Belfast Telegraph

Deal approved to redevelop Dublin’s O’Devaney Gardens complex

A protest was held at Monday night’s council meeting which gave the plan the go-ahead.

Work continues on the construction site at the O’Devaney Gardens (Michelle Devane/PA)
Work continues on the construction site at the O’Devaney Gardens (Michelle Devane/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

City councillors have approved a housing deal to redevelop Dublin’s O’Devaney Gardens.

The former apartment complex near Phoenix Park has been derelict since the collapse of a previous agreement to revitalise the area a decade ago.

A protest was held at Monday night’s council meeting which gave the plan the go-ahead.

Councillor James Geoghegan tweeted: “A crazy ending to tonight’s council meeting. Disgraceful scenes designed to undermine legitimate democracy.

“Over 800 new homes, social, affordable and private, to be built thanks to our vote tonight on O’Devaney Gardens.”

The new deal with property developer Bartra Capital has faced roadblocks.

Affordable homes proposed for the site would cost an average of 300,000 euro, with some three-bedroom apartments priced at 420,000 euro, a council report revealed.

bpanews_bd4b1c0b-fab8-4ec8-b7e5-3dc60b9b5f8c_embedded238772970
Eoghan Murphy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Speaking to media in Dublin’s Mansion House on Monday morning, representatives from political parties collectively known as the Dublin Agreement City Councillors repeatedly said: “This is not a perfect plan”, before calling for the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to resign.

The amended proposal reduces the maximum “affordable” purchase price to 310,000 euro, with 80% of new units being social and “affordable”, an increase of 30% from the initial proposal.

The group says it has secured a commitment from the developer to sell 30% of the overall units to an approved housing body, which will raise funds for the purchase.

No housing body has yet agreed to purchase the units.

Social Democrat councillor Gary Gannon acknowledged that this is not the way he would have preferred the deal to go.

“This isn’t a perfect deal and we’re not going to try and convince you that it is. What we’ve done is make the best of an imperfect situation, but the deal we’re bringing to council tonight will benefit the citizens of Dublin.

“Politics is about tough decisions, and we’ve came to the conclusion that this is a good deal for the city.

“It’s an absolute travesty that in order to build public housing on publicly owned land, we must line the pockets of developers, but such is the nature of the ideological disposition that exists in the Department of Housing at the moment.”

A number of councillors opposing the deal advocated for the development to contain only social housing due to the homeless crisis in the state, with Dublin’s north inner city harshly impacted.

Anthony Flynn, independent councillor and founder of Inner City Helping Homeless, said the deal only benefits the developer.

“Hundreds of emails have come in over the last month from residents within the area requesting councillors not to sell this land,” he said.

“This deal is the exact same deal that was on the agenda last month, it has just been gift wrapped differently in order to make it easier for councillors to swallow.

“No firm commitment has been given to make a further percentage of these homes affordable. In fact, all that is in place is a request from management.

“Those signed up to the Dublin Agreement have already failed, they committed to not selling public land and the first option they are given they do the opposite.

“Bartra Capital have not got the interest of the community at heart and the units identified as affordable already are way outside the price range of anyone living and working in the area.

“The chance to set precedent on this land, and show management and developers that the councillors are committed to building public housing on public land, is now.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph