Modular houses being built in Dublin are costing nearly twice as much as initially intended, and in some cases are more expensive than building an actual house.
The government has come under extreme criticism on the issue, after it was revealed that the modular houses are now costing the taxpayer €191,000 each.
The temporary houses were seen as a good short term solution to the city’s homeless crisis, with the intention that several families would be in place by Christmas.
However, delays caused by protests and bad weather significantly increased the overall cost from the initial €100,000 per home estimate. So far €4.2m has been spent on the temporary homes.
Dublin City Councillor Michael O’Brien said: “The modular homes plan is now an utter shambles and shows the absolute lack of thought which the Government has put into this plan.
“The building of each one of these units is now going to cost €11,000 more than the cost of building an actual house (€180,000) based on the Department of the Environment’s figures.
“It will cost €191,000 to build each modular house, the Minister thinks that the costs are worth it because of the time saved on construction and the hope was that people would have been accommodated in them for Christmas.
“However if the Minister had a bit of foresight the council could have used this €4.2m in funding to begin to purchase houses in the area and this could have been done by now.
“The average house price in the area is roughly €150,000. This would have allowed homeless families who will be moved into the modular housing to be moved into actual houses and would have added housing to the council’s housing stock rather than spending fortunes on temporary modular accommodation.”
There are five sites in Dublin that have been selected for the modular housing project in Ballymun, Finglas, Darndale, Crumlin and Ballyfermot. However, there are numerous 3-bedroom houses on the market in and around these areas for less than €191,000.
Councillor Daithi Doolan, chair of Dublin City Council’s Housing Committee, defended the modular housing scheme. He explained: “We hope to have them ready now by the middle of February.
“We had wanted them ready before Christmas but there was a delay because of protests and very poor weather.
“They meet the needs of the families much better and are more economical.
“Not every home on various streets meet the needs of certain families. It’s not as simple as just buying up houses where they can.
“There is only a certain number of local authority houses permitted on some roads and the Council are not allowed to buy two together.
“I have visited the emergency accommodation and seen some of the conditions that homeless people are being forced to live in.
“It’s awful and moving these people is our priority.”