Michael Staines
Michael Staines

12.39 30 Apr 2019


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Homeless activist Fr Peter McVerry has warned that authorities are still failing to plan for the future in terms of Dublin housing.

Fr McVerry was speaking after it emerged that Dublin City Council has decided not to buy any social housing units at three major new developments in the docklands.

The developments are 6 Hanover Quay, Boland's Mill – which was recently sold to Google – and 8 Hanover Quay – also known as the Reflector Building.

Docklands

Under planning legislation the council is entitled to acquire 10% of new residential developments for social housing.

The Irish Times reports this morning that, rather than paying the docklands prices, the council has reached an agreement with the developers to purchase homes they own in other areas of the city instead.

At 6 Hanover Quay, the average price of an apartment is €800,000.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Fr Peter McVerry said the site was originally owned by NAMA – which opted to sell it one rather than build social and affordable housing.

NAMA

He said the government could have built 2,500 social and affordable houses in the area, with a mix of private housing.

“I don’t think there is any planning for the future,” he said.

“I think housing policy is being dictated by the developers and the builders.

“I think the Government has lost control of housing policy. It is the builders and developers who decide what is going to be built and where it is going to be built.”

Government

Fr McVerry said he understands Dublin City Council’s decision not to purchase at docklands prices – but said the solution must come from Government.

“Maybe the Government need to step in here,” he said. “The Government keep talking about social housing and the need for integrated social housing.

“The Government should come up with a way of acquiring those – maybe paying for them over 10 years rather than just paying straight off or finding some other way to ensure there is some element of social housing in that block.

“What is going to happen now over the next few years is, we are going to see, that whole area is going to be gentrified and that is to the detriment of the local community.”

Docklands Cranes stand tall in the old Dublin Docklands, 07-03-2019. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Social cleansing

Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys called on the Minister for Housing to intervene before “it is too late to halt the social cleansing of the Docklands area in his own constituency.”

“The area is rapidly being socially cleansed as an enclave for the elite and wealthy,” he said.

“The principles of balanced and sustainable social development have been lost in the area.

“The local community has always co-operated and supported efforts to redevelop the docks, but now their dividend is being withheld.”

He called on the Government to intervene to ensure units are purchased in the area and “regulations are changed to stop this happening in future.”


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