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Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines earmarked as potential site for 1,000 new homes

A feasibility study will examine the potential use of the site,

A guard of honour at Cathal Brugha Barracks.
A guard of honour at Cathal Brugha Barracks.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A FEASIBILITY STUDY is to be carried out for the potential use of the Cathal Brugha Barracks site in Dublin 6 for housing.

The large site on the south bank of the Grand Canal is currently a working Defence Forces facility but Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said today that it’s not a location for a barracks in the long-term. 

The announcement of a feasibility study for the future of the site was confirmed today by Taoiseach Micheál Martin as the government provided an update to its Housing for All strategy

Martin said that State lands that may be used for housing are being identified as part of the plan and that the 40 acre site is one of those identified.

“I’m pleased to confirm we have now agreed to conduct a feasibility study for the use of the Cathal Brugha Barracks site in Rathmines, Dublin to provide housing. This study will get underway shortly,” An Taoiseach said today. 

The south inner city military base has long been touted as a potential location for housing, with Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffee writing in The Journal in 2018 that it could “house thousands of new residents and provide sports fields, parks and playgrounds in this part of the city”.

Also speaking to The Journal in 2019, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that Cathal Brugha Barracks would be an ideal candidate for the ‘Vienna Model’ for public housing, where rental prices are based on construction and maintenance costs rather than market rents. 

Speaking today, Ryan said that the barracks site could provide “one thousand high-quality new homes close to the city centre”.

He added that the location means the provision of car parking would not be required, leading to reduced costs. 

“The prospect of putting high quality housing into Cathal Brugha Barracks, within walking distance of the centre of town, where we don’t have to have car parking, where we can break down the cost of development and provide really low cost-rental housing, because you can actually build better in this sustainable, really high quality way,” he said. 

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Asked whether the Defence Forces had been consulted, Ryan said he has been speaking to them “for many years on this” and that the future of Defence Forces sites is about facilities and not locations. 

“It’s not a place where you could run or easily operate at a barracks in the long term, within walking distance from the centre of town, I think epicenter of the rental crisis,” he said, adding: 

“We cannot afford to let particularly the south side of Dublin become a home for software engineers or financial wizards. It has to be a city that belongs for everyone where we have a whole range of homes for younger people. And that prospect is there now and real.”

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Rónán Duffy

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