Call for demolition of Dublin flat blocks
Some 10,000 Dublin social housing flats, almost three-quarters of the city’s stock, are in need of “significant regeneration” and should be demolished, a new report from Dublin City Council says.
Many of the flat blocks, which include senior citizens’ complexes, are more than 50 years old and would take “many decades” to refurbish. This would involve a considerable cost but would not increase the stock of homes, the council’s head of housing Brendan Kenny said.
By “eliminating” these older blocks, the council could build taller, higher-density housing on the same land, potentially tripling the number of council flats to more than 30,000, he said.
Almost 20,000 families and individuals are currently on the council’s housing waiting list.
The dire condition of a number of council flat complexes was earlier this month the subject of a ruling from the European Committee of Social Rights. The committee found the human rights of local authority tenants in 20 estates in Dublin, Cork and Limerick had been breached because of a failure to provide adequate housing.
In recent years, the council had moved away from rebuilding blocks to one of extensive refurbishment. The council has also redeveloped several senior citizens’ complexes, by converting two bedsits into one-bedroom apartments throughout the blocks, to bring them up to standard.
Mr Kenny said refurbishment and retrofit programmes were likely to take “many decades to complete” and would not necessarily represent the best use of council sites.
“The reality is that many of these complexes are over 50 years old, and are not up to standard. In some situations, it’s the issue of the stairways and lack of lifts, not necessarily the flats themselves, but many are affected by mould and condensation problems,” he said.
The conversion of the old-style bedsits was reducing the density of senior citizen complexes by 50 per cent, which was “not sustainable in light of the current housing shortage”.
Unlike previous demolition and rebuild programmes, the council would build first on land surrounding the existing blocks, move the tenants into the new apartments, and then demolish their old homes to build more apartments for those on the housing waiting list.