Further to the release of the latest homeless figures last Friday showing 7,941 people registered as homeless in June 2017, 5,046 adults and 2,895 children – an overall increase of 241 people form May 2017…
Ireland has now recovered from the economic crash of a decade ago, according to Goodbody stockbroker’s latest quarterly Irish Economy Health Check.
It is forecasting a return of domestic spending levels to their 2007 peak this year and suggests that full employment will be achieved by the end of next year.
Goodbody’s report says rapid growth in construction and consumer spending will push core domestic demand beyond previous forecasts and Ireland will retain its status as one of the fastest-growing European economies.
With jobs growing at the fastest pace since 1999, unemployment will fall to just 5% in late 2018, according to Goodbody Chief Economist Dermot O’Leary.
As a result, Ireland may need to start relying on immigrant labour to maintain its momentum as one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies.
Fine Gael TD and junior minister for finance, Simon Harris
This morning’s Friday Gathering panel on the Today With Seán O’Rourke Show were: Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Simon Harris, Anti Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger, Mick Clifford, Special Correspondent with The Examiner and Political Correspondent with RTE, Katie Hannon.
During their discussion, the matter of homeless and social housing was raised.
Mr Harris also talked about the economy…
Ruth Coppinger: “Just with regard to this funding of local authorities, let’s just be absolutely factual: 20 local authority homes were completed in the first quarter of 2015 and 117 housing association homes. If that continues…”
Sean O’Rourke: “Is that for the whole country?”
Coppinger: “Yes. There’s the department of environment figures. If that continues for the whole year, there’ll be less than 500, you know, social houses. In 1975, I lived in a council house with my family and there was 8,795 houses built by local authorities.”
Talk over each other
Simon Harris: “We’re not having a dispute over this. I’m basically making the point…”
Talk over each other
Coppinger: “No, but can I clarify, I said, Fianna Fáil did lower things but actually they built more in 2010 than you’re building now and this is meant to be an housing emergency. That’s just the facts.”
Harris: “Let’s be very clear about what I said. When you decide, as a Government, as the previous government did, to stop building social housing, to stop building social housing and to move into the rental market – that was a policy decision they made. When you decide for that to happen, the system grinds…please let me finish…the system grinds to a halt. The infrastructure that’s in place to build the houses grinds to a halt. You have to bring that back up. We have put investment in place that will allow that to happen but it won’t happen over night…”
Coppinger: “It’s not for building houses. It’s for modular homes and hotel accommodation.”
Harris: “You, you, you protesting about it, or sitting in show houses, isn’t going to solve the problem.”
Talk over each other
Coppinger: “Well, actually, it’s brought more attention which is move than you’ve ever done.”
Harris: “No what will solve the problem is actually coming up with ways of funding it and our economic policies mean we can…”
Coppinger: “Can I tell you how we could fund it? It’s actually quite simple.”
Harris: “You don’t have a way of funding it.”
Coppinger: “Ok, I’ll give you two examples of where it could be funded.”
Coppinger: “Nama has €3billion on hand now, for development. I believe it’s going to go into the Docklands or whatever. That €3billion could be set aside for social and affordable houses. It also sold Dundrum Shopping Centre and a number of shopping centres and it got €1.8billion, that could also go towards it. We could argue about how much it costs to build a house but if you brought in emergency legislation, planning legislation, to fastrack this, which could be done if you had a Government that cared..”
Harris: “We do care.”
Coppinger: “You could quickly acquire land, Nama has a third of development land in Dublin. And, for example, modular homes which I understand people might want because hotel lives are so bad, aren’t that cheap and they’re really not that quick either because you’ll still have the whole planning issue. You could actually, no, but you could refurbish some of the hotels, give people cooking facilities and located them to where their kids are. I’ve talked to homeless people about it…”
Harris: “And I’ve talked to homeless people as well.”
Coppinger: “And, sorry, there is also the Strategic Investment Fund – there’s €4billion…”
Harris: “And as you know, and as you probably heard from Nama, at the Public Accounts Committee, there is a significant number of homes that have been offered to local authorities. Some have been, a significant number, over 4,000, have been turned down. That’s not a criticism of local authorities but of the 6,000 houses offered, the local authorities turned down over 4,000.”
Coppinger: “That figure is being cited by the Government but actually…”
Harris: “It’s not being cited, it’s a statement of fact.”
Coppinger: “It’s not a lot to offer though…”
Harris: “It’s a statement of fact.”
Coppinger: “Over 8 years, if you boil it down, that’s not a lot of housing.”
Michael Clifford: “There’s a case, the Government, definitely, they righted a listing economy, there’s no question about that, the economy is in much better shape than it was four years ago. You can argue about how fair it was, absolutely, you can argue about and the fact that the benefits coming through are not being felt. However, outside, following the programme, laid down by the Troika and Fianna Fáil, in relation to numerous social issues, the Government’s been an abject failure. They put all their energies into the economy, as they saw it and a number of social issues – we saw this the minute the Troika left town – they started being hit by various issues straight away.”
Harris: “Yeah but I have to come back on this point because there is an attempt, and I think a view held that you can decouple economy from society. It’s very easy for any politician or commentator to list all societal issues, of which there are many, you can’t fund them, they’re only aspirational and cheap talk unless you actually have a functioning economy. What we now have is what we didn’t have when we came to office in 2011: is an economy that can begin to fund those services. But only if we secure the recovery, only if we get more people back to work and only if we make the right decisions.”
Planning permission has been sought [By Oxley and Ballymore] for the first phase of one of the largest developments planned for Dublin’s docklands under Dublin City Council’s new fast-track planning scheme.
…Oxley is headed up by former Singapore police officer Ching Chiat Kwong, who made his name in Singapore as the “Shoebox King” for developing compact apartments.
A specific number of 21,633 direct jobs have been created in the accommodation and food services sector since the VAT reduction in July 2011 apparently.
But some people still aren’t happy.
John King of SIPTU writes:
SIPTU has called on the Government to commit to removing the preferential VAT rate currently enjoyed by the profitable hotel and restaurant sector that includes many businesses that are exploiting low paid workers.
According to new figures released this week the hospitality sector is booming. A new independent survey by accountancy firm Crowe Horwath indicates that the average profit on each hotel room in Ireland grew from €7,347 in 2013 to €9,201 in 2014. The Government introduced a 9% VAT rate for this sector in 2011. This has enabled increased profits.
This situation needs to be tackled now, otherwise the Government’s entire strategy on protecting low paid workers is in real danger of being undermined
This year’s January sale at Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin
We’re back, baby.
A surge in spending on houses, cars and household goods coupled with growing employment has seen consumer sentiment hit levels not seen since the height of the boom, a survey has found.
Retail sales volume rose by 3.7 per cent in 2014 while the value of the sales increased by 1.6 per cent indicating a significant upturn in activity. This upward trend has continued into 2015, with sales volume up by 6.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period last year..
Using data from multiple official sources, the report highlights the 40,000 houses sold in 2014 and 21,300 in the first half of 2015…..