Homeless families to move into Carmelite monastery

By William O'Connor

THE FIRST homeless families are expected to move into the Carmelite monastery family hub with ‘imminent’ effect, The Echo understands.

The monastery on the Firhouse Road has been leased by Respond Housing who will use the facility to support accommodation for families on the homeless list.

Carmelite Monastery05

The Carmelite monastery

People from South Dublin County will be housed in the facility which is expected to accommodate 17 families at the hub.

The Echo understands that the hub will be run on very similar lines to the successful hub project at St Lawrence’s in Clontarf.

There were issues raised over planning concerns for the facility but it’s understood that all issues are now in order and families can move in this week, just ahead of Christmas.

Respond, an Approved Housing Body, had proposed to use the existing accommodation and facilities at the monastery for homeless families, with the council examining the proposal with a view to supporting the “provision of much-needed accommodation”.

Home to the Sisters since 1827, the Carmelite monastery – which has played an integral role in community development in Firhouse and Knocklyon – was vacated by the order due to challenging and changing times.

In July of this year, Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA Club purchased 12 acres of land adjacent to the monastery for €750k, a deal which is paving the way for the development of new playing pitches.

When the deal was sealed, Ballyboden St Enda’s thanked the Carmelites for their support during the process.

In an email sent to Councillors in relation to the family hub, the Council stated: “A proposal has been received by the Council from a Tier 3 Approved Housing Body (AHB) in relation to the use of existing accommodation and facilities at the Carmelite Monastery to accommodate housing/homeless applicants.

"Please note that the AHB as the proposed user of the facility has submitted that it is their view that the use is consistent with the last established use as a residential facility, and that the existing facilities are commensurate with that use; the bedrooms in their current format will be used by families for sleeping/accommodation and the large communal areas on the ground floor will be used for dining and social purposes, including activity areas for children; no works other than internal decoration and painting will be undertaken; the property owner is providing evidence of compliance with relevant statutory building regulations and ensuring fire-safety compliance.

“It should be noted that given the current number of housing/homeless applicants for accommodation to this Council, a wide range of possible accommodation options are being examined and pursued across the County.

“On that basis and noting the information submitted by the AHB as outlined above, notwithstanding any possible subsequent determination by the Planning Department or An Bord Pleanála on foot of the request below, the Housing Department is examining the proposal in detail, including examining the proposed management structure, reviewing the experience of the provider in managing similar facilities etc. with a view to supporting the provision of much-needed accommodation."

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