The Workers’ Party has condemned the proposal by the Land Development Agency (LDA) to bypass local authority councillors when land is sold by a local authority to the LDA, saying the proposal represents a power grab by private developers. 

Commenting on the issue, Workers’ Party representative in Dublin Midwest, David Gardiner, said: “One of the few significant powers which local councillors still have is the right to control what local authority publicly-owned land is and isn’t sold, and how. When councillors exercise this right by refusing to sell off public land for private development, they are accused by private developers – and national government – of being ‘anti housing.’

“It is clear that this is the agenda at play by the LDA in attempting to bypass councillors in the sale of land from local authorities to the LDA.” 

Gardiner continued: “The LDA offers no guarantee that publicly owned land won’t be used for profit and greed. It’s commitments to ensuring 50% of housing built on its lands is ‘affordable’ are totally meaningless when you look at the extortionate cost of some so-called affordable housing being built on formerly public land. 

“Councillors are being bypassed in this process because it makes it easier and quicker to privatise public land, plain and simple.” 

Gardiner concluded: “I am calling on TDs to reject the Land Development Agency bill, in particular provisions to bypass councillors in the sale of lands owned by local authorities. 

“Land should be retained in public ownership, for public housing, and the best people to manage this process are local councillors.”