A look at the potential impact of tax incentives designed to encourage property development along the Dublin quays.

With the passing of the Urban Renewal Act 1986, the inner cities of Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Galway are benefiting from a special programme of financial incentives.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastore, the McInerney Group and Century Communications are amongst those taking advantage of the incentives. Toal Ó Muiré of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) is critical of the tax relief schemes.

They tend to help people who are already fairly well off, who have some resources and therefore have tax bills, they don’t necessarily tackle the multiple causes of urban deprivation.

Those on low incomes are unable to benefit from tax reliefs and there is nothing in the package for non profit organisations or those seeking subsidised housing accommodation.

Toal Ó Muiré would like to see the incentives favour deprived people and not just derelict buildings. Labour Party politician Ruairí Quinn agrees that some of the ways the incentives are working need to be revisited.

Housing coordinator with Dublin Corporation Paddy Morrissey denies the scheme is designed around the needs of big business. 

With the designated areas it is the small businesses that are coming to use the incentives and to that extent it is a great boon to the city.

He says there are plans for residential developments on Ellis Quay, Sarsfield Quay and Mountjoy Square.

Arlington Securities is developing a shopping centre and bus station complex at Bachelors Walk and part of the site is designated for tax relief under the urban renewal package but progress is slow. Dublin Corporation is adamant the developer should,

Get on with the job and if they’re not prepared to do that, the new derelict sites legislation will certainly give us teeth.

Entrepreneur Paddy Crosbie was one of the first people to invest in Dublin’s dockland area. He developed the Point Depot at North Wall Quay without tax relief but now faces a compulsory purchase order on seven acres of his land for a national sports centre. This proposed centre will be in direct competition to the Point Depot.

I think it’s outrageous that they can take my land to build a competitor to my own business down here at the Point.

He is taking legal advice and says he will fight the order to the bitter end.

This episode of 'Market Place' was broadcast on 21 December 1989. The reporter is Kieran Fitzgerald.