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Dublin Opinion >>
Residents Rights & Regeneration
Friday February 25, 2011 03:29 by Save Charlemont Street - Save Charlemont Street
“Office Of The High Commissioner Of Human Rights
The right to adequate housing (Art.11 (1)) : . 12/13/1991.
CESCR General comment 4. (General Comments)
Habitability. Adequate housing must be habitable, in terms of providing the inhabitants with adequate space and protecting them from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threats to health, structural hazards, and disease vectors. The physical safety of occupants must be guaranteed as well. The Committee encourages States parties to comprehensively apply the Health Principles of Housing 5/ prepared by W.H.O which view housing as the environmental factor most frequently associated with conditions for disease in epidemiological analyses; i.e. inadequate and deficient housing and living conditions are invariably associated with higher mortality and morbidity rates.”
In May 1998 discussions began with Charlemont Street Committee to survey the area in regard to the opinions of residents on area regeneration: When asked if they had a problem with damp in their houses 52% of residents indicated that they had.
13 years later and the problem still exists. Dublin City Council have failed to address the problems and have left the residents of Charlemont Street feeling vulnerable and neglected, many homes still remain riddled with dampness.
Dublin City Council, as our landlords, have a moral obligation to look after its tenants but instead they have created a hostile environment for which the residents of Charlemont Street have to live in.
Taken from the Dublin City Council’s website.
Maintenance and repairs to your Council home.
If you are a tenant in a Dublin City Council home on which you pay rent, the following repairs will be carried out by us.
Roof repairs, repairs to external walls and doors
Electrical faults Window repairs (excluding glass)
Any other repairs due to the normal wear and tear
Dublin City Council have stated that,“Tenants who are over 6 weeks in Rent Arrears will no longer have routine repairs carried out to their home”
This is a travesty of justice for the residents who are forced to live in squalor while at the same time expected to pay rent for living in homes unfit for human beings.
It is the duty of Dublin City Council to carry out this short list of maintenance and repairs on all council homes. So far they have neglected to do so. Many homes still remain in a state of degradation which is a clear and direct violation of our Human Rights.
The below quotes are statements taking from a report of research carried out with residents living in Dublin Corporation Housing in the Charlemont Street area. The report was conducted by the then, Charlemont Community Association in November 1998.
It is inconceivable to believe that over 13 years later these problems still exist today.
"Damp should not be a problem in the 1990’s. Why should my kids have asthma because of the Corporations neglect? I would be ok living here otherwise.”
“All ground floor tenants are treated like second class citizens by other tenants. We have to put up with constant annoyance from the kids. We need proper gates around our flats to stop this.”
“As a ground floor tenant, I lack the basic things to keep myself clean. I have to use Rathmines public baths. The Corporation as my land landlord is a slum landlord, if the corporation do not respond to our needs, they will turn the complex into a ghetto.”
“As a young person with a ground floor flat I suppose I should be happy to have it but the only message I get around here is that I have to have a kid to get a better place.”
“One room only, a garden I have no equipment to maintain, no bath or shower, and no immersion until I hassled a TD…not human…If I had kids maybe there would not be this hassle.”
“I pay my rent and have an agreement, if something goes wrong that is not my fault and is to be fixed by my landlord under the agreement, why am I made to feel so bad when I look for something to be fixed!”
“Waiting 2 years for a hole to be filled in the bedroom ceiling which is getting bigger”
“Sometimes waiting for repairs to be done undoes something else. Repairs should be done when needed and it is not fair to leave us waiting and then having to pay for stuff to be done ourselves.”
“Spent a fortune on phone calls to the Corporation to get them out to do anything.”
“I would like to ask the Caretakers to clean the stairs once a week and mop up properly so not to let the water stagnate.”
“The stairs are always filthy with an almost constant smell of urine”
“People do not have equipment to wash down their own balconies and are not able to brush down the water. Caretakers don’t do it often enough and the job done badly.”
“Rats…more needs to be done about them.”
“Some form of vandal proof playground for our kids. It’s been 16 years since we’ve had one.”
As it stands there are three objections to the granting of planning permission for Charlemont Street. These objections were made by:
The Rathmines initiative
RPS Planning and Environment on behalf of the Clancourt Group
It is up to An Bord Pleanala to consider these appeals and reach a decision for these objections to granting planning permission. We have now been told that it could take anywhere from less than six months to over 12 months just for An Bord Pleanala to consider these appeals and make their decision.
The development cannot start until An Bord Pleanala make their decision and if and when they do, it could take anywhere from up to 5 years for the social housing section to be completed and 10 years for the completion of the hole development by property developer, Sean Reilly.
This sounds all to familiar. It wasn’t too long ago that the residents of Charlemont Street were promised by Dublin City Council and property developer McNamara, that they would be living in brand new homes that would facilitate their fundamental everyday basic needs.
The people of Charlemont Street were left waiting and wanting through the turmoil of failed negotiations with Dublin City Council that left a devastating impact on the lives of the residents. Are we going to witness another repeat of this façade that has led the residents of Charlemont Street down a path of destitution ?
As it stands, there are no safeguards or guarantees put in place to protect ourselves from the hardship we witness today.
We have no guarantees that if the work dries up halfway through construction we wont be left high and dry and living on a permanent construction site for the rest of our lives. There is no get-out clause for Charlemont Street’s residents, albeit a get-out clause for Property Developer Sean Reilly is more likely in place, residents excluded.
Urgent action is needed to safeguard ourselves from harm. We need guarantees put in place to protect us from the appalling conditions we are forced to live in now, in spite of what the Charlemont Street Committee say, that it is impossible for such guarantees to be put in place. Nothing is impossible, especially if we stand together and resist all forms of deprivation that Dublin City Council has thrown at us.
Dublin City Council will use any means necessary to suit there own ill-gotten gains. They have destroyed a countless number of communities such as, Saint Michaels estate, Dolphin House but to name a few and now they are in the process of destroying Charlemont Street. They are in cahoots with big time property developers who's only interest is profit and they are willing to go to extreme lengths in pursuit of their own profit.
The quote below was taking from an article carried by the Irish Times. It outlines just how far Dublin City Council are willing to go to force people out from their homes.
Article from the Irish Times
“A YOUNG Dublin mother of two died of hypothermia during last January’s cold snap after the city council turned off her heating, an inquest has heard.
Rachel Peavoy (30) of Shangan Road, Ballymun, Dublin, was found dead in her flat on January 11th, 2010. The pathologist found she had suffered hypothermia.”
Dublin City Council uses intimidation, like this poor girl suffered, to try and forcibly move residents out of their homes to suit their own ill-gotten gains. And now this poor girl has become another statistic at the hands of the socially inapt, Dublin City Council.
How far is Dublin City Council willing to go when dealing with the residents of Charlemont Street during our redevelopment? Are we going to witness a repeat of what happened to other communities who have fallen victim to the fallacy of Dublin City Council ?
We need to strengthen the development group asap and let D.C.C see we can be a united community.
The problems we face today such as mould and dampness are creating serious difficulties of health for the residents. We need to demand adequate living conditions for all the residents of Charlemont Street before the redevelopment starts. We need to empower the residents and to get the residents involved with the decision-making process as mentioned in the United Nations General Comment No 4 on the right to housing.
“the right to participate in public decision-making - is indispensable if the right to adequate housing is to be realized and maintained by all groups in society.”
United Nations General Comment No 4 on the right to housing.
We need to campaign for our rights and press home our right to adequate housing. We need to take a leaf out of the book from groups such as, “Rights in Action” (Dolphin House) and the Rialto Rights in Action Program, who are also campaigning for their Human Rights to be recognised and respected by Dublin City Council.
Immediate action needs to be taken now and not in another ten years or more when we are still waiting on Dublin City Council to fulfil their obligation and fix the problems in the flats complex. We’ve been waiting over a decade now for change but yet we keep getting the short end of the stick. For too long now we have been treated like second class citizens, its time to say, enough is enough and demand that Dublin City Council respect our rights as residents of Charlemont Street.