Plan to rent student housing during Pope visit to be investigated

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Plan to rent student housing during Pope visit to be investigated

Dublin City Council has received complaints over its plans to advertise student accommodation to tourists


Pope Francis will be visiting Dublin (John Stillwell/P)A
Pope Francis will be visiting Dublin (John Stillwell/P)A

Dublin City Council is investigating an alleged breach of planning permission after student housing was advertised to the public for €170 per night during the Pope’s visit to Ireland.

Dorset Point, a block of 447 bedrooms on Dorset Street owned by Aparto, is being rented to tourists throughout the summer.

According to some political activists, the student housing scheme is breaching its planning permission by letting the rooms to tourists over August 25 and 26.

Dublin City Council has confirmed it has received a number of complaints.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “I wish to advise that Dublin City Council have received complaints in relation to the Dorset Point.

“The Planning Enforcement Section of Dublin City Council are investigating the alleged breach.”

A spokesperson for the company said the current uses of its facilities are permitted.

“Aparto aims to provide the best experience for its residents and operates within the remit of all statutory obligations.

“All current uses of its facilities throughout the calendar year are permitted under existing legislation.

“Its practice is no different to that of similar sized operators within this sector in the Dublin area.

“Aparto is currently preparing for the commencement of a new academic year with new students for the 2018/19 period commencing their tenancies from mid-August onward.”

Councillor Eilis Ryan from The Worker’s Party says the building is not to be used for anything other than students.

“This is in breach of its planning permission, which states that it cannot be used for any purpose other than as student accommodation.

“Aparto have not applied for permission to change the use of the structure.

“After repeated lectures about the urgent need for student housing in Dublin, now these private, unaffordable blocks are not even being used for that purpose.

“The rooms are being rented for about 80 euro per night, but the weekend of the Pope’s visit this rises to an astounding 170 euro per night.

“The majority of Dorset Point’s rooms are available to students for only 41 weeks a year.

“This means Aparto – and their multi-billion euro backers Hines – are making over 2 million euro in just 11 weeks.

“Private student housing does not benefit students – just mega rich developers.

“Purpose-built student accommodation in Dublin is an excuse for developers and investors to make money off building with no obligations whatsoever to those in need of affordable, secure housing.”

92 new families become homeless in June 2018 according to charity Focus Ireland, campaigners and charities blame the current homelessness crisis on lack of affordable social housing.

There were 9,874 people homeless in the week of June 18-24 2018 across Ireland.

The number of families becoming homeless has increased by 28pc since June 2017.

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