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A private company managing homeless accommodation in Dublin made nearly €3 million profit in 2016

R&G Administration manages and oversees accommodation for homeless families at two locations in Dublin.

00122465_122465 File photo of the Regency Hotel in Dublin (pictured in 2011). Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A COMPANY THAT is involved in managing homeless accommodation for Dublin City Council made a profit of almost €3 million in 2016.

R&G Administration manages and oversees accommodation for homeless families at two seperate locations in Dublin.

It operates rooms at The Bonnington Hotel – formerly the Regency Hotel - on the Swords Road, Whitehall. It also manages homeless accommodation at a property on the North Circular Road.

At the Bonnington, the company has a contract in place with DCC for the upkeep and management of about 80 rooms for homeless families.

R&G does not own the hotel, which belongs to the McGettigan Group.

The rooms in question are separate from the main area of the hotel, and are accessed through a separate lobby.

R&G liaises with the families and maintains the premises.

It is unclear how many rooms are being managed by R&G at the North Circular Road facility, which is used as emergency accommodation.

original (7) File photo of the Regency after a shooting there in 2016. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Accounts for 2016 – the most recent year available – filed by R&G show that it made an after tax profit of €2,929,045 for the year.

This was a jump of almost €2.6 million on profits of about €385,151 from 2015. Profit for the company increased steadily before this from 2012 onwards, before jumping in 2016.

It is not clear if the entirety of R&G’s profits relate to payment it received from the council, or if it is engaged in other activities.

The 2016 financial report for homelessness services in Dublin shows a payment of €525,000 to R&G for “emergency accommodation for families North Circular Road”.

Payments for the Bonnington – then called the Regency – were likely contained in the €46.8 million given to commercial hotel providers of emergency accommodation.

No names or breakdown is given of individual hotel providers, with the council citing reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Despite numerous attempts by TheJournal.ie to reach the company, no one had responded from R&G at the time of publication.

Bonnington Hotel

Private hotel and commercial providers in Dublin have been used increasingly for homeless accommodation over the past five years, as the number of homeless families have shot up.

The former Regency Hotel (which became infamous in 2016 as the site of a gangland shooting) has been used since at least 2014 for housing homeless families.

The hotel was also in the media in June, 2016, after a young homeless couple and housing activists camped outside protesting that conditions in the hotel were unsuitable.

Prior to this the family were asked to leave the hotel as a result of a dispute.

The DRHE said that at the time that the issue “gave rise to substantial health and safety concerns for staff”. It also said it worked with R&G who provide the accommodation.

original (6) People camped outside the Regency Hotel in 2016. Source: Irish Housing Network

Detailed documents from the time – released to TheJournal.ie under the Freedom of Information Act – show a dispute between staff and the residents in question.

In the documents, a person who inspects the former residents’ room found that there was a serious issue with mould there that was not addressed properly due to confusion when the issue first arose.

“Unfortunately the room had two issues and because of “loose communication” maintenance I was dealing with only one,” the person says in a note to Dublin City Council.

I should have inspected the room myself and not relied on someone else’s opinion.

Separately, in May, a number of homeless families staying at the Regency Hotel spoke to TheJournal.ie about conditions there.

Following this, DCC carried out an investigation about safety, hygiene and other problems outlined by the families.

The council’s facilities team visited the site and asked R&G to rectify safety concerns and address issues around the shared kitchen space and treatment of families by staff.

At the time, a spokesperson for R&G told TheJournal.ie on condition on anonymity that tensions can run high at times in the hotel because of the difficult situations families are going through.

“Our residents are going through a very stressful time being homeless,” they said.

Having to look after children in a hotel room is not easy. Naturally tensions run high sometimes and disagreements come about between residents and staff, and residents alike. I would like to think and hope that the majority, if not all of our families are happy living with us.

R&G Administration 

R&G Administration was established in December 2008, then-named DB BER Certificates Dublin.

The company paid out almost €557,000 in wages, salaries and social welfare costs in 2016, compared to just above €396,116 the previous year.

In 2014, it had 11 employees and paid out wages, salaries and social insurance costs of €128,808 (the numbers of people employed at the company for 2015 and 2016 are not available).

Public accounts are not available for 2013. In 2012, the company changed its name from DB BER Certificates Dublin, to R&G Administration.

That same year, the company was taken over by Raymond and Grace O’Connor, who both became the company’s directors and are its only shareholders.

DB BER Certificates Dublin was first incorporated in December 2008, but prior to 2012 the company listed no profit or revenue figures in its accounts.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive  said that private emergency accommodation operators are subject to standards and conditions set out in the Information and Guidelines for Service Users and Service Providers which came into effect in 2016.

They are also subject to the terms & conditions of the lease agreement.

“All operators must ensure staff are vetted and must adhere to child protection policies.  The DRHE provides training to private emergency operators’ as required,” the spokesperson said.

They declined to give the amount of money paid to R&G Administration for managing the homeless accommodation.

“We do not currently publish amounts paid to individual providers for reasons of commercial sensitivity,” the spokesperson said.

Read: Is handing out free food and clothes to homeless people really the best way to help them?

Read: The number of homeless families staying in hotels in Dublin has shot up once again

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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