Dublin City Council have voted in favour to scrap a multi-million euro plan to house up to 400 homeless families in a redevelopment of a Dublin flat complex.
The proposal was submitted by Dublin City Council (DCC) to redevelop 64 units in O’Devaney Gardens in Arbour Hill at a cost of €4.7m for emergency accommodation for homeless families. It is understood that the units, would have had a lifespan of five-years but they had already have been listed for demolition.
However, 43 Dublin city councillors voted in favour of a motion to scrap the proposal last night. It is believed that one of the main arguments was that the money could be used in a better way; with many stating that the units would only result in sub-standard accommodation; and that the plan was only a temporary solution to the homeless crisis.
The proposal was subsequently scrapped after the Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke tabled a motion to the council to scrap the redevelopment. Mr Burke said: “The plan should be to build social housing on the site and to facilitate the 14 residents that are already there,” Mr Burke also said that he had arranged a meeting with Housing Minister Paudie Coffey to discuss other possible solutions. He added: “I approached the Archbishop (of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin) to use the convents that are empty,”
Meanwhile Independent councillor Mannix Flynn who fully supported the O’Devaney Gardens proposal also made a statement about the decision. He said: “This should not be taken off the agenda, this is where families are in horrendous conditions and we can turn their lives around in three months where they can have a level of independence,”
However the CEO of Dublin City Council Owen Keegan has said it was “fundamentally an executive decision” to go ahead with the plan unless councillors used a special section of local government legislation to block him. It is understood that Councillors used section 139 of the Local Government Act 2001 to direct Mr Keegan to not proceed with the proposal. Although the CEO told councillors that he “strongly recommended” that they do not use this section of the legislation. Mr Keegan also stated that he would not bring the plan to them again, unless there were major changes in circumstances.
A local councillor for Fine Gael Noel Rock, also said letting the plan go ahead would mean councillors were only “running to stand still”. “The whole case doesn’t stack up – paying for emergency hotel accommodation and paying for refurbishment of buildings we want to demolish in five years anyway just means we’re forever running to stand still.” “Originally, there was to be a vote to defer the plan but last night’s decision means it has now been abandoned”.