The cost of meeting the country’s housing deficit with the construction of 500,000 homes by 2040 will exceed the current national debt, a former secretary general of the Department of Finance has warned.
John Moran, currently chair of the Land Development Authority, told a conference organised by Engineers Ireland, that there is "a need for much more radical thinking" when it comes to the implementation of the national housing strategy.
He pointed out that the deposits in our banks are tied up in the provision of mortgages to people currently occupying residences.
"We would have to find a way of getting private investment into the system to meet the massive demand coming down the tracks," he said.
Engineers Ireland has called for a wide series of reforms in a report on housing and allied infrastructure.
Just over half of its 25,000 members surveyed concluded that the country’s infrastructure is not in good condition.
Around 40% are concerned or very concerned about the quality of transport, water/waste and flood prevention – with concerns about the quality of housing shared by 60% of engineers.
Around one quarter consider housing provision to be "inadequate", affording it an ‘E’ grade.
The report suggests that local authorities be given an enhanced role in the revitalisation of both urban and rural areas.
Innovative ways of combining public and private finance should be explored, it said.
The Government’s plan to retro-fit up to 500,000 by 2030 - is backed in general terms.
However, the engineers warned of "a general lack of understanding, transparency and uniform methods."
Meanwhile, Derry-based offsite construction firm FastHouse has announced that it is due to deliver three significant rapid build social housing schemes in the greater Dublin area, contributing to targets set by the Government’s housing strategy, Rebuilding Ireland, to accelerate housing supply in the country.
FastHouse has a sales pipeline of more than €22m and has also recently won a series of other new housing contracts and is currently installing on live sites in Dublin, Kildare, Cork and Offaly, as well as a number of sites in the North and in the UK.
In October last year, FastHouse completed on the major contract to provide 466 units to Center Parcs Ireland, which is set to open to the public at the end of July.