Wednesday 13 November 2019

Use cash from property tax to fix firetrap homes - Kelly

Longboat Quay residents, David Kindlon, Michael Ingle, Caroline McEvoy, Niamh Burke and Seamus Bagnell at Leinster House yesterday
Longboat Quay residents, David Kindlon, Michael Ingle, Caroline McEvoy, Niamh Burke and Seamus Bagnell at Leinster House yesterday

Niall O'Connor

Environment Minister Alan Kelly wants to channel a portion of Dublin City Council's property tax proceeds towards carrying out the urgent repair works at the Longboat Quay apartments, the Irish Independent has learned.

Mr Kelly's officials believe the country's largest local authority has the funding available through property tax receipts to resolve the safety defects.

Dublin City is one of a small number of councils that have the financial capability to reduce property tax bills for residents by a full 15pc.

But even after such a cut is imposed, the council still retains around €50m to spend on services.

A senior Government source last night said a decision by the council to cough up at least part of the funding required to repair the defects would "set an important precedent" for other local authorities to follow.

"Even after the 15pc is taken off property tax bills, the council still has substantial funding at its disposal.

"It's up to the council to step up to the plate," the source told the Irish Independent.

While the distressed residents of Longboat Quay say €4m is required to repair the defects, Mr Kelly's officials believe the bill could be marginally less.

The Labour Party deputy leader met Longboat Quay residents at Leinster House yesterday.

Sources say his officials will now contact stakeholders with a view to putting together a set of proposals.

One source said attempts are also afoot to communicate with Longboat Quay developer Bernard McNamara.

But the move by Mr Kelly to turn the spotlight on the council will pile the pressure on Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan, who this week said the council does not have the accommodation capacity to house the 400 residents if they are made homeless.

Last night, Minister for State at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys said Mr Keegan must play his part in resolving the issues at the country's newest 'firetrap'.

"It's quite obvious that at this stage, all stakeholders have a responsibility in coming together to find a solution. That includes the docklands, receiver, and the Dublin City manager," the Dublin Bay South TD told the Irish Independent.


Also speaking yesterday, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin called for a full audit of all properties constructed during the 'Celtic Tiger' period to be conducted by local authorities.

"There are lots of legacies from the poisonous period of the Celtic Tiger," Mr Howlin said. "Obviously the economic destruction of Ireland was the most egregious one of them, but there are others that we will be living with for a while and one of those is the lax building standards that were allowed to happen on the previous government's watch," he added.

Irish Independent

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