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Coveney at ‘sixes and sevens’ over affordable housing in subsidised schemes – Ó Broin

26 May, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that Minister Simon Coveney is at “sixes and sevens” over the provision of affordable housing on housing sites that have been subsidised by the taxpayer via the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF). LIHAF is a €200m fund established to allow local authorities to construct the infrastructure necessary to make potential housing developments more accessible.

Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“Yesterday, during questions to the Minister in the Dáil, Minister Coveney could not provide any detail on what the affordability commitments the developers are obliged to stick to in order to access funding from this scheme. Instead, he passed the buck and said it was up to individual local authorities to agree on what constitutes affordable housing with the developers. 

“Last August, the Department of Housing stated in a circular on LIHAF that a minimum of 40% of the homes should be delivered at prices of 10% below the average market rate. This isn’t much in itself when you consider what average house prices are now in Dublin. 

“The Department then attempted to row back on the above commitment two months later after meeting with housing providers and local authorities citing that it wasn’t always possible to deliver a home at 10% below the market value. 

“According to the Government, LIHAF is been provided on the basis that there is a ‘commitment from those housing providers to produce housing quickly, at scale and at affordable prices’.

“We need to see some sort of level of detail as to what constitutes affordable housing and how many affordability housing units will be provided at each of the sites that have been preliminary approved for LIHAF funding. The Minister needs to make a commitment that if housing providers do not offer a realistic affordability cap then he will pull the funding.” 

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