Protest delaying delivery of 65 social housing homes
Legal action now required to get building resumed at site
Fingal County Council’s Director of Housing, Margaret Geraghty, has rejected claims by protesters in relation to the allocation of houses at a social housing development in Mulhuddart where a protest has halted construction for the past six weeks.
Speaking today at the monthly meeting of the Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart/Castleknock/Ongar Area Committee Ms Geraghty added that legal action is now required to get building resumed at the site and said the issue was holding up progress on other Council housing projects because of the amount of time it is taking up to resolve it.
Clúid Housing and Fingal County Council are working in partnership to deliver 65 new homes at Church Road, Mulhuddart, to families, older persons and individuals with a disability on the Council’s housing list and the Director of Housing completely refuted allegations being made by the protesters in relation to the allocation of these houses.
“Let me be absolutely clear, these homes have not yet been allocated and Fingal County Council has long-established policies in relation to allocating housing to those in need of social housing support in accordance with our allocations schemes which is approved by our elected councillors,” said Ms Geraghty.
“Households eligible for social housing support are allocated a home suitable to their needs in ‘date in need’ order. This means that, over time, a family or individual moves towards the top of the list. This is the way homes are allocated in Fingal and will continue to be allocated in Fingal and it has proved to be the most fair method of providing housing.
“I am alarmed and dismayed at the information that this group is putting out on social media that suggests this is not the case. Let me be really clear, this Council has a strong reputation for getting things done and working hard for the wider community. As Director of Housing, that is my commitment too and anything that suggests that the Council is not treating its citizens fairly and transparently is simply not the correct facts and this must be challenged.
“The Council is responsible for meeting the housing needs of the community and, in Fingal, that is a community which includes the elderly, the disabled, the homeless, the travelling community and also our growing migrant population.
“The Council has recently published a Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Strategy to ensure that Fingal County Council meets the needs of our growing and diverse population and also sets out our commitment to promote migrant integration in the county.”
Ms Geraghty told councillors that Council officials met with the contractor, Clúid and a group representing the protesters on February 14 and Council officials then met with a number of applicants for Social Housing from the Mulhuddart area on February 17. They updated the applicants on their list positions and explained to them that, in the same way as any other family or individual in need of housing support, they would be made an offer based on date in need which is the date they were deemed eligible to go on the housing list.
“This is in accordance with the terms of the Council’s Allocations Scheme,” said Ms Geraghty who added that information in relation to the provisions of the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) was also provided.
“Unfortunately, some of the group said they were not interested in hearing information in relation to HAP and protestors who accompanied them said that they wanted their ‘forever homes’ and would not accept HAP’. Again, let me clear, any household who rents a property under the HAP Scheme, remains on the housing waiting list and their date in need does not change.”
Ms Geraghty confirmed that the contractor and Clúid have been advised that legal action is now required to deal with the issue in accordance with the contract and said she was grateful for the support of the Councillors and TDs, the Irish Council for Social Housing and Clúid who are all working closely with Fingal County Council to get construction started again at Church Road.
“I welcome your ongoing support and I assure you that this Council operates in a fair and transparent way to provide much needed homes in the community,” said Ms Geraghty. “As Councillors (this council and over the past five years) you have supported me and my housing team with an ambitious social housing construction programme with over 30 social housing construction projects across Fingal with the most emphasis in Dublin 15 due to the acute need for housing.“
The Director of Housing added that over the last four years over 2,500 families in the Dublin 15 area have been accommodated in new and additional social housing as part of the 6,378 housing units that Fingal County Council has delivered since 2015 under the Rebuilding Ireland programme.
“Indeed, right beside these protesters is evidence of the commitment of this Council to building new homes ourselves, with Approved Housing Bodies and the Construction Sector. It is incredibly frustrating for me personally to have so much of my time and my team’s time trying to get building back on site. It is a serious waste of taxpayers’ money and it is holding up progress on other construction projects.”
Following Ms Geraghty’s statement to the Area Committee, there were contributions from Cllr Kieron Dennison, Cllr Natalie Treacy, Cllr John Burtchaell and Cllr Mary McCamley.
A recording of the meeting will shortly be uploaded to https://fingalcoco.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/470494