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Lord Mayor: No vote tonight on plan to house homeless in 'Love/Hate' flats

Focus Ireland is calling for Dublin councillors to support the renovation of O’Devaney Gardens.

Updated 1.50pm

O Devaney Gardens To Be Pulled Down Source: Albert Gonzalez/Photocall Ireland

A VOTE ON the renovation of O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin is expected to be postponed this evening to allow for further discussions on the project to take place.

Dublin City councillors had been urged to support the renovation, as it will provide ‘much-needed’ accommodation for the city’s homeless population.

The 1950s-era flats in the North West inner city were due to be demolished, but are now to be refurbished under the Government’s action plan to tackle homelessness.

Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke has expressed opposition to the plans, criticising the multi-million euro price tag. Burke told RTÉ’s News at One he said a meeting has been arranged with Government on plans for the area, and that councillors from all parties will support his call for the vote to be deferred.

The Lord Mayor questioned why flats would be refurbished for temporary accommodation – and could be demolished in five years time – when the money could be spent on a permanent alternative for families who need it.

However, advocacy director at homeless service Focus Ireland, Mike Allen believes the renovation project is needed to alleviate the crisis Dublin is facing, but it is still just a “drop in the ocean”.

O Devaney Gardens Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

“This is not an ideal solution, and this is not a solution to homelessness,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

It is a solution to the crisis that we are facing, while we wait for the minister and local authorities to deliver the housing we need in the medium term.

Allen described it as “very disappointing” to see councillors come out against the plans, but added that he agreed with some of what the Lord Mayor has said.

“What the Lord Mayor says is true. We do need adequate housing for people. It is wrong to put people in substandard homes.”

O Devaney Gardens Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“But those aren’t the choices in front of us. The choices are to leave people in appealing circumstances, with 60 families coming in every month, to make some effort to try and take the pressure off us, to try to and make it better for them”.

Allen said the vote “needs to be passed today”, and followed by a regeneration project for the area.

The flats – close to the Phoenix Park and the north banks of the Liffey – were featured as a location in the crime drama ‘Love/Hate’.

Originally published 9.35am

Read: ‘Plans to house homeless in O’Devaney Gardens won’t go down well with residents’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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