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The Great Privatisation of Lands Bill - 2nd Stage on Wednesday

This Wednesday, the Land Development Agency Bill goes through its Second Stage in the Oireachtas. Among other measures, it grants a public body the right to the compulsory purchase of land, for development and allows for the sale of public lands (including potentially parks and other assets) for development purposes. –

Already, Dublin City Council is proposing the use of parts of parks on the Northside of Dublin for housing. -

Extracts from the Second Stage Debate (LDA Bill on 18th February about the proposed legislation).

Deputy Pringle:

Opposition Deputies, local authorities and front-line civil society groups are blue in the face from saying for years that the Government must provide the necessary funding to local authorities to build affordable housing on public-owned land.”

Deputy Mattie McGrath: ‘All of that land could be built on by local authorities. We do not want another agency, because agencies become quangos. We know some of the famous names who did not know whether they wanted to go for mayor of Limerick or to be head of the LDA or whatever else. We do not need another agency to take away more powers from the elected councillors. .. We must let the county councils build the houses, as they did in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.’

Deputy Mick Barry: ‘Arguably, (the LDA) this may open the door to the largest privatisation in the history of the State. The only example I can think of that might rival it, and time will tell, is the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA, where there was a €43 billion sell-off.

A point made in the debate was that the local authorities already own land, they are not given the funding to build housing.

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