Carmelite Monastery homeless hub row rumbles on in Firhouse

by Padraig Conlon

A councillor has responded to criticism after he delayed the opening of a local homeless hub.

Last month Fine Gael councillor Brian Lawlor lodged a query with An Bord Pleanala (ABP) questioning the suitability of the former Carmelite monastery in Firhouse for use as sheltered accommodation.

Respond Housing Association, who are leasing the building, has been using it since December for accommodating families on the housing list.

The councillor’s referral means the building can’t be used until ABP deliver their judgement on May 13.

Sinn Fein councillor Robert Russell has accused Cllr Lawlor of “nimbyism” and questioned the motivations behind his appeal.

“This is in my view just another cynical attempt by local councillors to oppose a facility being placed in their area,” Cllr Russell told Dublin Gazette.

“In December, in response to the current housing crisis, a number of families entered accommodation which has been provided at the old Carmalite monastery in Firhouse giving them a much needed roof over their heads.

“But shamefully if Fine Gael councillors get their way it potentially would see these families evicted and thrown back into further distress and uncertainty.

“Despite council management confirming that the approved housing body (Respond) who will manage this site possess the necessary experience to provide this type of accommodation and are happy it is in keeping with its previous use.

“It hasn’t stopped Fine Gael led by Cllr Brian Lawlor attempting to take it away from families in need going as far as to appeal it to An Bord Pleanála, in what is a thinly veiled attempt to disguise the nimbyism held by a number of councillors, which has been plainly evidenced in South Dublin by Fine Gael and other right wing councillors over the last number of years.”

In response, Cllr Brian Lawlor said he firmly believes the building “is not suitable” and he will be “proven right.”

“The left are spinning this to try and make it look like I’m stopping homeless families from being housed,” he said.

“Robert Russell is just jumping on the bandwagon, that’s what the left do.

“He might be happy to put kids into that building but I’m not.

“The reason I lodged the query is because it is my belief that the building is not ok to house families.

“I’ve been in it, it is not suitable, it consists of single room dorms, there’s no changing facilities for children and no play facility.

“Respond should have applied for planning permission to bring the facility up to the standard that families deserve.

“They were afraid they wouldn’t get planning and went about it the wrong way and fast tracked it.

“I know I’ll be proven right on this, I don’t believe a homeless hostel is permitted under the land’s zoning.

“Only a couple of constituents have objected to the monastery being converted to homeless accommodation.”

Related Articles