Wednesday 13 December 2017

Council 'acting like Trump' over house sale

Clondalkin councillor Mark Ward described the decision as 'Donald Trump like politics'. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar
Clondalkin councillor Mark Ward described the decision as 'Donald Trump like politics'. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar

Ian Begley

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has been accused of engaging in 'Trump-like' politics following a decision to put a house left vacant for 10 years onto the private market.

At a monthly meeting, the council voted 22 to 15 to sell the house on St Patrick's Road in Clondalkin rather than keep it for social housing purposes.

A heated one-and-a-half-hour debate ensued over the property, which has cost the council over €600,000 to date.

The project began in 2006 when the local authority built a 1.8m wall between St Patrick's estate and Michael Collins Park in a bid to prevent anti-social behaviour on the vacant site between the two areas.

The council planned to recoup the cost of the wall by building the house and selling it, with the added benefit that the buyers would act as "additional passive supervision" for the area.

Clondalkin councillor Mark Ward (SF) said he was angry SDCC voted to sell one of their limited housing stock on the private market during the "biggest housing crisis" in the history of the State.

"This is old politics at its worst," he said. "During the council meeting, it was agreed by all that this was a flawed decision by a previous council and it would never happen in today's climate.

"We had a chance as a council to rectify the mistakes of the past and 22 councillors failed to do so. This was Donald Trump-like politics.

"However, in this case it's not the Mexicans, but a vulnerable family on the council's medical priority list who is going to pay [for] this €160,000 wall.

"There is no benefit to those on our social housing waiting list in selling this house," Mr Ward said.

The combined cost of building the wall and the house came to €563,759.

Ultimately, the council only secured ownership of the full site after a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) was confirmed by An Bord Pleanála in 2013. Formal possession of the site was taken in February 2014.

The council said "miscellaneous expenditure including fees relating to the CPO" brought the total cost of the project to €608,387.80.

Mayor of SDCC, Guss O'Connell, who chaired the meeting, said he voted in favour of putting the house on the private market "to deal with this matter once and for all".

Irish Independent

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