Friday 20 July 2018

Tackling housing crisis 'can't wait for new government to be formed'

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

Cormac McQuinn and Barry Lennon

Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly has told the Dáil that issues relating to the housing crisis "cannot wait for a new government to be formed".

He said that the construction and housing sectors were "badly broken" and that a solution to the problem should be an "ultimate priority" for the next government.

As TDs made statements on housing in Leinster House, Mr Kelly defended delays and the cost of rapid build houses being constructed in Ballymun on Dublin's northside.

It was reported earlier this week that each of the 22 units will cost €240,000 to build, considerably higher than the initial estimate of €100,000.

Mr Kelly conceded that not everything had gone to plan in the project, but he said that "they will pay for themselves" in savings made by the State from not paying "expensive hotel bills" for homeless families in emergency accommodation.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen criticised the current planning process as "far too tedious and far too slow".

"There are many schemes announced for the last two years without ground being broken," he said.

Mr Kelly yesterday briefed Cabinet on action being taken to tackle the housing crisis, the details of which are in a report entitled 'Laying the Foundations'. In the report he notes that Ireland needs 25,000 houses a year but only half that number are being built. It outlines €4bn in spending that is to see 35,000 social housing units built by 2020.

Irish Independent

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