Business Irish

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Ergo: Unpopular plan for 1,000 houses highlights dilemma

Irish CEO Rosaleen Blair, founder of Alexander Mann Solutions. Photo: Bloomberg
Irish CEO Rosaleen Blair, founder of Alexander Mann Solutions. Photo: Bloomberg

Not a week passes without a promise of 100 houses here or 1,000 houses there. But Dublin is caught in a trap between not enough affordable housing and inadequate infrastructure in the places where they could be built.

Fingal County Council has just closed the public consultation process on its masterplan for the Castlelands area of Balbriggan, earmarked for 1,000 residential units. But almost 400 largely negative submissions from the public suggest the council has a battle on its hands despite the promise of all sorts of new infrastructure, from a swimming pool to new roads and schools.

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Many submissions point out - correctly - that Balbriggan was largely abandoned by the authorities after the last wave of house-building that quickly almost trebled its population to over 20,000. Submissions complain in stark terms about everything from a proliferation of gangs and anti-social behaviour due to a lack of facilities for teenagers to the lack of local jobs and an inadequate train service.

Newly-elected Green Party councillor Joe O'Brien caught the mood: "Taken in isolation the plan might not seem unreasonable but this masterplan is being proposed without due recognition to some key contexts," he wrote.

"Most crucial among these is the ongoing legacy issues in Balbriggan of large housing estates developed on the periphery of the town without adequate facilities and infrastructure."

It is not hard to have sympathy as history repeats itself. And yet if an otherwise suitable site like Castlelands is not built on, where can local young people ever hope to buy a home?

Kerry joins AMBA to beef up talks with suppliers

Kerry Group's agribusiness arm has become the latest firm to join an association tasked with negotiating as a group with suppliers to secure significant discounts.

The Allied Merchants Buying Association (AMBA) has annual buying power of €400m and also counts Dairygold Agribusiness and Barryroe Co-Op among its members.

Kerry works with 3,200 milk suppliers across the south-west of Ireland, handling around 1.1bn litres of milk a year.

AMBA's chief executive Keith Giblin said the group was looking to add more members following the decision by Kerry to enter the association.

"We will continue to attract strategically located members that are seeking a buying group built on trust, transparency, commitment, professionalism and participation," he said.

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