Newly selected Fianna Fáil candidate in Dun Laoghaire, Cllr Cormac Devlin, has said that the excessive burden of childcare costs, the unprecedented housing crisis in South County Dublin and spiralling crime rates are the key issues that must be tackled in the upcoming general election.

Cllr Devlin was selected by Fianna Fáil members to contest the election in Dun Laoghaire at a party convention at the Fitzpatrick Killiney Castle Hotel last night (28 September 2015).  He is currently serving his third successive term on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, having been first elected as the youngest ever member of the council in 2004.  He is the Fianna Fáil Whip on the Council, Chairman of Council’s Environment, Climate Change & Energy Policy Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Southside Partnership. He lives in Dun Laoghaire with his wife Jennifer and their three young children.

“Communities in this constituency have taken far more than their fair share of cuts to local services as well as a raft of additional costs and taxes that are only set to increase.  While the Government praises itself for economic recovery, there has been absolutely no relief for the ordinary hard working families who are just about keeping their heads above water,” said Cllr Devlin.

“Ireland now has by far the highest childcare costs in Europe, exceeding mortgage repayments as the largest household bill for many families across the Dun Laoghaire constituency.  Despite appointing a Minister for Children and promising action on childcare, not a single step has been taken to support parents who are being strangled by costs.  We are now in a situation where many highly qualified working parents are being forced to give up work because they can’t afford childcare for their children.  This is extremely regressive, it places an unreasonable burden on mothers in particular and it costs the State far more in the long run.  I am proposing the immediate introduction of a tax credit for childcare to ease the costs on working parents.

“Meanwhile householders across this constituency are being penalised by a deeply inequitable property tax regime.  Because this system is based on property value alone, homeowners here are paying the highest property taxes in the country and most of the revenue is going to other areas of the country and not being put back into local services as was promised.  Due to the revaluation system, homeowners here are facing significant hikes in property taxes in the next two years.  This is deeply unfair. I am proposing an immediate freeze to the revaluation system.

“We have also seen a 64% surge in social housing waiting lists in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in just two years. There are currently 5,600 families and individuals on social housing waiting lists in this local authority.  Much of the increase is down to the lack of affordable housing and affordable rents.  We are suffering a housing emergency that is simply not being taken seriously by this Government.

“The Government is also turning a blind eye to the spiralling crime levels across South County Dublin since our local garda numbers were slashed by 17% and two of our community garda stations have been shut down. There has been a 15% increase in crime levels locally since 2011.  The spate of burglaries and home invasions across Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Killiney and Blackrock is continuing and our local gardaí do not have the resources to tackle it. What we have seen is the dismantling of community garda resources at the hands of Fine Gael and Labour.  This must be addressed as a matter of priority.