Cllr. Éilis Ryan

Cllr. Éilis Ryan

The Workers’ Party has this morning launched its public housing finance policy, “Financial Aspects of a Solution to the Irish Housing Crisis”. The launch comes ahead of this afternoon’s city council vote on whether to sell O’Devaney Gardens – a 14 acre site of city council land formerly used for social housing.

Speaking at the launch, Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party) said that the Workers’ Party’s proposal was intended as ‘constructive criticism’ of the idea that selling off a valuable asset is ever good value for money.

Cllr. Ryan said:

“The city council intends to obtain the land value (est €14 million) from the purchasing developer by subsidising the sale price of a portion of the homes which will be built on the site.

Once spending on amenities is taken into account, even if a full €10 million were used to subsidise private housing on the site, this would still only suffice to reduce 100 homes in cost from the market value of €300,000 to an ‘affordable’ price tag of €200,000.

When we consider that we could build 70 homes for that same amount of money, it is clear that the deal represents bad value.”

The Workers’ Party this morning launched an alternative financing proposal for the site, which would entail establishing a public corporation and using a land for equity swop in order for the state to buy shares in that company.

Cllr Ryan said:

“The model we propose is not only better value for money – by leveraging the council’s land assets whilst also maintaining ownership of them – but also remains within EU fiscal and competition rules.

The Sinn Féin / Fine Gael plan for O’Devaney Gardens builds a maximum of 175 homes. Our proposal ensures that the council’s assets are used effectively to borrow and build much, much more.”