Private Members’ Business.

Public Private Partnerships: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Joe Costello on Tuesday, 8 July 2008:
That Dáil Éireann:
noting the collapse of five public private partnerships agreements in Dublin city, namely, St Michael's Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8, O'Devaney Gardens and Infirmary Road, Dublin 7, and Dominick Street and Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1;
noting that a single developer, Michael McNamara and Company, was selected as the preferred bidder for all five projects with Dublin City Council, which are estimated at €1 billion;
noting that the same developer abandoned plans for the regeneration of Finglas village, Dublin 11, last week;
concerned that the housing lists in Dublin have grown steadily despite the construction boom of the past 15 years;
concerned that Dublin City Council has had to close its affordable housing list which exceeded 8,000 earlier this year because of its inability to cope with the growing list;
concerned that hundreds of families awaiting new homes and community facilities now have their hopes dashed; and
concerned that the public private partnership mechanism has provided no risk or penalty to the private developer while the local authority is left to pick up the pieces;
calls on the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government:
to take whatever steps are necessary to remove the developer from the five projects;
to ensure that in future developers are not allowed to walk away from commitments entered into under public private partnership arrangements without appropriate sanction;
to take direct responsibility for funding and delivering the five long-awaited social and affordable housing projects;
to meet the residents to reassure them of the Government's commitment and good faith; and
determines to review the State Authorities (Public Private Partnership Arrangements) Act 2002 with a view to ensuring that the public interest is protected in future public private partnership agreements.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:
notes:
the comprehensive framework for the further development and modernisation of housing in Ireland as set out in the Government's housing policy statement Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities;
the record investment of almost €9 billion in housing programmes over the past five years and the continuing major investment being provided under the National Development Plan 2007-2013;
the progress made in the delivery of social housing, with completions in 2007 reaching their highest levels in over a decade;
the continued increase in the delivery of affordable housing in recent years and the efforts currently being made by Dublin City Council to enhance its affordable housing application system and establish a more reliable perspective on the level of demand for affordable housing;
the important role of public private partnership arrangements as one of the suite of approaches employed for the delivery of a range of housing programmes; and
the capacity of such approaches to deliver communities with households of mixed tenures and incomes, together with good quality social and physical infrastructure, through effective leadership by the local authority and full engagement with the communities concerned and the relevant State, private and voluntary sector organisations;
shares the disappointment arising from the announcement that a number of Dublin City Council's housing PPP projects are not to proceed as originally planned;
welcomes the actions taken by Dublin City Council, as the contracting authority, to resolve the issues involved, with a view to progressing the projects concerned as speedily as possible, in close consultation with the relevant communities and regeneration boards; and
commends the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister of State with responsibility for housing, urban renewal and developing areas for:
the very significant levels of financial resources they are providing to support housing programmes in the Dublin City Council area, including the regeneration of Ballymun, with €250 million being provided in 2008 alone;
their clearly stated commitment to continuing to engage actively with Dublin City Council in progressing the regeneration of the areas affected by the recent announcement and in ensuring that priority continues to attach to meeting the accommodation requirements of the affected communities; and
their initiation of a review of the implications which the announcement in relation to the Dublin PPP projects concerned may have for the approach to housing PPP projects more generally.
—(Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government).

I welcome the Labour Party motion. Since the announcement in May that five public private partnership projects — including St. Michael's Estate in Inchicore, where I live — were not going ahead because the developer, Bernard McNamara, was pulling out, there has been much confusion, disappointment, and anger in our local community. However, I do not intend to criticise PPPs, because such projects have been effective in many parts of our city where regeneration was badly needed. People were drawn to PPPs because they offered the possibility of new and improved facilities and services in areas in which they otherwise would not have materialised. These facilities include libraries, health centres, homework clubs, youth cafés and so on.

Examples in my area of successful PPP projects include the regeneration of Fatima Mansions and St. Teresa's Gardens. I have been a member of the regeneration board for both of these projects for several years, as well as for St. Michael's Estate. The Fatima Mansions regeneration project, which is beginning to wind down, has been a great success because it allowed people from the community, residents' associations and public representatives to have a say in the future of their area. Fatima Mansions, a housing complex owned by Dublin City Council, had failed for many years to offer an acceptable standard of living to residents. Now they have access to a range of new facilities. The St. Teresa's Gardens regeneration board is in the process of completing its plans for the PPP regeneration project. I spoke to residents yesterday who informed me they that they are pleased with the process thus far and hope it will continue.

However, this week's announcement by Dublin City Council that the developer, Bernard McNamara, will no longer proceed with the PPP for the regeneration of St. Michael's Estate is extremely disappointing, especially in light of the amount of time and effort which has gone into this project in the past ten years on the part of residents, community workers and city council officials. This is undoubtedly a major setback but we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in the blame game. Our priority now must be to save the project and to ensure another developer is brought on board so that the regeneration of St. Michael's Estate is finally made a reality.

The cost of the failure of this project is not merely financial. The residents of St. Michael’s Estate and the wider community of Inchicore are the ones who will suffer if this project does not go ahead. I have lived and worked in the area all my life and have made many friends there over the years. The proposed redevelopment was promised for many years. Unfortunately, many of my friends have moved out of the estate. It is important that we take up the banner in support of the residents who want to make better lives for their families.

The community spirit in St. Michael's is something to which we should all aspire. The residents have worked tirelessly, in spite of poor living conditions and serious social problems, to keep the idea of regeneration alive. After many long nights and countless meetings with the developer, they finally agreed a plan they were confident would greatly enhance their community. They were promised new homes, health facilities and sport and recreational amenities. Now they are faced with the prospect of losing it all.

Regeneration is not just about bricks and mortar, although it is often our main focus. Regeneration is about communities working together to improve the fabric of the area in which they live. It is about better housing standards, improved education and health services and building a strong social agenda. Regeneration should not be about profit for the developer or countless launches of glossy documents. We should always bear in mind that it is, first and foremost, about people.

Since the regeneration of St. Michael's Estate was first given the green light, the hopes and dreams of the area were a topic of conversation throughout Inchicore. Now that the future of the entire project is in danger, disbelief, disappointment and anger have become the new topics of conversation. The residents are justified in feeling they have been abandoned. Commitments made by the Government, the local authority and the developer have been withdrawn.

In the current uncertain economic climate, where we are faced with wide-ranging cutbacks, it will undoubtedly prove difficult to get a new developer to come on board and pour millions into the project. However, we must push forward and ensure the regeneration of St. Michael's Estate is given the full support of the Government and Dublin City Council and that they deliver on their promises to the people of Inchicore. The Government is continually talking about helping those most in need and supporting and protecting the disadvantaged. However, these are the very people who did not benefit from the last ten years of economic prosperity, just as it is they who will be first to suffer in the current economic downturn. The weak and vulnerable in our society deserve the same level of commitment from the Government as everybody else, in good times and in bad.

How can the Government simply look on as thousands of people on Dublin City Council's affordable housing list are told there is now a freeze on housing allocations? How can the Government commit to sorting out the housing problem for young couples and those on lower incomes only to press the pause button on the entire system? With more than 8,000 people currently on the housing list in Dublin and thousands more applications not even processed, the housing situation is in crisis.

Those people who remain in the final 17 units in St. Michael's Estate have been left with no guarantee that they will get the new homes they were promised. It is time for the Government to step up and fulfil the commitment that was made 18 years ago. The residents, the wider community and everyone who has worked hard on this project have waited long enough. The Government must take responsibility for this situation and give a guarantee that the regeneration of St. Michael's Estate will continue as planned and be brought to a successful conclusion. This community must be allowed a new beginning, with opportunities for employment and an effective health service. It is a community which has struggled and worked hard. Above all, the residents have been committed to each other for the past 18 years. I ask the Government to take urgent action to bring this development further. People must not have to wait another ten years for a decision to be made.

I propose to share time with Deputies Cyprian Brady, Mulcahy and Cuffe.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

The Central Statistics Office's small area population statistics, SAPS, indicate that the number of family units comprising mothers with children in Dublin South-Central is 7,066. This is 25% greater than the next highest figure in the State, which is 5,600 in Dublin South-West. There is a significant poverty indicator in these figures. The developments we are discussing are located in areas with the greatest proportion of single parent family units and where the unemployment level is some 60%. They are living in a community where about 75% of households are headed by women. Apart from the five projects mentioned, there are areas where regeneration is to start or continue, such as St. Teresa's Gardens, Dolphin House and Oliver Bond House. All these areas are in desperate need of improvement, regeneration or rebuilding. It is a challenge to us all. Public representatives must bear some responsibility in so far as they did not get people together and consult them quickly enough in order to do the job when the good times were here.

I commend all the groups involved in the various consultation processes. I acknowledge that Deputy Catherine Byrne has been very involved with St. Michael's House and the group in Fatima Mansions. These groups have consulted widely with the community, including the residents they represent, and in large measure they have developed projects that are acceptable to those residents who want to continue with them.

There is no doubt that PPP projects allow for that type of regeneration due to the way they are funded. Essentially they serve two purposes — helping to fund social and affordable housing, while at the same time providing private accommodation so that the social mix will bring about better integration. In that way all the children in an area will have the same opportunities at the highest level.

Dublin City Council has been engaging with the regeneration boards of St. Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street. The council continues its commitment to the regeneration process. We are aware that St. Michael's Estate and Dominick Street have been left totally in the dark and, effectively, hanging out to dry.

By the Deputy's Government.

The preferred partnership arrangement that has been in place between Michael McNamara and Company has ended. Both sides have agreed that the second bidder will be approached to see whether it can be brought on board. The other three projects in place at O'Devaney Gardens, Convent Lands, Seán MacDermott Street and Infirmary Road look like they are going to mediation. Having readThe Irish Times on Tuesday, however, the assistant manager of Dublin City Council does not appear to have too much faith in the developer in so far as he said that if the mediation does not work he will go directly to the High Court. Hopefully, the mediation will work and those developments in O’Devaney Gardens, Convent Lands and Infirmary Road will continue.

Dublin City Council must re-examine all the options available for advancing these public private partnership projects. In hindsight, we would all agree that it was not the most prudent thing for one developer to be responsible for five projects. The council and the Department need to examine that process to ensure there is a spread of risk not only between the developer and Dublin City Council regarding the private and social and affordable elements of a development, but also the potential for the project to happen in the first place.

I have been in touch with the managers involved in Dublin City Council and am aware of their commitment to progress these projects. There is a big commitment on the part of the council to move forward with the projects that have run into trouble. We must accept there are economic problems for the developer and the council regarding the market for private accommodation. In Fatima Mansions recently the developer took control of a large number of apartments to let because he was unable to sell them to private individuals. There are still a couple of hundred apartments for sale. These problems must be overcome.

There were also questions concerning outside walls, energy configuration and the size of the apartments. Just to nail that, however, Dublin City Council had agreed to accept the costs of the increased size and the energy configuration improvements.

It is a difficult situation and I will work with my colleagues in Dublin South-Central to do all I can to progress these projects. In that way, the people in St. Michael's House and Dominick Street will be housed as soon as possible.

I commend the Labour Party for having tabled this motion.

Will the Deputy be voting with us?

Housing is one of the most important things that any Government or local authority can provide. On this occasion, it is appropriate to focus on the housing issue. I was privileged to be a member of Dublin City Council for 17 years, from 1985 to 2002. For all of that period I was on the council's housing committee. I have a deep commitment to all types of social and affordable housing. I remember the days when the manager would come in to the housing construction committee with proposals for building hundreds of houses. I am sure other Members who were on local authorities will attest to this. At that time, the council had many large sites and was still in the business of building, particularly in the Tallaght area. There is no doubt that the days of any local authority — certainly Dublin City Council, with which I am very familiar — building large numbers of houses seem to be at an end. There may be different reasons for that. In my constituency, some 107 such houses were built a few years ago but the management turned out to be so poor they were not able to manage them.

We must be fair in addressing this matter. There is a serious housing situation in Dublin city at present.

It is unbelievable. Where has the Deputy been for the last few years?

We must examine the causes of that. From 2002 to 2007 in particular, Dublin City Council failed for whatever reasons, although I will exclude one reason presently. The council has not managed to build the requisite number of social houses needed for its jurisdictional area.

That is because the Deputy's Government withheld the money.

Funding was not made available.

Please allow the Deputy to make his contribution.

As I understand it, there has not been any significant, or indeed any, limit on funding for housing projects from national Government to local authorities in the 2002-07 period. I received a document only yesterday from the management of Dublin City Council, the figures of which were given to the council's SPC. The document contains charts which clearly show a target, a revised target and actual starts. Under every single category, the actual starts have been significantly fewer than the council's target or revised target. The Labour Party Deputies can jump up and down, but the reality is that for much of that time their party had a majority on Dublin City Council. If they want to look for responsibility for the inability of the council to deliver on housing, they should look in the mirror.

They did not get funds from the Government.

The Government holds the purse strings and it failed totally.

We have a new Minister of State with responsibility for housing, Deputy Finneran, and I spoke to him about what is going on in Dublin city. I believe that the city needs a housing action plan, driven by a clear indication of need. The last analysis carried out by Dublin City Council for which we have figures dates back to 2005. I am aware that the council is preparing another analysis that it intends to publish in September or October of this year. When that analysis is available, we will need a plan that is co-ordinated between the four Dublin councils, which should then be told by the Minister of State to get their act together with regard to housing construction in Dublin.

One of the areas in which the council has failed is that of empty houses. There are possibly hundreds of empty houses around the city. People come into our clinics and wonder why they cannot have the houses in certain streets that have been boarded up. The reality is that the local authorities have not been quick enough to take repossession of these houses and get them out to new tenants. People across all parties have said this and it has been acknowledged as a problem.

I welcome the decision of the Labour Party to put down this motion, but it is considerably unbalanced. It seems to be blaming entirely the developer who won these contracts for different PPP schemes.

No, we are not. The Deputy should read the motion.

The developer would say that half way through these schemes, the goal posts were moved and higher specifications were put in which would make the projects unviable.

The Deputy is an apologist for the developer.

I am sorry to see that the Labour Party is still stuck in the 1960s. Developers are not in the charity business and we cannot attract private capital if the developer is not able to make a profit on projects. The whole idea behind public private partnerships is that a developer comes in, is able to sell a certain number of units at a profit and thereby assist the council's housing programme.

Is it all right if he makes a deal and pulls out?

The whole point is that the deal is kept. I welcome the motion because there is a serious issue regarding housing in Dublin. The primary fault for this lies with the city councils. I call for a three-year action plan. I want the Minister of State to bring in the four city managers, perhaps in conjunction with all the relevant TDs for Dublin, produce a plan and execute it. I demand action now.

We look forward to the Deputy's vote and we thank him for his support.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this motion as the majority of the projects affected by the collapse of these PPPs are in my constituency. In spite of very difficult circumstances, these communities have continued to grow and remain strong and close today. Public private partnerships were put forward five years ago as an effective way to regenerate the social living conditions of these Dublin City Council tenants. The communities bought into this process and contributed hugely to it, by bringing it forward to the detailed design stage in most cases. While no contracts were signed for the Dominick Street regeneration project, the demolition of several blocks had taken place already and the tenants had looked forward to progress being made. Detenanting had begun in O'Devaney Gardens and people in the community had invested much of their time in reaching the point of detailed design. Expectations in all these complexes were extremely high.

The current position is unacceptable. It is not right that Dublin City Council and a developer can put financial and administrative issues in front of the tenants' concerns. It is also worrying for people in other flat complexes around the city who were hoping for work to take place in their areas. I accept that the Minister and the Department are conscious of the plight of the tenants in these complexes, but some issues need to be tackled immediately. The residents must be fully consulted and must be involved in efforts that are being made to resolve the situation. Dublin City Council, in consultation with the tenants, must continue to progress the scheme of transfers and rehousing that has already begun in most of these projects, and any tenant who wishes to move should be accommodated as a matter of priority. While decisions are being made on the future of these projects, it is essential that Dublin City Council continues to improve the scheme of maintenance, cleansing and security in the complexes. There was an incident in O'Devaney Gardens last night which contributes to the stress and strain on tenants in this area.

Other complexes in the city have been reassured that any regeneration in planning is given priority when decisions on capital budgets are being made and that consideration has been given to how the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Dublin City Council can proceed with the developments at Dominick Street and O'Devaney Gardens, be it as a PPP or as a local authority development. Tenants have invested so much time and effort in these projects that it is only right that decisions made on their future must be considered. It is essential that the momentum that has built up over the past few years is continued and that we do not start to go backwards.

We have seen that PPPs have worked, for example in the docklands. The public and private sectors have come together under the auspices of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and high class, modern accommodation has been provided to city council tenants, private individuals and individuals under the affordable housing scheme. Therefore, PPPs work if they are managed properly.

People have bought into this process and have given up their personal time and even sometimes the opportunity to move on. They decided to stick it out on the basis that agreement would be reached, the facilities and services promised would be provided and the accommodation promised would be adequate. We cannot turn around and tell these people that they have to start again. Much work has gone into this and much money has been spent on this process to date. Whether the projects continue as public private partnerships or the Department intervenes with Dublin City Council, it is only right that any of the plans or designs discussed to date should continue to be used. The regeneration projects in many complexes have been brought to an advanced stage. They cannot be undone and must be progressed. The immediate problem with the five particular regeneration projects is an issue. However, the wider issue is how Dublin City Council does business as a local authority and how communities can be involved in the regeneration process. It must be recognised many communities have become involved in the consultation process. I look forward to the Minister seeing what is happening in these projects. Some of these estates were left deteriorate over the past several years because of a promise of a regeneration project. It is only fitting these communities are consulted and given every consideration for whatever future decisions are made.

This motion addresses important and interesting issues. Much of the responsibility in the five PPPs in question lies with the local authority, Dublin City Council. It is worthwhile to have a fairly robust critique of the council's role in the provision of housing. In the past, it relied too much on developers to pick up the tab for the physical, economic and social regeneration of areas. In the 11 years I spent as a Dublin city councillor, I was critical of the role it played in, for instance, the regeneration of the Iveagh Markets. The council paid off the remaining tenants in the building and waited for a single developer to proceed with development. Ten years after those plans were announced, the Iveagh Markets still lie abandoned and derelict. It is a shameful neglect of the heart of Dublin's Liberties, an area I represented as a councillor. History repeats itself. In this case, Dublin City Council was over-reliant on a particular developer to pick up the pieces in areas that did not receive the attention they deserved.

The recently retired Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. John Purcell, stated in his parting remarks that public private partnerships should not be seen as a panacea to all our ills. Those words ring true in this instance. I have always had a certain nervousness about PPPs and believe we should not rely on them.

In estates such as O'Devaney Gardens and St. Michael's, the State and the local authority wanted to overcome the historic problem whereby housing was provided either as private housing or local authority housing. This has created a housing apartheid within the State, whereby one is tagged as a private resident or a local authority tenant. This is a large obstacle that needs to be overcome. This process has begun to a certain extent. Considerable investment has been made in housing co-operatives, housing associations, the voluntary housing sector and in the role of the traditional housing trusts such as the Iveagh Trust and the St. Pancras Housing Association. These, along with other voluntary and charitable bodies, are providing a much broader range of housing in different areas.

There is the residual issue, however, of relying on the private sector or the local authority to provide the bulk of housing in the State. We must move beyond this and broaden the middle ground. Many of these regeneration projects attempted to do that. If there is a problem with them, it is that they relied unduly on the private sector to do all the donkey work in making the regeneration happen. The alternative is for the local authority to play a strong role in master-planning the area. It should parcel out much smaller portions of the redevelopment to the private sector and to voluntary housing bodies while carrying out works directly itself in providing housing and community facilities.

The problem of putting all eggs in the one basket has been repeated many times this evening. This is what happened with these five regeneration projects. To depend on a particular developer to carry out the bulk of regeneration projects in the city is a dangerous road to go down. I have had my run-ins with Bernard McNamara to stop him parking his helicopter beside a protected area on the shores of Dublin Bay. Bernard McNamara is in there to make a buck; if he cannot make a buck, he leaves. This is the essence of the difficulty faced in this instance.

We must move on from the immediate categorisation of people by the housing in which they live. The State needs to provide housing benefit directly to the beneficiary to avail of housing through a local authority, the voluntary housing sector or private housing.

Is Deputy Cuffe for or against the motion?

The motion is over-simplistic in its analysis of the private sector's role. The PPP process must be reformed.

The Deputy sounds more and more like a Fianna Fáiler every day.

Some of the seeds of what needs to be done are in the motion. Regeneration, however, to happen requires both public and private sector investment.

I wish to share time with Deputies Pat Rabbitte, Liz McManus, Joanna Tuffy and Tony Gregory, with the permission of the House.

In the short time available to me I want to concentrate on the part of this motion which deals with Finglas village. Members may be aware — I hope the Minister of State is — that the same developer who is the subject of this motion made a decision last week which has profound implications for the people of Finglas. The long-awaited and desperately needed regeneration of Finglas village is to be abandoned with little prospect that the situation will improve in the short to medium term.

Finglas has a population of approximately 50,000 people. It has been acknowledged for many years that the village needed to be upgraded. Much of its centre is comprised of poor quality, unsympathetic commercial developments from the 1960s. It has lacked a competitive edge and an attractive physical character and in recent years struggled to compete with the new shopping centres around the M50.

On the plus side, however, it has a great deal of potential. Apart from the rich history and strong spirit, it enjoys a prime location just 6 km from the city centre. It has DCU on its doorstep and is the primary hub for an increasingly prosperous hinterland or catchment area. Finglas is designated as a prime urban centre in Dublin City Council's current development plan. Prior to this, much work was done in developing a regeneration strategy. This entailed widespread public consultation and agreement on the optimum framework for commercial and residential development for the future. What was needed then was a developer with vision and commitment who could ensure that Finglas would realise its potential.

In the early 2000s Cunningham Brothers had a short involvement in the area but were soon bought out by the firm of McNamara, with Spain Courtney Doyle acting as agents. The three separate shopping precincts in the village were bought by McNamara and planning permission was sought for the main centre. Permission was granted in July 2004 for a substantial retail and office development, 166 residential units, a public library, car park and crèche. Residents and traders in Finglas were delighted that at last things were moving in the village. The long overdue regeneration was to start. That was July 2004 and everything was ready to go.

This is July 2008, not a sod has been turned and unfortunately it seems there is no prospect of any substantial work being carried out for the foreseeable future. The regeneration of Finglas has been abandoned. Finglas has missed the boat and the hopes of many thousands of residents and indeed traders have been dashed.

Responsibility for this lies at a number of doors, certainly with the Government and with our planning laws and probably most of all with the developer, McNamara. The Government, despite the boom years, has neglected to invest in Finglas to the extent necessary to bring it up to modern day standards in terms of infrastructure, policing and education services. For example, a critical project in terms of the attractiveness of Finglas for private investment was the metro. A metro line from the city centre to Finglas and on to Dublin Airport was proposed in 2000 and adopted as Government policy by the then Minister for Transport, Deputy Mary O'Rourke in 2001. In spite of the fact that Finglas went on to elect two Fianna Fáil Deputies, the metro never materialised.

The prospects for regeneration of the village were not helped when Fingal County Council granted planning permission to Bovale Developments for a major new town centre development less that half a mile from the village, in Charlestown. This was done without any reference whatsoever to the city planners in respect of existing plans for the regeneration of Finglas. Thus, the Finglas plans were significantly undermined by Fingal's actions in this regard. Time dragged on and various excuses were put forward for why McNamara could not go ahead. These ranged from disputes over the ownership of part of the site, which seemed to go on forever, to claims that some small traders were holding up the development. The fact was that Finglas did not rate as a priority for Bernard McNamara and so it received very little of his attention. In the context of Mr. McNamara's vast property portfolio, Finglas and its people did not rate. He did not have the vision and commitment which the regeneration proposals required.

Bernard McNamara is estimated to be worth in excess of €230 million and is ranked 54th on theSunday Times Irish rich list. He heads up a company which has a declared turnover of €500 million per annum. Over the past couple of years he has acquired an impressive portfolio of properties which include the Burlington Hotel — €288 million, Carrickbrook House in Ballsbridge — €412 million, the Montrose Hotel — €40 million, the Superquinn chain — €450 million, and a stake in the Conrad Hotel — €45 million, among many others. It is not hard to see how Finglas and indeed the five housing PPPs were merely small change in the McNamara scheme of things.

While the projects might have been small change to Mr. McNamara, they represented something hugely important for the communities and the people concerned, giving grounds for hope in the future and a better life. Those hopes have now been cruelly dashed by the decision of this developer to simply walk away, and it seems the Government is quite happy to stand idly by.

Bernard McNamara has been an immensely successful businessman. He has amassed a massive property portfolio. He has received and continues to be awarded substantial Government contracts as well as umpteen private contracts and is among the top three building contractors in the State. To say he has done well is an extreme understatement. He has been greatly facilitated in this success by a friendly Government and a very benign tax regime.

I suggest that at this point——

The county councils gave him the contracts, not the Government.

——after 15 years of good times, and all the profits that have been clocked up and wealth amassed, it is time for McNamara to be motivated by something other than profit, and for the Government to consider this and to restore hope to those communities who were not so lucky in the boom years.

At a political level, of course, there are responsibilities too. It is not as if Fianna Fáil and Bernard McNamara are strangers. There is a long close relationship there going back to the 1970s when Mr. McNamara was a Fianna Fáil councillor, and of course the involvement and the contacts have been close and frequent since. Yet incredibly, there is no evidence to suggest that any of the Fianna Fáil Deputies, either in Finglas or in any of the areas where the housing PPPs have fallen through, have lifted a finger to get these contracts back on track. Why have none of the Ministers who are so close to Mr. McNamara sought to influence or put pressure on him to honour his earlier undertakings to these communities?

It really is very hard to stomach the type of bleeding heart guff we have heard tonight from Members such as Deputies Mulcahy, Ardagh and others, crying about what has happened as if it has had nothing to do with them and as if they had no role in it whatsoever. In respect of Finglas, I will be expecting the Minister of State to provide a response tonight to the issues raised. I shall be listening carefully to hear what he is proposing for the future of Finglas village and how it is intended to get investment back into that important area.

Now that the Galway tent is gone, I want to make an appeal to Mr. McNamara tonight. Why not make it payback time for those whose futures he holds in his hand? He has had it very good. What about giving others a chance now?

The purpose of this debate is to highlight the crisis that has been created for hundreds of families at the locations mentioned because of the collapse of public private partnerships. Following years of discussion and planning, these families' hopes and dreams for new homes and community facilities have been dashed. It seems odd, on the face of it, that in the same week that this developer pulled back from the housing projects, this House, on the recommendation of the Government, recommended that he be the preferred bidder for the construction of Thornton Hall, the new prison, which is a sure-fire thing.

I came into the House just in time to hear Deputy Cuffe express the worry that we should not put upon private developers too much. I have listened to an array of Fianna Fáil speakers and the one thing they had in common was an approach to the effect of "let us protect public private partnerships". The people affected should know that it is the PPPs that failed them here. I question whether it is always suitable that a PPP is the way to proceed.

I would like to put on the record an article written by a Northern Ireland writer, Newton Emerson, on PPPs inThe Irish Times of 28 May. He wrote:

As a British taxpayer, . . . [I am] often asked: "How do public-private partnerships [PPPs] work?"

The answer is surprisingly simple. Suppose a government has strict rules on the amount it can borrow but it wants to spend more on houses, schools and hospitals.

If a private firm takes out a loan to build them instead, the government can pay it back over decades in regular instalments without officially increasing the national debt.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Isn't that just another type of government borrowing?"

The answer is yes. However, it is not strictly the type of borrowing that the government has strict rules about.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Why in God's name would the government pay a private company to take out a loan when nobody can borrow as cheaply as the government?"

The answer . . . is that there are strict rules about government borrowing, and breaking them openly might be even more expensive than a PPP.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Is that the only official excuse for this exciting policy development?"

The answer is no, of course not. There are dozens of official excuses for this exciting policy development. For example, PPPs stimulate the economy by using private firms to build houses, schools and hospitals.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Didn't the government always use private firms to build houses, schools and hospitals?"

The answer is yes, I suppose it did. But by using them to arrange the finance as well, civil servants benefit from private-sector expertise.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Doesn't the private sector actually use its expertise to run rings around civil servants?"

The answer is yes, if you insist on putting it in such a negative ... [way]. But private firms have to negotiate the best deals for themselves to offset any risks.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "What risks? Aren't PPP contracts always guaranteed by the government come hell or high water?"

The answer is that you should calm down. You sound like a communist. Private firms need cast-iron guarantees to justify the extra cost of borrowing on the open market.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "Isn't that a circular argument? Also, as this borrowing takes place on the open market, don't the markets know all about it [anyway]?"

The answer is no, it's really more of a triangular argument and yes, the global financial system has now noticed the UK's hidden PPP liability and is starting to question our national accounts and downgrade our international credit rating. But it will take years to rewrite the auditing rules and a week is a long time in politics.

As a British taxpayer, I am often asked: "So this is your government's brilliant idea for public service delivery? Turning an obscure ideological experiment into the biggest accounting trick since Enron, dumping all the needless extra costs and risks on to future taxpayers and wrecking the public finances for decades, just to create the passing illusion of fiscal responsibility?

"What other country would be stupid enough to entertain such madness ....

I would like to hear the Minister of State rebut that. I would like him to say whether PPPs are suitable in all circumstances. I would also like him to respond to the people and the families who have lost their expectations of homes and community facilities because of the failure of PPPs, whatever about the personality of the developer, and I do not want to go there.

The Deputy has given a simplistic view.

With respect to the Minister of State, whatever this man is, he is not simple.

I congratulate Deputies Costello and Upton on bringing forward this important motion. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has a reputation for not being too concerned about social housing, therefore, I listened intently when he spoke on this motion last night. There was something familiar about many of the phrases he used such as "integrated approach", "holistic outlook" and "area planning partnership". Then I remembered that many of these phrases were used when I held the position now held by Deputy Finneran, as Minister of State with responsibility for housing. I do not know if the same scriptwriter is there, but certainly the phrases were all the same. However, there was one important difference. In those days partnership meant a partnership between the community and Government, whether it was local government or national Government. It was a new approach in terms of building social cohesion. Now partnership means a PPP. That is about essentially enabling the private sector to come in and very often to make a killing in terms of projects to provide for social need. It also means that the community has essentially been squeezed out of a true partnership arrangement. They are consulted and included——

What about the projects in Fatima Mansions and Ballymun?

——but as soon as the players start to play rough, the community are isolated and they are powerless. That is the reality.

This is an ideological issue. It is not about good housing management. We have many examples of where good area planning and mixed developments produced the right result. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle will remember when he was Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government successful projects were begun during that time in which we can all take pride. There is a place for PPPs, but it certainly is not the inflated place it is now and we simply cannot afford to have cases arise where people's lives are being blighted because of ideology. It is a matter of concern.

One depends, perhaps erroneously, on the Green Party to bring something new to Government. That is what it promised when it came into Government. The speech that I heard the Minister, Deputy Gormley, give last night was essentially to the effect of it being business as usual, that it was a pity this happened but that we were certainly not going to change our ways.

Separate from the issue of PPPs, there are other problems arising as a result of changes within the Department that I presume have flowed from the Minister, Deputy Gormley's new tenure. For example, there now appears to be some bureaucratic stranglehold on housing developments and projects coming on stream. Difficulties have arisen in regard to the carrying out of small-scale refurbishment projects. Progression of a small refurbishment scheme in Little Bray in my constituency has come to a complete stop. People's sense of isolation and bewilderment with regard to these big projects in Dublin also applies to people's expectations in regard to small projects.

This fixation about PPPs has led to an extreme example, again in my constituency, of how matters can go wrong. The heart of the town of Bray has been blighted because of a PPP that has never been realised. We waited for the project to commence for 14 years and at the end of this month the council will have to make a decision to take back lands. If that is not enough to get the Government on to a new track, it is difficult to accept that any sense is being taken of what is happening on the ground.

I wish to focus on the general issues related to the Government's housing policy during the past ten years. We debated this issue a number of times in this House and it was the subject of a number of debates when I was a Member of the Seanad. The Minister at the time, Deputy Noel Ahern, used to come in and give statistics such as the fact that there were 50,000 completions this year and 60,000 the following year and so on. He was giving the figures for private housing in reply to motions on the need for more social and affordable housing. The Government has emphasised meeting people's housing needs through the private market and that has led to this unsustainable situation. The price rises and unaffordability of houses could not go on forever. There has been a nod by the Government to a policy of providing a certain amount of affordable housing. The Government brought in that policy but never implemented it. A minimal amount of affordable housing was delivered over the years. For all that time the core should have been a sustained delivery of council housing every year but that never happened. When I was on a council we used to complain that it was not committing itself to enough social housing, but it never delivered even what it promised. That is not all the council's fault because there was a pattern of the Government's committing so much but not giving the councils the capacity to deliver the number of council houses for which it promised money.

Today I got a printout of the Central Statistics Office's figures for new dwellings completed since 1992. For the bulk of that time, until 1998, approximately 10% of housing delivered was social housing. In 2006, which is the latest year for which figures are available on the CSO's website, 5% of housing was social housing. I read an article by Fr. Peter McVerry that reported that at one stage 30% of our housing stock was social housing.

That was when the Labour Party was in Government.

That was when the Labour Party was in Government. That was the right policy. In places such as Crumlin and Sarsfield Park in Lucan, where I live, those people went on to buy their houses and their children eventually went to university. They were given a good chance in life and housing policy was good then. Since this Government has got in it has fallen apart and has been totally developer-driven.

I had some questions today on housing statistics and the Minister of State, Deputy Finneran, came in and gave promises that 27,000 social housing starts would be delivered over the period 2007-09. Going by the past record of this Government, there is no way that is going to happen. Apart from the fact it is too little too late, one could not believe it. The Government has constantly made promises about social housing which it has not kept. Today I asked how many people are on the housing list and I was told the latest figures go back to 2005 and was referred to the website to get the figures. Does the Government not have the up-to-date statistics? The best it can do is direct me to a website for figures from 2005 instead of answering my oral parliamentary question.

The human side of this is that family formation has not happened. People have been put out in rented accommodation where they are not encouraged to have their partners with them for years and they never have the bonds that go with forming a family. By the time they get into their council house, eight years later, the unit is a single mother with two children or a single man with, perhaps, a one-bed house and his children visiting. Money has been wasted on private rented housing. The Government is repeating all the mistakes of the past in the type of housing it is building. It is not integrated social housing. It is cutting out any amount of green space and leaving people in terrible conditions in social housing. One needs sustained delivery of council housing, to deliver proper communities and homes and to stop relying on private developers to provide housing.

I thank the Labour Party Whip for the opportunity to speak briefly in support of this important motion. I am an elected Member of Dáil Éireann for the constituency in which four of the failed public private partnerships are located. In a previous Dáil I was elected to represent the constituency in which the fifth one, St. Michael's Estate, is located. I have a particular responsibility to voice the disappointment, frustration and understandable anger of the local people. The residents have suffered Dickensian and unacceptable living conditions for far too long in flats complexes such as O'Devaney Gardens, Lower Dominick Street and St. Michael's Estate. I want to refer to the residents of the surrounding communities, who have been impacted by the negative spin-off blight, the result of the failure of the Government to redevelop and regenerate these areas that have cried out for redevelopment for decades.

The essential element in tonight's motion must be that this Government cannot force the residents of the flats complexes to continue to live in their present conditions, which in many instances are deteriorating by the day and which nobody in this House would tolerate for a single night. The Government must make the necessary funding available directly to the local authority to build new homes for the existing residents of O'Devaney Gardens, Lower Dominick Street and St. Michael's Estate, in line with the already agreed plans. Beginning construction of this one aspect of the PPPs must be an immediate first step. The only source of funding is central Government. These plans were hammered out over several years involving the residents of these areas, who believed, as they were told, that this was a definite and genuine commitment by Government, stated and restated before elections and since.

There is a moral responsibility on Government to honour those commitments now. This issue alone will tell us whether this Government cares a damn about the most vulnerable. Any attempt to put this on the long finger would be a scandal, just as it would compound the existing scandal that these housing conditions exist at all in this day and age in the centre of Dublin, our capital city, after more than a decade of the affluence of the Celtic tiger. This Government should not, as it appears to be doing, attempt to use any threat of recession as an excuse not to make the required funding available, nor should it be allowed to pass the buck to the local authority, as I have already heard here tonight. If anybody needs to tighten their belts and pay up for the threatened recession it should and must be the developers who have made billions of euro over the last ten or 15 years from property speculation. It must not be the disadvantaged families of city centre flats complexes who have been left behind by successive Governments. This is a very real test case for this Government. The action it will or will not take will make clear whether it cares for the most vulnerable in our society, that well-worn phrase used so often in recent times.

I want to mention a similar flats complex, Liberty House in Dublin 1, on which the Minister's Department, in Dáil replies to me, has been passing the buck to Dublin City Council and forcing families to live in appalling conditions in E and F blocks and other families from the now demolished D block to live in temporary homes. I ask the Minister to take responsibility and to direct officials from his Department to meet next week with officials from Dublin City Council along with local residents and public representatives and expedite the redevelopment of the already demolished D block now.

For my part, if the Government acts on its responsibility and makes the funding directly available to start the construction of the essential new homes now, I will support it on this issue. I say that, however, in the sad belief and knowledge that this Government will not act in the interests of social justice, yet again, on this occasion.

I thank all the Deputies who contributed to this useful debate. The discussion has highlighted a measure of agreement across the House, at least on the point that the individuals and families living in the regeneration areas must be at the centre of all our considerations.

As my colleagues, Deputies Gormley and Finneran, mentioned yesterday, Dublin City Council is placing a high priority on meeting the accommodation needs of the remaining residents of O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street and St. Michael's Estate. The council is working to ensure that communities are not broken up by regeneration and will offer all households moving from an estate to facilitate regeneration the option of returning once the development is complete.

As we approach the end of this debate, I wish to take the opportunity to respond to some of the points raised by the Deputies opposite. I reassure the House as to the robust value-for-money considerations of the PPP procurement process. For each project a full value for money assessment, including a cost-benefit analysis, is undertaken, drawing on the substantial expertise of the National Development Finance Agency. There is a fair and transparent procurement process in all cases. Overall, the approach underpins the significant social benefits that come with mixed-use, mixed-tenure developments.

The alleged lack of sanction against developers was another matter of concern for Members on the Opposition benches. It is important to make a distinction between projects where contracts have been signed and those where there is no contract. With the former, the contracts contain detailed conditions concerning the circumstances under which one or other party terminates the agreement. These matters are yet to be resolved but I thank Deputy Hogan for his support of the council's efforts at mediation. It is not accurate to suggest that where no contract exists a developer may walk away scot free. In general, PPP developments require considerable investment of resources by developers in terms of preparing detailed plans, consulting with the community and so forth and provide an incentive for developers to stay the course.

Public private partnerships are one of a range of options used by Dublin City Council to renew and regenerate its social housing estates and provide new social and affordable housing in the city. These PPP regeneration projects exist within the context of the wider social housing investment programme as set out in the statement on housing policy, Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities. Accordingly, I am pleased to be in a position to conclude this debate by referring to the significant progress being made by my Department and the local authorities in delivering not just social houses but sustainable communities across the country.

This year we will spend a record €1.2 billion on new social housing and improvements to existing stock, with close to 1,290 units completed in the first quarter of this year. To assuage Deputy Hogan's concerns, delivery under the Part V mechanism, which increased very significantly last year, is surging ahead even further this year, with a 70% increase in delivery for the first quarter, as compared to the same period in 2007. The rental accommodation scheme also continues to meet its transfer targets with 1,425 transfers of households from rent supplement in quarter one.

That is a ridiculous claim. It does not meet any targets. It is going nowhere.

In response to points raised by Deputy Terence Flanagan, affordable housing output in 2007 exceeded 3,500 homes nationally.

The Government promised 10,000.

In addition, delivery of affordable homes for the first quarter of this year reached almost 950, double what was achieved in the same period last year.

While I acknowledge we are in more challenging times, I am confident this Government will continue to respond positively to meeting housing need and to the delivery of more and better quality housing within sustainable communities that will transform the lives of the people in areas like O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street, and St. Michael's Estate.

I commend amendment No. 1 to the motion to the House.

I wish to share time with Deputy Joe Costello.

This motion, which will be voted on in 15 minutes, is not about bricks and mortar. It is about hope — hope for a better place to live, for a better future and hope for children. I have been very disappointed at the Government's response to what I had hoped would be a non-partisan motion in this House. I am disappointed at the amendment that the Government has tabled and at the lack of conviction on the part of the Government in dealing with this problem.

With my colleagues, Deputy Joe Costello, Councillor Emer Costello and the local Labour Party representative, Claire O'Regan, I visited O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street and spoke with local residents there. At the invitation of my colleagues, Deputy Mary Upton and Councillor John Gallagher, I also intend to visit St. Michael's Estate in the near future.

What I learned is that hope is what these regeneration projects represented for the communities in St. Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens, Infirmary Road, Dominick Street and Sean MacDermott Street. Hope is what kept them working so tirelessly to forge a vision of the kind of place in which they wanted their children to grow up. Regeneration is about more than badly-needed new homes. It is about a fresh start for communities which, over the years, have accumulated more than their fair share of burdens. It is about an end to the segregation of social and private housing and about saying goodbye to the days when apartment blocks or housing estates were built without a thought for the families who would live in them — without shops, community centres or space for children to play. These regeneration projects, designed in partnership with residents, promised not only new homes, but new community facilities, crèches and businesses. They promised a different future.

Now the hopes of these communities are fading along with those unfulfilled promises. The Labour Party has laid this motion before the House to attempt to rescue the abandoned regeneration projects and with them, the hopes of their communities. These regeneration projects and others like them around the country are an urgent national priority. Some of the plans currently on hold have been urgent for up to a decade. With every year that passes, these flat complexes and estates sink further into decline. Ironically, the regeneration process itself has speeded up this process. Families moved out to let the developers in, but when the developer never came, drug dealers, drinking parties and gangs moved into the abandoned blocks instead. For example, there are four empty apartment blocks in O'Devaney Gardens, which were de-tenanted in order to begin demolition and re-development. Now they are standing derelict, an eyesore for remaining residents, a danger for local kids and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

If the regeneration projects are left to languish at this stage, starved of investment because no one knows what is going to happen to them and haemorrhaging tenants, the residents of these estates will find themselves living in conditions that are worse than before the regeneration process began. As one mother told me on Monday last, 18 months after residents were promised a transformed neighbourhood and the homes of their dreams, there is nothing in O'Devaney Gardens for kids to play with except bits of rubble. Will another generation of children grow up knowing nothing except the failed policies of the past, with decaying blocks of flats, no green space or safe place to play, and more and more of their own neighbourhood becoming a no-go area? That is what is at stake here tonight.

We in Dáil Éireann cannot let another generation of children grow to maturity in housing that is not fit for them or their families. After all, what is our national wealth for, if not to improve the future of the nation's children? This is as true in the boom times as it is in this more sober economic climate. In fact, I would argue that at a time when talk is of cutbacks and hard decisions, it is even more incumbent on us to ensure that our collective wealth is used to protect those who stand to suffer the most.

Even during the boom years, it is clear that the trickle down of wealth did not travel very far. It is disturbing that in a country which built over 600,000 new houses and apartments in the past decade, 44,000 households find themselves on local authority housing waiting lists.

The construction boom fuelled our economic growth for the past five years sending unprecedented amounts of money in stamp duty and VAT receipts flowing into the Exchequer. Meanwhile in the private sector, big developers were the biggest winners in a property bubble that kept prices high. Yet it seems the profits of the construction boom stopped at the thresholds of the neighbourhoods which needed them most. There are still pockets of the 1980s in our 21st-century capital city. It is a particularly cruel blow to the residents of these complexes that, despite regeneration plans that were so long in the making, they should be the first victims of a downturn in profits in the construction industry.

Public private partnerships were lauded as the risk-free solution to public housing provision. Instead, it turns out that all the risk has been borne by Dublin City Council and the residents of St. Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens, Infirmary Road, Dominick Street andSeán MacDermott Street while the developer, Mr. McNamara, was able to walk away without consequence. With respect, Mr. McNamara does not have to live in O'Devaney Gardens or Dominick Street. He does not have to look out every morning onto empty flats in a state of half-demolition or worry about where his children are playing. The residents of these complexes have to live with the consequences of the collapse of this PPP every day just as they have been living with the consequences of poor housing and planning for years.

However, we are not here tonight to argue over who is to blame. We are here to find a solution so that these regeneration projects can go ahead as soon as possible. This is why we are asking the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to remove the developer from the remaining projects. These regeneration schemes are simply too urgent to be tied up for years in the courts.

Second, we are calling on the Minister to take direct responsibility for funding and delivering the five social and affordable housing projects in question. These regeneration projects need to be undertaken regardless of whether a private developer is willing to take them on or not. The future of these communities and the children growing up in them cannot be dependent on the whims of the housing market.

Years of hard work and commitment by the residents of these communities has gone into creating a vision of what their neighbourhoods could and should be. They have fulfilled their part of the bargain. It would be unconscionable to squander that effort and goodwill and leave these projects to gather dust. Now is the time for the Government to take the responsibility which has been bestowed on them by the people and deliver the homes and the social and physical regeneration that these areas so desperately need.

Our motion is not about party politics. It is about finding a solution to the collapse of these PPP agreements so the homes promised to the residents of St. Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens, Infirmary Road, Dominick Street and Seán MacDermott Street can be built. It is about rectifying the mistakes of the past — mistakes whose consequences we see every day in all of our constituencies. Most of all, it is about restoring hope and acting on the principle that all of the nation's children deserve the best future we can offer them. This is why I ask for support for this motion and for the Government to withdraw the mealy-mouthed amendment it has tabled.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to conclude the debate on the Labour Party Private Members' motion on the collapse of the five public private partnerships between Dublin City Council and Michael McNamara and Company. I thank all the Deputies who spoke. A total of 20 Deputies from all sides of the House contributed to the debate over the past three hours or so last night and tonight.

I will single out a few of them. Deputies Upton and Byrne spoke eloquently about the devastation in St. Michael's Estate. Deputy Shortall spoke equally eloquently about the destruction of Finglas village by Bernard McNamara in the context of what he has done to a sixth-century village that has now been ruined by the manner in which he has handled it and by neglect. My colleague and party leader, Deputy Gilmore, came out to O'Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street, met the residents and assisted us in every way with the motion. My constituency colleague, Deputy Gregory, made a very special effort to be here tonight to make his contribution. I compliment them and all of the Deputies who contributed during the two days. It is very heartening to see the concern expressed at the plight of so many hundreds of residents who have been affected so drastically by the collapse of these regeneration projects.

Most of all, I salute the residents from the three major projects, namely, O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street Lower and St. Michael's Estate who worked so closely and co-operated in full with Dublin City Council and the developer over a number of years in planning new homes and new communities for themselves and their children. Many of them attended the debate last night and are here tonight in the Gallery.

We must not allow their efforts and vision of a better future for themselves and their children to be dashed. This is why the Labour Party decided to table this motion in the form it did. It is a Private Members' motion that is non-partisan and non-controversial. It does not seek to attach blame to any political party or particular group but to explore a way forward out of the current quagmire as expeditiously as possible.

We do not want the summer to fade into the autumn and the autumn to fade into the winter with recriminations and litigation clouding the horizon and frustrating the residents. We want the Government to put the people of O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street Lower and St. Michael's Estate before any other consideration. If Michael McNamara and Company is not committed to these public private partnership agreements, it should vacate the pitch immediately and allow the regeneration process to continue unimpeded.

The Government must now amend the procurement procedure for public private partnerships to ensure no State authority puts all its eggs in the one basket in the future, as happened with these projects. Moreover, strict deadlines and penalties should be mandatory.

I am pleased the Minister of State with responsibility for housing, Deputy Michael Finneran, accepted our proposal last night to meet the residents of O'Devaney Gardens and St. Michael's Estate to see for himself the atrocious conditions in these estates in which men, women and children live. I note that he has already visited Lower Dominick Street.

I am also heartened that Dublin City Council has now effectively removed the developer from the St. Michael's Estate and Lower Dominick Street projects where no contract had been signed and that in the case of Infirmary Road where a contract has been signed, a hefty financial penalty clause is about to kick in. This leaves O'Devaney Gardens as the outstanding project involving large numbers of residents — 186 tenants currently on site — which is bogged down in talks of mediation and reconciliation and where some of the negotiating principals are already on their holidays.

Meanwhile, the economic recession deepens so time is of the essence. It is essential that O'Devaney Gardens be freed from the tentacles of the present public private partnership quagmire and be free like St. Michael's Estate and Dominick Street Lower to embark on a new initiative as quickly as possible before the hundreds of residents and their families lose all faith in the regeneration process. I can assure the Minister that this faith is dwindling very fast. After the debate last night, I was called up to O'Devaney Gardens around midnight where a man was threatening to jump off a roof because of stress and frustration over the debacle in which he found himself in respect of the O'Devaney Gardens project. Thankfully, that situation was defused for the time being but the stresses and strains are enormous in all of these areas, including St. Michael's Estate, Dominick Street and O'Devaney Gardens.

The Government should agree tonight to take direct responsibility for funding and delivering the three outstanding regeneration projects and should set the wheels in motion immediately. I regret the Government's decision to table an amendment opposing our motion. Even at this late stage, I urge it to withdraw the amendment and accept our motion in the all-party spirit in which it was tabled.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 81; Níl, 62.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Browne, John.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Conlon, Margaret.
  • Connick, Seán.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P..
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M.J..
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Edward.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.
Amendment declared carried.
Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 81; Níl, 63.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Browne, John.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Conlon, Margaret.
  • Connick, Seán.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Edward.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe.
Question declared carried.