Minister English congratulates Cllr. Frank McDermott on becoming Chairman of Westmeath County Council

Castlepollard, Wesmeath

Tuesday 28th June 2016

“It was an honour to be present in Westmeath County Council Monday
afternoon to witness the election of Cllr. Frank McDermott to the role
of Chairman of Westmeath County Councill” Minister for Housing and
Urban Renewal Damien English T.D. has said.

“Since the creation of the Meath West Dáil constituency in 2007
incorporating much of the North Eastern part of Westmeath into my Dáil
constituency, Frank has been a key supporter and friend to me, as well as
being a fantastic advocate for his area.

“His election to the Chair, as he celebrates 50 years in local
politics and serving the people, is a a very proper recognition of his
entire adult life spent in service to Westmeath and its welfare.

“I know that he will use his role well in advancing key issues for his
locality, and the wider County of Westmeath.  I look forward as
Minister and as a local T.D. in helping him in whatever way I can.

“My congratulations again to Frank, his wife Ann, wider family,
friends, supporters and neighbours on this happy day” concluded
Minister English.

English encourages Meath students to apply for College grants before 8th July deadline

Education, Funding

Fine Gael Meath West T.D. and former Junior Education Minister Damien
English has urged new Meath College goers to apply for their 3rd level
grant through before the July 8th deadline.

“The closing date for new applications is Friday the 8th of July,
2016.and I would urge Meath students and parents to get in early
before the deadline to avoid any last minute issues or needless
stress” stated Minister English, the Minister for Housing and Urban

SUSI is entering its fifth year of operations. The national awarding
body performed extremely well last year, processing over 108,000
applications with in excess of 83,000 students (new and renewal)
awarded grants for the 2015/16 academic year.

It is expected that the number of applications to SUSI for the
upcoming academic year will surpass 110,000. In order to meet the
challenges posed by such numbers and in building on its continuous
learning, SUSI has introduced a number of further key improvements for
2016/17, including:

– More automated validation of the online application form;
– Earlier awarding of applications based on the course choices
provided by students;
– Extended data sharing with Government Departments and agencies; and
– Use of Eircode to streamline the calculation of distance.


English says calm heads needed in wake of Brexit vote

European issues

Tuesday, 28th June 2016

Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Meath West Fine Gael
T.D. Damien English has called for calm heads in the wake of the
Brexit vote.

“We need calm heads at this time. The departure of the United Kingdom
from the European Union will take at least 2 years once Article 50 of
the Lisbon Treaty is invoked. Prime Minister Cameron has indicated he
will not invoke it, and will wait for his successor to do so once he
steps down by October. So the first message and most important message
is that there is no immediate change” Minister English said.

“Naturally, we in Ireland must defend Irish interests.  The Taoiseach
has made it very clear that we will be in the room fighting for the
best deal possible for Ireland, both North and South.  I believe the
UK’s departure must be worked out in a calm, ordered way, and in a
pragmatic way.  Now is not the the time for punishment or point

“I believe that all Irish state agencies should now gear up for a
major marketing push for Irish exports, and push Ireland heavily as an
investment location of choice, to take advantage of business
opportunities now possible with the UK’s intended departure. In my
role as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal I shall be working
closely with my colleague MInister Simon Coveney to ensure our housing
situation, construction sector and high quality office space sector
are capable of meeting this potential new demand.

“Finally, it is very important to note that the European Union is the
biggest and most successful peace project in history.  Western Europe
has not known war for over 70 years now.  Our prosperity rests on this
fact. Politicians of the centre in Ireland, the UK and Europe must
work harder than ever to make sure the progress of the last 70 years
is not lost to a narrow type of nationalism, or extremes of the left
or right wing” concluded Minister English.

Minister English welcomes two excellent Public Library initiatives


Tuesday, 21 Jun 2016

Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, today (21 June 2016) announced two library initiatives – ‘My Open Library’: Unlimited Access 8am – 10pm and the Summer Stars Reading Programme in Tullamore Central Library, Co. Offaly.

Minister English announced the launch of a call for proposals from Local Authorities to implement the ‘My Open Library’ initiative which extends public library opening hours during unstaffed hours, while continuing to provide regular staffed times for ongoing delivery of service, supporting customers, developing community engagement and hosting events. The ‘My Open Library’ initiative is operated through self-service from 08:00-22:00, 365 days a year, outside of staffed hours. Meeting rooms and community space is also made available for use. The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government will be providing over €2.3 million for the initiative over the coming years.

The Minister praised the new initiative saying “It means that the public and communities will have access to this invaluable local resource when they need and want to use it most.  This will strengthen the prominence of the library in the local community and position it as a focal point for community engagement.”

The Minister also announced the roll-out of a new Summer Stars Reading Programme, which will run in libraries throughout the country this summer.

In launching the Programme the Minister said “Reading opens up a world of imagination and opportunity.  Encouraging children to read is vital.  It helps them to develop and, if nothing else, will provide them with a pastime that will stand the test of time! So I encourage parents to bring their children to the local library and participate in the programme.  Indeed, library membership is free for everybody now – so there’s no excuse not to visit.”

Speech to National Construction Summit Sustaining the Momentum

Housing and Urban Renewal, Jobs, Navan, Wesmeath

Speech by

Damien English T.D.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal

at the

National Construction Summit

Sustaining the Momentum

15 June 2016



Opening Remarks

Ladies and Gentlemen, Chairman Tom Parlon, thank you for the opportunity to address the National Construction Summit at the RDS.

My main aim today is to talk to you about the number one priority for Government – Housing.

I am here to ask you to get involved in the design and the delivery of the Action Plan for Housing; our plan to create a more sustainable housing market.

The residential sector, as you are aware, has been very slow to recover, and there is a very significant pent-up demand.

The unmet demand is contributing to significant increases in rental costs and putting people at risk of homelessness.

The annual requirement for new homes is around 25,000 but the industry output is currently well below this level.

Just over 12,600 housing units were completed last year. Without intervention it may stay there.

Yet, there is enough planning permission in Dublin alone for 27,000 houses. Indeed there is enough zoned land for 88,000 houses in Dublin.

About half require some infrastructure but most of it is localised and not very high cost.


There are 4,400 housing units under construction on building sites in Dublin – that is, 4,400 of the 27,000 with full planning permission out of the 88,000 in terms of zoned land.

Clearly, the potential exists to dramatically increase housing output in and around Dublin with the right interventions around planning, infrastructure and the financials to make things happen.




We need to get these sites moving, we need the houses and apartments. People and families need homes and the growing economy needs a functioning housing market.


There’s a role for everyone in this room to get things moving along with:


The Department


The local authorities


Land Owners


Financiers and investors.


The bottom line is we need to increase the supply of Housing;   private houses for sale, social housing, affordable rental accommodation – or better yet sites that can provide a combination of all these.

A lot has been done already to make housing projects more viable and to boost supply, but Government accepts it needs to do more.



Action Plan for Housing:


In response to the on-going supply problems, Government are well underway on drafting the Action Plan for Housing.


The Government aims to achieve a dramatic change in circumstances around the housing system as quickly as we can.


So we want to hear from all stakeholders. We will take on board practical the ideas that will work, ideas that represent the best value for the public finances.


I know that many of you in this room have appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, and this will feed directly into the Action Plan.

I want you all to know that my door is open to you. I know from my experience with the Action Plan for Jobs that it’s only through a partnership approach that demanding goals can be met.


In 2012 when the Action Plan for Jobs started we stated that we will help to create 100,000 net new jobs in the private sector. A lot of people laughed. But the situation with unemployment at the time was no laughing matter.


The Action Plan allowed for a partnership approach to putting into effect the necessary steps that were needed to assist the jobs market.


A step by step approach across all Government Departments, together with all Stakeholders, ensured that we reached our targets. In fact we exceeded them.


Over 135,000 jobs net new jobs were created in the private sector. The Action Plan for Jobs was a success.


I have no doubt whatsoever that the same logical process; step by step, action by action will deliver on Housing too.


To this end I would welcome any suggestions that you might have by email to:


My Department will also be organising stakeholder consultation events on the Action Plan and your participation and input would be very welcome.




Potential Actions:

A couple of things we’re looking at in the context of the action plan include

Firstly, an infrastructure fund aimed at opening up residential developments, particularly at affordable price levels, was announced yesterday.


The Government will be seeking firm commitments that houses will be built where enabling infrastructure is put in place.


We are examining measures to boost the supply of student housing. There is a demand for 25,000 units. This will free up the private rental market


Currently around 3% of the Irish population is aged over 80. By 2060 that figure will have more than trebled. We need to plan and deliver housing for an older and longer living population.


An affordable rental scheme is being developed to help households on low to moderate incomes


Also the Programme for Government outlines our commitment to accelerate the delivery of the €3.8 billion Social Housing Strategy


In terms of Finance, we wish to develop ways to have better access to more affordable money & to reduce the cost of developing houses.

In addition the ISIF has been engaged in a number of important initiatives to help increase housing outputs.

Activate Capital is a €500 million non-bank fund which has been established by ISIF and global investment group KKR.

To date in 2016, Activate has provided site and working capital finance for the delivery of 800 homes. Activate’s pipeline for new-home construction funding is strong.

In addition, ISIF is also working closely with Ardstone Capital on delivering residential units to the market over the short to medium-term.


We are also committed to examining all aspects of the “viability equation” particularly input costs, to help ensure that housing is intrinsically affordable, to bring on stream, whether for buyers or providers.


Increasing supply is a major priority but ensuring the quality and standard of the new supply is just as important to me.


I do appreciate that there are additional costs of construction in doing so compared to 10 years ago. But we must sell the long term benefits of a better quality & a better built home. This includes recognition for those registered builders on the Construction Industry Register Ireland.

In addition, revitalising cities, towns, villages and communities is a key objective of mine and my Department. Housing actions in this space are being developed to complement the broader programmes and projects. I know from your own submissions that you are in agreement with this.



To conclude, the housing situation is in many ways a result of the positive growth in our economy.


The crucial thing now is to use the Action Plan for Housing to build on this base so that we continue to grow the sector to sustainable levels.


Given the gravity of the situation we are thinking radically and are prepared to do whatever it takes to mend the housing system in Ireland.

Once the Action Plan for Housing is put in place it will be very important that the construction sector responds and I will seek assurances that if we deliver, that you will too.


I have no doubt that the construction sector has a vital role to play in the recovery of the economy. I see good potential for the sector to rebuild to a sustainable level.


The Action Plan for Housing can be the catalyst for change in the sector. I look forward to hearing your views on solving the housing crisis and in putting the sector on a sustainable footing – growing from 6% of GNP to 15%.


The Government will actively play its part with the Action Plan. Minister Coveney and I want to assure you, we will continue to address the challenges in the sector in a targeted and meaningful way.

Thank You.

3 Meath West schools to receive facilities boost – English

Bohermeen, Education, Meath, Navan, Trim

Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English, the former Junior Education Minister in the last Government and current Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, has welcome the news that 3 schools in Meath West are to receive extra funding from the Department of Education and Skills under the “Additional Accommodation Scheme”.

Scoil Caitriona Naofa in Oristown is to receive a new mainstream class room, WC for assisted users and a resource room.

St. Ultan’s N.S. Bohermeen is to receive a new mainstream classroom and WC for assisted users.

Scoil Mhuire Secondary School in Trim will see its Central Hall refurbished.

“Education was a key priority of the last Government, and remains so now.  Even in bad times Meath got its fair share of funding and many of our schools were refurbished, renewed or got totally new facilities. This must continue now as we bring about a social recovery that matches our economic recovery.  I was happy to play my part in this work for education in Meath, along with hard working Principals, dedicated voluntary Boards of Management and concerned parents. I welcome the facilities boost that Scoil Caitriona Naofa Oristown, St. Ultan’s N.S. and Schol Mhuire Trim have received, and wish all their staff and pupils well” stated Minister English.

Minister English welcomes €181k funding boost for AMEN Support Services based in Navan

Health, Meath, Navan, Wesmeath
Monday, 13th June 2016
Minister English welcomes €181k funding boost for AMEN Support Services based in Navan
Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has welcomed a funding boost of €181,707 from his Department for AMEN Support Services, a national group headquartered in Navan.
The funding is under a new round of the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector, and it will last for a 3 year period up until mid 2019. AMEN Support Services are a national organisation for male victims of domestic violence based in Co. Meath.
Minister English stated; “I am delighted that one of our Meath based national organisations has been able to benefit from funding from my Department under the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector.  It vindicates the hard work of AMEN‘s staff and voluntary Board of Directors in providing information and support to vulnerable men and their families. Men can be victims of domestic violence too, and they also need help and support if trapped in abusive relationships.”

Meath Live Register down 37% since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 – English

Jobs, Meath

Fine Gael TD for Meath West and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien Englishhas said that a drop of 37% in the Live Register in Meath since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in early 2012, is a strong indication that Fine Gael is continuing to deliver on its pledge to prioritise job creation and reduce unemployment.

There are now 7,456 people in Meath on the live Register,  compared to a high of 11,841 in February 2012.

“The annual decline in the Live Register from May 2015 to May 2016, in Meath was an additional 11.4% while the drop since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in February 2012 was just over 37%.

“This is very positive news and proof of Fine Gael’s commitment and success in creating the environment to get people in Meath back to work.

“Employment has increased in every region of the country in the last 12 months. 155,000 new jobs have been created since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2012 and the Programme for Government has reaffirmed the Action Plan for Jobs as the best way to implement ideas on job creation across Government. With 15,400 new jobs created in the first three months of 2016 we are off to a great start in meeting Fine Gael’s target of 200,000 new jobs by 2020.


“Each new job created in Meath is another family looking forward to a brighter future and each new job created by a business is a sign of returning confidence and growth. In fact each new job created here in Meath leads to more resources which Fine Gael is committed to using to fix the many challenges we face as a society.

Fine Gael in Government continues to prioritise job creation because we believe that only a strong economy, supporting people at work, can pay for the services needed to create a fair society here in Meath and around the country.”