Monday 5 December 2016

Minister hits out at Dublin city councillors who blocked move to house 400 homeless families

Paul Healy

Published 21/04/2015 | 17:43

Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan kelly pictured speaking to the media before the start of the Labour Party national Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney. 27/2/15 Pic Frank Mc Grath
Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan kelly pictured speaking to the media before the start of the Labour Party national Conference in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney. 27/2/15 Pic Frank Mc Grath

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has hit out against Dublin city councillors who blocked the move to house 400 families at a complex in the inner city.

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Under a Dublin City Council (DCC) proposal, 64 units in O’Devaney Gardens in Arbour Hill were to be refurbished at a cost of €4.7m to accommodate homeless families.

Last week 43 Dublin city councillors voted in favour of a motion which saw the plan scrapped.

The Minister said that the government was under 'big time pressure' to house the homeless and that the council needed to 'find alternatives quickly'.

However Lord Mayor Christy Burke hit back at the minister, saying  it was 'easy to blame' the council and that the O’Devaney proposal was a 'quick fix'.

“When I went to Dublin City Council and I said that we absolutely require to provide homes for these people so they are not in hotels they came up with their options," Minister Kelly told Independent.ie.

O'Devaney Gardens
O'Devaney Gardens

“I challenged them on numerous occasions about those options to make sure they were the best options.

“They repeatedly came back with those options.

“I provided the funding, there’s no question of money but Dublin city council decided that they didn’t want this so now that’s a matter for them and I respect their decision but I don’t agree with it," he said.

The Minister said he was 'concerned' that there would be a repeat of the incident, and that the council would reject further regeneration sites proposed.

He said that he 'completely' believes in regeneration, but that the councillors 'in their wisdom decided it wasn’t right'.

“I can provide the funding, I can provide the polices , I can issue statements or regulations to local authorities in relation to housing provision for people who are homeless but Dublin City Council and other councils have respond too and they need to work with me on that”, he added.

“When they [the councillors] engage and discuss homelessness in the future, I will certainly be watching what they’re saying given the fact that they made this decision”.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke said the department 'has its mind set and dug in refurbishing complexes that have gone by their sell by date'.

“There is no point in knee jerking to a quick fix, it will collapse”, he said.

“Its easy for the minister to blame but the money is there so lets' demolish the three blocks and let's develop.

"It would be a disaster to temporarily accommodate people in O’Devaney; it would turn them into second class citizens," he said.

Mr Burke said that he was due to meet with the minister face to face to discuss options, while further regeneration schemes are expected to go before the council soon.

Both Mr Burke and Mr Kelly were attending the grand opening of Peader Kenny House, at the site of the old Liberty House on Railway Street, Dublin 1,

There are 56 units in the development along with a Community facility and underground car parking for 27 cars.

The scheme is managed by Circle Housing Association on behalf of the Council.

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