'Developers need more help to keep costs down'
A leading builder expressed concern that Budget 2019 did not adequately address the core problems of housing supply and affordability in Ireland.
Michael O'Flynn warned that housing price and supply is directly linked to affordability.
He warned that policies were diverting vital focus from the issues affecting the private housing sector, including how to make housing more accessible to families.
The Cork developer said much more could have been done with VAT rates to help address key building costs.
"Housing viability and cost is linked to supply, and that is linked to affordability," he said.
"The key issues are the costs involved, not just of building but of bringing more development land to the market.
"I know many people in the industry are weary from talking about costs. But I think it is a vital issue, and I think it needs to be addressed.
"I know it won't make me popular, but I think it is a vital component of addressing one of the key problems with our housing sector at the moment."
Mr O'Flynn also expressed concern that the Government hadn't used Budget 2019 to address the skills shortage within the construction sector which is hampering a major expansion of house building.
"We aren't building anything close to the amount of houses that the country needs," he said.
"The problem also is that we lost an entire generation in terms of skilled young people entering the sector over the decade from 2008 but who simply went to other sectors or emigrated."
He said targeted incentives would have been very important here. Mr O'Flynn previously warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) will not ease housing problems in the short term.