Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy (left) and Junior Housing Minister Damien English

“The key to solving the housing crisis is supply. This is one of 720 such sites around the country. There were about 7,000 social housing units built last year — 8,000 this year. That’s how you solve the housing crisis. Rebuilding Ireland wasn’t a plan for one year. It’s a five-year plan and is ahead of targets in many areas.”

Junior Housing Minister Damien English, April 11.

Eoghan Murphy last night who said local authorities built 1,014 houses in 2017, a further 761 were provided though Approved Housing Bodies, and 522 came from Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. The remaining homes were completed in 2016.

Irish Examiner, April 20

A total of 780 social houses were built across the State last year, according to figures published by the Department of Housing.

Irish Times, this morning

Good times.

Total of 780 social houses built last year (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

Thanks Mel Reynolds

53 thoughts on “Home Truths

  1. GiggidyGoo

    Damien English obviously going to the Varadkar School of Lying. Like his master, he’s a waffler. And this is what becomes a junior minister. The bar is set high for FG obviously.

    1. david

      Maybe get Damien English to negotiate brexit and we are one up on the English even if its by name alone
      By the way is he Emma English’s little brother
      Seems to me the ghost of Kevin Cardiff is hanging around
      Apparently these homes are fairy homes
      Tick tock brexit is looming

    2. Otis Blue

      A waffler par excellance!!

      He seems to be the go to guy for FG when they want some teflon-coated spanner to spout random, fact-free, incomprehensible gibberish.

  2. phil

    FG’s solution will be to enrich the private sector by providing tax breaks and other schemes to private developers , which will cost multiples of what it would to ramp up public sector construction.

    They will do this for ideology reasons, even if the costs of that approach is astronomical , but if they really want to do it that way they might as well give each homeless family 600k and let the market provide. that however wont be considered either , because of ideology reasons.

    I accept that the private sector might be in a better position to do this faster, but we all know the Department of Housing , will not cost this properly and will pay way more than whats necessary , while likely bow to lobbyist demands to lower building standards , storing up future problems …

    1. ahjayzis

      They’ve already rigged welfare as a landlord-enrichment tool.

      The government is paying BILLIONS a year to private landlords to provide crap, precarious accommodation.

      We could be building homes for social rent that PAY FOR THEMSELVES.

      Their fiscal caution is a lie, it’s literally throwing money away for short term gain and making billions in losses long term.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        “BILLIONS”?

        The three Dublin county councils paid out just over €30 million in 2017 – and I’d guess that’s a good chunk of the national bill.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          Yes, BB, billions.

          *rubs billion euro notes all over self in a fit of giddiness*

        2. ahjayzis

          It’s in the welfare budget, BB, not local councils.

          Budget 2018:
          300 million for Housing assistance payment
          134 million for the Rental Accommodation Scheme
          116 million for emergency homeless accommodation.

          This is all dead money going straight into landlords pockets that inflates the buy-to-let market.

          Invest now and in a few years this can all be saved when the social housing units start paying back to the state.

          This is a really simple concept that shouldn’t need to be explained.

          1. 7ollie

            by the by, 52% of taxable rental income goes back to the government, so its a good way of raising revenue income figures.

        1. Brother Barnabas

          that puts it at €535 million in 2017 but across all schemes (supplement, HAP and RAS, mortgage assistance and others). i dont think all of these can be deemed an alternative to social housing. would be HAP and RAS primarily.

          but, yeah, you’re right – the dublin county councils aren’t as much of the national total that I assumed

          1. Cian

            While it’s dead money – you can’t just say “We can take the €535million [we were going to spend on supplements, HAP and RAS] in 2018 and build 10,000 houses” – because you would end up with 25,000 homeless between now and the houses being finished in 18 months.

            On the other hand – perhaps the government should just approach the current landlords getting this money and offer to buy the properties outright – and perhaps offer to waive CGT as an incentive. Kill two birds with one stone.

          2. Brother Barnabas

            or perhaps instead of standing aside and watching vulture funds coming in and buying up entire apartment blocks for knock-down prices, the government could fund the local authorities to buy them – particularly around 2012/2013, these buildings were being sold for way less than the construction cost

          3. ahjayzis

            That’s not what I’m saying.

            I’m saying we should have a plan to reduce this amount. By investing. But we don’t. Because Thatcherite policy doesn’t care how much money waste so long the state does as little as possible.

  3. SOQ

    The plain fact is, social or otherwise, if they wanted to build more housing they would so so because there is absolutely nothing stopping them. Although I question why such media focus on social housing when the problem is actually lack of accomodation for sale.

    Housing has a knock on effect on practically every section of society. It forces people to make decisions they would not have otherwise made and combined with lack of adequate public transport, is having a seriously detrimental impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

    I hope it becomes the number one issue in the next election but given how many are creaming it with the current rent gouging, I doubt it. Divide and conquer, Irish style.

    1. ahjayzis

      Although I question why such media focus on social housing when the problem is actually lack of accomodation for sale.

      Because it’s a continuum. It’s one “market”.

      In every housing market there has always been people not in a position to buy or rent on their own. In America this gives you trailer parks. Here it used to be slums and tenements, then council housing changed all that. Now though it’s regressed back to private rented accommodation subsidised by the taxpayer. Which incentivizes buy to let landlords to buy up housing stock. Which inflates the market further and is competition for people actually looking for a house to LIVE in.

      A hands-off, “let the market deal with it” approach hurts people at every income level, so it’s all one problem.

      1. SOQ

        Yes but the narrative is that it is only social housing which is needed, meaning just poor people that I question. There is a chronic lack of housing right across the board yet the whole focus is on “free houses” which suits a particular agenda.

        1. ahjayzis

          Social housing eases demand for affordable and market price housing, though. Hundreds of thousands in overpriced rented accommodation that the state is paying landlords for. That can be freed up. It can be a huge problem solver.

          I’m actually for the state building housing of all tenures on it’s own land, but social housing is a no-brainer as a direct action the government can take, but refuses to on ideological grounds. It’s the blockage that’s causing all the problems.

          1. Cian

            There needs to be more houses built. It doesn’t really matter who is paying for it.

            If the local authorities went back to actually getting houses build on local authority lands for social housing it would be a help. But if they do there will be negative knock-on effects to the rest of the building industry.
            – services: there are areas of Dublin where there isn’t capacity in sewage/fresh water supplies. So until these are fixed no more houses (or limited numbers)
            – labour: depending on the model the LAs use. If they want to contract out the whole build then they will need to match the profits that a builder could make if they are building privately. If they go down the direct hire – they will be competing with the builders for individual staff – which will drive up wages – which will drive up prices.
            – ghettos: The last time the LAs had a major building initiatives there were a lot of mistakes make – Tallaght with its lack of transport/shops. Or the various ‘sink’ estates.

            Yes the LAs should be building their own stock; but this isn’t a magic bullet.

          2. JIMMYJAMES

            Not the same Cian,

            A dev wants to profit on the final development.
            If possible selling the majority of the development to the private
            market & demanding the lowest possible number of homes in the the dev
            are earmarked for social housing.

            Contractor builds & delivers.

            Gov clearly don’t want to do this.

        2. scottser

          social housing is not just for ‘poor’ people. in fact, the central ethos of this type of housing is that allows residents to elevate to education, employment and home ownership within a couple of generations. social housing generates a middle-class.

      2. SOQ

        And on that point, IMO there are two specific groups who need to be mobilised.

        First, the ‘early risers’ are commuters because they cannot afford to live in Dublin. Like it or not, it is the middle classes who will change this greed focused trajectory.

        Second is young people who haven’t a hope in hell of securing long term rental tenure at an affordable price let alone owning a home. They are also victims because their lives are indefinitely on hold.

        My point is this whole debate needs to be widened out so that people realise the quality of their own lives is being directly affected by this crisis. Selfish interests maybe but it is not just the homeless or the poor who are at breaking point, it is a lot more than that.

      3. Liam Deliverance

        Good commentary AhJayziz, SOQ and co. – It reminds me of when the economic landscape changed in the US and it became impossible to work and save and buy a home and have a life, the so-called American dream had faltered. Because people could not see the “dream” they became lethargic and spiritless, they worked less, they stopped being civic minded, this caused the economy to drop even more. It’s like that here in some respects, work your backside off and what do you get?,you get to give 70% of your wages away and then not even have your own independence, your own freedom, your own life. Emigration is a cruel blow to family relationships and friendships but it makes a lot of sense compared to staying here and waiting 6 or 7 years and counting for your government to do right by you.

    2. ahjayzis

      Which is why the landlords whining and threatening to “leave the sector” should be laughed at and told to fupp off. They can’t move their houses abroad.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        there are other ways of leaving the sector – one being a change to short-lets instead of conventional tenancies. and that is happening.

        1. ahjayzis

          Legislate against it, then. The longer a tenancy, the better the tax treatment. Looking to make a quick buck? Tax hike.

          This is either an emergency or it’s not.

          Profiteering in a food shortage would be legislated against. Profiteering in a housing shortage is basically encouraged.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            legislation is already there in planning rules. it’s just not being enforced – either because of incompetence, ideology or apathy

          2. Cian

            don’t forget NIMBYism.
            Lots of planning gets caught up in the locals not wanting more traffic or houses spoiling the views…

          3. SOQ

            Just on that point, I seriously question the metrics on Daft ‘for sale’. I have seen a particular apartament rise 25 grand overnight and no indication of it in their percentage increased section. This is not the first time I have spotted this. Same properties and same adverts.

            Would it be therefore reasonable to infer the same is happening in their rental section?

  4. Junkface

    Damien English is the ultimate dithering Boggerbot that Ireland has ever produced. How can he say there was 8,000 new houses built last year, when the real figure is 780!!? Thats a complete fabrication, and he should be sent back to the bogland workshop for a system update, or else taken apart and physically upgraded.

  5. Frilly Keane

    a ffs
    Can we get the addresses of these properties and go out and count them
    like a proper old fashioned Boot Test stock take

  6. GenerationScrewed

    Silly Damien, he should have said “7000 social housing units delivered” instead of built. He’d have been able to scramble together a fudge then and include HAP, RAS, voids etc to make up his nice big number that sounds good.

    It’s hard to know if this whole mess has been deliberately manufactured to “incentivise” foreign capital (read, yield hungry pension funds and REITs) to build large developments and then agree 20 year leases with the LAs and get paid “market” rents (probably with upward only provisions) paid for by the taxpayer via HAP. Instead of getting a 2% yield to lend to the Irish government for 20 years, we’ll state guarantee a yield in excess of 6 or 7% and then probably buy back the blocks from them at the market prices in 20 years time. Of course, our institutions will be “professional” and provide “world class” housing. Then again, that may be giving our politicians a bit too much credit of being capable of orchestrating such a grand conspiracy.

    Current situation suits plenty of homeowners who own or are nearing the negative equity exit door on their 2006 “investment”, but effects the quality of life of anyone who doesn’t own a place who will probably be sharing a room in a miserable houseshare (or else an uber trendy shared living arrangement devised by some “share economy” private company) for under a grand a month when they should be living in city centre apartments.

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