After a three year battle, Dublin City Council voted on Monday night to privatise the O’Devaney Gardens site.
Last night Dublin City Council voted 38 to 19 to accept Bartra Capital’s offer for the public site, which is beside the Phoenix Park, Heuston Station, the Museum Luas stop, and the North Circular Road. Alongside Fine Gael, the motion was supported by Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Labour Party, and the Social Democrats.
More information on the motion and how each councillor voted is available on the Dublin Inquirer’s CouncilTracker.ie.
Public, cost rental housing
Last night’s vote was part of a long-going battle over the future of the site.
In July 2016 Dublin City Council passed Cllr Éilis Ryan’s motion for the site to remain 100% public, mixed-income housing.
Only six weeks later the then-Sinn Féin led council overturned its previous motion following discussions with the then-Minister for Housing Simon Coveney.
The Sinn Féin deal was for 30% social housing, with the rest privatized (50% private and 20% “affordable” purchase).
A new deal?
Since 2016, public pressure has built up on each of the parties which voted to privatise. Sinn Féin in particular faced harsh criticism, which preceded that party’s announcement in September that it could no longer support the deal once Bartra Capital had been announced.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, the Dublin Agreement group of councillors announced that they had negotiated a new deal whereby the local authority could purchase 30% of the properties to offer as “affordable rental”.
Later that same day, Éilis Ryan of the Workers’ Party said that “to break even over 30 years, these units would have to be rented out at €1,600 – that’s over 60% of the average net household income in Dublin. Nobody in their right mind would consider that affordable, and it is totally misleading to do so.
“In reality, to make this housing even remotely affordable the State is going to have to stump up huge subsidies – just so Bartra can keep their profit margins up. It’s a terrible, terrible deal.”
Tensions ran high throughout the meeting, with demonstrators storming the council chamber ahead of the vote. Demonstrators also confronted councillors as they left City Hall.
Videos have emerged online of Social Democrats city councillor Gary Gannon being escorted away to the chant of “sell out”.