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Ghost estates in city refused cash for vital safety works

VITAL safety work at three of Dublin's ghost estates will not go ahead after ministers refused to come up with the cash.

Councillors had said there were "significant public safety issues" when they applied for grants to the Department of the Environment from a ¤5m fund.

"Under this initiative, applications can be considered ... to carry out remedial works required to render sites safe and thereby address critical public safety issues," Dublin City Council said.

But the department did not deem the Belmayne, Priory Hall or Marsfield schemes in the capital's North Fringe zone eligible for the money.

The council said it considered the three sites to be in "need of urgent intervention to address significant public safety issues and is therefore re-examining the application".

It wants to ensure the "facts have been set out clearly and comprehensively and that any change in the status of the three sites is taken on board".

The council made the submission in July but was told last month that the request had been rejected.

Labour TD Tommy Broughan told the Herald that Dublin appeared to have been overlooked by the Department of the Environment.

"We seem to have got hardly any of that (money)," he said.

"The amount of money is ludicrously small but it's regrettable we haven't got some of it."

He said at one stage there were 1,200 to 1,500 vacant units in the North Fringe.

"You would still be talking about 600 to 700, which is incredible considering we have 50,000 families on the housing list," Mr Broughan told the Herald. One of the main issues in the North Fringe is the completion of the main boulevard, he added.

In April, Housing Minister Willie Penrose said it was "totally unacceptable" for estates to be left unfinished as the vacant properties were a "natural magnet" for children.

Some 350 estates were singled out, representing almost 8,000 houses. Of these, 180 were rated as most in need of funding to resolve safety problems.

comurphy@herald.ie