Tuesday 27 September 2016

Grand housing plan - but FF reveal weakness

Cowen: We'll pull plug if house crisis not fixed

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen Picture: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen Picture: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil has starkly warned the Government it will pull the plug if the most ambitious housing plan in the history of the State results in failure.

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The party cited "glaring omissions" in Housing Minister Simon Coveney's scheme, saying it fails to address the rental crisis and the challenges facing first-time buyers.

However, Mr Coveney says he is staking his reputation on the plan getting the housing market back to "some sort of normality" by 2019.

His main target is "ramping up" the delivery of housing to a point where 25,000 new homes are being built every year.

The minister has promised to end the practice of homeless families staying in hotels next year and to build 47,000 units of social housing by 2021. However, Fianna Fáil's housing spokesman Barry Cowen has warned the 115-page plan does not go far enough.

"There are gaps in this strategy that have to be filled. We will make proposals to fill them in the event of them not doing so.

"If after that process we still feel this Government can't address this crisis, of course we're going to have to look for another government to do it."

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Mr Coveney responded to criticisms, saying: "It's not the perfect article. If there are mistakes in it we'll correct them. But it's a very good start."

The plan is split into 'five pillars' - homelessness, social housing, construction, the rental sector and vacant properties.

Irish Independent

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