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Kelly must scrap measures to reduce housing standards – Ellis

25 January, 2016 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the Minister for Environment Alan Kelly to scrap the measures he has put in place to reduce minimum size standards in housing and call them an unworkable mess which will lead a race to the bottom in housing.

The Dublin North West TD commented after concerns were raised by the housing spokesperson for the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland that the standards could not be implemented as the proposed apartments would be too small.

Deputy Ellis said:

“The reduction of minimum standards by the Minister was a very short sighted and poorly planned attempt to encourage private developers to do the job the government has refused to do, namely build housing for the tens of thousands of families without a proper home. It is now clear that the Minister and his department did not think this measure through and it is obviously not possible or right to implement it.

“The problem the private construction industry faces is not that standards are too high but that they do not see it in their interest to build housing for people who cannot the profit margin that they desire from developments. This is why the government were foolish to attempt to drive down standards in housing as a cheap ploy to encourage developers to build new slum conditions in our cities and towns, maximising profit at the expense of the public who have to live in these homes. Did they learn nothing from the lax regulations of the Celtic tiger era?

“The government have completely failed to address the housing shortage by implementing investment in social and affordable housing. They have built a pitiful number of homes over the last 5 years, less than were built by most previous governments in a single year. It is only through council led housing construction and strict but fair regulation of the private housing market can we develop a system which adequate houses its people.

“The Minister should heed the advice of the RIAI seriously and reinstate higher standards for housing before they leave government.” 

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