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Nicholas of Myra To Be Homeless Shelter


Nicholas of Myra To Be Homeless Shelter

People living near the derelict St Nicholas of Myra building on Carmans Hall are planning a protest following the announcement that the former community centre is to be turned into an emergency homeless hostel with room for 65 beds and related facilities. This is one of three planned hostels that will house a total of 210. This latest news will come as a blow to residents who have campaigned for the past three years to have the building reopened as a community centre.

One of the biggest complaints is that there are too many drug and homeless services in the area. Figures show that there are over 600 people are classified as homeless within the Dublin 8 area. This number seems disproportionate when compared with other areas. For example, the south Dublin county area has emergency spaces for 178 homeless people. The entire Dublin 4 area has only spaces for 78 people. The St Nicholas of Myra community centre was one of many to close due to lack of funding during times of ‘austerity’. Originally built as a school in 1935, it was turned into a community centre in the 1990s. In 2013, ststructurural damage had been discovered and parts of the building were declared unsafe.

Due to a chronic lack of funding, the decision was taken to close St Nicholas of Myra community centre by the parish. Before the closure, the centre was a hive of community activity with breakfast clubs and homework clubs, with a dinner service for the elderly, which included home deliveries. The centre also hosted English language classes for immigrants, along with yoga, dance and also acting lessons. There was an impressive three-course lunch which cost only €2,50. Local businesses donated foodstuff to the centre on a regular basis.

Speaking to RTE, Sinn Féin Councillor and former Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh said, “This was the heartbeat of the community. This was our one chance to get a proper community centre and now it’s gone.” She went on to describe the decision as “bad planning”. The centre was also the home of the Living Heritage and Living History historical research groups.

These were important community employment schemes that ran for 20 years and whose yearly exhibitions were displayed in the hall and other parts of the city. When the centre closed, over 30 Community Employment Scheme participants had to be relocated. Dublin Region Homeless Executive stated that the new beds are urgently needed and plans to have them available by December. “This expansion is to occur as part of Dublin City Council’s winter strategy to prevent fatalities and/or serious harm arising to persons from sleeping rough particularly in adverse weather conditions”. “It is very clear that the recently reported increased rates of rough sleeping in Dublin is directly related to the capacity of available emergency accommodation. To this end, we must ensure that the extra beds are brought into use as soon as is possible”.

The centre was also featured on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire, when free range egg supplier Margaret Farrelly spent time with the centre’s employees before handing over a cheque for €7,500.

Speaking to the news website, John Gallagher, who ran the centre said: “We always wanted to get it used, rather than make money. The electricity went up, gas went up, so we were left in an awful situation where the building was full of activities all day and night and we would have had to charge what people couldn’t pay [to cover costs], but then no-one would be in it”. “We feel it was one of the best centres in the whole city. The Lord Mayor was there, Mary Robinson was there…. it’s disappointing what has happened to it”. A protest is planned in the vicinity of the community centre this evening at 6.00 p.m.

One Response

  1. Padraig Ui says:

    This proposal to impose yet another ill-conceived project on the the residents and businesses in the heart of the city is totally unacceptable. Especially in light of the recent attempts by resident and businesses to make Merchant Quay Ireland accountable for their complete mismanagement of project.

    Does anyone know what legislation is being used to enable this type of project to be built without planning permission. If you do, could please post the title of the act on this site.

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