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A computer-generated image of the proposed Pembroke Quarter redevelopment.

Dáil to discuss making homes at Poolbeg site 'genuinely affordable'

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said Nama should transfer its stake in the site to the council.

A MOTION DUE before the Dáil this evening will call on the government to intervene in a major housing development in Dublin to ensure that ‘genuinely affordable’ homes are delivered.

The 37-acre Poolbeg site in Ringsend, Dublin 4, is one of the last large-scale pieces of development land left in Dublin city with up to 3,800 homes planned. The Ronan Real Estate Group, which is developing the site, has said 1,000 of the homes built on the old Irish Glass Bottle site will be social and affordable homes.

The site forms part of the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) which local councillors approved in 2019. While there is a commitment on the levels of social and affordable housing on the site, an agreement has not yet been reached on how truly affordable homes will be delivered on the site.

Speaking to The Journal earlier this month, Dublin City Council’s head of housing Brendan Kenny expressed concern that the developers may attach a large price tag to these homes.

“House prices will be the issue down there…we just don’t know what the [affordable] prices are going to be. If the prices are €600,000, €700,000, well, then that’s not affordable and we’ll have to see what kind of further intervention is needed,” said Kenny.

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin will this evening bring a motion before the Dáil, calling on the Finance, Housing and Transport ministers to intervene and ensure the ‘affordable’ housing that has been committed to is placed on the market at a reasonable price. 

“The ministers for housing and transport need to urgently meet with Dublin City Council and the Irish Glass Bottle Housing Action Group for a coherent plan,” Ó Broin told The Journal. “Sources close to Dublin City Council have said central government is not getting involved at all.”

It was reported earlier this year that a deal to purchase a portion of this land from Nama at a significant discount fell apart after Dublin City Council and the Department of Housing failed to agree who should buy it. This portion of land was then included in the Poolbeg development project brought to market by Nama in 2019.

90181994 The former Irish Glass Bottle site at Poolbeg. Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

Ó Broin said his party believes that Nama, which retained a 20% interest in the site, should transfer it to the council. 

He also said the government has plans for up to €80 million in infrastructure planning locally and this should be considered as a subsidy, because the whole development will benefit from this investment. He said each ‘affordable’ unit should be significantly discounted to recognise this infrastructure funding. 

“In exchange for infrastructure funding, which unlocks this development, and through the transfer of land to Dublin City Council, the overall development costs for those units could be reduced dramatically,” he said. “We want the developer to offer a fair price and if they believe the infrastructure funding won’t be released until a fair price is given, that gives the council a stronger bargaining position.”

Ó Broin accused the government of “playing a stand-offish role” in the arrangements for this development and said ministers now need to work with the council to “get a result”. 

- With reporting by Cónal Thomas.

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