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Minister for housing says ex-residents of Priory Hall are 'in a dreadful situation'

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan also spoke of Ireland’s ghost estates, the pyrite crisis, and her plans to end homelessness.

Priory Hall in Donaghmede (file photo)
Priory Hall in Donaghmede (file photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER OF State with special responsibility for housing and planning, Jan O’Sullivan, has said that the ex-residents of Priory Hall are “in a dreadful situation”.

The junior minister also admitted that other developments could exist with “similarities” to the doomed Donaghmede development.

“There are estates around the country that I believe weren’t built in accordance with proper standards and there will be problems no doubt that will become evident,” she told TheJournal.ie.

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan on what’s next for the ex-residents of Priory Hall.

O’Sullivan also said that is was her responsibility to ensure that “the kind of planning decisions that were made can’t be made again.”

She said that this would be achieved through the implementation of the Mahon recommendations:

There are nine of them in my particular area that we’re in the process of designing the implementation of them, including the recommendation for an independent planing regulator.

Pyrite

Saying that the “industry has a responsibility”, O’Sullivan said that the fact that pyrite homes were to be excluded from the local property tax was “an indication that the government recognises that there is an issue in their homes”.

She added that she believed that the Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan, was addressing the issue in a “forthright and meticulous way”.

I think that the process is understood and that it is progressing and that there will be a resolution to the problem.

Ireland’s ghost estates

With 1,770 unfinished developments in Ireland, and 1,100 of these described as being in a “seriously problematic condition”, O’Sullivan said that €5 million had already been made available to local authorities to address safety issues, most of which has now been allocated.

“There is still some money available if local authorities need it,” she added.

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Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan on the future of Ireland’s ghost estates.

Homelessness

Less than a month after she outlined government plans to end homelessness by 2016, O’Sullivan acknowledged that the deadline that had been set was an ambitious one.

“The previous government had a target as well but there would be some differences between the way we want to achieve the target and the previous plan,” she said.

Our focus is a housing led focus which means that we want to get people into homes as quickly as possible, so we don’t want people spending a long time in a hostel or a shelter and maybe coming in and out of hostels and shelters over their lives, so we want to track them individually.

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan on taking responsibility for ending homelessness.

TheJournal.ie will have more from a wide-ranging interview with Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan tomorrow.

Read: Junior minister says Ming’s behaviour is ‘despicable and hypocritical’ >

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Paul Hyland

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