Newstalk
Newstalk

17.05 16 Sep 2020


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More than 20 families were handed the keys to their newly regenerated homes in Dublin's North Inner City today.

St Mary’s Mansions on Sean MacDermott Street is welcoming the first of 80 families after a €23m regeneration project.

The complex has an enclosed courtyard with a playground, which only residents have access to.

Betty O'Neill, who has lived at St Mary’s her entire life, was delighted to get her keys today.

“We were born and raised here,” she said.

“My mother lived here. She had 17 kids; I wouldn’t live anywhere else. We were born and reared here and we are used to it, we are used to the area and the people – all the good people that are living here.”

It took three years to redesign the 70-year-old complex. Twenty of the units have been filled by previous tenants while the remaining 60 have been allocated to people on Dublin City Council's housing list.

Susan Kane who received her keys this morning, said four generations of her family have made St Mary’s their home.

“My nanny moved in here when she was only a young bride,” she said. “She had my ma and my uncle Billy and then she had another two children.

“Then, I lived here and I reared my three children here. So, then I downgraded from a three-bedroom to a two-bedroom and my daughter has got a one-bedroom so she is going to start back living here.”

The project was led by the not-for-profit housing agency, Clúid Housing.

Clúid spokesperson Fiona Cormican said rents will be set based on a tenants income.

“We act as a landlord so, basically, people rent their properties off us at an economic rate which is based off their income or the rent they can afford,” she said.

“Then it can be reviewed up or down. People are entitled to work. As long as you are earning under the social housing threshold when you get the apartment initially, you are entitled to an apartment but we don’t penalise you for improving your life or working – your rent will just probably go up more in line.

She said the existing residents had a big input into the final design.

“Keeping the balconies was very important for the residents because they were worried their community would be taken away.

“I suppose, if you think about the old flat complexes, people used to hang over the balconies, chat to each other and that was how people engaged with each other, going around to each other’s flats.

“They were very anxious that that feature was kept.”

The regeneration project was financed through a combination of loans from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA), European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Government, with Clúid investing a total of €23m.

Reporting from Kacey O'Riordan


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