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Saturday 23 June 2018

'RTÉ could have done more with land sale' - city chief

Minister Eoghan Murphy
Minister Eoghan Murphy
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

RTÉ has been criticised by Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan for its decision not to structure the sale of Montrose lands to give the local authority more space for social housing.

Mr Keegan also said he is disappointed that the pace of construction of social housing is slow.

Last June, the national broadcaster sold part of its campus for €107.5m, more than 40pc above the guide price. Owner Cairn Homes is planning to build more than 500 units, and while the council will be entitled to 10pc for social housing, they will come at a premium.

The site cost alone per unit will be €200,000, meaning the cost of homes will be well in excess of this sum and Mr Keegan is not impressed.

"I was disappointed that RTÉ, as a public body, wouldn't structure the sale," he told the Irish Independent. "Before you build anything, the site cost is €200,000. We'll get our 10pc (of social housing) but for a body berating the State for lack of action in this area, I felt they could have done more."

Mr Keegan said measures introduced by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to reduce the cost of building apartments, such as removing the need for car parking spaces and not imposing an upper height limit, are welcome and should help boost supply.

Mr Keegan said part of the reason for the poor supply was the fact that councils stopped building homes during the recession, so they are playing catch-up.

"We pay a very high price for this boom and bust but there may have been justifiable reasons at the time."

He's not clear as to why the pace of new home delivery is so slow.

"It's disappointing to see we've gone back to the land bubble. Until around 18 months ago, we were being offered complete apartment blocks. You could say developers are holding back, but you would think they would be keen to develop. You have people paying rents much higher than mortgages. Something's not right."

Irish Independent

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