Businesses Seek Step-Change in Dublin’s Response to Congestion & Housing

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By Chamber Press Office, 20 May 2019

Dublin’s next batch of elected Councillors must pick up the pace of efforts to tackle the city’s current congestion and housing issues, according to business group Dublin Chamber.
 
The Chamber, which represents 1,300 companies in the Dublin region, today launched its Local Elections Manifesto 2019, which highlights four core areas that Councillors must address over the next five years: planning and housing; transport; commercial rates and business costs; and supports for SMEs.
 
Speaking at the launch of the Chamber’s Manifesto in Dublin, Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke said: “Every candidate running for office in Dublin seems to be talking about the need to address the city’s housing and transport problems. What the city needs is for words to turn very quickly to actions. We need Councillors to hit the ground running when it comes to tackling Dublin’s big issues.”
 
Ahead of the Local Election on Friday (24th May), Dublin Chamber is is calling on all candidates in the four Dublin Local Authorities to commit to:
 

  • Implement the Dublin Cycling Plan and further roll out the Dublinbikes scheme.
  • Support public transport investments like MetroLink, BusConnects, and DART Expansion.
  • Promote greater urban density to ensure that more people can be accommodated in Dublin, including through the use of taller buildings.
  • Freeze commercial rates for the next 5 years.
  • Support entrepreneurs, SMEs, and the work of the Local Enterprise Offices.
 
Dublin Chamber argues in its manifesto that a major shift towards greater urban density will be required to address the housing shortage and accommodate Dublin’s growing population.
 
According to Ms Burke: “Low-density suburban sprawl is a major cause of housing, transport, and environmental problems. It chokes off housing supply in the places where people want to live, and encourages urban sprawl and longer commuting times. It undermines the viability of public transport and infrastructure investments, and contributes to carbon emissions. With the population of Dublin set to grow by 25% over the next two decades, it is vital that our Local Authorities embrace urban density, including through appropriate use of taller buildings.”
 
Dublin Chamber says long commute times are undermining both business productivity and quality of life in Dublin.
 
In its Manifesto, Dublin Chamber has earmarked big improvements to the city’s cycling infrastructure, including the further rollout of the hugely successful DublinBikes scheme, as well as the delivery of the BusConnects project and the commencement of MetroLink as core issues that Dublin’s next Councillors must prioritise.
 
Ms Burke added: “Over the next 5 years we need a step-change in terms of how we’re responding to the growing problem of congestion in Dublin. We need to vote councillors into office who will be able to move key transport projects from planning to construction and, in the case of BusConnects and cycle network improvements, to delivery. If we are sitting here in 5 years’ time and the MetroLink project is not well under construction and if projects such as the Liffey Cycle Route and an improved bus network are not in situ, then our local Councillors will have failed Dublin and Dubliners. It is time for real action to improve the quality of life that is available to people living in Dublin. Central to achieving a better quality of life is ensuring that Dublin is a quick and easy city to move around.”
 
The Chamber said it is deeply concerned by Government forecast that the economic cost of traffic congestion in the Greater Dublin Area will rise to €2 billion per annum by 2033 (from €350 million currently), unless action is taken.
 
Ms Burke said: “Dublin Chamber’s vision is that Dublin will be globally renowned for its economic competitiveness and quality of life. This will mean better public transport, smarter planning, more accommodation, and a supportive local environment for businesses. Our Manifesto is based on member feedback about the key issues affecting firms and their thousands of employees across the Greater Dublin Area, and what Local Authorities can do to create a better Dublin. Infrastructure and housing continue to rank as the most important challenges facing businesses and their staff in Dublin.”
  
Amongst the other calls made in Dublin Chamber’s Manifesto are a 5-year freeze on commercial rates in Dublin city. The Chamber said such a freeze is required to help ease the cost pressure on companies doing business in the city centre.
 
Ms Burke said: “Dublin businesses already provide a huge chunk of Dublin City Council’s funding. A freeze on commercial rates would help increase the attractiveness – and competitiveness - of Dublin city centre as a place in which to operate a business. Businesses in Dublin have experience a sharp rise in costs in recent years in areas such as insurance, utilities and rates. Businesses in the hospitality sector have also had to deal with a significant increase in VAT. A 5-year freeze on rates would allow businesses to plan and invest in their business, safe in the knowledge that their commercial rates bill will not be going up.”
 
“Our local Government needs to be the champion for ensuring that Dublin is liveable and a great place for business. Dublin needs Councillors who will be positive in their thinking toward smart city solutions and new technology that will make the city work better and more sustainably. E-scooters for example are a real opportunity for the city and it is important that we find a way to integrate them into our city and our transport system. Councillors can play a key role in ensuring that these potentially positive additions are integrated into Dublin. They can also help pick up the pace on Dublin’s patchy cycle network and also the delivery of the DublinBikes scheme further into Dublin’s suburbs,” said Ms Burke.
 
-ENDS-
 
Note to the Editor:
Dublin Chamber’s full Local Elections Manifesto can be found here.
 
For further information please contact:
Graeme McQueen | Dublin Chamber | 086 212 6444 | graeme@dublinchamber.ie