LOCALS IN FINGLAS, north Dublin, have been protesting at plans to build low-cost modular housing on a site in the area.
The protests have been in the works since residents first learned of plans to erect ‘rapid build’ housing on a site at St Helena’s Drive last October.
The Finglas Action Group say they are behind the protests, which have been blocking council workers from accessing the site.
The group says their concerns stem from the planning process being bypassed together with the fact that the planned site for the homes has a history of anti-social behaviour.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Sandra Devlin of the Finglas Action Group said that “the people of Finglas welcome all people all the time, but we want proper planning”.
Describing the planned site of 40 modular homes at St Helena’s as “an unnatural way of planning an estate”, Devlin says the site in question has a history of anti-social behaviour and building the homes there is only likely to exacerbate the problem.
“For too long Finglas has been notorious for the wrong reasons, it’s only in the last couple of years that Finglas has started to settle down,” she said.
She said that a home for senior citizens on St Helena’s had to be knocked as a result of their isolation and resulatant anti-social behaviour.
There’s a childcare facility there with 80 toddlers, and two schools, one of which has been waiting a year for a teacher.
Devlin claims that the Finglas Action Group, which was formed last November, has been trying for some months to meet with representatives of Dublin City Council (DCC) but only managed to do so for the first time last week:
“We want proper planning. The issues with the modular housing site would’ve been ironed out if they’d gone through a proper planning process,” she said.
There’s a whole pile of developments planned for Finglas, and each one is more experimental than the one before. It’s an unnatural way to plan housing.
When asked if Finglas Action Group are aware that there are homelessness and housing crises at present in Ireland Devlin replied: “I’m well aware of that”.
In response to the claims of Finglas Action Group, DCC say that “Dublin City Council senior housing officials have met with the residents on a number of occasions and will continue to do so”.
A DCC spokesperson noted that 125 new families presented as homeless in the Dublin region in January 2016, while just 39 families departed homeless services that month.
“The City Council would also have extended an invitation to the residents to view the housing units in Poppintree, Ballymun, so that they could understand the specification of units that we are providing and also have the opportunity to ask any questions in relation to provision of the units to families who are currently experiencing homelessness,” they said.
The residents did not attend that viewing.
22 modular housing units have already been constructed at the nearby Poppintree site. Those units have a lifespan of 60 years.
In addition to the work commencing in Finglas, further developments are set for Drimnagh, Ballyfermot, and Belcamp in the Dublin region.
All developments are expected to be completed before the end of 2016.