Government urged to increase ‘fatally flawed’ housing targets significantly

Government Urged To Increase ‘Fatally Flawed’ Housing Targets Significantly Government Urged To Increase ‘Fatally Flawed’ Housing Targets Significantly
British Irish Intergovernmental Conference in Dublin, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

The Government’s housing targets are “fatally flawed”, “aren’t based on evidence” and need to be significantly increased, the Dáil has heard.

Taking Leaders’ Questions on Thursday, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan conceded that the coalition Government should “err on the side of more” housing being needed.

An average target of 33,000 new houses a year coming on stream between now and 2030 has been set under the Government’s Housing for All plan, but ministers have conceded that given Ireland’s rising population, it would need closer to 40,000 homes a year.

It comes as The Irish Times reported that research by the Housing Commission says Ireland may need up to 62,000 homes built annually until 2050 to meet demand – almost double the current target.


Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said that based on this, “even if you met your targets by 2030 there would be a shortfall of as much as 245,000 homes”.


He said that this was “alarming for everybody”, and that the Housing Commission’s numbers show that the government’s targets are “fatally flawed”.

“So it is obvious that the government’s housing targets need to be revised, and revised up significantly, and revised up immediately.

“The current targets aren’t based on evidence or objective assessment of needs. Instead, they’re a result of political manoeuvring, boasting the targets are met when the targets themselves are clearly, clearly flawed.”

Eamon Ryan responded by saying the Government wants to exceed their housing targets, and that they don’t represent a “limit on ambition”.

“We want to smash those targets,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the housing figures were for the time period up to 2030, while the Housing Commission’s estimates were up to 2050 – and warned against comparing apples and oranges.

An average target of 33,000 new houses a year coming on stream between now and 2030 has been set under the government’s Housing for All plan (Rui Vieira/PA)

He also said of the Housing Commission’s figures: “We asked for it. We’re the people who brought forward that analysis, and in July when they present their work, of course (we’ll) present it, as part of getting the analysis right to get the solutions right.

“We will need to go more, higher, further, because more people are coming into our country than were expected.”


Mr Ryan said that the Land Development Agency will play a greater role in increasing housing supply, as “the state’s going to have to take a bigger role” in housing provision.

“In instances where the market is failing, where built-to-rent apartments, particularly in the centre of our towns and cities are not rebuilt, I believe we should step in and take on that development – not to be afraid for the state to do more,” he said.

Figures released on Thursday by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed there were 29,851 new homes built in 2022, an increase of 45.2 per cent on 2021 and up 41.3 per cent on 2019.

This exceeds the targets of 24,600 new builds in 2022, but Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted yesterday that they included only 6,500 social homes – falling short of its 9,000 target.

Raising the issue of a deal between a UK firm and the semi-state forestry agency Coillte, which operates independently from Government, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said she was “gravely concerned” about the deal.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik questioned a deal between a UK firm and the semi-state forestry agency Coillte (Brian Lawless/PA)

In order to help meet Ireland’s climate targets, the €200 million Irish Strategic Forestry Fund is asking that land be provided so that new forests can be planted.

Concerns have been raised by politicians, farmers and local communities in recent weeks about a deal between the asset management firm Gresham House and Coillte under this fund to build forests.


In response to government stating that it had not approved the move, and that the deal was not its “preferred option”, Ms Bacik asked if Coillte had gone “rogue” on the government.

“This Gresham deal is not the future of Irish forestry, it cannot be,” Mr Ryan said.

Ms Bacik said: “We don’t even have a working forestry programme – the Government is meeting just one quarter of its own afforestation targets and the licensing system for the planting of trees is in total disarray.

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“I understand that there are delays of two years for the approval of afforestation licences,” she said, calling the government’s plans inadequate and “baffling”.

“You would want your head examined not to start investing in forestry under the programme that we put in place,” Mr Ryan responded.

Outside the Dáil, dozens of people from the Save Our Forests, Save Our Lands Coalition gathered to protest against the deal.

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