Irish Republican News · September 3, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Affordable housing scheme collapses

A touted initiative by the 26 County Dublin government to provide cheaper housing in new private estates resulted in just 163 social and affordable houses being built last year, despite an overall output of 69,000 houses and apartments.

The figures come almost two years after the Dublin government watered down a provision that up to 20 per cent of all private developments contain social and affordable housing.

Under pressure from the building industry, the Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, said builders could provide financial compensation instead of the 20 per cent clause.

The Minister of State with responsibility for Housing, Mr Noel Ahern, said it appeared builders were using “stockpiles” of planning permissions granted for land purchased prior to the introduction of the 20 per cent clause in August 1999.

He also said the figures did not include a substantial number of social and affordable houses, dating from a 1999 initiative, which were now coming onto the market. Threshold, the national housing organisation, criticised the Government’s handing of the social and affordable housing initiative and called for the 20 per cent clause to be fully implemented in all areas.

The group’s chairwoman, Ms Aideen Hayden, said: “They’re not using this 20 per cent clause to the fullest extent. If they don’t, we all pay the price and communities will continue to disintegrate.”

The group has also called for the level of local authority social housing to be doubled to help deal with what it says is a housing crisis.

Out of the 69,000 housing units built last year, over 5,000 local authority units - or 8 per cent of overall housing output - were local authority houses. Meanwhile, there are in excess of 48,000 families on local authority waiting-lists.

Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Daithi said that the Dublin government was “failing whole communities”.

“The current housing statistics proves that Fianna Fail remain the builders party, a party taking direction from private developers and not the people who elect them. While profits soar, people are being squeezed by a government who choose to look the other way and an industry more focused on profit than people. The government have the tools to change this.

“Builders are allowed to simply buy their way out of their obligations. The government must rectify this,” he said.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News