Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called for ‘urgent reform of the delivery of social housing’. The Dublin Mid-West TD made the call as the latest Social Housing Pipeline Report from the Department of Housing shows ‘once again that excessive red tape and bureracracy is slowing down the delivery of much needed social housing.’
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“In December the Department of Housing published the Q3 social housing pipeline report. This 289 page document details every single new build social housing project in the state funded by the Department.
“A comparison of the report with Q3 2022 shows that excessive red tape and bureaucracy is slowing down the delivery of much needed social housing. At a time when homelessness numbers continue to rise to unacceptable levels this is totally unacceptable.
“While there are a range of factors than can delay the delivery of social housing, the biggest factors are the cumbersome four stage approval process imposed on Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies by the Department of Housing ad the overly compled public spending code imposed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
“These processes can add up to two years to the delivery of social housing after planning has been granted and before construction commences.
“In my own constituency, South Dublin County Council approved planning permission for 90 social homes on the New Nangor Road in early 2019. Construction was delayed until 2023 and the project is still not complete.
“A large mixed tenure Council development of up to 250 much-needed social and affordable homes in Kishogue, Lucan was delayed by the Department of Housing for going to planning for over a year, with the project still not in construction.
“The four-stage approval process and public spending code, both put in place after the Celtic Tiger are no longer fit for purpose. They are not only delaying much-needed social homes, they are costing the taxpayer more money as construction sector inflation inflation bites.
“Sinn Féin has long called for radical reform of the way in which social housing is delivered. There is too much micromanagement of the development process by officials in the Department of Housing. This needs to be streamlined to speed up the process of granting planning permission.
“Councils need to be given greater autonomy to progress projects that are within the Departments social housing price ceilings. Councils must be allowed to move to multi annual framework agreements with building contractors rather than having to detnder for every single job. And greater flexibility must be given to Councils and Approved Housing Bodies to deal with reasonable changes in construction prices.
“Every single year since this Government has come into office their inadequate social and affordable housing targets have been missed. Excessive red tape and bureaucracy are the primary reason. It is time to take the shackles off our Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies and let them deliver much needed public housing at pace.
“We need Government to increase and accelerate the delivery of much needed social and affordable housing. Until the Department of Housing’s four stage approval process and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s public spending code are radically reformed, unacceptable delays will continue.