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  • Northside West

Leo blasted over ‘photo op’ visit

Wednesday, 14th November, 2018 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Leo blasted over ‘photo op’ visit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Damien English and Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock enjoy the view from the new homes.

Leo blasted over ‘photo op’ visit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Damien English and Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock enjoy the view from the new homes.

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A LOCAL councillor has slammed a visit by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the opening of a new social housing development in Ballymun as “nothing but a photo opportunity”.

Tenants at the 42-unit development at Stormanstown House were welcomed to their homes last week by An Taoiseach and Minister of State for Housing Damien English.

However, Cllr Noeleen Reilly (IND) said that while it was great to see the new development, it was “hypocritical” for the Taoiseach to celebrate its opening during a housing crisis.

The €11 million development was developed by Oaklee Housing on a site that had been derelict for almost a decade.

The site has been subject to a number of proposals over the years, and the cause of much local controversy.

However, it was eventually taken over by Oaklee who entered into a contract with a developer, which facilitated construction of the site.

The development was finally completed early last month thanks to a combination of funding from the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and private finance from the Housing Finance Agency.

During the opening, An Taoiseach and Minister English received a tour of the new development by Oaklee staff and met some of the new tenants who told them how their new home will have a positive impact on their lives.

"With a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments this much-needed development caters for a range of families and their individual needs in the Ballymun and surrounding area,” An Taoiseach said.

“Tenants, who had been on the social housing waiting list are moving in to their new homes this week."

Sharon Cosgrove, Chief Executive of Oaklee Housing said the partially completed development had been derelict for almost a decade and was an eyesore for local neighbours.

“Given the requirement for social housing in the area Oaklee Housing were delighted to acquire the completed units within a top quality scheme, which will provide much needed social housing for families in need,” she added.

Cllr Reilly said that the development was providing much needed social housing for local people.

“There has been many stops and starts with this development and the land has been left idle for the best part of the last decade,” she said.

“Once Oaklee got involved they brought a real sense of professionalism to the development and the mix of housing and apartments were built quite quickly.

“I see the Taoiseach coming to open the development as nothing more than a photo op.

“He has stood over the housing crisis as it gets worse day by day and has shown no real commitment to the building of homes for families.

“His government has failed people who only want a roof over their head and security for their family.

“This is the only social housing development in the area in the last five years at least and that speaks volumes. He should be opening hundreds of units in the area not just 42.

“Fine Gael in a previous project on this site were quite happy for no social housing units to be built and now we see them celebrating this development.

“It’s not only ironic but hypocritical.”

Pictured are the Omar Family who moved into their new home at Stormanstown. Photo: Colm MahadyFennells

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