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Sunday 18 August 2019

Clontarf residents unhappy about housing 50 homeless people in former care facility

La Verna nursing home at 30 Haddon Road in Clontarf
La Verna nursing home at 30 Haddon Road in Clontarf
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

An application to house up to 50 homeless people in a nursing home on one of Clontarf's most historic roads has gone before Dublin City Council.

Osdale Limited applied to the council last month to change the use of La Verna nursing home on Haddon Road to homeless accommodation.

The company is seeking a Section 5 declaration, which means the building could be listed as an exempted development.


Deirdre Tobin, Chairperson, Clontarf Residents Association
Deirdre Tobin, Chairperson, Clontarf Residents Association

In details submitted to the council, Osdale is proposing to change the building's use from a 22-bedroomed nursing home to a homeless accommodation centre.

The nursing home previously housed around 30 people, but under the proposed plan 50 people would live there, with the occupancy level increased by the use of bunks.

La Verna has been used as a nursing home since 1991 and was substantially extended over the years, but it closed down last year.

The application also notes there are three similar facilities in operation in the area, with only one within 500 metres of the site, on St Lawrence's Road.

The same homeless facility was the subject of controversy in the area, with many residents submitting lengthy objections to the plan to use a former guesthouse known as Aisling House for emergency accommodation.

Residents ended up taking the case to the High Court, before it was struck out and the council's plan went ahead.

Osdale applied on May 3 for the change in use, and the council this week responded by asking for more information.

DCC wants the company to clarify the nature and extent of the "care" being provided and identify which care providers will operate the facility.

The building was formerly a protected structure before being de-listed, with the Haddon Road area now an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) under the 2016 Development Plan.

Concern over the application has been expressed by some residents, who feel the area already has enough homeless accommodation hubs.

Deirdre Tobin, the chairperson of the Clontarf Residents Association, said the area is "already carrying more than our weight" in terms of similar facilities.

She said if the plan went ahead, it would be the fifth homeless facility in the area.

Ms Tobin said they have repeatedly requested figures from DCC showing the distribution of homeless hubs around the city, but they have not yet had their requests met.


"We feel that the distribution of these units should be carried around the city rather than one specific area," she said.

"We would have concerns with relation to the application, and I'll be talking to the committee about it."

Asked to respond to suggestions of 'nimbyism', she said: "The argument is that, 'Yes, we are already doing it. We do have these hubs in Clontarf'.

"This will be the fifth one, and I don't want to appear like a nimby, but it's only fair that there's a reasonable, rationing-out of the units across the city rather than putting them all in Dublin 3 or Clontarf."


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