Airline confirms 40 houses were bought in Swords area

by Rose Barrett
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Ryanair, planes

A furore broke out last week when it was revealed that Ryanair had purchased 25 houses in a new Swords estate to facilitate its cabin and flight crews. 

Fosterstown Place, a development of 28 houses was built by MKN, with three houses being designated for social housing.  

In fact, Ryanair has confirmed to the Dublin Gazette that it has purchased 40 houses in the greater Swords area to provide affordable accommodation for its staff, albeit it has not identified the other locations.

Cllr Ann Graves (SF for Swords) was furious when she learnt of the purchase.

“It was bad enough in recent weeks when we learnt of the vulture funds scooping up 85 per cent of housing units in Belcamp,” she said. “Forty six were purchased there by vulture funds and now we learn that Ryanair bought 25 houses in Fosterstown.  When rumours floated that houses in Fortunestown were going to be block bought, I wrote – as did other Swords councillors – to the developers but MKN didn’t even give me the courtesy of a reply.

“Can you imagine the number of families in Swords who could reasonably expect that their children or grandchildren would buy a home in the area? But with this kind of block purchasing, they haven’t a hope. It is not fair.  I know many who were accepted onto the waiting purchase list at Fosterstown but now they realise they never had any hope of competing for those homes at all – 25 in Fosterstown gone to Ryanair and 46 in Belcamp to vulture funds – 71 houses snapped up!

“The local community is furious. The area around Swords has been developed to cope with the growing population and to facilitate families, more amenities, sport facilities and greater access to schools. This is seriously a kick in the teeth for locals, but It’s truly indicative of the housing crisis on companies as well, seeing as Ryanair cannot secure suitable, affordable accommodation for its staff either.

Deputy Cian O’Callaghan (SD) described it as a “kick in the teeth” for aspirational first time buyers in the area. He noted the high rental costs facing locals, along with house prices being six per cent above the Celtic Tiger peak, now they have to try and bid against global companies and vulture funds. 

As stated by Cllr Graves, Deputy O’Callaghan said Ryanair would not be entering the property market for the fact that there was not an affordable alternative to source accommodation for its growing fleet of staff.

He described the current housing scene as being totally “dysfunctional” and one that simply rolls over and allows big companies to scoop up houses in bulk, shoving first buyers and locals to the sidelines.

Ryanair did not disclose the cost of the houses purchased by MKN but it is believed to be circa €8.5m to €10m.

Cllr Graves added: “The Government has no willingness to address vulture funds as they voted against last week’s motion in the Dail by Sinn Féin to tackle the issue.“

While 10 per cent stamp duty was introduced as a deterrent against bulk buying by vulture funds, clearly, it’s not enough and last week, Sinn Féin sought to increase that further, but the Government voted against.

Cllr Graves also addressed the remaining three houses allocated at Fosterstown for social housing. “That’s hardly a healthy environment for the families who go in there – and the rest of the estate dedicated to Ryanair staff – not a very good mixed environment at all!” she said. With Boróimhe only a stone’s throw from the airport, Cllr Graves said more properties could be purchased for airline staff, unless this Government wakes up and makes a serious commitment.

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