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A motion requiring all new units in O'Devaney Gardens to be public housing has been overturned

In the new deal, only 30% of the 1,353 units will be social housing.

O'Devaney Gardens
O'Devaney Gardens
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

AN AGREEMENT HAS been reached on the development of O’Devaney Gardens and two other run-down sites in Dublin to increase the amount of social and private housing in the areas as they are redeveloped.

The public-private partnership will see a private developer building in tandem with the council in O’Devaney Gardens, Oscar Traynor Road and St Michael’s Estate. Altogether, 1,353 units will be built, 448 of which will be social housing units.

Originally, 100% of the land was going to be built by private developers. However, yesterday Minister for Housing Simon Coveney agreed that the government will fund 30% of the building, which will all be social housing units. There will also be 20% affordable and cost rental units, and 50% will be private units.

Call for 100% public housing

In July, Dublin City Council passed a motion from the Workers’ Party to make O’Devaney Gardens 100% mixed-income public housing.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan warned that if this motion remained then the development wouldn’t go ahead as 100% public housing was in breach of planning permission and the national housing policy.

[image src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/09/odevaney-gardens-flats-14-2-296x192.jpg" width="296" height="192" credit-source="Mark%20Stedman%2FRolling%20News" caption="O'Devaney%20Gardens" class="alignnone" /end]

The motion was overruled by an agreement between Dublin councillors who sit on the corporate policy sub-group and the minister yesterday.

Sinn Féin Councillor Janice Boylan had previously welcomed the development at O’Devaney Gardens, saying that “any proposals that the land is going to be built on are very welcome.”

The Workers’ Party criticised Sinn Féin for accepting the new government agreement. Councillor Éilis Ryan, who proposed the original motion to make the development all public housing, said:

It should come as no surprise to Sinn Féin that proposals for proper public housing would be opposed by a Fine Gael minister. But if the largest party on the city council isn’t willing to stand up to a right wing minister and demand local democracy is upheld, I’m unclear of what their purpose on the council is.

She also criticised the government for not allowing members of smaller parties into the closed doors meeting. The meeting included representatives from Sinn Féin, Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Ryan said their party had received legal advice that the 100% requirement was not in breach of any laws.

Councillor Michael O’Brien from the Anti Austerity Alliance said the government’s claims that having a completely social estate would create ‘ghettoisation’ were a “grotesque insult to housing applicants.”

[image alt="O’Devaney Gardens flats 9" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2016/09/odevaney-gardens-flats-9-2-296x197.jpg" width="296" height="197" credit-source="Mark%20Stedman%2FRolling%20News" caption="O'Devaney%20Gardens" class="alignnone" /end]

O’Devaney Gardens, near the Phoenix Park, was built in the 1950s to house over 270 families that were moved out of the Dublin tenements. However, the blocks of flats were almost entirely deserted before they were demolished.

The flats became associated with drugs problems and antisocial behaviour. In recent years the blocks were used as a set for the crime series Love/Hate.

There were previous plans to regenerate the flats in 2008, but after the property market collapsed the plans were shelved.

Read: PHOTOS: O’Devaney Gardens before its last flats are demolished

Read: Final blocks of O’Devaney Gardens flats set to be torn down

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About the author:

Elizabeth O'Malley

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