Green leader says Government needs to act on Dublin vacant sites

Eamon Ryan says lack of new homes in capital shows need for stronger powers

 Green Party  leader  Eamon Ryan with  Ian Noel Smith, Ciarán Cuffe  and  Claire Byrne, taking part in a “vacant sites cycle” on City Quay  to highlight the volume of derelict, abandoned and unused property in the city centre.  Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan with Ian Noel Smith, Ciarán Cuffe and Claire Byrne, taking part in a “vacant sites cycle” on City Quay to highlight the volume of derelict, abandoned and unused property in the city centre. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Dublin’s vacant sites offer the solution to the lack of housing in the city centre, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said. The party is calling for stronger powers to tackle derelict and vacant land in the city to force owners to bring their holdings into productive use.

The 3 per cent vacant land levy announced last year should be implemented immediately, Mr Ryan said. “The Government has dragged its heels on a vacant sites levy. A watered-down version of this levy has been delayed till 2019 and it won’t even apply to derelict sites or buildings. This inaction has contributed to the housing and homelessness crisis.”

Dublin city has 60 hectares of vacant land, spread over more than 280 sites, that could be used for housing. In addition, there are growing numbers of derelict buildings boarded up in the city centre.

“A report in today’s Irish Times showed that nothing is being built in the city centre,” Mr Ryan added. “There are no new apartments, no new houses for sale, and even outside the centre, there is nothing ordinary people can afford.”

Mr Ryan was referring to figures reported in FridayFriday’s Irish Times which show only 15 developments in Dublin city and county have homes for sale for less than €300,000, and that no newly built homes were available to buy in the city centre.

“We have to get back to building in the city, we can’t keep growing out, we have to stop sprawl. And there are an incredible number of vacant sites and properties that aren’t being used properly, which could help provide a solution to the housing and homelessness crisis.”

The party highlighted five derelict, vacant or underused sites: an empty social housing block on Townsend Street; the derelict Georgian mansion Aldborough House on Portland Row; Moore Street houses associated with the 1916 Rising; an Office of Public Works site on Church Street which has been vacant since the 1990s; and the Block T arts centre at Smithfield, which has closed due to high rents.