herald

Friday 20 April 2018

Minister urged to act as developers renege on social housing units

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is under pressure as
developers change their plan for the Irish Glass Bottle site
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is under pressure as developers change their plan for the Irish Glass Bottle site

Councillors are demanding action from Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy after it was revealed just one third of promised social housing units would be delivered at a landmark Dublin site.

Receivers of the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Poolbeg were granted permission to develop 3,500 housing units under the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) scheme last May, in a deal made by then housing minister Simon Coveney.

The receivers of the land, Deloitte, agreed to allocate 900 of the planned 3,500 units to social and affordable housing following negotiations with the minister and Dublin city councillors.

However, Deloitte has made an appeal which would see it delivering just 350 units, or 10pc of the total development, for this purpose.

Under the SDZ scheme, there is a provision to have 10pc of the development delivered as social and affordable housing.

Last night, councillors expressed outrage at the appeal to An Bord Pleanala which would see the number of available homes cut by more than half, if it was successful, and insisted the minister should intervene.

Green Party councillor Claire Byrne, who raised the emergency motion, said it is not acceptable for the minister to renege on an agreement that was made in good faith.

Speaking to the Herald, Cllr Byrne said this was one of the most important promises made to tackle social housing in Dublin, and it would be in the minister's interest "not to roll back on that commitment".

"We need this because it is one of the biggest developments in the city. Overall what is happening in the city in terms of providing houses is really regressive.

"We've made promises to the citizens with this development," she added.

Fianna Fail councillor Frank Kennedy said councillors were "foolish" for accepting assurances by Mr Coveney that the development would be protected despite the lack of a binding contract.

Damaging

"It was the clear and absolute understanding of all the members of this council that we didn't need to worry about this," he said.

"What we have been left with tonight is a very damaging situation."

An Bord Pleanala is set to hold a public hearing this month in order to fast-track the development at the site in Ringsend.

Meanwhile, figures seen by the Herald reveal there are 519 properties lying vacant which are available for social housing, despite 4,000 homeless people in Dublin. The figures were obtained Independent councillor Noeleen Reilly.

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