Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has defended his objection to a social housing development in his own constituency, saying he only did so after engaging 'very extensively' with the local community.
Deputy Ó Broin - who has been a long-time supporter of social and affordable housing - and his party objected to plans for the Lindisfarne development in his Dublin Mid-West constituency.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, the Sinn Féin TD said he and his colleagues had put together an alternative plan for the area after hearing from locals.
He explained: "In this particular case… the council proposed in August 28 social housing units, and they have a parallel proposal for a much needed child and family centre on a very small strip of land.
“We engaged very extensively with both the child and family centre and the local community, and we came up with an alternative proposal on the same piece of piece of land and an adjacent piece of land that would have actually seen 44 homes and the child and family centre.
"You would also have much greater community buy-in... and community buy-in from the existing residents is important."
An amendment with the Sinn Féin proposal was tabled, but it failed to pass amid opposition from other parties.
The council’s proposal - which had been reduced from 28 to 19 homes amid the concerns over the site - then passed unopposed.
Deputy Ó Broin said he would 'much prefer' seeing more houses across two phases of a project rather than fewer houses in a single phase.
He said: “What people will tell us is they want homes, because many of these people have family members on the housing waiting lists. They also want to ensure those homes are properly planned, and - in as much as is possible - valuable green space in built-up urban areas is retained.
“There are more people in my constituency who want to see me and my party colleagues deliver as many social and affordable homes as possible. But communities have a right to be involved and be consulted.”
A number of Fine Gael politicians - including local Councillor David McManus - have criticised Sinn Féin for their approach.
However, Deputy Ó Broin said there's a 'certain hypocrisy' from Fine Gael in this case, as they have a 'long record' of voting against proposals on the council.