The Shanganagh Castle Site in Shankill is currently in the process of being transferred from the possession of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to the Land Development Agency.

In September 2017, all 40 councillors supported proposals to construct 100% council developed social and affordable homes on the site. However, the council executive is now in the process of transferring the site to the LDA.

The agency says it plans on constructing 200 social and 340 cost-rental homes on the site. Under current policy any plans to construct housing on public lands must include at least 30% social and 10% affordable homes.

The Shanganagh Castle site is one of the largest public housing sites in the county of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with the potential to deliver up to 540 social and affordable homes.

Despite the original commitment the council has delayed development on the site, which has opened the door to the LDA, leaving the future delivery of homes on the site very uncertain, says People Before Profit councillor, Hugh Lewis.

“The Council need to immediately begin allocating the necessary resources to develop the 100% social and affordable scheme for the Shanganagh Castle lands that all 40 councillors previously agreed,” says Lewis.

“It is shocking that these lands continue to remain idle while thousands of families and individuals are waiting for secure housing. Meanwhile, behind closed doors the transfer of the site to the LDA is in process.

Lewis says that the government may legislate to allow the land take-over without a vote being taken in the council chamber.

“The idea that these crucial lands could be disposed of without the consent of elected councillors is an affront to local democracy.

“We cannot accept any change to the ownership that might put the future delivery of public housing in jeopardy.

“If these lands are transferred there will be no democratic control over their future use and crucially the council have will have thrown the potential of this site away.”

The Land Development Agency was launched by the government in September 2018.

According to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the agency plans to build 150,000 new homes over the next 20 years, “the next step of Project Ireland 2040.”

The Shanganagh Castle site was originally acquired by the county council in 2013 when they agreed a deal for a land swap with Castlethorn Construction.

The 18th century castle was a juvenile prison between 1969 and 2002.

The council traded 11 acres of land on the coastal side of Dart line for the 6.3 acre site including two other plots.