Fianna Fáil left red-faced over budget 2019 claim - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has stated that Fianna Fáil has been left red faced after it was confirmed by the Minister for Housing that one of their key housing policy “wins” from Budget 2019 will not materialise. Minister Murphy has failed to agree to raise the social housing cap from €2m to €6m in order to speed up the delivery of social homes.
Speaking today Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Fianna Fáil have been talking up its housing achievements in terms of last year’s budget. One of the victories they claimed was a commitment from the government that it would allow social housing projects up to a value of €6m to go ahead following a single stage approval process.
“In Micháel Martin’s budget speech last year, he somewhat prematurely stated:
'We also prioritised removing blockages from the system. We secured agreement to reduce the four stages of planning applications form local authorities to the Department to one stage, we also removed the ceiling of €2m that requires Authorities to apply for even very small developments. The ceiling is now increased three-fold to €6m.'
“What is clear now is that they did not secure any such agreement to facilitate the speeding up of social housing delivery.
“Following on from Minister Murphy’s comments in the Housing Committee last week where he labelled such a change as 'reckless' and a Department of Housing memo leaked to the Irish Times indicated that they believe that such a change could lead to cost overruns.
“It is our view that the government’s rationale for refusing to lift the €2m Cap is highly dubious. It is not the case that the Department of Housing would be left on the hook for cost overruns.
“Cost overruns in the single stage approvals process are the responsibility of the individual local authorities.
“The real lesson from this debacle is that Fine Gael has no interest in speeding up the delivery of social housing and Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted on housing, or anything else for that matter.
“As these two parties continue with their phoney budget war, Sinn Féin has proposals that would speed up the delivery of social homes without compromising on standards. We would cut the time for the approvals, tendering and procurement process for public housing from 18 to 14 months to 6-9 months.”