Friday 18 January 2019

Housing Minister blames local councils for shortfall in new social housing

Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has conceded that some local authorities are not doing enough to provide much-needed social housing.

Earlier this week, the Irish Independent heard that only 2,500 of the 13,400 social homes needed to help ease the housing and homelessness crisis have been built.

Just a handful of units have been constructed in many local authority areas, with thousands mired in the planning and approvals process for up to three years. None has been built in counties Wicklow and Laois.

Mr Murphy agreed that there was a "mixed picture" when it came to local authorities. "Different local authorities are moving at different paces," he told the Irish Independent. "There are some outliers who aren't doing enough."

For that reason, he appointed Junior Minister Damien English to head up a new Housing Delivery Unit, whose mission is to liaise with local housing authorities to bring them up to speed, he said during a tour of a new Dublin hostel for homeless men run by the Peter McVerry Trust.

"He is going to each local authority and actually getting on top of the problems and then bringing what resources we can to help them," Mr Murphy said.

"If they need more people, we will provide more people. If they need certain expertise, we will bring that. But with that accountability, with that transparency, I think we're going to deliver more progress."

Asked about the escalation of property prices - which are now nearing Celtic Tiger levels - he said affordability remained a concern.

Irish Independent

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