Opposition parties have been accused of continuously voting against development plans during a housing crisis
In criticism of the Government’s handling of the housing crisis, opposition parties are at the forefront.
Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, People Before Profit and Independent TDs are the first to accuse the Government of pandering to developers and so-called sweetheart deals.
However, opposition parties have been accused of voting against housing by councillors opposing transfers of land to developers.
On Tuesday night, the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin voted against the transfer of lands in Donabate, Co Dublin, to a developer group that is seeking to build 1,200 homes on 28 hectares of land over 10 years.
When opposition housing spokespersons come out guns blazing after Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announces new plans to help solve the housing crisis, he addresses some of their concerns but does not fail to question why they keep opposing projects without providing viable solutions.
The development, in Fingal, is being snapped up by Glenveagh for €11m, with 120 homes built per year.
However, it would yield sales of around €300m.
Nearly 20pc, or 238 homes, will be for social housing, which the council will buy back. A further 238 homes will be used for affordable housing, with some two-bedroom houses available for €250,000.
The remaining 718 homes will be sold on the private market, where prices will see averages of €390,000 to €440,000 for a three-bedroom or €330,000 to €490,000 for a two-bedroom house.
Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan said the building of 1,200 homes over 10 years is way too slow.
“Our view is that it should be used for affordable housing. The plan is too slow, the proposals are too slow,” he said, adding that “there’s no question of leaving [the lands] idle.”
Social Democrat Fingal councillor Joan Hopkins, who voted against the development, said it was a “really awful choice” to be giving to the public, that either a developer builds homes or “we do nothing”.
“Building 120 homes a year won’t solve the housing crisis,” she added.
But is it better to leave the lands with Fingal, with no homes being built at all?
Lecturer in housing and planning in Technological University Dublin, Lorcan Sirr, said the “supply, supply, supply” narrative is “very simplistic”.
“We need the right supply in the right locations, at the right price,” he said.
“It’s a crisis of affordability more than it is a crisis of
In Dublin also, Sinn Féin has opposed transfers of lands in Oscar Traynor Road, O’Devaney Gardens, Clondalkin, Tallaght and now Donabate – a total of 3,353 homes.
Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said Sinn Féin is “not voting against housing developments”.
“We want to see residential development at every single one of those sites,” he said.
He added that lands being sold to a developer group so they can build housing is “not what public land should be used for” and that the Government “won’t fund” public housing.
Of 22 housing-related motions on Dublin City Council, which include the disposal of lands and rezoning, People Before Profit voted against 18 of those motions.
“Where there are votes to sell public lands to private developers, we would absolutely vote against that,” said People Before Profit councillor Tina McVeigh.
“We have also voted in relation to the rezoning of various sites, mostly because these are industrial sites who don’t have in their vicinities, any amenities for housing.
“It’s a point of principle.”