Local government and housing solutions

 

Sir, – Reports indicate that the Government intends to establish some form of “national housing agency” with a remit to deliver thousands of new homes.

While anything that really tackles our housing problem is welcome, I have doubts as to either the ability or indeed the sincerity of commitment from the “national” to achieve this. It need to be restated again and again that it is since such responsibility was effectively removed from local government to the national level that the crisis has developed. This has been done through removing powers, staff and finance from local government while intensifying power within the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and off-loading policy and analysis to the Housing Agency, a body I can see absolutely of no benefit to anyone.

At the moment work is taking place on 19 new social homes in the middle of the estate I live in in Donnybrook. This will be in addition to the nine affordable homes and the six additional social housing units that we found space for in this small estate over the last few years. Of these, 28 of these will have been developed by voluntary housing bodies and six by the city council. All are built on what might be called “left over” or council lands. If this can be done in the heart of Dublin 4, it can be done anywhere.

By my reckoning there are approximately 200 villages or parishes across the Dublin area. If each of these were facilitated to deliver a similar number through local housing initiatives assisted by and not hindered by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, we could deliver approximately 6,800 new homes quickly, and through the credit unions they could be financed locally and off the national balance sheets.

So, come on Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and look outwards and not into a department singularly incapable of doing the job. Let the local authorities provide the planners, the architects, the quantity surveyors, etc.

Local communities can provide the local expertise and indeed the future tenants. We need all kinds of new solutions. Here is one contribution, and in our case, we have delivered. – Yours, etc,

Cllr DERMOT LACEY,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.