Movie studios or homes?

Above: Bono, who promotes the creation of a film studio on part of the IGB site. Photo by Antonio Cruz via Wikimedia Commons

Above: Bono, who promotes the creation of a film studio on part of the IGB site.
Photo by Antonio Cruz via Wikimedia Commons

IGB site update

As the dust begins to settle over the announcement that the Irish Glass Bottle site has been made a Strategic Development Zone, the Ringsend-based IGB Housing Action Group have wasted no time in furthering their own plans for the site in a bid to see 100% social, council, co-operative and affordable housing placed on the site.

While a demand for 100% social housing may seem overly ambitious when compared with Minister Coveney’s original proposal of 10%, the group are adamant that this is how they will see results. “The starting position has to be 100%, it has to be!” says group member Richard Cummins. “100% has to be the aim. Even if we end up with 50%, let that be their decision. We won’t be backing down.”

For the members of the IGB Housing Action Group, achieving maximum social housing for the site is the number one priority.

Contrasting with the housing stances of previous governments, Minister for Housing and Planning, Simon Coveney, has published a 52-page Housing Action Plan in which the provision of social housing is a priority. The plan pledges to build 45,000 new social homes by 2021 by using public land to build “mixed tenure” housing. Strategic Development Zones including the docklands and the old Glass Bottle Site are expected to be the focus areas for theses housing developments.

However, there are already many alternative, non-housing related plans being put forward for the IGB site in particular. Among the alternative plans for the site is the establishment of a large “Hollywood style” film studio consisting of numerous warehouses and sound stages for full-scale movie production.

This idea was lobbied for recently by Bono, and is also being promoted by Windmill Lane Studios’ James Morris and Alan Maloney.

The studios would be constructed on one half of the 80-acre land space, taking up roughly 40 acres. This would still allow for the existing plans for 3,000 new homes to go ahead on the site while also creating much needed jobs and industry for the local area.

However, as has happened previously on sites such as North Lotts, the IGB Housing Action Group will be campaigning to ensure a social housing obligation is not overlooked on the IGB site.

Legally, for every half acre of land on the IGB site, the developer must provide 10% social housing. However, this obligation can be avoided if the developers and planners split the site, meaning they no longer have to provide any social housing. This is a little known piece of information that the Action Group will be looking to advertise to the public to ensure full knowledge.

The group are drawing up their own development plans with the enlisted help of development experts including architect Mark Price. When finished, the plans will give an alternative layout to how the site could look with maximum social, council affordable and co-op housing placed on it.

It’s the group’s intention that this alternative model will go some way toward tackling Dublin’s growing housing crisis, while allowing Dublin 4 locals to remain in the area where they grew up, keeping the communities of Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount alive.

The group have begun lobbying all councillors, Senators and TD’s in a bid to have them sign a petition calling for exclusively 100% social, council, affordable and co-op housing on the IGB site and agreeing to attend a larger city centre meeting to be held in September. The group will also be asking members of the public to sign the petition in support.

“If we don’t know where our TD’s stand politically then we won’t achieve anything,” says group spearhead, Annette Mooney. “They sign it to say that they are for council, affordable and social housing on the IGB site, then in September, we can hold them accountable.”

The group is also extremely interested in getting input on the plans from the surrounding communities and general public. The deadline for written submissions of community input on the development on the site will be the 4th of August.

While the group have benefited enormously from the input of Annette Mooney (People Before Profit), they are keen to stress that their action group has no political affiliation whatsoever. “We are an independent body of volunteers working for the benefit of our area. We welcome all involvement for the betterment of our cause. Be it local people, experts in fields of interest to the plans and all political groups willing to give us their help and wealth of experience.” says group member, Susan Redmond.

Involvement in the IGB Housing Action Group is open to anyone willing to give of their time and effort as the group looks to expand its reach. Information about upcoming meetings and any new developments are regularly posted on the group’s Facebook page “Ringsend Glass Bottle Site Housing Action Group” and they can be contacted through the group’s secretary by emailing

By Paula Bowden