Green Party minister opposes rezoning for housing near his home

Green Party minister opposes rezoning for housing near his home

A Green Party TD and junior minister who opposed proposals to rezone land for housing has said his local council is now reconsidering its plans.

Minister of state for community development and charities Joe O’Brien contacted locals in his north Dublin region this week to let them know that two soccer pitches could be lost as part of a proposal to rezone green space in Skerries. 

Interventions by politicians objecting to housing plans in their neighbourhoods have proven controversial in the past. 

Mr O’Brien raised concerns this week about access to playing pitches for children in his area.

“I understand that since I raised this issue a council official has verbally commented that the pitches will be protected but this is not yet reflected in the proposed maps,” said Mr O’Brien late on Friday.

“The council has been in touch with one of my colleagues this evening to say that they will review the maps and ensure the pitches are protected. I look forward to reviewing the maps.” 

Mr O’Brien said if the maps show that the pitches are “properly protected” he will not oppose “an appropriate amount of the green space being rezoned”.

Fingal County Council has included proposals on its maps to rezone certain areas so they can be used for housing.

“We absolutely need more housing and the housing completion rates have increased significantly in the last year,” said Mr O’Brien.

“But people in Dublin Fingal know better than most that proper housing is not just bricks and mortar. Children need spaces to play, adults to exercise, and sports clubs to play games.” 

He criticised the proposed size of the rezoning as making the pitches “unviable”.

The pitches are used by local community club Mourne Celtic for home games, and he said the loss of their pitch could make it impossible to find an alternative site.

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