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Ireland does not have ‘luxury’ of seeing serial objections stall home building

Micheal Martin has defended the Government’s record on housing.

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A construction worker (Brian Lawless/PA)

A construction worker (Brian Lawless/PA)

A construction worker (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland does not have the luxury of seeing serial objections stall the building of new homes, Micheal Martin has warned.

The Taoiseach said all politicians needed to “count to 10” before considering whether they should object to proposed developments in their constituencies.

The Fianna Fail leader also suggested the Government would be open to amending its controversial concrete block levy to ensure the measure does not penalise home buyers by forcing up new build house prices.

Mr Martin said the principle of the levy announced in the budget, to make the construction industry foot some of the multi-billion euro bill to fix defective homes, would be retained, but he indicated the “mechanics” of how it is administered could be looked at.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin defended his party’s record on housing in his speech to the party’s ard fheis (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin defended his party’s record on housing in his speech to the party’s ard fheis (Niall Carson/PA)

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin defended his party’s record on housing in his speech to the party’s ard fheis (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland’s homeless figures hit a new record high on Friday, with the number of homeless people in the state rising to 10,805.

Mr Martin used his leader’s speech at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis at the weekend to defend the Government’s handling of the housing crisis.

On Sunday, he insisted the state was now the “biggest actor” in Ireland’s house building sector and was doing “everything it possibly can” to tackle the shortfall in homes.

“I’ve been consistently saying in Dail Eireann to all parties, every member of the House, that we simply do not have the luxury to be objecting to housing projects to the degree that we are in this country,” he told RTE Radio One.

Mr Martin was particularly critical of Sinn Fein, reiterating his claim that the party has objected to about 6,000 houses in Dublin alone, but he acknowledged that all parties were culpable, including his own.

“Sinn Fein have opposed 6,000 and they’re lashing government every day about housing and they’re lecturing government every day about housing,” he said.

“And I’m simply saying – don’t lecture me about housing, if you’re objecting the following day.”

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He said most of the objections were “ideological” and related to the mix of social, affordable and private homes planned for particular developments.

“I’m not saying this is just about Sinn Fein, I’m saying to all TDs, all politicians, the younger generation need housing, they need housing much faster than we, as a society, are delivering.

“We’re not providing houses fast enough to the younger generation.

“That’s the point.”

He added: “Politicians need to just count to 10 before they start objecting.

“There can be pressures locally and all of that, I understand that, I’ve been in politics myself, but the crisis is such now in terms of housing (that objections need to be reduced).”


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