Maiden Speech on Housing in 32nd Dáil

I gave my “maiden speech” in the Dáil last week, in what was the second day of sitting of the 32nd Dáil. My first speech was a contribution to the debate on Housing and Homelessness.


In summary the points I raised are as follows;
-Need for a restart of social housing building programme(currently 19,000 individuals on Kildare housing list).
-Review of rent allowance to combat the rising rental costs.
-Review of the Central Bank Mortgage deposit rules.
-Derelict sites refurbished and brought back into circulation.
-Rates initiative for living above shops (to bring more buildings into use for accommodation and knock on positive affects for our main streets).
-Account of consistent rental payments given more credibility when looking for a deposit for a home.

The full text of my speech is below:
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Policy Priorities

James Lawless NaasHere are some of my main policy priorities I would pursue if elected to Dáil Éireann. I’ve been outspoken on these issues over the years, however, there is only a limited amount I can achieve as a local community activist and county councillor. Most of these issues need to be addressed at national level.

Kick starting investment in infrastructure

While critical infrastructural projects like the Sallins bypass and M7 widening to 3 lanes are continually stalled, costing commuters valuable time and communities frustration through traffic delays, a voice at national level is needed to secure funding. If elected I will continually put forward the case for these projects until we see work underway.

Policing & crime prevention

Over the years I have worked with local groups setting up text alerts and community clinics in the wake of Garda station closures, however, the fact remains that Kildare now has the lowest number of Gardaí per capita of any county in Ireland, and absolutely no community Gardaí at all, and this can be tackled only at national level.

Local services

When I raised the scandal that many estates not taken in charge were not receiving local services, despite being levied with the full property tax, the reality was that only national legislation can address this – and the many other unfair aspects of the local property tax system.

Housing crisis

The housing crisis is obvious at every clinic I hold as so many people struggle to find a place to call home. Yet Kildare County Council can only build houses if the government provides funding, and so far it is all just talk from Ministers. This country always had a strong social housing policy under previous governments, however, in recent years we’ve gone backwards on this serious issue.

Investment & job creation

Despite the critical importance of inward investment and attracting employers, across all of County Kildare we received just a single IDA visit in 2014, almost the lowest in the country. This must change if we are to create new jobs in Co. Kildare. I will support and pursue investment and job creation initiatives and try my best to ensure that Kildare isn’t lagging behind as the economy grows.

Public transport

As a commuter myself and as spokesperson for the Naas and Sallins Rail Users Group, I am a long standing advocate for better train and bus services. I believe we must invest to ensure our public transport and motorways can handle capacity as the economy recovers.

Welcome Decision from ABP on Emlagh Wind Farm

windfarmsGreat news today from An Bord Pleanala after they have refused planning for the proposed wind farm development at Emlagh, Co. Meath. The precedent has now been set this morning after An Bord Pleanála rejected permission for a wind farm in Meath. As I have consistently stated over the last 12 months, I am firmly opposed to the unwanted and detrimental Maighne Wind Farm in north west Kildare and I would expect An Bord Pleanála to see sense by repeating their decision here in Kildare North. The reasons for my objection to the Maighne Wind Farm echoes those of residents across north west Kildare, and I think today we can take some positives from the ABP decision. Similar to our concerns here in Kildare North, the planning body raised very similar health and safety issues as part of their reasons to refuse the proposed development in Co. Meath.

Improvements Sought for Dangerous Road Exits on Kilcullen Road, Naas

Cllr James Lawless 2015Having met with residents in estates on the Kilcullen Road, Naas, I raised the issue of poor visibility entering on to the road during the recent meeting of Naas Municipal District council. I raised the motion that the entrance/exit to the estates on the new Kilcullen Road, as recently redesigned, be re-marked to facilitate proper visibility for cars exiting those estates. The current alignment of signs and markings at these estates on the Kilcullen Road are dangerous. I’ve sought the council to make the necessary safety improvements which I welcome. ​At the meeting, the council acknowledged that some road markings and signage still had to be installed at these entrances. Furthermore, a full road safety audit would be undertaken once the works are completed which would encompass entering and exiting from the estates.