Tuesday 28 February 2017

Apartments hit by activists will be used for social housing

Chai Brady

The apartment block on the site of the old Premier Dairies. Photo: Frank McGrath
The apartment block on the site of the old Premier Dairies. Photo: Frank McGrath

Housing activists said they were unaware the vacant apartment complex they took over in the early hours of Thursday morning was due to be made into social housing.

A group called 'Premier Love Project' entered the Finglas property in Dublin for three hours before leaving peacefully after gardaí arrived. It was not associated with the 'Home Sweet Home' group currently occupying Apollo House.

Nial Ring
Nial Ring

However, Colin McGettrick who is one of the five people who entered the premises, said they would do it again.

He said it was "absolutely scandalous" the property was vacant as there were people in appalling conditions that needed housing immediately.

Dublin City Council and Nama agreed that DCC will purchase the 60 apartment complex in Finglas once NAMA fixes the building's fire safety issues, which initially caused its closure.

The apartment complex was built on the site of the former 'Premier Dairies' site on Mount Prospect Hill in Finglas, in the north of the city.

The new complex has been vacant for some time and the agreement was reached between NAMA and DCC in December, but work will not begin until 2017, according to a NAMA spokesperson.

Dublin City Councillor Nial Ring urged people who were waiting for housing to obey the law, saying there were a lot of housing developments being carried out across the city.

"What I'd be afraid of is people going into these places and something happens to them and they find there's no insurance, there's health and safety issues. I can understand, but obviously I can't condone it," Cllr Ring said.

Dublin City Council said: "The receiver will in the coming weeks go to tender seeking a competent contractor to carry out the agreed works on all the apartments including our 60 apartments.

"Dublin City Council will then swiftly allocate these remediated homes to families on the housing lists.

"It was not possible or prudent to allocate these apartments until the fire safety matters were fully resolved and action agreed."

A NAMA spokesperson said that on top of the sale agreement between itself and DCC, "NAMA has also agreed to pay for additional work on the apartments to improve them and to address fire safety issues prior to their sale.

"That work was expected to start in the coming weeks."

A Garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí were called to an occupation of a vacant apartment block on the Finglas Road in the early hours of this morning. The group left a short time later."

Irish Independent

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