Monday 20 November 2017

Glass Bottle site protests looming

Residents vent anger over lack of social housing

CONTROVERSY: Residents had previously voted against Dublin’s Poolbeg incinerator being built. Photo: Mark Condren
CONTROVERSY: Residents had previously voted against Dublin’s Poolbeg incinerator being built. Photo: Mark Condren
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

The first public protests over the housing crisis are due to kick off at Dublin City Council's September meeting tomorrow week.

Residents from Ringsend are to hold a protest outside the Council offices over the apparent lack so far of any social and affordable housing plans for the 83-acre former Irish Glass Bottle site beside the giant waste incineration plant foisted on the area by executive decree.

Residents are already angered at the imposition of the giant incinerator on their doorsteps which is nearing completion at Poolbeg.

Councillors in Dublin and the adjoining Dun Laoghaire Rathdown voted almost unanimously against the plant before it was given the go-ahead by the four council chief executives in the Dublin region, headed by Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan.

The incinerator, which is to burn 320,000 tons of waste per annum, is located in an area where long established communities say they are being forced into homelessness by rapidly rising rents and property costs.

Read more: A decade later, Glass Bottle site is still an icon of the bust

The two traditional communities most affected by the latest wave of commercial and apartment developments all round them are in Ringsend and across the Liffey in Sheriff Street/North Dock ward, which both witnessed massive private developments which largely avoided any social and affordable elements.

Susan Cummings, of the Irish Glass Bottle Action Group in Ringsend, said they are now calling for 30pc of the site beside the incinerator to be devoted to public housing.

Ms Cummings pointed out that private apartment developments are springing up all around the Ringsend area, including on the Boland's Mill site, the 'U2' site in Ringsend where a 23-storey apartment block is rising above the neighbouring working class housing.

"A great many jobs in Ringsend were lost when the Glass Bottle company closed and we can't afford the rents and mortgages around here. We are trying to get housing for ordinary people and to keep our village going, to keep our community alive," she said.

The local community, she added, was "bewildered" at the decision to build the massive waste incinerator plant right beside the Irish Glass Bottle site despite unanimous public and political opposition in the city.

In August last year, councillors called for the resignation of Keegan after he chose to over-ride overwhelming votes against the incinerator, which will take rubbish from the whole Dublin region and beyond.

Calls for his resignation came after he wrote to the incinerator operators, Govanta, saying he had decided to give the go-ahead due, in part, to the fact the Council was "largely dominated by anti-government parties and independent councillors".

Protesters from around the city, including those from Ringsend, will gather to voice their opposition at the next meeting of the council on September 5.

Sunday Independent

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