The Workers’ Party has condemned the possibility of a company owned by controversial businessman Denis O’Brien being given a contract to provide temporary housing units for homeless families in Dublin.

Following a viewing of the modular housing units, Workers’ Party Dublin City Councillor, Éilis Ryan, said that the proposal to use them as a stop-gap measure in the worsening homeless crisis appeared to be yet another opportunity for private profiteering off the back of working class people

Councillor Éilis Ryan

Councillor Éilis Ryan

Cllr Ryan, said: “The involvement of a subsidiary of the Denis O’Brien owned Siteserv makes me highly skeptical concerning this whole scheme. It would seem that the option of modular housing as currently proposed may be just another example of the government throwing subsidies, incentives and profits at private developers to put band-aids on the housing emergency we face in Dublin.”

According to Cllr. Ryan, Roankabin is one of six companies selected by Dublin local authorities to contribute to the current exhibit of modular housing. The company is a subsidiary of Siteserv, which is owned by Denis O’Brien.  She added: “The regular appearance of this network of companies in government deals shows the deep connections between politics and business in Ireland. Answers to Dáil questions show that there are serious issues around how Siteserv secured significant meter contracts with Irish Water.”

The Workers Party Councillor continued:  “Communities across the country have been struggling against these meters for two years now. To involve this company in any form in tackling the greatest challenge our country currently faces, homelessness, may not only lead people to have concerns about possible cronyism, but starkly illustrates how remote the current Government decision-makers are from the feelings and concerns of the public.”

“We have seen decades of housing crises in this country – now evident in evictions and sky-rocketing rents and during the so-called boom evident in unaffordable private housing and a glaring absence of new social housing. Throughout this, governments have propped up a succession of developers, landlords and bankers instead of tackling the root cause of our housing crisis – a lack of high quality public housing. Currently, €300 million a year is transferred to private landlords by the state – that money could build thousands of permanent homes.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded: “The high quality and affordability of some of the modular housing units does mean there might be a possibility of using them to tackle some of the worst effects of our housing crisis. However, like any model of housing, it should be delivered in a way that puts the interests of the public first. This means ending the stream of subsidies, easy contracts and guaranteed profits to the private sector and instead maintaining public control over public resources to ensure the scheme works for the benefit of all.”