Government, not local authorities, responsible for developer's loophole - Crowe
Sinn Féin Social Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has supported remarks from Mr Des Geraghty, chairman of the Affordable Homes Partnership calling on local authorities to priorities social and affordable housing over financial compensation from developers under Part V of the Planning Act. But Deputy Crowe went on to point out that responsibility for this lay chiefly with the government, and not cash-strapped local authorities.
The Dublin South-West TD said: "The government's decision to water down Part V of the Planning Act at the behest of developers has hamstrung the delivery of social and affordable housing in this state as they take full advantage of the government's generosity. The amount of money handed over to local authorities has increased by over 20 times between 2003 and 2005.
"Consequently, the waiting lists for social housing are at a ridiculously high level. In March 2005 there were 43,684 families on local authority waiting lists and there is data that shows that some housing applicants are kept on waiting lists for up to 7 years. Local authorities have all but halted social housing construction programmes across the state, making us abnormally, an unacceptably, dependent on the Part V provisions.
"Mr Geraghty is right to state that local authorities can refuse to accept financial compensation from developers and demand instead social and affordable housing, but the reality is that many cash-strapped local authorities are desperately trying to source funds wherever possible.
"Part of the solution to our housing crisis is to reverse the government's amendment to the Planning Act and oblige developers to meet the requirement for 20% social and affordable housing without being able to buy their way out. Local authorities might have to carry some of the blame for choosing to accept compensation over housing, but it is the government's responsibility."