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Locals rubbish NAMA’s plan for city houses

CITY residents claim a multi-million euro business and residential development will split their home community.

NAMA this week unveiled plans for 2,600 new homes - to provide housing for 5,800 people - in the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock areas.

Under the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), half of all new properties will go towards the provision of badly-needed homes in the city centre.

However, locals remain unconvinced of the promised benefits.

Gerry Fay, who runs a shop in Seville Place and is chairman of North Wall Community Association, likened the SDZ to the Thatcherite policy of “Managed Decline.”

He claimed that a scarcity of progress under the previous and failed Docklands Master Plan - with only 37 houses built during 20 years - is evidence of the authorities allowing the area to become run-down.

“There is a reference to education in (the SDZ plan) that was released and they say that a review group will have a look in 18 months’ time to see if there is a need for education facilities, but the need is already pressing,” Mr Fay said.

Illustrating the level of distrust among residents, Mr Fay’s son, Mark (43), is doubtful the residential houses will even be built.

“They say there will be 2,600 homes but what they say and what they do are two very different things and we’ve experienced 25 years of that down here,” he said.

Paula Daly (35), from the North Wall, believes the new development marks a further attempt to marginalise residents.

“Homelessness is such a big issue round here but they are not replacing any of the blocked-up houses,” she said.

“The schools will eventually go and the area will be shut down for business,” she said.

Another resident ,Bernadette McCarthy (32), lives in a one-bedroom flat with four children.

Her situation reflects the uneven nature of the investment poured into the area in recent years.

“It is very small, we are literally overcrowded, there’s damp in my sitting room and kitchen and as a result my kids are constantly sick,” she said.

CONSTRUCTION

“I’ve been five years on the housing transfer list. Even if these new houses start being built tomorrow, it could be another four or five years before I get a house and that is only if they are being built,” she continued.

The site for development under the SDZ equates to 22 hectares, an area roughly equivalent in scale to the entire Custom House Docks/IFSC area where construction began in 1988.

Asked about the residents’ fears, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said they could not offer a comment until next week.

hnews@herald.ie


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