O’Devaney Gardens: DCC may ‘revisit’ deal with Bartra if work does not start soon

Gary Ibbotson 19 Jan 2023

Dublin City Council may pull out of a deal with Bartra if the developer does not start work on the O’Devaney Gardens housing scheme by the start of February.

Speaking at this month’s council meeting, DCC’s housing manager Coilín O’Reilly said the council may “need to revisit where we’re going with the whole O’Devaney project,” if construction has not begun by next month’s meeting.

Overall, 1047 homes are planned for the site located near the Phoenix Park and will consist of a mix of private, social, affordable, and cost-rental units.

The deal with Bartra was signed off by councillors after a lengthy debate in November 2019.

At the time, councillors who supported the deal said it was their best chance to build homes on the site in the current economic climate.

The original agreement committed to 192 social homes, 165 affordable homes, 164 private homes, and 247 homes on an affordable-cost rental hybrid model.

During the debate, council manager Brendan Kenny said that work would be begin on the project within a year.

However, over three years later and work has not yet started on the flagship scheme.

Some councillors have now called on Dublin City Council to pull out of the deal, claiming that Bartra has broken the contract by not starting construction within the agreed timeframe.

Speaking to Northside People, Independent councillor John Lyons who voted against the deal back in 2019, says he is worried about the progress of the development.

“I always look for an update on O’Devaney Gardens as I fear there may be more going on behind the scenes that is causing such frustrating delays in the commencement of this project,” he says.

“I want to see social and affordable housing delivered on that site for the people of Dublin as soon as possible and with the developer being the main source of the delays which to date have seen the commencement date for construction move from 2020 into 2021 then 2022 and now into 2023.”

Lyons says Dublin City Council should now intervene and withdraw from the deal with Bartra.

“I think Dublin City Council needs to to step in, take control of the project and engage a construction company to build the badly needed homes for so many tens of thousands of people across the city who are currently struggling with high rents, insecure tenancies, overcrowding and homelessness.

“It was a terrible decision to give the land to Bartra and has turned out even worse than many feared it would,” he says.

At the council meeting, O’Reilly said that the renegotiation of the contract with Bartra was ongoing.

“At this stage we have the outline of an agreement on cost increases. That’s on a burden-share basis,” he said.

More homes previously earmarked for the private market have also been offered to the council as cost rental.

“And we’ll come back to the councillors with information on that in the near future.

“We just need to agree costs on that and work out how to make it happen,” he said.

“The plan as it sits is that Bartra will be on site before the next council meeting.”

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