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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Protesters fight 'land giveaway' to private developers

The three council-owned sites are located in St Michael’s Estate, Oscar Traynor Road and O’Devaney Gardens.

Protesters outside Dublin City Council yesterday evening
Protesters outside Dublin City Council yesterday evening
Image: Thomas McCarthy

PROTESTERS FROM ACROSS Dublin have banded together to challenge Dublin City Council’s Housing Land Initiative which they fear doesn’t serve those most in need of housing.

The Housing Land Initiative would see three council owned sites being put up to market.

Although it is not yet known how the sites will be developed, protesters from a number of groups including Dublin 7 Housing Action, St Michael’s Estate Regeneration Campaign, Dublin Central Housing Action and Ballymun-Finglas Housing Action fear that the sites will be used for “private profits for private developers”.

IMAG0484 Protesters outside the Dublin City Council monthly meeting on Monday evening Source: Thomas McCarthy

John Bissett, of the St Michael’s Regeneration campaign, claims that the Housing Land Initiative could lead to social injustice. He added:

We’d like to see Dublin City Council build desperately-needed houses for people who desperately need them

Bissett described it as a “real inequality” and said that the people who can’t afford private housing will be pushed down the housing list. “Effectively the state will get poor people off the land and put in mortgage holders,” Bissett claimed.

On Monday evening, a group of approximately 30 to 40 protesters gathered outside the Dublin City Council to voice their concerns about the proposed initiative not serving those on lower incomes.

The Housing Land Initiative wasn’t raised in detail at the Dublin City Council meeting but the protest aimed to highlight the issue.

13173392_1778515912368088_8631439917876394800_o Protesters outside the Dublin City Council Meeting on Monday evening Source: Eoin O'Mahony/Dublin 7 Housing Action

Workers Party Councillor Éilis Ryan supports the protests. She said:

On reports, it is clear the intention is to give three public sites to private developers. It’s private housing for private profits.

The Workers Party have launched a Solidarity Housing proposal which they believe could be an alternative to the Housing Land Initiative.

The Solidarity Housing proposal plans to develop public housing that would allow people with a range of incomes to live in the one site. Rent would be calculated as 15% of income up to €35,000 and 30% of income over €35,000.

“The Workers Party are calling on the council to rethink constant giveaways to private developers,” said Cllr Ryan.

Where the sites are

O’Devaney Gardens is located west of the city centre off the North Circular Road and close to Phoenix Park. Built in 1954, O’Devaney Gardens originally consisted of 278 residential units of public housing. Of the initial 13 four-storey blocks only four remain.

o'devaney gardens Development Potential for O'Devaney Gardens Source: Housing Land Initiative Feasibility Study Dec 2015/DublinCity.ie

The 17 hectare site at Oscar Traynor Road is located off Coolock Lane, just over 5km to the north of Dublin city centre. At the moment, it’s an empty field covered in scrub vegetation.

oscar traynor road Oscar Traynor Road site Source: Housing Land Initiative Feasibility Study Dec 2015/DublinCity.ie

The third site is St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore, 4km west of the city centre. The site is bordered by Emmet Road to the north and by the Grand Canal to the south.

St. Michael's Estate Site from the Housing Land Initiative Feasibility Study Dec 2015/ DublinCity.ie St. Michael's Estate Site Source: Source: Housing Land Initiative Feasibility Study Dec 2015/DublinCity.ie

Dublin City Council did not comment on the claims made by the protesters but sent TheJournal.ie a Housing Land Initiative Feasibility Report published in December 2015. It is available to read here.

In the report, it is outlined that there are a number of options for the three sites. When the sites are offered to market, “masterplans” relating to the potential use of the land will also be sent out. However, these plans are described as “indicative rather than statutory”, meaning they’re not required by law.

Read: ‘It is devastating’: Residents of Dublin estate facing ‘mass eviction’

Read: This week’s vital property news: New rules come into force for landlords

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Roisin Nestor

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