Sunday Property Round-Up, November 11th 2018 


First up, congratulations to all of the winners at this year’s Property Industry Excellence Awards,which took place this week!

Winners included:  Overall winners Sisk Contractors,  residential agency Savils, facilities management Bam, commercial agency JLL, Hibernia REIT and Monaghan County Council as winners of excellence in planning. Well done to all.

If you missed last week’s Sunday Property Round-Up, which was packed with industry and proptech news, you can catch up here:


  • Before we start, long-time readers here might recall that back in 2014 we lobbied to have this old, disused, Victorian underground public toilets on Kevin Street converted into a subterranean home (similar to examples seen across the UK), it looks like it will now been converted into a cafe. I would still prefer to see it being used as a home…


Old public toilets on Kevin St. for redevelopment as cafe


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!)



Sunday Read  – Technology to play a part countering NIMBY-ism


NIMBY continues to be an issue. Newstalk Pat Kenny was featured in most newspapers earlier this week after he lodged a 16-page  objection  to  Bartra’s (Richard Barrett) latest proposal to develop the site in Dalkey.

 Pat Kenny lodges 16-page objection to ‘ill-thought’ apartment block plan next to Dalkey home:


According to The Sunday Times today, the latest objector  to join in is former chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Denise Charlton,  who is objecting on the grounds that the proposed development will devalue her nearby home. Leaving aside the utter hypocrisy and ridiculousness of this particular objection,  is worth pointing out that half a million new homes are required under project 2040 and almost half of those will be in Dublin. This inevitably means we will all be living in closer proximity to each other and, as Irish people, I think this is something we need to learn.


*For this reason, I was delighted to launch PLACEengage, a transformative new placemaking platform (a digital ‘town hall’!) at CitA Tech Live in Croke Park this week:


Agile Agent: 12-month digital transformation programme for independent estate agents and auctioneers across Ireland

Getting  Ireland’s property marketplace digital by default

We were delighted to have Dr. David Duffy of Property Industry Ireland present to our Agile Agents and a number of invited agents last month. In addition to industry insights, we had demos from a selection of proptech providers offering emerging technologies for estate agents focused on digitising business operations, putting the consumer first and  marketing for properties in the digital age.  Also, huge thanks to Samantha McCaughren, business editor of the Sunday Independent for delivering a master class for proptech startups on crafting their business message.

As we could only take one estate agency from each geographical area (in order to avoid any competitive conflict), we are sharing free monthly ‘Proptech Prompts’ for non-participating agents so that they can participate with their own in-house digital transformation (sign up below).


To get involved and for free monthly Proptech Prompts, please


Other Property News


  • According to figures most recently quoted by the Housing Minister, since July/August, new home completions are up 23%, 4,700 new dwellings and 2,500 student beds have been delivered.


  • In the business section of The Sunday Times today it is reported that Google is paying €90 million to buy to office blocks on Barrow Street in Dublin, where they already have substantial ownership.  In the business section of The Sunday Times today it is reported that Google is paying €90 million to buy the two office blocks on Barrow Street in Dublin, where they already have substantial ownership.


  • Also in the Times today, there is a full feature on the investment by Saudi Arabian billionaires to redevelop Waterford’s North Quays. This will be a huge, exciting and transformative project for Waterford and for the South East.


  • In the same section, there is a feature on some of the longer term issues associated with apartment blocks. This is the type of article that appears every few months, however, it is an important one for investors in apartments to be aware of. Some particular issues that arise are insufficient sinking funds   And poor management company performance that goes unchecked. This type of article is the time your reminder to ask the right questions about your investment property, at the right time.


  • In the Sunday Independent today, Laura Larkin writes that the State is currently being hampered by a shortage of planning staff, which is causing delays for planning decisions and appeals.  Apparently planning activity is up 19% since 2016, yet staffing levels are still 12% below what they were at the height of the boom.


  • Also in the Independent today, Yahoo Irish boss Patrick Scully becomes the latest tech leader to speak out about Ireland’s housing crisis and the difficulty employees are having  finding homes to buy or rent, particularly  within the capital.


  • In the business section, there is a feature on mortgages with the  main premise “ Press ahead if you’re in the market for a new mortgage: Rates are still too high, but playing the waiting game it’s on likely to reap rewards“.


  • The Sunday Business Post  today features  the dealmaking of Dermot Desmond. There is an in-depth spread across the business section today.


  • In the same paper, Legal Affairs Correspondent Francesca Comyn,  reports on a case that was heard before the Commercial Court last Friday between well-known architect Jerry Ryan and Winthorp Engineering founder and managing director Barry English.  The case involves the transfer of Ryan’s architectural firm (newly established in the UAE when his existing Irish  firm got into trouble during the crash) to English. The court last Friday heard about multimillion money transfers to a British Virgin Island company account in Guernsey. Anecdotally,  this kind of “Sham transfer“ under the guise of a “caretakers agreement“ was entirely common as businesses sought to salvage [and hide?] any cash remaining in the business.  One thing we do know is that this type of arrangement tended to happen between trusted friends and that is why, despite the practice being quite prevalent, these kind of cases do not often appear before the courts. That, and the fact that there is significant, demonstrative wrongdoing on both parties in attempting to “relocate“ money. It will be significant  to see how this plays out in the courts.


  • Also in The SBP today – following on from reports over the last few weeks that one off payments were being made to estate agents who didn’t publicly advertise properties to let and instead offer them straight to housing bodies in an effort to address  homelessness some people living in emergency accommodation –  it now appears that the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive has paid over quarter of a million in “finder’s fees” to estate agents.  This really is a case of one step forward and three steps back when it comes to estate and letting agents introducing transparency into the property marketplace. It will be interesting to see how landlords who pay for these services react to this latest revelation…


  • In the property section of the SBP today there is an interesting opinion piece by Brid O’Connell, chief executive of Guaranteed Irish, on the need for rapid house-building to become a priority. In the piece, she takes the view that “homebuilders need less  red tape add more access to finance and suitable sites“. There is nothing to disagree with here.


  • Player Wills site’s original developer may take it back from Nama:







  • ‘Cost of care for our two boys will be more than we pay on mortgage’






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Proptech and Construction Innovation


  • Are you an Irish-led or Ireland-based #proptech business?  If so, please take five minutes to add or update your details to our internationally-shared listing here: SIGN UP: and to keep up-to-date on all things tech and innovation for the planning, construction and property industries, head over to, the national resource website for innovators, investors and mentors or email .


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The 3-year-old startup has acquired four companies and recently launched in Europe | #PropTech Startups



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  • CC Tech | Talking Tech: Real Assets thought leadership–real-assets-though-leadership-.html


Crowd-sourcing:   New Facebook Group for Irish Property Buyers & Investors


As many of you might know, my annual property book The Irish Property Buyers’ Handbook (since 2011) has undergone a rebrand for 2018 and will now appear as part of The Property Insider series, published by Oak Tree Press, the first three titles are now published and available here.

For the first time, the 2019 edits will be crowd-sourced and will include home-buyer and investor queries, with crowd-sourced and editorial team answers. Join the Facebook Group here to contribute:


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