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Claire Byrne
Claire Byrne
Green
Party 7


Incumbent : No

Main message to voters:

I am running to return a progressive female voice for the Dublin Bay South constituency. I want to deliver action on the climate, more social approaches to transport and housing policy and to make Dublin a City for Living. By electing me you can strengthen the Green voice in government.

Election history:

2014 Local Election - Pembroke-South Dock 7.8%, Elected 2019 Local Election - South East Inner City 28.6% Elected

Priorities:

  1. Environment Tackling climate change and ensuring Ireland becomes a climate leader remains the number one priority of the Greens in government.
  2. Housing Addressing the current housing crisis by delivering stable,affordable long term rental options, to allow people to save a deposit, or continue renting
  3. Transport Dublin needs a modern, well funded and publicly controlled public transport network that's equal to a city of it's size and development

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 is, but can often lead to even greater house price inflation. More important is to reduce prices overall by building more affordable homes, particularly on state lands, and by tackling the cost of building, in land and materials"

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:
"Yes, to address both the current crisis and as long term investment for our citizens. The cost of borrowing is low at the moment, and the government is already taking advantage of that. We still face the problem of land, material and labour shortages, which are more complicated to resolve."

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:
"The government has just passed new legislation to limit rent increases to the price of inflation. Pressure especially during the pandemic shows how necessary controlling rental inflation is. However, ultimately prices needed to be controlled via supply and secure tenure introduced."

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:
"Yes, it is not morally defensible that such funds can bulk purchase with pressure on housing where it is. 30% of all developments should be reserved for owner occupiers. "

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:
"Yes, good quality accommodation for Travellers is a basic human right and would go a long way to addressing high infant mortality and other health needs of the Traveller community. "

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:
"The tax base should be broadened and made more progressive so that we can have a fair recovery. We have a golden opportunity to borrow at low interest rates to fund a digital, green transition that will create jobs. I support a stable tax base, but am not convinced a blanket tax rise is appropriate"

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:
"When all measures are taken into account, including tax credits, PRSI, VAT and more, the Irish tax take remains well below the EU average, even on high earners. The ultra-wealthy should pay more in tax."

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:
"Everybody must pay their fair share in taxes. Corporate tax evasion and avoidance undermine democracy. We need reform which stops unfair tax avoidance, and this seems to be on the horizon due to changes at the G7, OECD and EU level. This will create revenue shortfalls that will have to be addressed"

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:
"The Greens have consistently supported the Local Property Tax, as it goes a significant way towards the upkeep of our local services such as parks, libraries, roads and litter collection. It is the closest thing to a wealth tax that Ireland possesses, and will be more equally applied after November."

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:
"The government did not introduce this system lightly, but in the face of much public demand for action to ensure we protect the population from new variants of the virus. It's use must always be carefully considered, and the provisions lifted at the earliest safe date."

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:
"No, we are still in the middle of a global pandemic emergency that has killed millions globally. Measure must balance personal freedoms, people's livelihoods and work, and public health. They must continue until we are closer to a situation that our health system can handle."

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:
"With unemployment due to Covid on the downward trend, and with more and more returning to work as vaccines are rolled out to all, the PUP's reduction is inevitable - but we must make sure the people who need state support have enough to make ends meet until they are safely back at work. "

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 would all like to reopen faster but the number 1 focus for our country right now is to do so in the safest possible way - winning this fight against Covid is the surest way to ensure our economy and society recover, and that we can regain all the freedoms we've been missing"

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:
"This is an idea worthy of examination and could play a role in traffic management and reduction in Dublin. Exceptions would have to be made for those that need to use their cars, such as those with reduced mobility."

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:
"No, it's been fantastic to see the roll out of so much infrastructure during the lockdown - commuters will be returning to work in a much improved road system that makes it safer for all to choose different modes of transport and share our roads."

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:
"Yes, we've seen the huge success of recent pedestrianisation in town, reflecting the huge desire for more public space for the majority of people that live within the canals and do not own a car. Cities and streets are for people, and these efforts reinvigorate their areas and businesses too"

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:
"Yes. Fast cars and city streets are not a good match. Let’s reduce speed and save lives and carbon. Common sense and consultation can guide the implementation and design of where and how we do this. "

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:
"I fully agree that the Swords Metro should proceed. Where it stops in the City is still under discussion and we will have to wait for the recommendations from the pending report on what will happen with the metro south of the river. "

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:
"Yes, the Bus Connects programme is essential to the delivery of high quality, modern, reliable and attractive public transport for the capital. Creation of new infrastructure like this is never easy, but we are very close to delivery now and all road users and citizens will benefit from the changes"

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:
"An annual increase might not be the best approach, but pricing of carbon pollution is one of the most effective ways to ensure that big polluters in business, industry and other sectors either clean up their act, or pay the price. We should prioritise the ending of fossil fuel subsidies even more"

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:
"We are rapidly altering those targets in government - the programme for government commits this administration to very significant cuts by 2030; the Climate Bill's imminent passage will create annual sectoral reduction targets to deliver just that. Only the Greens actually deliver on climate"

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:
"The Greens in government have delivered a huge new investment into water infrastructure. We need a modern waste treatment plant that can ensure our water is not polluted every time there is a heavy rain in Dublin, to make our waters safe and clean"

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:
"As an all-Ireland party, our priority has always been the preservation of the peace and stability in Northern Ireland provided by the Good Friday Agreement. Brexit has dramatically altered the relationship of NI within the UK, but it is up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide their future."

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
Comment:
"This is not necessarily true. We risk creating problems if we rush towards a referendum without the inclusion of all communities. Significant changes would be required to institutions and society in a reunified Ireland to ensure a peaceful outcome, that work should begin well in advance of any vote"

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 has a strong tradition of neutrality and peacekeeping. While we need to improve pay and conditions of the Defence Forces, and some humanitarian work is most efficiently handled together, steps towards militarisation and an EU Army are not welcome. "

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:
"In order to create a stronger, greener and more democratic and social Europe, we need closer cooperation among EU Member States, an enhancement of the powers of the European Parliament and a lessening of national vetoes in some areas."

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
Comment:
"The Green Party was a signatory to Senator Frances Black's bill, and continue to support appropriate diplomatic responses to human rights abuses, in Palestine as well as anywhere else that such conditions occur. "

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:
"Further resourcing of Gardaí, as well as bringing policing closer to the community, should be our priority. An elected Dublin mayor, with influence over policing strategy, along with a national night time task force and 'night mayors' could be much more effective"

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 need to ensure all the people of Ireland can realise their rights to access abortion services in a safe manner that protects their privacy and them from abuse and trauma at such a difficult time. We repealed the 8th, now we need to make that access a reality, nation wide."

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:
"Our Programme for Government promises a Citizens' Assembly on education, to examine how we can address this issue and increase parents' choice. "

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:
"Ireland benefits immensely from the increased diversity that new migrants bring to this country, much as those countries that have and continue to take in Irish emigrants benefit from their presence. The current rules are appropriate, but citizenship should be easier, cheaper and faster to access"