Dublin Port lands earmarked for development as housing

CIÉ land and former Cathal Brugha Barracks among sites being examined in new report

Government sources confirmed that lands at the Port, in the east of the city, are among sites under ‘active consideration’ for development by the Land Development Agency. File photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Lands at Dublin Port are being earmarked for development for housing by the Government as it prepares to launch its landmark Housing For All plan at the end of the month.

Government sources confirmed that lands at the Port, in the east of the city, are among sites under "active consideration" for development by the Land Development Agency, which is carrying out a detailed report on all state-owned lands in towns with populations over 10,000.

Lands used by CIÉ are also being examined, as is the former site of Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, sources said.

It is thought Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien will publish the Housing for All report, which will set State policy on housing for the coming years, in the week commencing July 26th.


Sources close to the State-owned transport group said it had engaged with the Department of Transport regarding sites with the potential for future housing developments. Some sources suggested one location that could be examined is the Broadstone depot in Dublin where some Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services are currently based. A Luas line currently runs through the Broadstone campus which is reasonably close to Dublin City Centre.

During discussions with the Department, it is understood CIÉ has sought to ensure that provision is made to allow it to deal with current and future public transport requirements. Almost 2,000 residential units are already under construction on land which is owned by CIÉ which is considered to be surplus to operational requirements.


Legislation underpinning the Land Development Agency was passed by the Oireachtas before it rose for its summer break, putting it on a statutory footing. It is currently working on plans to develop housing on nine sites. Mr O'Brien has said 100 per cent of housing developed by the agency in Dublin and Cork will be social and affordable.

The Land Development Agency is due to complete its report on State-owned lands, and deliver it to Government before the end of the year.

While the Government has reiterated its commitment to solving the housing crisis, proposals to develop the port have met with strong resistance before – although it is understood that the currently envisaged plans do not imagine that the port itself be moved from its current location. In 2018, Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly said proposals to move the port to free up land for housing were “reckless”.

The proposals were made by then president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland David Browne, with Mr O'Reilly suggesting they damaged the credibility of architects.

Similarly, there is a long history of garage sites, especially in Dublin, being considered for property redevelopment. In an interview with The Irish Times earlier this year, Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne said the company intended to seek consultants to advise on its options for developing its prime property sites for residential and commercial purposes. He also suggested the sites could be developed on a dual use basis, with bus depots built below housing developments.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent