Just three OPW properties 'suitable' for homeless

OPW examines Fitzgibbon St Garda station and St Bricin’s Military Hospital as potential sites

Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station in Dublin is one of the buildings being considered. It was vacated in 2011 due to health and safety concerns. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station in Dublin is one of the buildings being considered. It was vacated in 2011 due to health and safety concerns. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 01:00

Just three State-owned properties have been identified by the Office of Public Works as potentially suitable to help tackle what campaigners say is a homelessness crisis in Dublin.

The OPW was asked earlier this year by the Government to help source vacant properties with potential for use as social housing or emergency accommodation. The process has not yielded any suitable properties for social housing on a “cost effective” basis.

But the OPW is examining a handful of properties which may be suitable as homeless shelters or emergency accommodation, subject to inspections and cost considerations.

Fitzgibbon Street Garda station in Dublin’s north inner city is one of the buildings being examined.

Health and safety

It was vacated in 2011 due to health and safety concerns and staff were relocated to Mountjoy station.

Another property is St Bricin’s Military Hospital near Arbour Hill, which is used by the Defence Forces as a medical facility. The building, which is more than a century old, has been slated for closure.

A third property based just off Clare Street – between the National Gallery of Ireland and an annex of the Department of Transport – has the potential to be converted into eight separate apartments.

However, OPW officials estimate it could cost up to €150,000 to bring the building into productive use.