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Strong delivery of affordable housing in Fingal

The Mayor of Fingal was joined by then-Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD; Minister of Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD; and other ministers and Oireachtas members for the breaking of ground at Church Fields, Mulhuddart, where Fingal County Council has partnered with Gem Construction to construct 300 affordable, cost rental and social housing.

Over the last few months Fingal County Council has partnered with some of Ireland’s leading homebuilding firms to offer almost 500 affordable homes across the county for private affordable sale.

With one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in Ireland, it is not surprising that the provision of housing is the number one priority for Fingal County Council. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Fingal Capital Programme 2024 to 2026, where some €860 million of the total planned investment of €1.35 billion is earmarked for housing.

Under Housing for All, Fingal has been set a demanding target of delivering 6,532 new build homes over a five-year period from 2022 to 2026. This figure includes providing 3,500 social homes through their own schemes and through partnerships with approved housing bodies and the Land Development Agency. Fingal is also required to supply 1,000 affordable homes directly and 2,000 affordable homes in partnership with AHBs and the LDA.

The Council’s current housing pipeline has 37 sites providing over 3,100 homes which are either at construction, procurement, pre-planning, or at the feasibility stage, and this figure will increase as new schemes are brought forward. This is comprised of different tenure mixes and the past two years has seen the council ramp up the delivery of affordable housing in partnership with leading firms like Glenveagh, Gem, Ballymore, Lagan, Gannon, and Manley.

Architect Dermot Bannon, in a recent interview with the Business Post, spoke about Fingal County Council’s partnerships with developers and cited the Balmoston development in Donabate, where Fingal has partnered with Glenveagh to deliver 1,200 private, affordable and social homes, as an excellent example of how housing should be rolled-out.

Bannon said: “The great thing about Balmoston – and I did not design it – is that it is a partnership with Fingal County Council and that is key to how housing should happen here going forward. The project is being built on land owned by the council and which has established amenities and facilities and the developer is plugging into an existing community, which is important.

“Partnerships with local authorities, when it works, it works really well because there is existing infrastructure, the lands are in strategic areas with existing and established transport links, schools, shopping centres and local convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants or pubs already there with exiting sports clubs and parks or green areas.

“Local authorities with land banks working with developers in order to build quality housing in strategic areas with established communities is what it is all about,” said Bannon.

The Affordable Housing Scheme gives people an opportunity to buy their own privately-owned home at a discount from full market price. It is mainly targeted at those middle-income earners who find themselves unable to bridge the affordability gap between their mortgage approval and the full market price of the home. The Council makes up the difference by taking an equity share, which can be bought out by the purchaser within 40 years, or when the property is sold or after the death of the owner.

Fingal has already provided 104 affordable homes in Lusk, Rush and Balbriggan which are either sold or at the sale agreed stage and over the past few months it has brought a further 492 homes in Mulhuddart, Donabate, Hollystown, Rush, Balgriffin, Lusk, and Swords to market.

According to the Mayor of Fingal, councillor Adrian Henchy, the delivery of private affordable housing is meeting a real need on the ground.

“The Affordable Housing Scheme is giving more people the chance to own a home and they may also be able to avail for the First Home grant which helps their purchasing power. A big plus is that 30 per cent of each scheme is reserved for people who have been living in Fingal for the past five years,” said the Mayor.

Fingal County Council is partnering with Glenveagh to build 1,200 private, affordable and social homes at Balmoston in Donabate.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, who recently joined the Mayor of Fingal and local representatives including ministers Roderic O’Gorman TD and Jack Chambers TD, and former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD to turn the first sod on the development at Church Fields in Mulhuddart, is delighted with the increase in the availability of affordable housing across the county.

“This strong local pipeline of affordable housing is a great example of how our plan, Housing for All, is working at local level throughout our communities and is delivering a strong pipeline of housing of all types to the market,” said the Minister.

Church Fields displays Fingal’s ambition of high-quality, mixed-tenure housing delivery at scale. In this prime west Dublin location, the Council has partnered with Gem Construction to deliver 300 affordable, cost rental, and social homes in the latest phase of a development that will ultimately deliver over 1,000 new homes as part of a vibrant new community.

The Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “Our housing team has worked with the Department of Housing, the Land Development Agency and developers like Glenveagh, GEM, Ballymore, Lagan, Gannon, and Manley to create a substantial pipeline of affordable homes across Fingal. Having already brought three schemes to market in Lusk, Rush and Balbriggan, we have increased our supply of affordable housing over the last few months and are now actively working to assist prospective homeowners purchase almost 500 homes in 11 different locations across Fingal.”

Fingal County Council’s Interim Director of Housing, Paul Carroll, said: “We have challenging targets under Housing for All and we feel we are demonstrating our ability to deliver high-quality mixed-tenure housing at scale to meet those targets. The Affordable Housing Scheme is a key plank in our ambition of giving people a realistic chance of owning their own home.

“The range of properties on offer have a starting price of €290,000 and, not surprisingly, there has been strong demand for all our schemes across Fingal. These will be privately-owned homes and typically middle-income earners such as teachers, doctors, construction, IT, pharma, and healthcare workers, and other professionals employed in both the public and private sector, have been successfully approved under this scheme so far.”

Further details, including information on eligibility and documentation required, are available at:

T: 01 890 5994 (north county) or
01 890 5380 (Dublin 15)
E: housing@fingal.ie
W: www.fingal.ie/affordablehomes