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  • Northside West

Homeless centre set to be moved

Wednesday, 16th January, 2019 8:00am
Homeless centre set to be moved

PIC POSED/BIGSTOCK

Homeless centre set to be moved

PIC POSED/BIGSTOCK

Orla Dwyer

A CONTROVERSIAL centre for homeless women in Finglas that has been the subject of anti-social behaviour complaints is being relocated to make space for housing.

The Abigail Women’s Centre on Kildonan Road provides a temporary home and support for 40 homeless women.

However, locals say they’ve witnessed anti-social behaviour from some of the women shortly after its opening in 2014. 

Councillor for Cabra-Finglas, David Costello (FF), said local residents have complained about begging, public urination, public sex acts and dumped drug paraphernalia for the past three years. 

“Following a two-year consultation project with locals, it was decided to close the centre but not because of their complaints,” said Cllr Costello. 

Dublin City Council have now developed a plan to build affordable and social housing on the land.

But this will not go ahead until a new location is found for the Abigail Women’s Centre.There will be an estimated 200 to 300 social and affordable housing units built on the land.

“In November, the full DCC meeting voted to fast track this building project,” said Cllr Costello.

“Council management are moving too slowly and have not made any progress in relation to this.” 

As well as temporary accommodation the centre provides rehabilitation and interventions for homeless women. Some of the issues facing those in the centre are abuse, family breakdown, substance misuse and mental health issues. 

A spokesperson for Novas, the voluntary organisation in charge of the centre, said they do not condone the reported anti-social behaviour. 

The organisation pointed out  that a lot of the women in the centre desperately want to move into permanent accommodation but find it difficult. 

“There are women who are ready and dying to leave, but they can’t,” the spokesperson said. 

Novas say accommodation in the centre is supposed to last no more than six months and the overall objective is to move the women into long-term accommodation.

“We would argue that the incidents of anti-social behaviour are few and far between,” said the spokesperson. 

The local Men’s Shed, the Finglas Traveller Development Group and various classes are held in the same site. 

These will be relocated elsewhere before the centre is closed down. 

Anthony Connaghan, Sinn Féin councillor for Cabra-Finglas, said problems have been arising since the centre opened. 

“If it was managed from the start differently, we would have a very different story to tell,” he said. 

The councillor said the site is currently blocking full utilisation of the whole area for housing development and he wants it to be fast tracked for planning as soon as possible. 

“I would be only be too delighted to see the site being fully used,” Cllr Connaghan said. 

He added that he had been assured that the consultation team for the development will have a plan for the housing units drawn up in the coming months.

“I have been a councillor for seven years now and the biggest issue we have faced in the local area is a lack of housing,” he said.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here