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The hall is the old parish centre for the St Nicholas of Myra parish.

Dublin locals objecting to homeless hostel say there are already 12 nearby

The say the new centre will compound existing problems.

A HIGH COURT challenge has been brought against ‘s decision allowing a former community centre to be converted into a hostel for homeless people.

The action has been brought by the Carman’s Hall Interest Group, the Michael Mallin House Residents Association and youth and community worker Elizabeth O’Connor in relation to use the former Parish Centre at Carman’s Hall, Francis Street in Dublin 8 as a hotel for the homeless.

The residents, who live close to the centre, say DCC decided in late October to convert the community centre, which was closed in 2013 over fire safety concerns and a lack of accessibility, into ‘a dial a bed hostel’ accommodation for 65 homeless men.

The building, which has been leased to DCC, was to be operated by the Dublin Simon Community and the Salvation Army and was due to open later this week.

However, the resident’s groups, represented in court by Niall Handy Bl, say local people are very angry over what has happened and have launched a High Court action seeking to block the move.

The court heard the residents had been actively campaigning to have the centre, which is owned by the Dublin Roman Catholic Archdiocese, reopened as a community centre.

The residents say their action is not case of “Not in my back yard-ism”.

They claim the proposed hostel is an undue concentration of services for those with addiction problems and the homeless within a very small area of the South inner city.

The say the local area has 12 homeless and social support services crammed within 500m of the centre’s location. The residents also say that the proposed hostel will confound existing problems such as anti-social behaviour in the area.

The authorities they say should be doing more than using the crude device of kettling all of greater Dublin’s homeless persons with addiction difficulties into pockets of Dublin 1 and Dublin 8.

Never consulted

The groups also say they nor their public representatives were never consulted about the proposal to use the community centre as a hostel for the homeless.

In their action against DCC the residents seeks an order from the court quashing DCC’s decision of 26 October last permitting the change of use.

They also seek declarations including that DCC’s decision is in material contravenes of Dublin City Development plan, is irrational, unreasonable and is null and void.

The action has been brought on grounds including that the decision breaches planning laws and fair procedures, including the council willfully withheld information about the project from the public.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.

The judge, who placed a stay on the council’s decision until the matter next returns before the court, adjourned the case to 17 January next.

Comments have been closed because legal proceedings are ongoing.

Read: ‘You’re not welcome’: Mixed reaction ahead of Taoiseach’s visit for inner city Christmas ceremony >

Read: The vow to end homelessness by Christmas? Not going to happen >

Aodhan O Faolain