The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has admitted that the housing challenge is "not an easy nut to crack" but assured that tackling the housing crisis is a top priority of the Government.
Speaking during the recent Cork Chamber Business Breakfast Live event, Minister Michael McGrath acknowledged that the housing challenge in all its forms, whether it be more housing estates, the need for high-density developments where there are major viability challenges, is “not an easy nut to crack” but said that Government “are determined to make progress in relation to that”.
Minister McGrath was speaking just days after the Government published the new Housing For All plan which aims to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade
“We are putting €4 billion a year of public money now into the housing programme and this is going to be overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Housing which is chaired by An Taoiseach. There is going to be a senior officials group chaired by the secretary-general in the Department of An Taoiseach who will drive the implementation of this every week.
“I sit on the Cabinet Committee myself and we will be going into detail on a very regular basis on the achievement of the various milestones and the action plans in that regard,” he said.
In relation to high-density developments, he said that a new plan, known as Croí Cónaithe, the living heart of cities, whereby a competitive bid process will be set up by the housing agency so that builders developers can submit their plans in an open competition and public money can be provided to support individual developments and to help make them viable will be launched by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in the coming months.
“I think it’s also worth acknowledging that we’re also now going to see for the first time in over a decade new affordable housing initiatives. We have at least one directly underway in Cork in Boherboy as you know, we’re looking at major investment in local authority-led affordable house purchase schemes.
"We will also have the new shared equity scheme, we are reforming the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme as well to make it more attractive and accessible,” he said.
Minister McGrath said that while a significant emphasis will be seen on social housing as is appropriate, that there will also be an emphasis on affordable homes.
“Not just purchase but cost rental as well and we will now be driving the implementation of this every single week,” he said.