Saturday 16 December 2017

Labour TD attacks 'shameful' Sinn Fein over social housing

Gerry Courtney at one of the proposed sites for housing
Gerry Courtney at one of the proposed sites for housing

Sinn Fein's call to reduce the amount of social housing planned for a field in Clondalkin is "an absolute disgrace and beyond belief", a local Labour TD has claimed.

Deputy Robert Dowds claimed Sinn Fein wants the number of planned council houses to be built in Letts Field to be reduced by two-thirds.

South Dublin County Council Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O Broin said there were 48 new homes planned and he wants that figure reduced to 20 to partly protect recreational use of the field for young people.

The Labour TD said Cllr O Broin was guilty of "political cowardice" by backing a local "populist" call for fewer new houses on the site.


"People on the housing list and those living in emergency accommodation are going to suffer because of it," said Deputy Dowds.

"On the one hand, Sinn Fein is saying that more action needs to be done to tackle the housing crisis, now Sinn Fein wants the number of houses being built there to be reduced.

"That kind of hypocrisy just speaks for itself. Sinn Fein's opposition to the building of social housing during the middle of the worst housing crisis in living memory is just shameful," he said.

"I appreciate that some local people are upset that the field is being built on, and won't be available for football matches, but the scale of the housing crisis is simply too great to do anything else.

"Collinstown Park is nearby and has plenty of football pitches available.

"The housing crisis is simply desperate, and we cannot afford this sort of populist rubbish if we're going to get a handle on it," he said.

Cllr O Broin responded by stating that Sinn Fein supports South Dublin County Council's new social housing and wants Government funds to be released to build even more houses locally.

"Unfortunately, due to Government cuts to social housing funding, which Deputy Dowds voted for, South Dublin County Council has been unable to build a single house since Fine Gael and Labour took office," he said.

"Sinn Fein has called for the proposed development at Letts Field to be reduced from 48 houses to 20 to ensure that the much-used football pitch and local amenity is retained.

"We also want to ensure that the newly built special autism unit in St Peter Apostle's school is not unduly affected by any development," he said.

"Sinn Fein has also proposed that the units lost from Letts Field must be added to the proposed development close to Kilcarbery and Old Church," he said.

"The cause of the current housing and homeless rises lies squarely with the Government.

"They have refused to adequately fund social housing and emergency homeless accommodation.

"They have refused to act on rising home repossessions and spiralling rents.

"This is why our housing and homeless lists are out of control," he said.


Meanwhile, Clondalkin resident Gerry Courtney, who has two young children, told the Herald recently that he opposed the Letts Field plans as the area is turning into a "concrete jungle" with nowhere for children to play.

"I'm not against social housing, but there are other green spaces that are better suited," he said.

"There's no proper thought given to north Clondalkin when they're building social houses, health centres or libraries.

"They seem to just put what they want around here and we have to take it.

"They're not taking the locals seriously.

"It's a huge recreational area for kids," he added.

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