New land agency must have real powers and a serious budget - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to ensure that the new Regeneration and Development Agency has strong powers, a serious Budget and full democratic accountability.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The idea of a strong Government agency to properly manage public lands could be a positive development.
"However we will need to see the full detail of what this new agency entails before making any judgement.
“Such an agency needs too have strong powers and the necessary funds. It needs to work in partnership with Local Authorities and be fully accountable to elected members in Councils and the Oireachtas.
“If the Minister for Housing fails to recognise the importance of a well-resourced, transparent operation then we are at risk of having another unaccountable quango on the government books.
“It is important that this agency has a defined purpose and can do what local authorities are currently unable to do regarding the redevelopment of brownfield sites owned by other state agencies throughout our towns and cities.
“However I would be wary of attempts to bypass local democratic structures such as county development plans.
“The agency also needs to have a role in acting to constrain land hoarding and speculation in the private sector to ensure that Councils have an adequate supply of residentially zoned land to meet social and affordable housing need.
“The government is already half a decade behind in terms of seriously addressing the severe housing need in this State.
"If this new Agency is adequately resourced, with teeth, and can hit the ground running it has the potential to make a welcome impact on the housing crisis.”