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Proposed legislation to tackle housing crisis must not repeat mistakes of past - Ó Broin

8 September, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin, has said the forthcoming legislation on planning reform and tenants’ rights must not repeat the mistakes of the past. The call comes after Minister for Housing Simon Coveney informed the Housing Committee that he will publish draft legislation next week.

Deputy Ó Broin said;

“At the Oireachtas Housing Committee this week Minister Coveney outlined his plans to publish a number of key pieces of legislation next week. He is seeking the Committee's support to ensure that the legislation is passed before Christmas.

"The legislation includes measures aimed at strengthening tenant rights in what has been termed the ‘Tyrellstown Amendment’. This will apply to cases of twenty housing units or more that are bought by vulture funds. We would like to see the scope of this broadened and we look forward to debating the issue with the Minister.

“Other measures include plans to shorten the Part 8 planning process for local authority social housing. I would have serious reservations about any plans to shorten this element of the social housing building process. There is no evidence in the public domain to suggest that the current Part 8 planning procedure is holding up social housing applications and it is essential to allowing local communities to consult on planning decisions that affect their area. I have asked the Minister to make any evidence to support this legislation available to committee before second stage.

“I would also have concerns over plans to bring proposals for privately developed housing units of 100 plus straight to An Bord Pleanála. Firstly I am not convinced that such legislation is needed and again I have asked for evidence from the Department to support the proposal.  

“We need to ensure that legislative measures introduced to tackle the housing crisis are fit for purpose and that we do not go down the road of repeating the mistakes of the past. Fast tracking planning laws is not necessarily the best route to take. The Minister should encourage greater pre-planning engagement between all the parties involved in the process, including developers, planners, and local communities as this can often resolve issues that can lead to planning delays.

"Sinn Féin will study the legislation when published and engage constructively in Committee to ensure that any positive proposals that will assist tackling the housing and homeless crisis are passed through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible. However the Minister must provide evidence for any proposals he brings forward and must convince others of their merits.”

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