Dublin City Council’s decision to let developers away with having to provide 10% social housing in high class areas has exploded their previous talk about ‘social mix’.
Last year Dublin City Council built just five council houses – and 69 rapid build modular homes. This is despite over 17,000 people on the housing list, many of whom are living in over-crowded conditions.
In the 1940s and 1950s, when Ireland was poor, councils were able to build housing estates. But in recent decades a discourse has emerged about seeking a better ‘social mix’. This has become the main excuse for not undertaking large housing developments.
Strangely enough, the argument about ‘social mix’ never seemed to apply to areas like Rathgar where very few poor people live. The real implication was that you could not have too many poorer people living together
Now however, the argument about social mix has been blown out of the water. In a growing pattern, Dublin City Council has done deals with the developers of the Boland Mills site in Ringsend, a Hannover Quay site, the Capital Dock site on St John Rogerson’s Quay, the Lansdowne Place development in Ballsbridge not to enforce the 10% social housing rule. Instead, those on the social housing list will be located elsewhere -so that they do not mix with posh people lest property prices fall.
Dublin is experiencing greater social apartheid – not social mix
We need a change of policy to construct big social housing developments – and to raise the income threshold for access by middle income groups.
We also need schemes for affordable housing – which can only become a reality when the price of building land is subject to price control