Modular homes and the housing crisis

 

A chara, – I read Kitty Holland’s article regarding the Dublin couple seeking planning permission for a log cabin in a back garden with great interest (“Council to consider construction of log cabin homes in gardens”, July 16th). It appears I am not the only one having a frustrating time with Dublin City Council’s planning department. I run a successful company, Big Red Barn, in Co Mayo. We build “temporary permanent structures” and our products can be seen at many national events, including the National Ploughing Championships this autumn, where our Big Red Barns will be used by seven well-known companies, including Lidl, Limousin and JFC.

I have approached Dublin City Council with our own design of a modular home (not a log cabin), made from Scandinavian pressure treated timber, fully insulated, double glazed, safe and secure, all for €34,000 plus VAT, delivered on site, where each one can be erected in three days.

Despite numerous efforts, I have, so far, failed to get any engagement with the council.

Fortuitously we have a far-seeing team in our Mayo Local Enterprise Office who have set up business contacts between Mayo and Rhode Island, a US state that also has a housing crisis. We began negotiations with the Rhode Island authorities at the start of this year and the first of our Mayo-made modular homes with be built in Rhode Island this September (following a six-week sea voyage). This new contract added ten new badly needed jobs at our Swinford manufacturing plant.

Why, oh why, is a US state, with extremely rigorous building regulations, happy to buy and erect our high-quality Irish-made product to help solve their housing problems while in Ireland our own housing officials refuse to engage with a company that can have highly affordable houses on site and fully built, in weeks? The Minister for Housing might take note and take action. – Is mise,

DONAL BYRNE,

Chief Executive,

Big Red Barn Company,

Swinford, Co Mayo.

Sir, – Log cabins in back gardens as a solution to the housing crisis? I don’t recall that in the Fine Gael election manifesto. – Yours, etc,

MARY BYRNE,

Bray, Co Wicklow.