Housing crisis: Labour councillor suggests housing Dubliners in boats

Ireland could take inspiration from the Shetland Islands, Mary Freehill tells Newstalk

Housing crisis: Labour councillor suggests housing Dubliners in boats

Councillor and former Dublin mayor Mary Freehill | File photo: RollingNews.ie

A Labour councillor has proposed that ships be used to accommodate Dubliners squeezed out of the capital’s housing market.

Mary Freehill told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show that the boats could be berthed on waterways around the city.

The former Dublin lord mayor said the idea struck her during a recent trip to the Shetland Islands.

She said the so-called flotels she saw there, which are used by oil workers, may be suitable for other areas without sufficient housing.

"They come in all sorts of specifications and standards," she said. 

It comes as the government prepares to announce details of its plans to deal with record levels of homelessness.

However, Ms Freehill said the boats would not be appropriate for accommodating homeless families. 

"I would see them possibly addressing accommodation shortage not homelessness because that’s a different thing with families and so forth."

The Dublin city councillor, who represents the Rathmines-Pembroke area, told the programme that she was conscious of the number of people paying "outrageous" rents  in the capital.

"It’s very costly," she said.

Ms Freehill also cited the example of Sweden, where authorities are planning to house refugees in a cruise liner north of Stockholm, though she added that this was not what she was suggesting.

The Labour politician has submitted a motion to a Dublin City Council planning committee, calling for the issue to be investigated.

As for the response of fellow councillors, she said: "They feel they are open to the idea and it’s worth looking at, whether it’s realistic."