Ireland’s largest purpose-built housing project for the elderly was officially opened in Dublin on Monday.
St Agnes in Captain’s Place next to the village of Crumlin consists of 103 council houses spread over six blocks of flats. It was built by Fold Housing and opened by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien with residents 55 and older.
Residents spoke of their joy at finally having a safe place to live, and some described their new home as “magic.”
All 111 residents were previously on the Dublin City Council housing list and have lived in St Agnes for almost two years.
“In the beginning it was hard for everyone with Covid and hard for Fold Housing to get things done, but they have been through it all and they are very helpful. If you want, just call Fold and it’s done,” Danny Dennan says. He is originally from Crumlin, but has lived in a bed in Bluebell for the past nine years. “I didn’t have a bedroom, it was very small. I was offered this and it has given me a new lease of life.”
He got to know other residents of his building and a few residents from the other blocks went to school with him. “I moved out of the area when I was 27, and now I’m back and meeting all my old friends.”
Mr. Dennan has had a bad back for years, so he’s happy to finally have a decent bedroom. “It’s magic.”
‘I love it’
Christy Farley and Tony Reilly lived in Inchicore before moving to St Agnes almost two years ago.
“As soon as I got the keys, I moved in straight away. I love it,” said Mr Farley. “We all talk to each other and I can invite my family too.”
They both lived in rental housing in the form of a bed. “I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Reilly said. “When you hear there’s a housing crisis and the next thing, you get the keys… it’s like a dream come true.”
Dublin City Councilor Dermot Lacey pleaded with the Housing Minister to allow local authorities to build more social housing, such as the St Agnes project.
“Please let local government do the job we once did in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s by providing housing for local governments in this city in a way that many people in able to lead a good life. with their families through the generations.”
Cllr Lacey added that it was a happy day for the residents. “I think this is a beautiful place and I hope you enjoy it for the rest of your life.”
Mr O’Brien said the government is working towards an age-friendly Ireland where older people can live long and healthy lives, participate in their communities and receive a range of housing options and health support. “St Agnes, Captain’s Place is a model for housing development for the elderly and I want this to be replicated nationally.”
St Agnes has been designed according to the latest Universal Design guidelines, including safety rails, non-slip floors and lifts.
Residents also have access to Radius Connect 24, a social alarm system. Each apartment has an enclosed balcony.
Fold Housing is a recognized housing agency that specializes in providing housing for families and the elderly.
Dublin City Council was the sanctioning authority for the scheme, receiving funding in excess of €20 million from the Department of Housing and Housing Finance Agency.