Sod turned on O’Devaney Gardens and Oscar Traynor developments

Almost 2,000 homes to be built on Dublin City Council sites after decades of delays

Construction has started on almost 2,000 homes at two Dublin City Council sites in what will the largest housing schemes built on local authority lands since before the property crash.

The sods were turned on sites of the former flat complex at O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin 7 and at Oscar Traynor Road in Santry, which were earmarked for development since at least the turn of the century.

More than 1,000 apartments in blocks up to 14 storeys will be built at O’Devaney Gardens following several false starts in the last two decades. The demolition and redevelopment the 1950s flat complex near the Phoenix Park was to be pursued under the 2000-2006 National Development Plan.

In 2006, developer Bernard McNamara was awarded a public-private partnership contract to redevelop the estate with a mix of more than 800 social, affordable and private homes, along with shops, community facilities and some offices.


Construction never began and, in 2008, as the property crash took hold, Mr McNamara pulled out of the deal after it became clear the profits from selling apartments would not cover the cost of providing social housing.

By the time, the deal had collapsed, most the flats had been emptied and the estate had become a magnet for crime and vandalism. The empty flats were repeatedly set ablaze, so the council decided it had to go ahead with the demolition.

In late 2008, the council developed plans to replace social housing, with commercial and private development to follow later when the market recovered. Construction was due to start in 2011 with the first social houses to be completed by the end of 2012. However, in 2012 it conceded it could not secure the €32 million needed from the government and shelved the project.

In 2015, the council came up with a new plan to develop the site for social, affordable and private housing along with the site at Oscar Traynor Road. In January 2017, following two years of negotiations between council officials, the Department of Housing and city councillors, 53 of the 63 city councillors voted in favour of a 50 per cent private, 30 per cent social and 20 per cent affordable housing mix for the sites.

In September 2019, the council announced Bartra had put forward the best bid to redevelop O’Devaney Gardens. The following month, councillors were asked to approve the project, but deferred their decision to the following month in an effort to secure a better deal with Bartra. The company subsequently furnished councillors with a letter offering to sell 30 per cent of the homes to the council or a nominated housing body for use for a cost-rental scheme and in November the councillors approved the deal.

In September 2021, Bartra secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for 1,044 homes, almost all of which will be apartments, with 43 houses and duplexes. The council said on Monday that discussions were “nearing a conclusion” in relation to the cost-rental homes.

Just over 850 homes will be built on the Oscar Traynor site, which was bought by the city council in the 1980s. The 17-hectare site at the Santry end of Oscar Traynor Road, just to the east of the entrance to the Dublin Port Tunnel, was the subject of a number of proposed industrial, recreational and housing plans, but despite it being surrounded by housing estates built in the 1970s and 1980s, none of the schemes ever came to fruition.

While in 2017 the councillors did vote for the 50 per cent private, 30 per cent social and 20 per cent affordable housing mix for Oscar Traynor Road, they later voted to shelve the deal to seek more public housing on the land.

Following five years of a delay, a deal was eventually reached with developer Glenveagh for the construction of 853 State-subsidised homes, 40 per cent to be used for social housing, 40 per cent for cost-rental, and 20 per cent sold to low- and middle-income workers qualifying for the affordable purchase scheme.

The scheme will include 240 houses, and 613 apartments and duplex units up to six storeys tall. The first homes are scheduled for completion by the end of next year.

Separately Cairn Homes has been granted permission for 565 homes at the State’s newest town, Clonburris in west Dublin. By the end of the decade, some 9,000 houses and apartments are expected to be completed for a population of more than 23,000, similar in size to Newbridge.

The latest planning permission brings the number of homes granted to date at the Seven Mills development to almost 2000. The first 130 homes were recently completed.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times