Minister considering bypassing tender rules for modular houses
Environment Minister Alan Kelly is considering by-passing normal procurement rules in order to buy a selection of modular houses before Christmas.
The Government wants to be able to say that it has 'ended' the homeless crisis by the New Year and believes that buying up prefabricated homes is one of the quickest ways of doing this.
However, by opting not to seek tenders from companies who supply the homes, it runs the risk of paying above the market rate.
A source told the Irish Independent: "In order to bring the modular units on stream in that time frame, we would have to carefully consider the planning and procurement issues.
"There is provision in EU tender rules that if it is an emergency situation, some of the normal procedures can be bypassed."
If Mr Kelly opts to fast-track the process, the four local authorities in Dublin will then have to carefully plan where the homes will be located.
The Department of Environment is confident there are enough vacant sites around the capital, but planning permission will have to be granted.
Once the various components have been delivered, modular homes can be assembled within days. In some cases they are built in their entirety at the factory and transported on the back of trucks.
"There is no question of creating ghettos. They would have to be divided up and placed in suitable locations with amenities so there is a lot of planning issues to consider as well," said the source.
Earlier this month, the local authorities put a small number of modular units on display for homeless charities to inspect. The two-bedroom units, which were designed to accommodate families and cost upwards of €100,000, were widely praised for their high standards.