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Amendment to Planning Act responsible for shortcomings in social housing - Crowe

27 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has called for a repeal of the amendment which gives developers a way out of their obligations under Part V of the Planning Act which stipulates that 20% of all housing developments must be for social and affordable housing. Deputy Crowe was speaking today after new research highlighted major shortcomings in the way social and affordable housing is being delivered around the country.

He said, "The amendment in the Planning Act allowing developers to buy their way out of their obligations under Part V is the overriding factor in the delay in the delivery in social housing. A review of the legislation and the repeal of this amendment is necessary if we are to make any meaningful impact on the housing crisis in this state.

"With nearly 44,000 families currently on the social housing waiting list it is crucial that the delivery of social housing is prioritised yet only 35% of last year's target houses were built. This simply is not good enough and action is now urgently required.

"There is also an onus on local authorities to live up to its obligations under Part V of the Planning Act. If they are being paid off by developers with cash or land then it is up to them to use that cash or land for the development of social and affordable housing. Yet this is not happening and the question needs to be asked why. Where is all this money going? And what is happening to land that has been given over?

"What is obvious is that the current situation is not working and the people who are suffering are the 44,000 families on the housing waiting list. It is for this reason that I am calling for a review of the planning legislation and a repeal of the amendment allowing developers to buy their way out of their obligations." ENDS

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