Ronald Quinlan: Developers and development are integral to recovery
Michael O'Flynn is one of Ireland's most successful and experienced developers. He spoke to Ronald Quinlan about the policies that need to be pursued to secure a functioning and sustainable property industry – something which both he and economists the world over agree is vital for a successful economy
I'VE been in the property industry for 45 years and I've seen probably three or four cycles. In a perfect world we wouldn't have property cycles, but in the real world we do. In the good times, we don't think of the downturn and in the downturn, we don't think of recovery. We just jump from one to the other, but it's in the intervening period that the serious planning needs to be done.
There's no doubt we got things wrong in the past as regards property. That doesn't automatically mean we're going to get things right in the future. It certainly means there needs to be a greater cohesion of all the parties who interact to provide property than there ever has been before. That is especially the case when you have Nama and you have some of the banks owned by the Government. You have a huge dependency on government policy to help create the development product that is going to house the jobs of the future.
I'm concerned there isn't a recognition of the need for developers. I'm also the first to admit that there were a lot of people who ended up in the developer group who didn't have the credentials, but they got funded by the banks and that's what happened. I think a serious lesson has been learnt by the banking industry that you have to match up equity, finance and the property skill set. You will never get away with having only two of those three elements again.