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72 homes fast-tracked under €29m city scheme

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Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney

Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney

Paschal Donohoe and Simon Coveney

Planning for more than 70 homes in Dublin city is to be fast-tracked in a bid to help solve the housing crisis.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney said that rather than taking months to approve the final plans for the regeneration of the Dominick Street flats, "project teams" would do it in only two days - meaning people would be in their homes by early 2018.

Mr Coveney and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe (inset) announced funding for the €29m project, which will result in 72 apartments, retail and community facilities including an all-weather sports pitch in Dublin's north inner city.

A previous plan to redevelop the complex under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme with developer Bernard McNamara collapsed in 2008.

The project, to be delivered by the city council, is located on the east side of Dominick Street, currently a vacant site beside the new Luas Cross City line.

When completed, 50 households from the west side blocks will be re- located, and those homes may be regenerated at a future date.

Twenty-two other homes will be created for people on the council's waiting list, and work will begin by early next year.

Residents' representative Gerry Carney said the community was a "long time waiting" and that the collapse of the PPP had been "devastating".

"There were a lot of meetings after the PPP went down. Everybody was devastated," he said.

"But we want to thank Dublin City Council for staying on the table with the residents and keeping it going."

Mr Donohoe paid tribute to the "real heroes in the community", including regeneration chair Michael Finn and Mr Carney, who had worked for more than a decade to deliver the project.

Optimistic

Mr Coveney said a new system to fast-track funding approval would be used.

"We're going to test the new system that we have in place where, instead of taking months for my department to sign-off, we will send a team into the city council which would hope to sign-off in about two days," he said.

He added that he was trying to "take party politics out of the housing debate" and was "hugely optimistic" about investing in communities.

"One of the things I'm trying to do is fast-track the kind of change which is so much needed in communities," he added.


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