Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has urged the government to put forward credible and robust proposals to kick start residential construction which has stalled due to Covid 19 delays.
His comments follow a report by estate agents Knight Frank which indicates that new housing completions could plummet by as much 40% compared to last year due to Covid 19 delays.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The report published by the estate agent Knight Frank is a worrying warning of how the Covid 19 emergency threatens to exacerbate the existing housing crisis.
“The government needs to outline a robust and credible plan to kick start residential construction post Covid 19, while also protecting the health and safety of construction workers.
“I recently outlined a 12-step plan which I believe must be put in place to get residential construction moving again and to deliver the homes our country desperately needs.
“Ireland’s housing crisis has long spiralled under poor management by successive governments. We cannot allow the Covid 19 emergency to entrench this crisis further. We must prioritise the delivery of social and affordable homes.
“A major public housing programme on public land should be initiated which includes the fast-tracking of existing and new large-scale residential developments of mixed-income social, affordable rental and affordable purchase schemes on public land.
“This must also include a review of all recent contracts in which private consortiums are developing mixed-tenure schemes, such as O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin. This must include the acquisition of private sites no longer viable due to Covid 19 economic fallout is key.
“Capital expenditure on housing should not be cut, nor should income or rental supports.
“It is absolutely vital that the rent arrears debt burden is addressed.
“The lending criteria of Home Building Finance Ireland should be amended to provide low-interest loans to developers and contractors subject to genuine affordability in house prices.
“The role of the Land Development Agency must change. It should be spilt into a Land Management Agency (LMA) and a Residential Development Agency (RDA). The LMA compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers, a budget and a mandate to aggressively manage under-utilised public lands.
“Decisive action must be taken to ensure residential construction is kick started and much needed homes are delivered.”