PROPERTY DEVELOPER Bernard McNamara is to pay Dublin City Council €1.5 million as part of a deal that will see him pull out of all five social housing regeneration projects in the inner city.
Mr McNamara had been due to build social, affordable and private housing schemes in five of the most deprived areas of the city under a public-private partnership scheme with the council.
However, his arrangement with the council broke down earlier this year after it emerged that he could not get planning permission for the number of units he wanted, following a change in regulations on apartment size.
Last July the council formally terminated its contracts in relation to two projects - the redevelopment of St Michael's estate in Inchicore and Dominick Street in the north inner city.
Agreement was reached that Mr McNamara would go ahead with a third project, the "convent lands" development on Seán McDermott Street in the city centre.
The council entered into mediation with him on the final two projects at Infirmary Road and O'Devaney Gardens, both in Dublin 7, but warned the developer that it would initiate High Court proceedings against him if mediation was not successful.
The council yesterday issued a statement saying that following mediation, its relationship with Mr McNamara was now at an end.
Not only was he to pull out of the O'Devaney Gardens and Infirmary Road schemes, but he would also no longer be going ahead with the convent lands development.
Under the mediation agreement, Mr McNamara will hand over all drawings and plans for the developments, will relinquish any claims to the land, and will pay the council €1.5 million in compensation. It is understood that the council has in return agreed not to take legal action against him.
The council said it was examining the options for the future of all five sites. The council's statement came just days after the council said it was to immediately demolish the derelict blocks of flats in O'Devaney Gardens, which were the scene of violent incidents during the summer.
The empty flats had been due for demolition more than eight months ago, but the work was delayed because of the problems with Mr McNamara.
Labour councillor Emer Costello said the local communities must be reassured the regeneration projects would go ahead.
"The whole area is in despair, this situation has been eating and rotting away at the community. The Government needs to come up with funding to kick-start the building of social housing in these areas now," she added.
The Irish Times