Belfast Telegraph

Action over housing crisis must be taken at every level says Micheal Martin

Action to tackle the housing emergency needs to be taken at every level of supply, the Fianna Fail leader has said.

The rate of growth in construction activity in Ireland fell last month to its slowest rate in more than two years, according to Ulster Bank.

Micheal Martin accused the Government of playing politics while the country suffered.

He said: " The scale of the housing emergency continues to get worse.

"For some inexplicable reason it took the new minister three months to arrange a meeting with the people charged with delivering housing in local authorities. In the coming weeks he will publish the fourth housing plan in as many years.

"Our policy is clear - we are proposing action at every level of housing supply with the biggest action being targeted at social and affordable housing."

Consultants Deloitte have warned that housing could become the biggest constraint on growth in the Irish economy.

It said the undersupply could ultimately hinder efforts to boost productivity and limit the ability to attract foreign direct investment.

Last week the Taoiseach announced that the government will be utilising NAMA to tackle the housing crisis, Mr Martin noted, calling for more action and less words.

"We are going to keep on pushing for delivery on social housing, on affordable housing, on helping families with serious household debt problems and on rental supply and affordability."

The Housing Department said its action plan for housing and homelessness sets out measures to be taken to address the housing crisis.

The plan provides for expenditure of 5.35 billion euros (£4.73 billion) on 47,000 additional social houses.

A statement said: " Unlocking supply is the key to overcoming many of the housing challenges we face and a number of initiatives have been introduced under the plan including: 226 million euros (£200 million) for critical infrastructure to get key sites moving; changes to the planning system to fast-track large scale housing planning applications; mapping of state lands available for social and private homes."

A review of the action plan is underway.

"This review will identify what new and additional actions can be taken to improve the supply of housing across all tenures, with a particular emphasis on social and affordable housing. Minister (Eoghan) Murphy intends to conclude the review shortly."

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