Eradicating homelessness: A Finnish perspective
4th July 2022
RPZs containing rent increases
4th July 2022

Affordable and social housing underpin major efforts in Ireland’s youngest county

As Ireland’s third biggest local authority with a population of some 300,000, Fingal currently has over 104,000 households and the demand for more homes is growing rapidly, particularly as the county has Ireland’s fastest growing and youngest population.

Situated to the north of Dublin City, Fingal covers an area of 456 square kilometre with 88km of coastline and is made up of urban, suburban, rural, and coastal communities. Given its location, Fingal provides the most daily commuters into Dublin city with 28,641 making the journeys from their homes in Fingal while around 17,000 make the journey in the opposite direction to their place of work.

Promoting itself as a great place to live, work and visit, it is little wonder that Fingal has seen massive demand for all types of housing at key locations across the county. There are over 6,300 households on the social housing list, with the greatest demand within the county in the Dublin 15 area.

Fingal has a strong track record in the delivery of social homes across the county and has met all newbuild delivery targets set by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) since 2015, delivering over 9,200 social housing solutions to families on its housing list through all delivery mechanisms, including the construction of new homes, Part V delivery, acquisitions, leasing, and accommodation provision via Housing Assistance Payments.

But with pressure on already stretched housing stock, and the Council’s ongoing ambitions to grow and be recognised as the gateway to Ireland – Dublin airport sits within the County – Fingal knows it must have the infrastructure to match and housing is at the heart of that.

In order to address this, the Council has a Capital Programme of some €784 million in place through to 2024 and the Housing and Community Development Department, headed up by newly appointed Director Robert Burns, is responsible for over €400 million of that spend. Such a sizeable allocation emphasises how committed the Council is to delivering a significant mixture of social and affordable homes.

Over the next four years the Council plans to deliver a significant number of social housing dwellings using all available housing support mechanisms as it looks to meet its Housing for All target of delivering almost 3,500 new build social homes by 2026. To that end, it has some 23 sites across the county which it will utilise to help it reach its ambitious goal.

While the delivery of this large number of social and affordable housing in the county remains a priority, planning permission has also been granted for 14,500 homes to be built in Fingal on private developments, with 2,500 homes currently underway on 72 construction sites across the county.

“Fingal is one of the first local authorities in Ireland to commence the construction of affordable homes,” said Robert Burns, the Director of Housing and Community Development. “We want to be at the forefront of these types of initiatives to help ensure we are able to accommodate those who have been squeezed out of the private market and are trapped in the gap between not being eligible for social housing and not being able to afford private housing is growing.”

This provision of affordable homes by the Council began with the development of a site at Dun Emer where they hope to hand over the keys to new homeowners later this year. There were 39 newly constructed homes made available to eligible, first-time purchasers at an affordable price relative to market value. The interest in these dwellings was exceptional; in the short period they were advertised, the Council received over 300 applications for the properties.

A short distance away in Hayestown, Rush, plans are underway for the construction of 52 affordable homes which are due to be completed in the second half of 2023. This project received €3.9 million in funding under the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). A further 10 units will be constructed on the site as social housing.

Elsewhere, there are four major developments Fingal will use to help deliver around 1,800 affordable homes between them, at sites in Mulhuddart, Donabate, Skerries, and Balbriggan.

In the case of Mulhuddart, the Church Fields development will see the delivery over 600 affordable homes built on a 37-hectare Council owned site. The project will not only deliver homes and supporting infrastructure structure such as community facilities and open spaces but also a walking and cycling network that will link those homes to schools, shops, and other facilities in the area.

The Council is working alongside Glenveagh Living to deliver 1,200 homes at Ballymastone in Donabate which will see a mix of 60 per cent private, 20 per cent affordable, and 20 per cent social homes. The mixed tenure provision is happening within the one site, which is a departure from traditional housing delivery.

Fingal is also currently exploring what other options exist for it to make family homes available at a discount under the Council’s affordable housing initiative.

“Fingal’s approach to housing is very much community-centred, whereby we look to not only build homes but also build communities,” says Burns. “The Council works across its different departments to ensure that the things needed to develop a community, such as libraries, community centres and recreational facilities, are in place as part of our vision to not only put a roof over heads but to also bring people of all ages and backgrounds together.”

The provision of quality housing in appropriate locations underpins some of the reasons that Fingal is considered an attractive place to live and work. The delivery of housing to meet the current and future needs of our citizens continues to be a challenge, which is why it is progressing housing delivery across all tenures and exploring how to maximise the use of housing stock. It does not intend to shirk away from what’s needed.

Fingal County Council
T: 01 890 50 00
Twitter: @fingalcoco