Government urged to encourage high-rise development in Dublin

Minister examining how to bring down the cost of building apartments

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been accused  of using the issue of high-rise as a “smokescreen for inaction”. Photograph: Getty Images

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been accused of using the issue of high-rise as a “smokescreen for inaction”. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government must help developers who want to build high-rise apartment blocks in Dublin to get access to finance and make the construction of such projects more affordable, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party’s Dublin spokesman, John Lahart, said Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy was mistaken when he suggested the Government needed to make more planning changes to encourage high-rise development in the capital.

Mr Lahart said Dublin City Council has already moved to allow such developments.

In a recent interview, Mr Murphy said: “We have to go higher, particularly in Dublin city, particularly within the canals, and we have to go for an increased density.

“We’re going to have to make some interventions and we’re working out how we’re going to do that at the moment,” he said, indicating further legislative change.

However, Mr Lahart, a Dublin South West TD, accused Mr Murphy of using the issue of high-rise as a “smokescreen for inaction”.

He said there was already “almost universal acceptance of the need to go higher in Dublin city between the canals”.

City boundaries

“It’s recognised in the city’s development plan, allowing as it does for designated high-rise places in the city boundaries,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Murphy said while the development plan was already in place, further changes could be made by the Minister. He said any changes would be done to increase supply, adding: “Adding height increases supply.”

It is understood Mr Murphy is also examining how to bring the cost of building apartments down by, among other measures, reducing the need for car parking spaces in apartment blocks, also supported by Mr Lahart.

“As a State we are trying to develop a transport policy that is less reliant on the private car – and in other cities the obligation to provide a car parking space isn’t a requirement in specific areas.

Obligation

“The obligation to provide a parking space in apartment buildings significant adds to the cost of each unit and the cost of labour, especially in core inner city areas.”

But Mr Lahart questioned why Mr Murphy would make further legislative interventions to encourage high-rise.

“The city council isn’t flooded with applications for high-rise residential developments? This does not stem from an unwillingness of the council to accept higher buildings.”

He said a “planning checklist” which would outline the standards and amenities in apartment blocks would reassure those providing finance for developers.