The housing crisis is the most important issue facing the country – and it will not be solved by Fingal County Council enriching a private developer, according to Social Democrats Councillors Joan Hopkins and Paul Mulville.
“The proposal facing Fingal councillors today was a Hobson’s choice. We were asked to approve the sale of a vast tract of public land, for a fraction of its value, and watch as 60pc of the homes on that land were developed at prices that ordinary workers cannot afford.
“These lands at Ballymastone, Donabate, are a valuable public asset. Why are they being sold at a rock-bottom price to a developer who stands to make hundreds of millions once they are developed?
“Instead of enriching private developers, why doesn’t the State – via Fingal County Council or an Approved Housing Body – develop these lands and provide desperately needed homes for affordable purchase, cost rental, social housing, older people’s housing, and co-operative housing.
“We have seen the massive demand locally in recent weeks for the Ó Cualann scheme at Kilhedge Lane, Lusk as an example of what’s possible. There is no reason why the Ó Cualann model cannot be rolled out at scale on public land banks such as Ballymastone.
“Whenever its housing policy comes under attack, the government consistently says that the State is the biggest player in the housing market.
“In case there is any confusion about what this means, it’s quite simple – the State is pumping hundreds of millions into large developments that are exclusively bought by cuckoo funds or selling off public land to private developers. The State may be a big player, but it is playing for the other side.
“Fine Gael, in government, first declared housing an emergency in 2014 – seven years ago. Why is it still reliant on private developers to deliver almost its entire complement of housing supply in 2021?
“We will never solve the housing crisis until government parties change their housing policy. We need to build public homes on public land – and we need housing that ordinary workers, and first-time buyers, can actually afford. The Social Democrats will vote in favour of any proposal that delivers on that.”
May 25th 2021