A FINE GAEL backbencher this week held a meeting in opposition to social housing in his constituency, which he had earlier approved as a county councillor.
Derek Keating, a TD for Dublin Mid-West sat on South Dublin County Council when 10 traveller-specific units were approved for the Ballynakelly/Newcastle Lyons estate in Newcastle in 2009.
The private estate was agreed with SDCC in 2008, with developer Maplewood entering into a contract to provide 45 affordable homes, 31 social housing homes and 10 traveller specific homes.
At a meeting of SDCC on February 9, 2009, the council agreed, without a vote, the traveller accommodation plan for 2009-2013.
A number of councillors spoke on the issue, but Keating did not, according to the minutes.
The traveller units were never completed and Maplewood went bust in 2013.
Significant portions of the estate remain unfinished, including the 10 traveller units, a full block of around 14 private apartments, a park area and a subsequent second phase of the development.
At a residents AGM in January, the receivers of the site, Grant Thornton, confirmed that the traveller units are still on the agenda.
In response, Keating organised a public meeting, held last Monday.
It was attended by over 200 people, the bulk of whom were against the units, sources who attended confirmed.
A flier for the meeting
Keating told the meeting that the Council were in negotiation with the receivers over the 10 traveller houses and that the purpose of the meeting was to ‘provide people with an opportunity to express their views’ which he would pass on to the council.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Eoin O’Broin also spoke at the meeting, outlining that Keating had voted in favour of the plan.
Reports say that when presented with this Keating said that he was not a councillor for Newcastle at the time and thus wasn’t aware of the scope of the situation.
Calls to Deputy Keating were not returned.