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Should RTÉ's campus be turned into student accommodation?

The Green Party has proposed the idea.

29/8/2013 New Season on RTE Radio 1 Launch The stars of RTÉ outside the Montrose radio building in 2013. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE GREEN PARTY is suggesting RTÉ’s studios should be moved into the city centre to free up space for third-level students as part of a major rethink of the government’s approach to housing. 

The party’s leader, Eamon Ryan, says State-owned lands in Dublin hold the key to solving the housing crisis – and recommended that properties owned by the broadcaster, as well as Dublin Bus and Nama, should be freed-up.

“By reserving a suitable site in Dublin City centre for a new RTÉ complex we could free up the 30 acres in Montrose and provide housing for up to 5,000 third level students,” the former communications minister said.

“Half of the RTÉ lands are underused at the moment and a switch from Dublin 4 to Dublin 1 could be good for the broadcaster and good for both sides of the city.”

The RTÉ campus is close to UCD in south Dublin, and the area is dotted with student accommodation.

Claire Byrne – a councillor based in south Dublin (who happens to share her name with a certain RTÉ broadcaster) – and the party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin are backing the proposal.

25/5/2014. European Elections Counts Eamon Ryan Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

“Moving bus garages out of the city centre would also be a win-win solution for both transport and housing policy,” Ryan insisted.

“It makes no sense for bus drivers to have to come in early each morning to bring a bus back out to the start of their route on the edge of the city.

“Far better to build purpose built garages on the edge of the city and use the vacant lands for new housing developments that would be located in some of the best sites in the city.”

Dublin Bus has a number of large garages in north and south suburbs of the city – including at Donnybrook and Clontarf.

cb Claire Byrne


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Ryan said Nama should also take a “proactive role” with sites they control, like the Irish Glass Bottle site in Dublin 4 at Ringsend.

“The Irish Glass Bottle site has been deserted for years and is the perfect location for a major new housing development.

“The Government has just raised a fifteen year bond at 1.8% interest rate.

“There is no reason why we should not be able to commit future rental income from student and social rents to be able to raise a similar long term bond to pay for these developments.

“All that is missing is the right political will and vision for how we could do things differently.”

Byrne agreed Nama needed to change its approach, and said a recent trend that had seen developers make a significant return to the Docklands area was not delivering the right mix of commercial, housing and retail developments.

“We should be using the glass bottle site as a model for a whole new form of social, affordable, and sustainable mixed development,” the councillor said.

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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