Tallaght reacts as 81 elderly apartments approved for site beside local stadium despite community opposition

The plans for the SDCC and Cluid housing social apartments were approved at Monday's full meeting of the council.

On Monday, 81 social housing apartments for the elderly on a site beside Tallaght Stadium were approved by South Dublin County Council (SDCC) - writes dublinlive.ie

This was despite a campaign calling on the council to save the land which houses a council depot at Watergate Sean Walsh Park.

Local groups such as Tallaght Community Council and Tallaght Litter Mugs spearheaded the campaign.

All 12 councillors elected for the Tallaght area voted in favour of the Part 8 proposal that will see a council depot and socially inclusive community gardens on the site moved to alternative locations.

It passed by 25 votes in favour, with 13 votes against - Sinn Fein, Labour, Fianna Fail (except for one), Solidarity, People Before Profit, Social Democrats, Green Party and a number of Independents voted in favour, while Fine Gael, a number of Independents and one Fianna Fail councillor voted against.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Charlie O'Connor, who voted in favour of the proposal, said that councillors "shouldn't be playing politics with vulnerable people".

He told Dublin Live on Monday evening after the vote: "This was an opportunity to provide housing and I made the point, as did others, that we can't tell people that we're going to do the best to support their cause when they are vulnerable, when they are homeless and when they are ten years on the housing list and then do nothing about it.

"The thing about is, one of the things that came out in the campaign, there were attempts made to convince us that everybody was against the proposal.

"As a number of us said at the meeting, that was not true. There were people in favour of it and people who wanted us to deal with it. I felt the campaign became more about parkland then about housing.

The site at Sean Walsh Park (Image: Google Maps)

"Of the 575 submissions the manager said he got, he said they weren't all from Tallaght.

"You have to ask the question, how many people in Tallaght were really against housing for the vulnerable?

"People shouldn't be playing politics with vulnerable people. There are people homeless, sleeping rough, elderly people who are on the housing list in this area. That's a fact."

He told Dublin Live that Solidarity councillor Mick Murphy pointed out during the meeting that all local representatives for the Tallaght area voted in favour of the project.

Councillor Mick Murphy told Dublin Live that the apartments were not being built in the park.

He said: "There are no apartments being built in Sean Walsh Park, but 81 social housing apartments being built on the site of a soon to be unused depot.

"All 12 Tallaght councillors spoke for and voted for the project."

Local clean up group Tallaght Litter Mugs said they would disband if the Part 8 for the apartments were approved.

In a statement last month, they said: "It was fun and very, very rewarding while it lasted. We put forward ideas on how to create Litter Mug-type groups right across South Dublin.

"I feel that we were building something that could have made a REAL difference for now and the future. Community and Council co-operation. But South Dublin County Council had other thoughts.

"A nice vision blinded by myopia. My mercy is that my time in the dystopian future that they have in store for us is quite limited. I fear for my children and the generations to come."

The group were asked to re-consider the decision at Monday's meeting by Labour's Mick Duff, and engage with the residents who will be living in the apartments that are to be built.

Councillor Duff told Dublin Live: "On this proposal, we never got one request from anybody to do anything in the nature in reducing the size of it or minimising it. It was a no brainer.

"I did put my hand out and say that I hope that the Litter Mugs will reconsider their decision to disband and continue to work with the community, and meet the new residents that will live there and make it a good area for everybody.

"The community that will be living there are those who get involved and would help out."

Many took to social media after the vote to show their disapproval for the decision.

One local said: "Surely there was a better and more safer area for this. In the end in just became about bricks and mortar not the people of Tallaght."

While another added: "Very sad day for all Tallaght. How could they approve this?"

Sinn Fein councillor Louise Dunne told Dublin Live that those who led the campaign to Save Sean Walsh Park were not present when an infill housing development was proposed for Killinarden Park two years ago.

She said: "A lot of the concerns are anti-social housing, that's what it comes down to. It's this generalisation of people who live in social housing.

"A couple of years ago we voted for an infill housing development at Killinarden park and we didn't hear a sound from the people behind the Save Our Park campaign with this project. Absolutely nothing.

"These 81 apartments for older people are not going to have a negative effect on anyone. It's going to improve people's lives.

"It's in the centre of Tallaght, beside every amenity that they need and it's going to be fantastic. It's on a depot - even if the vote didn't pass, that depot is being moved.

"So it was going to be a vacancy of land, no green space, it was just land going to waste."

In a statement to Dublin Live, Tallaght Community Council praised those who showed "real commitment and passion" for their community in campaigning to save the site from development.

They said the council has no need to "raid any park" for housing in the area.

They said: "We thank those councillors who met with us, listened and showed respect to all opinions of this plan.

"We pay tribute to all groups and individuals who took a real interest in this proposal and made their voice heard, showing real commitment in and passion for our community.

"We lament but respect the decision of the valiant and dynamic Litter Mugs for laying down their litter pickers, their loss will be immense and widely felt.

"We are disappointed at the sometime negative, personal comments made by others during the public consultation process and at the recent council meeting. Many were off topic and irrelevant to planning.

"We still believe this housing proposal was a good idea, but very much in the wrong location.

"There is enough land zoned for housing in SDCC for 936 Croke Park pitches, so we strongly believe there is no need to raid any park in SDCC for housing."

South Dublin County Council
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