O'Devaney Gardens

Residents 'sceptical' on plans to re-open Love/Hate flats

An ambitious regeneration plan for the decaying social housing complex was officially scrapped two years ago due to lack of funds.

RESIDENTS OF THE O’Devaney Gardens flats in Dublin are ‘sceptical’ about mooted plans to re-open disused units in the complex to help address the city’s housing crisis, according to a Sinn Féin councillor who grew up in the estate.

Inspections by Dublin City Council’s housing department have been carried out at the flats in recent weeks, Councillor Janice Boylan said, and further news on the project is expected soon.

The Irish Times carried a report this morning on the potential re-opening of the Dublin 7 complex. The article referred to a report from the Council stating that while costs and timescales were still being considered, “re-tenanting all or part” of the flats was still an option.

An ambitious regeneration plan for the decaying social housing complex was officially scrapped just over two years ago due to lack of funds.

O'Devaney Gardens, pictured in 2008. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The plan to rebuild the flats was hit by the double whammy of bad timing and bad luck.

Dublin City Council and property developer Bernard McNamara agreed a public-private partnership, with both sides helping to fund a regeneration of the problem-hit complex, as well as four other estates in Dublin’s inner city.

However, the agreement collapsed in May 2008 when McNamara pulled out, as his finances crashed with the property market.

Dublin City Council attempted to struggle on without money from a private investor and had said that it would rebuild the estate with social housing – without private or affordable housing –  over an estimated 10 years, starting in 2014 at the earliest. However that plan collapsed in December 2012.

When O’Devaney Gardens was built in the 1950s, it was seen as a progressive way to deal with Dublin’s housing problem. However, like Ballymun in the city’s north suburbs, it soon became a byword for bad planning and anti-social behaviour.

Graham Hughes / Photocall Ireland! Graham Hughes / Photocall Ireland! / Photocall Ireland!

Most of the blocks have now been demolished, and most residents had already been moved to temporary accommodation in anticipation of the development being completed.

In recent years, the flats complex has been used as a set for crime series Love/Hate.

“There’s huge scepticism over this,” Councillor Boylan said.

To be perfectly honest, the people that are there are living in horrible conditions. The units are riddled with dampness, there are radiators falling off walls.

Boylan said the whole estate needed to be looked at, and that the Council shouldn’t simply focus on revamping the vacant units.

People are more interested in the whole regeneration plan being brought back.

Speaking last year, Tánaiste Joan Burton said the flats complex “in any other country would be a premium housing site” which should be developed and not “sat on”.

Speaking to a policy workshop in UCD’s Geary Institute, she said her ambition was to see the complex rebuilt.

Includes reporting from Christine Bohan.

Read: After more than 15 years, plans for O’Devaney Gardens officially scrapped

Read: Seán Doherty’s daughter says Charlie is a ‘vicious attack’ on her father  

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