Saturday 20 January 2018

Residents angry at plan to house 400 homeless families


Michelle Harmon, one of the few remaining residents of O'Devaney Gardens resident
Michelle Harmon, one of the few remaining residents of O'Devaney Gardens resident

SOME of the remaining residents living in a flats complex have hit out against Dublin City Council's plans to refurbish the complex for 400 homeless families.

Last week the council announced an ambitious €4.72m plan to redevelop 62 flats in O'Devaney Gardens, on Dublin's northside.

One of the last remaining residents, Michelle Harmon, has criticised the plan to house homeless people at the flats saying that the original regeneration plan should have been completed.

Most of the 300 council flats have been boarded up and many of the former residents were moved to alternative accommodation across the city. Some of the flats have been demolished.


Plans had previously been put in place for a regeneration project and planning permission for the project was secured.

However, that plan stalled due to a lack of funds.

Now the council has said that it wants the flats to be refurbished to tackle the city's growing homeless crisis.

Just 14 of the original residents remain at O'Devaney Gardens.

Ms Harmon (46) expressed her disappointment that the original plan didn't go ahead.

"I was born and reared in this place, and when they moved most of the people out to demolish the site, they broke up the community," she said.

She said that many of the residents would have stayed if they had known that the 62 flats were to be refurbished.

"I have nothing against the homeless people but we were made promises for over 15 years now and nothing is getting done.

"Right now the place is falling apart, there are more cats living here than humans, would it not be better to find an empty site, build social housing and put people in there?" she added.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council said that a regeneration process - separate to the plan to house homeless people - is still "progressing".

He said that a report issued to councillors said that the new proposal will not interfere with the current regeneration of the estate and that the existing tenants will be given a priority in having their own homes refurbished.

He could not last night say how many occupied flats were earmarked or give a timescale.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke last week slammed the plan, branding it "ludicrous".

He said it would have been better to open up churches and convents to the homeless.

The council is due to vote on the scheme to house the homeless at the site today, but Lord Mayor Christy Burke said that he intends to take the matter off the agenda.

He said he will attempt to block the plan.

If it is approved, the council hopes to have the first homeless families moving in this month.

Families moving into the units will have to pay utility bills and a rental charge based on ability to pay.

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