Bellefield Gardens, Ennis Road, Limerick
Head of Services, Novas – national housing charity
Why have you decided to run in the local elections?
I work in the area of housing and have done so for the past 16 years in the voluntary sector. I feel there is so much more we can do to accelerate housing development in our city and to penetrate existing housing stock. We need a range of housing models, largely provided by and promoted by the Council, including cost rental, affordable public housing and a targeted approach around our exiting built environment - which to-date has not been sufficient in attracting families into our city to live. I fundamentally believe that we need families living in our city for its real development to take hold. We have had some really positive news in the last six-eight weeks in terms of new buildings being opened, old ones being redeveloped and companies coming into our city with their workforce. However, I have some real concerns around where these professionals are going to live and the pressure that faces the rental sector as a result. Just this week I have met a number of families affected in Limerick City North due to the short-sighted decision of government to declare Limerick City East a rent pressure zone and not to address this issue in other parts of the city.
For example, one woman I met has seen her rent increase from €900 to €1,200 directly as a result of this designation.
I love Limerick and really enjoy living so close to the city centre. I cycle most days with my children to work and school and want to ensure that Limerick develops safer cycle infrastructure for young and old alike that want to cycle in and around our city. Our city needs careful attention and urban planning expertise to fully realise its ambition of becoming a liveable city.
Why should people vote for you?
I represent a new voice for Limerick and an experienced voice in the area of housing. As a mum of young children I want to make Limerick a liveable space to grow up in and to grow old in.
It’s time we developed our cultural heritage and this really needs to be grabbed with both hands at this pivotal time for our city.
Our creative economy is key to our city’s growth. I want to ensure that our social capital is prioritized at the same rate as our economic growth.
I feel passionately about women’s health and want to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. We must ensure that our hospital has the resources it needs to cater for citizens in the Mid-West.
Currently we hold another unwelcome record in this area through our high trolley count. Finally, I chaired the Educate Together Secondary School campaign that realised a new Educate Together school for Limerick, which opened its doors in Fernbank last September. I have a strong track record of campaigning on issues and getting things done.
What do you think is lacking in your area and what will you be campaigning for?
I think that there is a lack of safe cycle infrastructure across the city which makes it very difficult for people who chose to cycle to cross the river each morning. I want better bus connections for people in Corbally and other areas effected by congestion on a daily basis. I want our river and water fronts protected and our inherited natural spaces nurtured rather than neglected.
Finally I want a range of housing models for young professionals, coming to the city to work. I want affordable standards of living and I want Limerick to lose its current tag of having some of the most deprived areas in the country within our city walls. I will fight tirelessly for those who continue to live in poverty, inadequate housing and environments that do not promote wellness. We cannot tolerate poverty in our city and must endeavour to put in place anti-poverty measures in all aspects of local authority delivery.