Sunday Property Round-Up, April 12th 2020

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Irish property market news and insights – for the industry, by the industry  


As the shutdown continues, the broadsheets this week have been dominated by Covid-19 coverage. At this time it is crucial for the industry to keep up-to-date on legislative and policy changes – particularly for planning applications (covered by the OPR website and by C+W O’Brien Architects on Property Matters on, link below) – and to understand how best to use this time to prepare to return to a changed workplace (the CIF’s Tom Parlon and Shane Dempsey address this on Property Matters).


Before we get stuck into the general property news of the week, below are the local and international stories that might be of particular interest: 







  • Employers failing to sign up for wage subsidy scheme, says union:

    Trade union Unite has urged more construction sector employers to avail of the Government’s Covid-19 temporary wage subsidy scheme, saying it is “morally unacceptable” for profitable contractors to opt for layoffs instead.

    The union, which represents workers throughout the sector, has written to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to express concern at the failure of many companies to register for the scheme.

    The union’s comments come as the Revenue Commissioners reported that €2.7 million of funds under the temporary wage subsidy had not been paid because a group of 570 employers had failed to set up the refund accounts with the tax authorities that are required to refund payment to companies.



  • Strong servant leadership approach taken by Cairn this week:
    Subcontractors working for housebuilder Cairn Homes are to receive up to €5m in forward payments during the period that its 16 active building sites are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
    The support scheme will see self-employed construction workers get a supplementary payment of €250 a week.
    The scheme will last for 12 weeks and the money will be treated as an advance on future payment entitlements.












If you missed last week’s round-up, you can catch up here: 




As always, you might let me know if I have missed out on any relevant property news by emailing



(Apologies in advance for any typos, it’s difficult to get good help on a Sunday. Also, I use voice to text dictation so just sound out anything that really doesn’t make sense in a strong rural accent and that should help!)







Property Matters: Ireland’s First Weekly Property Radio Show (& Podcast!):


Ireland’s first weekly property radio show, Property Matters, launched In January 2019 on Dublin South FM 93.9 and is now available internationally via iTunes and Spotify podcast ( Seasoned political broadcaster, Bryan Fox, and I (Carol Tallon) team up to deliver 60 minutes of industry chat with guests from the areas of planning, construction, property and proptech. Produced by Katie Tallon of Hear Me Roar Media



Planning Updates – Restarting Construction – Offsite & Modular Construction

Hear from C+W O’Brien Architects Directors William Power and Brian Bolger who join show host Carol Tallon to discuss the most up-to-date planning changes and how these are likely to impact proposed developments. Also, is now the time to push for digital planning submissions?



Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation, discusses the immediate issues faced by the industry and a new CIF guidance document to help contractors prepare to return to a changed workplace post-Covid19.


Shane Dempsey, Director of Communications of the CIF, and Arthur O’Brien, Managing Director of C+W O’Brien Architects, reflect on the traditional industry’s capacity to implement new work procedures and likely delays in construction programme. Is this an opportunity to embrace MMC?


Listen back:




*Listen back to all #PropertyMatters episodes here: 



Email the Property Matters team at



















*PLACEengage: The future of speedy, successful placemaking for property developers is here – Property developers and project owners ready Public Consultation are encouraged to contact the PLACEengage team for full details*








  • From the OPR – ‘Following the Government’s decision to extend public participation periods in the planning system for a period of three weeks, four local authorities have confirmed their new deadlines for public consultation: See link for full details



  • Land agency boss wants €10bn coronavirus fund for jobs and housing issues caused by pandemic: The chairman of the Land Development Agency (LDA) has called for a housing stimulus fund worth up to €10bn to tackle homelessness and Covid-19-related unemployment.

    John Moran, a former secretary general at the Department of Finance, has urged Fine Gael and Fianna Fail — who are likely to form the next government — to add Nama’s €4bn dividend this year to the LDA’s €1.25bn seed capital, to leverage up to €10bn to create jobs and build houses.

    Moran said it is important not to underestimate the negative effect of the pandemic, which requires a big response or else it will drag on.


  • Nama spends only fraction of €4.5bn allotted for new homes  | Business Post

    Almost two-thirds of allocation is still in hand as agency looks likely to miss target of 20,000 dwellings by end of this year





  • Major building projects could be delayed two years after Covid crisis:  Major building projects could take up to two years to get up and running after the Covid crisis unless the Government learns lessons from the last financial crash, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) has warned.

    “The current housing shortage, our infrastructure deficit, particularly in health, and widespread skills shortages can all be traced back to the failure to plan for the economic recovery in the post-crash scenario,” SCSI said. “That cannot be allowed to happen again.”


  • Johnny Ronan docklands tower again approved by An Bord Pleanála

    An Bord Pleanála has again granted permission for developer Johnny Ronan’s 13-storey tower beside Salesforce’s Dublin docklands headquarters, just six weeks after the High Court quashed the board’s approval of the same development.

    Dublin City Council had taken judicial review proceedings against the board’s decision, arguing the council’s planning scheme for the lands did not permit a 13-storey building. The case was the council’s first legal challenge to a grant of planning permission by the board.

    In the High Court in late February, Mr Justice Denis McDonald made orders quashing the board’s decision, and returning it to the board for a fresh determination. The board had consented to the ruling.

    The board has now issued its new decision, again granting Mr Ronan’s company permission for the tower, but outlining new reasons for the decision.



  • More than 500 apartments approved for Howth site

    The construction of more than 500 apartments on a controversial former industrial site in Howth village Co Dublin has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

    The derelict Techrete factory site near the seaside village’s Dart station was the subject of a number of previous plans for residential development in the last five years.

    The previous schemes were for less than half the number of homes for which developer Pat Crean now has permission. Locals had warned a previous application for 200 homes would cause severe traffic congestion on the main road to the village and would amount to over-development of the site.




  • Kildare Village backs down in spat with council | Business Post

    Operator of the outlet centre had filed appeal with An Bord Pleanála over ‘unit 104’ row, but have since withdrawn it


  • Dublin property finance lender Cullaun Capital offers loan for new Wicklow nursing home: Cullaun Capital, a property finance lender, will provide a multimillion-euro loan for a new nursing home development to be built in Co Wicklow.

    The Dublin-based lender, backed by investment firm TPG Sixth Street Partners, agreed to finance a 90- to 100-bed nursing home in Carnew village.

    Cullaun Capital chief executive Stephen Bell did not disclose the details. With the average nursing home bed costing €100,000 to provide, Cullaun Capital is likely to have lent between €9m and €10m for the project, which will be delivered by a UK-based, high-net-worth individual along with an Irish partner.

    Since launching in 2018, Cullaun Capital has lent up to €135m for projects that will collectively deliver 1,500 to 2,000 housing units and 500 nursing home beds.















  • From smart design and planning right through to the smart property transaction, where does your Irish-led or Ireland-based proptech  or MMC business sit? Pease take five minutes to add or update your details to our internationally-shared listing here: SIGN UP HERE: *PROPTECH INNOVATORS and STARTUPS * 


  • Dublin firm matches homeowners planning refurbs with architects online:

    A Dublin firm describing itself as “Uber for architects” is enabling homeowners to plan a renovation despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Archly (pronounced ark-ly) offers an online platform that pairs homeowners with architects and designers who then give a tailored consultation by video conference.

    Architectural technologist Jonathan Reinhardt founded the company last year to connect homeowners with architects and designers, regardless of their location. He came up with the idea after having worked in architects’ practices where video meetings with clients in different cities or countries were common and worked well




  • Expansion planned for VillagePod app that encourages local shopping | Business Post

    A Wicklow-based project involving one of the founders of MummyPages is seeking a Central Bank licence to move outside its local area



  • MMC will transform our housebuilding industry’


























  • Fianna Fail/FG pledge to look after tenants in new deal: A Fianna Fail and Fine Gael government will promise greater State involvement in building houses and a ‘new deal for tenants’ to give renters long-term security.

    A framework document for how the Civil War parties plan to govern together is being finalised this weekend and will go beyond the manifestos of both parties in a bid to entice the Greens, Labour and Social Democrats to join a coalition government, sources involved in its drafting said.

    Fianna Fail is set to look for the Housing ministry and to re-split the Finance and Public Expenditure portfolios in any new government.

    A senior Fianna Fail source said the party would want to “put our stamp” on delivering reforms in housing, including greater State involvement in building homes and delivering security of tenure for renters. “The public expect and won’t stand for failure in that area again,” they said.

    Both parties believe the current emergency rent freeze won’t need to be extended as more properties become available on the market due to the Covid-19 crisis. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told this newspaper: “I don’t think that will be necessary. In fact, I think rents are likely to fall.”



  • Property markets are frozen. But just how long before they crack? | The Currency

    “The knock-on effects for the commercial property markets could be big. In an interview with Ian Kehoe, the European Investment Bank chief Andrew McDowell said “Look at the corporate real estate sector. There will be a lot of corporations looking at the real estate requirements in the future – literally looking at their physical requirements… They have learned that they do not need so much space.”

    These are all difficult problems to solve. If the financial system and small businesses come out of this more or less intact, it’ll have been a remarkable achievement. And if it results in changes to how we work there might even be some lasting benefits.”


  • In the Sunday Independent today: Are new glass towers part of a Dublin in the rare auld times?

    Covid-19 has stopped Dublin’s commercial property market in its tracks, with the completion of even well-advanced projects likely to be pushed out well into 2021.

    After a record 2019, when an estimated €7.4bn of investment property changed hands, 2020 was always going to be something of an anti-climax for the commercial property market.

    And then the virus struck. With the country’s building sites in lockdown for the past fortnight and economists seemingly slashing their forecasts by the minute – the unemployment rate soared to 16.5pc in March while the ESRI is now predicting that the Irish economy will shrink by 7.1pc in 2020 – where does the commercial property sector go from here?


  • American pension funds could lose billions in Irish property investment:

    ‘If you’ve invested in distressed Irish home loans, it’s probably time to withdraw your money. In fact, never mind what your 401K broker or hedge fund prospectus said about risk; for “YOU CAN’T LOSE,” now read “YOU CAN’T WIN.”

    Most US investors thought that the deal was a “slam dunk”. Lots of empty houses with the keys in the mailbox. As you are about to find out, that was never the case. In Ireland, mortgagors in arrears stay put. Even the word “foreclosure” has been removed from the heavily regulated process of “repossession”. Maybe your SPV never got the memo?’


  • Irish property company Iput secures €500m as it builds up portfolio: Irish property company Iput has secured €500m in fresh funding, including a €200m private placing in the American bond markets.

    Niall Gaffney, chief executive of Iput
    Iput said the private placing, which was its first, was strongly oversubscribed. It has also secured a €300m debt facility with Wells Fargo. Niall Gaffney, chief executive of Iput, said the new finance would fund the growth of the company, whose portfolio of 95 buildings was worth €2.87bn at the end of March.

    Iput is developing a €350m, four-block office campus at Wilton Park, in Dublin, which has been pre-let to LinkedIn. It also plans to develop about 90,000 sq m of logistics space in Dublin, having bought 47 acres of land off the M50 last year.


  • Judge slams legal challenge over Hibernia Reit’s Dublin office block | Ireland | The Sunday Times

    The quoted property company Hibernia Reit has seen off an “outlandish” court challenge by a businessman who claimed he was the rightful owner of one of the company’s office blocks and was owed more than €2bn in damages.

    Judge David Barniville said there was no evidence to support the “farcical and far-fetched” €2bn claim by Richard Farrington, who alleged he formerly owned Block 1 at Clanwilliam Court in Dublin and was a creditor of Hibernia. A claim by Farrington that Hibernia’s accounts were prepared “on an unlawful and improper basis” was also rejected by the court.


  • Mass retailer default sparks fears on rents

    An association representing retailers has estimated that 80pc of commercial rents due on April 1 have not been met. A mass default in commercial rents will create a huge crisis for institutional and private landlords.

    An unpublished letter from Retail Excellence to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, seen by the Sunday Independent, estimates just 20pc of commercial rents due in advance for the second quarter have been met.



  • Sean Conlon: ‘You should always look at your first home flip as a down payment on your education’ | Business Post

    The US-based Irish real-estate magnate has had a colourful career which includes being a janitor, a merchant banker and a reality TV star


















  • Industrial & logistics sector sees spike in demand

    New figures from commercial property agents CBRE show that the overall volume of demand in the industrial and logistics sector in Dublin rose in the first quarter of this year.

    CBRE said the market experienced a spike in short-term requirements for logistics and cold storage facilities from the grocery and pharmaceutical sectors over recent weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak.




























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