Following a Freedom of Information request made to Dublin City Council by the Workers’ Party, it has been revealed that between 2016 and 2021 the council spent €221,787,160 buying back housing units that they had originally built.

Garrett Greene, Workers’ Party representative for Cabra-Glasnevin, said:
“It makes very little financial sense for the council to be spending such a large amount of money on the private market. These houses would have been sold by the council at a fraction of the price they were worth even at the time they were originally sold.

“They should never have sold off these houses in the first place. That policy left the state with very little in the way of housing stock and it is a major factor in why we are in a housing crisis today. Now, in order to try and rectify that, the council are spending hundreds of millions buying back at a loss what they built.”

The Freedom of Information Request also revealed that of the 1,530 houses purchased by the council between 2012 and 2022, 570 were originally built by the council.

Greene said:
“From these figures, it is clear that even if the council is not building houses in the same way that it used to, we are still relying on houses that they built in that era. If that’s the case, why don’t Dublin City Council cut out the middleman and build more housing now?

“The current approach of letting the private market take the lead, with the state receiving a small proportion of social and so-called affordable housing, is failing to provide housing that people can afford, leaving the state in a situation where it has to panic buy on the private market for hundreds of millions. It simply doesn’t make financial sense.”

“Mixed-income public housing, on the other hand, could provide the state with ample housing stock and provide tenants with affordable rent rates tied to their income. It is a no-brainer when you consider how badly the current situation works out.”