People Before Profit has called for the State to build public housing on the Player Wills site, and acquire the south Dublin property via a compulsory purchase order if necessary.
The vacant former factory site on the South Circular Road has long been the centre of plans for a large housing development, and previously had planning permission for 750 homes.
On Saturday about 40 people attended a rally organised by People Before Profit (PBP) outside the former cigarette factory, calling for the land to be used for public housing.
A number of days beforehand steel fencing had been erected at the front of the site, and private security guards were posted at the grounds for the rally on Saturday.
The protest was organised by Tina MacVeigh, a PBP councillor for the Kimmage-Crumlin area.
Speaking at the demonstration, Ms MacVeigh said there was a lack of affordable housing in south inner city Dublin, and locals had been “left to fight tooth and nail for the crumbs and the scraps”.
The land should be bought by the State from the developer who owns it, through a compulsory purchase order if necessary, Ms MacVeigh said.
PBP TD Bríd Smith said the Player Wills site "was bailed out during the economic crash by the people".
Nama appointed receivers Stephen Tennant and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton to the site several years ago to recover a €90-€100 million debt.
However, in recent months the original developer had cleared his debt and bought back the site, Ms Smith said.
Public housing envisioned for the site would include a mix of social housing, a cost-rental scheme, and affordable housing, Ms Smith said.
“A developer could make an absolute fortune out of this, and this looks like what will happen unless we protest and object to it,” she said.
Ms Smith said her party would be opposing any planning application submitted by the developer for private housing development on the land.
“We’re not opposed to housing, you’d want to be awful thick not to see that we need housing, but it’s the type of housing . . . and we are fighting for public housing,” Ms Smith said.