Paul Melia: State plan finally lays foundation to resolve this crisis
This is the first time the Government has a picture of exactly what lands are under its control, and therefore available for housing.
Although some would argue that using these sites to entice developers to build homes is selling off the family silver to boost private interests, it's nothing of the sort. Local authorities have routinely bought and sold lands for housing and other purposes over decades. In 2015, they spent €60m. Just last week, Housing Agency boss John O'Connor urged local authorities to become more pro-active in building communities.
They know the housing need in their areas. They know too what lands are serviced, and suitable for development. There's no reason why publicly-owned lands cannot be used to boost housing output, provided that sufficient social and affordable units for those locked out of the market by rocketing prices and soaring rents are provided.