Sunday 17 December 2017

Not one home built from €400m fund set up in 2015

Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Damien Eagers
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Damien Eagers
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Not a single home has been built using a €400m fund set aside for housing in 2015, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Two years ago, the government promised that a significant portion from the sale of Bord Gáis energy would be ring-fenced for up to 2,000 social housing units over the period 2016 to 2018.

However, Housing Minister Simon Coveney has now admitted that despite having the money available, it was never used. "Despite a high level of engagement with a wide range of potential providers and financiers of social housing, no new model of provision and/or financing of social housing on an off-balance sheet basis could be identified," he said.

Fianna Fáil's public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary described the failure to use the cash as "completely unacceptable".

"It is startling that in the middle of a housing crisis, this Government, which claims to be prioritising the issue, has done nothing with €400m specifically earmarked to build social housing units," he said.

Mr Coveney has now changed his approach and instead plans to use €10m from the Bord Gáis proceeds to "support additional activity under other housing programmes" in 2017.

Meanwhile, the minister yesterday announced over €200m in funding for 34 infrastructure projects in 15 local authority areas. The spending is aimed at speeding up the delivery of housing, particularly in Dublin and Cork.

Elsewhere, the Irish Independent understands that Maynooth, Co Kildare, and Cobh, Co Cork, will be announced as rent pressure zones today. The towns will join other areas where rent increases are capped at 4pc per year.

Irish Independent

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