Garda station may be used for homeless

A homeless person begs for money on O'Connell Bridge. Photo: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

By Laura Larkin

a garda station, a military hospital and a prime city centre location are three buildings identified by the OPW as potential locations for homeless shelters.

The Government asked the Office of Public Works (OPW) earlier this year to find buildings suitable for social housing or emergency accommodation.


A growing homelessness epidemic in Dublin prompted the OPW search.

Focus Ireland revealed this week that around one family a day are made homeless in the capital.

St Bricin's Military Hospital, at Arbour Hill, is one facility that is being considered. The building is over a century old. Currently, the defence forces use it as a medical facility, but it is set for closure.

Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station in the North Inner City is another of the buildings earmarked for potential use as a homeless shelter.

It was vacated in 2011 due to health and safety concerns.The station was then relocated to Mountjoy Station.

The final property is a prime city centre space near the national gallery just of Clare Street which the OPW suggests could be divided into eight apartments to home vulnerable people. OPW officials suggest that it could cost as much as €150,000 to covert the building.

Homelessness in the city has been under the spotlight recently after Lord Mayor Christie Burke pledged to solve the problem.


He criticised the protocols around the treatment of minors found to be living on the street yesterday saying that it was "bullsh*t" that gardai couldn't intervene without a social worker.

The news comes as Dublin City Council embarks on a refurbishment drive round the city to combine sets of two council flats into one to create liveable accommodation.

Currently, 460 council flats in Dublin are empty because they are too small to live in.

The vacant apartments don't meet the standards for a single bedroom home according to the Department of Environment.