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City Council should focus on building homes rather than grand plans

17 July 2017

Statement by Cllr Andrew Montague
Spokesperson on Community Affairs

Labour spokesperson on Community Affairs, Cllr Andrew Montague, has said that Dublin City Council should focus on delivering new social housing, both rapid build, and new schemes, rather than engaging in grand plans for regenerating the entire housing stock. Cllr Montague, who is Chair of the City Council's Planning Committee was responding to reports in yesterday's Sunday Business Post, as Councillors had not been informed of the plans.

"Our capital city is experiencing a housing crisis, and at its heart is an inability to deliver new social housing through our local authorities whose functions in this area have been run down.

"Significant funds have been committed to new housing projects, and there has been much advance publicity about projects underway, and the land banks that the City Council have available for development. Sanction has also been provided for the recruitment of hundreds of technical staff to help deliver projects, yet progress has been slow.

"What has been lacking are new homes for those who need it, and it is driving more and more to homelessness.

"As a Councillor in Dublin City Council I knew nothing about these plans, but I know what we do need - and that is the thousands of new homes that have been promised.

"The intentions of the City Council are good - no one doubts the need for regeneration across much of our housing stock, but what is essential at this time is delivery of new homes.

"Properties can be refurbished as they become vacant and thousands of homes have been returned to use in this way. Precinct redevelopment is also important, and ongoing maintenance and renewal should also be prioritieried.

"I am concerned that plans to pursue grand regeneration plans are taking up the focus of Council staff when we have a crisis at hand.

"I would hope that the City Council would be focused on delivery of new homes where there is an urgent need, rather than going down the road again of the failed PPP models that were meant to deliver regeneration in many council estates.

"We need action now, and from my anecdotal experience, and that of many of my colleagues, projects that would deliver new homes are being delayed by bureaucracy that the Council should be focused on relieving."