Dublin councillors slam Housing for All plan as 'not worth the paper it's written on'

By Dan Grennan

The Government's new housing plan has been slammed as "not worth the paper it's written on" by a number of Dublin City councillors.

The Housing for All plan, which was unveiled by Darragh O'Brien last week, promises to build 310,000 new homes and end homelessness by 2030.

There were "mixed views" on the plan expressed by members of the council's Housing Strategic Policy Committee.

Dermot Lacey, the Chair of the Housing SPC, was particularly critical of the plan which he said needed crucial changes if it was to be a success.

He told Dublin Live: "My my view is that, if they don't change the bureaucracy of the Department of Housing, if they don't loosen their control, if they don't allow Councils to get on with your job, then housing for all isn't worth the paper its written on."

"I haven't seen one single time Councillor interviewed in relation to that document. And yet, it will be Councillors who will bear the brunt of their constituents because local councils aren't building sufficient housing."

Mr Lacey called the Department of Housing an "obstacle" to "doing anything".

He said: "The reality is - I've actually been involved in several projects which I initiated myself over the years - in nearly all cases, one of the biggest obstacles to doing anything, is the Department of Housing."

The chair of the Housing Committee plans to send a letter to Mr O'Brien this week to request a meeting over the plan. (Colin Keegan/Collins)

The chair of the Housing Committee plans to send a letter to Mr O'Brien this week to request a meeting over the plan.

He said: "There are mixed views on the Housing For All document. Leaving that aside, let's see what we can extract from it from a Dublin point of view."

"We'd like to meet with him to see what it is we can do; how we can deliver more housing, how we can reduce the bureaucracies, give the council more freedom to build without having to get every new windowpane approved by the Department of Housing and generally see how we can assist in the process."

Dublin City Council Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland raised concerns at the Housing SPC meeting on Wednesday about the declines in housing waiting list numbers in the Housing For All Plan.

Mr O'Brien's plan listed a "decline" in housing waiting lists from 91,600 in 2016 to 61,880 in 2020.

However, Ms Gilliland questioned how many of these were moved onto the HAP scheme which is "not secure" housing.

She told told the meeting: "My concern is that those 30,000 are sitting on HAP. Technically, I know in the legislation they have a housing need met, but that is not secure housing."

The Government plan to introduce a vacant property tax as part of the Housing For All plan. However, data needs to be collected before any tax can be put in place so it will likely be 2023 before an tax is put in place.

The Lord Mayor said there is a "moral imperative" to introduce a vacant property tax.

She said: "We have a moral imperative to put a vacant unit tax [in place]. None of us need evidence, we see it every day of the week, not just in Dublin, but all over the country."

"The repair and lease hasn't worked. The living carrot because we have a big bunch of carrots there and nobody's taken them. It's time to get the stick out."

The Department of Housing didn't respond to queries from Dublin Live on the issues discussed in this article.

To keep up to date with all the latest Dublin news, sign up to the Dublin Live Newsletter.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.