Thursday 27 October 2016

Solutions are obvious - over to you, Mr Coveney

Published 18/06/2016 | 02:30

Housing Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Conor McCabe
Housing Minister Simon Coveney Picture: Conor McCabe

There are more than 70 recommendations for how to solve the housing crisis in the report delivered by TDs but they can be boiled down to one key point. The country needs more housing and it needs it fast.

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There are thousands of homeless people - many of them children - living in emergency accommodation. And young couples can't get onto the property ladder as they try to save for a deposit while paying sky-high rents.

It's two months since the Housing and Homelessness Committee began its work - before the Government was even formed. TDs were told to ignore how the housing crisis came about - there have been numerous inquiries into the economic crash - and to focus on fixing it.

In a sense, the solutions are well known too.

Local authorities must return to building homes to make a serious dent in the housing list.

Spiralling rents have to be tackled. Private developers must be encouraged to build and not hoard land, waiting for a more profitable time to begin projects. And the Government must find a way for the EU to loosen spending rules to allow investment in housing. Many of these suggestions are obvious and we've heard them before.

Credit should be given to the committee for compiling its report in a relatively brief period at a time when its work often appeared to be the most substantive business going on in Leinster House.

The Government has committed to producing an action plan on housing within its first 100 days. It's over to you now, Mr Coveney.

Irish Independent

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