Labour Senators concerned at lack of Effective Ban on Co-Living Schemes

8 February 2021

Ivana Bacik

  • This morning in the Seanad, Labour Senators put down a commencement matter on ‘the need for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to implement a ban on the development of co-living schemes where construction has not yet commenced.’

Today, Monday 8th February, Labour Senators have expressed their concern to the Minister of State for Local Government and Planning at the Department of Housing at the lack of an effective ban on co-living schemes, despite the introduction of a ban on such developments in December of 2020.

Speaking in the Seanad today Labour Seanad Group Leader, Senator Ivana Bacik said:

“In late November, Minister for Housing, Daragh O’Brien made an eagerly-awaited announcement of a ban on the development of co-living schemes. However, because this ban has not been applied to live planning applications, co-living units continue to be approved and built across Dublin City.

“Labour is calling on the Minister to implement the ban with immediate effect where construction has not yet commenced. In the constituency in which I live, Dublin Bay South, two co-living applications are currently making news headlines on 98 Merrion Road and at the site of the former Kiely’s pub in Donnybrook. There has been a large number of objections submitted by people living in the community and the City Planner has expressed serious concern at the size of bedrooms. Nonetheless, permission has been granted by Dublin City Council in respect of both applications.

“We respect the independence and integrity of the planning process. However, there is immense dissatisfaction at the manner in which these applications continue to receive approval despite a ban having been introduced.

“We in Labour do not see co-living as a viable solution to the housing crisis. These schemes maximise profits for developers without being subject to the same minimum standards as other types of residential development; they are not conducive to the building of sustainable communities.”

The Labour Party Seanad Group’s Whip, Senator Marie Sherlock said:

“There is a large difference between what was announced last year and what has taken place since then. For my community in Dublin’s North Inner City, up to 1096 co-living units may be constructed within a 1.6km radius over the next 12 months since the ban was introduced. The Government made a song and dance about retrospectively applying income tax to PUP payment recipients last year. Yet, there is a failure to retrospectively apply a ban on co-living developments.

“Labour’s Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan warned of this possibility when she called on the Minister to immediately suspend the building of this type of accommodation last year. If the Government does not now revisit the efficacy of this ban there will be a question-mark cast over this its commitment to sustainable housing.”

Labour Senators call on Minister Darragh O’Brien to examine this issue without delay with a view to putting a stop to the development of unsuitable co-living accommodation, where construction has not yet commenced.