Neasa Hourigan, the Green Party TD who wanted to keep ban on evictions, raised concerns about proposals for more than 5,000 new homes in her constituency
Suspended Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan lodged ‘observations’ about proposals for more than 5,000 new homes in her constituency.
Ms Hourigan, who was suspended from her party after voting against the Government’s decision to lift the eviction ban, has submitted ‘observations’ about more than 14 developments since being elected.
Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála records show the Dublin Central TD has complained about proposals for thousands of potential new homes over concerns about apartment heights, the impact developments might have on natural sunlight and maintenance of architectural heritage on turn-of-century buildings.
Ms Hourigan took issue with a development which she said could lead to “illegal footpath parking”.
She also complained about a 240-apartment development due to concerns about the impact of the building on pedestrians, the size of playgrounds in the complex and low number of electric vehicle charging points.
And she made ‘observations’ about student accommodation and co-living spaces in her local community while serving as a government TD.
A number of the developments Ms Hourigan complained about were ultimately refused by Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála.
Details of Ms Hourigan’s litany of ‘observations’ against thousands of potential homes come after her rebellion against the Government on lifting the eviction ban in the Dáil this week.
The first-time TD announced her decision to vote against her own party colleagues in the Sunday Independent and the Greens decided to remove the party whip from her for 15 months.
She has not spoken publicly since she made the decision to vote against the Government for a third time — she previously voted against the Coalition on a vote on ownership of the National Maternity Hospital and the lifting of the eviction ban after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Irish Independent revealed Ms Hourigan supported the Government last month when the Labour Party tabled a private members’ motion seeking to extend the eviction ban.
It has now emerged she has been raising concerns about thousands of developments which could house people in her own constituency.
This includes a 1,614-apartment development on Clonliffe Road which was also opposed by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Ms Hourigan lodged ‘observations’ to proposals for 702 residential units on the Castleforbes Industrial Estate site on Sheriff Street, complaining about the number of single-room apartments in the development.
She also complained that the plans for the site did not show how it will “operate as a viable social, community and artistic space”. She also wanted more green space and trees.
Ms Hourigan had concerns about proposals for student accommodation beside the Technical University (TU) Dublin campus at Grangegorman. The Green TD also complained about a number of co-living developments which have been proposed for her community.
In relation to a development on Foley Street, she observed that co-living spaces would not be suitable if there was another pandemic.
“There is an onus on Dublin City Council to plan for such diseases by providing people with accommodation that facilitates some sort of isolation,” she said.
She also said co-living spaces will result in “temporary or transient” residents.
In an ‘observation’ about a redevelopment of the Players Lounge Pub near Croke Park into apartments, she complained about the impact it might have on properties neighbouring the proposed new building.
“Based on what can be made out from the drawings, the scale of the blocks will result in a significant loss of natural light and privacy to the residents,” she said.
“My view is that there is ample room on the site to develop apartments that don’t negatively impact the neighbouring properties to the same degree,” she added.
She also lodged an ‘observation’ about an apartment development on the site of Quinn’s Pub on Drumcondra Road as it was a build-to-rent property. She also wanted the facade of the building to be “sympathetic to the existing built fabric and the historic architectural heritage surrounding it”.
In a lengthy response to the Irish Independent, Ms Hourigan said she made “observations not objections on all those applications”.
“TDs are allowed make observations, same as any member of the public. These are reviewed by the planners but critically, any planning application is decided on planning grounds alone. It is not decided on the volume of observations or position held by any person or body.
“Some of these were observations on shared-living units. Prior to the ban being introduced on co-living developments, I saw several such applications for a wholly unsuitable style of apartment. On many of the applications I would have flagged concerns on issues including transport, apartment quality, required public open space, and quality of social housing provision.
“It’s in the planning authority’s power to grant or deny permission or, as is often the case, grant permission on condition that issues like transport, public open space, etc, are satisfactorily addressed. We need more housing but that does not mean that developers should be exempt from adhering to the development standards that everybody else must follow,” she added.