A Campaign against Overcrowding
Dublin City Council will shortly launch an awareness campaign around overcrowded properties, the council’s housing manager, Brendan Kenny, told councillors at their monthly meeting at City Hall on Monday.
It “will encourage tenants, members of the public, public representatives, neighbours […] to report any overcrowding situations or suspicion of the same”, he said.
There will be a phone number and email address to take the complaints and make sure that they are sent on to the right department, he said, repeating much of what a council statement issued earlier had already said.
“We do need to make it easier for people to make complaints,” Kenny said. He and some councillors, though, noted how vulnerable the tenants in overcrowded conditions are.
Many are young foreign workers or students from overseas, meaning it is unlikely that they will report poor housing conditions. Especially if they think it will make them homeless.
“I want to know what has happened to the people who were evacuated from this premises in Crumlin [featured in a recent RTÉ Investigates programme on overcrowding]? Where are they tonight?” said Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan. “Who is accommodating them?”
Said Kenny: “The simple answer to that is, we don’t know. We don’t know where people have gone to.”
Temple Bar Square
Councillors voted to delay a decision on whether the council should go ahead with the new design for Temple Bar Square until its next monthly meeting.
The plan involves upgrading the square, flattening it out, and putting in new street furniture, trees, and seating. But some of the businesses around the square have raised concerns that getting rid of some of the outdoor seating will hurt them.
Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn said he supported the plan. “They are great improvements,” he said.
But he said the book market must come back, and also that he had been contacted by businesses around the square worried about how the changes would impact them.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Mullooly said that he had (among other concerns) worries about the fate of the businesses that rely on the outdoor seating. “There’s very little outdoor seating for restaurants in the area. We should have more outdoor seating, similar to other capitals,” he said.
The restaurants have a legitimate expectation that they’ll still have outdoor seating after the redesign, given that it has been encouraged, Mullooly said.
Leslie Moore, the head of the council’s parks service, said the debate is about tables-and-chairs licences, which is a separate issue to the planning process the council is going through at the moment.
“Ultimately, when we restore the square […] you could ultimately go back and do the same tables and chairs arrangement that is there at present,” he said.
But the council also wants to make the square more accessible to people, and open it out, he said.
Swimming Pool Hours
Councillors voted to give a €30,000 grant to the Marian College swimming pool in Ballsbridge to support it so that it can continue to be used by the wider public.
That prompted Independents4Change Councillor Pat Dunne to ask why the standalone swimming pool in Crumlin, which was refurbished for at a cost to the council of more than €1 million, was only open five days a week.
And “at the moment it is open to the public on a Saturday morning and that is as far as it goes,” he said. He wants it to open to the public more. (At other times, it is used by local schools and sports clubs.)
Dublin City Council Chief Executive Owen Keegan said he would look again at the opening hours of the standalone pools. “Part of this is whether the demand is actually there,” he said.
Keegan said he would come back to the councillors with a report on the issue.