“In return, clear commitments will be required around the accelerated pace and scale of delivery of homes in the right locations and with affordability built in, reflecting the scale of the State’s investment on behalf of its citizens.”
According to Mr Coveney, between August 2016 and October 2016, 21 local authorities submitted 74 proposals for funding.
Mr Coveney told the Dáil last month:
On 28 March 2017, I announced funding for 34 projects under LIHAF. The cost of these projects is €226.46 million, of which €169.65 million would be funded under LIHAF with local authorities funding the remaining €56.81 million.
“These public infrastructure projects will be key to the delivery of 23,000 housing units over the next four years, with a longer term projection of up to 70,000 units as the selected sites are fully built out.
“There is a strong focus on affordability in the projects being funded under LIHAF. Local authorities were specifically asked to focus on affordability in considering what proposals to put forward and have received commitments from housing developers with regard to affordability.”
“It is expected that local authorities will work quickly to deliver public infrastructure which in turn will ensure that significant housing can be delivered in the period up to 2021. The substantial increase in housing supply should ensure that the house prices are competitive.”
Further to this.
Laoise Neylon, in the Dublin Inquirer, has been asking if the developers who have benefited from this funding have been building social and affordable housing units and, if so, how many?
Readers will note that all developers are required, by law, to build 10 per cent social housing in all developments where are more than nine units.
Ms Neylon writes:
“…there has been little detail about exactly how many affordable homes there will be on the sites that benefit from the fund, which are spread across 15 local authorities.
“One of the biggest housing sites to get LIHAF funding for infrastructure was Cherrywood, to the south of the city [Dublin], where 8,000 new homes are planned. The government gave €15.19 million for road upgrades and a bridge there.
“About 60 percent of the site is owned by the developer Hines, according to its spokesperson Robert Hanley.
“But Hanley was unable to say how many of the 8,000 units would be affordable in the development, or to directly answer a series of questions asking how many affordable units there would be and what cost they would be.
“Cherrywood will have 10 per cent social housing in line with current requirements,” said Hanley, by email on 10 May.
But social housing and affordable housing are not the same. Social housing is owned by local authorities, while affordable housing might be privately owned, but would be either purchased or rented at a lower cost.
The 10 per cent social housing doesn’t satisfy the requirement for affordable housing under LIHAF, according to a Department of Housing Spokesperson Eddie Kiernan.
“The provision of the required 10 per cent under Part V will be a factor in evidencing affordability but it must also extend to the rest of any relevant private housing on the site,” said Kiernan.
“On 15 May, in response to questions about how many affordable units there would be on the site, a spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said that “there is currently no affordable housing scheme in operation”.
“After a series of follow-up queries, a spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council sent an email on 16 May, saying that the council is in negotiations with the developer to secure an element of affordable housing at Cherrywood.”
“It’s unclear why this agreement is not already in place.”
Neither Barry’s Tea nor Lyons was willing to share the exact names of all the tea estates that they source from.
Lyons gets some from Kenya, some from Sri Lanka, and some from Assam, said Adam Fisher, the media relations manager at Unilever, which owns Lyons.
“We source from an array of tea estates and though it isn’t possible to give you the names of all of them Lyons is mostly sourced from East Africa, including Kericho,” he said. It is fully Rainforest Alliance-certified, though….
Barry’s Tea, which is not Rainforest Alliance-certified, didn’t provide a list either. It sources 90 percent of its tea from East Africa and 10 percent from India, said spokesperson Camille O’Flanagan. “We work with some of the most reputable tea estates in every region.”
As it is, the number of Irish hosts offering up places to stay has more than doubled every year since 2010.
The company’s latest figures show that Airbnb stays in Ireland increased 187 percent between April of last year and April of this year. And Dublin, the most popular spot in the country for Airbnb guests, hosted 240,000 visitors last year.
Airbnb says it had 4,700 listings in Dublin last month, an increase of more than 1,000 since January.
So how many of these properties are entire dwellings, apartments or houses that could house permanent residents at a time when Dublin’s housing stock is inadequate to meet demand?
Quite a lot of them, according to Inside Airbnb, an independent data project that draws statistics and information from the Airbnb website to highlight the make-up of Airbnb properties around the world.
As of January, of the 3,117 properties listed in Dublin city, 47.1 percent – or 1,469 – were entire homes or apartments, Inside Airbnb’s statistics show. (Airbnb didn’t provide these figures when asked.)
Inside Airbnb’s figures also highlight that well over a third of the city’s hosts have multiple listings.
Damien Murphy and Lois Kapila, in the Dublin Inquirer, write:
“[Christy Beal] and her family – over from New Jersey for a short break – had tried to log in at a few of the Dublin public free wifi spots around the city. “I’ve been looking for the signs,” she said. Scan for wifi connections and you can see the network and a healthy number of bars but, so far, she hadn’t managed to connect.”
“That’s because in May this year, Dublin City Council quietly made use of a break clause to terminate its contract with Gowex, the wifi firm that had been providing the service. So, there’s no public free wifi facilitated by Dublin City Council available right now, said Sinéad Murphy from the council’s press office.”
“It’s a shame nobody’s told confused holidaymakers. Or, for that matter, local councillors.”
A new independent weekly online newspaper providing quality coverage of city affairs published on Wednesdays “from its office in Harold’s Cross”.
The Inquirer’s writing roster includes Frank McDonald, former environment editor for the Irish Times, who, in the first issue, explores the “new-look” Grafton Street.
Mr McDonald writes:
A Spanish friend living in Dublin was aghast when the dyed red concrete bricks and magnolia ceramic tiles of 1988 vintage were torn up and replaced by (Spanish) limestone: “They’ve drained the colour out of the street!”.
I told him that the old stuff was totally inappropriate, especially the ceramic tiles, which were slippy in wet Dublin weather, the red brick wasn’t really clay brick and, in any case, it shouldn’t be laid on a street surface. The paving had also been breaking up, making a mess of it.