At the recent monthly meeting, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county councillors voted in favour of passing the Affordable Housing Scheme.
The scheme, which was proposed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, was soundly rejected by the council at last month’s meeting.
“There were no substantial changes made to the scheme of priorities,” says People Before Profit councillor, Melisa Halpin.
“The scheme has now been agreed but it does not mean there will be one affordable house available in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown.”
Halpin says that last month People Before Profit proposed a motion to write to Minister Murphy and ask him to review the proposal which was rejected by the council. The motion passed.
“He did not even bother sending a reply to the council. Despite this, we were forced to vote on it at the council meeting as the deadline for agreeing the scheme is fast approaching.
“It is the greatest of disrespect from the Minister to the council, that he refused to even reply to our letter.
“On this basis we proposed deferring the scheme and hold a special meeting of the new council to give the Minister time to respond to us.
“Unfortunately, the proposal to defer was voted against by both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and the scheme was agreed.
Halpin says that the scheme will discriminate against anyone who lives outside the county even if they have roots in the locality.
“You will not be considered for the affordable scheme if you live outside the county.
“So, for example, someone living in Bray or Tallaght who grew up in Sallynoggin or Dun Laoghaire but who cannot afford the rents in our county, will be deemed ineligible for the scheme.
“This is outrageous and is clearly abandoning the very people we should be seeking to look after,” she says.
Fine Gael councillor John Kennedy criticised the decision by the majority of the councillors to extend the distance limit of who can qualify for the scheme.
“The decision to extend the work location distance to 150 kilometres from the original proposed distance of 35 kilometres means in effect that those working in the Isle of Man and North Wales are set to be entitled to the same level of priority as someone working locally in Dundrum or Dun Laoghaire,” says Kennedy.
Kennedy says that he also disagrees with the decision to give those with children who attend schools up to 35km away the same priority as those with children attending schools in the locality.
“Those living, working and with their children attending local schools with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown ought to have been granted the highest priority for affordable housing, but the vote by a majority of councillors hampers this objective” he says.