The baffling story of an apartment block left empty in a housing crisis

Rialto homes were chosen instead of a luxury Dublin docklands development

Listen | 18:47

Ireland is struggling to get to grips with what is undoubtedly the worst housing crisis we’ve faced in generations which is why serious questions are being asked as to how and why a block of apartments, not far from the centre of Dublin city has been lying empty for years.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

A deal was done between Dublin City Council and the developers Kennedy Wilson in 2019 which would have seen an apartment block in Rialto - made up of almost 40 units - acquired for social housing.

The developer made the deal with the council, while finishing off Capital Dock, a luxury block of apartments in Dublin, with some of the steepest rents in the country.


Instead of offering the council the chance to buy 10 per cent of the units in Capital Dock at a discount, Kennedy Wilson offered the council an alternative. 39 apartments in Herberton Rialto, on the site of what was once the Fatima Mansions.

At the time Peter Collins, the then President of Kennedy Wilson Europe, told the Irish Times that the scheme in Rialto was ‘ready to go and ready to be occupied’

But more than three years later the units are still empty and the 39 families who could be living there in Herberton, are probably still on the housing list.

Not only that, but fire safety inspections by the city council have highlighted potential deficits in fire-proofing.

In the News talks to Dublin editor Olivia Kelly about why has this happened, and what is being done about it?