This level of ambition for housing is imperative, even before the Government’s callous decision to lift the temporary ban on no-fault evictions – a decision made without introducing any effective contingency plans for those facing homelessness. The record figure of over 11,700 people already homeless is a shocking indictment of this Government’s failure on housing.
So how would we do it?
- New Builds – 50,000 per year- target based on the Government’s own data
There is currently shortfall of 250,000 homes. The Housing Commission says Ireland will require up to 62,000 new homes built per year until 2050. This is more than the target of 33,000 new homes in Housing for All.
- Refurbish and retrofit 50,000 homes per year
The Government target is to deep retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030. CSO figures show there are 166,752 vacant homes nationwide – 7.8 % of housing stock.
In order to have the skilled workers to carry out this vital work we are calling for the following:
- Add more construction skills to the Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) list
- An aggressive recruitment campaign for skilled building workers from abroad
- Increase pay rates for those on apprenticeship programmes
- Tackle bogus self-employment to attract more school-leavers into construction training here.
In addition to this, we need to do the following:
- Use off-site construction methods to provide modular housing 50% faster than traditional methods and 10-20 % cheaper..
- Bring in ‘use it or lose it’ policy to activate live residential planning permissions across the country – 30,000 in Dublin City Council area alone.
- Introduce other mechanisms to tackle land hoarding and make residential development land more affordable – like the Labour Bill to implement the recommendations of the Kenny report.
- Adopt proposals in the ESRI paper on improving housing supply (Dec 2022) to increase the numbers of construction workers, tackle dereliction and apply innovative technologies.
It takes ambition and State investment to tackle a housing crisis with over 11,700 people homeless – but it can be done. During a previous boom, 60,000 new houses were built per year in Ireland. Let’s not forget that in economic recession, Labour Minister Jimmy Tully delivered 100,000 public homes during 1973-77.
We are now a prosperous state with a 5.3 billion Euro surplus in 2022 and 10 Billion surplus likely in 2023.
Only ideology – not the economy – is holding us back.
We can afford to deliver one million homes in ten years. What we cannot afford is this Government’s lack of ambition.