05 September 2016

Finances gained from sale should be invested in the North Fringe

The saga that is Priory Hall is nearing finality. The apartment complex in Donaghmede is being rebuilt by Dublin City Council from the ground up at a cost close to 30 million euro. Former apartment owners who had at one time planned to build their lives and rear their families in Priory Hall are now rebuilding their lives and hopefully their dreams elsewhere. I would like to commend the work done by residents and my Labour colleagues Sean Kenny and Brian McDowell in bringing about a resolution.

There are 187 apartments in Priory Hall. Previously, Dublin City Council owned 35 and the rest were either owner occupied, buy to let or in the ownership of McFeely. This was the classic example of a housing complex that had the correct mixture of social, owner occupiers and buy to let.

The question now is should all the apartments be kept in council ownership and used for social housing needs? It is my understanding that as part of the deal that was agreed between the former apartment owners and Dublin City Council, that the mixture of private and council owned would remain the same.

There is a chronic shortage of housing, but it is imperative that we build sustainable communities into the long term. If there was a deal done between the owners and Dublin City Council then that deal should be honoured. If not, increasing the social housing element to 30% would seem appropriate.

The local area plan for the North Fringe identified a lack of family homes as a real issue. We need to look at a making a number of the apartments available to entice local people who might want to move into apartment living in their retirement age, sell their home to the council and move into an apartment in New Priory.

Any monies recouped from the sale of the apartments should be ring-fenced and spent on developments in the local catchment area. This will be the long term gain for the community of Donaghmede after the pain that was Priory Hall.

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