Fianna Fáil is to seek emergency laws to help tackle the housing crisis in a belief that the Government’s plan to build new homes and tackle homelessness is failing, Juno McEnroe.
In a radical move, the party wants emergency powers given to the housing minister to help fast-track the construction of social and affordable homes and a new semi-state housing authority established.
The push comes as Housing Minister Simon Coveney, writing in today’s Irish Examiner, admits the housing sector has been on “life support” for years and that Ireland is a long way off delivering the necessary number of homes for the population.
Progress though is being made, Mr Coveney insists.
Fianna Fáil, whose support the Government relies on, is now drafting proposals for emergency powers to remove obstacles for the construction of homes for both private and social housing.
Housing spokesman Barry Cowen told the Irish Examiner: “My party and I are genuinely very worried about the lack of progress in delivering social and affordable housing for people and families in particular.
“There are still 700 families staying in hotels. We heard earlier this week that only one ‘rapid-build’ unit has been delivered.
”Emergency measures could include the commencement of building on zoned lands immediately for social and private housing, the removal of obstacles to building ‘rapid’ builds, and the setting up of a new housing agency to manage the crisis.
An analysis of the five-point Government housing plan shows only a fraction of the rapid-build homes have been completed, the rental sector is still out of control and the construction of new builds is slow.
The number of homeless families increased last month to 1,239, figures over the weekend show. Rents are also rising sharply in areas not capped, agencies say.
Meanwhile, Mr Coveney will tomorrow unveil plans for the construction of tens of thousands of new homes which will be facilitated through a €200m infrastructure fund.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.