Harris will consider Housing Commission report that called for 'radical' policy reset

Harris Will Consider Housing Commission Report That Called For 'Radical' Policy Reset
The Taoiseach said the Government will publish the 400-page report this week. Photo: Collins
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By Cate McCurry, PA

The Taoiseach has said he will consider the recommendations of a Government-commissioned report which called for a “radical” reset in housing policies.

Simon Harris told the Dáil the Government will publish the 400-page report this week amid calls from the opposition for a debate on the findings.


Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien received the Housing Commission report on May 8th.

The leaked report said the Government’s housing policy needs a “radical” reset and called for a ramping up of State housing supply.



Mr Harris told the Dáil the Government has already taken many “radical steps” in the housing market, citing the establishment of the Land Development Agency and reformed planning laws.

“This Government is making progress when it comes to housing supply, this Government is making progress when it comes to home ownership,” he said.

“This Government is putting in place plans, schemes, incentives that are helping hundreds of couples every single week buy their first home. All of you in your constituencies see new homes being built.


“But the Government also knows that it’s not just about the here and now. We have to look at where we get to 2050.”

He said the Government is reviewing housing targets after the publication of the 2022 census.

The revised targets, which will apply to the second half of the decade, will be set out later this year.

Mr Harris admitted housing output needs to be “significantly increased”.


Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the report was a “damning indictment” of the Government’s housing policy.

“The Housing Commission is telling you directly that your housing plan isn’t working and they state that only a radical strategic reset in housing policy will fix the problem,” she added.

“It means delivering housing that people can actually afford. It means taking on the vulture funds, the big landlords and the vested interests that are making the housing crisis worse.

“It means delivering the biggest affordable and social housing programme in the history of the state so that young teachers, nurses, gardai, retail workers can afford a home. This is the urgent change that we need in housing.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik described the housing crisis as the civil rights issues of this generation.

“Yet, week in week out all we hear from Government is self-congratulation, saying that your policies and your housing plans are working,” the Dublin Bay South TD told the Dáil.

“Taoiseach, that’s not the reality and the Housing Commission has exposed the reality. They’re not an opposition party. They’re not an ideological body. They’re set up by the Government.


“The members of the commission comprise figures in the trade union movement, developers, academics, experts who have nothing to gain from gilding the lily or indeed from personal bias, but they’re clear we have some of the highest levels of public investment in housing in Europe, but our outcomes are among the very worst.

“The report confirms what some of us have been saying all along – developer-led planning does not deliver the homes we need.

“Weak tenants’ rights protections hurt renters and do not free up supply and low building targets, insufficiently ambitious targets are damaging the wellbeing of our population.”

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said he had not yet read the leaked Housing Commission report.

“Where some suggestions, we think, make sense and can help us go further and faster, by all means, we will take them on… not necessarily every idea,” he told RTÉ radio on Tuesday.

Asked about the amount the Government spends on housing versus the supply of housing in Ireland, he said there was a “lag” between increased expenditure and higher output.

“It isn’t just a numbers game. It is about quality and about cost – we do have to make housing affordable.”

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