At the monthly meeting of Dublin City Council on Monday, councillors voted to continue to push forward with plans for an expected 1,700 homes on three large council-owned sites across the city: O’Devaney Gardens, St Michael’s Estate, and the lands at Oscar Traynor Road.
Towards the end of March, the council will advertise for expressions of interest for all three projects, and select a developer for each site, who will have to develop a masterplan, said Dublin City Council Assistant Chief Executive Brendan Kenny at the meeting at City Hall.
The breakdown of homes on each site has been settled at 30 percent social housing, 50 percent private, and 20 percent affordable. What exactly is meant by “affordable”, though, is not decided at the moment.
“We feel affordable rental is the best option, but we’re keeping the option of affordable mortgage there as well,” said Kenny.
While the majority of the councillors back the proposal to move forward to implementation, People Before Profit councillors, the Workers’ Party, and some independents said that they could not back the plan because it amounted to the privatisation of public land.
Independent Councillor Cieran Perry said the council should have pushed the Department of Housing to back a plan for the new housing to be 100-percent funded by the state, rather than dependent on the private sector.
Behind the scenes, a council group has been working since 2015 to come up with ideas to help boost the cafe and restaurant sector, which currently totals around 2,500 businesses in Dublin city.
They have come up with 10 recommendations, which were shown to councillors on Monday. Among them: cut the costs of tables-and-chairs licences; exempt benches from street-furniture licences; and increase the number of gardai.
Independent Councillor Cieran Perry said he was wary of the recommendations given that the hospitality sector already gets preferential treatment with its 9 percent VAT rate, yet some outlets pays employees poorly.
“I don’t think we should, as a council, be trying to limit what they are doing in terms of the costs,” he said. He said he wanted to see more about the precariousness of work and rates of pay, and others agreed.
“If we’re giving something, we have to expect certain standards particularly in relation to employees,” said independent Councillor Niall Ring.
Labour’s Rebecca Moynihan also queried whether it would be a good idea to exempt benches from outdoor-furniture licensing. There are some cafes and restaurants that obnoxiously take over the public space and sphere, she said.
Councillors agreed to send it back to the Economic Development and Enterprise Strategic Policy Committee to work on it a bit more, for now.