An affordable housing scheme which discriminates against Fingal residents who have had to leave the capital because of high rents has been approved.
The model determines who is eligible to buy discounted homes built on council-owned land – but restricts applicants to those living, working or in education within a 70km radius of Fingal.
The controversial scheme was voted in at the current council’s final meeting where some members expressed grave reservations and claimed it had been rushed through.
Proposing the motion Labour Cllr Duncan Smith said though it had been agreed by the housing special policy committee members were unhappy with several issues.
Solidarity Cllr Matt Waine said he was “shocked” at how such an important issue was being raised, adding: “It’s an absolute disgrace.
“My problem with this is there are literally tens of thousands of people who were born in Fingal or who lived here and worked here, who paid taxes here… who because of… hiking rents, were forced out of this county to the midlands and very far afield.
“This is a smack in the face and a kick in the teeth to those people.”
Applicants for affordable homes set to be built by the council at Ballymastone in Donabate, Church Fields in Dublin 15, Hackettstown in Skerries and Dun Emer in Lusk will be assessed under the Department’s new ‘scheme of priority’.
Affordable units will be sold at a discount of up to 40% on market rates and will be aimed at those over the threshold for social housing unable to secure a mortgage.
But councillors – who were invited to discuss it just hours before voting on it – say it was “rammed through” with the impression given that projects would not proceed without its approval.
Questioning the timing ahead of the local elections Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) said: “This is more about optics than anything else. We needed this to be properly discussed.
“I find this very hard to support but we have projects across Fingal that we are told won’t move forward unless we vote for this.”
Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF), who seconded the motion, issued a statement after the meeting calling for more details to be published on the scheme of priority.
He said while he welcomed it, he was concerned that the regulations require a household to be living within the Fingal area for 12 months before applying.
He added: “This means that households who have moved out of the county and who don’t qualify for social housing support may find themselves ineligible to apply. In my view that is far too restrictive and should be reviewed.”
Cllr Tom O’Leary (FG) welcomed the scheme in principle insofar as it clears the way for the council to deliver affordable homes, adding: “The details can be ironed out later.”