Sunday 16 June 2019

Co-living buildings slammed as ‘glamorised tenement living’

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said the living spaces were the size of a parking space.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

By Cate McCurry, Press Association

A Government-backed scheme to build co-living apartments has been slammed as a “glamorised form of tenement living”.

A proposed development to build 208 studio dwellings outside Dublin has been criticised by Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald who claimed the living spaces were the size of a parking space.

The TD also claimed that 42 people would be forced to share a kitchen on one of the floors of the proposed five-storey building in Dun Laoghaire.

It comes after widespread criticism of comments made by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who said that young people and workers should be “excited” about the co-living plans.

Speaking during leaders’ questions, Ms McDonald said: “One example of this exciting plan is being developed in Dun Laoghaire by Bartra Capital Property Group and this involves 208 studio dwellings that are around the same size as a parking space.

Co-living isn't an answer to the rental crisis. It is an insult to those seeking a safe and secure roof over their heads Mary Lou McDonald

“On one floor it’s proposed that 42 people would share one kitchen and for this exciting proposal, as the minister would put it, rent would be in excess of 1,300 euro per month.

“I don’t find that proposal exciting in the slightest. Given the public reaction to this project people in the real world don’t find it exciting either.

“Minister Murphy is so out of touch that he can’t seem to grasp this co-living isn’t an answer to the rental crisis.

“It is an insult to those seeking a safe and secure roof over their heads.”

Housing charity Threshold previously described them as 21st-century bedsits with a glossy makeover.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that while his Government is continuing to build new homes, he admitted they are not building enough.

The Government expects up to 25,000 new homes will be built in Ireland this year.

“Of those 25,000 new homes perhaps 1%, maybe four or five developments, will be co-living,” he told the Dail.

“It’s another option for people, particularly single people who don’t want a house share.

“They generally consist of studio apartments that are en suite with a kitchenette, and common areas such as a gym, laundry and maybe a movie room.”

He added that the development in Dun Laoghaire does not have planning permission and claims that 42 people will share one kitchen were “not in line” with the Government’s co-living guidelines.

“I would anticipate that An Bord Pleanala, when it makes a decision on a planning application, would either refuse or significantly modify any planning permission that is not in line with any government guidelines,” he added.

Ms McDonald described co-living as a “glamorised form of tenement living”.

She added: “You can be in doubt there is no support for this proposition. You can be in doubt there is a widespread consensus that your plans for housing have failed.

“This cock and bull story around co-living simply amplifies the scale of your failure.”

Press Association

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