The action was brought by the Carman’s Hall Interest Group, the Michael Mallin House Residents Association and youth and community worker Elizabeth O’Connor in relation to use the former parish centre at Carman’s Hall, Francis Street, in The Liberties, as a hostel for homeless people.
The residents, who live close to the centre, say Dublin City Council decided in late October to convert the community centre — which was closed in 2013 over fire safety concerns and a lack of accessibility — into ‘a dial a bed hostel’ accommodation for 65 homeless men.
The building, which has been leased to Dublin City Council was to be operated by the Dublin Simon Community and the Salvation Army and was due to open later this week.
However, the residents groups, represented in court by Niall Handy, say local people are very angry and launched the High Court action to block the move.
The court heard the residents had been actively campaigning to have the centre, which is owned by the Dublin Roman Catholic Archdiocese, reopened as a community centre.
The residents say their action is not “not in my back yard-ism”. They claim the proposed hostel is an undue concentration of services for those with addiction problems and the homeless within a very small area of the south inner city.
The say the local area has 12 homeless and social support services crammed within 500m of the centre’s location. The residents also say that the proposed hostel will confound existing problems such as anti-social behaviour in the area.
The authorities they say, should be doing more than “kettling” all of greater Dublin’s homeless persons with addiction issues into pockets of Dublin 1 and Dublin 8.
The groups also say they nor their public representatives were ever consulted about the proposal to use the community centre as a hostel for the homeless.
In their action, the residents are seeking an order quashing the council’s decision of October 26 last permitting the change of use.
The judge, who placed a stay on the council’s decision until the matter next returns before the court, adjourned the case to January 17 next.