Members vote against 18-home development, despite party policy favouring construction on public land
Sinn Féin councillors have voted against a social housing development on State owned land.
The councillors on Wicklow County Council voted against the 18 home development despite party policy being to support the construction of social housing on public land.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin was forced to reverse the party's position and distance itself from the councillors.
Mr Ó Broin said the party supports public housing being built on public land.
"The decision was wrong," he said of the party councillors voting against the scheme.
The plan for new homes for people on the social housing waiting list had been the subject of around 30 local objections in Bray including one from Wicklow TD John Brady’s father.
In submissions to Wicklow County Council, Mr Brady’s father objected to the height of the four storey building and the proposed removal of a 120 year old tree.
“I wish to object to the construction of the proposed apartments on Kilbride Lodge and the felling of the last 120 year old tree in Bray,” he said. “It is a shame on your department after all the destruction you caused around Bray,” he added.
Mr Brady said he was not aware that his father objected to the development and said he had not spoken to him about the social housing plan.
“Local residents expressed concern about aspects of this development and had sought a short deferral to discuss these concerns with council management. This view was reflected by Sinn Féin councillors during the course of the debate,” Mr Brady told the Irish Independent.
“I was not aware that any family members had filed objections, and I did not discuss this with them. I did not instruct or ask the councillors involved to vote against the development,” he added.
Mr Brady said his local councillors should not have opposed the development.
The Irish Independent emailed Mr Brady’s father with a series of question but did not get a response.
In the Dáil, Green Party TD Steven Matthews criticised Sinn Féin’s objection to the social housing saying:
"I do not think that Sinn Féin wants to deliver housing at all. I think the party wants to delay the delivery of housing, because the more delay there is, the better it will be for it. Sinn Féin should be more honest with people," he said.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin was forced to condemn his own councillors…
On Tuesday, Sinn Féin councillors Dermot O’Brien and Grace McManus voted against a motion to proceed with the development in Kilbride Lodge in Bray.
Mr O’Brien and Ms McManus were among three out of eight Wicklow County councillors to object to social housing development proceeding as proposed, but the project was voted through.
Mr O’Brien said he was not opposed to social housing being constructed in the area but said he wanted to delay the process to allow for engagement between the residents and the local authority.
“We didn’t vote against it as such we were looking for some amendments and some changes to it,” he said. “Everyone is in support of a development in that space. It’s been a derelict for a long time. Our issue was with the process that there hadn’t been any public engagement.”
Almost 30 submissions were made during the planning process by local residents – mostly related to the height of the development, the proposed balconies for the apartments and potential for traffics disruption.
A Part 8 report by Wicklow County Council’s housing department addressed the concerns raised by local residents and recommended that the development go ahead.