Property Industry Ireland Conference Speech

Speech by Minister of State for Housing and Planning – Damien English T.D. at the Property Industry Ireland Conference on Living and working in Ireland to 2040 – impacts on Irish Property Industry

Marker Hotel Dublin 27th September 8.15 am

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  • I am delighted to open this prestigious event this morning in Dublin’s docklands, an area whose regeneration is very visible evidence of both the success of our government’s economic policies and demonstrating what real plan-led development delivers for our society.

 

  • Your event today comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s Government approval of the publication of a consultation draft of Ireland 2040 – The National Planning Framework.

 

  • The views of the public, including your organisation, are now invited up until 3rd November 2017 and indeed Mr Niall Cussen, my Department’s Chief Planner will give a brief run-through the document later this morning.

 

  • Furthermore, when finalised later this year after the current public consultation phase, the Government intends to publish the final version of the NPF with a 10 year capital investment programme or National Investment Plan as both a strategic vision and the investment strategy to transform our country.

 

  • We will ensure that investment in housing, transport, communications, energy systems, amenities and community facilities are sequenced properly, achieving long-term agreed planning aims.

 

  • The key elements of the strategy behind Ireland 2040 are:
  1. Better strategically planning for our cities, including Dublin as our capital and key international driver;
  2. Growing Ireland’s four other cities (Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick), by 40-50% in the two decades ahead, (a faster rate than our capital).
  3. Addressing connectivity to and opportunities within Ireland’s regions and rural areas; and
  4. Securing more compact forms of development to reduce sprawl and to provide more choice.

 

  • With our population expected to grow by 1million people by 2040, we need to manage such growth effectively, this means
    • a quarter of those being facilitated in the Greater Dublin Area,
    • a further quarter catered for in the other four cities; and
    • the remaining 50% within the towns, villages and rural areas across the country and on a proportionate basis.

 

  • Successful implementation of the NPF will translate into a more strategic development path for our country with a better distribution of regional growth, employment and prosperity.

 

Housing & Rebuilding Ireland

  • Beyond the strategic focus of Ireland 2040, the number one issue the Government currently faces is housing and homelessness.

 

  • Currently, every working day, we provide housing for 80 individuals and families.  There are 20,000 new tenancies a year because we believe everyone should have a home.

 

  • We are being imaginative in how we approach the crisis, and we will do all that is necessary to solve it.

 

  • We will build more council houses and apartments and we will service the ample amounts of development land our planning process has already identified, not fuelling a further urban sprawl by zoning more land.

 

  • To deliver more homes in the places we need them most – in our cities, as well as to deliver on the aims and objectives of Ireland 2040 in terms of compact development over the longer-term, we will make apartments more affordable to provide, in greater numbers in our city centre areas.

 

  • In this regard, Ireland 2040 clearly signals that we need to develop upwards, rather than outwards in our cities using the huge potential from state owned lands through a new estate and portfolio management approach.

 

  • We have made significant progress under Rebuilding Ireland – the Government’s Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, for example over 19,000 new social housing solutions were provided in 2016, with a further 21,000 such supports to be delivered in 2017.

 

  • However, significant challenges remain and, one year on from Rebuilding Ireland’s publication, a focused review has been carried out, to assess the impacts of the new investments, policies and initiatives and consider where to focus and redouble efforts to address the supply and affordability issues that persist.

 

  • Amongst other things, the review is aiming to:
  • identify additional measures, particularly, new/additional supply side measures for social, private and rented accommodation, with an emphasis on affordability;
  • deliver a range of ambitious and realistic measures to address vacant housing and provide a disincentive to vacancy in future;
    • find ways of reducing construction costs and improving the viability of apartment and house building;
    • identify ways of delivering sustainable mixed tenure solutions on sites of scale;
    • Further ramp up of the direct local authority social housing building programme; and introduce of a new affordable housing policy.

 

  • Your organisation is unique because of the way in which it brings the many facets of our property sector together, from funding to planning and from construction to property management.

 

  • Your organisation has a huge role to play in helping Government to develop and adjust the regulatory and policy framework for the development of a healthy property sector and one that plays a proper and proportionate role in our society and economy.

 

  • My Department looks forward to working with Property Industry Ireland in the ongoing implementation of Rebuilding Ireland and in finalising and implementing Ireland 2040 and very much appreciates the valuable input and submissions received from your organisation to these processes.

 

 

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