Govt launches plan to stimulate construction sector

The Government has unveiled an ambitious plan to create 60,000 construction jobs by the year 2020.

The strategy includes a 75-point plan to remove the obstacles to new building projects and ease the housing crisis.

Enda Kenny says the new plan will include systems to give an early warning of any future property bubble.

It will also include new regulations to stop a repeat of the pyrite problems, and make it easier for young buyers to get mortgages.

Mr Kenny said: "the Government will support this recovery, but only if it is based on the highest international standards in quality, excellence and trust.

"Nobody wants to go back to the bad old days of the construction and property boom. It wouldn't benefit the country, young families or the sector itself."

Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny at the launch of Construction 2020 at the National Sports Campus, Abbotstown, Dublin. Pic: PA

Earlier, Mr Kenny denied the moves would create a new housing bubble, and told the Dáil that the Government would not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Government strategy – which will include 75 measures to get builders back to work – will involve top quality and affordable new housing, he vowed.

Dismissing concerns that a special mortgage scheme for first time buyers could further inflate house prices, Mr Kenny said he did not accept the Government was going down the road of a housing bubble.

“There are 100,000 people on the live register involved in the construction industry: plasterers, block layers, chippies, tilers, roofers and everything else,” he told the Dáil.

“We want so to see that these people get an opportunity to get back into the world of work.”

Mr Kenny said the plan was not about contractors, bankers, developers or greed but about creating 66,000 jobs in the construction sector up to 2020.

Ireland should be building between 25,000 and 30,000 new homes a year but only completed 8,000 last year, he said.

But Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the plan read like “an extract from the election stunt section of the Fianna Fáil handbook of strokes and other scams”.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all in dealing with the (housing) crisis,” he said.

Mr Adams said fears it could lead to inflated house prices were well-founded.

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