Sunday 20 October 2019

'Floating hotels at docks could ease homeless crisis' - councillor

Labour Party member Mary Freehill
Labour Party member Mary Freehill

A former Lord Mayor of Dublin has put forward a bizarre proposal to place people on ships in an effort to help alleviate the capital's accommodation crisis.

Labour Party member Mary Freehill, who is a Dublin City Council representative for the Rathmines/Pembroke area, made the motion at the local authority's Planning Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) meeting.

In her submission, Ms Freehill (70) said that the Council should investigate the possibility "of encouraging floatels to Dublin" in conjunction with the local port and docklands authority.

"These are large accommodation ships that can accommodate 200 separate living units and are anchored on water," Ms Freehill said.

"They are widely used to accommodate oil workers in areas where there is a shortage of accommodation. Also they are used in Asian countries and come with all different specifications and standards of accommodation.

"Conscious to the current cost and shortage of accommodation for students and workers in Dublin, it might be worth exploring this type of accommodation on a temporary basis, for say two years, until the supply increases," the Labour representative added.

Mary Freehill was elected as Dublin Lord Mayor in 1999.


Speaking to the Herald, Ms Freehill said that the proposal "was an idea" that should be put before the Council.

"There is obviously an accommodation crisis in the capital at the moment and this could be one way of easing the pressure.

"We haven't looked into cost or anything like that, it's a proposal and an alternative that will be debated next Tuesday at the Planning SPC," she said.

Meanwhile, religious orders have been urged to offer the State vacant or disused priests' homes, convents and buildings to ease the housing and homeless crisis.

Housing, Planning and Local Government Minister Simon Coveney issued the plea after revealing three properties have been handed over in Cork, Kerry and Waterford in recent months.

Eighteen congregations signed deals with the State to meet €350m of the cost of compensating abuse survivors.

By last year, property worth €42m was handed over, but Mr Coveney appealed for all religious orders in the country to consider if they could donate any other buildings or homes to put a roof over people's heads.

"If there are any religious congregations listening and you have properties that are no longer in use or you are looking to vacate in the coming months or years we are interested in talking to you," Mr Coveney said.

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