The group protest outside the Central Mental Hospital

The lands at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dundrum have come under scrutiny in recent weeks as plans for the future of the site are questioned.

A group called Dundrum Housing Co-Operative was established in August to lobby the council and central government to provide land at a reduced rate to the co-op, similar to the O’Cualann Housing Co-Operative who are currently building 49 homes in Ballymun, with prices starting at just €140,000 for a two-bed house.

The Dundrum group say the main site they are looking at is the CMH grounds as a new central mental hospital is currently under construction in Portrane in North County Dublin.
Spokesperson for the group, Brian Leeson said he doesn’t want to see the land handed over to private developers once it is vacated.

“This site is the last large piece of undeveloped public land left in Dundrum.
“It is absolutely unique in terms of its size and location within walking distance of the LUAS and Dundrum Village.

“If this land is handed over to a private developer it will be used to build luxury apartments and houses which will be way beyond the reach of everyone but corporate landlords and very wealthy individuals.”

However, a report to the Dundrum Area Committee meeting on September 25 in response to questions and a motion on behalf of local Councillor Sorcha Nic Cormaic (SF) has confirmed that the site at the hospital is still in use and is currently not for sale.

Cllr Nic Cormaic said that should this site come on the market in the future that the council should be given priority over any private developer to develop the land for much needed social and affordable housing.

The council have met with hospital management and viewed the grounds, and a meeting is being arranged with the OPW to discuss their evolving plans.

“We (SF) have started the ball rolling on making sure the council will be competing vigorously [for the land] when the time comes,” Cllr Nic Cormaic added.

Senator Neale Richmond (FG) said that having raised the future of the CMH on the floor of the Seanad, “it has been confirmed to me that no future decision can be made until the site is vacated”.

He said: “The zoning of the CMH is currently for institutional although there is scope for an element of limited residential development within this.”

The site is expected to be vacated by 2020.