herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

'We'll defy the wrecking ball', say last residents of flats due for demolition

Carol Wolfe
Carol Wolfe
Demolition plans for O'Devaney Gardens

Residents of the soon-to-be demolished flats at O'Devaney Gardens have vowed to block demolition work until they are given suitable alternative accommodation.

Grandmother Carol Wolfe (57), who was born and has lived her entire life at the tower blocks near the Phoenix Park, said the remaining 26 residents of the complex have still not been offered suitable accommodation almost 15 years after it was first earmarked for re-development.

Demolish

There are plans to demolish the flats starting in September to make way for 400 homes to be built on the site.

"We're going to stop the builders. We'll block the road," she said.

She made the vow after learning that Dublin City Council (DCC) is expected to rubber stamp a proposal to demolish all four of the blocks at a special meeting on Monday.

"It is considered that the proposal for the demolition of four flat blocks at O'Devaney Gardens is consistent with the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 and is acceptable," stated a report by DCC's chief executive Brendan Kenny.

"The demolition of these four blocks will assist in the overall regeneration of the area," he said.

A spokesman for the council said "the intention is to demolish the two unoccupied blocks" starting in September. But he refused to say if the entire demolition would still go ahead whether or not the tenants have been re-housed.

"The city council has a project team in place who are in communication with the residents on a regular basis and they will work together to source alternative accommodation," he said.

But Ms Wolfe said none of the remaining residents are happy with the offers of housing elsewhere.

They claim they are miles away from where they have spent their entire lives or have friends and family or are otherwise unsuitable.

She claimed that there has been little communication with the council about alternative plans to house the residents.

"They're just putting me off all the time," she said. "You ask them if anything has come up and they just say 'no'."

Her neighbour, fellow long-term tenant Mary Hynes (58), agreed.

"We didn't even know about the meeting on Monday," she said.

While the residents said they will put up with the noise and disruption if the unoccupied blocks are torn down, they fear that once approval to demolish all four blocks is given, it's only a matter of time before they are turfed out.

"We're worried they'll get a court order to get us out," Ms Wolfe said.

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