Builders warn it may take decades to fix Ireland’s housing supply

Builders warn it may take decades to fix Ireland’s housing supply

Builders have rounded on the Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis, saying inertia and flaws in the planning system have stunted the supply of new homes ahead of the lifting of the eviction ban.

On a day when Tánaiste Micheál Martin insisted the Government had “turned the corner” on the crisis, one of the country’s leading house builders warned it may take decades for the crippling effect on housing delivery to be fixed. 

Lioncor construction company chief executive John Maxwell, has pointed to long delays in securing planning permission, with a huge backlog of cases at An Bord Pleanála, and ongoing judicial review challenges to large housing developments.

“With a deficit of 250,000 homes, plus an annual required run rate of 50,000-60,000 units, it will be decades before this problem is fixed given the current planning blockages and general inertia. This is a real concern for Ireland’s competitiveness and our ability to continue to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

There is a housing crisis, but no one seems willing to drop the politics and deal with the issue.”

Mr Maxwell made the comments as his company secured planning for a 208-unit social and affordable apartment scheme in Dublin, and has plans for 470 homes in Limerick and Cork, including developments in Castletroy, Glanmire, and Cobh.

His sentiments were echoed by Cork developer Michael O’Flynn who criticised the “political point scoring” when it comes to housing. 

“People almost see it as an opportunity to develop their own political ideals. This is too serious”, he told RTÉ. 

Why don’t we have a covid approach to housing? It’s an emergency. We need collaboration, we need to join together. We don’t need political point scoring, we need to solve the problem.

Earlier this month, Glenveagh — one of the country’s largest homebuilders, which built more than 1,300 new homes last year — chief executive Stephen Garvey said the housing crisis cannot be ended without a significant ramp-up in construction.

“The industry needs correct policy decisions and a planning framework that is designed for the types of homes that people want – and one which does not undermine the commercial viability of delivering more of these types of homes.”


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