Planning reforms aimed at making it easier to build modular homes in Ireland are necessary to tackle the housing crisis, Leo Varadkar has said.
The Government is encouraging local authorities to invest in modular homes as a way to provide a rapid supply of new residences.
The houses are largely built in factories and assembled in sections on site.
Modular homes have already been used to house some of the thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have travelled to Ireland since the Russian invasion of their country.
Last month, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien wrote to local authorities offering them a route to reduce debt burdens on their lands if they commit to rapidly providing social housing on the sites, particularly modular homes.
Mr Varadkar said the Government was working to determine how many modular social homes can be delivered in 2023.
“We’re in the middle of a very serious housing crisis, a very big and serious housing emergency,” he said.
“I know that some people won’t like the planning reforms that we’re making but I think they are necessary, and that will allow local authorities to build social housing and indeed other forms of public housing on public lands without having to go through the planning process.
“That will save months and means that we’ll be able to provide new houses, particularly rapid build houses much quicker and that is the intention.
“I don’t have an exact figure as to what can be achieved next year.
“I have spoken to the Patrick O’Donovan (Minister for Office of Public Works), I spoke to the head of the OPW himself only yesterday about it.
“I’ve asked them to come back to me with how much could be done next year and how much could be done the year after in terms of rapid build homes.
“It’s not just a case of building homes off site, which is one part of it. The second part is having the sites and having those sites serviced.
“So before I put a figure on it, I want to be able to give you a figure that I can stand over.
“But the question I’ve asked them is how many can you do? When they tell me how many they can do, I’ll say ‘let’s make that happen’.”