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Huge problems with O’Devaney Gardens Deal - Cllr Daithí Doolan

17 September, 2019 - by Daithí Doolan, Janice Boylan

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson on Dublin City Council Daithí Doolan has said there are ‘huge problems’ with the proposed Land Initiative deal for O’Deavney Gardens.

The final proposal was published by Dublin City Council last Monday. Following requests for further information which was provided yesterday the Sinn Féin Councillor said that "unless key issues were addressed in the plan then Sinn Féin would oppose the deal".

Cllr Doolan said:

"The community surrounding the O’Deavney Gardens desperately wants this key site developed. There is a need for social and affordable homes and community infrastructure.

"Sinn Féin’s preferred option has always been a publicly funded development for O’Deavney. However, in the absence of Government funding for a fully public project we were willing to consider any other proposal so long as it met a number of key community needs.

"These include a minimum 30% social housing, 20% genuinely affordable housing and a fair deal for the local community and the City Council for the leveraging of a significant piece of public land.

"Unfortunately, on the basis of the information provided, these tests do not appear to have been met.

"The price range of the promised affordable homes are out of reach of the vast majority of households eligible for the Council affordable housing scheme. To date just 40 loans have been approved by the Council for properties above €250,000 and many of these have been to households who wouldn’t quality for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan. 

"How can a single person on less than €50k or a couple on less than €75k expect to purchase a so called affordable home in O’Deavney if the price is above €250k? It is also appears that the Developer is billing the Council for the affordable homes at full market price rather than the cost price with the City Council subsidising the discount through the serviced sites fund and deferred development levies. 

"It is unclear whether the Council and local community are getting a fair share of the value of this vital public land. On the basis of the figures provided it appears that the Council will recoup up to €10m in cash and amenities from the developer. 

"It is also clear that the developer has factored the full market price of the land into the sale price of the 411 open market price homes. This could mean the developer extracting value from public land to the tune of €40m at a conservative estimate. This is before the developers profit margin is taken into account.

"Sinn Féin has requested an urgent meeting with Director of Housing Brendan Kenny to seek clarification on these and other points. In response to the widespread criticism of the proposal the Council has called an additional briefing for next Monday. 

"If the concerns of the local community and their elected representatives are not met then Sinn Féin may have no option but to oppose the transfer of the land to the developer. 

"The community in O’Deavney Gardens deserve a deal that meets their needs. Government must ensure that genuinely affordable housing and an adequate community dividend is included in their proposals for the site. We can not have development at any cost, especially if the local Community are fitting the bill for a development from which they will gain little."

Local Councillor Janice Boylan, herself a former O'Devaney resident, said:

“I have continued to work towards delivering a good plan. However after a number of meetings and discussions with the City Council I do not believe the figures stack up.”

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