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Safe streets New Dublin Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland vows to make city's streets safe for women

'I don't think women and girls feel safe in our city at night'

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The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Alison Gilliland. Photo: Conor McCabe

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Alison Gilliland. Photo: Conor McCabe

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Alison Gilliland. Photo: Conor McCabe

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin has said that improving safety for women on the city’s streets will be a priority for her as she takes on her new role. 

The Labour Party’s Cllr Alison Gilliland who is taking over from Cllr Hazel Chu for the next year, highlighted her goals after she was elected to the position last night.

"I don't think women and girls feel safe in our city at night,” she said. “I know myself if I'm walking alone that I'm tense - it's the not knowing. "

According to the incoming Mayor the council must be more conscious of the issue when planning changes to the capital's streets.

The Monaghan native has been a councillor for the Artane/Whitehall area since 2014 and is a former primary school teacher who has taught in Darndale and Swords as well as previously teaching English in Spain.

Alongside being a councillor, she is the current equality officer for the Irish National Teachers Organisation.

Cllr Gilliland was elected following a voting pact between the Dublin Agreement parties of Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Labour and the Social Democrats.

There was no nomination for anyone to run against her and it was also supported by Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Independents.

In her acceptance speech, the new Lord Mayor said that there will also be a focus on housing during her 12-month term.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be elected 353rd Lord Mayor of Dublin city,” she said. “I'm only the 10th ever female Lord Mayor but I'm hoping to give a priority to women and girls issues and that will encourage them to feel more included in our city in its decision making and also to get involved in activism and politics.

“My other priority is housing. We have a massive housing crisis with too many people locked out of affordable rental or purchase. We need more public housing on public lands and that’s something I want to progress with our housing Policy Committee and the housing section.

“My third priority is transitioning our city out of the Covid pandemic. Businesses need support but also our citizens and our communities. I want to work with our city recovery task force to ensure we can reimagine a new normal for Dublin city."

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As she prepared to leave office, Cllr Chu spoke about the unprecedented year during her tenure.

“It’s been a hell of a year folks. It’s been really difficult, it’s been really challenging and we had so many losses of lives, of jobs, of homes,” she said.

However, she added that “to say that it has been an honour and a privilege to be lord mayor this year is a bit of an understatement”.

Councillors of all parties commended Cllr Chu on her performance as mayor, with several making reference to the stand she took against the racism, particularly on social media.

In addition to thanking councillors and staff, Cllr Chu thanked her family, particularly her mother.

“For a woman who came over here with one bag and worked as a cleaner and a dishwasher, I think she did really well to have a daughter as lord mayor.”

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