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Minister blames Covid as just 725 social housing units built in first half of this year

Opposition TDs have spoken of their “shock”.

Image: RollingNews.ie

HOUSING MINISTER DARRAGH O’Brien said that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a “serious impediment” to the building of new social housing in the State as latest figures showed how just 725 were constructed in the first six months of the year. 

The Social Housing Construction Status Report to end June 2020 showed how there were 1,467 built, acquired or leased homes made available this year so far. Last year, over 10,000 homes were delivered.

Of the 1,467:

  • 725 were new builds
  • Local authorities provided 355
  • Voluntary housing organisations provided 387 homes

Minister O’Brien said his department has committed to supporting 27,500 households this year and despite the poor start, he said he will strive to make good on that commitment.

“These figures show that delivery of social housing has been very much impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 in late Q1, and the significant restrictions during Q2,” he said

“As we look ahead, it is extremely important that we mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on overall delivery to the greatest extent possible. We have a goal, to provide housing support to some 27,500 households this year, and despite a challenging first half, I am committed to delivering on that.”

“It is really important to me that the overall under-delivery on new build, which was unavoidable as a result of Covid-19, doesn’t have a consequential impact on households waiting urgently on keys. 

“However the focus now rightly turns to getting new builds back on track and new activity continuing to move at pace,” he added.

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However, Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson and Dublin Bay North TD, Cian O’Callaghan, said he was alarmed at the latest social housing output figures.

He said the Government set a target to build 7,736 social homes in 2020 and that only building 10% of that was very concerning. 

“This is a shocking level of under-delivery. Needless to say, Covid-19 has had a significant impact, but this is the third year in a row that the Government has missed its own target for building new social homes.

“We cannot allow this to continue. Thousands of people in this State are homeless. This housing crisis will only end if the Government builds new homes.
 
“We need a significantly increased investment in social housing in next week’s Budget. People deserve a Government that can deliver for them – today’s figures show that this Government cannot.”

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