'We'll believe it when we see bulldozers' - locals give guarded welcome to Dolphin's Barn plan

Housing minister Simon Coveney has announced €25 million in funding for regeneration of the Dolphin House estate in south Dublin.

NO FEE DEPT ENVIRONMENT DOLPHIN HOUSE MX7 Simon Coveney, Veronica Lally, and a photo of Veronica's father Denis, outside Dolphin House this morning Maxwells Maxwells

A SOUTH DUBLIN housing community is to receive €25 million in funding for a housing regeneration project, starting in September.

The news comes in the wake of the announcement of the government’s new housing plan yesterday.

Today, Housing Minister Simon Coveney announced the first phase of funding for the Dolphin House estate in Dolphin’s Barn in the south inner city.

The minister was accompanied at the announcement by drugs minister Catherine Byrne and deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin Rebecca Moynihan.

The regeneration will consist of four phases, the first of which is to begin in September and last two years.

In making the announcement at the local community centre, Coveney said that “the community here has been through a lot in the last few years”.

20160720_110009 Coveney and Deputy Lord Mayor Rebecca Moynihan at Dolphin House Cianan Brennan / Cianan Brennan / /

“This is the number one issue for this government, bar none,” he said, adding that Dublin City Council (DCC) is similarly anxious to get moving on the project, which follows a similar announcement regarding a €29 million regeneration announcement for nearby Dominick Street made some weeks ago.

This is a flagship project for me, one I am deadly serious about. Rebuilding Dublin’s communities is a big part of what we want to do as a government.

“Until we see bulldozers”

Local woman Veronica Lally, who has been living in the community for 47 years, describes the area as being “very excited and very happy” at the announcement, but added “I just hope they stand by what they say”.

Asked whether or not she thinks the government will be true to its promises, Veronica said: “I hope so, this community has been let down for a lot of years.”

Now it’s our time, I hope and pray he will keep his word. But we’ll keep on him, don’t you worry.
I’m confident today, because of the buzz that’s around, but when we get back to battling with the council, that can change.

NO FEE DEPT ENVIRONMENT DOLPHIN HOUSE MX3 Coveney speaking to the media with Dolphin House in the background Maxwells Maxwells

Veronica, whose parents likewise lived in Dolphin House, says the community “won’t believe until we see the bulldozers”. Her priority is a new community centre for the area, a building which isn’t actually currently included in the regeneration plans as they stand.

“These properties are over 60 years old, they’re starting to collapse,” said mother-of-two Veronica.

Dolphin House, among other similar estates around the country, was last year the subject of a complaint taken to Europe, and ruled admissible by the European Committee on Social Rights regarding the standard of housing in those communities.

That complaint was something that Simon Coveney today announced himself to be unaware of, perhaps understandably so given he has only been managing the housing portfolio for the past number of weeks.

Veronica says that while last year’s European complaint gained a deal of traction in the media at the time, the community has heard nothing regarding it since.

Complaints at the time regarding the standard of housing in affected areas included substandard housing conditions, and the failure of local authorities to accept structural deficiencies in housing.

Refurbished units

100 units will be refurbished as part of the first phase of regeneration, with 37 new apartments and 63 fully-refurbished units making up that number.

Yesterday’s launch of the government’s new housing plan focuses heavily on the issues of homelessness and social housing.

As part of that plan almost 50,000 new social housing units have been committed to be built by 2021 at a cost of €5.35 billion.

In terms of homelessness meanwhile, the needs of homeless families are to be addressed by the expansion of the Rapid Build Housing programme, otherwise known as modular housing.

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