‘Homeless deserve better’ – O’Brien on modular plan for Pinewood

January 28, 2016 0

In advance of a public meeting in Balbriggan about proposed modular housing development in the Pinewood estate Green Party General Election candidate Joe O’Brien warned of sub-standard and poorly planned developments in Fingal in the coming years unless there is a whole new approach of housing. He stated that:

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Joe O’Brien

The people of Balbriggan have a right to feel aggrieved at Fingal County Councils attitude towards the town. There is a long history of Balbriggan not getting a fair deal and while the town is improving in many respects it is frustrating to see that the Council is not on the same page as the people in terms of its ambition for Balbriggan.

My reaction to the proposal for Pinewood is that it is a sloppy, rushed substandard development that has been born out of this government’s failure to invest in quality social housing but also its desire to be seen to do something in the run up to the election. Pinewood has been long neglected by the Council. Last year I was urging the Council to put in a simple set of speed ramps and they didn’t even entertain a simple measure to make the estate that bit safer for children at play.

And now we see they are going to dump substandard housing into the estate. The fact that modular housing is even acceptable is something I personally have an issue with. It is clearly a sub-standard build and somehow because people are homeless its seen as ‘good enough’. I have worked in homeless services in Dublin for over 11 years and I was always of the philosophy that homeless people should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect and that they should be offered the very best of services and accommodation. Recent revelations concerning complaints about standards in emergency accommodation in Dublin are another side to this insipid belief that if you are homeless you should take whatever the state throws at you, even though the State may have played a very big role in making you homeless. People who have become homeless because of the refusal of the Minister for Social Protection to raise rent allowance are a case in point.

We need more social housing but not social housing the way we did it in the past – poor quality, on the periphery of towns or villages, with no public transport links and little or no amenities. We need a new way to do social housing that is based on the highest standards and best planned developments possible. Not only is the modular housing akin to the old way of doing social housing it is actually worse.

Fingal has been earmarked for a lot of housing development in the years ahead. All of this housing and development needs to be of the highest standard, this is for the sake of people, towns but also to ensure that we don’t go back to the bad old days of isolated poorly served estates that are too prevalent across Fingal.

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