Builders threatened by local criminal seeking ‘security’ cash
By Maurice Garvey
GARDAI agreed this week to increase their presence during construction of a €15 million social housing development in Cherry Orchard Park.
The Echo understands that builders were threatened by a known local criminal looking for protection money to “provide security” for the site, which is set to contain 72 homes when finished.
A local source said the thug was looking for over €4,000 per week, and even approached builders at their homes while carrying a firearm.
This led to emergency meetings over the last couple of weeks with all the major stakeholders involved in the project, including site developers Co-op Housing Ireland, Dublin City Council, gardai and local politicians.
A spokesman for CHI told The Echo they have received “great support from gardai” who will provide round-the-clock security at the site.
Work has started at the site, although CHI say there is no firm deadline for completion.
Whilst there had been some smaller-scale protests, both for and against the development, the situation took a sinister twist just before Christmas.
An innocent worker was lucky not to suffer serious injuries when a lit carton of petrol was thrown into a digger he was operating.
Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan welcomed the commitment by gardai to provide “protection to workers.”
He said it was important the development “proceeded as quick as possible”, citing construction which has yet to begin on other housing projects in the constituency.
Cllr Doolan, Chairperson of Dublin City Council housing committee, said: “Things got intense before Christmas. I contacted Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, nothing happened, she said she was awaiting a report back from gardai. We contacted Housing Minister Simon Coveney, nothing happened, all plans for Cherry Orchard were put on ice.
“After Christmas, we wrote to them again stressing the urgency of the situation. Finally, at a meeting on Monday, gardai agreed to allocate more resources. I’d like to thank the response from gardai, CHI, DCC, builders and the ministers. There were serious implications if it failed to go ahead.”
Along with the construction of 24 rapid-build homes for the area, Dublin City Council also plan to build 53 units on HSE lands behind Cherry Orchard Hospital.