Fingal fumes as row on housing deepens

by Sylvia Pownall

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has been dubbed “a fraud” amid claims he sat on plans for 1,200 houses in Damastown for months with no commitment to funding.

Mulhuddart Cllr Matt Waine (Solidarity) accused Minister Murphy of shifting the blame for the housing crisis onto local authorities who are carrying out his policies.

He issued the statement just days before Sinn Fein lodged a motion of no confidence in the Minister on Tuesday – as Fingal County Council chief Paul Reid also rejected Minister Murphy’s criticism of the four Dublin councils.

Fingal County Council owns a significant landbank in Damastown, D15, and Solidarity reckons funding of €186 million could deliver the 1,200 units.

Cllr Waine said: “Last October, I – along with Solidarity – published a comprehensive and costed proposal to develop 1,200 homes on council-owned lands in a new social and affordable community called Damastown Village.

“The council have basically adopted our plan. However, when we push them on the funding model and the timescale, officials tell us that they don’t know because the Minister’s office hasn’t told them if the Department will back the costs.

“It is a bit rich for Minister Murphy to be throwing his weight around blaming county managers when he hasn’t even given the green light to a public development that would see 1,200 homes delivered within two years in a homeless blackspot.”

The number of homeless people rose by 25% during the first 13 months of Minister Murphy’s tenure to a record 9,891 people in July.

He has instructed Fingal County Council to provide hubs for 300 families, and 150 beds for rough sleepers, threatening to step in and use emergency powers if this is not done.

But Fingal chief Paul Reid said the council, which has delivered more social units per capita than any other Dublin authority, was “relentlessly committed to housing”.

At Monday’s council meeting, he revealed he’d written to Minister Murphy highlighting Fingal’s performance in delivering 2,241 social units from 2015 to 2017, and is on target to meet its 2018 target of 1,637 units.

Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) said: “The core problem is not Fingal County Council but Fine Gael, as the Minister will not provide the council with sufficient funding to deliver large-scale mixed-tenure developments on public land with public money, despite repeated calls to do so.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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