Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has urged the Minister for Housing to rethink the Land Development Agency project and address the “serious concerns that have been raised during pre-legislative scrutiny at the Housing Committee.”
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Housing Committee today finished up four days of pre-legislative scrutiny of the government’s Land Development Agency (LDA) legislation.
“Over the course of the hearings we heard from the Department of Housing, the LDA, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Tom Dunne from the Technological University Dublin, Asst. Professors Orla Hegarty from UCD; Professor Rob Kitchin of NUI, Maynooth, the Irish Council for Social Housing, the Housing Agency, The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Engineers Ireland, the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland and the Construction Industry Federation.
“I firmly believe after listening to all the evidence that the proposed LDA legislation is going in the wrong direction.
“We do need, and we support the creation of an active land management agency. However, for such an agency to be able to actively manage land it needs to have compulsory purchase order powers.
“Unfortunately, these are not currently in the general scheme. Without these the LDA runs the risk of being a toothless tiger.
“Separately, I am hugely concerned about the residential development role given to the agency as outlined in the draft legislation.
“The government has decided that it wants the LDA off balance sheet. To achieve this, it must be a fully independent commercial entity that only has regard to government policy.
“At present there is no statutory obligation on the LDA to deliver social and affordable housing. This is a huge flaw.
“Like NAMA when conflicts of interest arise between the LDA’s commercial concerns and the social good, as was the case with NAMA, the commercial interest will win out and affordable housing delivery will fall by the wayside.
“The Minister for Housing must rethink this project and refocus the legislation towards a land management function. He must ensure that the LDA does not become NAMA mark II.”