Saturday 1 October 2016

Lack of money not problem in housing crisis - Coveney

Jane O'Faherty

Published 14/06/2016 | 02:30

Minister Simon Coveney .Pic Tom Burke
Minister Simon Coveney .Pic Tom Burke

Housing Minister Simon Coveney says he is willing to "change" his department's approach in order to ease the housing crisis.

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Speaking at a meeting with Dublin city councillors, Mr Coveney said he wished to engage in a cross-party dialogue with local authorities to ask for their assistance.

"If it's my department that needs to change, we'll change it," he said. "But I also expect that if systems need to change within local government, that you'll use the opportunity to do that too.

"That's why I'm here: to ask for your help, not to come and lecture you on housing policy and certainly not to come and lecture you on Dublin," he added. "You know this city far better than I ever will."

The minister also indicated there would be a "significant announcement" in relation to the housing action plan after Cabinet meets today.

Mr Coveney was facing questions from Dublin city's elected representatives over the lack of accommodation and reliance on emergency accommodation to house homeless families.

Cllr Daithi Doolan, Chairperson of the Housing SPC for Dublin City Council, said a lack of funding was a major issue in being able to provide housing on council land.

"We have the land, we need the funding to carry out the actions to build homes on that land," he said.

"DCC has land zoned for 53,600 houses. We could seriously tackle if not wipe out the housing crisis within 12 to 18 months in this city," he added.

"We have the land, we have the plans. What we lack is funding, Minister - simple as that."

While the minister said he understood the problem of scarce resources, he pointed out that significant funding was being given to local authorities.

"If you look in the last 12 months, less than 75 houses were built by local authorities and that was not because of lack of money," he said.

Irish Independent

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