Saturday, December 03, 2022

Kenneth Fox

The Taoiseach has hit out at State agencies and Government Departments for being “possessive” of land that could be used to build houses on.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Micheál Martin said vacant State-owned sites must now be used to provide housing for young people looking for a first home.

“Every day in the Dáil people are asking me to declare the housing situation an emergency and yet when you translate that to local level, it doesn’t seem to always be the case that people see it through that lens.

“People in this country need housing, the younger generations need housing,” he said.

Mr Martin said the Office of Public Works had been working in “good faith” to identify vacant public lands and properties across the country, but he added “there tends to be a possessive attitude by agencies and departments”.

“I’m saying as Taoiseach that we need to use up land that hasn’t been used in decades for housing, because young people need houses and we need to provide for what is a very significant issue for a lot of people in this country,” Mr Martin said after opening a social housing development in Longford town.

Asked about concerns raised by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland that inflation will result in a shortfall in housing in 2024 and 2025, Mr Martin said it will be “all hands on deck” to ensure the Housing for All targets are met.

Citing the Croí Cónaithe scheme, he said the Government had made significant interventions to help stimulate development in urban areas.

Asked about the possibility of tax breaks for developers he said: “We’re open to all proposals that can come our way but I think we have to work through what has already been agreed in respect to the various mechanisms that we’ve designed.”

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien acknowledged there would be “challenges” in meeting housing targets in the years to come because of inflation.

But he said the Government’s targets would be exceeded this year and he would be flexible to help further drive development.

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