Legal challenge to proposed Fitzwilliam Street homeless shelter

Dublin Simon Community plans to relocatore emergency facility


A local resident has brought a legal challenge over works being carried out on a property at Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Street which are intended to provide 30 bed supported emergency accommodation for the homeless.

Kenny Byrnes, with an address at Upper Fitzwilliam Street, has brought judicial review proceedings against Dublin City Council over the procedure adopted by it in approving the works.

The council had last February approved the existing Dublin Simon Community’s emergency accommodation facility at Harcourt Street being relocated to premises at Fitzwilliam Street Upper.

The intended works will facilitate the change of use of the premises at 9/10 Fitzwilliam Street Upper from an hotel to supported temporary accommodation including a methadone substitution programme, it is claimed.

Michael O’Donnell BL, for Mr Byrnes, said it seemed the Council had used its powers as a planning authority to facilitate works for a third party.

In his proceedings, Mr Byrnes alleges the procedures adopted by the Council do not conform with the requirements of Section 179 of the Planning and Development Act 2001 and planning regulations of 2001.

It is argued the proposed development must be subject to the same planning controls as other developments undertaken by third parties.

It is also argued, even if the planned development was a local authority development, the relevant planning notice must described the range of intended activities at the property but had failed to do so.

Mr O’Donnell said the notice referred to the intended works but not to the intended use of the premises which would include a methadone substitution and needle exchange programme.

There was also no reference in the notice to the fact that the area around Fitzwilliam Street and Merrion Square includes some protected Georgian structures, counsel added. It appeared the application had not been identified to various relevant bodies including An Taisce, the Heritage Council and the Arts Council.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he would grant leave to Mr Byrnes to bring his judicial review proceedings against the Council.

The judge returned the matter to June 8th and granted liberty to apply in the interim should that be necessary. Counsel said he was not seeking any injunctions at this stage.