Long-derelict Dublin city site to be redeveloped as social housing by McVerry Trust

Fishamble Street site previously designated for ‘mom and pop developer’ scheme

A long-derelict site on Dublin’s Fishamble Street, which has been the subject of several failed housing projects in the last decade, is to be redeveloped for social housing by the Peter McVerry Trust.

The charity will this year seek planning permission for a block of 10 apartments on the site of 29 and 30 Fishamble Street, previously occupied by two 18th-century buildings, but vacant and derelict since the mid 20th century.

The Dublin City Council-owned site, opposite the Civic Offices, was designated by the council in 2012 for a “mom and pop developer” project. The council sought expressions of interest from groups of households to form a co-op to build apartments on the site in which they would live for at least 10 years.

The owner-occupiers were to design and build their own apartments on the site that the council would provide at a cost of €150,000. Several groups applied to develop the site, which the council estimated would cost about €1.2 million, including the purchase price. A successful bidder was chosen but, in late 2015, the group withdrew its expression of interest, largely due to financing difficulties, and the council shelved the project.


In July 2018, the council decided to use the site for its first “modular” apartment scheme for social housing. Tenders were sought for prefabricated “rapid delivery” apartments which would have a 60-year lifespan. However, the following February the council said it would not go ahead with the scheme due to spiraling construction costs. The council had set aside a budget of €1.5 million for five apartments on the site, but the cheapest construction tender for the job was €3 million, or €600,000 per apartment.

The council has now decided to allow the site to be redeveloped by the Peter McVerry Trust for permanent housing for homeless people.

“Peter McVerry Trust is working with Dublin City Council to reuse the long-derelict site at Fishamble Street, Dublin 8, for a social housing scheme,” a spokesman for the trust said.

The charity plans to build double the number of apartments proposed by the council in 2018, with 10 apartments planned in a six-storey block, a similar height to apartments immediately north of the site. The total cost of the project is €4.3 million, making it cheaper per apartment than the council’s scheme.

“The current estimated cost is €4.3 million for 10 apartments, a mix of one- and two-bed units. The costs are inclusive of potential archaeological challenges with the site,” the trust spokesman said.

The charity already has initial funding approval for the project from the Department of Housing under the Capital Assistance Scheme and designs have been prepared for planning. “The project architects are Fitzgerald, Kavanagh and Partners, and following further archaeological surveys the project will progress to planning in the new year,” the spokesman said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times