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  • Northside West

O’Devaney Gardens plan stalled again

Monday, 25th November, 2019 8:00am
O’Devaney Gardens plan stalled again

The original O’Devaney Gardens complex had 272 flats spread across 13 four-storey blocks.

O’Devaney Gardens plan stalled again

The original O’Devaney Gardens complex had 272 flats spread across 13 four-storey blocks.

A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of the O’Devaney Gardens redevelopment plan, just weeks after a so-called deal was struck between Dublin city councillors and a developer.

The deal, which was supported by the Dublin Agreement Group and Bartra Capital, was passed by 39 votes to 18 at a meeting of the city council earlier this month. The agreement group has a majority on Dublin City Council and is made up of public representatives from Fianna Fail, Labour, the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

Over 800 new homes are planned for the Dublin 7 site, with 30 percent to be used for social housing and 20 percent as affordable purchaser units. The remaining 50 percent were originally to be sold privately by Bartra but there was a breakthrough in negotiations with Dublin City Council when the developer offered to sell more than half of its allocation to an Approved Housing Body.

While there was a negative reaction to the deal from councillors outside the Dublin Agreement Group, those supporting it believed it represented the best way forward for the stalled redevelopment of the site of the former flats complex.

However, last week it emerged that the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, had raised legal and financial concerns about the ‘deal’ struck by councillors. He insisted there had been no funding source identified for the purchase of the cost rental units to be run by an Approved Housing Body. He also believed that legal clarity would be required to ensure that the procurement process had not been affected by the deal.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, who is also a local TD, described the O’Devaney deal as “disastrous” and said it must now be scrapped in favour of a new scheme.

She said: “Documentation secured by my colleague Eoin Ó Broin shows that there will be no additional affordable rental accommodation at the site. This is despite claims from the Agreement Group that an additional 30 percent of the development for affordable rental housing had been secured.

“This deal represents a bonanza for the developer at the expense of the local community and working families. Not alone does it make affordable homes unaffordable for ordinary workers, it also will not deliver a single affordable rental home.

"Sinn Féin has long championed housing on the O'Devaney Gardens site. Our councillors are demanding a special meeting of Dublin City Council to discuss these revelations. This should happen without delay.”

Deputy McDonald added: “Sinn Féin has the solutions to solve the debacle at O’Devaney Gardens and would deliver a development to meet the needs of the local community and working families. Our proposals of 33 percent social rental, 33 percent affordable cost rental and 33 percent affordable sale are the way forward. The Dublin Agreement Group’s bad deal should be scrapped immediately."

However, Labour Party city councillor Joe Costello accused Sinn Féin of siding with the minister to undermine the deal when their party had committed to accept a previous deal with 50 percent housing. He said that Minister Eoghan Murphy’s questioning of the deal with Bartra to build 824 housing units in O’Devaney Gardens was unacceptable.

Councillor Costello stated: "The deal was negotiated between Bartra and Dublin City Council at the behest of city councillors on the Dublin Agreement Group, and both the Dublin Agreement Group and Fine Gael councillors voted for it.

"Contrary to what the minister states, it is perfectly legal and possible for this deal to proceed. The deal is a large improvement on the previous deal which the Minister had approved - the Minister wanted 50 percent private. We have achieved 50 percent affordable and reduced the private element to 20 percent, which is much more suitable for the area where I live.”

Cllr Costello claimed that a number of Approved Housing Bodies had already expressed an interest in entering into an agreement with the developer.

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