Construction of new homes

Sir, – The claim by Construction Information Services that the closure of building sites has stopped construction of 60,000 homes is incorrect ("Coronavirus halts building of 60,000 homes in Ireland", News, April 16th).

Department of Housing figures indicate fewer than 25,000 new homes on site, a similar level of output to 2019, when market demand was already uncertain due to high prices.

The short-term closure of sites may be the least of the problems in the new-build sector, as a further drop in demand is likely to stall speculative development of housing, and also tourism, retail and commercial buildings.

Construction workers now account for one in five of the 500,000 people currently unemployed, and there is no certainty that all sites will reopen.


Traditionally, employment and skills were supported in a recession by ramping up the construction of State-led housing.

There is an opportunity now to open up public lands to small and medium-sized building firms under contract as an engine for employment, training, affordability and future competitiveness. – Yours, etc,



Assistant Professor,

School of Architecture,

Planning and

Environmental Policy,

University College Dublin,


Dublin 4.