Saturday 16 December 2017

We need to show investors we can improve quality of life for their staff

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy Photo: Mark Condren
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy Photo: Mark Condren
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

It's not all about tax, it's often stressed.

Politicians and experts tell us that international companies are not just looking to Ireland because of our famous 12.5pc rate, but also the quality and flexibility of our workforce, and of course the access we provide to the vast EU market.

But they're also interested in quality of life issues. Our vision for spatial planning, housing and urban amenities is also important for the top brass in multinationals weighing up whether Ireland is a location in which they'd like to invest.

It's hardly surprising. If you're a multinational looking to attract top talent, especially if you're looking to relocate staff from elsewhere, you're going to want to ensure your choice of location has adequate and affordable housing and that housing is not merely endless estates of detached and semi-detached homes built in ever-expanding suburbia with poor public transport connections.

The problem is they know Dublin, in particular, has been suffering from infrastructural bottlenecks. The State is struggling to ensure the supply shortage in housing is plugged, leading to soaring prices and a rental crisis.

The IDA says investors accept the Government faces a legacy issue from the crisis years, and understand that takes time to resolve. But they want to know what the plan is for how our towns and cities will evolve in the coming 10 to 15 years. They want to see a long-term vision.

The draft National Planning Framework, published last week, goes some way towards that.

The document suggests Ireland will need an extra half a million homes to accommodate an estimated population increase of one million by 2040.

Whether successive governments have the vision and commitment to execute the plan in a sustainable way, though, remains to be seen.

Irish Independent

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