Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused the Dublin Agreement Group on Dublin City Council of ‘misleading fellow Councillors and to the public on the O’Devaney Gardens development’.
The claim is made on foot on documentation secured by Deputy Ó Broin under Freedom of Information from the office of Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy which shows that no additional affordable rental accommodation has been secured for the site.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Dublin City Council is led by a coalition of Councillors from Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Social Democrats and the Labour Party, known as the Dublin Agreement Group.
“On Monday November 4th the Dublin Agreement Group announced that they had secured a new deal with Dublin City Council management and Bartra for the O’Devaney Gardens development. On foot of their announcement the deal was approved by a majority of City Councillors at the monthly Council meet that night.
“The Dublin Agreement Group claimed to have secured an additional 30% of the development for affordable rental housing. This would be delivered through a purchase agreement between Bartra and an Approved Housing Body.
“However correspondence between the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Dublin City Council Mayor and Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McAuliffe, secured under Freedom of Information, shows clearly that no affordable rental accommodation has been secured for this development.
“The Minister’s letter issued to Mayor McAuliffe on November 6th states that no new deal has been secured for the O’Devaney site; that no funding for affordable rental units has been requested from or approved by his Department; that additional affordable units would not be in line with the tenure mix agreed by the Department in 2017; that the rents charged on any such units would not be affordable as the units would be purchased at market rather than cost price; that no legal advice has been sought by Dublin City Council to determine whether the inclusion of affordable rental units would breach the procurement process and open the Council up to legal challenge from unsuccessful bidders; and crucially that Councillors from other parties voted for the deal ‘under the impression’ that a new deal or agreement had been reached when it had not.
“There are only two conclusions that could be drawn from the Ministers letter. Either the Dublin Alliance Councillors are incompetent or they deliberately misleading their fellow Councillors and the public. They secured a majority of support from their fellow Councillors for the transfer of a multi million euro strategic housing development site to a private developer on the basis of a claim that is completely false.
“Given that many of the individuals involved in crafting this alledged new deal have significant experience in housing developments it is hard to believe that there were not fully aware that they had not actually secured any affordable rental homes for O’Deveney. On this basis the only conclusion I can draw is that they deliberately lied, both to their fellow Councillors and to the public, in order to get the O’Deveney deal over the line.
“Sinn Féin is opposed to proposed deal with Bartra on O’Devaney Gardens because it delivered no affordable housing and the developer is set to make excessive profits with little return to the local community. The correspondence from Minister Murphy now calls into question the decision by elected members to transfer the land to Bartra. Sinn Féin will be seeking legal advice on the matter and will be raising this at the next available City Council meeting.”