Tuesday 27 May 2008

McNamara to give Dublin City Council social housing proposals

DUBLIN CITY Council is to consider proposals from developer Bernard McNamara on how to proceed with plans for five public-private housing regeneration projects, which collapsed last week.

The proposals will be given to the city council in writing by next Thursday and the council will respond to these proposals by Friday week, assistant city manager Ciarán McNamara told a meeting of Dublin City Council last night.

Mr McNamara met developer Bernard McNamara yesterday and said any proposals will have to be within the terms of public private partnership (PPP).

The projects at Infirmary Road, St Michael's Estate in Inchicore, Dominick Street, Seán McDermott Street and O'Devaney Gardens, all in Dublin were to build about 1,800 new homes between them with a total value of some €900 million.

Under the proposals, the developers were to retain about 800 units and sell them, while the remainder would be used by Dublin City Council for social and affordable housing, replacing some old flat complexes.

Mr McNamara said at the weekend he had not "pulled out" of the projects but that the council had informed him it wanted to take "a different route".

However, last night the assistant city manager said he had met Mr McNamara last Thursday week and both sides agreed that the project was going nowhere and that they would end the process

Dublin City Council yesterday denied it "moved the goalposts" in relation to the scheme.

On RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ciarán McNamara said: "The goalposts didn't change. Remember, with public-private partnerships you are talking about the private sector taking on an element of risk."

Dublin City Council is considering legal remedies over the collapse of plans for the five projects, Ciarán McNamara told the council last night.

But on sites in which contracts have been signed, O'Devaney Gardens, Seán McDermott Street and Infirmary Road, there are legal remedies available which are being examined, the assistant city manager said.

However, where no project agreement has been signed (St Michael's estate and Dominick Street) there is no obligation on the developer to proceed, Ciarán McNamara said.

The assistant city manager also clarified that € 6 million has been spent by the council on the five regeneration projects so far.

While a commencement notice for Infirmary Road to begin was issued by the developer last Friday, the developer is in breach of the project agreement because €13 million due to the city council has not been paid, the assistant city manager said.

The developer also issued a commencement notice for St Michael's Estate, but the assistant city manager said the developer is not in a position to begin work as no project agreement has been signed.

Before the meeting over 200 angry residents of the affected areas protested outside city hall.

The Irish Times


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