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Decision on development of O'Devaney Gardens site postponed by Dublin City Council

Proposals to construct 800 housing units were set to be voted on by Dublin City councillors this evening.

The last remaining blocks of flats in O'Devaney Gardens, which were demolished in 2016
The last remaining blocks of flats in O'Devaney Gardens, which were demolished in 2016
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE FUTURE OF the former O’Devaney Gardens complex in north Dublin will not be decided until next month, following a council decision to defer a vote on its development.

Controversial proposals to construct a new housing development containing more than 800 homes on the site were set to be voted on by Dublin City councillors this evening.

However, a suggestion by Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe to postpone a debate on the proposals was accepted by councillors at the start of this evening’s monthly meeting of the council.

It comes hours after councillors received a letter from Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy today, which argued that a failure by them to accept the proposals would be a “significant blow” to the city and call into question the council’s ability to deliver homes.

The Minister also claimed that the Department would no longer provide a subsidy for the development of the site, which would comprise a mix of social and private homes, if councillors did not approve the development.

After many years of promises and plans to redevelop the site, the turning of the sod on the first phase in the regeneration development took place last year, and 56 units of social housing will be ready at the site in 2020.

Property developer Bartra has been contracted to build another 768 houses and apartments on the site, 411 of which will be sold privately by the company.

However, the proposed development has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks, after a council report revealed that ‘affordable’ homes at the site would cost an average of €300,000, with some three-bedroom apartments priced at €420,000.

A number of councillors have also argued that the entire site should contain public housing.

Independent Dublin City Councillor Cieran Perry said that pressure from locals has forced councillors to question the proposals.

“The handover of prime public lands to a private developer during the worst housing crisis this country has ever seen has hit a nerve with the public,” he said.

Last month, Eoghan Murphy told the Oireachtas Housing Committee that the majority of homes for sale at O’Devaney Gardens would cost less than €310,000 which would be affordable to people on the average industrial wage.

However, Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin pointed out that a couple buying a home for €310,000 would need a deposit of €31,000, and therefore would need a bank loan of €279,000 – which would be against Central Bank rules.

The proposal for the site is expected to return to be debated by Dublin City councillors at the local authority’s next monthly meeting in November.

With reporting from Christina Finn.

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