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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien Sam Boal
Housing Crisis

Leo Varadkar: Housing constraints would impact whoever is in Government

Varadkar cited the rising cost of building materials as an issue.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that existing constraints on housing construction would have an impact regardless of which parties are in Government.

The Taoiseach told Newstalk Breakfast this morning that issues with the rising cost of building materials and the previous collapse of the construction industry are impacting on the supply of housing.

“There are constraints. For example, we’ve seen a big increase in the cost of steel materials, all that has an impact,” Varadkar said.

“We have to redouble our efforts and do everything we can to speed up but there are real constraints.

“Unfortunately, I know people may not want to hear this but no matter who’s in government those constraints will be there.”

Varadkar said that these constraints included projects getting stuck in planning, adding that the Government intended to address this through the new Planning and Development Bill.

He added that he was frustrated with the pace of developments.

“What’s most frustrating for me is that it is taking so long and if it was the case of signing an order or passing a law or signing a check, it would all be done, but there are real constraints.”

When asked about notice to quit figures released yesterday by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), Varadkar said that the Government were aware of the level of evictions likely to take place when the decision to end the eviction was made last month.

According to the RTB, there were 4,329 notices to quit issued in the last three months of 2022, with more than half of these being due to landlords selling their rental property.

Across 2022, there were 11,863 notices to quit issued by landlords, with the vast majority being issued in the last six months of the year.

Varadkar defended the decision to end the ban, saying that it would only make more landlords exit the rental market.

“We were certainly aware that that was an issue and that’s one of the things that’s contributing to the housing crisis and the view that Minister O’Brien took, which I supported very strongly, was that continuing the ban for longer would have caused more landlords to exit the market, thus making the problem worse later.

“That’s fundamentally one of the decisions why we decided not to continue with it.”

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