Thursday 19 July 2018

Housing Minister a waste of time - Kelly

Alan Kelly. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Alan Kelly. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Barry Lennon

The creation of a new Cabinet post for housing would be a "waste of time" unless it was given real powers, according to outgoing Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

Mr Kelly said he hoped the plans to appoint a Housing Minister do not end up representing "tokenism".

The Tipperary TD said constraints that existed in his own department held back his "ambitions" for addressing the housing crisis.

And if the new minister is to become a "tsar" for housing, he or she would need to have "control of all the levers," according to the Labour Party deputy leader.

"Appointing a minister with the title and just taking the powers from the Department of Environment is an absolute waste of time," Mr Kelly said.

"Unless you take sections from the Department of Finance, Department of Public Expenditure, Department of Social Protection, and dare I say it, any other agencies, well then they're certainly going to be left in the position myself and (my predecessor) Paudie Coffey were left in," he added.

Mr Kelly made the remarks as he addressed yesterday's committee on housing and homelessness.

He said the housing role should have the power to cut building taxes and improve rent supplement.

He also suggested that NAMA could have a role to play in providing housing, before adding that, in principle, he had "no objection to" the ministry.

Mr Kelly claimed other politicians were "contradictory for criticising housing projects once finished," which he said was "incredible".

Irish Independent

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