Politicians objecting to housing developments puts govt in 'difficult position', says Murphy

Politicians objecting to housing developments puts govt in 'difficult position', says Murphy
Picture: James Connolly

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said that politicians who object to new housing developments are putting the Government in a “very difficult position”.

He said that the new fast track process for An Bord Pleanála for schemes of more than 100 homes was aimed at avoiding “vexatious complaints” that might slow down the delivery of homes.

“I don't want to have to intervene any more to take away more powers from councillors in this process, but it's becoming very difficult as I see more objections,” he told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.

“We're very robust in our constitution to protect the small person from having a big company or a big entity or big powerful wealthy player stepping up and we won't be able to do that and we shouldn't because people should have a right to make sure that they can.

So many bad decisions were made that damaged historical buildings, damage to the environment, so we can never take away the ability and the right and the responsibility of the individual to object to something that they think is wrong, but we have to be able to segregate that from people who are living in a house in a nice area and they just don't want any more homes in that area.

The Minister said unfortunately there are “politicians of every party and none who are objecting to housing up and down the country, it's put us in a very difficult position because everyone accepts that there's a housing shortage and a crisis in homelessness.

“We're putting in place all this money - €2.4 billion will be spent this year - it's the most a government has ever spent in a single year on housing, if we're putting in place those kinds of resources we shouldn't allow politicians, who are meant to be leaders in our communities, to stand in our way.”

Mr Murphy also defended his department’s record on tackling the homeless crisis, saying that there are sufficient beds for all rough sleepers.

“But at the root of all this is supply. The fundamental issue of supply has to be addressed.”

He said that rent transparency is very important and the Attorney General is working on the issue.

“People need to know what a fair rent is and that they’re not being shafted.

“In my own constituency (Dublin Bay South) rents are gone bananas.”

The Minister believes that the Government can still hit the target of 35,000 new homes in 2021.

“The key thing is to get houses built. Supply is increasing.”

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