Residents aim to raise €75k for fight against planned homeless hub
Residents in Clontarf are planning to take legal action against Dublin City Council (DCC) for its proposal to create a "homeless hub" in their area.
Plans are already under way to move 13 families into a former B&B on leafy St Lawrence Road, despite an outcry from locals.
Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) splashed out €2m to purchase the two red-brick homes for homeless families currently living in hotels.
The DRHE said the use of commercial hotels was "unsuitable", and the new hubs would provide play spaces, cooking and laundry facilities, and communal recreation spaces.
However, many locals in the St Lawrence vicinity said their objections were not being taken seriously and they were left with "no alternative" but to take the council to court.
A residents' committee of four key members is now rallying neighbours to fork out up €75,000 to pay for legal costs.
In a letter sent out to each resident of St Lawrence Road, the association stated that it has received commitments of €20,000 so far.
"In order to fully fund our challenge to the development at 19&20 [St Lawrence Road] we need to raise €75,000 - €56,000 legal and expert fees and additional €18,500 contingency to cover unanticipated costs," wrote committee member Paul Geraghty.
"We are asking each resident at this time to commit €1,500. Please note that residents have committed between €1,000 and €5,000."
Local residents have complained they were not consulted about the project, but insisted they were not opposed to housing homeless families.
They said the property was unsuitable and individual apartments in the area should have been bought instead.
The letter goes on to say that the €75,000 figure compares "very favourably" with the costs of proceedings by way of judicial review, which would exceed €215,000 or up to €400,000 if they were unsuccessful.
Aidan Hickey, a member of the St Lawrence Road Committee, told the Herald the plans are just not suitable.
"We want to strongly emphasise that we are not against homeless families moving to our area," he said.
"While the properties are quite large, there is no way that there would be enough room to support 13 families and possibly up to 50 people.
"It wouldn't be fair on them and the buildings alone are in disrepair. The council began their work back in mid-April and since then they are finding more and more problems with the structure."
The DRHE said it was committed to developing community relations with local residents.
The Housing Agency said the property was good value, and as it operated as a B&B there was no requirement to seek new planning permission.
DCC did not respond to a request for comment.