Saturday 18 November 2017

'We demand answers' - Councillors hold 'closed meeting' to examine why 446 NAMA homes were rejected

Inset: Cllr Ruth Nolan and Mayor Guss O'Connell
Inset: Cllr Ruth Nolan and Mayor Guss O'Connell "demand answers" about why the council rejected the NAMA homes
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Councillors are holding a "closed door" meeting to discuss why the council rejected 446 NAMA homes, three months after the figures were first revealed.

Independents 4 Change Cllr Ruth Nolan told that the South Dublin County Councillors (SDCC) are holding the private meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.

"We as councillors were told nothing about why the council rejected the homes. I first heard about it by reading the local press three months ago," she said.

In January, it was revealed that three local authorities where more than 4,500 families are waiting for a home accepted just a handful of social units on offer from Nama.

Nama said it had offered city and county councils a total of 6,941 homes for use as social housing, but just 2,378 had been delivered.

SDCC had the lowest take up of the four Dublin councils accepting just 21 per cent of the homes offered.

It rejected 446 homes in one development in the interests of managing a sustainable community.

Ms Nolan said that after reading about the council's decision she and Mayor Guss O'Connell put a motion forward at a council meeting to have a private "closed door" meeting to discuss the issue.

"Three months on we demand answers. We were never explained to fully why these homes were rejected. The council said that they rejected the homes because they didn't want concentrated social housing in the area but other options could have been explored.

"We're holding the meeting to see why we weren't informed, why there wasn't other options for the homes and to ask where these houses would have been located."

Ms Nolan said that the rejected homes could have been used under the affordable housing scheme and the rent-to-buy scheme as well as for social housing.

"There were other options. We are looking for an explanation from SDCC."

The "closed door" council meeting means that the press and public cannot attend the meeting.

Mayor Guss O'Connell said that the meeting is open to the full council to get a "perspective" on what is happening.

"We, as elective members, are sitting with the executive to show the urgency of the housing situation. It's open to all councillors to bring urgency to the housing matter and for the executive to tell us what's happening."

Mr O'Connell said it's not "unusual" to have a closed meeting and that is necessary to "get answers".

"We often have both closed door meetings and open meetings to ask the hard questions and get straight answers. Closed meetings are a fairly normal event."

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