Fianna Fáil has today launched proposals aimed at radically boosting economic and social activity in Dublin city’s urban villages.

The policy, written by Dublin City Councillors Daithí de Róiste and Paul McAuliffe, targets villages within the city confines that have suffered serious decline in recent years at the hands of large out-of-town shopping malls.

It outlines a series of measures to rejuvenate urban villages like Finglas, Ballyfermot, Raheny, Drumcondra and Rathmines to make them more attractive places to shop and socialise, thereby creating local jobs and boosting community spirit.

The Fianna Fáil plan proposes:

▪ The establishment of a Village Team for each urban village in Dublin. This would include the local Tidy Towns Chairperson, a Garda Community Sergeant, local business owners and Dublin City Council planning experts;
▪ The establishment of a Village Manager in each of the nine electoral districts to coordinate the work of the Village Teams in that district;
▪ The roll-out of well-organised village markets and village festivals that compliment local businesses and help increase footfall in the area;
▪ Reduced commercial rates for new village based businesses and those in key areas;
▪ A commercial rates surcharge of 15% on out-of-town shopping centres;
▪ 90 minutes free parking in urban villages;
▪ Disincentives to prevent landlords from leaving units vacant or rendering them un-rentable.

Cllr Paul McAuliffe is the Fianna Fáil Leader on Dublin City Council and Chairperson of the Council’s Enterprise and Economic Development policy committee. He says that radical action is needed to save Dublin’s villages.

“Villages like my own local village of Finglas have been the heart of Dublin communities for decades. However, many have suffered hugely in recent years due to changes in shopping trends and the economic climate. Sadly, too many of our once vibrant and action-packed urban village centres have lost their vibrancy, and are instead littered with closed down shops, vacant units and a sense of decline.

“For an urban village to survive and grow, it must have a clear vision for the future and a concrete framework for growth. We need strong teams of community leaders that are working together to drive that growth and bring jobs back to our village centres. This needs to be managed by a dedicated manager, employed through Dublin City Council, who is focused must be on bringing communities back into our village centres and making them a more attractive place to shop, socialise and do business,” said Cllr McAuliffe.

Ballyfermot-Drimnagh Councillor Daithí de Róiste is Chairperson of the Dublin Joint Policing Committee and co-author of the policy.

“Our proposals centre on maximising the currently untapped potential of our villages across Dublin city, which are being seriously neglected in the economic recovery process. People are being driven out of the city to large shopping centres. It is becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to run sustainable businesses in village centres and meet the high operating costs involved,” said Cllr de Róiste.

“Fianna Fáil is proposing to reduce the commercial rates charged to village centre businesses and to introduce a surcharge on out-of-town shopping malls. We are also proposing free parking in village centres and a series of measures to tackle litter and anti-social behaviour on our main streets. This plan is about bringing together those working and living in our communities, supporting struggling businesses, encouraging local employment, increasing footfall and making our villages attractive, fun and safe places to be.”