Martin wants fewer delays to housing plans due to legal challenges

Taoiseach says substantially increasing housing supply priority for Government

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has signalled he wants to see "fewer delays through legal challenges" as part of a new drive by Government to deal with the housing crisis.

Addressing the national economic dialogue on Monday he said a plan to substantially increase housing supply over the coming years was the immediate priority for Government.

He said this would “necessitate genuine cross-Government effort – we need to ensure we have the land, people, skills, capacity, and both public and private sector finance required”.

“We need to improve how we plan and deliver housing, with necessary capacity and drive in the public service, as well as fewer delays through legal challenges to badly needed housing.


“Increased supply of affordable housing will in turn ease some of the broader economic and social challenges people face in their lives.”

Mr Martin said houses "can't be built overnight" and details of the Government's approach and pathway to increase supply over the next few years would be set out in a new strategy to be published shortly.

The national economic dialogue is essentially a forum for Ministers, employer representatives, trade unions, social campaigners and other groups to discuss competing economic and social priorities ahead of preparations for the budget in October.

‘Pact for skills’

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, told the forum the Government "must develop a new relationship with industry and our third-level system". He said this would be known as the "pact for skills". This was "essentially a call to collective action between Government, agencies, enterprise, employers, employees and all stakeholders, to a more versatile, agile, flexible system".

One of his priorities, he said, would be the establishment of an integrated third-level system and the creation of a single portal with all of the options available to school leavers on one page.

He said this would include further education and training and apprenticeships.

“We want to change the conversation at kitchen tables across the country to one where further education and apprenticeships are no longer seen as the second best option.

“The single portal will help that but we will also have more work to do in helping create a third-level system which allows transitions between further and higher education and joint programmes between both.”

The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys told the event that while she expected the numbers on the pandemic unemployment payment to fall further as the economy reopened, "the journey back to employment will not be the same for everyone, with some people needing additional supports, training and advice".

She said key elements of a recovery plan would include “an expanded Intreo capacity to deliver effective services in a post-Covid labour market”.

“We will also increase the number of case officers and provide 50,000 additional further and higher education places. Our plan will also see the delivery of a new work placement experience programme, reaching 10,000 participants over a two-year period.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent