Divisive Cherry Orchard development sees residents involved in stand-off
By Maurice Garvey
PROTESTS both for and against a housing development in Cherry Orchard are set to continue throughout the week.
Earlier this week, attempts to start a social housing project for 72 homes at Cherry Orchard Park had to be abandoned after residents blocked access to the site.
After word got out, another protest began, not 100 yards away, by mothers on the housing list, who chanted ‘let them build’.
Co-operative Housing Ireland have a total capital budget in the region of €15 million for the project.
The development met a mixed response in the community when first mooted back in 2008.
While many acknowledge the need for more houses, established residents cite a chronic lack of amenities in the area.
The Stone Soup Project was formed in 2013 by residents living beside the park, transforming the site with planted flowerbeds, memorial trees, and a communal grotto.
The group told The Echo this week they want to stop the development going ahead.
A spokesman for the group said: “If I had a penny for everytime we were told over the last 40 years we were going to get amenities – authorities just treat us like working-class scum.
“The gardaí can’t control the area. There are 150 new houses planned for Cherry Orchard, but only one shop, and one school that is bursting. We have to send our kids to other areas for school. In the past, you built houses and shops, now it’s
just houses. If scramblers are in the park, it is better than out on the road.”
Meanwhile, at the pro-housing protest, mothers on the housing list say the people protesting the development “own their own homes”.
Michelle Gavin (36), a mother-of-two and 14 years on the housing list, said “we need houses built” and “the park is only used for scramblers and bikes.”
Kelly Ryan, a mother-of-four with one on the way, is living in a mobile home at the back of her mother’s home in Cherry Orchard, and says “no one ever mentions the shops nearby Centra, Lidl, or the school.”
Marie Ennis (35), a mother-of-four on the housing list for 16 months, said she is living in a B&B and was protesting for a “right to have a home.”
“We plan to be out every night,” she said.
A spokesman for CHI told The Echo they intend to proceed with the development, and are hoping to “sustainably build in phases.”
CHI said a northern part of the site is allocated for the memorial park, and they will try to “maintain most of the work, bits of it will have to be moved/relocated.”
They say the memorial group is not engaging with them.
Councillor Daithí Doolan, chair of Dublin City Council’s housing committee, said: “Dublin is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. Ballyfermot is one of the areas most in need of housing, with over 7,000 on the housing list in Dublin South Central.
He said local concerns need to be addressed but “not allowed to block homes for people who need them.”