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Housing conditions in local authority flats

The housing conditions of some local authority flats were raised on the adjournment by Catherine Byrne (FG, Dublin SC), especially the complexes in Dublin long scheduled for regeneration (Dail Eireann, Debates, 2nd June 2010, 504-6). Hundreds of tenants were living in substandard conditions with dampness, black mould and sewage as a daily reality. In Dolphin House, 71% reported dampness, 65% mould and 89% sewage coming up their sinks. Although it was said that they paid very little rent, some paid as much as €120 to live in these conditions. How could the minister and the government, in a developed country, stand by and do nothing? she asked. The human rights of these people were being totally disregarded. The water coming out of their taps was contaminated with sewage and clothes put in washing machines had been destroyed. The residents were fed up with all the broken promises.
Speaking for the government, the Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv expressed his sympathy for the situation in which they found themselves. In the past decade, the state had invested more than €100m in Dublin City Council regeneration programmes for inner city flats. Private public partnership arrangements though had not progressed due to a change in the economic climate. A taskforce was now considering redevelopment options for a group of projects including Dolphin House. He emphasized that a consensus approach was important and the city council, while addressing management and maintenance, was working with residents to develop regeneration solutions that were acceptable to the community and could be implemented. It would be up to the city council to decide on the most appropriate proposal and the means of delivery and it was a matter for the council to submit a proposal in the usual way for approval from within its social housing funding allocation.
Separately, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Michael Finneran told the Dail that standards for rental accommodation, including local authority rental accommodation, were set down in the Housing (Standards for rental houses regulations, 2008, as amended in 2009 (Dail Eireann, Debates, 1st June 2010, 302-3). All landlords had a legal obligation to ensure that their properties complied and any report on sewerage in Dolphin house was a matter for the landlord, Dublin City Council.