"The home should be the treasure chest of living"
Nothing can grow or be sustained without adequate shelter. It is one of the most basic things for our survival. Return of bed-sits to address the housing shortages.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
The culture of omission & secrecy must be challenged. Information must be accessible to everyone.
The mark of a nation is the healthcare and wellbeing of its citizens. We can, and must, do better.
Make tackling mental health and child health services an urgent priority.
All paths to knowledge should be equally accessible. Investment is required from preschool.
Third-level should be enthusing and not a burden; student accommodation provision required.
Society cannot live on economy alone we are a people, human beings, not just human doings. We must move together as a people. United in each others recovery and future.
The environment and its needs have to be embedded in our everyday life, in all we do and we must educate ourselves as to how to care and protect it. We are it, it is us.
The revolution and blood of many is not the property of the few.
No person should be isolated through discrimination.
More investment in modern policing and a return of Gardai to our streets.
Overhaul of policing resources & practices.
We travel the same streets, we breathe the same air and we share the same city. We are the ones who are charged with making it a better place; for all.
We need a managed transport network accessible to all. Evening economy must be served by public transport. Abolish bridge tolls. Abolish road tax in favour of nominal fuel charge.
Have faith. A lot of us have endured the stress of the past eight years & must rely on what we have learned; and not what we have earned.
A mental health strategy must be accessible, accommodating, effective and supportive.
Focus on the people by creating a united fairer society based on values and trust in each other and not on political false promise.
Re-establishing Garda Presence – Overhaul of Policing Resources & Practices – Access to Education & Housing – Public Amenities – Greening of the City – Greater use of our Waterways – Promotion of Evening Economy – Noise Control Measures – Community Participation – Market Economy – Equitable Tax Service – Small & Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) – Artists Live/Work Spaces – Senior Citizens – Disabled Citizens – Dementia Support – Student Accommodation – State Transparency – Post Office Services - Enhanced Primary Care & Mental Health Facilities – Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation – Appropriate Youth Services – Access to support & services for the Self Employed – Reform of Current Licensing Laws – Net Neutrality
Crime - Corruption - Barriers to Trade for local SMEs - Universal Social Charge (USC) - Waste in Public Services - Wasteful Quangos (including Irish Water) – Injecting Centres – DublinTown/BID (No Right to Exit) – Destruction of our Built Heritage – Inequality – Child Abuse – TTIP – Secrecy – Unfairness – Exclusion – Discrimination – Zero Hour Contracts – Homelessness – Cronyism
Mannix Flynn has served at all levels in Dublin City Council as an Independent for the past 10 years.
He has championed, positive social change and 21st century enlightenment, bedded in accountability, good governance and transparency. He has worked tirelessly within communities on housing and policing issues resulting in the deployment of extra Gardaí and safety policies within our city.
Mannix is active in city regeneration within the business community, focusing on reductions in overall commercial and domestic charges and better incentives which will enhance economic competitiveness and community cohesion.
Mannix is an internationally respected advocate for child welfare and protection.
He is a keen supporter for strong vibrant communities, knowing that best opportunities are found in the way we relate to one another. Cultural values and an appreciation of the physicality of the built and natural elements of our city is what builds a flourishing and sustainable society.
He believes strongly in a health strategy approach in the treatment of substance abuse while advocating for greater investment in residential rehabilitation.
Mannix is a member of Aosdána.Member of the Board of:
Q. How do you plan on making your opinion heard as you do not belong to a party?
A. Not belonging to a party is a plus. And, in DCC since 2009, I've made it my business to be heard and I've challenged the system on a daily basis. I'm a flexible Independent that can move through out the system because I don't get bogged down in unnecessary argument or entangled in ideologies. You can be heard in DCC but you need to be effective on the ground for the people who have elected you. I have been very effective on the ground as a councillor in getting things done.
I hope this satisfies your query and you can see your way to giving me your No 1 vote. We need a new articulation. I believe I can fill that position
The politics of yesterday need to be left there and we need to move into a new political approach that reflects the needs of all our people and not the demands of party politics and ideologies.
Another way to consider this: A party member is whipped into line during any negotiation for a constituency; they will do as they are told by their party. I will do as am instructed by the community.
Q. Are you for or against zero-hour employment contracts?
AGAINST. Zero-hour contracts need to be abolished immediately.
Q. What, if anything, should be done about Irish Water?
ABOLISH Irish Water. It was hastily constituted without the full informed consent of people. It is the wrong vehicle to deal with the issues surrounding water, water security and provision.
Q. How do you propose to solve homelessness and the housing crises?
A. I believe that all the agencies involved should share their resources. There should be a single point of contact with professionally trained staff who are multi-skilled to deal with the myriad of issues such as mental health, addiction, domestic violence, family, children, women's health etc.
We need to stop the culture of homelessness and we need to deal with all the problems that manifest themselves within our homeless culture. We need to ensure that this group of people are not isolated into a system that is not fit for purpose and lacks serious policy and provision. It is not acceptable to warehouse the homeless in ad hoc emergency provision, hostels, hotel bedrooms etc. It is not acceptable in my view that they become a raw material and a revenue stream for faith based organizations. The homeless situation and the housing emergency need to be to the forefront of Government policy and Council policy and all obstacles should be removed to getting people back in their homes.
I believe that the banks should not be allowed evict families that long term arrangements need to be made even where the State agency can take on the mortgage and rent the house to the family its a start.
In certain sections of society rents should be capped. There needs be a percentage of the housing rental sector that is capped in order to give stability and security that will take us out of the homeless crisis. This could be a provision for say 15 years and could be underpinned by tax refunds or tax reductions, say on property tax or rates for these properties.
We have to stop treating the housing crisis as some sort of charity and we have to deal with it as we would deal with any other crisis in our society.
We need fresh thinking and new action in this whole area and the best way to start on this new program is to ensure that those on rent supplement be given the adequate money they need to stay in their homes. Not to do so simply creates an unsustainable crisis and financial burden and huge costs on the State and its people, not to mention the catastrophe that is befalling families and individuals lives.
A new model needs to be created that is based on care in the community that engages all in the community. The policy of indifference by the State to housing provision and proper amenities for our vulnerable has to be challenged and stopped. This whole area involves how we care for our elderly and the many issues like dementia etc. How we care for our mentally vulnerable and emotionally vulnerable. How we care for our children. There is ample church properties that can be negotiated and built on for these purposes.
Public policies unique to each area and involving entire communities should be created to assist in this area. If we look out for each other and take responsibility for each other we can end this horrendous situation quickly.
Below are two blogs relating to the issue of homelessness.https://mannixflynn.wordpress.com/category/housing-2/ (Homeless) 2013
Q. Are you for or against the elimination of the local property tax?
YES. The Local property tax was meant to be used for local councils but very little of it has reached that destination. It is an unfair tax on many households. We need to reexamine the whole area of property tax and find a fairer more equitable way and ensure that the monies collected go directly to public services.
Q. Who should be responsible for setting minimum apartment standards, local authorities or the national government? Local Authorities, local Authorities make the development plan and they are the people on the ground to make the decisions and see them through. It would be right and proper for DCC and City Councillors to have this statutory obligation.
Q. Are you for or against bringing in a new system of independent building inspections carried out by government inspectors to ensure that buildings are built to code?
FOR. The recent history of pyrite and fire safety issues are hard lessons to ensure that this does not happen again in the future we need robust independent inspection of all aspects of building, particularly housing. We also need to ensure robust penalties for those who breach guidelines with sub standard work.
Q. Is mental health on your agenda?
A. Absolutely. Mental health has always been on my agenda. The next government must make tackling mental health and child health services an urgent priority; providing best practice facilities to deal with the issue of ageing population and our young regarding the nation’s mental health.
Q. You support reformed drug and alcohol rehabilitation, but you are against injecting centres. May I ask why you are against them as they are a method of rehabilitation and a safer alternative for addicts?
A. I am very much opposed to injecting centre. They are not rehabilitative centres. They are just merely a way of gentrifying certain areas of the city. They have come about in this country as a result of pressure by big business in the inner city area.
The biggest demand out there from the many users is detox beds and residential rehabilitation. Most that I know would tell me that they can shoot up heroin anywhere. There is also the issue of the many individuals who smoke heroin and others who take a myriad of prescription drugs. The argument here that the supporters of such centres present is that they are saving lives when people overdose. That is arguable because Dublin City Fire brigade and ambulance spend a lot of time out there saving lives of addicts also. The money that is going to be put aside for these centres should be invested in rehab and detox centres, this is a no-brainer. This is an electioneering gimmick by the minister.
So what happens when you use you heroin and you are going back on the streets, say for a homeless addict?
What happens at 3 in the morning if you want to use?
What happens if you're desperate?
Where are these centres going to be situated?
How much is it going to cost to staff them?
The Government drugs policy in the last 30 years is an absolute failure and this initiative is supported by those who I believe have failed in this area but who also draw down large grants from the Government. There has been no serious debate around the whole issue of drug taking and addiction and the issue of street use of drugs and the impact its having on our city and on the addict.
Many times I've had to redirect addicts who have got clean in prison back into jail because there are no rehab beds for them when they are coming out and no homes for them to go into when they get clean. This whole approach is absolutely wrong in my view and I wish I could buy into it but I can't. I did challenge the Minister on the Claire Byrne show a few weeks back and in my view he didn't have a case. Nobody wants to see addicts dying on our streets or in their own homes. The reality of addiction is stark. I had two good friends of mine, two brothers, one who overdosed in the Central Hotel and his brother who three months later overdosed in his own bedroom. I had another close friend who overdosed and died on the stairwell of flats at 2 in the morning and another who overdosed beside the canal in broad daylight.
Addiction is the issue here and you need the proper services to deal with that. If I was to ask any addict this morning that I'm going to meet on my rounds, do they want a state shooting gallery to bang up in or do they want a detox bed and residential rehab bed - they would reject the luxury state shooting gallery and go for the detox straight away. This whole Government initiative is just another part of the over architecture of containment in the face of complete failure. There are 25 beds available for detox for about 18,000 users and there are very very few residential beds to do the treatment.
Of course if you have the money and where with all these services are readily available both in Ireland and the UK etc. In my view the Government is spending vast amounts of money on policies of appeasement in a fake mock-shock response to deaths on our streets when they could be paying for these individuals to get the proper treatment in residential rehabilitation centres.
I totally understand addiction, its an area I was entrapped in for many years and I'm now very much engaged with the rehabilitation opportunities that are out there and there are many solutions to this problem but none of them are quick fix like medically supervised injecting centres. Half measures in this field avail us nothing. And the issue is now chaotic and out of hand. All you hear is the problem we never see the solutions. There are many of us that have fully recovered, gotten well, gotten healthy and are active. The Minister ignores this and wants to condemn more and more people to further use of drugs and an inevitable slower death. I hope this explains my stance and that you understand where I'm coming from.
My primary purpose here is to assist people to recover not encourage people to use.
Q. I was just going through your website and noticed you mentioned "Immediate 5 year program to tackle drug and alcohol problem". I was just wondering if you could elaborate a little on this for me? What exactly would be involved in the program?
A. In terms of a five year program I'm talking about each person being given that opportunity for the initial two year program and follow up services. The program I would see, supported by the state, would last for 5 years in order to give the many the most chance at rehabilitation not simply stop and start, or spin dry solutions.
I find the whole approach from that comes from Merchants Quay, Drugs Task Force and many other agencies that currently deal with this issue very ad hoc and based around containment and reaction to public outcry. I think we need a much more rehab centred approach giving each client an opportunity to go into a rehab centre private or otherwise. There are many centres around Ireland, not just the Rutland centre, and there are centres in the UK etc. It is well worth the investment. There are currently only 25 beds available here and we have thousands of people with chronic drug addiction out there waiting.
I would also skill up the many people at community level who are working and put a serious amount of investment, with robust governance on the ground in terms of preventative measures, stabilising programs and detox measures.
I would not be in favour of injecting rooms as I think the only argument that sustains them is that they are saving lives but the fire brigade services are doing this all the time in various locations throughout the city and the country. In my opinion you only have a duplication of services. The vast amount of people that I speak to, and I meet a lot daily, want rehab, detox, supports to stop, not necessarily places to shoot up. There are people coming out of jails, institutional settings, hospitals as we speak and they have no place to continue their rehabilitation treatment, they inevitably end up on the street back using.
I would also call for the creation of a new form of AA and NA that would deal with the issue on our streets and the chronic problem that is there. And I would ask members who have gone and availed of the 12 step program or the Hazelden residential program and who have 10 years sobriety and good experience to form this group to make positive interventions on our streets.(Street Step) Its important to let addicts know that there is hope and they can make fantastic things of their lives through rehab.
We need to see more of the success's of rehabilitation that attract people to stop and change.
Its odd that the McVerry, Merchants Quay, Focus Ireland's of this world don't speak about success, don't talk about solutions they only talk about problems because its centred around funding rather than service.
It is a good twenty years if not thirty years since the drug issue became a major problem for our society. It is now saturated with many players interlinked with homelessness and huge state funding. There is no joined up action and there is no shared resources from all the agencies and it seems to be centred around one socioeconomic section of our society. A sub-culture group, as they call them.
It is time for a complete overhaul of all of these services and their effectiveness. No real independent evaluations or audits every take place of any of the agencies involved here and its now, in my opinion, spiralling out of control with more and more people using drugs and more and more people falling victim to addiction.
While on the other hand there is an obsession from certain sections of society to decriminalise and make the issue a health issue. Well its always been a health issue in my opinion. Vastly under resourced and misunderstood. I won't go into the drug gang element that's at play here but I will say that if you're going to decriminalise drug use you'd want to have a hell of lot of rehabilitation beds ready for our young because there would be serious problems.
One has only got to look back at the damage the head shops did to young people who would never have taken drugs except for the buzz word 'legal highs' no mention of drugs, no mention of fall out, all harmless? Massive damage and great alarm within middle class families who up until then didn't see any of this as concerning them.I really believe a five year program is a chance to plan out something that is effective. That can really save people lives by giving them a chance to completely reconstitute their lives. It would also give us a chance to tackle it within the largely abandoned communities that are under the management of Dublin City Council.
I hope that clarifies some of what I am in the process of trying to do.
Q. Are you for or against you support the provision of medically supervised injection centres in Dublin?
AGAINST. I don't believe that these are an effective way to deal with the drug addiction problem. What we need are more detox beds, residential rehabilitation centres and greater emphasis on drug use prevention in our communities and in our society.
Q. What exactly do you mean by a complete overhaul of the licensing laws?
A. Many Cafe's without proper licensing and inspection are now selling alcohol. Some have installed full bars and are trading until all hours of the night serving alcohol to all ages it would appear. While on the other hand it would seem that the big supermarkets are using more and more of their space for off licence take away.We're simply not dealing with the fallout from alcohol and its consumption. We are totally failing our young and the ridiculous idea that you use the term 'drink aware' supported by Diageo and the like instead of 'alcohol aware' is preposterous. We need to adjust our attitude to alcohol as a Nation. The best way to start this process, in my view, is to overhaul entirely the licensing act. I would be very much in favour of removing any Garda involvement in the issuing of licenses. I certainly believe they have a role to play in enforcement as well as the courts but I think that the issuing of licenses and the whole industry from start to finish needs to be entirely examined, especially now, when you have micro breweries and distillers popping up in their dozens through out the country. I think we have to create an equal playing pitch for all. A person running a public house full license bar has a hell of a lot of responsibilities and outlay in order to be able to serve alcohol while a lot of Cafe are simply flaunting the law and many don't have any liquor license. The Gardaí can't be judge, jury and executioner here and they don't have the resources. So an overhaul and a full assessment of the consumption and purchase of alcohol and how we manage that needs to be conducted. We need to regulate the licensing issue for Cafe/restaurant/off-license.
Q. Is the environment on your agenda?
A. YES. I am committed to environmental protection and the provision of a clean, healthy and inspiring habitat for all.
As a Dublin City Council Councillor I have called for a city-wide climate strategy that links to the national strategy. I have also championed the protection and re-greening of urban parks in the city.
I believe that we need to apply our education system to inspire whole families & communities to engage responsibly with the environment. We need to include all in the project; perhaps the most important that the country will embark on. There is no point in penalising people for non-compliance if there are no infrastructure to incentivise.
It is important that we do not adopt elitist attitudes around environmental protection; further alienating or dividing sections of the community. Puritan elitism will not work to inspire and, as we learned in 2011, will be rejected by the people.
We must treat the environment as a living thing - with care, consideration, and respect.
Q. Are you for or against the immediate introduction of a vacant-land levy in Dublin?
FOR. One of biggest hoarders of lands and vacant lands in Dublin is Dublin City Council will the levy apply to the council? Big developers and operators can afford to sit on sites and pay levies. They can right it off in their taxes. I would much prefer to see good incentives to develop rather than ineffective consequences.
Q. Do you support the continuation of the East Link toll?
A. NO. Abolish punitive bridge tolls. We already own the east & west link bridges and should not have to pay for them again.
On transport costs. I propose the abolition of motor tax (and its complicated collection/inspection apparatus). I think we should introduce a small fuel charge at the pumps instead.
Q. Do you support the Dublin Bay Incinerator Project?
A. NO. I am totally opposed to the project.
Q. Could I get more information about your access to education? I am keen to see what is going to be done to make schools religious free.
A.I would be calling for a complete separation of Church and State and that religious teaching in schools would not be obligatory and would not be taught as doctrine but would come under philosophy and belief, or ritual and symbol.
I think this is would apply across the spectrum for schools that are subsidised by State funds. There would also have to be laws to be brought in around the secular and inclusive society. It is better to teach universal love, and respect and understanding than religious division or sectarianism.
I am a strong believer in Educate together and I'm a strong believer in the human being as the sacred thing. I actually believe that personal beliefs around faith are a private matter and there should be no monopolies or domination of any kind.
Q. I have supported the Artane Boys Band since going to games in Croke Park as a child. According to the Irish Times and the Lord Mayor you are proposing to end the band, why?
A. I understand that the Lord Mayor of Dublin has accused me of “upsetting the vast majority of Dubliners” regarding my motion to recognise the history of the Artane Boys Band. Labour's Brendan Carr claims that I am "raising the issue over the way kids were treated years ago, but the impact on the kids in that band at the moment is something that any city councillor should be ashamed of”.
The Artane School of Music, in its current form, has evolved out of misery and brutality forced upon innocent children who attended St Joseph’s Industrial School in Artane.
It is irresponsible for Cllr Carr to insinuate that I am out to cause hurt to any of the children involved in the current band. The debate is much deeper than that.
The Lord Mayor is quite wrong in congratulating the band’s 130-years of ‘proud association with the GAA and Croke Park’. Those who attended St Joseph’s School and who were in the band attest to the monstrosities they and other boys endured during their time there. The band was more often than not an escape from the degradation and neglect other boys suffered as they undertook menial chores on a day-to-day basis. Being in the band meant you could at least wash occasionally and couldn’t be beaten on the face, but it did not exempt you from the sordid sexual abuse that was rife in the school.
I have come under criticism for raising this issue but if you were a child who endured any amount of time in an industrial school, you would be reminded of the horrors that took place every time the Artane band took to the pitch on match days.
And I’m not alone. This week, members of Irish SOCA (Sufferers of Child Abuse) came out in support of my cause. Like me, these were men forced into industrial schools and some of those were even in the band in Artane and experienced first-hand the exploitation and manipulation of children by the religious.
Will the Lord Mayor acknowledge that his apathy and indifference to their suffering is causing much hurt?
Q. Are you for or against ending religious patronage of all schools?
This need to be balanced in order to include non religious schools. Religious patronage of schools, like church and State should be separated. I am a very strong supporter of Educate Together schools.
Q. Animal welfare legislations in particular the banning of fox and hare hunting?
A. I am totally opposed to the ill treatment of any animals. There is absolutely no reason why any hunt meeting in this country cannot adopt the drag hunting (many have but there are still a few who insist on hunting for foxes). I feel the same way about coursing. Neither of these activities are effected by using the scent as opposed to the chasing of real animals.
Of course even if laws are brought in the problem, like everything is enforcing the law. In England the ban came in in 2005 but we all know that there are many hunts across the country that still persist in hunting live animals.
Q. Where do you stand on Net Neutrality?
A. For. I am against all discrimination; digital or otherwise. A two-tiered internet favouring those who can afford higher speeds and better quality content is a ludicrous regression. All paths to knowledge should be equally accessible.
The internet content & infrastructure are the endeavour of all humanity - open access to the catalogued sum of human learning is the aspiration and should not be interfered with.
Q. Are you for or against the creation of a directly elected mayor for the Dublin area, with greater powers over, housing, transport and revenue raising?
FOR. This issue was brought before the councillors of Dublin and the Dublin regional councillors and it failed to be passed. I believe the issue now should be put to the people of Dublin and the Dublin Region (which covers the four councils).
Q. Are you for or against ending unvouched expenses for TDs and councillors?
FOR ending them. I am in favour of transparency and accountability. As Councillors, we have to account for every single cent. Many councillors don't have expenses. We get an attendance fee based on attending meetings etc. All of our monies are published on the DCC website quarterly.
Q. Will a vote for Mannix Flynn impact buskers in Dublin?
A. There is a group of individuals who claim they represent all buskers who have been putting out misinformation, not just about Dublin City Council, but about me in an unjust and inaccurate attempt to demonise and label me as anti-busking and anti-culture. This is not true.
Firstly, nobody, is attempting or has suggested banning busking or street performance. At present, there is a document in the public domain seeking observations and suggestions with regards how we manage the public domain in relation to street performance. This is part of the democratic process of enshrining the rights of street performers while on the other hand maintaining a balance in the public domain which is also the workplace and home for thousands of people.
Over the years many residents and workers have complained to Dublin City Council and public representatives about the unbearable noise levels at certain locations in the city – mainly Grafton Street, Temple Bar, Henry Street and the GPO.
Having tried a voluntary code of conduct with regards performers’ noise levels, the City Council decided it was appropriate to create a series of bylaws to help to manage the public domain more effectively. These bylaws were enacted into law a year ago with a review period that would fix any blaring omissions or further complaints.
The concerns at present mainly relate to amplification and noise levels and a general wish by many residents and workers to ban amplification which, as well as being a nuisance, drowns out acoustic buskers. I am not against busking, but, like the residents and workers in the city centre, I support this ban on amplification.
This whole process has been democratic, open and transparent where everyone gets heard – unlike on Grafton Street or Temple Bar sometimes when you can only hear the noise that is so loud your head hurts. Anybody interested can read a copy of the new bylaws under consideration before they are voted upon and the voting process itself can be viewed by all when they are discussed at length in Dublin City Council at the Arts Strategic Policy Committee which is webcast live and available online to view after the meeting also.
Rest assured that Street performance and busking will always be a feature on Dublin and Irish streets and Irish culture is the richer for it.
I hope this clarifies some of the issues, even if it doesn’t stop the devious few who want to undermine me and who last year smashed the window of my former studio on Ormond Quay and graffitied disgusting comments all over the building.
Long live busking. Long live street performance. Long live a safe and healthy work place for all
Q. What are you opinions on the closure of Block T in Smithfield?A. Block T in Smithfield didn't close. The premises is still there but the problem was the landlord kept increasing the rent. There is a great need here for a new model based on cultural usage in vacant buildings that can avail of rate exemptions etc. Those incentives can offset rent increases and they can be done on a year to year basis or on a five year basis depending on the kind of space.
I would suggest the year model as the rate in DCC is struck every year. So those running and managing the arts spaces, like a tax clearance certificate would apply to the council for exemption on account of the cultural use, non-commercial use.
These things can be done easily by creating the policy - which must come from the artistic sector - I have always championed this at DCC at all levels.
Equally a lot of the spaces in cultural institutes are underused. Take for instance Earlsfort Terrace, nothing has happened there since Dublin Contemporary. A shame and unacceptable
"Commuters priced out of capital excluded from Dublin housing scheme" Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times.
"Dublin City Council seek to set aside refurbished vacant homes for homeless families" Ryan Nugent, Irish Independent.
"Dublin councillors recommend plans for 'voids'" John Kilraine, RTE.
"Councillor claims lookout tower at Dublin's Poolbeg 'would be a carbuncle' on the landscape" Irish Examiner.
"Dublin City Council writes to delivery services over 'reckless' behaviour of delivery cyclists" Dublin Live.
"The real problem is that politics no longer attracts – maybe with the exception of Mannix Flynn – artists or intellectuals, but it did when I was young." Declan Kiberd in the Irish Times.