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Council-owned land banks are not on Minister’s radar – Munster

18 November, 2016 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster this week raised the matter of land banks for social housing in County Louth.

Speaking at a Topical Issues debate in the Dáil on Wednesday, Deputy Munster asked the Minister for State Catherine Byrne TD, who was standing in for Minister Coveney, why he didn't see fit to garner data from all local authorities regarding the council owned landbanks they had at their disposal for housing, in his preparatory work for the ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ housing policy document launched this summer.

Deputy Munster said:

“I have to ask where is the government's response and responsibility to the housing crisis? It is clear that Minister Coveney is handing over responsibility for sorting out the housing crisis to developers. His response to our housing crisis is purely developer led.

“Minister Simon Coveney's document is handing developers a cash windfall which includes the option of the introduction of a situation where developers can agree with the planning authority to lease out social housing units, whether on or off site. This gives developers the opportunity to build houses, have their mortgage paid by the local authority with the option of taking the house back after an undefined lease term.

“The occupants of the house are back to square one again, almost without a roof over their heads. To compound matters further, those people in those houses will never be able to call that house their own. They have no security of tenure. It's a win-win scenario for developers.

“If the Minister was serious about traditional build local authority housing, his first move would be to find out what council owned land banks were available and then in turn to fund local authorities to give permanent homes to those languishing on the social housing waiting list, many for over a decade now.” 

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