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Mairéad Tóibín
Mairéad Tóibín
Aontú
Party 34


Incumbent : No

Main message to voters:

It is time for common sense in Irish politics. A vote for me is the most powerful message you can send to the government. It is a vote for Common Sense & practical knowledge, missing from the Irish political establishment. If elected I will work for constituents to hold the government to account.

Election history:

This it my first time running for the Dáil, and I have never held public office. I am a pharmacist and the mother of a teenager. I am motivated to run for office to provide a genuine alternative to the Government parties and to the stale opposition which has failed to challenge them.

Priorities:

  1. Housing The Government parties have failed to build social housing. Buyers are pitted against multinational vulture funds in a bidding-war for houses.
  2. Transport Dublin needs adequate transport infrastructure to make public transport or cycling a viable alternative to driving and take cars off the roads.
  3. EU & international The Government have failed to deal decisively with the UK in Brexit. We need to consolidate our role as a key european state.

Candidate positions on the election issues:

Housing

Providing financial supports for first-time buyers is an important part of the solution to the housing crisis in the short term.

Measures such as the proposed ‘shared equity’ scheme and the ‘help-to-buy’ tax relief are aimed at helping first-time buyers to purchase a property. Critics say they contribute to the problem by driving up prices, while supporters say that they enable people who would not otherwise afford it to buy a home.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to provide supports to first time buyers to ensure they have a chance to live in their community. However, we need to address supply issues or this will merely inflate prices. But first, we need to cut the REITS & vulture funds out of the market. "

The state should borrow heavily to invest in house building

Some (including the Fiscal Advisory Council) argue that current levels of debt are already too high, and additional borrowing should be limited. Others (including the ESRI) argue that now is a good time for the government to borrow heavily to invest in a large-scale house building programme.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Investment is needed to find common sense solutions to our housing crisis. In Dublin last year, 79 homeless people lost their lives on our streets. The Government parties have failed to build social housing, and many opposition parties are ideologically opposed to private construction. We need both."

A rent freeze should be introduced in Dublin

Currently, rent increases are limited to 4% in ‘rent pressure zones’. A temporary ban exists on rent increases for people whose incomes were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some argue that a blanket rent freeze would drive landlords out of the sector, or that it might be unconstitutional. Others say it is needed to address the very high cost of renting in Dublin.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"One of my key policies is a 3-year rent cap. Rents are at an all time high, thanks to government failure to regulate the market & to provide adequate social housing. Given the current issues with supply, failure to do this will result in further rises which will push many into homelessness. "

Investment funds should be prevented from bulk-buying apartments

The government recently introduced measures to discourage bulk-buying of houses by international investment funds. However, apartments are currently not covered by these measures. Some argue that apartments would not be built without these investors, while others say that bulk-buying of apartments locks individuals out of the property market.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Families & first-time buyers are pitted against multinational vulture funds in a bidding-war for houses. Aontú introduced a new REIT Bill to the Dail - launched last week, which will delete the unfair competitive advantages for international investors in Irish property to level the playing field. "

More accommodation for Travellers should be built in this constituency

The government makes funding available for local authorities to build Traveller accommodation (e.g. halting sites and group housing schemes). Some local authorities have been reluctant to build these sites due to local opposition. Representatives of the Travelling community argue that more accommodation is needed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"More culturally appropriate accommodation is required for Travellers to be built on public land. This needs to be designed nationally in conjunction with Travellers to ensure that it meets the needs of the community and is close to family."

Tax & spending

In the wake of the pandemic, most people should have to pay more tax

Compared to other EU countries, the overall tax burden for most people is relatively low. Some argue that, particularly in light of the high level of borrowing during the pandemic and the need for additional spending in areas such as health and housing, taxes should be raised or new taxes introduced. Others disagree and think that most people already pay enough.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"An increase in tax is inevitable, the alternative - to increase debt, is less desirable. Both our spending and debt has increased in 2020. Government must exercise prudence in spending on projects like National Children's Hospital. Tax payers money should be spent wisely and not wasted not overspent"

Should taxes on high earners be increased or decreased?

Earnings above €35,300 (for a single person) or €44,300 (for a married couple) are taxed at 40%. The Universal Social Charge is 8% on earnings over €70,000. Some argue that high earners are taxed too much, which makes it difficult for companies to attract talent. Others argue that high earners (e.g. annual incomes over 100k) should pay more to fund better public services.
Increased
Stay the same
Decreased
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to restructure the tax system, rather than targeting specific groups, encourage people to pay their taxes. However, it makes sense that those on higher income should pay a higher rate of tax that those on low incomes. Property tax should be based on income rather than property value."

Ireland should increase its corporate tax rate to bring it in line with other countries

Ireland’s corporate tax rate is 12.5%, which is low by international standards. This is one feature that makes Ireland an attractive location for multinational companies, which are a major contributor to the Irish economy; it has also led to accusations of Ireland being a ‘tax haven’. The US and many European countries support a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Let's not throw money away. We have operated as a tax haven for big wealthy multi-national companies for far too long and is time that we ensure these companies pay their fair share of tax here as they would be forced to do in other countries, we need to make changes and get rid of the loopholes. "

The Local Property Tax is needed to fund local services

The LPT is a tax that homeowners must pay, based on the value of their property. The LPT currently makes up around 8% of the total revenue for local councils and is used to fund local services. Some claim it is unfair to have a tax on the family home, while others argue that this is a significant component of people’s wealth and so should be taxed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Local property tax is rising naturally as house prices / values increase - this isn't fair - it should be based on income rather than home value. We do not agree with an increase in LPT. "

Covid-19

What is your view of the mandatory hotel quarantine system?

Currently, anyone coming to Ireland from countries designated as high-risk are required to quarantine in a hotel for 11 days or more (depending on test results) at their own expense. Ireland is the only EU country with such a system. Some believe that the system should be extended to everyone coming into the country, while others believe that it is an unnecessary infringement on individuals’ rights.
It is excessive
It is appropriate
It does not go far enough
No opinion
Comment:
"This system should be reviewed regularly - MHQ was necessary during peak times, but it wasn't launched until afterwards! Exceptions should be made on compassionate grounds and rapid antigen testing should be made available here. "

Covid-19 emergency powers should be ended immediately

During the pandemic, legislation was passed to give the Minister for Health the power to make regulations such as restricting travel, stopping public gatherings, and closing premises. The Gardaí were given additional powers to fine and arrest people for breaching Covid-19 regulations. These powers are currently due to be in place until November, but some argue they should be ended sooner.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Aontú is the only party which has consistently voted against an extension to the emergency powers. Fewer than fifty people are in hospital now with Covid-19 and more than four million doses of the vaccine have been administered. We need to reopen society."

Pandemic unemployment payments should be reduced in the coming months

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a social welfare payment for people who were prevented from working due to Covid-19 rules, with rates varying from €203 to €350 per week. Some argue that it the PUP is acting as a disincentive to get back to work and should be wound down, while others argue that the scheme should be extended until all Covid-related restrictions end. Under current plans, rates will be reduced from September and the scheme will end in February.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"As the country relaxes the rules, PUP will be less necessary, and should be phased out. "

How do you feel about the pace of reopening?

From the 5th of July, restrictions are as follows: house visits are limited to people from 3 other households; indoor events (including weddings) are limited to 50 people; most outdoor events are limited to 200 people; public transport is limited to 50% capacity. Indoor dining and drinking is not permitted, except for overnight guests at hotels. Fines for non-essential international travel are in place until 18th July.
Too fast
About right
Too slow
No opinion
Comment:
"The pace of reopening is too slow. We're one of the only countries in Europe where indoor dining is forbidden. The restrictions lack consistency - we were told to have an outdoor Summer but then we were told to stay away from certain streets. Holy Communions and Confirmations should be permitted"

Transport

Congestion charges should be introduced in Dublin

Congestion charges are charges on vehicles entering a city at busy times. They are currently under consideration for Dublin. Opponents say they put an unfair economic burden on people who have to drive to the city, while supporters say that they contribute to cutting emissions and make cities more liveable.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"In theory it is a good idea and has worked well in other cities such as London (which has MUCH better public transport). Before such an initiative is introduced, need to ensure adequate public transport and safe cycling lanes are provided. There would need to be consultation with city residents."

Too many cycle lanes are being built in Dublin

A number of new cycle lanes have been rolled out across Dublin recently, and more have been planned. While this is a welcome development for the growing number of cyclists in Dublin, it will also mean fewer traffic lanes for cars and less space for on-street parking.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Safe cycle lanes are needed- for too long it felt like you were taking your life in your hands! It's a healthy & carbon-neutral way to commute. But we need to be aware about the consequences of decisions on residents (esp traffic flow) & seek consultation to find solutions that suit communities. "

More Dublin streets should be pedestrianised

A number of streets in Dublin city centre have been pedestrianised recently. Some argue that pedestrianisation has gone far enough and motorists must be catered for, while others argue that it should be extended further to facilitate more outdoor dining and to improve the experience for pedestrians.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"With the launch of outdoor dining the segregation of areas for seating/ pedestrianisation has created an atmosphere in our city similar to southern Europe! But again, we need to be mindful of traffic flow and the risk of diverting heavy traffic through residential areas."

Speed limits of 30km/h should be introduced across most parts of Dublin

Dublin City Council proposed reducing the speed limits on many roads from 50km to 30 km/h, but the proposal is currently on hold due to local opposition. Opponents say it will slow traffic too much, while supporters say it will improve road safety.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Safer for all. No need to go any faster off the motorways/ dual carraigeways."

The proposed MetroLink from Swords to Charlemont should go ahead as planned

MetroLink is a planned high frequency rail line from Swords to Charlemont (near Ranelagh), via Dublin Airport. It would run mostly underground. Some people oppose the current plans because of the disruption it will cause, and some advocate alternative routes. Supporters say there have been enough delays and want to see the planned project implemented as soon as possible.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to explore all options to enhance the provision of safe and resident-centred public transport. More consultation is required here with communities "

The proposed BusConnects plan should go ahead

BusConnects is a planned overhaul of the bus network in Dublin, involving new orbital and spine routes that avoid going through the city centre. Opponents of the plan cite the loss of direct routes and the need to change buses more often on your journey, along with the disruption and loss of trees that implementing the plan will involve. Supporters point to the increased capacity and bus frequency and the easing of congestion in the city centre.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We may need to consider all alternatives to make public transport more attractive to more people - this programme will require more consultation. "

Environment

Carbon taxes should continue to increase each year

Carbon tax is a tax on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, petrol, diesel, and gas. It recently increased from €26 to €33.50 per tonne of CO2, with further increases planned every year until 2030. Critics argue that carbon tax disproportionally impacts those on low incomes, while supporters say it is necessary to effect behaviour change and so reduce emissions.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Industrial carbon taxes need to rise, domestic taxes should not. We need to be mindful that we do not create a situation where peopl on lower incomes cannot afford to keep warm. "

Do current commitments to halve emissions by 2030 go too far or not far enough?

The recent Climate Bill commits the government to reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This is to involve carbon budgets every five years. Some argue that these targets are not ambitious enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, while others argue they go too far and will entail too much economic damage to certain sectors.
Go too far
About right
Don't go far enough
No opinion
Comment:
"We need to take this seriously, and if we can beat our own target, this would be a very proud moment for Ireland. Also we need to look at ensure that industry takes the lead on this. We are in favour of a just transition. "

A new sewage treatment plant should be built to address pollution in Dublin Bay, even if it is in this constituency

The Ringsend sewage treatment plant is operating beyond capacity, and there are regular overflows of untreated wastewater into Dublin Bay. Efforts to build a new treatment plant have met with local objections. Planning permission for a new treatment plant near Dublin airport was overturned and is currently undergoing judicial review.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"One of our best natural amenities is the sea, but it is frequently unfit for bathing because the sewage works at Pigeon House road are operating above capacity & are unable to cope with heavy rainfall. The result is discharge of partially treated sewage into Dublin Bay. This needs to be addressed"

Irish unity

A referendum on Irish unity should be held during the next five years

The Good Friday Agreement allows for the possibility of a referendum (‘border poll’) in Northern Ireland and in the Republic on the question of a united Ireland, if there is evidence that unification is desired by a majority. Some believe that a border poll would be premature and divisive at this time, while others argue that, in light of Brexit and the changing demographics in Northern Ireland, a border poll should be held soon.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"One of the pillars of Aontu is irish Unity - we are a 32 county party. We introduced the Dáil (All-Ireland Representation) Bill 2020 to enable MPs elected in respect of constituencies in the north of Ireland to sit, pose questions and speak in the Dáil. It would allow the objective of the 1st Dáil."

The reunification of Ireland would create more problems than it would solve

Some people believe that the division of Ireland is inherently wrong and that reunification is the only satisfactory long-term solution. Others are opposed to reunification on the grounds that it might increase the risk of conflict or because they believe it would be too expensive for the Irish state.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"It will certainly create challenges, but none that cannot be overcome. There is a large body of evidence which suggests that unification would be economically beneficial."

EU & international

Ireland should cooperate with other EU member states on defence

Ireland is a member of the PESCO framework, which seeks to increase cooperation between EU member states on defence. It commits members to work together on military planning and to increase defence spending. Some oppose it because they see it as a step in the direction of an EU army. Others say cooperation is necessary so that the EU can defend itself without having to rely on the US.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We have a long history of a colony, and many of the other EU states are former (some current) colonial powers. We should continue our UN peacekeeping work, certainly, but any involvement in 'defence' of other member states colonial interests would not be in ours."

European integration has gone far enough

Some people argue that that further European integration is necessary to tackle shared challenges and for economic stability. Others argue that further integration would undermine national sovereignty and should be opposed.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"We have gained a lot from EU membership, and the past 76 years of peace in Europe are unparalled in recent centuries. We would welcome further integration around trade and free movement, but we need to retain primacy of our own legislation."

Ireland should boycott Israeli goods produced in the occupied territories

The ‘Occupied Territories’ bill would make it an offence to import or sell goods and services originating in an occupied territory. Critics of the bill say it discriminates unfairly against Israel, and that it may undermine important economic and diplomatic links with the US and Israel. Those in favour argue that it will show solidarity with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Ignoring a problem does not make it go away. As nationalists we empathise with the plight of the Palestinian people, we need to promote both sides sitting down together and finding a solution. "

Anti-social behaviour

Gardaí should be given more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour

Currently, Gardaí have certain powers to tackle anti-social behaviour by teenagers and adults, including applying to the courts for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) for repeat offenders. Some argue these measures do not go far enough and new powers (such as powers to disperse groups) should be introduced. Others disagree and say that the solution lies in more engagement rather than enforcement.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Antisocial behaviour is a big problem. We need more community policing / a greater number of Gardaí in the area. "

Abortion

Should access to abortion be made more restrictive or less restrictive?

Currently, terminations are permitted for any reason up to 12 weeks in a pregnancy. Terminations are only permitted after this date if there is a serious risk to the health of the pregnant woman or if there is a fatal foetal anomaly. Some argue that this system is too liberal and should be made more restrictive, while others believe it that abortion should be permitted in a wider range of circumstances.
More restrictive
Stay the same
Less restrictive
No opinion
Comment:
"In 2018 we were promised the legislation would make abortion 'rare'. With growing numbers (6500 in 2020), this is not the case. With the death of a healthy baby after misdiagnosis with fatal abnormality, we need safeguards more than ever. Pain relief in late-term abortions should be legislated for. "

School patronage

The Church has too much control over Irish schools

Around 90% of primary schools and just under half of secondary schools are under the patronage of the Catholic Church. Some argue that the Church provides invaluable services in education, while others say that a Catholic ethos is being imposed against people’s wishes.
Agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Disagree
No opinion
Comment:
"Families should have access to schools that reflect their own ethos and beliefs - whether this reflects a religious belief or none. "

Immigration

Should immigration into Ireland be made more restrictive or less restrictive?

Non-Irish nationals make up around 13% of the population, most of whom came from the UK or the EU under free movement rules. Work permits are issued to people coming from other countries only with a job offer in certain occupations, and the job must pay over €30,000 per year. Some believe that immigration is too high, putting pressure on services; while others argue that more immigration is needed to tackle job shortages and is positive for the country.
More restrictive
Stay the same
Less restrictive
No opinion
Comment:
"The priority here is to end the travesty that is Direct Provision, we must do more for Syrian refugees and those stranded in Lesbos. We need to fast track citizenship for healthcare professionals who put their lives on the line to care for Irish people during the pandemic. "