Prefabs for homeless to be fast-tracked in city
Environment Minister Alan Kelly is considering by-passing normal procurement rules in order to buy a selection of modular houses before Christmas.
The Government wants to be able to say it has 'ended' the homeless crisis by the New Year and believes that buying up prefabricated homes is one of the quickest ways of doing this.
The news comes in the wake of the death of Kildare man Alan Murphy who was sleeping rough in Dawson Lane last week, not far from where homeless man Jonathan Corrie died on a doorstep in December.
However, by opting not to seek tenders from companies who supply the modular homes the Government runs the risk of paying above the market rate.
"In order bring the modular units on stream in that timeframe we would have to carefully consider the planning and procurement issues," a source told the Herald.
"There is provision in EU tender rules that if it is an emergency situation, some of the normal procedures can be bypassed."
If Mr Kelly opts to fast-track the process, the four local authorities in Dublin will then have to plan carefully for where the homes will be located.
The Department of Environment is confident that there are enough vacant sites around the capital, but planning permission will have to be acquired. Once the various components have been delivered, modular homes can be assembled within days.
In some cases they are built entirely at the factory and transported on the back of trucks.
"There is no question of creating ghettos. They would have to be divided up and placed in suitable locations with amenities so there is a lot of planning issues to consider," said the source.
Earlier this month the local authorities put a small number of modular units on display for homeless charities to inspect.
The two-bedroom units, which were designed to accommodate families, were widely praised for their high standard and modern finish.
However, they can cost upwards of €100,000 each, meaning it would take a significant investment from the Government to buy a meaningful number.
"The minister is examining all the avenues available to him to assist the expeditious delivery of social housing, including modular units," a department spokesman said.