Why was money not spent on new homes?
Published 08/04/2015 | 02:30
There may be many good and compelling reasons why councils saw fit to spend €640m buying land over the four-year period highlighted today. Those reasons could include purchasing strategic sites which opened up other lands for development, or perhaps to facilitate local employment centres or deliver new roads.
But it must be recalled that the expenditure arose between 2010 and 2013, a period when councils were reducing their spending and as the Government's capital investment programme for housing and roads all but came to a halt.
In the midst of a profound housing crisis, one would expect Government to work as quickly as possible to provide new homes. But instead of investing in bricks and mortar, it appears that local authorities are instead spending enormous sums of public money on land at a time when 90,000 people languish on waiting lists and private buyers struggle to purchase a home.
Why do councils dip their toes in the property market when they already hold so much undeveloped land, and when they struggle to provide the basic requirement of shelter?
Planning for the future is vitally important, but not at the cost of failing to provide the basics today. There is clearly a disconnect between what the citizen needs and what is being provided.