Tuesday 22 January 2019

'A roof over your head is as important as healthcare' - Dermot Bannon on Ireland's housing crisis

Dermot Bannon
Dermot Bannon
Dermot Bannon on Room to Improve
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

CELEBRITY architect Dermot Bannon has weighed in on how best to tackle Ireland's escalating housing crisis, urging the Government to turn to measurable long-term plans.

The architect - who presents Room To Improve, one of RTE's most popular shows - appeared on Claire Byrne Live on Monday night.

"It's the lack of planning four or five years ago ... it's going to take an awful long time to come back from this," he said of the housing shortage.

We don't give housing the same priority as transport projects such as Metro Link he said, which is a long term plan, opting instead to focus on what could be delivered in the lifetime of a government, he argued.

"Prices have risen by about 20pc over the last year and most of that is due to labour costs," he said.

"The construction industry is peaks and troughs and the only way to smooth that out is to have a long-term plan," he said.

"If we don't start planning for long term this situation is going to get worse and worse, if we don't start thinking about five years time, ten years time we're not solving anything. This isn't going to go away overnight," he said.

"We need to have definite capital expenditure set out over the next 10 years in certain projects and it has to be housing. You know if other sectors collapse it's not life or death - this is as important as healthcare. A roof over your head is as important as healthcare," he said, adding that it must

"That's why it needs to be treated with long term capital expenditure," he added.

When quizzed on the show and the famous battle of wills he finds himself having with clients sometimes he pointed out that the show only showed a one hour snapshot from a year of working together.

"I'm as much to blame, I'm a difficult enough character... I think I cause as many rows as some of the clients," he said.

Dermot is taking part in this year's Simon Community's Open Door event between May 14-20. The event sees architects around the country giving one hour slots for a €90 donation to the Simon Community.

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