Tuesday 20 February 2018

Varadkar proposes high-rise at Poolbeg to solve housing crisis

Varadkar: "We want vibrant new neighbourhoods all across the country, such as in Waterford’s north quays, Galway's inner harbour and Dublin's Poolbeg."
Jody Corcoran

Jody Corcoran

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that a "large part of the solution" to the housing crisis is high-rise apartment living in city centre locations not "urban sprawl".

In an article in today's Sunday Independent, Mr Varadkar suggests that high-rise quality apartments should be built at Dublin's iconic Poolbeg generating station, colloquially known as the Poolbeg Stacks.

Mr Varadkar also comes out strongly in favour of Dublin Metro to run from St Stephen's Green to Dublin Airport and onwards to Swords.

In an article in which he outlines a 13-point vision for Ireland in the next decade and beyond, Mr Varadkar writes of redeveloping the country's main cities. He says: "We are currently tackling a serious housing shortage, and I suspect that a large part of the solution lies in redeveloping our cities for high-rise quality apartment living, not further urban sprawl. We want vibrant new neighbourhoods all across the country, such as in Waterford's north quays, Galway's inner harbour and Dublin's Poolbeg."

Separately, he told the Sunday Independent: "Poolbeg could have a Luas line also. It's in the National Transport Authority plan for Dublin. I've been to San Diego and Chicago, where there are great examples of how to mix older neighbourhoods with high-rise. Good design is key."

Mr Varadkar, who in his Twitter account biography, describes himself as the 'Saviour of the Poolbeg Stacks. No kidding', said that any such development should retain the Poolbeg Stacks, though the power station could be converted. In his article, Mr Varadkar also says he will "encourage balanced regional development" so that cities like Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick can grow by 40 to 50pc and that rural Ireland also benefits.

"We will work on Dublin Metro, the Cork-Limerick motorway, the Galway city bypass, and new roads to Derry, Sligo and Mayo to transform the way people can travel in this country. In addition, we want Dart trains to pick up passengers from places like Leixlip, Drogheda and Clonsilla."

The Taoiseach also says: "Next month, for the first time in 10 years, we will publish a Budget that will balance the books and reduce the national debt. This provides a secure foundation that allows us to be ambitious about the future and begin planning for the next 10 years."

He adds: "Of course we are occupied with current issues and problems, but we also recognise that a longer perspective is needed if we are really to make progress as a country."

Sunday Independent

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