Dublin City Council ‘disappointed’ at ruling on hostel for homeless
Court rules council breached development plan for use of former parish hall as hostel
“Since Carman’s Hall began operating we have not only provided beds to many vulnerable adults, we have provided vital warp-around care such as mental health support and education to help them rebuild their lives and enable them to move on from homelessness.” Photograph: Getty Images
Dublin City Council said it was “disappointed” with a High Court ruling that found it breached its own development plan for the use of a former parish hall as a hostel for the homeless.
Local residents in the Liberties area had challenged the council’s decision to open Carman’s Hall on Francis Street as emergency temporary accommodation for homeless people.
The hostel, which has 51 beds, is funded by the council and managed by Dublin Simon Community in partnership with the Salvation Army.
Dublin City Council said the service has operated for the last 12 months at capacity and without incident, while “the good neighbourhood policy in place since its opening has ensured any concerns raised by both businesses and residents were addressed promptly”.
Dublin City Council said it would respond to the High Court ruling by “emphasising the reliance on this facility and all such facilities that provide emergency accommodation to homeless people in the midst of the ongoing housing crisis”.
Dublin Simon Community also expressed its “disappointment and concern”, and said it had met residents to tell them about the ruling.
“There is a high level of anxiety throughout the service,” said Sam McGuinness, CEO of Dublin Simon.
“Our concern is for the 51 residents, some of whom have been with us since we opened our doors in December 2016 and who have nowhere else to go... Since Carman’s Hall began operating we have not only provided beds to many vulnerable adults, we have provided vital warp-around care such as mental health support and education to help them rebuild their lives and enable them to move on from homelessness.”
Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn said “it beggars belief that we [Dublin City Council] got it wrong” and that the council should “immediately apologise” to those who find themselves in the emergency hostel.
“The city council should know exactly what the situation is. They know their own laws so they can’t simply have a law for themselves where they’re immune and then one for the rest of us.
“This isn’t about a homeless service, this is about the law, and the judge rightly upheld the law today in court.”