Fingal council chief ‘shocked’ at criticism from Minister for Housing

South Dublin County Council votes to defer decision on building nearly 1,000 homes over lack of ‘affordable’ homes

In letters to the chief executives of the four Dublin local authorities, Minister for Housing Eoghan  Murphy set out targets for emergency accommodation provision by the end of the year

In letters to the chief executives of the four Dublin local authorities, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy set out targets for emergency accommodation provision by the end of the year

 

The chief executive of Fingal County Council has spoken of his shock at criticism by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy of the local authority’s performance in tackling the housing crisis.

Paul Reid said he was shocked at some of the content of a letter he received from the Minister last week.

In letters to the chief executives of the four Dublin local authorities, Mr Murphy set out targets for emergency accommodation provision by the end of the year.

Defending the north Dublin council’s record on housing, Mr Reid said the authority had been “relentlessly” tackling the problem of homelessness. The local authority had exceeded its housing targets under the Rebuilding Ireland plan for 2017, and Mr Reid said he was “confident” the council would do so again this year.

Mr Reid told Fingal councillors he wrote directly to Mr Murphy in response on Monday to outline the local authority’s performance in the area.

On average 54 people were presenting as homeless every month in Fingal, Mr Reid said. There were less than 100 families in private hotel or bed and breakfast rooms in the local authority’s area.

Separately on Monday, South Dublin County Council voted to defer a decision on building nearly 1,000 homes in southwest Dublin over the lack of “affordable” homes in the proposed development.

Councillors voted 20 to 13 to delay approving the plan on Monday, which would develop a large housing estate at Kilcarbery, Dublin 22. The local authority owns the land, which would be developed by a private home-builder.

Social housing

Some 30 per cent of the 975 housing units will be ring-fenced for social housing and owned by the local authority.The remaining 681 homes will be sold by the developer. Under the proposal the first phase of 168 homes would be built by 2020, and the entire project would be completed in 2023.

The developer selected for the project following a competitive tender process is Adwood Ltd, a new company registered in Dublin 15 this June. The planned development on the 72-acre site will include 621 houses and 354 apartment units.

A similar project recently started construction at the O’Devaney Gardens flat complex near the Phoenix Park. Half the 585 homes at the redeveloped city centre site will be private housing, 30 per cent will be social homes, and 20 per cent will be “affordable” housing.

The Kilcarbery housing plan was criticised by Sinn Féin councillor Cathal King as it did not include any homes designated for “affordable housing”, which are sold at below market value.

A successful motion to delay a decision on the plan was proposed by Mr King, who said the time should be used by local politicians to put pressure on Mr Murphy to find funding to introduce an alternative affordable housing scheme for the site.

Solidarity councillor Kieran Mahon said his party opposed the current proposal to build over 900 homes due to the lack of an affordable element.

Alternative

South Dublin County Council chief executive Daniel McLoughlin said there was no national affordable housing scheme to revert to as an alternative.

“Unfortunately, even if a scheme were to be introduced tomorrow we have to respect the process that we invited people into” with the current developers, he told a council meeting.

He said if the existing plan was rejected the council would have to design a new proposal, based on an affordable cost model “from scratch,” which would take at least 18 months to complete the design and procurement stage.

The developer had agreed to pay the local authority €38 million for the land, which Mr McLoughlin said would be reinvested into other housing projects.

Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle said if councillors failed to approve the plans it would “justify” recent criticisms of local authorities over their delivery of housing.