Dublin’s parkland should ‘absolutely not’ be used for housing

There are 4,500 acres of parkland in Dublin.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

15.23 8 Jan 2024

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Dublin’s parkland should ‘abso...

Dublin’s parkland should ‘absolutely not’ be used for housing

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

15.23 8 Jan 2024

Share this article

Dublin’s parklands should “absolutely not” be used for housing, according to a leading architect.

Douglas Wallace Architect Hugh Wallace said the city's green spaces are undersized as it is and suggested there were much more appropriate locations for housing.

The suggestion was made by Dublin businessman Paschal Taggart in the Irish Independent who thinks 10% of Dublin’s 4,500 acres of parkland should be repurposed.


The businessman believes this would add 80,000 homes to the city, which could be used solely for frontline workers such as nurses, teachers and Gardaí.

On Lunchtime Live today, Mr Wallace said it was unnecessary.

“The issue we have at the moment isn’t land it’s the ability to deliver housing,” he said.

"All the councils have brownfield sites and derelict buildings - if you drive around the city there are so many opportunities.

“These opportunities should be redeveloped first as part of a proper housing strategy.”

Not enough parkland

Mr Wallace said parkland is already low for a city of its size.

“The parkland we have is already under the size needed for a population the size and scale of Dublin,” he said.

“There is much more appropriate land available to actually deliver housing.

“It goes back to there is an overarching plan to deliver housing for Ireland because there is going to be another million people in the country in 20 years.

“We can’t even deal with where we are now and we are building housing in the wrong area.”

A stag and fallow in Phoenix Park, Dublin during heavy rain. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews A stag and fallow in Phoenix Park, Dublin during heavy rain. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey, who serves on Dublin City Council, said he was “instinctively against” the disposal of green spaces, but admitted one aspect of the idea held merit.

“There are loads of different parts needed to resolve the housing crisis,” he said.

“We need more affordable housing and we need more social housing. I think this particular idea that involves key worker housing is needed for the city.

“We should look at it, but maybe we should look at public buildings instead that could be used for this purpose.”

Shot down

Cllr Lacey said people are quick to shoot down ideas.

“I think policymakers should look at every single sketch that is made in relation to housing,” he said.

“Part of the trouble we have in this country is if somebody suggests an idea, people instinctively say ‘That’s terrible, it’s not going to work’.

“I think we need to get grown up about this and look at all housing ideas that are put forward.”

Greenspaces repurposed for housing Marley Park pictured in Spring. Image: Wirestock, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Former chair of the Land Development Agency (LDA) John Moran agreed that frontline workers should be accommodated in the city centre.

“In terms of affordable housing, we should give priority to frontline workers and people who need to be close to their work so they can get there quickly without a long commute,” he said.

“I think it makes a lot of sense and I remember in the old days we used to build housing for nurses on the grounds of hospitals.

“It was much appreciated by staff but we seem to have fallen away from it – I think that part of it is a good idea.”


Mr Moran was, however, unimpressed with using parklands for this purpose.

“It really comes back to how we use land,” he said.

“While more people are moving to the city, arguably you need more parklands not less.

“Our land that is green at the moment is underutilised or not used for the right purpose.”

Mr Moran added that Dublin residents have the smallest backyards in Ireland as something to be aware of when removing green spaces.

Listen back now:

Main image: Fountain at St Stephens Green. Image: Con O'Donoghue / Alamy

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