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Minister O’Brien evades pre-legislative scrutiny on controversial Land Development Agency Bill - Eoin Ó Broin TD

12 January, 2021 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Eoin Ó BroinSinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien for evading pre-legislative scrutiny on the controversial Land Development Agency (LDA) Bill.

Speaking today, Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Minister O’Brien brought his new LDA bill to cabinet on December 22nd, despite having published the general scheme of the Bill in autumn.

“He failed to bring his new version of the LDA bill to the Oireachtas Housing Committee to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny, ignoring a request from some of the Committee members to do so.

“This is a hugely significant piece of legislation. While Minister O’Brien made some cosmetic changes to the scheme originally published by his predecessor, the legislation is fundamentally flawed and will make it even more difficult for working people to access genuinely affordable homes.

“Some of the weaknesses of the Bill include a lack of meaningful land management functions and compulsory purchase order powers.

“The legislation allows for public land to be used for unaffordable, open market housing. This is coupled with a failure to prioritise the delivery of social and genuinely affordable homes.

“There is also concern that the planning role of the LDA may be used to bypass local authorities and deal directly with An Board Pleanála, which would undermine local democracy like the Strategic Housing Development legislation.

“There are also issues around the new agency’s transparency and a lack of accountability for its commercial subsidiaries as they will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Acts or the Lobby Register.

“The is a danger here is that the government is creating an entity that will bear all the hallmarks of a NAMA Mark II.

“This is why a detailed pre-legislative scrutiny process by the Housing Committee is so important. The gaps in the legislation need to be discussed and solutions put forward."

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