More than 100 homes approved for site of former church as part of scheme to provide social homes

Minister for housing says he wants to see more underutilised church lands used for housing

More than 100 homes have been approved for the site of the former Church of the Annunciation in Finglas, as part of a public private partnership (PPP) scheme to provide 1,500 social homes across the State.

The houses and apartments, 1,100 of which will be in Dublin, are the fourth and fifth batches of PPP schemes the Government announced eight years ago as an off-balance sheet mechanism to provide housing for local authority tenants.

Unlike previous PPP housing models, the sites will stay in the ownership of the State and the developer will get payments for a 25-year period, after which the houses or apartments return to State ownership.

The demolition of the Finglas church, one of the largest in the State, was approved by Dublin City Council in early 2020. Built in the late 1960s, during a church-building boom initiated by the then archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, the 3,500-capacity building will be replaced by a church seating just over 300, in addition to a primary care centre, and the 100 homes which will be designated for senior citizens.


An application for the development will be made through the council’s internal planning process, which requires the approval of councillors. The council will then seek tenders for a consortium to build and manage the housing. Council officials said it is likely construction will begin within 18 months to two years, and is expected to take 12 months.

The vast majority of the 1,583 PPP homes will be in the Dublin city area, of which 900 are planned for a dozen sites. The sites include former council work depots in Stoneybatter, the Liberties, Santry, several sites in Finglas and Ballymun, as well as dilapidated council flat complexes at Basin View in Dublin 8 and Croke Villas beside Croke Park in Ballybough, which was designated for regeneration a decade ago.

The PPP model will also be used on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council sites at Balally, where 58 social homes are planned, and Lamb’s Cross in Sandyford which will have 25 homes. In south Dublin, 120 homes will be built as part of the new Clonburris strategic development zone.

Schemes will also go ahead in Wicklow, with 120 homes at Rehills in Bray and 80 at Burnaby in Greystones in Kildare, 85 homes will be built in Kildare town and 75 in Celbridge.

Speaking at the former Church of the Annunciation site on Wednesday, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said he wanted to see more underutilised church lands used for housing.

“In the engagement that my department has had with church authorities, and not just the Catholic Church but other denominations too, we are seeking that where land is available, we would be able to have that land offered to us either at a reduced price or at some instances for free,” Mr O’Brien said.

The redevelopment of the Church of the Annunciation would “make a massive difference to this part of Finglas,” he said. “Not just in the delivery of 100 new homes for seniors, but the other facilities including health facilities, and will lead to a rejuvenation and a regeneration in this area.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times