‘Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland’ was officially launched by the Taoiseach, Michéal Martin TD; the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD; the Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD; and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien earlier this week.

Housing for All promises 310,000 new homes across Ireland’s towns and cities by 2030. This amounts to the delivery of almost 33,000 new homes every year for the next decade. The annual breakdown by tenure is 11,800 new private homes; 6,500 new private rental homes; 4,100 new affordable homes; and 10,300 new social housing homes. 

There are 213 action points contained in this comprehensive new strategy, which can be accessed in full through the Department of Housing website here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ef5ec-housing-for-all-a-new-housing-plan-for-ireland/# 

Changes introduced include the ending of Strategic Housing Developments and a return of planning decisions to local authorities; overhaul of the judicial review process to counter what An Taoiseach termed “not in my back yard” objectors; taxation to activate vacant lands for residential purposes, which will replace the current Vacant Site Levy; and land value gain charge to enable Government to take a share of the value gained through the zoning of lands. 

The numbers are huge, both in terms of housing and in terms of funding.  €4 billion has now been pledged for housing delivery each year over the lifespan of this government, which is €20 billion in total. The overall aim of Housing for All is to improve Ireland’s planning and housing system, and to ramp up the delivery of new homes – which are badly needed. The four pathways to achieve housing for all are: (i) supporting home ownership and increasing affordability; (ii) eradicating homelessness, increasing social housing delivery and supporting social inclusion; (iii) increasing new housing supply; and (iv) addressing vacancy and efficient use of existing stock. Three of the four pathways are dependent upon the delivery of newly-built homes and the strategy is reliant upon the public sector delivering half of all the new homes needed. It is genuinely difficult to understand how that can or will happen at this stage. According to the Housing Minister, the construction sector needs to attract approximately 27,000 new trades and professionals in order to have a chance of hitting these ambitious housing delivery targets. 

Increased adoption of offsite and other modern methods of construction, by both the public sector and the private sector will be necessary to ramp up housing delivery. As An Taoiseach declared at the launch: 

“It’s all about delivery…There will be nowhere to hide”. 

The strategy also acknowledges the new Construction Sector Group and commits to enhancing the remit of the Construction Technology Centre (CTC) and the Construction Sector Group (CSG) to “ensure that initiatives associated with innovation and productivity, skills and capacity, enterprise support, standards and compliance and sectoral engagement – including the CTC and CSG – are fully aligned with the objective of reducing the cost of construction”, which is welcome. Billed as Rebuilding Ireland 2.0, the strategy has attracted criticism and cynicism, but this is unhelpful at this stage. There is now a strategy in place, with an unprecedented level of funding, and apparently “whole of Government” support – Ireland’s needs homes and the MMC sector is ready to step up, let’s get to it.

About Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at https://horizonoffsite.ie