Thursday 23 May 2019

FF attacks council for rejecting homes offered by Nama for social housing

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen said the rejection of homes on the basis of tenure mix needed to be seriously examined. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen said the rejection of homes on the basis of tenure mix needed to be seriously examined. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Niall O'Connor

The country's largest local authority has come under fire for rejecting dozens of properties offered as new homes by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

It has emerged Dublin City Council turned down 146 units in a single development in the capital because of concerns about an "over-concentration of social housing".

And council chiefs rejected a further 46 units in a development in Ballymun after claiming the properties would not be consistent with the rules surrounding local "tenure mix".

This is despite the fact the local authority has sought to construct a number of social housing developments in Ballymun since declining the properties offered by Nama.

A further 32 units in two developments were turned down by the council because of "poor condition and structural issues".

And eight more potential homes were rejected because of low demand.

The details of the reasons behind the refusal of Nama properties are contained in documents obtained by Fianna Fáil under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents show that Nama has offered Dublin City Council 638 units, the majority of which are located on the Northside.

The council confirmed demand for just 400 of the 638 units, according to the documents.

The issue of local authorities turning down properties put forward by the agency has been criticised in the past.

But Fianna Fáil has raised serious questions over the reasons given by Dublin City Council, particularly on the basis of concerns over tenure mix.

"The declining of these units on the basis that their use as social housing would lead to an over-concentration of social housing in any particular area - and hence not be consistent with local tenure mix - is no doubt replicated across Dublin and other local authorities," the party's Environment spokesperson Barry Cowen told the Irish Independent last night.

"The bottom line is there is a massive housing crisis in the city and the rejection of homes on the basis of tenure mix needs to be seriously examined. There is no reason why these units could not have been designated for affordable housing and not just social housing, per se," Mr Cowen added.

A spokesperson for the council declined to comment on the criticism - before suggesting that this newspaper should contact Fianna Fáil's leader on the council, Paul McAuliffe.

"Dublin City Council does not wish to comment on remarks attributed to Fianna Fáil in relation to Nama properties. You may wish to contact Cllr Paul McAuliffe, Leader of the Fianna Fáil Group within Dublin City Council in relation to your query," the spokeswoman said.

The details of the refusals come after Nama appeared in the Oireachtas to discuss the housing crisis.

Nama chairman Frank Daly said the agency previously offered local authorities 6,700 units for social housing but had been asked for just 2,500 of these.

"We are continually scouring our portfolio for more units that could be used for social housing," Mr Daly told TDs at the sitting on Thursday.

Irish Independent

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