Business welcomes scale of ambition in new housing strategy

September 02, 2021

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has today welcomed the Government’s new housing strategy as an ambitious step in addressing one of the country’s main social and economic challenges. 

Fergal O’Brien, Ibec Director of Lobbying and Influence said: “Housing is intertwined with our economic competitiveness. The biggest single domestic driver of competitiveness pressures for business is the lack of housing supply. The imbalance in the housing market has been exacerbated due to Covid and has steadily become a problem right across the country.

"Ireland had been lacking a detailed, long-term, national housing strategy capable of delivering the number of homes required to house our growing population. The new ‘Housing for All’ strategy must get the country on track to deliver at least 33,000 quality and affordable homes each year. These targets must be regularly reviewed. 

"We need the right mix of housing, in the right areas. Students, young professionals, families, and an older population all have different housing needs. Affordable housing must make a greater contribution to Ireland’s housing mix, including the rollout of affordable purchase, such as the shared equity scheme, and cost-rental housing initiatives. It is right that the State be more ambitious in its approach to direct building, including maintenance and refurbishment, which will provide immediate economic and social benefit across the country.

"Increasing the availability of zoned and serviceable land is essential to meeting Ireland’s housing needs and the Land Development Agency must play a key role. We need to ensure sites can be provided with the necessary supporting utilities and infrastructure. The success of the housing strategy will be dependent on the provision of the necessary support infrastructure in the forthcoming National Development Plan. 

"Housing must be continued to be treated as strategic infrastructure. This is necessary to maintain the strongest commitment to delivering the housing targets set out. A streamlined planning process for housing is required, as well as a renewed approach for public procurement. 

"Housing and climate change are the two biggest challenges facing the economy and society over the coming years. Concerted action is required to deliver better lives and better business”, he concluded.