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Debate over hostel plan in historic area

DUBLIN City Council will have to rethink plans to put a homeless hostel at the heart of the capital's historic Georgian district, say opponents.

Members of the local authority are split over plans to open a homeless hostel in the heart of the city's Georgian conservation area.

The council hopes to turn a Georgian property on Fitzwilliam Street, formerly the Longfield's Hotel building, into a 'supported temporary accommodation' unit for 30 homeless men and women.

Dublin City Council bought Longfield's Hotel seven years ago at the height of the property boom for almost €7m.

The hotel, which is approximately 100 metres from Merrion Square and sits opposite ESB headquarters, has been vacant since the purchase.

Since acquiring the property, the Council has spent over €300,000 on security and maintenance services for the building.

The site is at the heart of Dublin's south Georgian area, which the council hopes to re-establish as an upmarket residential area.


Donough Cahill of the Irish Georgian Society stated that the plan seemed at odds with Council's hopes to 'reinstate the area as a residential part of the city.'

"Very clear consideration needs to be given as to what impact this change of use might have on this plan," Mr Cahill added.

According to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, the hostel provider would be obliged to sign a community charter regarding relations between the hostel and the surrounding residents and businesses in the area.

"The proposed future use of the building at the Longfields site is the provision of Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) under the Pathway to Home model for persons experiencing homelessness in Dublin," a spokesperson for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive told the Herald.

The accommodation will provide residential accommodation and activities for facility users, who may have specialised health, care and support needs in addition to their emergency housing needs.