Council Briefs: Making Social Homes Safer, and Seeking Interest in Developing Central Ballymun Site

Safer Social Homes

Councillors agreed to a new strategy for tackling anti-social behaviour in council-run housing estates in the city, at a meeting of the full council on 4 April.

Council staff have been working on the strategy for more than a year and it will be in operation until 2027.

Dublin City Council has been criticised by some councillors in the past for being soft on anti-social behaviour. The new strategy commits the council to fully investigating every complaint.

“In our processes, we will guarantee procedural safeguards are in place, following due process, ensuring a fair and impartial investigation of complaints, with measures imposed which are proportionate to the findings,” says the report.

To evict tenants, Dublin City Council has to apply to the court for a “possession order” and show that this punishment is proportionate to the anti-social behaviour.

The council will establish a new unit to tackle serious anti-social behaviour, and in future specially trained staff will deliver warnings and apply for possession orders, says the report.

Councillors welcomed the new strategy and thanked council officials for their work. The approach the council has taken until now hasn’t worked, they said.

“This is a really important policy document to help protect the huge number of really good tenants we have whose lives are destroyed by a small number of people,” said Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey, who is chair of the council’s housing committee.

The report says that racist attacks are an issue in some areas and that attacks on council staff are also becoming more common.

“I think it’s a progressive report and I think it’s an honest report and it highlights the issue of racism which needs to be tackled head-on,” said Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan.

A multi-agency approach is needed to tackle anti-social behaviour and the council should work together with the Gardaí, Tusla, community groups and residents, he said.

Said independent Councillor Noeleen Reilly: “This is a huge bane of my life and I’m absolutely delighted to see that we are moving in the right direction on it.”

“I’ve been very frustrated with the legal department on this over the years,” she said. “We need to take the bull by the horns on this and immediate action.”

Ballymun’s Town Centre

Councillors at Monday’s full meeting also agreed that the council should put out feelers to see who might want to develop council-owned lands in Ballymun on the former shopping centre site.

The Ballymun Local Area Plan shows space for around 300 homes on the western side of the land, and 41,000 sqm of shops, offices or apartments at the eastern side, where the site meets Main Street.

The eastern side is designated for a metro station down the line. In the meantime, it could be developed for temporary uses like markets, pop up food stalls, a funfair or an ice rink, says a council report.

The council will sound out who might want to develop the western blocks into homes, it says.

Independent Councillor Cieran Perry said that the council should find out what interest there is in developing the site but should not be tied down by what developers propose. “We can’t let them dictate the outcome of what we agree.”

He would like to see the council develop cost-rental housing on the site, he said

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Laoise Neylon: Laoise Neylon is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at [email protected]

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