Alan Kelly: Protesters intimidating workers building ‘very much needed’ homes

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has condemned protesters who have “intimidated” workers constructing modular homes for homeless families.
Alan Kelly: Protesters intimidating workers building ‘very much needed’ homes

Mr Kelly branded protests being held at the site in Dublin where 22 prefab homes are due to be built as “absolutely unacceptable”.

The minister has promised that the 22 modular homes will be finished in time for families — who are currently living in emergency accommodation including hotels and B&Bs — to move into before Christmas.

Last week a group began protesting at the site in Poppintree, Ballymum, where the first installment of modular homes are due to be built.

The group, which prevented vehicles entering the site, claims the construction of modular homes will jeopardise plans to build 40 social housing units on the same plot.

Members of the CTSL Co-op set up in 2002 who had paid deposits of €5,000 for the planned homes mounted the protest.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, Mr Kelly said he would be talking with the gardaí and with Dublin City Council to ensure that “this very much needed development” goes ahead.

Meanwhile a government package to tackle the housing and rental crisis is due to be passed through the Dáil today.

A number of politicians last night called for amendments— including linking rent freezes to inflation — to be made to the bill.

The measures will only allow landlords increase rents once every two years, however, it had been suggested that Mr Kelly initially favoured linking any increases to the rate of inflation but was blocked by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen questioned whether the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PTRB), which will be given increased powers under the legislation, will be able to deal with the extra workload.

Independent TD Clare Daly criticised that the measures would only remain in place for the next four years. She admitted “there is not one type of landlord in this State” pointing out that many had been made accidental landlords while others were supplementing the rent they receive to pay off mortgages on properties.

However, she added “there are absolutely ruthless landlords out there” who she said “fleece” their tenants .

Paudie Coffey, minister of state at the Department of the Environment, said the new measures are “designed to give certainty to tenants”.

He said the legislation would provide a “balanced approach that doesn’t negatively impact on the supply side as we all know supply is fundamentally important”.

Mr Cowen asked Mr Coffey to confirm that PTRB staff has been reduced by up to 50% in the lifetime of the current government and suggested that there are now waiting list for their services.

Gerard Howlin: 12

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