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Dublin City Council passes large land rezone in Finglas despite opposition

The rezoning provides for around 2,200 new residential units, but opposers raised concerns over affordability.

Image: Shutterstock/Ceri Breeze

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has voted in favour of a large rezoning project in Finglas after lengthy debate at tonight’s monthly council meeting.

Councillors who spoke at the meeting were split over whether the rezoning proposal, which would allow residential development in an area currently restricted to business and job-creation activities, should be approved.

Proponents said the rezoning would “revitalise” Finglas village and provide housing, while opponents argued that the process had been rushed and that housing may not be affordable.

The proposal, which required a two-thirds majority of 42 votes, narrowly passed with 43 in favour and 17 against.

Two councillors abstained from voting.

Councillor James Geoghegan, Fine Gael’s candidate in the upcoming Dublin Bay South by-election, was among those to vote in favour.

The rezoning would require land use to be 50% residential, 30% employment, 10% open space, and make provision for community use, including a school.

At a density of 100 housing units per hectare, there would be 2,200 residential units in the zone.

The site is at Jamestown Road, St Margaret’s Road and McKee Avenue.

Councillors from Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and the Labour Party drove the conversation in favour of the rezoning.

Non-party Councillor Noeleen Rahilly for Ballymun-Finglas said that the Finglas area has been “dying on its knees for many years”.

“I think it is an excellent proposal and I think it has huge opportunities there for Finglas village,” Rahilly said.

“The employers on this land have been in Finglas for over 50 years providing good-quality jobs. Now they want to provide good quality housing, jobs and other facilities,” she said.

Several Green Party, Social Democrats and People Before Profit councillors opposed the rezoning.

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Multiple Fianna Fáil councillors spoke on the proposal, with three going on to vote against it while three-quarters of its councillors voted in favour.

Concerns were raised that planning for the area had been rushed, that local residents opposed the rezoning, and that there was not a guarantee the new housing would be affordable.

Ballymun-Finglas Councillor Conroy, Green Party, said: “I am very much in support of development, especially on the industrial lands because they are an ideal opportunity to improve our communities – they’re in the ideal spot, usually near links for public transport and amenities – but my fear is that SHD [Strategic Housing Development] will damage our community when it goes ahead.”

The Strategic Housing Development process, which allows fast-track planning, is not due to be extended beyond its current lifetime, which ends on 31 December.

In a statement ahead of the meeting, Social Democrats Councillor Cat O’Driscoll said that rezoning would mean “that development of the site would take place in the context of the current mandatory National Planning Guidelines and the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process which has allowed fast-track planning and low planning standards, without limits on height”.

“Given the new city development plan is in progress and will be published in 2022, we can only assume efforts to fast-track this rezoning are an attempt to push it through ahead of the SHD legislation lapsing at the end of this year,” O’Driscoll said.

“Based on experience to date, SHD development of the site with high-rise apartments would ultimately result in the block-purchase of these units by investment funds, thereby denying local people the opportunity to buy a home,” she said.

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