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Sinn Féin Says O’Devaney Deal Shows Councillors Were Misled

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The Housing Minister says Dublin City Councillors never asked if he had the money for a huge new housing development before they went ahead with the deal.

The admission, contained in a letter sent by Eoghan Murphy to the Lord Mayor, throws into doubt the building of more than 800 homes at the old O’Devaney Gardens site.

The controversial development has been hit by years of knock backs. The deal reached over the redevelopment of the well-known derelict flat complex is set to fail over funding and legal issues.

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Eoghan Murphy said it’s “highly unlikely” the agreement over the O’Devaney Gardens site can’t reach its “intended goal” of having 30% affordable rental units.

Dublin city councillors previously said it would have turned down a proposed deal that included 50% private, 30% social and 20% affordable housing at the site near the Phoenix Park.

But on November 4th, a group on councillors, known as the Dublin Agreement Group, said they reached a deal with developers Bartra which would see 30% of the units put aside as affordable rental.

However, Minister Murphy told Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe, in a letter, that the councillors’ claims were made without consulting his department.

The details of the letter, sent on November 6, have been released by Sinn Fein Housing Spokesperson Eoin O Broin, which he secured under a Freedom of Information request.

Mr O Broin has accused the Dublin Agreement Group on Dublin City Council of “misleading fellow Councillors and to the public on the O’Devaney Gardens development”.

He said: “There are only two conclusions that could be drawn from the Minister’s letter. Either the Dublin Alliance Councillors are incompetent or they deliberately misleading their fellow Councillors and the public.

“They secured a majority of support from their fellow Councillors for the transfer of a multi million euro strategic housing development site to a private developer on the basis of a claim that is completely false.

“Given that many of the individuals involved in crafting this alledged new deal have significant experience in housing developments it is hard to believe that there were not fully aware that they had not actually secured any affordable rental homes for O’Deveney.

“On this basis the only conclusion I can draw is that they deliberately lied, both to their fellow Councillors and to the public, in order to get the O’Deveney deal over the line.

“Sinn Féin is opposed to proposed deal with Bartra on O’Devaney Gardens because it delivered no affordable housing and the developer is set to make excessive profits with little return to the local community.

“The correspondence from Minister Murphy now calls into question the decision by elected members to transfer the land to Bartra.