Dáil debates

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Housing Provision

5:05 pm

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

I was reading back on interesting articles to do with the State's investment in property and housing. It is clear the State is one of the biggest players in the property market, but one would not think so, because State agencies and local authorities are renting and leasing properties back from the State. If one looks at the total investment by the State into the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which is basically to vulture and cuckoo funds, it adds up to €1.63 billion in the recent past. I say that to set the backdrop of the attempts by the community of St. Michael's estate in Inchicore to advance the development of 9.2 acres of prime land in the middle of Inchicore for the sake of that community.

For 21 years, the community around St. Michael's estate has been fighting to regenerate in a sustainable way. Thankfully, Thornton Heights was built, but there is a big chunk of land lying empty. There is now a designer talking to people on the regeneration board. We do not know what costs the designer is working with.

We need to find out here today where the regeneration of St. Michael's estate is at. Will a certain cost be made known to the designer, so that we can have good quality, affordable housing on that land? We do not just need good quality, affordable housing. The affordable rent should not be set at a share of the market or 25% below the market value. Rather, the affordable rent should be a proportion of the income of people who will live in those dwellings. This is an important point for the regeneration of St. Michael's estate. It should be publicly owned and funded in a way that the cost rental element will mean a proportion of the tenant’s income is paid on rent rather than set at 25% less than the market value. That figure is meaningless, because that market value is in a never-ending onwards and upwards scale. This would defeat the whole point of the struggle that community has engaged in for the past 21 years.


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