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Social Housing

Initial social housing targets not met as Housing Department revises new builds to approx 7,500

The Department of Housing has cast doubt on figures issued in an official briefing note to Minister Paschal Donohoe.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Housing has estimated that there were approximately 7,500 social homes built in 2022, despite lower projections from the Department of Public Expenditure (DPER).

Official briefing documentation from DPER, which was released publicly at the start of this year, estimates that there were approximately 6,500 social homes delivered in 2022, while officials from the Department of Housing have cast doubt on the figures.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar acknowledged yesterday that the Government did miss their social housing targets and referenced the 6,500 figure from DPER.

However, it emerged today that the Department of Housing has higher estimates based on its preliminary data from local authorities around the country.

Speaking to TDs at the Public Accounts Committee this morning, Secretary General at the Department of Housing, Graham Doyle, said that he estimated approximately 7,500 new build social homes had been constructed in 2022.

Doyle said that the initial social housing targets for 2022 had been 9,000 new builds, but that this was revised down to 8,000.

“Our estimate at the moment is that it is somewhere close to the 8,000, above 7,500. There is a lot of counting and verification and returns going on now,” he said of construction figures. 

When asked by Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon if it would be possible to get a specific figure, Doyle said: “I can’t give you an accurate number, I can give you an estimate.”

Doyle added that this was due to a large proportion of delivery taking place in the last quarter of 2022, particularly in December.

He said that while the Department had intended to spread delivery over the course of the year, this was hampered due rising construction inflation.

Examined

Speaking to reporters this evening, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said that the DPER briefing notes were “frankly incorrect on that element” and that returns will be examined over February.

He said that the Government needed to do more on social housing delivery.

While the Department of Housing has cast doubts on delivery figures from DPER, the DPER briefing note also raises concerns about delivery potential in 2023.

In particular, it says that rising construction costs, constraints on delivery capacity and the difficulties of delivering mixed tenure developments will impact on social housing delivery.

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