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Dublin city councillors back motion opposing sale of homes at former O’Devaney flats complex to cuckoo funds

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Artist's impression of Bartra plans for O'Devaney Gardens

Artist's impression of Bartra plans for O'Devaney Gardens

Artist's impression of Bartra plans for O'Devaney Gardens

Dublin City councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion opposing the sale of any homes in the former O'Devaney Gardens flats complex to cuckoo investors.

At a special meeting of Dublin City Council this evening, councillors voted 32-18 in favour of a motion by Fianna Fáil.

That motion also calls on the council to ensure construction begins as soon as possible on the development scheme "to deliver a minimum 30pc social housing, 20pc affordable homes to purchase, 30pc affordable cost rental, subject to the development agreement to include a community creche, community centre and local employment and apprenticeship progamme as agreed by the Dublin Agreement parties, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Labour party and Social Democrat city councillors in 2019".

The motion followed another motion put forward by the Sinn Féin group of councillors that called on the council to shelve the agreement out of concern that a recent decision by An Bord Pleanála - overturning a clause banning institutional investors following a legal challenge by the developers - could open the door to cuckoo investors who buy up entire housing complexes for future rental income.

But the motion was ruled to be out of order because a legally binding contract has been signed by the council and the developer Bartra which has secured planning permission for 1,047 homes on the former council-owned site.

A controversial deal hammered out between the Dublin Agreement parties in 2019 saw the land housing the now-demolished north Dublin flats complex gifted to Bartra in exchange for social, affordable and cost-rental housing.

As the meeting got underway, housing campaigners and local residents protested outside Dublin City Hall over the controversial deal which they fear could open it up to cuckoo funds that would make housing in the area even more unaffordable.

Independent Dublin city councillor Cieran Perry, who is also an activist with the Campaign for Public Housing, said before the meeting: “Dublin City Council have an ideal opportunity to rescind the rotten deal with Bartra as they are in breach of the development agreement with the council due to the delay in beginning construction on site within four weeks of grant of planning permission.”

Damien Farrell, an activist with the Dublin 8 Housing Action Collective, said: “The political ideology of the Government parties has ensured that public housing hasn’t been built on the public lands at O’Devaney Gardens and instead, developers will profit from the site.

"With rents becoming increasingly unaffordable, the logical solution is secure, affordable rental public housing but unfortunately the developers lobby is too powerful in Ireland.”

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