The government will consider buying a large number of homes before they are constructed in a bid to get tens of thousands more homes built.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the “advance purchasing” will be considered as the government wants to see the construction of 70,000 homes that have already received planning permission in cities and towns.
Mr Varadkar was speaking at government buildings after what he called a “useful” meeting with housing lobbyists and housing experts.
He also said tax measures, both to encourage housing construction and to keep landlords in the rental market, are not “off the table”.
Mr Varadkar said the government wants to surpass the target of building 28,000 houses this year and increase annual construction to 40,000.
He held a conference with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien this morning aimed at finding ways to speed up the implementation of the government’s housing strategy.
Fine Gael Parliamentary Party leader Richard Bruton insisted the meeting aimed to ensure government policy to provide more housing was fully implemented.
However, the opposition believes the meeting was just an attempt by the new Taoiseach to show that he is coping with the crisis that has left more than 11,500 people homeless.
Labour’s Duncan Smith said it was more about looks than solid new plans to create more housing.
Social Democrat spokesman for housing Cian O’Callaghan believes the conference will have no immediate impact on the lives of young adults who are still living in their childhood bedrooms due to rising house prices and skyrocketing rents.
Sinn Féin Eoin Ó Broin said the meeting was tantamount to an admission that the government’s housing plan was failing.
Mr O’Brien said the conference is an important opportunity to sit down with stakeholders and “hear their feedback and ideas about how we can expedite delivery” of the homes, reports RTE.
Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, he said he believed the 2023 target of 29,000 households could be reached, but it would be a challenge.
He said the total public housing target for 2022 is 10,500, including purchase-lease public housing.
Mr O’Brien said year-end yields, due to be released in the coming weeks, will be “positive and substantially higher than the previous year”, reports RTE.
“If we don’t attain [the target], we will be very close to it,” he said, reports RTE.
The minister insisted homelessness was his “absolute priority”.
“The exits from homelessness is actually pretty good, but the problem is we’re still seeing many people coming in and there’s many reasons for that,” he added, reports RTE.
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