Ashbourne councillor Alan Tobin has come in for criticism following comments that he made in opposition to 67 proposed units of social housing in the town.

Speaking in reaction to the comments, Séamus McDonagh (Workers’ Party representative, Co. Meath), said:

“Cllr. Tobin’s comments – that building social housing would turn an estate into a ‘no-go’ area – border on bigotry against working class communities.

“If Cllr. Tobin believes that building just 60 or 70 units of public housing can cause social chaos, where exactly does he – and indeed his Fine Gael party – propose to house the tens of thousands of households currently waiting for social housing in the state?”

McDonagh highlighted the fact that, up until recent decades, social housing was never associated with anti-social behaviour or crime, saying:

“Up until the introduction of grants for those in social housing to leave and buy privately, public housing estates were mixed themselves, with plenty people working, looking after kids, or studying.

“It is the total lack of social housing in Ireland that now means only the most vulnerable can access it – and it is unemployment and lack of services – not social housing – which has led to crime and anti-social behaviour in other areas.

McDonagh concluded:

“The solution to these problems is not to reject social housing – its to bring public housing back to what it once was – a public good which all working class and middle income households can access, at affordable rents, with decent facilities. Cllr. Tobin’s vitriol completely misses these points.”