May 29, 2023
Affordable homes at risk in draft Poolbeg SDZ deal – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that ‘the delivery of much needed affordable homes in the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone are at risk if a draft deal proposed by the Department of Housing goes ahead.’

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone master plan was unanimously agreed by Dublin City councillors in 2018. It is an ambitious high density scheme that will deliver 3,400 much needed homes in Dublin City Centre.

“For seven years, the Ringsend and Irishtown based Irish Glass Bottle Housing Action Group campaigned to ensure that at least 15% of these homes would be affordable for working people.

“The Groups demand was supported by all Dublin City councillors and included in the legally binding SDZ masterplan as approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2019.

“The delivery of these much needed affordable homes has been delayed due to an inability of the Department, the Council and the developer to reach an agreement on how to deliver these homes.

“At the core of the delay is the excessive cost of development arising from the Johnny Ronan Groups development model. All-in development costs as high as €700,000 for apartments have been quoted.

“Under the terms of the SDZ Agreement, no work on the development can start until an agreement is reached between the Department, the Council and the developer on the affordable homes.

“On 27th April, the Department of Housing wrote to the developer setting out the terms of a deal. Phase 1 of the development has planning permission for 570 homes, 85 of which should be affordable.

“Instead, the Department is proposing just 25 affordable one bed apartments, with the remainder to be rolled into future phases.

“The proposal is that ten one bed apartments, at a cost of €420,000, will be sold for €270,000 with the difference funded through an Affordable Housing Fund equity payment of €150,000.

“This 36% equity stake will have to be repaid to the Council by the purchaser if they sell the property or transfer it to a family member. 

“€420,000 for a one bed apartment is not affordable by any measure. The size of the equity stake will make it virtually impossible for young couples to trade up at a later stage.

“If these homes cannot be sold within 12 months they will either be sold on the open market at full market value or bought by the Council as social housing.

“A further fifteen one bed homes will be bought by Dublin City Council for €420,000 a unit and used either for social housing or cost rental. The rents for these units if used for cost rental will be close to €1,500 per month.

“The draft deal also includes a framework for future phases of the development to try and meet the 15% affordable housing requirement.

“In addition to the developer benefiting from €1.5million from the taxpayer funded Affordable Housing Fund, they will also get a further €1.7million from the development contribution and water connection waiver if they commence this year.

“This is a very bad deal for what is a hugely significant residential development for the city. 

“The delivery of much needed affordable homes in the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone are at risk if this deal goes ahead.

“Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien must intervene to ensure the SDZ 15% affordable housing requirement is met. This can only be done if the current proposal is scrapped and Government requests NAMA to transfer its 20% equity stake in the development to Dublin City Council. This would then allow the Council to use this equity to deliver genuinely affordable homes for workers and families in Poolbeg.”

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