Irish Construction Industry Magazine looked at Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and its activities in the housing market in the last issue, now it’s the turn of Fingal County Council as it presses ahead in the delivery of housing in Donabate in north county Dublin.

Fingal County Council has begun the process to deliver over 1,000 new homes on lands at Ballymastone, Donabate, which will be ready for development next year following the completion of the Donabate Distributor Road. The Council has identified over 200 acres of its land across the county for the delivery of public and private housing, which will be affordable to buy or rent, and has established a Programme Office called Project Talamh to co-ordinate this.

The Council is to initially engage in Market Sounding with the private sector on current housing market dynamics and gather industry views on the delivery of residential housing development on Council lands across the county. The Market Sounding will be followed by a procurement process for the development of the lands at Ballymastone in Donabate. These lands have the capacity to deliver approximately 1,000 to 1,200 homes.

Information has been published on the etenders in respect of the development of the lands at Ballymastone, Donabate and the Council is inviting interested parties from the industry, with relevant experience in the delivery of large scale residential development projects, to participate in the Market Sounding by logging into the etenders website and completing the questionnaire.

In tandem with the market sounding, procurement and planning processes, Fingal County Council continues to deliver social and physical infrastructure to support the future of expansion of Donabate. Construction started on the new Donabate Distributor Road in December 2017 and is ongoing. An Educational and Recreational Campus will also be delivered on the Council owned lands at Ballymastone and the area is also due to be linked to Malahide via the Broadmeadow Greenway which is currently at the pre-planning stage.

“We are strongly focused on increasing housing supply in Fingal and realise that we need to work with the private sector to ensure that we produce the right mix of housing on our lands,” said AnnMarie Farrelly, Director of Planning and Strategic Infrastructure at Fingal County Council.

The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Anthony Lavin, said: “As a Council we are working on many fronts to meet the demand for housing and this market sounding exercise is an opportunity to take on board the views of the private sector as we look to develop lands in the County.”

There are currently 127 private sites in Fingal with planning permission to deliver 17,733 houses while Fingal County Council has been set a target of delivering 1,637 social housing units in 2018 under the Rebuilding Ireland programme, which is the second highest delivery target in the country. These will be delivered through a number of mechanisms including build, acquisitions, Part V, voids, leasing, HAP and delivery via Approved Housing Bodies. By the end of July, 930 social housing units had been delivered for 2018. This follows the recent news that seventy-one new Social Housing homes are also being delivered in Balbriggan and Clonsilla. A further 71 new build social housing homes have been delivered across the county in recent weeks by Fingal County Council as its construction programme continues to ramp up.

The latest batch of houses brings to 122 the number of newly built social housing homes provided by the Council’s Housing and Community Department this year and there are a further 198 under construction at seven sites across the county.

Fifty-one of the new homes in Clonsilla and Balbriggan have been provided by two Approved Housing Bodies supported by Fingal County Council – Co-operative Housing Ireland and Respond Housing Association – while the remaining 20 were built by the Council itself at Pinewood in Balbriggan.

The Pinewood development was delivered under the Council’s construction programme. These rapid-build homes have been built to the highest specifications and received an A3 energy rating.

“This is the second rapid build development that we have completed inside the past eight months and there is no doubt that it certainly helping to deliver homes a lot quicker and to a very high standard of specification,” said Margaret Geraghty, Director of Housing and Community at Fingal County Council.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to provide more social housing and reduce our housing list. Our partnerships with Approved Housing Bodies is an important part of our overall strategy and we are delighted that they have been able to deliver a further 51 houses in recent weeks.”



The latest house completion analysis makes for interesting reading. Irish Construction Industry Magazine sets outs the essential trends and got the reaction of a leading industry figure plus the
Housing Minister.

Firstly, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), in the second quarter of 2018, there were 4,419 new dwelling completions, compared with 3,295 completions in the same period last year, an increase of 34.1%.

The second quarter figures also show that: single dwellings increased by 11.8% from 1,037 in the second quarter of 2017 to 1,159 in quarter two of 2018. Scheme dwellings rose significantly in Q2 2018 when 2,761 were built, an increase of 54.4% on Q2 2017 when 1,788 were built.

The number of new apartments built in Q2 2018 was 499, an increase of 6.2% on Q2 2017. Of the total number of new dwelling completions in Q2 2018, scheme dwellings made up 62.5%, single dwellings 26.2% with apartments totalling  11.3%. The primary data source used for the New Dwellings Completions series is the ESB Networks new domestic connections dataset where the date that the connection is energised determines the date of completion. It is accepted that the ESB domestic connections dataset is overestimating new dwellings and the CSO has adjusted for this overcount by using additional information from ESB and other data sources.

ESB connections are classified into four categories: new dwelling completions, UFHDs, reconnections and non-dwellings.

The New Dwelling Completions series is based on the number of domestic dwellings connected by the ESB Network to the electricity supply and may not accord precisely with county or Eircode Routing Key boundaries. The dwelling type (single, scheme, apartment) and urban-rural divide is defined by the ESB Network. The CSO has utilised other available data sources to validate and enhance the ESB connections dataset. However, this was only possible where the connections dataset could be confidently linked to another dataset using unique identifiers or by address matching. As the level of Eircode collection, coverage and storage increases across data sources in the housing sector, it is expected that the precision of estimates on new dwelling completions can be further enhanced.
Looking at student accommodation and the CSO says that there has been a significant level of construction output in the student accommodation sector. These are generally connected to the ESB network as commercial connections and are therefore not included in the ESB domestic connections dataset and have also not been included in ESB connections released by DHPLG. The data available on this sector is on a “bed space” basis and it is not currently possible to report on it as dwellings, which are self-contained units of living accommodation. Based on consultation with stakeholders in this sector, student accommodation may be included in future New Dwelling Completions reports as a separate category. In Q2 2018, 303 bed spaces were completed in the student accommodation sector.

For a more extensive article see our September/October Issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine available on subscription, contact Linda Doran



The Government is to launch the new Land Development Agency, which it says will coordinate State owned lands for regeneration and development, and open up sites for the provision of housing.

It will be funded to the tune of €1.25 billion and will have the power to use State land and to buy private lands on which potentially thousands of homes will be built across the country.

The Government believes the new agency could lead to the construction of more than 150,000 homes over the next 20 years.

They will include social, affordable and private homes.

The new organisation will be run along commercial lines and it will see the State forming joint ventures with builders and developers to provide homes.

It is understood there will be a requirement that one third of homes built on State lands will have to be affordable ones.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has already said this initiative will be viewed in the future as being on par with the establishment of the ESB and the IDA.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy brought proposals for its establishment to a Cabinet meeting recently.

RTE News



The latest Goodbody’s BER Housebuilding Tracker suggests that new output grew by 77% in 2017, but output still needs to treble from here to catch up with estimated demand.

Irish house completions grew rapidly in 2017, according to Goodbody. Some 9,513 new homes were issued with a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate last year, up 77% year-on-year. Although it is difficult to estimate precisely, Goodbody believes that 1,000-1,500 houses per annum are completed without a BER cert (mainly one-offs).

Using this assumption, there were c.11, 000 units completed in Ireland in 2017. This compares to the 19,271 electricity connections, which Goodbody believes is significantly overstating the level of new build in Ireland at the current time.

The Greater Dublin Area dominates new housebuilding activity. Housebuilding activity grew strongly across the country last year, albeit from a low level. Dublin accounted for 51% (4,848) of the new build last year, with a further 22% (2,094) completed in the surrounding counties of Wicklow, Meath and Kildare. As a comparison, 40% of the population lives in these four counties, according to Census 2016.

For a more extensive article see our January/February Issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine available on subscription, contact Linda Doran



According to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, the Department of the Environment, Local Government spend for 2018 will be €2.394 billion. Within that, housing is by far and away the biggest programme. €1.9 billion will be available for housing next year, an increase of €600m, or 46%.

He says: “This investment is directly aimed at addressing our housing shortage and homelessness crisis. It represents an increase of 62% on the capital side – to build new homes – and 35% on the current side to over €760m – to support homelessness, as well as supporting people into new social housing tenancies.

“Looking beyond 2018, I have secured an extra €500 million for capital investment in social housing in the years 2019 to 2021, which will allow us to increase the Rebuilding Ireland social housing target from 47,000 to 50,000 homes, the figure recommended last year by the Special Oireachtas Committee on Housing.

“That is new money that wasn’t in Rebuilding Ireland to date and which will deliver more social housing homes. And because of the changes I announced at the Housing Summit, the stock of homes that will actually be built directly by LAs and AHBs will also increase.”

In terms of the Build Programme, the Minister says: “We will almost double our social housing output next year in terms of direct build, moving from 2,000 this year to 3,800 next year. In 2015 this number was less than 500. The budget for Local Authorities will increase by over 100% to enable them to meet their targets.
“If you add in Part Vs, vacancy conversions, acquisitions, and long-term leases – 7,900 new homes with all the security and affordability that social housing brings, will be created. Will this alone solve our waiting list problem or meet all of the needs of our people? No it will not. That’s why those figures will increase again the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

“We will get to 10,000 new Social housing homes in to the Housing stock: we can’t do it next year – but we should be there by 2020. Which is something again when you look back to our numbers as recently as 2015.

“Until we have those houses built, we will continue to support people in to rented accommodation through the HAP payments. This budget effectively doubles to over 300m and will support 17,000 new tenancies next year.

For a more extensive article see our November/December Issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine available on subscription, contact Linda Doran



Initiative Ireland has announced that Ireland’s first syndicated property finance platform, which it is scheduling to launch in September, aims to finance €60
million in construction loans to build approximately 250 new family homes over the next 18 months.

Initiative Ireland will enable the company’s private syndicate members to participate in the funding of secured real estate loans across Ireland. Specialising in residential development finance, the company aims to support the construction of 250 new family homes by December 2018, while offering its private syndicate members the ability to earn 3.50% APR to 7.50% APR for their committed funds.

All loans are professionally managed by Initiative Ireland, on behalf of its members from end to end. A minimum commitment of €10,000 is required per loan from members. The company is currently accepting membership applications from private individuals and institutions interested in lending €100,000 or more via its digital platform.
Supported by Enterprise Ireland as a high-potential start-up, and headquartered at NovaUCD, the company was founded in 2015 by an experienced financial services team, with the goal of providing increased financial inclusion, competition and sustainability to the Irish finance market.

Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, welcoming the announcement said, “Addressing the housing crisis requires innovation and initiative. It is great to see Irish firms, like Initiative Ireland, responding to the market need with new sustainable solutions. I welcome their goal of making finance available at affordable rates to smaller developers, which is a necessary component if we want to see the activation of dormant sites.”

Padraig W. Rushe, CEO, Initiative Ireland said, “Individuals and institutions can now register for membership at and be among the first to gain access to what is an exclusive secured asset class, often available only to Banks and specialist institutions.”

He added, “Moreover, at a time when the country is in desperate need of housing, our initiative will offer competitive returns and terms to our private members, while supporting the construction of much needed family homes across Ireland.”

For a more extensive article see our July/August Issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine available on subscription, contact Linda Doran