herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

TD fears temporary prefabs may be used as a long-term solution

Independent TD Tommy Broughan has serious concerns that prefabricated homes are far from temporary
Independent TD Tommy Broughan has serious concerns that prefabricated homes are far from temporary

A Dublin TD fears that the modular homes for homeless families could be in use for decades after the city's chief executive Owen Keegan said they have a life of 60 years.

Mr Keegan told Independent deputy Tommy Broughan that the prefabricated units due to be put up over the coming weeks were designed to last up to six decades.

Emergency

An official time line for the project has not been outlined by Dublin City Council (DCC), but other uses for the units when they are no longer needed for homeless families have been suggested.

These include social housing and student accommodation.

Mr Broughan told the Herald that the council must ensure the prefabs do not become a permanent housing solution.

"I've called continuously for an emergency housing programme," he said.

"We should use similar legislation to what was used for the banking crash to bring forward the tens of thousands of homes that we need.

"I just don't see the whole role of the modular housing. People thought it was a temporary measure until we get delivery of a serious social housing programme, but it looks like that might not be the case now."

A spokesman for Mr Keegan said last night that the council chief was simply highlighting the range of uses for the homes and was not indicating that they would be in use for decades.

"The shelf life of the modular homes is now 60 years, so they have a use beyond that which we are now using them for," he said. "However, they will have other uses beyond that because these are top quality units," he said.

"The long-term solution is to provide permanent houses for social housing."

Meanwhile, at this week's briefing session on the modular homes scheme, both UCD and Catholic Church land were suggested as possible locations for the next tranche of modular homes.

A further five locations need to be found for the temporary units.

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews has written to Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin asking him to engage with the council to see if some of the lands owned by the church, particularly in Dublin 6, would be suitable for prefab housing.

Potential

The archdiocese did not respond to direct queries about whether it would enter into discussion on the matter, but said that Crosscare, its social care agency, was in "regular contact with the homeless executive to assess and address current and future needs for homeless people in the city, including the modular homes project".

Grounds in UCD were suggested because of the potential for the modular homes to be used for student accommodation down the line.

UCD did not respond to a request for comment on this suggestion.

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