Who wants small apartments? | Frank McDonald | Dublin Inquirer


Dog box or shoe box apartments?

There’s a new kid on the blog block. Dublin Inquirer is an independent weekly online newspaper launched earlier this summer with a refreshing take on the current state of affairs in the city of Dublin. It’s been described by prolific political blogger/Tweeter, Suzy Byrne (@suzybie) as the “best thing to appear online in a long time”.

In this week’s edition (published on Wednesdays) Frank McDonald, former Environment Editor of the Irish Times, takes aim at construction industry heavyweights who are pressurising legislators and planners to lower building standards and reduce the size of apartments. In “Frank: Here’s Who Wants Smaller Apartments” he lists the main vested interests and notes:

“It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that, if standards are reduced as proposed, it will show that we’ve learned nothing from the boom and bust. But whether city councillors will share that progressive view, or cave in to pressure from the lobbyists, remains to be seen in September.”

Frank McDonald has been consistently critical from a consumer perspective of Building Control Regulations  introduced by former Minister Phil Hogan in 2014. In a statement to the ‘Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis’ last March he noted successful efforts by influential construction lobbies to defer improved energy standards (link to Oireachtas Report here):

“Those relationships were very close. The construction industry, in particular, is very well connected, not just with the present Government but also with previous Governments, and very well able to lobby politicians and all the rest of it.”

It looks like builders, developers and professional groups are supportive of lower standards to enhance profits and get mass speculative building going again. Is anyone looking out for the consumer in the longer term?

Link to Dublin Inquirer article by Frank McDonald here:



Frank McDonald is the former environment editor of the Irish Times, and the author of several books, including The Destruction of Dublin (1985), Saving the City (1989), and The Construction of Dublin (2000). He is also co-author of books including Chaos at the Crossroads (2005) and The Builders (2008). He was born in Dublin, graduated from UCD in 1971, joined the Irish Times in 1979 and has been a resident of the Temple Bar area since 1995. He is an honorary member of the RIAI.

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1 thought on “Who wants small apartments? | Frank McDonald | Dublin Inquirer

  1. Michael O'Neill MRIAI


    Re: “Who wants small apartments? | Frank McDonald | Dublin Inquirer”

    Who benefits from smaller apartments?

    Certainly not the eventual purchasers, who will not see any reductions in price per square foot. The Estate Agents will push Location, Location, Location to keep prices high.

    Certainly not society, which once again will see sub-standard bedsits eroding the standards of living for families in the hearts of our cities.

    Only those who existing landbanks are pregnant with possibility, wishing to develop more bedspaces per acre then can be currently permitted, will benefit from lowered standards and higher densities.

    Just like the unworkable changes to the building regulations which levy unsustainable liability onto those who make the least money from the delivery of a building (the Certifiers), the hidden hand of Greedy Developers and Rogue Builders is exposed.

    Keynes is alleged to have said it best.

    Capitalism is “the astonishing belief that the nastiest motives of the nastiest men somehow or other work for the best results in the best of all possible worlds.”

    They don’t.

    Capitalism works to benefit only the very few. Never forget that.


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