A Workers’ Party motion to be put before Dublin City Councillors next Monday night (Nov 6th) would see the introduction of a ban on private developers building for-profit housing on Dublin City Council owned lands.

Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party, North Inner City) is proposing the motion, and said:

The council owns around 120 hectares of land – enough to build 12,000 homes at a reasonably high density. But at the moment, there are 20,000 households on the council’s housing waiting list.

Without even including the many households not on waiting lists who are in need of housing, we already have a massive shortfall. And that’s if all council land is used exclusively for public housing.

In that context, it is ludicrous to allow private developers build housing on public land, which they will then sell at outrageous prices.

Cllr. Ryan continued:

The thing about land is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. If public land is used for housing which nobody except elites can afford – and let there be no mistake, that’s what private developers want – we may as well say goodbye to the prospect of ordinary people being able to afford to live inside the M50.

The city council is currently pursuing a strategy known as the Housing Land Initiative, which would see 70% of city council owned land used for private development, with at least 50% of housing to be sold at full, market value.

Cllr. Ryan concluded:

The ‘Campaign for Public Housing’ was launched last Saturday in front of a packed room of over 150 people. It is clear where the public stands – for mixed income public housing, and an end to subsidies – whether in the form of money, infrastructure or land – for private developers.


Dublin City Council (DCC) recognises the urgency of the housing crisis, with just under 20,000 households now on the city council’s waiting list, and an estimated c. 650 newly-formed households (net) becoming eligible for social housing each year.

The City Council furthermore recognises that land is by definition in fixed supply. The Development Plan estimates approximately 440 hectares of land is zoned and available for residential development within the DCC boundaries.

The City Council notes the following in relation to land availability in this area:

  • DCC estimates (Council Questions, October 2017) that it owns approximately 120 hectares of land. Assuming a density of 100 units per hectare (DCC generally uses a range from 60-120 units / hectare), DCC-owned land could provide 12,000 units if used exclusively for public housing.
  • This leaves around 320 hectares of land zoned for residential development not owned by DCC. At a density of 100 units per hectare this would yield 32,000 units, delivering around 3,200 units of public housing through Part V requirements.
  • Accordingly, if all DCC-owned land were used exclusively for public housing, and all non-DCC-owned land were developed and delivered 10% of units as Part V, the public housing output would still approximately 15,200 units.

Given this shortfall, the city council adopts the following policy in relation to the land within its boundaries:

  • That Dublin City Council institute an immediate ban on the use of council-owned land for private, for-profit, housing development – whether this is for rent or purchase.
  • That Dublin City Council enter into immediate negotiations with all state bodies, semi-state bodies, and NAMA-appointed receivers, who own or control residential land in the Dublin City Council area, in order to increase the required Part V social housing delivery on those sites, with an initial aim of securing the full use of the land for mixed income public housing.
  • That Dublin City Council commits itself to ensuring a mix of incomes on all sites, but that this should be done through the use of innovative not-for-profit housing methods – such as public cost rental.