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O Broin claims Desmond wrong on Ballymun claim



PLAN: Dermot Desmond claimed that a development could become modern-day slums. Photo: Tom Burke


Eoin O Broin
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PLAN: Dermot Desmond claimed that a development could become modern-day slums. Photo: Tom Burke

Sinn Fein housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin has criticised Dermot Desmond for his assertion that plans to build apartments on former RTE land could become the 'Ballymun Towers' of South Dublin and akin to "modern-day slums".

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr O Broin said the billionaire was "wrong in his characterisation of Ballymun" and said people in the economically disadvantaged community who have "fought against all the odds" would take "great offence".

Mr O Broin also said it was inaccurate for Mr Desmond to draw a link between high-rise developments and poverty: "There is no automatic correlation… In fact there are places in the world where we have high-rise high density developments that are very affluent," he said.

He added: "In Ballymun, homes were built at the edge of a city without adequate economic opportunities, social community, infrastructure or transport in the city centre. People were taken from the inner city and transported out to these news homes but with no infrastructure or jobs.

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Eoin O Broin

"Heroin arrived in the 1980s and they were abjectly failed in terms of the community response and policing response."

Despite its social and economic problems, Ballymun wasn't a slum.

"If you talk to people who lived in Ballymun and who still live there they will take great offence to that. Ballymun was and still is a strong community and they have fought against all the odds to maintain a strong sense of community cohesion and identity."

Mr O Broin said Mr Desmond's desire to take part in debates about the national interest, "jars with working people" when he is tax-resident abroad.

Although domiciled in Switzerland where he owns a ski lodge in Crans-Montana, the financier rejects the label of 'tax exile'. Mr O Broin said: "I will talk to and listen to anyone about housing, whether I agree or not". But he questioned Mr Desmond's tax status and said: "Those taxes could contribute, for example, to getting children out of homelessness and getting families into social and affordable houses."

Meanwhile, in a letter tin response to claims that the planning system "has been compromised" by Strategic Housing Development (SHD) legalisation, Mr O Broin told the financier: "There is much I agree with in your commentary.

"Particularly with respect to the SHD process, the inability of the current private sector residential development model to deliver affordable homes, the impact of the commodification of housing in our society and the failure of Government policy to ensure an adequate supply of social and affordable homes to meet housing need."

Sunday Independent

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