments and allow people to keep some of the payment as they return to work on a phased basis. "

How do you feel about the pace of reopening?

From the 5th of July, restrictions are as follows: house visits are limited to people from 3 other households; indoor events (including weddings) are limited to 50 people; most outdoor events are limited to 200 people; public transport is limited to 50% capacity. Indoor dining and drinking is not permitted, except for overnight guests at hotels. Fines for non-essential international travel are in place until 18th July.
Too fast
About right
Too slow
No opinion
Comment:
"We must follow the scientific and medical evidence and adjust as necessary to protect lives (especially if more variants take hold), while getting our economy and society up and running again. "

Transport

Congestion charges should be introduced in Dublin

Congestion charges are charges on vehicles entering a city at busy times. They are currently under consideration for Dublin. Opponents say they put an unfair economic burden on people who have to drive to the city, while supporters say that they contribute to cutting emissions and make cities more liveable.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Further research required here to establish what's fair and appropriate. Air pollution is killing us and traffic is a huge contributor to this. Tackling emissions and air pollution will reduce strokes and heart attacks, as well as tackle climate change. "

Too many cycle lanes are being built in Dublin

A number of new cycle lanes have been rolled out across Dublin recently, and more have been planned. While this is a welcome development for the growing number of cyclists in Dublin, it will also mean fewer traffic lanes for cars and less space for on-street parking.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We need safe, segregated cycle lanes throughout the city to tackle traffic congestion, improve air quality, and support active transport to get the city moving faster. "

More Dublin streets should be pedestrianised

A number of streets in Dublin city centre have been pedestrianised recently. Some argue that pedestrianisation has gone far enough and motorists must be catered for, while others argue that it should be extended further to facilitate more outdoor dining and to improve the experience for pedestrians.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"As a long-time city centre resident, I recognise that as a viking/medieval city, our streets were built for walking not cars - pedestrianised streets will bring more business into the city and make it safer and more enjoyable for everyone. "

Speed limits of 30km/h should be introduced across most parts of Dublin

Dublin City Council proposed reducing the speed limits on many roads from 50km to 30 km/h, but the proposal is currently on hold due to local opposition. Opponents say it will slow traffic too much, while supporters say it will improve road safety.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Safety on our streets is paramount. "

The proposed MetroLink from Swords to Charlemont should go ahead as planned

MetroLink is a planned high frequency rail line from Swords to Charlemont (near Ranelagh), via Dublin Airport. It would run mostly underground. Some people oppose the current plans because of the disruption it will cause, and some advocate alternative routes. Supporters say there have been enough delays and want to see the planned project implemented as soon as possible.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We support an underground Metro in principle. It needs to run through the south-west of the constituency and not split communities/villages on the eastern side. "

The proposed BusConnects plan should go ahead

BusConnects is a planned overhaul of the bus network in Dublin, involving new orbital and spine routes that avoid going through the city centre. Opponents of the plan cite the loss of direct routes and the need to change buses more often on your journey, along with the disruption and loss of trees that implementing the plan will involve. Supporters point to the increased capacity and bus frequency and the easing of congestion in the city centre.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We support the provision of better bus and public transport services throughout DBS. However the BusConnects plan needs further consideration and consultation with local communities and better design-thinking to ensure it is safe, and doesn't cause further traffic congestion on residential streets. "

Environment

Carbon taxes should continue to increase each year

Carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, petrol, diesel, and gas. It recently increased from €26 to €33.50 per tonne of CO2, with further increases planned every year until 2030. Critics argue that carbon tax disproportionally impacts those on low incomes, while supporters say it is necessary to effect behaviour change and so reduce emissions.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Government must make sure that those least able to bear the brunt of climate action measures including the carbon tax are properly supported, and have real options to make essential lifestyle changes. "

Do current commitments to halve emissions by 2030 go too far or not far enough?

The recent Climate Bill commits the government to reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This is to involve carbon budgets every five years. Some argue that these targets are not ambitious enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, while others argue they go too far and will entail too much economic damage to certain sectors.
Go too far
About right
Don't go far enough
No opinion
Comment:
"There's no time to lose in acting now to reduce our emissions. We must be ambitious in reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible as soon as possible. "

A new sewage treatment plant should be built to address pollution in Dublin Bay, even if it is in this constituency

The Ringsend sewage treatment plant is operating beyond capacity, and there are regular overflows of untreated wastewater into Dublin Bay. Efforts to build a new treatment plant have met with local objections. Planning permission for a new treatment plant near Dublin airport was overturned and is currently undergoing judicial review.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Water quality is appalling in Dublin Bay. We must do everything we can to safely treat water. "

Irish unity

A referendum on Irish unity should be held during the next five years

The Good Friday Agreement allows for the possibility of a referendum (‘border poll’) in Northern Ireland and in the Republic on the question of a united Ireland, if there is evidence that unification is desired by a majority. Some believe that a border poll would be premature and divisive at this time, while others argue that, in light of Brexit and the changing demographics in Northern Ireland, a border poll should be held soon.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We believe that a United Ireland achieved by consent has the real potential to benefit the people of the entire island. However significant work needs to be done politically, economically and culturally on both sides of the border before this should be considered. "

The reunification of Ireland would create more problems than it would solve

Some people believe that the division of Ireland is inherently wrong and that reunification is the only satisfactory long-term solution. Others are opposed to reunification on the grounds that it might increase the risk of conflict or because they believe it would be too expensive for the Irish state.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion

EU & international

Ireland should cooperate with other EU member states on defence

Ireland is a member of the PESCO framework, which seeks to increase cooperation between EU member states on defence. It commits members to work together on military planning and to increase defence spending. Some oppose it because they see it as a step in the direction of an EU army. Others say cooperation is necessary so that the EU can defend itself without having to rely on the US.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Ireland should remain neutral, and a peace-keeping country. "

European integration has gone far enough

Some people argue that that further European integration is necessary to tackle shared challenges and for economic stability. Others argue that further integration would undermine national sovereignty and should be opposed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"There is scope for further integration in certain very defined areas, such as climate action and tax justice. We must also ensure that everyone's human rights including LGBTQ+ rights are acknowledged and upheld throughout the Union. "

Ireland should boycott Israeli goods produced in the occupied territories

The ‘Occupied Territories’ bill would make it an offence to import or sell goods and services originating in an occupied territory. Critics of the bill say it discriminates unfairly against Israel, and that it may undermine important economic and diplomatic links with the US and Israel. Those in favour argue that it will show solidarity with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion

Anti-social behaviour

Gardaí should be given more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour

Currently, Gardaí have certain powers to tackle anti-social behaviour by teenagers and adults, including applying to the courts for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) for repeat offenders. Some argue these measures do not go far enough and new powers (such as powers to disperse groups) should be introduced. Others disagree and say that the solution lies in more engagement rather than enforcement.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Anti-social behaviour is making our city less safe and pleasant. Alongside Garda action, we must have better sport and cultural and educational facilities to engage people and support community cohesion. "

Abortion

Should access to abortion be made more restrictive or less restrictive?

Currently, terminations are permitted for any reason up to 12 weeks in a pregnancy. Terminations are only permitted after this date if there is a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman or if there is a fatal foetal anomaly. Some argue that this system is too liberal and should be made more restrictive, while others believe it that abortion should be permitted in a wider range of circumstances.
More restrictive
Stay the same
Less restrictive
No opinion
Comment:
"We support the introduction of safe zones, end to the 48 hour waiting period, and extension of abortion healthcare beyond the initial 12 weeks period where necessary. "

School patronage

The Church has too much control over Irish schools

Around 90% of primary schools and just under half of secondary schools are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. Some argue that the Church provides invaluable services in education, while others say that a Catholic ethos is being imposed against people’s wishes.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We support separation of Church and State in education and in healthcare. Religious formation should take place outside of school hours. "

Immigration

Should immigration into Ireland be made more restrictive or less restrictive?

Non-Irish nationals make up around 13% of the population, most of whom came from the UK or the EU under free movement rules. Work permits are issued to people coming from other countries only with a job offer in certain occupations, and the job must pay over €30,000 per year. Some believe that immigration is too high, putting pressure on services; while others argue that more immigration is needed to tackle job shortages and is positive for the country.
More restrictive
Stay the same
Less restrictive
No opinion
Comment:
"Immigrants make a hugely positive contribution to Irish society, and our economy. Certain aspects need reform and simplification, so those who chose to move here are made welcome."