herald

Sunday 26 January 2020

Councillors vote against €90m land sale proposal

Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe
Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe

Dublin city councillors last night voted to oppose a proposal to sell idle land sites to fund cultural, sport and recreational projects.

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan previously said the sale of 14 high-value sites, along with 15 council works depots, would raise more than €90m needed to implement objectives set out under the local authority's capital programme.

The sites include Tolka Park stadium, in Drumcondra, and the old College of Music headquarters, on Chatham Row.

However, councillors voted to object to the report recommending the sales at a meeting last night, and agreed that selling off public assets is not a sustainable way of raising funds.

Some suggested the council should introduce a tourism tax or bedroom tax instead as a more suitable way of raising funds.

Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe said it was "clear this chamber is not in favour" of the proposal.

"There will be a change in national government in the next four or five months, and I don't believe we should be engaged in commencing in any sales process until we know where that is," he said.

Ugly

"The compromise we made with O'Devaney Gardens was an ugly compromise, everybody accepted that.

"[Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy's] response to that quickly demonstrated a political unwillingness to believe in what public housing could be.

"I think we need to reignite that."

Mr Keegan said he was confident he would get agreement to sell and said the sites were unsuitable for housing.

On the issue of a possible tourist or bedroom tax, Mr Keegan added: "We've been very supportive of that, but in all my years since I joined the council in 1993, it's never been delivered."

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