19,000 waiting for new house on Council list
A total of 19,000 people are languishing on Dublin City Council's housing list.
While 75 families got new homes in Inchicore yesterday, the local authority accepts it needs to start building now to "stabilise" its housing shortage which has been described by President Michael D Higgins as being at "crisis" point.
The President officially opened the €16.9m Thornton Heights, part of the regeneration of St Michael's Estate in Inchicore, a 75-unit development of 10 terraced houses and 65 apartments, including four disabled units, in four blocks.
The regeneration of the area, which formerly housed seven tower blocks on a 14-acre site, began 12 years ago.
The construction of Thornton Heights - named after Dr Brigid Lyons Thornton of Cumann na mBan - began in 2010 but the residents only took possession of their new homes two weeks ago.
The new dwellers include some of the original residents of St Michael's Estate and people who were on the housing list from the greater Dublin area and immigrant families.
Almost 10pc of the 165 new residents were homeless.
All of the residents were put through a rigorous interview process with Circle Voluntary Housing Association which manages the development for Dublin City Council.
Although the official opening of the new development was being celebrated yesterday, assistant chief executive for Housing and Residential Services with Dublin City Council, Dick Brady, said the council needed to start building again and building significantly.
He's hoping to bring proposals to the council where vacant land would be given over to consortia for development, and the mix of tenures could help support the cost of the building.
"We should have done it previously and we need to start immediately because we are ending up in a position where not only people on the margins are in trouble but also people just beyond the margins, who would traditionally have been self sufficient in their accommodation but are being squeezed out with high rents," Mr Brady told the Herald.
President Higgins said regeneration had to be about people and communities and not just about removing people to make spaces so places can be changed.
"The atmosphere in here is marvellous and a great example of how you can provide good housing of the highest standard so that people can experience a sense of equality as citizens and what can be done," President Higgins said.