Action, Man


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Fine Gael Minister for Housing Simon Coveney

For the day that’s in it.

The team behind the building and construction forum BRegs Blog writes:

The Government’s Housing Action Plan is due to be published today,  All eyes will be focused on what the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney T.D. proposes to resolve Ireland’s chronic housing problem.

The programme for Government undertook to prepare a response to the housing shortage within 100 days which will be achieved. On 14 April 2016, the Dáil agreed to establish a Special Committee – the Committee on Housing and Homelessness – to review the implications of the problems of housing and homelessness and to make recommendations in that regard.

The Committee had its first meeting on 20 April 2016 and launched its final report to the Dáil on 17 June 2016. It will be interesting to see which recommendations survive in the Housing Minister’s Plan (very few it seems judging by the kite flying in the leaked report last week).

Will it be more pandering to vested interests in the construction sector that seem to have a huge influence on Department officials at the Custom House?

At this stage, 18 months after the housing crisis went mainstream there is a very informed media waiting to judge the new Housing Minister. If Minister Coveney thought the heat might be off him by launching the plan during the traditional annual builders’ holiday period, when most of the construction professionals also take leave, he may be disappointed. All media eyes seem to be clearly trained today on examining what these proposals are.

On what looks to be the hottest day of the year and possibly a record breaker in temperatures reached it seems the heat’s on for the Housing Minister!

We wish Minister Coveney all the best and hope that he can come up with the goods today. As always we would like to receive your feedback on the Housing Plan as published to:

The Heat’s On – Housing Action Plan Published Today (BRegs Forum)

Meanwhile, in today’s Herald…


Shocked Dublin homeowners face €28k bill each as fire safety flaws emerge at city apartments (Herald)

Via BRegs Blog



Watch Minister Coveney deliver his proposals live in the link above.

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47 thoughts on “Action, Man

  1. john

    Vested interests ahoy. looks like he will be throwing money at first time buyers to help them push property prices even higher!! Inspirational stuff!

    no sign of a use it or lose it tax or a move to allow higher rise residential in the city centre. thinks that might actually solve the underlying issue.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    When are builders to be held accountable for shoddy work? Are we really back in the land of ‘let the buyer beware’ with housing ffs! Were we ever away from it…. :/

  3. DubLoony

    Also on Twiiter: @BRegsBlog

    Should be interesting. The complete by -passing of local authority planning for plans over 150 units & going straight to An Bord Pleanala is the one I’ll be looking out for.

    In Dublin (area I’m familiar with, don’t hate me), there have been no plans submitted this year for large scale developments. There is a 6 week window for public submissions during the normal planning process. Yet this is being givne as an example of hold ups to development.

    If by-passed, City Development Plan, transport, environment impact and other considerations go out the window.

  4. Harry Molloy

    remove vat for first time buyers would be fantastic.

    there needs to be some incentives for builders to build which will piss the usuals off because builders are “evil”

    1. MysteryBeat

      So if you remove VAT from sale of new build houses, do the builders get to claim VAT rebate on purchase of materials ? if yes, then it’s basically paying builders to build houses. if no, the price of houses stays where it is and the builders make more profit.
      Either way, the prices won’t fall, but the taxpayers will once again offset the price of houses artificially.

  5. Eoin

    Hows about this? Government stays the Hell out of the market!!!!! Since when has constant government interference in markets been the norm? We cannot find fair price discovery in property due to this constant meddling and intervention. So how can anyone get involved in this market in any way (even just buying a house) when they’ve no idea what the states next intervention will result in?

    1. DubLoony

      The “Market” is not functioning right now. There is massive pent up demand, land banks, derelict sites, obscene levels of unused dwellings. Yet rents are sky high, people resinged to renting for life and a homeless crisis.

      If market forces of supply / demand was at work, it wouldn’t be such a mess.
      However, it does require government intervention when its screwing up society, young adults in particualr, to the extent that it is.

      1. Kolmo

        The entire monetary system nearly collapsed, totally destroyed itself by cocaine-adled fat stupidity, deregulation of the markets, and utter illiteracy of our government, the pissed-on tax payer had to prop up the so-called financial market, so no.

      1. martco

        spin cycle at 1200rpm alert
        with a radio on in the background…you start to notice spin noise levels after a while and want to turn it off
        over the Sunday and up to this morning the volume’s been up to 11….certain types of messaging from predictable characters…and zero balance…nearly threw my cuppa at the wall yesterday after this dirtbird from Hook Line & Sinker gushed about the MORKET another wan shovelling on lots of FISCAL SPACE and basically offering Coveney a free happy ending if he fancied one…I lost count after she said FISCAL SPACE 20 times in the same interview
        sweet jasuuuuuuuuuuuus

    2. Tish Mahorey

      “Hows about this? Government stays the Hell out of the market!!!!! ”

      That’s the problem. Homes are more important than a housing market. If you don’t have access to homes for people who cannot afford to buy one, then society suffers, everyone suffers including those who have no money worries.

      Unstable homes breed antisocial behaviour and persistent crime and vandalism which in turn costs the state money in policing and repairs and pushes up insurance premiums for everyone.

      Tax is collected for the running of the state and that has always included providing housing for low or no income families and individuals. Of course we would have more tax to spend if white collar criminals were pursued and jailed for avoiding their tax like other common criminals.

    1. DubLoony

      Labour launched their housing bill yesterday, to be before the Dáil in the Autumn.
      The implementation of the Kenny Report is a key part of it.

      Key points:
      The implementation of the recommendations of the Kenny report
      The remit of NAMA to be broadened and for the organisation to be rebranded as the National Housing Development and Finance Agency
      The professionalisation of the landlord sector
      The linking of rent to CPI

      1. MysteryBeat

        A bit late now for good ideas. They had the Dept. of Environment, and spent the whole time there fighting for water charges and reducing the minimum size of apartments.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Legislation? That link says it was a motion. Why did you say it was legislation when it clearly wasn’t?

          2. DubLoony

            I didn’t say it was legislation, I said: “Labour launched their housing bill yesterday, to be before the Dáil in the Autumn”

            When a Bill passes, then it becomes legislation.

      2. ahjayzis

        Fantastic! And less than a year after they left a 5 year stint in government, perfect timing.

        That’s really just insulting.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement


          1. Anne

            I asked Daithi Doolan on the tweet machine about that..

            His reponse –

            “Problems are DCC not allowed spend more €20m on housing without massive red tape & procurement nightmare

            We Never released Funding remains buried in red tape by Dept of Environ We have land & plans but no funding.

          2. DubLoony

            Anne, Daithi is chair of the housing ctte in DCC. He of all people should know the full extent of the capacity problems they have. Easier to blame some one else than admit its difficult.

            There are new building regs in place now based on the experience of Priory Hall and other incidents. This is not red tape, it is to deal with poor construction standards from Celtic Tiger era that continues to cause misery.

            Good summary of building regs here:

            This is the search for planning in DCC. Search onthe areas he says Daithi says he has plans for:

            Construction is one of the few industries that need to plan for 100+years. It is hugely complex, requiring very broad range of skills. Poor planning excessive building in wrong places with poor standards, coupled with banking collapse brought the industry to its knees. It is only now starting to reciver from that. As a result, we have pent up demand and reduced skills base from whcih to hire.

            Daithi would be doign more of a public service in explaining all that but it doesn’t neatly fit into a tweet.

          3. Anne

            Daithi would be doing more of a public service in explaining all that but it doesn’t neatly fit into a tweet.

            Sure…. and that does seem like more of a thorough explanation than blaming SF controlled DCC..

          4. DubLoony

            SF know all this, or should do. but it suits them to blame others for lack of delivery.

            If only X weren’t stopping us, we’d have Nirvana.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            “SF know all this, or should do. but it suits them to blame others for lack of delivery.”

            Because you didn’t *just* blame SF for Labour’s lack of delivery right there and most times your party is criticised.

        1. DubLoony

          Given the Dáil mathmatics, quite likey that it will succeed, like the workers protection legislation.

          1. Nigel

            Whatever they’ve done or not done, if they pushed it through I’d applaud them all the way.

  6. Eoin

    As I heard said, we no longer have any free markets just government interventions. All governments are involved with all markets. You can probably trace the roots of all our current global financial problems right back to Alan Greenspan dropping rates to near zero in the US after 9/11 and causing a massive lending/borrowing bubble. I would also argue that the rate at which new money is printed and loaned out heavily influences markets. Which unfortunately means that government really should be kept away from markets and our money supply. Money should be born in the market anyway not in a central bank (or in any old high street bank as it current works, yes money gets created from thin air at that level). Well, I won’t see change in my lifetime unfortunately.
    All we should expect from our government is regulation. But they can’t seem to manage that.

    1. Anne

      There’s absolutely no such thing as a free market..
      Ah fupp it, I’ll transcribe what Robert Reich said.. CTRL C, CRTL V… one sec. You obviously haven’t listened to it, and gone away and pondered it.. as you’re back again spouting the same nonsense about the free market.

      Here –
      Myth number 2 : The critical choice is between the free market or government.


      The free market doesn’t exist in nature. It’s created by government, by legislators, administrative agencies and courts and it’s enforced by government.

      All the ongoing decisions about how the market is organised. What gets patented, and patent protection for how long.. The human genome. Who can declare bankruptcy; corporations, homeowners, student debtors.

      What contracts are fraudulent…Insider trader…Or coercive..predatory loans, mandatory arbitration. And how much market power is excessive? Comcast and Time Warner for example.

      All of these decisions depend on government”

    2. DubLoony

      Government intervention goes back to Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BC when they laid down standarised units of measurements, accounting practices and how much people got paid for work.

      The Free market ain’t free, we pay for it thoguh taxes & legal remedies.

      1. ahjayzis

        I’m a particular fan of Hammurabi’s Building Regulations

        “If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.”

        Pyrite? Get the noose.

      2. Anne

        And this is more of it too –

        The biggest crisis we have in the country.. what people are most concerned about.. the biggest threat to social cohesion, as a generation is left to the wolves.. and all Baldy can say is ‘we can’t break the rules’

        He was responding to an argument from Ibec chief economist Fergal O’Brien in the Irish Independent Business Week yesterday that if Ireland can’t get extra leeway from Europe for vital spending in areas like social housing, the Government should consider defying the rules and ask for forgiveness later.

        But Mr Noonan said this was not the way to go.

        “It’s not good advice to break the rules. Spain and Portugal are in breach of rules this week and they’re opening themselves to sanctions that would range from 0pc to 0.2pc of GDP, which is a big chunk of money,” the minister said.

        Ibec said the rules, which are laid down by the European Commission to ensure prudent and stable public finances, should be adhered to for day-to-day government spending and taxation. But the organisation claimed they don’t make sense in the Irish case in terms of capital investment, describing them as “unnecessary” and “inappropriate”.

  7. Nigel

    I love the way the government is looking around and saying, you know what this fledgling recovery after a boom and bust driven by rubbish building and insane mortgages really needs? More rubbish building and insane mortgages!

  8. Mulder

    Action man has changed and not for the best, looking a bit weedy.
    Or wet behind the ehh, ears.

  9. Mulder

    If that is ehh, action man, then christ help us, when Super Man arrives.
    Though think ant man has alas already arrived.

  10. Turgenev

    Still and all, some good ideas in there. Ending council estates is one. It’s much better to have mixtures of rich and poor living as neighbours. Makes for better local schools, more chances for children, better libraries, better social care all round.

  11. Truth in the News

    What residential property is in the hands of NAMA that can be utilised as social
    housing stock, and how many people are being turned out on the street’s by the
    actions of Banks and Vulture Funds, is this being addressed by Coveney at all
    is not the strategy to keep the price property up, which will in turn to another bubble.

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