‘Massive increase’ in housing output required to solve crisis, says Chambers Ireland

‘Decades of neglect’ have created shortfalls in infrastructure delivery that must be addressed

The Government’s housing delivery targets are “too low” and a “large increase” in output to about 80,000 units each year by the end of the decade will be required to improve the situation, Chambers Ireland has warned.

The organisation, which represents more than 20 county and local chambers of commerce across the State, has also said the Republic’s competitiveness is being “challenged by housing shortages, energy costs, skills gaps and the failure of the planning system to adequately facilitate the development of key infrastructures”.

In its manifestos for June’s local and European elections, Chambers Ireland has called on candidates in both elections to focus particular attention on issues surrounding infrastructure delivery.

At a local level, it said that many local authorities will have to revise their local area plans in recognition that “a large increase in housing output is needed”.


It comes amid recent reports that the Coalition has been clearly warned by officials that its housing targets of 33,000 homes are “significantly below” the actual requirement of 50,000 homes each year.

The Business Post reported last weekend that civil servants have told Minister for Finance Michael McGrath that the current Housing for All targets are inadequate. Meanwhile, the Housing Commission has also reportedly warned the Government that delays to the development of critical infrastructure, including water and electricity, are a long-term threat to its housing targets.

In its local election manifesto, Chambers Ireland said: “It is clear from the housing needs estimates that have emerged from the Housing Commission and the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute), which have centred on an average annual housing development need of approximately 50,000 from now out to 2050, that our housing crisis has been compounding over the last council cycle.”

It said at current rates of delivery, there will be an increased shortfall of about 150,000 homes relative to demand by the end of the decade. “In order to reasonably address these needs housing delivery needs to more than double by 2027,” it said.

Should banks be on the hook for access to cash into the future here?

Listen | 39:48

“Doubling the delivery of current housing provision annually by 2027 and maintaining it at that level out to 2030 will only see the housing situation stabilise but not improve. To remedy the housing crisis within the next decade will require expanding housing delivery to circa 80,000 units annually by 2030 and then reducing it to a longer-term delivery figure of 50,000 annually.”

The organisation has urged councils to ensure their purchases of new housing from developers does not “inadvertently reduce” the number of homes available on the private market. Among other things, it also wants local authorities to be given the resources to implement one-stop shop planning departments in every growth city in the Republic to streamline the process.

“National development in housing, energy, transport and water and grid infrastructure has been too slow and the decades of neglect has created crucial deficits that are hindering our economic development,” said Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland chief executive in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is why we need proactive elected representatives at all levels that understand the challenges facing Ireland and have the ambition to catalyse radical social, economic and environmental change for our future prosperity.”

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times