Tag Archives: Housing

Sandymount Strand in Dublin; Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe; David Browne, president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland

Building on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand and the Tolka Estuary could provide enough homes for 150,000 people, the president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has said.

David Browne, a director of RKD Architects, said the beach and estuary lands should be reclaimed from the sea for dense, sustainable apartment neighbourhoods, which would provide affordable homes over the next 50 years.

Reclaim Sandymount Strand for apartments, says architect (Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times)

Abercrombie’s new town plan for Dublin (Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times)

Dublin MEP Ciaran Cuffe thinks it could be damaging to the environment.

“I think it’s very controversial,” said Mr Cuffe. “Personally, I don’t think it’s viable. It involves building in the Dublin Bay biosphere which was a Unesco designation a few years ago.”

Green MEP says building homes on reclaimed land in Dublin Bay is not viable (Irish Examiner)

Save Poolbeg

Previously: Derelict Dublin

 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

Summary of new report on ‘new dwelling completions’ from the Central Statistics Office; tweet from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This morning.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office state there were 4,275 “new dwelling completions” in the first quarter of this year.

According to the CSO the figure “is based on the number of domestic dwellings connected by the ESB Network to the electricity supply and may not accord precisely with Local Authority or Eircode Routing Key boundaries”.

Over the same period last year, there were 3,470 such completions.

Meanwhile…

And…

Daft.ie’s report from earlier this week on the first quarter of this year and the rental market stated:

“…the level of supply needed for rents to not change is about 13,000 per quarter, or 1,000 per week. Currently, the Dublin market is getting half that – about 500 per week.

“To close that gap, Dublin needs to build tens of thousands more rental homes. How many depends on how frequently these change tenants.

“Suppose the average tenancy last three years, which is somewhat shorter than is currently the case (and thus lowering the total number of homes needed).

“In that case, Dublin would need build an extra 500 rental homes to come on the market each week for those full three years, to close the gap between the 500 that are coming on and the 500 that are needed.

“That’s almost 80,000 rental homes that Dublin needs to build, as soon as possible.”

Read the CSO report in full here

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

This afternoon on RTÉ Radio One’s News At One.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was interviewed by reporter Louise Byrne about the latest Daft.ie quarterly report which shows just 2,700 properties were available to rent nationwide on the website on May 1, while the average rent nationwide is €1,366.

Mr Murphy told Ms Byrne rent inflation is low.

The Daft.ie report did refer to the national annual rate of inflation at 8.3%, in the first quarter of 2019, being the lowest in five years as a “crumb of comfort” in the report.

Ms Byrne put it to Mr Murphy: “Are rent increases of 6.8% in Dublin year-on-year slow?

He said:

“It’s the slowest rate of increase that we’ve seen since 2013. We know that rents have run away in the capital because of the lack of the supply that we have had with homes to buy and homes to rent.

“And that’s why with Rebuilding Ireland, we’re dramatically increasing the number of homes to buy, but we’re also bringing in these reforms to protect renters which is so important. We know we have more work to do.

“We’re halfway through Rebuilding Ireland but it is showing signs of progress in some key areas like supply. But there’s more to do and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing over the rest of the year.”

Asked when 80,000 homes will be built in Dublin – given that this is the figure Daft.ie claims is required and only 18,000 were built across the country last year, Mr Murphy said:

“What we saw last year was the 25% increase in the number of homes built over the previous year, it’s going to increase again this year. Each year, under our plans we’re committing more money to building more homes for social and affordable housing, we’re also seeing on the private side more housing being built as well.

“The key thing we need to see in places like Dublin is more apartments, but it’s not just Dublin where we need to see more apartments being built, it’s in each of the cities in the large towns that we have in the country. And that’s why we talk about our vision beyond Rebuilding Ireland.

“We’re talking about growing the population outside of Dublin, taking the pressure off Dublin, not just for homes but for jobs as well.”

Mr Murphy also told Ms Byrne that the rent caps “that have been working” have been extended to 2021 “at the earliest”.

Listen back in full here

Earlier: Daft Figures

Rollingnews

From top: Dublin Housing Action Committee (DHAC) publication entitled ‘Crisis’, 1969; DHAC founding members, from left: Sean Dunne, Mairin deBurca and Eamonn Farrell  in Liberty Hall in Dublin on May Day

The following is a talk given by photojournalist Eamonn Farrell, Director of Rollingnews and former Dublin Housing Action Committee [DHAC] activist, on May Day to launch a photographic exhibition at Liberty Hall focusing on the housing crises in the 20th century and 21st century Dublin.

‘Ironically in today’s newspapers and on the air you could get all the latest stats on the housing crisis. Not pleasant reading. I am not going to bamboozle you with further figures.

But if you will allow me I will try and paint a picture of my experiences as a housing activist in 1960s Ireland

Like many people in the sixties, I moved to England. Not just in search of work. I already had a job as a junior barman. In those days to be licensed to pull pints of the black stuff you had to serve three years as an apprentice and then two as a junior barman.

Ireland then was still in the grip of a conservative Catholic Church. No divorce. No Contraception. Gay sex was illegal. Women had to give up work when they married. Young mothers were being sent to work in laundries and forced to give up their children born outside of marriage. Priests demanded the right to question and interfere in the nature of your activities in the marriage bedroom.

Yes, that was the Ireland in which the tyranny of British occupation was replaced by the tyranny of a church exercising the moral oppression of the population with the compliance of an independent, but supine state.

I had worked in Kirwan House, a pub right beside what was then UCD in Earlsfort Terrace. It was frequented by students who were starting to get the whiff of new philosophies from the European mainland and were reading works not only by Sartre but by Marx and Lenin as well.

Bob Dylan was strumming, Luke Kelly was singing and O’Donoghues pub was only around the corner. For a teenager from Finglas it was heady stuff. But not quite heady enough.

In London I bumped into one of the students I befriended in Dublin and he invited me to come along to meetings of the Irish Workers Group (IWG), headed by Gerry Lawless.

Lawless had ensured himself a place in legal history by being the first person to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights. The IWG would have been described as a Trotskyist group, which meant little to me at the time.

The IWG held meetings every Sunday at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park And on a particular Sunday, I was delegated to speak. Of course I was nervous and nearly vomiting into my tea in the nearby Lyons Cafe, but it was nothing to how sick I was when I discovered the speaker before me was a young curly-haired radical by the name of Eamon McCann!

Now if any of you have heard Eamon speak you will know his mouth cannot keep up with the speed at which his brain is shoveling words onto his whiplash tongue. Needless to say I was a disappointment to myself and my comrades. Always meant to check with Eamon were those curls natural or the result of a perm.

My first task after that miserable performance was to go to a certain hotel where there was an international conference taking place, and at night cut down both the American and Soviet flags.

I duly arrived Stanly knife in hand and shimmied up the pole to cut down the American flag first. As I cut through, which was not easy, as once up the pole, my legs were wrapped around it like a pole dancer, I had only a split second to allow both hands free to cut the rope.

Suddenly blood was squirting from my hand, the flag was still in place, and I dropped to the ground like a fireman on an emergency call.

Continue reading

From top: A young Eamonn Farrell being arrested during a sit-down housing protest, College Green, Dublin in 1969; Mr. Farrell claimed that the garda inspector who is about to be tripped by him, had moments earlier punched him in the stomach; Eamonn today

Eamon Farrell, Editor of RollingNews.ie and former Secretary of the Dublin Housing Action Committee DHAC,is launching a photographic exhibition on the housing crisis, tonight at 7.30pm in Liberty Hall.

Eamonn will also be speaking on his experience as an activist with the DHAC, including sit down protests and occupation of vacant properties, and as a journalist covering last year’s housing protests in Dublin.

The exhibition is a part of the 2019 May Fest events which starts of with the traditional May Day Parade from Parnell Square at 7.00pm to Liberty Hall.

Eamonn was a founding member of the Socialist Party of Ireland (SPI), Socialists Against Nationalism and the Divorce Action Group (DAG).

He ceased his political activities with the demise of the SPI and entered journalism, becoming picture editor of the Sunday Tribune and Editor of RollingNews.ie photo agency.

The Dublin Housing Uprising exhibition (Facebook)

Rollingnews

Comedian Oliver Callan and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

For decades, Dublin has been hailed as a low-rise capital that protects its historical skyline – until [Housing Minister Eoghan] Murphy said high-rise was needed to solve the housing shortage and would encourage more apartment developments.

So far, the only tower approved for planning under his new laws is Johnny Ronan’s 22-story office block and hotel.

It will be the tallest building in Ireland but won’t provide a single home for anyone.

…In 2017, over four million square feet of office space was built in the capital, enough for 25,000 extra workers.

But during the same ­period, just over 3,500 new housing units were built to house them. Basic math reveals the problem.

…Government policy on social housing is abysmal — last year in Dublin there were just 74 social housing units built, 69 of which were “modular” homes, basically prefabs. That leaves just five proper houses built in 12 months.

FIGHT!

Our housing crisis was created by design and the Government, led by disastrous Eoghan Murphy, is refusing to solve it (Oliver Callan, The Irish Sun)

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varakar in the Dáil today

Just now.

In the Dáil…

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy repeatedly asked the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if it’s true that Dublin City Council only built 21 social housing units last year.

Mr Varadkar appeared to confirm the figure when he said that a breakdown of social housing figures is available, he has seen the figures, and “I imagine that that is correct”.

But his answer came after some time.

Ms Murphy is a member of the Public Accounts Committee and recalled a recent meeting of the committee involving  the Housing Department’s Secretary General John McCarthy whom, she said, stated “quite categorically” that the figures for council housing are extremely clear in terms of the breakdown/categorisation of these properties.

She said Mr McCarthy said the department publishes “quarterly updates in this regard” and he “refuted allegations of spin when it comes to the presentation of the figures”.

Ms Murphy said:

“In 2018, the social housing output figures, under local authority build, the number is listed as 2,022 but the minister has bundled all of those categories and has consistently refused to give a breakdown of local authority build by individual category.

“However, at the Public Accounts Committee meeting last week, the secretary general [Mr McCarthy] in response to questions I posed, finally gave us a breakdown of the figures for 2018.

“Those figures: 768 for turn-key units, 200 regeneration properties and that leaves a total of a 1,054 actual newly built local authority houses for 2018.

Why then the continued blurring of numbers by Minister Murphy?

Ms Murphy said that a few weeks ago Minister Murphy, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Gavin Jennings “grilled” the minister for a breakdown of the social housing output but his questions went unanswered while the minister said the figures would be available the following week.

But, Ms Murphy said, these figures still haven’t been made public, outside of being made available to the Public Accounts Committee; they’re not on the department’s website; and they’re not in the department’s press releases.

The Social Democrats co-leader then asked if the reason for the “reluctance” to give a clear breakdown of the output is that some councils are performing “very poorly”?

Ms Murphy then said:

“For example, it has been said that Dublin City Council, who are at the epicentre of this crisis, only built 21 houses last year or could it be red tape? We need to know?”

“So, Taoiseach, can we get some straight answers to the following questions please?

“Can you confirm that the new builds by local authorities, given to the Public Accounts Committee, by the Secretary General last week, are accurate?

Is it correct that Dublin City Council only built 21 units in 2018 themselves?

“And what’s the actual breakdown by local authority of the 1,054 new builds in 2018?”

In his response, the Taoiseach said people receiving homes don’t ever raise the categorisation of social housing.

He added:

What matters as a fact is that last year 9,000 – more than any in ten years – 9,000 families moved into social housing with secure tenancies and we shouldn’t obsess ourselves about whether it’s done through an affordable housing body or local authority, or trust or Part 5, Part 8 or Part 26. That’s not what matters.”

Ms Murphy said knowing the breakdown does matter.

She said knowing the breakdown allows people to know what’s cost effective and value for money.

“We need to get those breakdowns so that information can be evaluated. This is public information, it’s public money. Why are you so reluctant to give the figures in a way that breaks it down and you can make those comparisons?

Is it true that Dublin City Council built 21 houses last year? The performance of our local authorities matters because they’re going to be the ones that are going to deliver, if we’re actually going to deliver the kind of numbers that are needed, to actually get a grip on this crisis.

“You cannot keep on answering questions in the way you did. The breakdown matters.”

Mr Varadkar said:

Deputy, I’m advised by the minister of state behind me that those figures are available and I’ve seen breakdown so I imagine that that is correct and they are available.

“But I think you’ve got it wrong here. The truth is, after years of running into problems, years of delays, when we didn’t have the money to do it, after years and years of trouble, we’re now delivering on social housing, increasing the housing stock by 9,000 last year.

“We’ll increase it by even more this year. And what you’re trying to do, is you don’t want people to know that. So you’re trying to make that housing provided by affordable housing body like Peter McVerry Trust or the Iveagh Trust doesn’t exist.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

From top: Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised a report by Louise Byrne on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Rebuilding Ireland’s Home Loan Scheme this morning.

Ms Byrne reported that, according to documents she obtained under Freedom Of Information, the Department of Housing – in a briefing note dated January 31, 2019, to its press office – said further approvals are not currently being issued for these particular loans.

Specifically, the note said the department “has been advised that no further approvals should issue for now”.

These loans allow first-time buyers to borrow up to 90 per cent of a property’s value from their local authority.

Those wishing to secure one of these loans have to show they’ve been turned down for mortgage approval by two banks.

Gross earnings cannot exceed €50,000 for a single person or €75,000 for a couple.

In light of Ms Byrne’s report, Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea was told in December 2018 by the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy that “he was progressing reforms to ensure the loan can work for more people and more quickly”.

Mr Martin said:

I don’t know what planet the minister is on? But the question I would ask Taoiseach is: Why wasn’t the scheme extended? Why hasn’t it been extended? Why was there no public announcement to the effect, in other words, if you tell your press office, surely deserve the public deserve to know?

“And why wasn’t the Dáil told: upfront and in an honest way?

“Why this kind of continuing lack of respect for the House? In terms of being open, upfront and honest in terms of what is going on? In terms of schemes of this kind?

“People are still applying but nobody has been approved, nobody has been told that no further approvals will issue except your press office according to a Freedom of Information on RTÉ this morning?”

“Why can’t the Minister and the Government just be honest with the people in terms of these issues? And could the Taoiseach bring clarity to this? When will this scheme be extended and to what degree will the scheme be extended?”

“The original limit was €200million; 1,000 houses were to be, allegedly by the minister, accommodated. We’ve had about 1,550, if not more, applications accepted. So will those people, who’ve been approved, will they be in a position to draw down their loans?”

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil 575 people have secured loans under the scheme to date while a further 1,000 applications have been approved but the money has yet to be withdrawn in respect of those.

He said the scheme was initially limited at €200m and that figure has been allocated.

He added:

“But as loans are not drawn down and loans do expire after six months, if they’re not drawn down, more finance does become available.

What we have to consider now is two things: is to whether we should increase the cap above €200m, and that’s currently under consideration of Government, and we also have to consult with the Central Bank as well because this is a mortgage, it is a loan, it’s a loan being offered to people being turned down by banks, building societies and it is a loan at a reduced interest rate.”

In response, Mr Martin asked Mr Varadkar when he discovered that the Department of Housing had to do these two things.

He said:

“Cause the minister said back, last year, that we’re not going to wait for the fund to run out, before we build up a second fund to allow a continuation of the scheme with whatever changes we might deem necessary. The minister said there was going to be no issue here.”

Mr Martin added:

It’s low-income people again being let down. Hopes raised and then dashed with fanfare by the Government in terms of raising the hope. The dashing of the hope is done silently, quietly. Why wasn’t this, what you just said to the House, said by the minister in parliamentary replies?”

“…Why all the secrecy? And the silence around it. Why can’t you guys just be up front with people?

Mr Varadkar told Mr Martin – after Mr Martin accused him of prancing about the place – “while you’re prancing about the place and wagging the finger and telling us off, we’re actually doing things, doing things in the real world that help people”.

He said the Government has helped 10,000 people buy their first home.

Watch Dáil proceedings live here