We’re seeing step change in housing delivery, says Darragh O'Brien

Darragh O’Brien said he is confident the Government will reach its overall social housing targets.
We’re seeing step change in housing delivery, says Darragh O'Brien

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien has said there has been a “step change” in housing delivery this year compared with the previous 10 years, and that his plan has “taken hold”.

Mr O’Brien also said the Government will reach its overall target of delivering 10,500 social homes through various methods of bringing properties on to the market by the end of the year.

“I’m still confident that we’re going to be able to hit that overall target,” he told reporters in Dublin.

“We set a target this year of 24,600 new homes – both public, private and affordable, through all different tenures – and we’re going to exceed that target significantly this year, even though we’ve had a difficult year.

“So, you know, we’re doing quite well.

“We will have a good year for delivery this year.

“We’re never going to turn this around in two years, no question about that, but what I am genuinely positive about is that the plan itself has taken hold. We have a good pipeline into next year,” he said.

The Government has come under increasing pressure this year to solve the years-long housing crisis while also trying to provide suitable accommodation for arriving Ukrainian refugees.

The official homeless figures have reached record highs for three consecutive months, with the latest figure of 10,975 being recorded in September.

Under criticism from opposition parties, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has defended his Government’s plan as the “only detailed, comprehensive strategy” to solve Ireland’s housing crisis.

Asked about the record high homeless figures on Tuesday, Mr O’Brien said there are still “significant challenges”.

“The first people I think about every single morning when we get up are those in homeless services, and those who we want to be able to provide permanent homes for.”

He said he has directed local authorities to purchase more homes with the tenants in situ, and claimed that this has resulted in an increase, but did not give an exact figure.

“In that period of time, we’ve seen a significant increase,” he said.

“And that’s increasing every day where we’re bringing more homes in.”

 

Mr O’Brien also said he is not thinking about extending the evictions ban because he is more interested in increasing the supply of accommodation through the state.

“I’ve been very critical in opposition in relation to the previous government’s housing policy as well. We’re dealing with 10 to 12 years of under delivery, but thankfully we’re seeing a step change this year in relation to housing delivery,” he said.

“We’re going to deliver affordable homes for the first time pretty much in the generation.

“If you take, for example, the First Homes Scheme, we’ve had 640 approvals under that scheme already, and that only launched in July.

“We’re going to deliver more new-build social homes than we’ve done in decades.

“I’m not going to speculate on where we’re going to end at the end of the year, and the reason for that is the last quarter is a very strong quarter for delivery.”

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