Get the basics right – allocate adequate resources to essential council services, says Helen Ogbu

Labour candidate for the upcoming LEA, Helen Ogbu.

Labour candidate for the upcoming LEA, Helen Ogbu.

Helen Ogbu, Labour Party Local Election Candidate for Galway City East, believes councillors can achieve positive change. If elected on June 7, she pledges to work tirelessly to build a community that works for all, where more homes are built, facilities and amenities for children and teenagers are available, mental health and wellbeing support programmes are accessible, neighborhoods are safer, more community creches/childcare facilities and actions on climate change are prioritised.

Helen Ogbu aims to campaign for a relentless focus on vacant and derelict buildings by seeking additional funding in every budget for compulsory purchase orders. This will help bring these buildings back into use as homes, social and cultural spaces, or new opportunities for start-up businesses. She plans to amend council standing orders to make a report on social housing a recurring item at every council meeting, listing the number of vacant “void” social homes, new social homes in construction, homes in planning, current numbers being leased, and the remaining budget for the year.

Ogbu also emphasizes the need for increased funding for the maintenance of local and regional roads, paths, and cycleways. She believes the design and upkeep of local paths and roadways for both cyclists and pedestrians, including buggies and people using mobility aids, should be a priority for all local councils. Enhancing public lighting, street furniture, and street design can make neighborhoods safer and contribute to a sense of community wellbeing. She advocates for a regular Public Tree Census and the development of native tree planting plans, alongside efforts to increase biodiversity through no-mow zones and nature restoration plans.

Helen Ogbu calls for the hiring of more Community Wardens in the city. These wardens should be a familiar presence in every locality, addressing persistent noise or antisocial behavior, responding swiftly to issues like illegal dumping and littering, and having the authority to issue fines.

Furthermore, Ogbu highlights the Labour Party’s national plan to reform local government in Ireland. If elected to the next government, Labour aims to implement the policies outlined in their manifesto, “Putting Power Back in Communities.”

This plan ensures that more decisions impacting communities are made locally, democratically, and transparently. Currently, Ireland’s system of Local Government is one of the most centralized in Europe, with local councils stripped of many functions, slowing decision-making, and making public administration distant from communities.

The direct provision of services by councils has been reduced, leaving them reliant on contractors and outsourcing for basic services. Helen Ogbu believes that the Labour Party’s plan to return power to communities could be a significant step towards addressing the over-centralization of decision-making that has eroded the power of local authorities and, consequently, local communities.

Helen Ogbu urges residents to vote her Number 1 on June 7 to ensure a well-functioning City Council and a Galway City East that works for all.

 

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