From Socialist Voice, January–February 2009

Dublin City Council deliberately dismantling public housing

In St Bricin’s Park in Oxmantown, Dublin, a publicly owned sheltered housing enclave of houses and flats in a quiet leafy park, twenty-two flats are empty.
     The flats and houses are being deliberately allowed to run down, because Dublin City Council wants to sell them, and wants to sub-contract the upkeep and management of those that are for sheltered accommodation to a private operator, Circle Management.
     This is a microcosm of the Government’s policy on housing, and a repetition of the giving up of inner-city public housing in pleasant areas to greedy speculators. Despite very strong local opposition and support from progressive local councillors, people are being bullied into submission.
     On 19 December the city manager, John Tierney, wrote to all employees of the city council announcing cost-cutting and demanding extra productivity. On all sides, public services are being dismantled piecemeal, so that the big picture is not seen until it is too late.
     Given the huge waiting-list for housing, how can the council justify empty flats? With the ready availability of building workers, these flats could be upgraded in three months.
     Instead they are wheeler-dealing with private management companies to see how best they can bully and con the residents into giving up their right to public housing and to the protection of public authorities, instead of being fleeced by robber “entrepreneurs.”
     These residents are a vibrant community and have a close community spirit, and they need our support.

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