Dublin council seeks developers to build social housing

Expressions of interest to be sought for over 30 hectares of council land

Dublin City Council wants to address the city’s housing shortage by resuming its partnership with property developers and providing social and private houses on council lands.

The council has identified more than 30 hectares (74½ acres) at five vacant sites around the city which, it said, could provide large numbers of houses in the short to medium term.

However, while it has “significant land banks”, it has not been able to raise capital funding to build houses since 2008, the year the public private partnership (PPP) housing regeneration deals with developer Bernard McNamara collapsed.

Three of the five sites are around the city’s north fringe. The other two are to the west of the city in Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard. The council is to seek expressions of interest from developers for what it describes as “housing construction collaboration”.


Building social and private housing would be the primary use of the lands with some retail and commercial development.

Under the PPP schemes, widely used up to 2008, developers would build social housing for the council and in exchange could use a portion of the land for private units.

Failed spectacularly

The system failed spectacularly when a deal between the council and Mr McNamara to regenerate three of the council’s most dilapidated flat complexes and two other sites collapsed. Hundreds of council tenants living in sub-standard accommodation had to be rehoused, adding to waiting lists.

The five plots of land chosen for the new scheme are not existing social housing estates. The largest plot, of almost 15 hectares at the junction of Coolock Lane and the M1, could provide “several hundred” houses the council said.

Next largest is an 8.2 hectare site near Cherry Orchard Hospital. A 6.3 acre site at the junction of the Malahide Road and Belcamp Lane is earmarked for residential development as part of the Clongriffin and Belmayne local area plan. Smaller developments could be accommodated at a 0.7 hectare site on Kylemore Road in Ballyfermot, and a 0.47 hectare site on Bunratty Road in Coolock.

The council said just 1,360 homes were completed in the whole of the Dublin region last year with an estimated need for 7,000 a year. “The council has regularly been approached by investors and is confident that there are innovative solutions that can be made to work to help reduce the housing shortages facing the city,” it said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times