Housing-building targets will have to increase, says Eamon Ryan

Sinn Féin claims Coalition’s housing plan ‘fatally undermined’ as research says up to 62,000 new homes needed per year to meet demand

A pedestrian passes a residential construction site in the Sandyford district of Dublin, Ireland, on Monday, May 10, 2021. The mass purchase of affordable houses — on the market for about 400,000 euros ($490,000) — set off a public firestorm and highlights the growing tension over the squeeze in urban housing and the role of large investors. Photographer: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Bloomberg

The Government’s housing-building targets will have to increase, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said, after Sinn Féin claimed the Coalition’s housing plan was “destined to fail”.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty referenced a report in Thursday’s Irish Times that features unpublished research by the Housing Commission saying Ireland may need up to 62,000 homes built per year until 2050 to meet demand. This is almost double the annual target in the Government’s master plan for this decade.

The research, shared with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien last November, indicates Ireland requires between 42,000 and 62,000 new homes every year. Under Mr O’Brien’s Housing for All strategy, 33,000 is the average annual target in the period to 2030.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Thursday, Mr Doherty said it was obvious the Government’s housing targets need to be revised upwards significantly and immediately. The Donegal TD said the Housing for All plan had been “fatally undermined” by the very commission that the Government had established.


“Your housing plan is not only failing under its own terms, it is actually destined to fail,” he said.

Mr Doherty said the Government’s targets were not based on evidence or objective assessment of needs and were instead “the result of political manoeuvring ... boasting the targets are met when the targets themselves are clearly flawed”.

He said the Government must commit to revising the figures or they were “committing the Irish people to a worsening and permanent housing crisis”.

In response, Mr Ryan said the Government’s housing target for last year was 24,600 units and that 29,851 homes had been built. The Minister said he and the Government wanted that figure to be higher.

“We will need to go more, higher, further because more people are coming into our country than were expected,” he said.

The Green Party leader said the commission’s analysis covered the period to 2050 while the Housing for All plan was only up to 2030. He said the Sinn Féin TD needed to “be careful you’re not comparing apples and oranges”.

“Of course we’re going to have to go higher than that 33,000 limit. The question is how do we do it,” he added.

Mr Ryan said one of the key vehicles in delivering more homes was the Land Development Agency (LDA) as the State was “going to have to take a bigger role”.

He said the LDA was “perfectly suited and the right agency” to ramp up housing delivery. Mr Ryan said the Government was not planning to fail and that one of the biggest problems was “people objecting to planning”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times