Tenants begin to move into Fr Scully flats
RESIDENTS have finally begun to move into Fr Scully House now that a rent dispute has been resolved.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly met with some of the proud new occupants when he visited the complex near Dublin's Mountjoy Square.
One of the residents Tony Durkin (66) said he had been housed in a "cold, small apartment" for years while he was waiting for his new home.
"I had no choice but to wait," he said, but expressed his delight at his "fantastic" new fully-furnished apartment.
He was one of 24 tenants who had been moved out of the old Fr Scully House before it was demolished in 2006.
The €17m Fr Scully House project was funded by the Department of Environment under the Capital Assistance Scheme and overseen by Dublin City Council and the housing body, The Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS).
There had been a disagreement between the Catholic agency and the City Council over the amount of rent to be charged.
CHAS was seeking an average of €580 a month for the flats it built with state funding.
The dispute was resolved when it agreed to the €400 rate proposed by the local authority and housing agency.
More tenants on the City Council's housing waiting list will soon begin moving into the complex of 99 apartments following the rent agreement.
CHAS director Fergus McKenna said that regardless of the dispute over the rent, there was "misinformation" about the length of time the apartments were vacant before the tenants could move in.
"The building contractors only vacated the premises on the 3rd of October and then we took over," he said.
"We started bringing in our furniture in and we were in the midst of furnishing the place when we were hearing these stories but it wasn't actually finished or ready at the time," he added.
Mr McKenna said that he hoped to have the complex "fully populated" within five weeks but that they were interviewing about 12 possible tenants every week.
Minister Kelly said that the delay in housing the tenants was "regrettable" and that he had taken "a strong personal interest" in resolving the rent issue.
"Myself, local TD Joe Costello and Archbishop Martin, met with CHAS before Christmas where it was agreed that the previous 24 tenants of Fr Scully House could move back in immediately with an agreement to be concluded on the rents for the new tenants shortly after."