Photo by Caroline McNally

It is up to the government to intervene to make sure an agreement for 900 social and affordable housing units in Poolbeg doesn’t unravel, said Dublin City Council Chief Executive Owen Keegan.

“I feel the onus is really on the department [of housing] to deliver for all parties on the other side,” he said, at Monday’s monthly meeting of the full council at City Hall.

In May last year, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and councillors agreed to put a line in the plan for the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone that the developer had to make sure there were 900 social and affordable units on the land – after which councillors passed the scheme.

Central legislation only sets out provisions for 10 percent social housing as part of developments, so this line was always going to “vulnerable” if it were appealed to An Bord Pleanala, said Keegan. (The development is to have an estimated 3,500 homes, so 900 would be more than 25 percent of those.)

Keegan said it is “a matter of very serious concern” that the NAMA-appointed receiver for the site has now appealed the provision.

Once they had the floor on Monday, councillors talked a lot about “trust” and “compromise”. Many councillors had wanted more than that 900 social and affordable homes, said Green Party Councillor Patrick Costello. But they had settled for less, because they were told this was workable.

Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan said he was “shocked” that the reciever Deloitte seemed intent on undoing that agreement, and called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to intervene.

Labour’s Dermot Lacey said councillors had believed the “solemn word of a cabinet minister” (at the time Fine Gael Minister Simon Coveney) that it would be 900 units. “Nothing less than that is acceptable.”

Fianna Fáil’s Frank Kennedy – and others – said that the agreement on this was one of the best things they thought they had achieved on the council.

“Personally, I feel quite foolish,” said Kennedy. He questioned what this would mean going forward – how, for example, they could again to trust what the minster said, or what the council’s chief executive said.

The South Dublin Quietway

“There has to be a community buy-in for this,” says Fine Gael Councillor Paddy Smyth.

Smyth is still trying to progress his proposed quietway through South Dublin suburbs – a cycling and pedestrian route that would run 6.5 kilometres from Donnybrook to Kimmage away from main roads.

The next stage? Streets audits to gauge local feeling.

In March 2016, the council tendered for a study on how to create Smyth’s proposed cycling corridor. Following a now-notorious public meeting and jumps in the estimated cost – from €325,000 to €1.2 million to just under €1.4 million – the quietway’s future looked uncertain.

Council Senior Engineer Christopher Manzira says the council is still committed to the project. In the coming months, it plans to do street audits of the areas through which the route could pass.

The idea, says Fine Gael’s Smyth, came from a conversation with Bronwen Thornton, development director of Walk 21, a pedestrian advocacy group established in England in 2000, who visited Dublin in January.

These audits involve “interviews with residents and street users on an individual basis”, the report notes. “This would most likely achieve wider local consultation.” The audits would cost around €15,000.

To get them started, though, the transport department must get the approval of the councillors on the South East Area Committee in May, when a “detailed presentation” is on their agenda.

Fine Gael’s Smyth is confident the councillors will approve the plan. “The main criticism to date has been the lack of public consultation,” says Smyth. “And what we’ll be voting on is funding for more public consultation.”

Undoing Business

Dublin City Council has a legal obligation not to trade with any company that profits from breaching international law, said People Before Profit Councillor John Lyons.

That’s why he put forward a motion at the council’s monthly meeting to support and endorse “the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement” and commit the council “to discontinue all business contracts it has with Hewlett-Packard, both HP Inc. (PCs and printers), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise”.

The company “provides and operates much of the technology infrastructure that Israel uses to maintain its system of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people”, he said, in his motion – which the majority of councillors backed.

But Chief Executive Owen Keegan said he has legal responsibility for all procurement, not councillors. And he has to comply with procurement rules – and there are limited grounds for exclusions.

So, he said, “I do not propose to implement a procurement boycott” based on the motion, as the legal advice was that if he did, he would be in breach of procurement rules.

Cónal Thomas is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

Lois Kapila is Dublin Inquirer's editor and general-assignment reporter. Want to share a comment or a tip with her? Send an email to her at

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1 Comment

  1. POOLBEG WAS NOT BUILT ONLY TALK ABOUT and now it was said on the television and on internet today the government have t use any money to try and fix the housing crisis in Dublin. But because the people march about 2 week ago answer came out. EOGHAN MURPHY Said he is now going to built them on Poolbeg.

    I have a question
    when will they be ready for viewing?

    I think there is a simple way to help people for example set up a website where affordable homes and social are going to be built and same for rented accommodation where people can rent and buy out the apartment or houses.

    built 2 bedroom and side enterance make sure apartments are built on ground and make the amount reasonable so if someone is paying rent off 2000 a month over a certain period of time then make the month be paid off instead of paying landlords. landlords take advantage of people. I think in this day age people not being able to get mortgage is wrong on bank side and from government it ridlous and 2 people must be working. this could be seen as discrimination again women or men or single people with children or people with disability. nobody is perfect in this world and some times people need a help to get what they want to achieve. i want to live with my finance ask i love him and want to be permanent in my job.

    i come with problem but that does t mean i am stupid i am same as you i want a normal life what wrong with that.
    houses and rent price are mad something really wrong

    I look outside the window in my finance car to see about 70 people viewing 1 house in my estate for rented. i turn to see was a sign up no sign for let or for sale. But they did t need to because people where quoting outside. I new striaght away if was for rent and checked on rent. ie website to find out it was 1,850 to rent it with a month up front that nearly 3000 euro or more and the reason I know this is because i rented many years ago. it was mad looking for 1 house for rent this is mad.


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