Friday 23 March 2018

Glass Bottle site 'must be mostly social housing'

Claire Kelly, of the Irish Glass Bottle Site Housing Action Group, in Dublin yesterday Photo: Tom Burke
Claire Kelly, of the Irish Glass Bottle Site Housing Action Group, in Dublin yesterday Photo: Tom Burke

Alan O'Keeffe

The huge landmark development site at Poolbeg in Dublin should be used mainly for new council homes and socially affordable houses, according to a new action group.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney was "completely disrespectful" to the nation's homeless by saying he hoped 10pc of the 3,000 homes to be built on the old Irish Glass Bottle site would be reserved for social housing, the group claims.

The Irish Glass Bottle Site Housing Action Group held a meeting in Dublin yesterday, addressed by supporters of a new campaign for mostly social housing for the site.

The Government designated it a strategic development zone to allow 3,000 new homes and 130,000 square metres of offices and retail space to be developed using fast-track planning powers.

But the minister's suggestion that 10pc of homes would be used for social housing showed he did not appreciate the scale of the housing crisis, according to group spokeswoman Annette Mooney.

"Nama is already scheduled to make €1bn in profit. Some of this money must now be used for council housing. Nama is supposed to 'contribute to the social and economic development of the State', according to the 2009 Act.

"Instead of living up to this obligation it has become a vehicle for bringing vulture funds to Ireland and restoring Ireland's speculative developers to their former glory," she claimed.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the 10pc social housing proposal was "scandalous".

"The people of this country own Nama. The vast bulk of Nama land and houses, including the Irish Glass Bottle site, should be used to deliver council and affordable housing.

"Given the enormous housing crisis, under no circumstances should the vast majority of this site be sold off for development in the open market at market prices. The whole point of the current situation is that failed government policy and a dysfunctional housing market has made housing unaffordable and unattainable for ordinary people."

Architect Mark Price said: "Promises of 10pc or 30pc affordable housing means 90pc or 70pc unaffordable housing.

"It is becoming increasingly impossible for young people from all classes to acquire a home because of a private property market which the state does nothing to control.

"Nama must be instructed to develop this site for public good and not for private profit," he said.

The group was drawing up a viable alternative plan for the site, he said.

Resident and ex-dock worker Kevin Berney said families in old, established communities in Pearse Street and Ringsend were being driven out by developments of homes that local people could not afford.

Irish Independent

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