STATEMENT: Costello calls on Dublin City Council to tackle issue of vacant sites following Parkgate Street Garda Raid.

Patrick Costello TD for Dublin South Central was speaking today following the Gardaí raid on the so-called ‘Ionad Seán Heuston’ on Parkgate Street this morning.

Costello began, “We recently saw the occupation of this site by activists to house homeless individuals. While I have concerns regarding the suitability and safety of the site, I can see the point being made. This is not the first time we have seen such action unilaterally being taken, Apollo House being another such example.”

“This occupation serves to further highlight the plague of dereliction and vacancy in our capital city. In the midst of a housing disaster, we need to take serious actions to tackle this issue. No site in this city should be empty whilst a single individual sleeps on the street.”

Commenting on what action should be taken Costello continued, “Dublin City Council Management and the Minister need to get serious about this issue. The existing parameters for registering a site as vacant or derelict are far too low. The current DCC official lists are laughable in their brevity. We need to broaden the definition as an initial action to get sites listed. The recent census can offer us a good guide for identifiable sites.”

“We have seen numerous motions passed from Dublin City Councillors, including from members of my own party, but no action has been taken by the council. This is just another example of a situation whereby having a directly elected mayor for the city would be of massive benefit”.

Concluding Costello reflected on the use of the Gardaí in closing down the Parkgate Street site, “As Party Justice spokesperson I deal regularly with issues and policies around law and order. The recurring feedback I get from constituents is ‘we need to see more guards on the streets’. Only last week we saw shocking scenes of anti-social behaviour in Cherry Orchard. Today’s raid by the Gardaí would lead one to question are operations such as this the best use of police resources?”