DUBLIN CITY Council has formally terminated its contracts with property developer Bernard McNamara for two of the five major inner-city regeneration projects due to be completed under public private partnerships (PPPs).
Assistant city manager Ciarán McNamara told councillors last night that Bernard McNamara (no relation) was now "off the pitch" in relation to the redevelopment of St Michael's Estate in Inchicore and Dominick Street in the north inner city.
The council is to enter into mediation with Mr McNamara on two other housing projects in Infirmary Road and O'Devaney Gardens both in Dublin 7. However, it has warned the developer that it will initiate High Court proceedings if mediation is not successful.
Mr McNamara will, however, go ahead with the redevelopment of the Convent lands on Seán McDermott Street. The council wrote to Mr McNamara last week informing him that they intended to approach rival bidders in relation to the St Michael's and Dominick Street projects. The council has not revealed the names of the rival developers but said last night that it would be writing to the "second preferred bidders" by the end of this week to seek expressions of interest in the projects.
The five projects were to deliver 1,800 homes, most of which would be occupied by council tenants currently living in substandard housing, but lengthy delays in starting the projects led to a collapse of agreements between Mr NcNamara and the council. City councillors last night agreed to postpone the demolition of four blocks of flats in O'Devaney Gardens. The flats were due to be demolished this month in anticipation of the redevelopment of the complex . The demolition had been part of the original contract with Mr McNamara. However, when the project stalled late last year the council decided to tender for a separate company to demolish the blocks because of the urgent need to address severe anti-social behaviour problems that were occurring in the dilapidated complex.
The council has now decided not to go ahead with the work this summer because of negotiations with Mr McNamara, and it has agreed to reconsider the demolition next September.
Earlier yesterday Labour leader Eamon Gilmore called on the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to intervene. Mr Gilmore, accompanied by Dublin Central TD Joe Costello and deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Emer Costello, visited O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street yesterday to hear the concerns of residents.
He also outlined the details of the private member's motion his party has tabled on the situation, which will be debated in the Dáil tonight and tomorrow. The motion calls on Mr Gormley to take whatever steps are necessary to remove the developer from the five projects, and to ensure that in future developers are not allowed to walk away from such commitments.
The Irish Times