Tackling the housing crisis

The tide is turning

Sir, – In the article “House building in Ireland is at a 15-year high. This is true but it is also Government spin” (Opinion, Residential, February 22nd) a claim was made that the Government was trying to insult people’s intelligence in relation to homebuilding. Naturally, I reject that. Homebuilding in Ireland is making a comeback and I won’t shy away from calling out the successes under our plan, Housing for All. It’s a fact that more homes were completed in 2023 than have been since 2008. It’s a fact that building started on more homes in 2023 than in a decade. It’s a fact that more first-time buyers bought their first home in 2023 than in 16 years.

It’s also a fact that Government investment and initiatives are prompting this progress.

Since 2020, the year this Government took up office, more than 100,000 new homes have now been delivered. Now, the comment I hear from some people, and in particular the Opposition, is “But, it’s not enough.” That’s fine. I understand that. But when you stand back for a minute, and you think of where we came from, that’s more homes in four years than in the previous nine years combined and we had both a global pandemic and a war to contend with.

I know not everyone is feeling the progress. Opposition parties don’t have a monopoly on empathy for the people out there who are struggling. I see it throughout my own constituency and when I visit towns and villages across the country. The message I have for people is that after more than a decade of undersupply, the tide is turning, and that every effort is focussed on growing that momentum.


I am very pleased and emboldened by the progress we are making. It spurs me to want to do much more.

The recent Euroconstruct report by EY, published just before Christmas, gives rise to further optimism. It shows that construction output in Ireland is forecast to grow this year, whereas in the other European countries surveyed it is expected to fall by 2.1 per cent.

This doesn’t happen by accident. The construction sector in Ireland has the confidence to scale up the supply of homes because the Government is backing the families and individuals to buy them.

In the coming weeks, we expect to have a copy of independent research from the ESRI which is determining housing need based on our most recent census and the housing profiles published by the CSO. This research will form the basis of our revised housing targets. While this work is being undertaken it’s important to point out that the overall targets under Housing for All have been surpassed in the two years since it was launched.

These targets have only ever provided a base of which to work from, they’ve never been a limitation to our ambition as has been proven twice now. The Government has always been upfront about the fact that the targets would be revised, particularly in light of Census 2022 which was delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Government has also been very forthright about capacity constraints and more importantly what we intend to do about them.

The largest overhaul of the planning system is proceeding through the Oireachtas at present, a recruitment drive for workers is under way, guidance in relation to the zoning of land has been issued and avenues for private finance are being explored.

I agree with the point in your article that context is everything.

A decade of undersupply, the Covid-19 pandemic and the direct consequences of a war on inflation and supply chains give context to Ireland’s delivery of homes over the past four years. Government has met these challenges head on and the housing revival is well under way. – Yours, etc,


Minister for Housing,

The Custom House,

Dublin 1.