Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has given each of the 31 local authorities exact targets on the number of social houses they are expected to provide this year.
While 25,941 social housing solutions will be provided in 2018, just 4,969 new homes will be built by local authorities, including 249 in Cork City, 115 in Carlow, 165 in Waterford, and 153 in Limerick.
Councils and local authorities will acquire a further 900 and 2,000 will be leased. The bulk will come from providing supports for private rented accommodation through the Housing Assistance Payment scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.
The targets, which the minister will publish today, are significantly lower than current social housing waiting lists.
For example Dublin City Council will build 1,045 homes this year and provide 5,871 accommodation solutions overall. However, the latest figures, from July last year, show there were 19,220 people on the waiting list in this area.
In Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, there were 3,307 on the waiting list but just 183 social houses will be built in that area this year, with a further 327 provided through a mixture of leasing, acquisitions, and private rental accommodation.
Mr Murphy said: “It sounds obvious but of course our local authorities have to build and our local authorities and our housing bodies have a very ambitious work programme of building under our Rebuilding Ireland programme, which, through building, acquisition, and leasing, is going to bring 50,000 social housing homes by 2021.
“The majority of those, over 30,000 units, are going to be new build units.”
Mr Murphy said his department sought a three-fold increase in the number of new homes that local authorities and housing bodies will build.
“So building is absolutely the way forward, but it’s not just social housing that we need to build,” he said.
“We need to build more private housing and all the numbers are pointing in the right direction; 20,000 new homes got planning permission to be built last year and up to February of this year in that 12-month period, almost 18,000 homes commenced construction.”
Mr Murphy defended local authorities who failed to meet their building targets last year, claiming that coming 6% short was “very impressive”.
He said: “Last year we managed to provide 26,000 new homes for families and individuals up and down the country who are able to avail of social housing.
“That’s about 4,000 or 5,000 more than we had planned to do.
“We have similar plans again for this year so all of that work is moving in the right direction. It does need more time and I am there to drive that work to make sure that we get it done.”
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Éoin Ó Broin said the Government must double the number of “real social houses” it is providing each year as he hit out at the continued over-reliance on the private rental market.
“There is now a chronic overuse of the private sector,” he said.
“It’s not just bad for tenants and bad for the taxpayer, but it’s also bad for communities.
“They need to double capital investing in building and buying real social houses.
“Output needs to double, and obviously that’s through a mix of building and buying.”
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