People Before Profit Alliance local election candidate in the North Inner City area, Colm Stepehens expressed his shock at the announcement on 10 December that Dublin City Council’s plans to regenerate Croke Villas using a ‘Public Private Partnership’ (PPP) scheme have collapsed. According to the City Council it has not been possible to negotiate a deal with the developer (Bennett Developments) because of the ‘economic climate and global credit crunch’.
He commented that “Because the developer cannot be guaranteed a profit from the sale of the private part of the development, the whole plan collapses and nothing gets built” and added that “We shouldn’t forget that developer has numerous state contracts including a €55 million project for new government offices in Trim, Co. Meath. The company made a profit of €4.5 million in 2007 but only paid a measly €2,642 in tax! And that was after it paid the directors over €5.8 million in ‘emoluments’!” *
The People Before Profit Alliance believes that it demonstrates the craziness of depending on millionaire private developers to provide public services. Colm Stephens commented that “There is no sign of the millionaires in Bennett Developments showing any solidarity to the taxpayer who gave them massive contracts – so much for their ‘patriotic duty’!”
Colm Stephens added that “After ten year’s wait for regeneration the people of Croke Villas need action and need it fast. It is not yet clear what the Council intends to do but the plans it has announced for the other estates where PPP schemes have also collapsed mean that the Council will build only the minimum amount of social housing. These houses and flats won’t even be completed until 2015! The Council also plans to sell off the bulk of the three other sites to private developers to build shops and private houses in the future.”
He believes strongly that the Council itself should urgently regenerate the whole of the Croke Villas site for social housing and said “It is clear that the people cannot wait around for 10 more years for another millionaire developer to come along when he believes that he can make a profit on the backs of the people.”