Coveney’s position on new home figures no longer tenable - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has called on Minister Coveney to “revise downwards the Department of Housing ‘s new home figures”.
The call comes after the Housing Agency indicated that the Departments figures were wrong. Ó Broin has said that Minister Coveney’s position on new home figures is “no longer tenable’
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Programme for Government and Minister Coveney’s housing action plan have a clear target for new home construction of 25,000 units a year. This is the central plank of his plan.
“Both the Minister and his Department have repeatedly claimed that 15,000 new homes were completed last year. The Minister is using this figure to claim that his housing strategy is working. The government uses ESB connections as a proxy for new house figures.
“The figures have been challenged by academics and industry experts as well as figures from the CSO and Local Government Managers Association.
“ESB connections include reconnections of formerly vacant houses. When set against other data sets such as Stamp Duty transactions, Building Completion certs and Building Energy Regulation certs the Department of Housing’s figures appear significantly inflated.
“Despite the criticism, Minister Coveney and his senior Department officials have defended the 15,000 figure claiming that is was accurate.
“However the Governments own housing policy advice body, the Housing Agency, has revealed that it too disputes the 15,000 figure. They have estimated that the figure includes 3,000 reconnections, 1,500 unfinished estate units and 3,500 one off houses. This means that the actual number of new homes built and available for purchase in 2016 was just 7,000.
“This is half the actual number claimed by the Minister. His support for his own Department’s new build figures is no longer tenable. He must now come clean and revise his figures to reflect the actual level of new house construction. Anything short of this is deliberate misinformation.”