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10 Apr, 2020 12:36

Kicks and mortar: Conor McGregor urges authorities to grant permission for people to move into social housing in Dublin

Kicks and mortar: Conor McGregor urges authorities to grant permission for people to move into social housing in Dublin

Having posed for photos with residents and developers, Conor McGregor has claimed homeless people are "eagerly waiting to move in" to a new property project in Ireland and appealed to the city council to avoid a hold-up.

McGregor has been outspoken about his involvement in the construction of eight homes in the north of Dublin, pledging that they would be allocated as social housing for families living in hotels locally.

Dublin City Council sparked confusion in May when a spokesperson said they were unaware of the project and asked McGregor to make contact about the development, which he revealed was “closing in on finish” alongside a series of Instagram photos appearing to feature local residents.

In June, Irish newspaper the Sunday Independent reported that a development company linked to McGregor had offered the homes to a housing charity for more than $3 million, leading to an approved funding application to the council for up to 30 percent of the price.

The charity said the purchase would be funded by debt finance and supported by the council, whose housing waiting list tenants would be offered the homes at a “social rent”.

McGregor, who has claimed he has become a billionaire since leaving his early career as an apprentice plumber in the Dublin suburbs, pleaded with the council to “sign off on these”, adding: “These impeccably-built homes are now ready for tenants to move in.

“We have people without residence eagerly awaiting to move in. We are built and ready to go.”

In his initial post about the properties last year, McGregor wrote: “Walking around this land and these homes today, meeting all the neighbors, knowing that soon there will be families living here, creating their own memories and building back their lives, gives me great pride.”

McGregor has combined his commercial and philanthropic interests in recent weeks and promoted a video by Reebok – with whom he has a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal – about life during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has engaged in discussions about securing cost-effective protective equipment for healthcare workers in Ireland and pledged revenue from his Proper No. Twelve whiskey brand towards their efforts during the health crisis.

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Of McGregor’s following of more than eight million on Twitter, the vast majority responded to his request to the council with praise, although a few observers queried his financial involvement in the housing development.

One fan called McGregor “a truly great person” responsible for “so much that goes unnoticed”, with others suggesting the UFC pound-for-pound number three had ambitions to run for election in Ireland and would make a strong presidential candidate.

The former lightweight titleholder beat Donald Cerrone inside a round at UFC 246 in January and has urged people to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.