herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

RTE, Dublin Bus and NAMA sites could house 10,000, claims Greens Eamon Ryan

An aerial view of the Glass Bottle site in Ringsend
An aerial view of the Glass Bottle site in Ringsend

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan has called on the Government to use Dublin Bus garages, as well as RTE and NAMA lands, to ease the housing crisis gripping the city.

Mr Ryan said the Government could easily free up over 100 acres of lands across the city, which could house "up to 10,000 people".

He called a potential RTE move from Donnybrook into the city centre a "win-win", saying it would alleviate residential building space in Dublin 4 and "liven up" the city centre.

"It's a 30-acre site, half of it is under-utilised - it's mainly car -parking and fields that no one ever goes into," Mr Ryan said.

Investment

"RTE have to do it anyway, they have to change their whole studio system, they have to move to a digital system so it's time for RTE to invest and actually move to a new premises."

Mr Ryan denied that his call, outside Montrose, to use RTE lands to ease the housing crisis was just a publicity stunt.

"I ask the Government will they do it? Alex White, would you do it? What are you going to do with RTE? Are you going to sit there for the next year or the next six months and say nothing about RTE?" he said.

"He has to come out and say what his vision of the future of RTE is.

"It's an investment in RTE as well as a housing investment. It's an action that a government needs to take, we have a housing crisis [and] this is a really practical, realisable solution that needs to happen straight away."

He went on to say that the city centre was facing a "transport crisis" and would face "gridlock" within two years if Dublin Bus garages weren't moved to the outskirts.

He proposed moving garages from places like Summerhill, Conyngham Road, Ringsend, Donnybrook and Broadstone to locations away from the city centre to the "periphery of the city". "Put the buses and bus stations where they're needed to make an efficient service.

"You'd start the bus journey where it belongs - at the start of the route," Mr Ryan said.

The Green Party leader was critical of NAMA too.

"We stitched into NAMA a clear mission that they have to deliver a social return to the state and not just an economic one.

"That's what has been legislated for and that's what they have to do in the last two to three years of their existence," he added. He also called for the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend to be developed.

"It has been idle for the last four years.

"It has been cleared, as I understand, it is ready to go - why are we not building on it?" asked Mr Ryan.

The 25-acre site was bought for over €400m nearly 10 years ago and was one of the biggest deals made at the height of the building boom.

Planning

Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne has also called for NAMA "to change its approach" and criticised development in the Docklands as going back to the "same developer-led model."

"We're not getting the mixed use, we're not getting proper planning," she said.

"This is the opportunity for the State to bring proper planning back," she said.

Mr Ryan added that these plans could roughly house 10,000 people.

The Green Party leader also said that new student accommodation being built should be "mixed up" and not just built in "islands".

Finally, he said that he felt the plans were "do-able" and required "a bit of political will".

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