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A powerhouse of delivery Circle Voluntary Housing Association’s John Hannigan In association with
27 October Date for your diary!
Irish Retrofitting Conference Thursday 27th October 2022 · Dunboyne Castle, Co Meath The Programme for Government pledges to develop a new area-based and one-stop-shop approach to retrofitting in order to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 energy rating by 2030. SEAI was designated the National Retrofitting Delivery Body by the Government and will be the main body charged with delivering this ambitious programme. Energy Ireland is organising a highly insightful conference in partnership with SEAI on the retrofitting programme in Ireland. The conference will bring together key stakeholders from across the sector. Its objective is to create a genuine in-depth understanding of the challenges and delivery details for decarbonising Ireland’s housing stock.
Sponsorship opportunities There are a limited number of opportunities for interested organisations to partner with the conference as a sponsor. This is an excellent way for organisations to raise their profile with a key audience of senior decision-makers from across Ireland’s energy sector. For more information on packages available and speaking opportunities at the event contact us on 01 661 3755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Housing Ireland magazine
Housing Ireland magazine
Foreword by Housing Agency CEO Bob Jordan
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD
Fingal County Council: Social and affordable housing efforts in Ireland’s fastest growing county
Cover story: Circle Voluntary Housing Association’s John Hannigan
Housing priorities in Northern Ireland: Department for Communities’ Mark O’Donnell
Housing for All: Progress report
European Commission’s Director of Social Affairs Katrina Ivanković Knežević on combatting homelessness
Round table discussion: Ireland’s sustainable housing future
64 86 96 104
Cost rental options
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD
The impact of Rent Pressure Zones
Editorial Owen McQuade Fiona McCarthy Ciarán Galway Odrán Waldron David Whelan
Design Gareth Duffy Jamie Hogan
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Who’s who in housing Housing Ireland magazine directory Back page: Independent Living Movement Ireland’s James Cawley
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Date for your diary! Housing Ireland Conference 2023
As a matter of government priority, Housing for All aims to increase housing supply in the State by an average of 33,000 units per annum up to and including 2030. Proportionally, this will equate to 10,000 social housing units, 4,000 homes for affordable purchase, 2,000 cost rental homes and 17,000 private homes. The ultimate vision contained within Housing for All – the creation of a sustainable housing system – must entail multifaceted and fundamental change to housing delivery. Acknowledging that it is approaching the housing challenge from “a low base of supply”, government asserts that tangible benefits to citizens will take time. In the meantime, however, the housing crisis abounds, exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, inflationary pressures, supply chain challenges, and skills capacity constraints on the construction industry. As such, the often-prohibitive cost of buying or renting homes will continue to impact on citizens. In this context, the 2023 conference will host a range of expert domestic and visiting speakers who will explore the challenges, opportunities, and ambitions facing the housing sector.
Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities There are a number of opportunities for interested organisations to become involved with this conference as sponsors or exhibitors. This is an excellent way for organisations to raise their profile with a key audience of senior decision-makers from across the housing sector in Ireland. For further information on how your organisation can benefit, contact Ciarán Galway on 01 661 3755 or email ciarán.email@example.com
Key issues to be examined: 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Delivering Housing for All Increasing affordability: Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme and the First Home Scheme Increasing social and affordable housing delivery Addressing vacancy Eradicating homelessness Cost rental models in Ireland Regulation, professionalisation, and consolidation of AHBs ‘Tenant first’ social housing Efficient access to finance Facilitating social inclusion through housing Housing for All and the planning process Role of the Housing Commission National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 Social Housing in Mixed Tenures Retrofitting and Ireland’s sustainable housing future Inflationary challenges and the construction sector Ongoing housing need metrics National Policy on Architecture objectives Residential property market snapshot Addressing the short-term lettings challenge
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Foreword The common goal of Housing for All The 2022 edition of Ireland’s Housing Magazine is the first since the publication of the Government’s housing plan Housing for All. Launched in September 2021,
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Housing for All commits €4 billion of state funding each year to enable the supply of over 300,000 homes by 2030. This represents a significant investment in the housing sector and demonstrates how important housing is to our social and economic success. The scale and ambition of the strategy will require input from us all, given its aim of providing an optimal mix of social, affordable, and private housing both for sale and rent. Despite a challenging global environment, significant progress has been made, thanks to the dedication of housing professionals across the country. Confidence remains high that we will achieve the housing targets set out for the year. Schemes aimed at improving housing affordability and supply are being introduced. Two affordable schemes will help people on low to moderate incomes to buy newly-built homes at below market prices, the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme and the forthcoming First Home Scheme which will be available nationwide. The Croí Cónaithe (Cities) scheme aims to increase the supply of apartments for home purchasers in our main urban centres. A new Town Centre First policy is focused on regenerating towns and converting vacant and derelict properties into homes. Ireland’s new tenure type, cost rental, continues to expand. It is anticipated that approximately 200 new cost rental homes will be provided by the end of the summer, with more developments expected later this year. This new tenure type links the price of rents to the cost of developing and maintaining the properties. With rents at least 25 per cent below the market rate, cost rental will play an important role in improving affordability in the rental sector. Important strides have also been made to improve social inclusion, protect society’s most vulnerable and support sustainable communities. A new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022–2027 was launched in January 2022, and the new National Office for Housing First, located in the Housing Agency was opened in March. 2022 also saw the publication of important research on tenure mixing. Social Housing in Mixed Tenures, commissioned by The Housing Agency and the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) found that mixed tenure estates have led to the development of strong and integrated communities, with strong support for tenure mixing as a key policy. Despite this important progress, the sector is facing challenges including supply chain issues, cost of living increases and climate change. Innovation and creative thinking will be required to surmount these challenges, meet housing needs, to provide sustainable and affordable Housing for All. For this reason, The Housing Agency is collaborating with the Irish Architecture Foundation on an initiative entitled Housing Unlocked which seeks new ideas that will improve the housing sector by challenging the status quo. In February, we launched an open call for ideas from architects, who teamed up with professionals from a variety of disciplines and members of the public, to submit ideas to solve housing issues in Ireland’s cities, towns and villages. We received an impressive range of applications, with eight shortlisted to appear in an exhibition later this year, which we hope will spark ideas, start conversations and lead to new thinking in how we deliver housing. For more information on the finalists and upcoming exhibition visit www.housingunlocked.ie. This is my first year as Chief Executive of The Housing Agency, and in a few months, The Housing Agency will be marking its 10-year anniversary. Challenges lie ahead, but through collaboration, evidence-based solutions, and ambitious thinking, we will achieve our goal of providing secure homes and developing sustainable communities. I look forward to working with everyone in the housing community in achieving this common goal.
Bob Jordan Chief Executive The Housing Agency 3
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien: Delivering Housing for All At a time of great uncertainty, with pressures such as inflation at home and the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine abroad, having a consistent housing plan is more important than ever, writes Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD. 4
Housing for All offers us this consistency. It is a fully targeted, fully funded plan. The Government and I will continue to implement it as we respond appropriately and compassionately to the plight of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland. Firstly, what is our aim? That everyone should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place, offering a high quality of life. We are backing this with a guaranteed over €4 billion a year in housing investment and a series of actions to deliver 300,000 new homes by 2030. This includes 90,000 social homes and 54,000 affordable homes. While I know it might be very hard for people to see,
Housing Ireland magazine
“For renters, supply is critical to making housing more affordable.”
the plan is already working with home permissions, commencements, completions, purchases, and mortgage drawdowns all up to record levels. Latest CSO figures show planning permissions for homes were up 22.7 per cent in the year ending Q1 2022 (44,491) when compared to the same time period to Q1 2021 (36,252). There were 34,846 units commenced in the year to March 2022, the highest number of commencements since records started in 2014. When it comes to completions, in the EU, Ireland has gone from the third lowest level of completions per capita in 2013 to the fifth highest in 2020 and I expect that trend to continue. The number of homes purchased by households has gone from a low of just under 25,699 in 2011 to 55,298 in 2021, and first-time buyers have reached their highest levels since 2007 with over 15,065 buying properties in the year to March 2022. This is up from a low of 6,381 in 2011, a massive 136 per cent increase. For the plan to succeed, Housing for All’s 213 actions need to be implemented. One-hundred-and-thirtyfive have now either been completed or are being delivered on an ongoing basis. These include measures to support the capacity of both the public
and private sectors to deliver on the plan’s ambitions and to address critical enabling factors. They include the availability of land, access to the required levels of development financing and the timely provision of utilities including water, electricity, and broadband, and fundamental reform of the planning process.
Housing Ireland magazine
For first-time buyers, we are starting to see Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme homes come on stream. Homes ranging from €166,000 to €245,000 are being made available in 2022 through developments in Fingal, Cork, and south County Dublin. More will follow. We have introduced a new Local Authority Home Loan, which is more accessible for single applicants. We have also introduced an owneroccupier guarantee which we know has resulted in almost 16,000 homes being ring-fenced for homeowners and restricted from bulk buying or multiple sales to a single purchaser. The First Home Scheme will be available from July 2022. Through the scheme, the first of its kind in Ireland, the Government and participating banks will help first-time buyers bridge the gap between the finance they have and need to purchase their own home. For renters, supply is critical to making housing more affordable. The indicators I have outlined will help. We have
capped any possible rent increase to a maximum of 2 per cent per annum and have made tenancies of indefinite duration a reality. Cost rental homes, in which the rent level is equal to the cost of building, managing, and maintaining the home, is scaling up. Tenants are now living in cost rental homes in Leixlip, Balbriggan, and Enniskerry Road, paying rents that are between 30 per cent and 50 per cent below the local market rents. Our social housing pipeline is very strong. As we move away from leasing homes to provide new build social homes, this year we aim to deliver 9,000 new-build homes. To enable more delivery, I have approved over 200 new staff for local authority housing delivery teams across the country and 24 additional posts for An Bord Pleanála. We’ve reformed the Mortgage to Rent Scheme to make the scheme more accessible for those at risk of losing their homes. In December 2022, the Government launched the Housing First National Implementation Plan, one of the key responses in ending longterm homelessness among those with complex health and mental health needs. The plan will create 1,319 new tenancies for long-term homeless by 2026. My department is currently developing a new youth homelessness strategy.
“Implementing Housing for All, exceeding our targets where possible, is my top priority.”
We have already ended the SHD process and returned decision making to our local authorities. The Department of Finance have legislated for a zoned land tax, and they are also gathering data with a view to introducing a vacant property tax in this year’s budget. The Attorney General and his team are working on the most significant reform to planning legislation in Ireland and this will be complete in September. Addressing vacancy, by making the best use of our existing stock, is crucial. In February 2022, the Government launched a new town centre first policy. It promotes residential occupancy in rural towns and villages. It will help town centres become viable, vibrant, and attractive locations in which to live and work and visit. To meet a family as they move into their forever home, having spent years on a social housing waiting list; to talk to a person who has experienced long-term homelessness but is now in a Housing First tenancy; to speak with tenants in our latest cost rental developments – these are among the most fulfilling moments of the job. For every person I meet there are thousands more who need and want the same. Implementing Housing for All, exceeding our targets where possible, is my top priority.
Croí Cónaithe (Cities): Unlocking apartment development potential Housing Ireland magazine
Apartments are a key element of our housing stock, and building new apartments, particularly in our cities is vital to help tackle climate change, achieve compact growth and make our cities more vibrant places to live, writes Catriona Lawlor, Administrative Officer with the Housing Agency’s Delivery Team.
Many people want to live close to work, close to well-serviced public transport links and close to all the attractions and amenities that our cities have to offer. A key focus of Housing for All is to ensure that people who wish to buy a home have a choice of locations, particularly within our cities and towns. However, providing apartments for sale to households is difficult, for the simple reason that apartment construction is expensive. Currently, the cost of providing new apartments in our cities is higher than the price many buyers are able to pay. A report in 2021 by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland estimated the cost of building a new two-bed apartment in a Dublin city apartment block of five storeys or higher to be at least €493,077. Apartments have larger, more costly structural elements, internal common areas and lifts and can also require basement carparking. In many areas, the market sale price of an apartment is lower than the cost of building that apartment,
leading to what is known as a ‘viability gap’. The ‘viability gap’ has contributed to a situation whereby planning permission has been granted for over 70,000 homes which have not yet been activated, predominantly in our cities. 40,000 of these are in Dublin. Of the apartments which are being built, most are being used for rental, rather than being made available for purchase by households.
scheme will result in more homes available to buy, free up properties in the rental sector, provide more choices for homeowners and create more sustainable, vibrant cities. More information on Croí Cónaithe (Cities) is available at: https://www.housingagency.ie/CroiConai theCities Catriona Lawlor is an Administrative
The Housing Agency is working with the Government to address this viability gap, through the newly launched Croí Cónaithe (Cities) scheme. This is aimed at providing 5,000 apartments in five cities (Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway) by 2026 through financially supporting the construction of apartment developments that have planning permission, but which are not currently financially viable. The Housing Agency will administer the scheme on behalf of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Officer with The Housing Agency’s Delivery Team. This team plays a pivotal role developing new approaches to housing delivery leveraging its experience and deploying its expertise to help increase supply of private, social, and affordable housing.
E: email@example.com W: www.housingagency.ie
Ultimately, the Croí Cónaithe (Cities)
“The ‘viability gap’ has contributed to a situation whereby planning permission has been granted for over 70,000 homes which have not yet been activated, predominantly in our cities.” 7
Housing Ireland magazine
A powerhouse of delivery Ciarán Galway visits Laytown, County Meath to discuss priorities, consolidation, and professionalisation with Circle Voluntary Housing Association (VHA) Chief Executive and Housing Alliance chair, John Hannigan. Established as a general need family housing association in 2003, having trebled in size in the past five years, Circle VHA now operates in 21 local authorities and manages more than 2,500 homes. The approved housing body (AHB) also partners with disability, mental health, and homeless organisations on the provision of suitable housing and facilities management. Primarily focused on two- and three-bedroom houses or apartments, in the next two years, Circle VHA, in collaboration with its developers, will seek to deliver more onebedroom apartments. Indeed, since the launch of Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030, the Circle VHA chief has identified a significant increase in pressure to deliver more homes. Having delivered an average of 100 homes per annum over the past three years, the AHB’s pipeline for 2022 will increase to between 200 and 250 homes. In 2023 and 2024 this figure will rise again to 500 and 1,000, respectively.
“In total, our current pipeline for delivery is 1,500 homes in the next 24 months,” Hannigan says, adding: “Government would like us to prioritise this more and understandably so.” At the same time, with 2,500 existing tenants, Circle VHA has prioritised a move towards a more tenant-first approach, ensuring that tenants are at the forefront of what it does. “This includes, for instance, initiating a Tenant Advisory Group which will assist in bringing tenants onto the Circle board as part of our organisational governance. “As such, we have already established four key groups with tenants to determine the content of our policies and how they are issued,” he notes.
Values When Hannigan first joined Circle VHA, “no one could define what its values were”. However, having undertaken a process to instil an agreed set of values in everyone across the AHB, it is now defined by its ‘WE HEAR!’ values. WE HEAR! is an acronym of: Willingness: A willingness to embody all our values in a driven manner, “going above and beyond what others are doing”.
Empowerment: Empowering staff to take timely decisions conducive to quality of the service provided, while also empowering tenants “to be central to what we do”.
Honesty: Providing an honest and fully transparent approach to all decisions and outcomes, creating a space for constructive criticism that enables growth.
Excellence: Consistently exploring what excellence is and how it is delivered, “we see it as a day-today priority”.
Accountability: Ensuring that everyone across the organisation is held accountable for what they do or do not do.
Respect: Giving everyone the respect they deserve, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what their background is, whether they are a tenant or a member of staff. “That was not always in existence, whether in our organisation or across the sector,” Hannigan acknowledges.
Challenges As experienced across society and the economy generally, inflationary pressures are having a disruptive impact on the housing sector. From materials such as timber and steel, to labour, the cost is increasing.
“The social housing sector has an unprecedented awareness of what is
I believe that smaller AHBs should coalesce under an umbrella organisation. being delivered. As a result, homes are being bought up or built up more rapidly than previously. However, it is still insufficient. For example, in 2022, the target for our sector is to deliver nearly 9,000 social homes. At the moment, we are running at about 7,700 for the year. “That figure is a result of constrained house completions. Consequently, we have a 1,300-home deficit that we are trying to close. That is proving difficult, but it is something that we can achieve.”
Regulation From 1 January 2022, the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) assumed responsibility for establishing and maintaining the register of AHBs and for registering organisations as AHBs. As larger AHBs have been “voluntarily regulating for seven years”, disruption has been minimal. However, for smaller AHBs, the weight of additional governance costs is a challenge. “That is not going to be sustainable,” Hannigan observes, noting: “We will see
more and more smaller AHBs handing over the keys and asking to be managed by a larger organisation.” While suggesting that this is “not necessarily a bad thing”, the Circle VHA chief warns against a complete erosion of localism. “Having a large national organisation doing everything may inhibit a sense of ownership and a sense of community that smaller AHBs develop. There needs to be a balance,” he says. Circle VHA has welcomed statutory regulation as an opportunity “from a funding perspective”. “I have been having conversations with funders whereby they have indicated that statutory regulation has been one of the factors that has enabled them to come to the market. Without it, we could not deliver as many houses as we aim to into the future,” he relays.
“Our other difficulty is acquiring completed homes. Encouraging developers and builders to build and at pace is really difficult. In fairness to them, they are indicating that supply chains are constrained, and labour shortages are having a significant impact at this time also,” Hannigan explains.
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Professionalisation Hannigan also chairs the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Ireland, a membership organisation tasked with professionalising the housing sector and creating a clear and valued career
Housing Ireland magazine path in housing. Having initially struggled to become established, the CIH is attempting to expand its relatively low membership in Ireland and demonstrate that there are real careers in the housing profession.
“I will utilise all my roles to bring coherence to the CIH, promoting membership and simultaneously deliver a better package for members, that compliments the role played by ICSH for its corporate members,” he states.
“Our tenants have an expectation that they receive the best possible service from the best people; professionals who know what they are doing with the required level of training, expertise, CPD, and all the things that go into making somebody competent in their role. The CIH, working with the Irish Council for Social Housing [ICSH], is there to ensure that can happen,” he explains.
As a member of the governing board of the CIH in the UK, Hannigan has insight into the jurisdictional challenges elsewhere, for instance, in Canada, China, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. “It is particularly beneficial because you can discern what works, sidestep the pitfalls, and achieve desired outcomes more swiftly,” he comments. Simultaneously, sitting on the board of the ICSH, the umbrella body for all AHBs, Hannigan identifies the potential for synergy between statutory regulation, professional standards, and the consolidation of AHBs. 10
Having sat on the board of the Housing Alliance for four years, and previously serving as its vice chair on two occasions, Hannigan was appointed chair in April 2022. Describing the Alliance as “a powerhouse of delivery”, he emphasises that between them, the six constituent AHB members currently deliver two-fifths of all social housing in the State. Given that “there is no group more committed than the six Housing Alliance members in terms of housing delivery”, its role, the Alliance chair explains, is to provide an expert voice in support of government efforts to remove all barriers to housing delivery. However, while emphasising the scale of the AHBs involved, the Housing Alliance chair maintains that “we are not taken as seriously as we should be”. “I do not think we are leveraged enough by the State in terms of how we do things,” he continues, explaining: “Between the six AHBs, the Housing
Alliance has thousands of years of housing experience. Yet, we still get asked questions which demonstrate that we are regarded as amateurs because we are charities.”
“I want to ensure that we are correctly regarded as organisations that deliver solutions and positive outcomes for the people that need housing. We are going to spend a significant amount of time proposing the solutions that I believe will help government achieve its ambition of delivering more housing for more people,” he insists.
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For instance, Circle VHA’s senior leadership team exhibits decades’ worth of experience in building and delivering houses, alongside its tenancy management function. “The other five AHBs around us have similar or greater levels of experience. My job this year, is to amplify that message and enhance the visibility of the Housing Alliance.
We have a longterm challenge to deal with and Circle will be at the forefront of the solution.
Consolidation Consistent in his message, Hannigan contends that the social housing sector is oversubscribed. Consolidation, he advocates, will be the natural fallout of regulation and good governance requirements, alongside economic headwinds. “We will have no choice but to consolidate more and more AHBs,” he projects.
believes that none – with the possible exception of Clúid Housing – “are at the scale we should be at in order to benefit from real economies of scale”. What is required to be truly economical, he contends, is an alliance of between eight and 10 AHBs that manage a combined total of 10,000 homes each.
importance of establishing a tenant-first approach. “We want to be identified as leaders and innovators, ensuring that tenants have real say in how we build, what we build, the nature of the services we provide, and how we build communities. Tenants must be at the forefront of that process,” he insists.
“Depending on who you talk to, there is a total of between 450 and 574 approved housing bodies in Ireland,” he says, continuing: “The reality is, however, there are only around 100 AHBs which are very active and another 100 which are partially active.”
“Circle’s intention is to attempt to drive that. We have been very public about it; we take every opportunity to talk about it. We have entered several discussions and I would hope that we would see some positive outcome from those within the next six months,” he reveals.
While emphasising that there is a role for localism, with small AHBs fulfilling that function, Hannigan emphasises the realities of regulation and associated governance. “Smaller organisations, managed by volunteers, are going to struggle” he asserts.
A second priority is growth, both in terms of growing Circle VHA and the number of homes it provides, Hannigan regards the housing crisis as a deeply entrenched challenge. “Unfortunately, I think we are 10 years out from seeing the crisis relieved to a point where it is no longer the difficulty it currently is. We have a long-term challenge to deal with and Circle will be at the forefront of the solution,” he concludes.
Highlighting an exemplar case study in which several small AHBs coalesced under an overarching group in Limerick, the Circle VHA CEO indicates that this empowered the organisations to meet their regulatory requirements. At the other end of the AHB spectrum, the six largest AHBs constitute the Housing Alliance. However, Hannigan
Profile: John Hannigan John Hannigan has been Chief Executive Officer of Circle Voluntary Housing Association since 2017. He took up his current position in September 2017. Having previously held the position of Managing Director of Sunbeam House Services since 2010, John also worked as finance director with Respond. John is currently the Chair of The Housing Alliance, comprising six of the largest Housing Associations in Ireland.
“I believe that smaller AHBs should coalesce under an umbrella organisation, whether that is Circle VHA, the Irish Council for Social Housing, or a separate entity.”
Looking ahead to the next three years, the Circle VHA CEO reiterates the
As well as being a Fellow and Chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing (Ireland), alongside his membership of the governing board of Chartered Institute of Housing (UK), John also holds a seat on the Board of ICSH and is also a Fellow of the Association of Certified Accountants, and a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors. 11
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing for All: ‘Strong pipeline’ for 2022 Early indicators “suggest a strong pipeline of housing for 2022”, although the construction industry’s capacity to exceed the 20 per cent increase needed to meet Housing for All targets for 2022 remains to be seen. As the first step in achieving Housing for All’s headline target of an average of 33,000 homes per year in the period 2022-2030, 24,600 homes are expected to be delivered in 2022, which would require an increase of 20.16 per cent from 2021, when 20,433 new homes were completed. Such an increase is historically precedented, with yearly increases as high as 45.51 per cent recorded in the 2010s, although questions remain surrounding the construction industry’s capacity to increase further. 2021’s overall figures show a decrease of 41 houses from the year previous and a decrease of 574 from 2019, the last recorded year unaffected by Covid-19 lockdowns. The report also reveals that seven actions due for implementation in Q4 2021 were carried into Q1 2022 to make a total of 20 actions due for the quarter, 12 (60 per cent) of which were successfully implemented. Overall successful implementation for the plan thus far stands at 70 per cent.
New dwelling completions The completion of 24,600 in 2022 new dwellings is committed to as the beginning of the delivery of 312,750 homes from 2022-2030. To achieve the necessary 20.16 per cent increase, a total of an extra 4,127 homes must be completed. In the decade 2011-2021, total increases in dwelling completions were recorded six times, the largest of which were recorded consecutively in 2017, 2018, and 2019, showing that the Irish construction industry had been on track for the type of delivery envisioned within the plan. 12
In 2017, a 45.51 per cent increase from 9,842 completions to 14,321 was recorded; this momentum was then carried into 2018, when a 24.98 per cent increase was recorded for a total of 17,899 completions; 2019 then saw an increase of 17.59 per cent and the breaching of the 20,000 mark for completions, with 21,047 new dwellings completed. This means that while the increases in construction numbers needed to reach the targets set out in Housing for All will be difficult to achieve, such an uptick would not be unprecedented. The hope for both government and the construction industry that the decreases recorded since then are simply a case of the long-term effect of the Covid pandemic and its lockdowns rather than the sign of an industry that has reached its capacity ceiling. The progress report on the implementation of Housing for All for Q1 2022 issued by the Government shows there to have been commencement notices received for 4,200 new homes in the first two months of 2022; with 42,991 homes granted planning permission and 30,724 new houses commencing construction in
Actual housing completions (2011-2021) and targeted housing completions (2022-2030) 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000
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10,000 5,000 0
Source: CSO and Housing for All.
2021, this represents a “strong housing pipeline” for the Government that indicates the realisation of 2022’s targets is possible. Over 60 per cent of the permissions granted in 2021 were for apartments, “which demonstrates an emerging pattern of development which responds to our objective of achieving sustainable, compact growth”. Central Statistics Office (CSO) research shows there to have been 5,669 new dwellings completed in Q1 2022, a decrease on Q4 2021 (6,975) but an increase on Q1 2021 and substantially bigger than any Q1 in the 2010s. Of the 5,669, 1,742 (30.73 per cent) were apartments, meaning that apartment completions have yet to catch up with the rate of apartment planning permission consents (over 60 per cent). Were completion numbers to keep pace with Q1, the 2022 target of 24,600 completions would be missed by roughly 2,000 homes. However, since 2015 dwelling completion numbers have typically seen a marked increase from the first half of the year to the second half; for example, 4,243 new dwellings were completed in Q1 2019, with 6,368 completed in Q4 of the same year.
Actions Of the 213 total actions contained within Housing for All, 135 have “now either been completed or are being delivered on an ongoing basis”, including measures to support the capacity of the public and private construction sectors “and to
address critical enabling factors, such as the availability of land, access to the required levels of development financing, the timely provision of utilities including water, electricity and broadband and the fundamental reform of the planning process”. Highlights within these 135 actions as highlighted by the Government include: the opening of the Local Authority Home Loan, with €250 million made available for 2022; the receipt of applications for home to be provided under the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme, under which homes in south Dublin are priced at €245,600, a 20 per cent reduction on market rates; the scaling up of cost rental delivery, with tenants moving into 50 cost rental homes in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown; the submission of an application for roughly 1,800 homes by the Land Development Agency; the publication of the Town Centre First policy; the finalisation of the Croí Cónaithe Fund; the publication of the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People; the progression of Project Tosaigh; the foundation of the Housing First National office to enable the delivery of 1,319 housing first tenancies by 2026; the delivery of €12 million in funding for the Repair and Lease scheme targeting 120 homes in 2022; and the launch of the National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme.
Cost rental units delivered Scheme
Weighted average rent
Average market rent
Tuath and Respond
Social and affordable housing Including in the delivery target of 24,600 homes in 2022 is the delivery of 9,000 social homes – currently on track to be some 1,300 short according to Housing Alliance chair John Hannigan – “the bulk of which will be newly built”. 2021 saw the delivery of a total of 9,183 new social homes through new builds, acquisitions, and leasing programmes, which led to a reduction in the number of households on local authority waiting lists for the fifth consecutive year, with the overall number now 35 per cent lower than 2016 levels. All 31 local authorities have submitted their housing delivery action plans to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, covering the period 2022-2026. The plans contain within them information on land holdings and land required to meet social housing demand in the local authority areas.
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Affordable housing will be delivered through two approaches under Housing for All: 36,000 homes under affordable purchase and 18,000 under cost rental. Applications have opened for homes under the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme, with 16 three-bedroom homes in Kilcarbery Grange in south Dublin priced from €245,600; Cork City Council will soon make Boherboy homes available from €218,000. Fingal County Council will also make affordable purchase homes available this year, with two-bedroom apartments beginning at €166,000. A national First Home Shared Equity Scheme, launched in Q2 2022, is aimed at supporting first-time buyers, helping an estimated 8,000 households in the period to 2026.
New dwelling completions by property type and average size, 2011-Q1 2022 80%
70% 200 60% 50%
50 10% 0
Average dwelling size (sqm)
The rollout of the cost rental model, targeted at households with less than €53,000 net income, has also commenced, with funding support having delivered almost 900 cost rental homes as of the publication of the progress report; 65 of these were completed in 2021 through the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) scheme, which covers up to 30 per cent of capital costs in each development. The first cost rental homes were delivered in Balbriggan in August 2021, followed by 40 in Leixlip in October of the same year. Q1 2022 saw the delivery of 50 purpose-built cost rental homes on the Eniskerry Road in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. Tenants have been selected for 44 cost rental homes in Dublin’s Citywest, and projections for Q2 show the expected delivery of 147 cost rental homes in Clondalkin, Leixlip, Newcastle (County Dublin), and Newbridge. Delivery upon the targets in all sectors will be largely dependent on the construction sector, which is currently constrained by material price inflation and capacity. The residential construction sector did show a 2.8 per cent quarterly production increase in Q1 2022, providing some cause for optimism, although the level of residential production is still 28.1 per cent below the pre-Covid level of Q1 2020, meaning that substantial levels of production increases will be needed in order for targets to be met. 14
Housing for All: Delivering social and cost rental targets The Housing Alliance is a collaboration between some of Ireland’s largest AHBs to provide more and better homes. Our members delivered the State’s homes to social tenants; 40 per cent of the national social housing pipeline is currently provided by Housing Alliance members. Housing for All includes welcome measures intended to bring a more structured and evidence-based approach to housing policy: Ireland needs to be proactive rather than reactive in addressing housing challenges. Key here is a commitment to “ensure that the ambition of Housing for All is translated into clear, target driven Local Authority Delivery Action Plans”. Government has issued targets to each local authority and charged the AHB sector with delivering 45 per cent of the national social housing supply to 2026. Each local authority has to develop a five-year plan setting out the what,
A second challenge relates to financing. Securing multiannual funding for the housing programme was a significant accomplishment. However, Brexit, Covid-19, and the war in Ukraine are all driving inflation at a rate not seen for some time. Interest rates have increased, and are likely to continue to rise. This means every home costs more to provide now than it did when Housing for All was launched. Providers need to borrow more money at higher interest rates to deliver the same number of homes: the same funding produces fewer homes now than a year ago. A targeted delivery grant could maximise the number of homes which AHBs can provide.
where and who of housing provision. Crucially, the plans are to identify both existing land holdings, as well as additional land needed to deliver on the targets. Local authorities submitted their first draft housing delivery action plans in December 2021 and plan to issue final plans by the end of June 2022.
The Housing Alliance has a strong track record of delivering homes, at scale and at pace. We believe that by working constructively in partnership with government and local authorities, practical solutions to the challenges Ireland faces can be found to deliver the housing we need.
This planned approach is valuable, but faces some significant implementation challenges.
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Housing Ireland magazine
first cost rental homes and provide almost 30,000
Once the housing delivery action plans are published, we may learn more about how this outcome will be realised.
One challenge is the land on which to build homes. Housing for All commits government to supporting local authorities to “acquire additional land to deliver a housing programme”.
Social housing construction status report Q4 2021
Advertorial Source:https://opendata.housing.gov.ie/dataset/social-housing-construction-ststus-report-q4-2021 15
Celebrating 10 years of The Housing Agency Housing Ireland magazine
come to fruition with evidence-based research, collaboration, and determination. For example, The Housing Agency with Dublin City Council brought the Vienna Model exhibition to Ireland in 2019 to showcase the benefits of cost rental in another European city to Irish policy makers and the public. The first cost rental homes in Ireland were made available in 2021, with a healthy pipeline of more homes becoming available this year and into the future.
Later in 2022, The Housing Agency will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary. As with all anniversaries, it is a welcome opportunity for the organisation to look back at where we began, our achievements, but crucially, to look forward to where we hope we will be in the next 10 years, and how we will get there, writes CEO Bob Jordan. How much can really change in 10 years? When reading a history book, decades tend to fly by in a haze of global events and a period of 10 years can seem brief. In its first 10 years, however, The Housing Agency has witnessed the intense social, economic, and cultural changes experienced by the people of Ireland.
This time 10 years ago, Ireland’s housing issues were starkly different to today’s. During the recession, our work focused on unfinished estates, vacant homes and helping people deal with mortgage arrears. While the focus of our day-to-day work has changed over the last 10 years, our overall vision has remained the same: we want to make sure that high quality and affordable homes are available to people to either rent or buy, in sustainable communities in the areas in which they want to live. 16
Progress in achieving this vision can often seem slow. Housing issues are complex, and it can take a long time for policy decisions to come into practice. However, progress is being made, and it is important to take stock of some of our achievements and the progress we have made collectively with our stakeholders in housing over the past 10 years.
Achievements over the past 10 years Brought to life in 2021, cost rental is a new form of tenure in Ireland where tenants pay below open-market rents that are solely based on covering the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes. Ireland’s cost rental model has its roots in the early years of The Housing Agency and is an example of how a complex policy can
A second major achievement has been the successful introduction of the voluntary regulation of approved housing bodies (AHBs), supported by an interim Regulatory Committee within The Housing Agency, a precursor to statutory regulation carried out by the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority. The importance of The Housing Agency as the interim regulator for AHBs for nine years, helping to prepare AHBs for this substantial change, is now being seen. A strong AHB sector is a key element to increasing the supply of social and affordable housing. The Approved Housing Body Services Unit was established within The Housing Agency to provide assistance to the Department, AHBs, and local authorities to support AHB-led delivery. This unit carries out the financial appraisals of applications for funding by AHBs and provides the Department with recommendations on the levels of secondary loan (CALF) and Payment and Availability Agreements required for each proposal. While cost rental was based on international best practice, the Mortgage to Rent scheme is an example of “outside the box” thinking that responded to an urgent need. Set up in 2012, the scheme’s goal was to prevent more people falling into homelessness as a result of mortgage arrears. This required a pragmatic, agile solution: allowing homeowners in mortgage difficulty to switch from owning their
home to renting it as social housing tenants. Mortgage to Rent is an example of joined-up thinking involving several stakeholders to protect those at risk of losing their homes. To-date over 1,700 households have avoided homelessness through this scheme.
Bob Jordan and Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architectural Foundation at the launch of Housing Unlocked.
With the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage we recently announced the new Croí Cónaithe (Cities) scheme, which will help those wanting to buy apartments in our cities. This scheme will bridge the current “viability gap” where the cost of building apartments is higher than the
Working together for better housing
market sale price. Curtailing urban
Over the last 10 years, some of the Agency’s most significant achievements have been made by working in collaboration with others to achieve common goals. The Agency has many stakeholders, with varying roles and responsibilities. For example, we have worked productively with local authorities on regeneration and refurbishment projects, acquisitions, practitioner advice and training; with AHBs on funding and acquisitions; and provided ongoing advice and implementation support to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The research we have undertaken or supported has helped to provide necessary insights on housing issues. We are in the unique position of having a deep understanding of the many players within housing in Ireland.
apartment living are steps in the right
sprawl, greater public transport connectivity and encouraging direction in tackling the climate crisis. Earlier in 2022, the Agency established the Housing First National Office which will coordinate and drive a national cross-Government approach to eliminate homelessness for people with complex needs and a history of rough sleeping and long-term use of emergency homeless accommodation. The Housing Agency is committed to supporting innovation and progress in the housing sector. In 2021, we partnered with the Irish Architectural
Delivering on Housing for All Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan for Ireland, sets key objectives between now and 2030, with the overall aim that “everyone in the State should have access to a home to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard and in the right place offering a high quality of life”. The Housing Agency’s deep understanding of the housing sector in Ireland, the collective experience of our team which includes housing policy experts, researchers, architects, engineers, planners, and our involvement in advising on and implementing policy decisions over the past 10 years will be crucial in supporting the successful delivery of Housing for All. Specifically, our strategy for the next three years is framed in the context of Housing for All, and will focus on: •
supporting stakeholders with evidence-informed insights and data to develop a sustainable housing system;
enabling supply and demand solutions throughout the housing system; and
ensuring the Agency and its stakeholders have the capacity and agility to respond effectively to challenges in the housing system.
Foundation on Housing Unlocked. This open call sought creative and practical ideas to improve Ireland’s housing sector, in the areas of density, construction technologies, social inclusion, and environmental issues among others. Architects were asked to team up with professionals from a variety of disciplines and members of the public. Eight proposals were chosen to receive funding of €7,500 to develop their proposals into an exhibition piece. The exhibition will open to the public this autumn. Every decision being taken in housing must be viewed through the lens of the
One of the early tasks of The Housing Agency was to implement the 2011 housing strategy for disabled people. By leading out on the development of the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027, The Housing Agency will champion independent living within the community.
climate crisis and developing sustainable communities throughout
The launch of agefriendlyhomes.ie comes after a period of engagement and collaboration with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Department of Health and Age Friendly Ireland and is a good example of our collaborative approach. It is a resource hub providing practical resources, guidance, and information on housing for an ageing population with the aim of supporting the housing needs of people as they age.
Housing Ireland magazine
A further achievement is our assistance to households impacted by building defects. The Pyrite Resolution Scheme began in 2014, and today over 2,200 homes have been remediated. We will be applying our project management experience from this scheme in the implementation of the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme, which is currently being finalised. In addition, the Agency has played an important role in assisting local authorities and AHBs in the delivery of new social housing, through on-theground project and procurement advice and management.
The Housing Agency’s work over the past decade has taught us that we all share the same goal: making good quality and affordable homes available to people where they want to live. As we look forward to our next decade, this goal remains central to solving the issues facing housing in Ireland.
Ireland is a key focus for The Housing Agency over the years to come. Energy efficiency, quality of materials, reviving villages, towns, and cities throughout
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Ireland are central to achieving this. 17
Housing Ireland magazine
‘Ongoing housing need’ much greater than government waiting list The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has called into question the sustainability of the model which has led to the State funding twofifths private rental tenancies, describing it as “questionable”. In analysis looking at trends in spending and outputs of social and state supported housing over the decade to 2020, the PBO pointed specifically at the practice of using finite financial resources to fund longterm needs, with short-term and potentially precarious housing measures, as questionable in terms of sustainability. The report identifies “extreme volatility” in funding and outputs in recent decades, a move away from the historical model of significant capital build projects by the State to address requirements for housing, as cause for the present need to significantly
increase the delivery of units over a short period of time. Additionally, an “overreliance” on the private rental sector to alleviate the shortfall in publicly owned stock has stemmed from changing policy goals around the methods of delivery. Combined, it means that despite an almost €30 billion spend between 2001-2020 on and capital build units, the present stock of social housing is “insufficient to fully meet the long-term or ongoing need to the population”. The PBO estimates that around €29 billion of capital investment is required to meet the social housing needs of
around 62,000 who are recorded officially as having unmet social housing need and a further 60,000 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancies with an “ongoing need”. It also notes that more households are being pushed towards the need for housing support given rising rental costs and insufficient supply of new units.
“Furthermore, regional differences in build and rental costs mean the longterm value of each delivery method is not constant across the nation. However, with the State now funding nearly four-in-10 private rental tenancies, the sustainability of the model employed is questionable, particularly the use of finite financial resources to fund long-term needs with short-term and potentially precarious housing measures.” At the end of 2020, 38 per cent (excluding rental tenancies directly with a local authority) of rentals registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) were supported by State funding, with almost 70 per cent of Rebuilding Ireland’s cumulative delivery encompassing social housing
While State figures at the end of 2020 show 62,000 households with an unmet social housing need (roughly 112,000 people including children), the PBO highlights that a further 60,000 households (152,000 people) were in potentially precarious private rental HAP tenancies. “Therefore, within these approximately 122,000 households, there are upwards of 260,000 people eligible for, but not yet in receipt of, long-term social housing,” the report states. By including HAP tenancies, essentially doubling the Government’s estimate of the number of households in need of social housing, the PBO’s introduction of a new measurement of “ongoing need” attempts to avert the removal of HAP tenancies from the main social housing lists, highlighting that this practice can “mask long-term housing requirements and understate the level of outputs required in future”. “In the absence of detailed analysis of social housing transfer lists to determine the number of households, the means (HAP etc.) and type (apartment etc.) of their current housing support, and their desired housing support (larger house etc.) the true scale of unmet social housing need in the State is unknown,” the report states. “A more accurate measure of unmet social housing demand would encompass not just those whose needs are entirely unmet, but also those whose needs are not adequately met by the current form of social housing support they receive.”
Spending The PBO report outlines that between 2001 and 2020, approximately €16 billion has been spent on capital funded housing, with a further €13 billion spent on current funded measures, including rent supplement. In nominal terms, voted spend on housing increased from €300 million in 2021 to €1.25 billion in 2020. Indicating the need for local authorities to make available a suite of delivery measures which best address the particular market conditions in their regions when seeking to meet the needs of those requiring housing supports, the PBO highlights that where social housing needs are identified, capital investment offers better value for money in the longer term. Therefore, it recommends priority should be given to the supply of capital units in areas, or unit types, where this value can be achieved more promptly.
Housing Ireland magazine
“Given the timeframe for delivery on capital projects, and an individual’s immediate need for housing, a mix of capital and current funded delivery methods allows for greater flexibility in meeting a variety of requirements.
‘solutions’ via HAP and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), rather than through State building, acquisition, or leasing.
Basing estimates on 2020 build costs, the PBO says: “Taking account of the departmental housing build cost estimates in 2020 for various property types, the PBO estimates that the cost of delivery for all currently eligible households with an unmet need would be at least €14.3 billion. “Similarly, an estimated cost of over €15 billion would be required to provide a unit of Housing for All HAP tenancies through capital means.” Looking forward to the implications of housing supply issues, the PBO says the absence of sufficient supply of both social and private will increase pressure on the available rental stock, leading to the inflationary effect on rents for private renters and the Exchequer. “Long-term, the scale of development required to deliver the desired level of housing units – along with the capacity of the construction sector to deliver these units promptly – is likely to pose a more significant challenge to meeting housing needs (both social and private) than the temporary disruption caused by public health measures in response to the pandemic,” the PBO concludes.
round table discussion
Ireland’s sustainable housing future Bord Gáis Energy hosted a round table discussion on the topic of Ireland’s sustainable housing future, bringing together stakeholders from the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors. What are the main challenges of successfully retrofitting 500,000 homes by 2030?
cannot have is people who cannot afford to retrofit being left behind.
Design knowledge at all levels of the value chain, level six to level 10, from designing heat pumps to thermal risk assessment is one of the major issues. How best to achieve them in sustainable housing – be it district heating or heat pumps – is across engineering and planning; it requires a huge surge in effort and knowledge. The other area is regulation and governance. We are going to be building an average of 33,000 houses per year. In a boom, there is a concern that standards might slip, and we need to keep an eye on quality throughout.
Skills and costs. 12 per cent of the workforce were in construction at the time of the financial crash but today that is 6 per cent, 2 per cent less than the EU average. We need to support trades as a career path for young people and private companies like ourselves need to play a role. We are going to announce our first apprenticeship scheme in four decades in 2023 so we can bring our own expertise and upskill young people, and through our work with Focus Ireland to offer people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to trade up and skill up. In terms of cost, the principle of a just transition is at the core of our ambitions and government has rightly targeted social housing. The level of support for that will need to be monitored very carefully. What we
Seán Armstrong Skills are an important pillar of the delivery, but building the supply chain, standards, the performance requirements and the systems to deliver the retrofit, is equally important. SEAI are doing a lot of good work in
Round table discussion hosted by
developing the market and supply chain and creating suppliers to support the system. The skills and the building of the supply chain need to work together with standards, and we are bringing forward the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory basis to ensure this. Ciaran Byrne As a society we have not treated the trades well; they are more respected and valued in other countries. We will need the trades to scale up to be able to deliver on our retrofit targets. Transition and transformation are both journeys and it is critical that we do not leave people behind. We know at SEAI that the schemes we are delivering now are probably not the same schemes that we will have in 20 years’ time; we have to ensure that everybody is with us. Pat Dennigan Our perspective comes from tenants and people on the ground. What we need to remember is who we are doing this for: tenants in the private rented sector, approved housing bodies (AHBs), and local authorities. We have about 300,000 residencies registered with the Residential Tenancies Board, but landlords have been leaving the private rented sector and we want to make sure that the upskilling in that
sector happens in conjunction with energy refitting, so the sector does not get left behind. The people coming in our door have real pressures in terms of energy costs and rent and it is important we ensure all sectors are provided for.
Bob Jordan The main challenge is scale. 50 per cent of Irish households have a BER rating of D or lower. The Government has committed to bringing 500,000 homes to B2 by 2030 which will require deep retrofits. There are significant upfront costs, even though government grants are quite generous. It takes a while to recoup these costs through energy savings so for older people or private landlords, this is not as attractive. It would be very regrettable if some groups were left behind.
Ciara Ahern Ciara Ahern is a senior lecturer in TU Dublin and a chartered Building Engineering with over 15 years’ experience as an academic combined with over 12 years’ industrial experience practicing as a consultant design engineer on residential and commercial building projects. She is cofounder of the Irish Building Stock Observatory, a funded investigator with Science Foundation Ireland and the MaREI Centre for Climate Energy and Marine. Ciara is the Minister of Education and Skills nominee to the board of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI). She holds a master’s degree in renewable energy and an PhD in Building Engineering.
To what extent is government doing enough to encourage households, particularly lowincome households, to retrofit their homes? Ciaran Byrne
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme, providing free home energy upgrades to homeowners on low incomes, is a good example of government-funded intervention. SEAI are supporting the delivery of a lowcost loan scheme which will also assist low-income households, and the National Retrofit Scheme launched in February 2022 provides for up to 50 per cent grants for home energy upgrades. One action for the immediate term was an 80 per cent grant for wall and cavity insulation, both measures which provide tangible benefits for homeowners. However, there is a concern about the rising levels of the working poor, especially as energy costs rise, and so we need to assess where the take up of various schemes is happening and what policy levers need to be adjusted to ensure a just transition.
Ciaran Byrne was recently appointed as Director of the National Retrofit Directorate within SEAI. Prior to this role he was the first Chief Executive Officer of Inland Fisheries Ireland and served in that capacity for 10 years. Ciaran is a chartered management accountant and served his time working in industry where he gained an understanding of the SME sector. He holds a degree and PhD in science from Trinity College Dublin where he authored several peer reviewed scientific publications, and he has recently completed a master’s degree in business. Ciaran was admitted as a Chartered Director, with the Institute of Directors in 2017.
Pat Dennigan Pat Dennigan is the Chief Executive Officer of Focus Ireland and its sister approved housing body Focus Housing Association. He joined Focus in 2014 as head of the finance function, adding responsibility for property in 2016. Pat is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Prior to joining Focus Ireland, Pat held several senior finance and operations roles in companies such as Nortel Networks and Boston Scientific. Pat is a board member of both Charities Institute Ireland and The Sanctuary. He is a past president of Galway Lions Club and is a past member of the Charity SORP committee.
Bob Jordan Bob Jordan was appointed CEO of The Housing Agency in September 2021. Before joining The Housing Agency, he was the National Director of the Housing First programme, which is a key part of the Government’s response to long-term homelessness. During 2016-2017, he was Special Adviser to the former Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. Prior to that, Bob was Chief Executive of the national housing charity Threshold for nearly a decade. He is a Bachelor of Science (computer science and software engineering) graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds a master’s in international relations from Dublin City University.
Pat Dennigan The objectives contained in Housing for All are very welcome and energy efficiency is a priority for us all. How we manage these priorities as a nation is important. We have concerns around how AHBs can avail of these schemes and how we can do it in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We have delivered retrofitting in a limited way ourselves and the benefits to individual households and the community is clear, but it has to be attractive for the AHB sector and also the private rental sector, where we hear one in five
round table discussion
Seán Armstrong is Head of Unit in the Housing Policy Division in Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. He is responsible for climate action policy, construction industry regulation, and residential construction cost and innovation regulations. He leads action related to economic sustainability in Housing for All, the implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the development of nearly zero energy buildings and modern methods of construction. He represents Ireland on the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive Committee. He is a Chartered Engineer with a master’s in engineering and a post graduate diploma in regulatory management.
Dave Kirwan Dave Kirwan is Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, a member of the Centrica Leadership team and board member of the Centrica/EDF Nuclear joint venture. Previously, Dave was Managing Director of UK Home and CEO of British Gas regulated entities. Dave joined Centrica in July 2014 as Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, having led the business through the sale to Centrica and having held leadership roles in Bord Gáis Éireann since 1999. Dave holds a BE in electronics from UCD and is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, he also holds an MBA from UCC and a Doctorate in business economics from UCC.
why the Department is proposing to commence a study to measure the impact of these policies before the end of 2022. Ciara Ahern
round table discussion
“12 per cent of the workforce were in construction at the time of the crash but today that is 6 per cent, 2 per cent less than the EU average. We need to support trades as a career path for young people and private companies like ourselves need to play a role.” Dave Kirwan landlords are planning to leave the sector in the next five years. Bob Jordan It’s crucial that social housing tenants benefit from retrofitting. Almost 40,000 of the 500,000 homes to be retrofitted under Housing for All will be local authority homes. This year the Government has set aside €85 million for energy upgrades to about 2,400 homes, which is important. Also of note is that AHBs can benefit from the new National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme, providing grants to bring homes up to an energy efficiency rating of B2 or above.
Seán Armstrong Alongside the Housing for All commitment of 500,000 retrofits by 2030, the sectoral emission ceilings outlined in the Climate Action Plan have a built environment pillar, encapsulating in law the necessary targets and aligning with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive at European level. The added benefits of improved health and comfort should also be taken into account when improving the energy performance of dwellings. It is important that the implementation of these measures is managed so as not to impact negatively on housing supply, in particular rental properties. That is
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme, while very welcome, is primarily a fabric first approach and we need to focus on heating system upgrades. Modelling we have carried out in TU Dublin indicates that a lot of cavity walls have been filled and that market is becoming saturated. This is a good example of policy lagging the renovation wave because we do not have data tracking the housing sector. In recent years we founded the Irish Building Stock Observatory to address this, coalescing researchers to deliver real-time analysis of stock, mapping transformation, and indicating hard-todecarbonise homes to identify common characteristics which could be addressed by targeted policy. Dave Kirwan The Government has been ambitious and has proposed substantive mechanisms. Mindful of the fact that we’re starting to see price inflation, having percentages sometimes masks the absolute. 50 per cent 12 months ago is now in absolute terms going to cost a lot more. Neither can it only be a government challenge, private companies need to play their part through financing solutions to get people to retrofit. We intend to launch prepayment plans in 2023, and they will have to accompany expertise and skills to get the widest possible cohort of householders to retrofit.
How can an average of 33,000 new homes be constructed in an environmentally sustainable way each year? Seán Armstrong We are building to nearly zero energy rated levels, typically an A2 rated home.
“The regeneration of town centres has massive potential, and we must make sure that it happens, and that can dovetail with energy efficiency and create a wider environment for people to live in our town and city centres.” Pat Dennigan
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Heating systems in 80 per cent of new homes are from renewables. The draft Energy Performance of Buildings Directive contains a proposal that all new homes from 2030 have a declaration of the global warming potential of the materials in the home. To have that in place, materials need to be certified under the Construction Products Regulation, which is under the review at the moment. Calculation methodology also needs to be put in place to calculate the global warming potential of these materials. Emissions from construction materials make up 10 per cent of emissions worldwide so it’s important to achieve this change. Bob Jordan
Dave Kirwan There are quality and quantity challenges here. The cumulative effect of delays in getting legitimate housing developments through the planning system over a 10year period could have a serious impact on achieving our objectives. Currently, there are 24,000 homes delayed by challenges, 8,700 homes will not be built and 11,700 are at risk in the current cohort of houses; this is not unique to housing, the challenges to offshore and onshore wind are well known. This is a generational challenge that needs to be addressed. The systematic cost of the delays are building and exacerbating the challenge we face. Ciara Ahern 47 per cent of the cost of building an apartment is in labour, materials, and productivity. The standardisation of future local authority dwellings is
round table discussion
Housing for All aligns with the National Planning Framework, which commits to compact urban growth, so 50 per cent of new homes built will be in the existing footprints of our cities, which is an important commitment for sustainability. We have about 70-80,000 planning permissions that are nonactivated. The Government’s Croí Cónaithe Cities fund is about ensuring that up to 5,000 apartments are provided for home purchasers in our urban centres, bridging the viability gap between apartment delivery costs and market prices. Apartment living means people being closer to employment, social activities, and transport in support of the 15-minute city idea. The recovery of vacant properties in towns and villages under the Town Centre First policy will increase the supply of social housing for specific groups, including older people and people who are homeless, as well as improving streetscapes and generating carbon savings.
“There is a concern about the rising levels of the working poor, especially as energy costs rise, and so we need to assess where the take up of various schemes is happening and what policy levers need to be adjusted to ensure a just transition.” Pat Dennigan welcome in that regard because it will give the industry certainty and allow it to adapt for modern methods of construction. Looking at the standardised homes, I’m disappointed to see boilers still there; between 2017 and 2020 we linked 40,000 homes to the gas network; that is a problem future generations are going to have to undo. If we are going to realise heat savings we must connect housing to district heating systems. 66 per cent of Sweden’s heat is from renewable energy and district heating. Our local authorities are going to be helped with the purchase of land and there’s €4 billion for water infrastructure but no mention of district heating; that’s something we need to solve. Dave Kirwan The ban on the installation of gas boilers in 2025 is a reality and is appropriate. The challenge is to give householders a desirable alternative. We will have alternatives for customers, but the homes need to be fit and ready for heat pump technology. Ciaran Byrne We are at tipping point by any metric. We need to accelerate on district heating, it’s not a new technology by any means. Obviously, it has improved over the years, but it has been around for a long time, and we need to get on with it and delivery it in appropriate locations. I’m glad to hear that Bord Gáis are looking at heat pumps because we also need to accelerate alternate choices.
The regeneration of town centres is important; it can make a massive difference from the point of view of energy and bringing life back into our towns and cities. The other aspect that has a lot of potential is modular housing and the construction of housing off-site. The construction phase is a carbonheavy process and construction off-site has massive potential and could be used both for speed and carbon efficiency.
What role will innovation in the construction industry play in improving sustainability in the housing sector? Seán Armstrong Section 5.3 of Housing for All commits to innovation in the housing sector, to modern methods of construction through a whole-of-government approach. Enterprise Ireland are establishing a construction technology centre which will support and promote innovation in the construction sector and prioritise residential construction. There are also plans being developed for a demonstration park for modern methods of construction and separately there is a residential construction cost study being carried out. This links with sustainability through the low-emitting materials and lesser waste of modern 4
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construction and that is a key part of Housing for All. Ciara Ahern The construction technology centre is massively welcomed by the research community. It will allow modern methods of construction to be tested and hence realised and allow contractors to try out new methods before investing. It is a total change from Enterprise Ireland’s usual remit, which is internationalisation, which is a fantastic reaction to the crisis. Bob Jordan
round table discussion
“It is important that the implementation of these measures is managed so as not to impact negatively on housing supply, in particular rental properties. That is why the Department is proposing to commence a study to measure the impact of these policies before the end of 2022.” Seán Armstrong
We have a technical unit supporting the local authorities and AHBs in terms of their build programmes, looking at how to use modern methods of construction in delivering the social housing programme, and advancing the use of design and build contracts. The use of building information modelling has been the future for a long time, but its use in public sector projects is important in terms of innovation. We recently ran the Housing Unlocked initiative with the Irish Architecture Foundation looking for innovative ideas, where we received great ideas around converting churches and banks into homes, the use of modular housing, and reimagining existing neighbourhoods. The public engagement is important because that is where the demand for innovation will come from. Ciaran Byrne The public demand innovation and we are now linking that into tangible things. We see that with heat pumps; what we will be using in 2030 will be far better than what we are using now. People expect innovation; they want apps with real-time information. It is up to us to use technology to bring information and new ways of thinking and doing, to the public and that is a big driver going forward. Dave Kirwan
“If we are going to realise heat savings we must connect housing to district heating systems… Our local authorities are going to be helped with the purchase of land and there’s €4 billion for water infrastructure but no mention of district heating; that’s something we need to solve.” Ciara Ahern
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The customer experience will have to be good. We are wrestling with what it looks like for the customer. A digital experience of installing a heat pump in a home two weeks after receipt of order with engineers on the doorstep at the same time as the equipment arrives for installation: that’s the vision. I suspect this will be replicated in other aspects of the developing sustainable housing model. It contrasts with the building of a house over nine to 10 months; shorter windows to deliver apply, and it needs to be a great customer experience, because the first 15,000 will have a huge impact on the reputation of this programme.
How does the eradication of homelessness by 2030 align with Ireland’s sustainable housing future? Pat Dennigan
“The most sustainable approach to ending homelessness is a housing-led one, where people are provided with permanent housing and the supports they need to live in the community.” Bob Jordan usage of various levers to get tenants out, and we need to ensure that home energy upgrades do not become one of those levers.
There is a danger of ‘renovictions’ whereby people are made homeless because of retrofitting processes, and we need to make sure that communities are maintained while we are doing upgrades. The most sustainable approach to ending homelessness is a housing-led one, where people are provided with permanent housing and the supports they need to live in the community. The problems created by climate change make conditions worse for people who are sleeping rough in terms of extreme weather and that means further urgency is required to end homelessness. Also, most people on social housing waiting lists and people who are homeless require onebedroom properties, so we need to get the mix right in terms of properties to ensure we have sustainable and integrated communities.
We need good data that we can track. The Irish Building Stock Observatory are developing a methodology for downloading data from the EPC/BER database, using machine learning and AI to process data before clustering dwellings by common characteristics. By carrying out this analysis regularly we will be able to track the state of the stock, recommending policy changes to address households that are proving hard to decarbonise or that are resistant to the renovation wave. To inform policy that addresses vulnerable households specifically we need a greater level of trust with sensitive data to appropriately inform a sustainable housing future for this cohort particularly.
Ciaran Byrne ‘Renovictions’ are a topic that have come up twice now in recent Oireachtas committees. It has been flagged as a concern, although it is not showing up on the ground at the present time. To renovate a home to a B2 standard, a person should not have to leave their home in all but the most extreme circumstances and often this is when additional construction works are being done at the same time. Tenants in the private rented sector have seen the
Seán Armstrong Safeguards that currently exist for tenants include that landlords are required to offer back properties to the former tenant upon completion of renovation works, where the tenant provides contact details for such an offer to be made, a notice of termination must contain or be accompanied by a written certificate of a registered professional stating that the proposed substantial works would pose a health and safety risk necessitating vacation and that such a risk would be likely to exist for at least three weeks. A once-off exemption
round table discussion
It is hugely important for us as a country to set the objective of eradicating homelessness by 2030. There is an awful lot of work involved that people familiar with the topic even underestimate. Most people who come to Focus Ireland come from the private rented sector, typically because the landlord is selling the home, which necessitates a notice of termination. We cannot allow the work being done in the retrofit process to impact that contribution over the next eight years, because one will get in the way of the other. The regeneration of town centres has massive potential, and we must make sure that it happens, and that can dovetail with energy efficiency and create a wider environment for people to live in our town and city centres. The sense of place, community, and ownership that some of our tenants have developed in areas where we have completed retrofitting is fantastic and we must build on that.
from rent caps is permitted in respect of the first rent setting after works resulting in a substantial change in rental accommodation, as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Housing for All commits to work with local authorities to increase the social housing programme so that an average of 9,500 new-build social homes are provided each year under Housing for All. Dave Kirwan We cannot achieve our net zero targets at the expense of putting up with homelessness. Insofar as there are supply and demand challenges, they cannot be allowed to exacerbate our homelessness crisis. Alleviating this crisis has got to be a performance measure and there will likely be interventions needed to maintain momentum. Looking at it optimistically, we are creating momentum around decarbonising existing housing stock and the creation of new homes, so the marginal cost of fixing homelessness might never be cheaper. If we are sitting here in 2030, and we have hit our net zero targets but there are still homeless people in Ireland, I think we can all agree that is failure.
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LDA benefits from close partnership with local authorities and state agencies The Land Development Agency (LDA) is the State’s primary channel for the development of cost rental housing with a mission to unlock state land and Housing Ireland magazine
make more efficient use of it to deliver large-scale affordable housing projects. LDA CEO John Coleman writes. The LDA is currently active on 12 sites around the country, and has launched an initiative to work with the private sector (Project Tosaigh) to acquire homes for cost rental and affordable purchase to accelerate the short-term delivery of a further 5,000 homes. Critical to creating new communities in the areas which are most in need of the supply of new affordable housing is our interaction and collaboration with partners across the public sector. From identifying sites, through to the public consultation, master-planning and development phases, our aims will be achieved with close cooperation with city and county councils, approved housing bodies, the Department of Housing, and the range of state agencies who provide land for much-needed development. The LDA is underpinned by the Land Development Agency Act 2021, which gives us a statutory footing to pursue our goals. The Government has set ambitious targets under Housing for All, and we are pleased to be able to make a contribution to those targets, particularly
when it comes to cost-rental as a new form of tenure in the State. In the medium term the LDA have set its own target of delivering 1,500 homes per year, this will position us as one of the largest housebuilders in the country and the only one of that scale delivering 100 per cent affordable housing. Aside from the development of sites on State-owned land, the LDA is progressing Project Tosaigh, a unique initiative to deliver 5,000 new homes by unlocking land in private ownership that has full planning permission but where delivery has stalled due to financing and other constraints. The process is progressing well, and we will shortly be in a position to announce the first set of projects to develop which will begin by Q3 2022. The LDA has also recently made significant progress on its longer-term pipeline with the submission of four planning applications (Dundrum, Balbriggan, Skerries, and Naas) that will, if approved, deliver over 2,300 homes in schemes that will be 100 per cent affordable and social housing.
Design image of the planning approved scheme for 597 social and affordable homes in Shanganagh, South Dublin.
In Shanganagh, south County Dublin, construction will commence later this year on the State’s largest affordable housing scheme to date, with 597 new homes planned. This will kick off what we believe will be the most significant and sustained construction of affordable housing by the State for decades.
Key people John Coleman – Chief Executive Dearbhla Lawson – Head of Strategic Planning Omar Bhamjee – Head of Finance Phelim O’Neill – Head of Property Barry O’Brien – Head of Investment Rose Kenny – Head of Corporate Services
John White – Head of Construction
John Coleman, Chief Executive of the Land Development Agency. 26
Housing Ireland magazine
Design image of the LDA’s plans for 977 new social and affordable homes in Dundrum.
LDA projects Shanganagh: Planning has been approved and a tender process is in place to appoint a contractor for the construction of 597 social and affordable homes on the LDA’s first project at Shanganagh, County Dublin. Dundrum Central: An SHD planning application has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála for 977 new social and affordable homes.
Quarter has been completed to inform the rejuvenation of this circa 70-hectare site, which will deliver an enhanced city living experience including some 2,500 homes, offices and mixed uses in a prime city centre location. Sandy Road, Galway: Plans for 1,000 new homes are in progress on an eighthectare site at Sandy Road in Galway
The Digital Hub lands in Dublin’s Liberties. The development of a draft masterplan has commenced on the 3.72-hectare site with potential for mixed tenure affordable homes and opportunities for commercial, cultural, and community facilities. St Kevin’s, Cork: Planning permission approved for the construction of 265
Cork City Docklands: A delivery office has been established for the redevelopment of Cork City Docklands in partnership with Cork City Council. The 146-hectare site is capable of accommodating circa 25,000 people in what will be Ireland’s largest regeneration project. Devoy Barracks, Naas: The LDA has submitted a revised planning application in recent months to deliver 219 new homes on the Devoy Barracks site in Naas, County Kildare.
Hacketstown, Skerries: The LDA has submitted a planning application seeking to build 345 homes in Hacketstown. The LDA worked with the Housing Agency and Fingal County Council on the vision for the Hacketstown site. Colbert Station, Limerick: A Draft Spatial Framework for the Colbert
City in collaboration with a range of local stakeholders including Galway City and County Councils, Galway Education and Training Board and Galway Bay FM. Donore Project, Dublin 8: The LDA is partnering with Dublin City Council on plans to build around 540 social and affordable homes on the site of the former St Teresa’s Gardens flat complex in Dublin 8.
homes, an enterprise centre and creche facilities at the former St Kevin’s Hospital site in Shanakiel, Cork. Enabling works will commence in the coming months.
Castlelands, Balbriggan: Planning has been submitted for the delivery of 817 cost rental and affordable homes for purchase on a greenfield site overlooking the Irish Sea in north Dublin.
Design image of St Kevin’s in Cork where the LDA has permission to build 265 new homes.
Pear Tree Crossing, Dublin 8: The LDA has begun the master planning phase for the delivery of affordable homes on 27
Housing Ireland magazine
Places for People: A national architectural policy The Government published its National Policy on Architecture in May 2022 following Cabinet approval. Places for People seeks to promote “the power of architecture and design to bring about a more sustainable society”. The policy has been designed with the explicit goal of support the implementation of “architectural and built environment priorities” including Project Ireland 2040, the Climate Action Plan, Housing for All, and Town Centre First; it will “promote and embed quality in architecture and the built environment in Ireland, for increased environmental, economic, and social sustainability and resilience”. The four objectives shaping the vision of the policy are: sustainability, prioritising “environmentally sensitive buildings and places to achieve sustainable development goals”; quality, designing and delivering quality buildings and spaces for all; leadership,
advocating for leadership to “prioritise quality architectural outcomes”; and culture, fostering a culture that “values architecture as both art and science, serving people, place, and planet”. The implementation programme for the policy is not organised under the four objectives, but three categories under which the 42 actions within will be implemented: value and empower; set a quality agenda; and generate knowledge. Three initial priorities within these actions are identified as foundations for the success of further implementation: the creation of a public sector information loop; the agreement of a set of national design quality criteria; and
the carrying out of analysis of architectural and built environment research needs and data requirements.
Value and empower The first of the implementation categories is “primarily about people and culture”, particularly with the scale and effects of impending climate changes and how these will affect where and how buildings and places are built, which is “poorly understood” according to the policy plan and “often highlighted in terms of financial costs and redundant occupations, creating a very real risk of confusion, inertia, and paralysis”. The action area will also support built-environment actions such as the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine placemaking scheme. The first stage implementation action within this category is the creation of a virtual public sector exchange network in order to enable consistent stakeholder reporting around EU policies, programmes, directives, and
emerging opportunities and challenges. An online forum will be created in order to “provide a means for public sector users to interact with each other on good practices and issues connected to the implementation of planning, building control, and other built environment regulatory frameworks”.
Housing Ireland magazine
The forum will also provide a mechanism for feedback to be sent from users to regulators on issues such as the implementation of policy and legislation and give users advance notice of upstream regulatory and policy developments in order to aid public bodies in the forecasting of operational capacity and capability requirements. It will also allow for solution sharing for common built environment design, management, and operational challenges.
Set a quality agenda The second of the implementation categories is “about robust methods and frameworks”, chief among them the publication of national design quality criteria. The publication of the criteria will “set and consistently apply nationally applicable built environment quality requirements drawing on international, European, and Irish priorities”. The criteria will be centred on describing and measuring dimensions and qualities relevant to architecture, the built environment and landscape design, delivery, performance, and use, with an eye to achieving sustainability goals in the environmental, social, and economic spheres. The implementation plan says that the application of national quality criteria will both improve the design and implementation of architecture and the built environment, and assist the delivery of further government programmes such as Project Ireland 2040, Housing for All, and the Climate Action Plan, supporting “all stakeholders to measure the short- and long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability progress and outcomes in addition to assessing the outputs of individual project contracts”. At a time of such inflation, the application of the criteria is also said to be “a structured risk strategy to reduce the cost of quality”. The implementation and incorporation of the criteria will be led by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, although no date of implementation is given within the plan. As part of its push to promote the
“The implementation plan says that the application of national quality criteria will both improve the design and implementation of architecture and the built environment, and assist the delivery of further government programmes such as Project Ireland 2040, Housing for All, and the Climate Action Plan." importance of quality in the built environment, the Government will also seek to promote quality assurance at the local, regional and sectoral levels in line with criteria. This quality assurance will allow for the upgrading of the public realm in line with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets and assure the State that public sector built environment has been built to a high and sustainable quality.
Generate knowledge The third and final category is focused “generating and using information” via support for research and innovation. The policy plan states that “architecture and the built environment are not prioritised in Irish research streams or research facilities” currently, which it states comes at the cost of potential funding opportunities and poses risks to the delivery of programmes such as Housing for All and the Climate Action Plan. To combat this, a national architectural and built environment
research service will be founded. The research service will provide a “permanent, structured and networked research entity for identification, collection, analysis, innovation and forecasting of architectural and built environment design, delivery and performance data and needs, which will support government policies and enable progress to be measured against relevant indicators”. First in this process will be the analysing of research needs and data requirements, including: mapping existing sources and gaps; identifying the scope of research requirements; collating architecture an built environment requirements; and identifying suitable methodologies and communications vehicles. Once the analysis is complete, the implementation will move to the division, proposal, and formalisation of a research entity, one which the policy states “could potentially work on an allIreland basis”.
Housing Ireland magazine
The opening of St Doulagh’s Oaks, Malahide Road, County Dublin delivered by Respond in partnership with Fingal County Council.
Respond: Committed to providing future-proofed and cost efficient homes Respond has been delivering homes as part of integrated communities for people across the country for 40 years. Over this time, the Approved Housing Body has demonstrated its track record for both scale and capacity to successfully deliver large and complex projects.
Respond works together with its partners and multiple stakeholders, across the public, private and voluntary sector, to deliver sustainable targets and innovation. Respond’s current construction schemes range in value from €15 million to €65 million with a total programme value in excess of €1.5 billion. The organisation began as a social housing provider but recognised very early on that housing does not exist in isolation but as part of a wider community. It now also provides a broad range of services including family homeless services, early learning and school-age care, refugee resettlement services, day care for older people and family support services, alongside their work as an Approved Housing Body, delivering homes and services all around the country.
Delivering high quality homes Recognising that housing delivery is a specialist area, Respond has a development department that reflects this with a multidisciplinary team of registered architects, quantity surveyors, planners, clerks of works, technicians and project managers who deal with all aspects of construction and project management and delivery. There can be no doubt that the last few years have been challenging in terms of delivery, managing project risk, and ensuring the well-being of those working to deliver new homes for those most in need. Despite these challenges, in 2021 Respond delivered 624 new homes and commenced
Housing Ireland magazine
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD officially opening Westview, County Cork. The homes were delivered by Respond in partnership with Cork County Council and Cork City Council.
construction on a further 778 new homes. It has 1,441 homes in construction across the country right now. Its focus has been to add to the national housing stock by facilitating new construction across the country working with its partners. Respond’s pipeline continues to grow with additional new homes secured for both social and cost rental homes which will be delivered over the next three years, with the support of local authorities, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Housing Finance Agency, and the Housing Agency.
Mid term review of the strategic plan
The plan originally included the ambitious target of providing 2,500 homes from 2019 to 2023; this has now been increased up to 1,000 social homes and 250 cost rental homes. An important goal in the strategic plan is to
Tenant satisfaction The most important way for any Approved Housing Body to understand how it is performing, is by asking its tenants. Earlier this year, Respond undertook a national tenant satisfaction survey, asking tenants a range of questions about the quality of their homes and estates as well as the services it provides. Of the tenants who participated in the survey, 90 per cent were satisfied with the overall service provided by Respond, up from 86 per cent since 2019 survey. The survey also helpfully identified areas for renewed focus over the next few years.
staff. It has been working with the Centre for Effective Services (CES) to redesign how it delivers services to tits tenants, creating a new way of working which will mean greater involvement of tenants. It is also creating a new design guide to enhance their delivery of quality housing. Respond is committed to providing future-proofed, energy efficient, well designed, and cost-efficient homes which benefit their tenants in the long term. It is also focused on developing a tenant engagement strategy where tenants are deeply involved in co-developing this new approach working with Supporting Communities. Respond hopes to launch this strategy later in 2022. Building on years of achievement, experience and considerable learnings, Respond has set out the direction in it which it wants to go and where will be focusing its efforts over the next three years. The Government’s Housing for All plan sets out delivery pathways and ambitious targets with a significant role for approved housing bodies. Respond looks forward to continuing to play its part working in partnership to deliver much needed social and cost rental homes as part of vibrant communities.
From 2019, the start of Respond’s current strategic plan, the organisation has overseen construction commence on 2,850 homes, with just over 90 per cent of this delivery accounting for new construction, and an expansion of their services offering. In the last two years, the world has changed considerably. Acknowledging this changed context, Respond has undertaken a mid-term review of its strategic plan to ensure they remain agile in responding to the changing external environment and to reflect the growth of the organisation over the last few years.
provide cost rental homes for people whom the housing is too expensive to buy and who do not qualify for social housing. Respond has led the way in the provision of affordable, cost rental homes and say it will continue to work with government to ensure there is a sustainable and replicable model model for this tenure type into the future. In addition, a new goal has been added to include Respond’s community-based services.
Strategic partnerships As a learning organisation, Respond is at an exciting stage of its growth. It is partnering with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) in Trinity College, collaborating to enhance the brain health of Respond’s tenants, service users and
T: 01 808 7700 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.respond.ie
Housing Ireland magazine
Costs, capacity, and production: The challenges facing construction As costs in construction materials continue to inflate, a survey has found that 91 per cent of construction companies expect further rises in Q2 2022, and that 89 per cent are unwilling to take on fixed-price contracts as a result. Costs The Construction Outlook Survey, undertaken by the Construction Industry Federation in April 2022, found that rising costs of materials and expected further rises throughout 2022 means that construction companies are unlikely to take on fixed-price contracts, which are used by government for projects such as the building of social housing. The key challenges identified within the survey by companies were the cost of raw materials (88 per cent), access to skilled labour (72 per cent), and fuel (68 per cent). 91 per cent of companies were found to believe that the economic sanctions arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will lead to further cost increases, with 85 per cent believing that the price of construction projects themselves will rise concurrently. 82 per cent say that the war in Ukraine has already disrupted supply chains in the sector, with 98 per cent
reporting an increase in raw material costs in the three months previous to April 2022. In response to these issues, 89 per cent of respondent companies said that they want the Government to introduce an “effective and fair price variation clause into public sector contracts, which would apply retrospectively”. The survey also found that 38 per cent of construction companies saw their turnover increase in Q1 2022, with 39 per cent expecting an increase in Q2. 32 per cent of companies also expected to grow their employment levels in Q2, while 75 per cent believe that the sector would benefit from attracting more women to work in the industry. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) collates data on detailed wholesale prices for building and construction materials as part of its monthly Wholesale Price Index. April 2022’s edition of the index shows a yearly increase in every category included
in the building and constructions materials index, the largest of which occur in “other” timber (92.7 per cent), “other” structural steel (71.3 per cent), reinforcing metal (66.5 per cent), and structural steel (42 per cent). The index shows a yearly rise of 18.2 per cent overall in all material from April 2021 to April 2022. In terms of monthly rises, April 2022 shows a 3.1 per cent price increase in all material, compared to 1 per cent and 0.9 per cent changes in the preceding March and February respectively. The largest rises during the month again occurred in steel and reinforcing metal, with the price of fabricated metal rising 31.4 per cent and the price of structural steel rising by 27.6 per cent. Using 2015 levels as a baseline, the index shows: stone, sand and gravel prices have risen 17.7 per cent; cement prices have risen 44.5 per cent; structural steel and reinforcing metal prices have risen 86 per cent, with “other”
structural steel rising 110.5 per cent; rough timber prices have risen 78.4 per cent; electrical fittings prices have risen 25.5 per cent; and bituminous macadam, asphalt, and bituminous emulsions prices have risen 7.8 per cent.
Capacity Housing for All places importance on the expansion of the capacity of the construction sector, with an estimated need of an additional 67,500 workers in the residential construction sector “by the middle of the decade” if the average yearly delivery of 33,000 homes is to be delivered. The plan states that this will be achieved through the increasing the provision of construction skills, education and training, promoting careers in these areas, and recruiting workers internationally.
Housing Ireland magazine
Central to this will be the successful implementation of the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025, which has a target of delivering 10,000 apprenticeship registrations by 2025. The 2022 Q1 progress report for Housing for All reports that 2021 saw 8,607 apprenticeship registrations, 6,955 of which were “in craft apprenticeships largely in the construction trades (dominated by carpentry, electrical, and plumbing)”. SOLAS, the state agency for building further education and training, is said within the progress report to be fast tracking reviews of “certain construction trades programmes”; funding has been provided under Springboard and the Human Capital Incentive to incentivise the delivery of programmes that support development in relevant areas; and research on skills gaps up to Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications is soon to be finalised.
Seasonally adjusted indices of production in residential building (Base Year: 2015 = 100) 200.0 180.0 160.0 140.0 120.0 100.0 80.0 60.0 40.0 20.0
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1
2011 2011 2011 2011 2012 2012 2012 2012 2013 2013 2013 2013 2014 2014 2014 2014 2015 2015 2015 2015 2016 2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 2018 2018 2018 2018 2019 2019 2019 2019 2020 2020 2020 2020 2021 2021 2021 2021 2022
Value of production
Volume of production
Production The CSO’s Production in Building and Construction Index for Q1 2022 shows the volume of production in construction in Q1 to have decreased by 2.4 per cent when compared with Q4 2021, rose by 23 per cent when compared with Q1 2021. Activity in the construction sector remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, with Q1 2022 showing a 14.6 per cent decrease in production compared to Q1 2020. These figures perhaps cast doubt on the capacity to deliver the 20.16 per cent increase in new dwelling completions necessary to meet the 2022 Housing for All goal of delivering 24,600 new homes, although not all of these will be new builds and the residential sector did show a quarterly increase of 2.8 per cent. Activity levels also remain lower than Q1 2020 in the residential, non-residential, and civil categories, with the seasonally adjusted value index for construction falling by 6.8 per cent in the same period. Civil engineering shows the largest quarterly decrease (11.8 per cent) in the volume index, while the non-residential sector decreased by 1.7 per cent. The value index for construction decreased by 2.2 per cent on a quarterly basis and increased by 36.5 per cent on an annual basis.
The affordability question: Cost rental and the affordable purchase schemes Housing Ireland magazine
Now that some time has passed since the introduction of the Affordable Housing Act 2021, Fidelma McManus considers the delivery and affordability of cost rental units to date and discusses the potential impact of the Affordable Purchase Schemes on affordability. Fidelma McManus, Partner and Head of Housing with Beauchamps.
The cost rental model On 21 July 2021, the Affordable Housing Act 2021 (the Act) was signed into law and introduced a variety of measures to make homeownership more affordable for buyers by introducing cost rental, a new form of tenure in Ireland that is to provide secure, long-term rental properties at below-market rates. Subsequent to the introduction of the Act, the Government published its Housing for All plan which aims to deliver about 18,000 cost rental homes between now and 2030, averaging about 2,000 a year.
Last year, 65 homes were occupied under the scheme: 25 at Taylor Hill in Balbriggan, Dublin and a further 40 at Barnhall Meadows in Leixlip, Kildare, both acquired by Clúid Housing. In March of this year, tenants began moving into 50 purpose built cost rental homes at Enniskerry Road in Dún LaoghaireRathdown (a joint venture pilot cost rental project between Respond and Tuath Housing), and approximately 700 additional cost rental units have been approved for completion this year. i.
Is cost rental delivering affordable units? Now that the first cost rental units have been delivered by approved housing bodies (AHBs), it allows us to assess whether cost rental is an affordable option for those who qualify. To recap, as per section 34 of the Act, the rents payable are calculated on the basis of the cost of building,
managing and maintaining the property in question and rents are typically pitched at rates of about 25 per cent (or more) below the market. This is a sizeable discount on the market rent for these tenants. However, with rents having risen nationally at a rate of 3 per cent in Q3 2021 and the same again in Q4 2021 with no signs of slowing down, and coupled with the increase in the cost of building materials, the Government's efforts to deliver affordable cost rental units are being undermined and genuine affordability is still an issue. By way of example, the rents for cost rental projects in Kilcarbery in Clondalkin and City West in Dublin offer onebedroom apartments at €1,000 a month with twobedroom apartments at €1,200 and two-bed duplexes at €1,300. These rents are still too high for many individual workers, but they reflect the costs of the construction market at present and therefore more significant rental discounts cannot be passed on to tenants by AHBs. If something is not done to further reduce the costs involved for the AHBs, there is a real risk that these rents, although reduced from the private rental sector, will remain unaffordable for the very people cost rental is designed for. ii. What role will the Land Development Agency play? Under Housing for All , the Land Development Agency (LDA) will be the State’s primary channel for the
The LDA is to be the State’s primary channel for the long-term development of cost rental housing with plans for more than 10,000 housing units to be provided in the short to medium term. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether reductions on land acquisition and other costs for the LDA will result in lower rents for cost rental tenants. That said, in the short term to accelerate delivery, it is worthwhile noting that the LDA is engaging with developers to deliver turn-key cost rental units under Project Tosaigh which will, one imagines, involve similar site acquisition costs and developer profit, as those encountered by the AHBs.
Shared-Equity Scheme for affordable housing are delayed at present. ii. Local authority-led Affordable Purchase Scheme: Under section 8 of the Act, these homes are intended to be available at a reduced price with the local authority taking an equity stake equivalent to the reduction from the prevailing market price for the property. The purchaser can redeem or buy out this equity stake at a time of their choosing. The prices will depend on the type, size, and location of the homes. However, local authorities have indicated they will aim to make homes available at average purchase prices of approximately €250,000. Applicants may also be able to avail of the Local Authority Home Loan which gives favourable rates to borrowers.
Housing Ireland magazine
development of cost rental housing. Perhaps the main potential benefit of the LDA cost rental schemes is that primarily state-owned land will be developed, so unlike AHBs who generally purchase homes from developers whose profit leads to increased costs, the LDA should, in theory, be able to pass the costsavings on site acquisitions to tenants in the form of lower rents.
It will be momentous if these affordable purchase schemes genuinely improve affordability for purchasers. In particular, The First Home Shared Equity Scheme will be under scrutiny, given reported concerns that the similar British scheme led to a substantive increase in house prices in the Greater London area. The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien TD has acknowledged similarities, but also outlined differences between the schemes stating that the first home shared equity scheme is “… carefully calibrated to address any inflationary risks”. The hope and expectation is that these schemes will have a positive impact on affordability but delays in delivery to date are concerning.
Conor McEvoy, Partner in Housing, Beauchamps.
Affordable purchase schemes
The First Home Shared-Equity Scheme: Under this scheme, it is proposed that the State and banks will jointly support first-time buyers on moderate incomes to buy a new home on the private market. The State and participating banks will pay up to 30 per cent of the cost of the new home (funded 50:50 by the State and participating banks) in return for a stake in the home, which can be bought back at any time.
That said, the first step must be to ensure the Government can truly tackle the affordability question and further actions are required now to prevent costs spiralling even further out of control.
Housing for All aims to deliver 36,000 affordable homes for purchase by 2030. The proposed affordable purchase schemes are perhaps the most hotly anticipated developments under the Government's plan and comprise:
There has been acknowledgment by the Government that Ireland's housing market is not immune to the broader impacts of the war in Ukraine and, coupled with challenging inflationary pressures and disrupted supply chains, these external factors will most likely lead to continued turbulence in our already constrained housing market struggling with affordability. In addition, the capacity to house Ukrainian refugees in Ireland has led to acute concerns in Government circles and presents a further challenge unforeseen by Housing for All.
Fidelma McManus, Head of Housing, Beauchamps E: email@example.com Conor McEvoy, Partner in Housing, Beauchamps E: c.mcevoy@beauchamps T: +353 (0)1 4180600
Unfortunately, plans to provide the First Home 35
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing completion and property price snapshot Hindered by Covid-19 restrictions early in the year, a total of 20,433 new dwellings were completed in 2021, 93 fewer than in 2021 and 12,567 fewer than the Housing for All target of 33,000 homes per annum for each year up to and including 2030. Meanwhile, at the time of print, residential property prices have experienced five consecutive quarters of price inflation.
Dwelling completions 2021 A total of 20,433 new dwellings
5,017 were apartments, representing 25%
were completed in 2021
of all new dwelling completions in 2021
This represents a
Of these new apartments,
decrease compared with 2020
3,971 or 77.8% were
80.3% of new completions
completed in Dublin
were in urban areas, the
The proportion of
highest proportion since
records began in 2011 Of new dwelling completions,
dwellings completed in Source: CSO, 2022
2021 was 9.7%
4,682 were single dwellings and 10,644 were scheme dwellings 36
The proportion of semi-detached scheme dwellings completed in 2021 was 49.5%
Housing Ireland magazine
Residential Property Price Index Residential property prices increased
Residential property prices of existing
by 14.2% nationally in the year to
dwellings were 17.8% higher in Q1
2022 compared with Q1 2021
Residential property prices
The median price of a dwelling
of new dwellings were
on the residential property
6.2% higher in Q1 2022 compared with Q1 2021
market in the year to April 2022 Source: CSO, 2022
In the Dublin region, the median price was €410,000
Non-household entities A total of 58,152 dwelling purchases were filed in 2021 with a total value of €18.7
In total, non-household entities with an address outside of Ireland purchased dwellings with a
11,733 dwelling purchases or 20.2% were made by non-
total value of €564.6
household entities with a total
million at market Source: CSO, 2022
This represents a 0.3% increase compared with 2020 37
Securing retrofit ambitions Housing Ireland magazine
many are looking on and learning from us in this area, particularly in the context of the new one stop shop model for delivering complete home energy upgrades with capacity to scale up. The NRRP is a whole of government plan therefore it will take a whole of government response to successfully deliver on the four key pillars of the plan: driving demand and activity; financing and funding; supply chain skills and standards; and structures and governance. The success of this approach depends on ensuring that effective policy action is taken, and balanced progress is made under each pillar simultaneously.
Insights and experience Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit for SEAI.
“There is no planet B”. This phrase says it all. We are in the midst of a climate crisis, and one could argue, and some have, that we are actually facing an existential crisis of survival. Also, the sixth mass extinction of biodiversity is well and truly underway, except this one is caused primarily by human activity, writes Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit for SEAI.
The policy context In April 2019, Ireland became only the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency and in June of that year the 2019 Climate Action Plan was published. This plan, and its updated version in 2021 which encompasses the National Residential Retrofit Plan (NRRP), identifies in detail the measures we will take to almost
halve CO2 emissions in the residential sector to an average of 4Mt CO2 by 2030. The scale of the ambition should not be underestimated. The core means of CO2 reduction is by upgrading 500,000 homes to a Building Energy Rating (BER) B2 rating and installing 400,000 heat pumps. No other country has targets as ambitious as ours. Indeed,
SEAI has been involved in retrofitting homes for the last 20 years, and to date has provided government grant support to over 450,000 homeowners to improve the energy performance of their homes. However, under the NRRP the increase needed in the scale of delivery to achieve the targeted CO2 emission reduction is immense and it requires a step change in how we do our business. The oft-quoted phrase “what got us here won’t get us there” comes to mind. Our research has identified key challenges and barriers to achieving sufficient demand for retrofit, and these barriers have all been used to inform both our demand generation campaigns and also the design of our grant schemes. The key barriers include: •
a lack of awareness of what retrofit is and the multiple benefits it delivers;
a lack of familiarity with some technologies such as heat pumps;
homeowners being overwhelmed by the apparent complexity and number of decisions involved;
affordability and the high upfront cost of works; and
hassle throughout the retrofit experience from the grant application phase, through to the delivery.
Rapid and just transition
This supports the call to get on board with the transition away from fossil fuels. One of the guiding principles of the move to a carbon neutral economy is that of just transition. This ensures that the transition will be a fair one and no one will be left behind. It is in this context that the new grant supports for home energy upgrades launched in February this year, include up to 80 per cent grant funding for wall and cavity insulation. These measures are relatively quick to do, and they have a tangible benefit to the comfort and energy performance of the home in the long term. Homeowners can avail of these individual grants to upgrade their home insulation and at a later stage consider a renewable heating system or solar panels for which there are also generous grants.
“One of the guiding principles of the move to a carbon neutral economy is that of just transition. This ensures that the transition will be a fair one and no one will be left behind. It is in this context that the new grant supports for home energy upgrades launched in February this year, include up to 80 per cent grant funding for wall and cavity insulation.” want. How it works is suitably qualified organisations register with SEAI to become a one stop shop. They will then guide a homeowner through the entire process of undertaking a home energy upgrade from initial concept through to technical design, implementation and securing generous government grant funding from SEAI, and at the same time removing the hassle from the process. The new one stop shop service provides a fixed price menu of grants which can fund up to 50 per cent of the total cost of the home energy upgrade. This is a significant contribution from government towards this work, however the homeowner must still fund the rest of the upgrade themselves. To make this element of the upgrade more affordable for homeowners and non-corporate landlords, SEAI is supporting our parent department to develop a retrofit loan guarantee scheme. This will provide risk protection to retail credit institutions participating in the scheme enabling
them to offer loans with significantly reduced interest rates. We expect these low-cost loans to become available towards year end further boosting demand for home energy upgrades. As with any significant transformation, it’s not going to be easy. We are undertaking this one step at a time when there are all manner of pressures and strains on the economy, from increasing interest rates, supply chain challenges, inflation, significant labour shortages right across the economy and competition from other parts of the construction sector. But let’s not forget, we are in a climate and biodiversity emergency. The stakes are high, and we need to keep our eyes on the prize. We have to do the right thing and do it now.
Also launched at the same time in February was a new scheme called the Home Energy Upgrade Scheme which will use one stop shops to deliver an end-to-end home upgrade service. This is for homeowners who wish to carry out a suite of energy upgrades all at once to bring their home to a B2. On one level, the development of one stop shops is revolutionary, but on another level it’s a very simple innovation responding to the needs of homeowners, using a design thinking approach to address the barriers listed above. What this basically entails is that the design of the scheme and the supporting processes were made from the perspective of what our customers, the homeowners, really
Housing Ireland magazine
The current external environment has significantly increased the focus on home energy upgrades. Inflation is nearing a 40-year high, much of it caused by surges in energy prices as a result of a range of macro-economic factors, not least the illegal war in Ukraine. At an EU level we have just completed the sixth round of sanctions against Russia, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned about a “new era” of high energy prices and a “watershed moment for fossil fuels in general”.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.seai.ie
Housing Ireland magazine
Eoin Ó Broin TD: ‘As the housing crisis deepens the case for an alternative grows’ Darragh O’Brien TD has been Minister for Housing for two years. His record, like that of his predecessor Eoghan Murphy, can be judged by the numbers, writes Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD. Credit: Sinn Féin
House prices are up 22 per cent and rents are up 15 per cent since the current government was formed. Homelessness has increased by 19 per cent in the same period.
bureaucracy imposed by the Department of Housing on local authorities and approved housing bodies. Meanwhile, not a single affordable home to buy was delivered in 2020 or 2021. A
In the last 12 months alone, child homelessness has increased by more than 40 per cent. For the first time since records began there are now more than 5,000 single adults in Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation. Social housing delivery was 30 per cent behind target in 2020 and 2021. This was partly due to Covid-19 but also because of the unnecessary levels of
handful have been completed this so far in 2022, though at best only 450 will be delivered by year’s end. Progress on affordable cost rental is not much better, with just 65 such units delivered in 2021 and a target of up to 700 for 2022. At the same time, the Land Development Agency will not deliver a single new build home until 2024 while its cost rental target, delivered via
Project Tosaigh turnkeys, is unlikely to yield any units this year.
Housing for All critique The hallmarks of Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD’s first two years in office have been big promises, lengthy delays, and poor delivery. It took 14 months for the Minister to publish his housing plan. Despite its length, it is light on detail and continues with the same failed policy consensus of the previous government. In fact, Housing for All’s social housing targets are lower than those of the previous governments. The affordable housing targets are even worse.
Contrary to the Minister’s claim that Government is investing €4 billion a year in public housing delivery, the actual level of direct capital investment in the delivery of social and affordable homes will only be €1.5 billion this year.
A Sinn Féin Government would also give renters a break with a three-year ban on rent increases for all existing and new tenancies while putting a month’s rent back in every renter’s pocket through a refundable tax credit. We would also end the egregious tax reliefs for institutional landlords.
placemaking and consumer protection. Ever growing numbers of people, on low, modest, and above modest incomes, are unable to access secure, appropriate and affordable accommodation. This is a direct result of failure of successive government policies, including the current government. It is not enough for government to use
Housing Ireland magazine
Simultaneously, direct subsidies to big landlords and developers continue unabated. Government has expanded the so-called Help to Buy scheme. They are also pressing ahead with the highly controversial Shared Equity Loan Scheme. Both policies have been widely criticised for, at best, locking in unaffordable prices and, at worst, pushing those prices even further upwards.
12,000 social and 8,000 affordable rental and purchase homes.
The Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme will see €400 million of taxpayers’ money gifted to large developers to build apartments priced at €400,000 without any affordability dividend. Large institutional investors continue to snap up entire developments, charging rip-off rents while avoiding any tax on their rent roll. Meanwhile, single property accidental and semiprofessional landlords are leaving the private rental sector in significant numbers, which in turn is driving up demand, rents, and levels of homelessness.
Credit: Sinn Féin
In response to the ever-deepening crisis, Minister O’Brien points to increases in planning permissions and commencements. He believes that as these properties come on stream supply will start to meet demand.
“We need to abandon the failed policy of overreliance on the private sector to meet social and affordable housing demand.”
Unfortunately the targets underpinning his plan are simply too low and, in many cases, will deliver the wrong kinds of housing at the wrong price to meet the ever-growing levels of social and affordable housing need.
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD
It is time for a radical change in direction. We need to abandon the failed policy of overreliance on the private sector to meet social and affordable housing demand. We need a plan that places the State, and in particular our local authorities, at the forefront of meeting this unmet need.
Sinn Féin alternative In government, Sinn Féin would double direct capital investment in social and affordable housing. This would require voted capital expenditure of €3 billion annually. This level of expenditure would fund the delivery of 20,000 social and affordable homes per annum:
Following a comprehensive review of the tax treatment of landlords, we would ensure that all landlords pay a fair rate of tax in a manner that would help stabilise the private rental sector.
the rhetoric of state-led investment in public housing. That rhetoric must be matched with investment levels and public housing targets that can meet current and future need.
Sinn Féin believes that housing is a human right and that all sections of society should have access to appropriate and affordable homes. To this end, we would hold a referendum to enshrine the right to housing in the constitution. We would also ensure that those sections of our community who have also been at the margins of our housing system, such as travellers, people with disabilities, older people, and migrants, have their needs met. There is also a need for comprehensive reform of our planning and building control systems to promote better
Minister Darragh O’Brien and the current Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Green Party Government cannot and will not tackle the housing crisis. Indeed, they are the cause of that crisis. Only a Sinn Féin-led government can deliver the radical change in housing policy that is required to deliver the tens of thousands of social and affordable homes that so many people desperately need and rightly deserve.
Housing Ireland magazine
Proactively supporting the delivery of housing in Ireland dedicated connections and developer services team offer a range of resources and support material for developers, extending a helping hand through the entire process from the housing development pre planning stage right through to construction and delivering safe drinking water to their homes. I’m delighted to confirm that strong progress has been made, with 32,404 housing connections offered in 2021. In addition, having listened to industry and our partners, we have developed and published capacity registers on water.ie to give an indication of water and wastewater capacity at our treatment plants, making it easier for developers and local authorities to prioritise areas with services. Irish Water’s Housing Programme Director Yvonne Harris.
Building on progress
Irish Water’s Housing Programme Director Yvonne Harris is making the delivery of housing in Ireland her top priority, leading a new housing programme for the water utility.
The challenges facing the Irish housing sector are well known. Lack of supply for both private and social housing, rising building costs and issues around planning are just some of the elements making it increasingly difficult for those looking to buy a home. Sadly, too many people are experiencing difficulties in securing a home. Everybody should have access to good quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price and enjoy a high quality of life. That’s what I’d love for my children, they have both finished thirdlevel education now and it’s tough to see 42
how much harder it is for their generation to get a foot on the property ladder. Irish Water recognises we have a role to play and are committed to playing our part in the national drive to provide homes to people who need them by developing and prioritising the delivery of key water service infrastructure. We are working in partnership with government departments, local authorities, and developers to support the increase of housing supply. We have significantly increased our ability to support the housing industry; our
Irish Water has transformed the system for connecting to the water service infrastructure by bringing a unified national approach to what had been a fragmented county by county approach. Before this, there had been 57 different charging regimes and 900 methodologies, with different levels of service across the 31 local authorities. We have replaced this with a single set of processes and procedures that apply regardless of location, and a national connection charging policy with a set of standard charges approved by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). This provides more certainty and fairness for developers. To ensure the homeowner receives a good quality service into the future, we moved to a standard Code of Practice and a single set of quality standards which presented a challenge initially, as everyone was accustomed to the old, local models. We are really grateful that industry has moved with Irish Water and supports the new ways of working. We have had very positive feedback from industry representatives as the new system has now bedded in.
Having inherited an old and ageing infrastructure, Irish Water is working closely with the CRU to facilitate proactive development of infrastructure to support housing. Under the Housing for All strategy, Irish Water has an obligation to support growth and we are delighted that we have agreed a mechanism with the CRU to allow us to identify potential areas of growth and invest in those areas.
Working together Over the past few months, I have met a number of developers and listened to their concerns. As the national water utility, we have an obligation to adhere to our regulatory model and to protect our assets and our existing customers. In line with those guiding principles, we continue to improve and review our policies and procedures. Some improvements Irish Water has already made over the past 12 months include:
2. We have piloted our Self Lay in the Public Road programme based on feedback from industry members, we have extended the criteria to allow a greater number of developments to participate on the programme. We continue to extend the scope of this programme and look forward to announcing further improvements. Please see www.water.ie/connections/develope r-services/self-lay-in-the-publicroad
4. We have made our submission to the CRU to support the First Mover Initiative and look forward to the CRU’s public consultation. Irish Water is committed to open communication and working together to proactively support the delivery of housing in Ireland. We are working to develop effective partnerships built on trust to meet the housing supply challenge and we are here to listen to our stakeholders and take action. We are proactively making this happen by hosting, presenting, or attending relevant conferences and events relating to housing to support our key stakeholders.
key steps applicants should be aware of: An application for connection to the water or wastewater infrastructure goes through a number of stages. Initially we recommend a pre-connection enquiry application being lodged with Irish Water to establish the feasibility of a connection to the Irish Water network. This is a free service which allows you to find out whether a connection to the public network is possible or not. The outcome of this pre-connection enquiry may influence your plans and portfolio management and supports your planning application. The next stage is to make a connection application to Irish Water once you have secured planning permission. We will assess your application to confirm if it is still feasible and will calculate standard charges and issue the offer. Once the offer is accepted Irish Water will provide the connection to the water supply and wastewater services. If there is a long delay between the pre-
How does the connection application to Irish Water work?
connection enquiry and the connection
Irish Water has recently hosted several webinars for industry players to explain the application process and to highlight issues that may cause delays in the process. The Irish Water connections and developer services team is very keen to support applicants as they move through the process. If you would like to join a webinar, please register your interest with email@example.com FAO: webinar interest. Here are some of the
developers to keep in contact with us to
1. Publication of our capacity registers on the Developer section of our website will support all stakeholders. Please see www.water.ie/connections/develope r-services/capacity-registers
3. We launched our Experience Based Accreditation scheme on 24 June 2022, 18 months ahead of plan to allow contractors pre-register as an experience based accredited contractor for self-lay projects in the public road. Accreditation will support a more efficient process for self-lay applications.
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One such example is Ballyvolane in Cork where there is significant pressure for development in the area, designated as an Urban Expansion Area (UEA) in the Cork County Development Plan. The UEA is in close proximity to the northern suburbs of Cork city. Irish Water identified a need for key strategic water and wastewater infrastructure to support social and economic growth and future development for new homes and businesses, enabling development of over 3,000 new houses. Following engagement with the CRU, we are investing €8.8 million in constructing a new wastewater pumping station, a foul sewer rising main and new watermains under the Irish Water Capital Investment Plan.
application, the capacity available may have changed. We would encourage all ensure that they are not working with out-of-date information.
For more information on the connection process please visit water.ie/connections/developerservices
Housing Ireland magazine
RPZs containing rent increases The future use of rent controls “should be considered an essential part of the rental market policy tools”, an Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) study has suggested. The recommendation comes after an assessment by the ESRI found that the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), aimed at holding rent increases to 4 per cent a year in designated urban areas between 2017 and 2020, has been successful in limiting rent inflation. The report warns that any removal of stabilisation measures would likely lead to further upward price pressure on a rental market already likely to experience considerable pressure as the economy looks to recover from the profound effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the research, rent in pressure zones would be some 2 per cent higher on average if controls were not implemented, however, it also found that more than one third (34 per cent) of landlords within RPZs rose rent rates above the allowable limit. While landlords are allowed to apply for exemption from that rent increase cap under certain criteria (just over 800 exemptions have been registered since July 2019), the ESRI said that it could not ascertain whether all the exceeding rises were legitimate or whether they represented breaches of the regulation due to “data gaps” in Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) statistics. Rent stabilisation measures were first introduced into the Irish private rental sector in 2016 to address concerns around affordability challenges for private renters amidst a period of rapid inflation in rental process. Specific areas designated as RPZs were imposed with a 4 per cent annual cap in rental inflation. Since then, a large number of additional areas have been classified as RPZs and in
Household tenure in Ireland 100
80 60 % 40
Housing Ireland magazine
g % Homeowners g % Local Authority Rent
g % Private rented
Source: Central Statistics Office, Census of Population.
late 2021, a maximum annualised increase of 2 per cent was introduced due to rising general inflation in the economy.
At present two types of exemptions from rent price caps in
Although research for the study was carried out prior to the lowering of the rate, the report’s authors are confident “the broad nature of the research as well as the backwardlooking review of events and existing studies means that the findings apply regardless of any changes to the specific calibration of the caps”.
or new to market and the second, when the nature of a
The ESRI study looked at the implementation of similar measures in other countries and assessed that there was “clear economic rationale for price stabilisation mechanisms in the Irish rental market”. The introduction of rent cap measures had been met with opposition because regulation omitted new tenancies, which critics felt were responsible for driving up rents.
RPZs are permitted. The first, when a property is a new build property has been substantially changed (targeted at maintenance, upkeep, and energy efficiency investments). The report finds that almost half of tenancies in zones introduced in 2016/2017 and those introduced in 2019 had increases in rents that were above the average 4 per cent cap. Most of the current registered exemptions are Type 1 exemptions (+600) and the majority of these (76 per cent) are in Dublin. Of the Type 2 exemptions, 40 per cent are for major energy efficiency upgrades.
While highlighting the benefits of RPZs for existing tenants, the ESRI says that such measures come with “supply-side health warnings” as they have been shown to lower investment and maintenance in buildings and lower overall rental supply in certain cases.
The ESRI study suggests that while the targeting of
“This often affects potential new tenants. Exemptions to the rules in the Irish case for new supply and dwelling upgrades are correctly targeted to help avoid these side effects,” it states.
exemptions when compared with the number of tenancies
The ESRI’s Associate Research Professor Conor O’Toole says: “The adoption of RPZs in an Irish context has helped to limit the scale of rental inflation since their introduction in late 2016. Indeed, it is likely rental inflation would accelerate further without these measures. “However, international evidence would suggest that while these types of measures are justified in many contexts, strict price caps risk lowering supply and upkeep in the medium term which must be borne in mind by policymakers.” The ESRI’s microdata analysis identifies more properties with a growth rate above the 4 per cent cap than the number of registered exemptions and recommends that further efforts to ensure higher rates of reporting exemptions would be beneficial, alongside improved data collection and monitoring.
exemptions appears calibrated to offset the type of maintenance and upkeep side-effects seen in existing literature and should therefore form part of any ongoing stabilisation programme, the low number of registered experiencing rent rises above the 4 per cent cap suggests the need for continued efforts to increase compliance and monitoring of the scheme. The report concludes: “With the continued excess demand for housing, and the potential for a sustained recovery in the Irish economy, it is likely that these market factors would put considerable upward pressure on rental prices in a scenario where stabilisation mechanisms were removed entirely. “The continued usage of these mechanisms is likely to be required and should be considered an essential part of the rental market policy tools in future. Such stabilisation measures should continue to be cognisant of the potential for supply-side externalities, but they can also be seen as a valid intervention to reduce inflationary pressures in the housing market.”
Housing Ireland magazine
Affordable and social housing underpin major efforts in Ireland’s youngest county
As Ireland’s third biggest local authority with a
accommodation provision via Housing Assistance Payments.
population of some 300,000, Fingal currently
But with pressure on already stretched housing stock, and the Council’s ongoing ambitions to grow and be recognised as the gateway to Ireland – Dublin airport sits within the County – Fingal knows it must have the infrastructure to match and housing is at the heart of that.
has over 104,000 households and the demand for more homes is growing rapidly, particularly as the county has Ireland’s fastest growing and youngest population.
Situated to the north of Dublin City, Fingal covers an area of 456 square kilometre with 88km of coastline and is made up of urban, suburban, rural, and coastal communities. Given its location, Fingal provides the most daily commuters into Dublin city with 28,641 making the journeys from their homes in Fingal while around 17,000 make the journey in the opposite direction to their place of work. Promoting itself as a great place to live, work and visit, it is little wonder that Fingal has seen massive demand for all types of housing at key locations across
the county. There are over 6,300 households on the social housing list, with the greatest demand within the county in the Dublin 15 area. Fingal has a strong track record in the delivery of social homes across the county and has met all newbuild delivery targets set by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) since 2015, delivering over 9,200 social housing solutions to families on its housing list through all delivery mechanisms, including the construction of new homes, Part V delivery, acquisitions, leasing, and
In order to address this, the Council has a Capital Programme of some €784 million in place through to 2024 and the Housing and Community Development Department, headed up by newly appointed Director Robert Burns, is responsible for over €400 million of that spend. Such a sizeable allocation emphasises how committed the Council is to delivering a significant mixture of social and affordable homes. Over the next four years the Council plans to deliver a significant number of social housing dwellings using all available housing support mechanisms as it looks to meet its Housing for All target of delivering almost 3,500 new build social homes by 2026. To that end, it has some 23 sites across the county
which it will utilise to help it reach its ambitious goal. While the delivery of this large number of social and affordable housing in the county remains a priority, planning permission has also been granted for 14,500 homes to be built in Fingal on private developments, with 2,500 homes currently underway on 72 construction sites across the county.
This provision of affordable homes by the Council began with the development of a site at Dun Emer where they hope to hand over the keys to new homeowners later this year. There were 39 newly constructed homes made available to eligible, first-time purchasers at an affordable price relative to market value. The interest in these dwellings was exceptional; in the short period they were advertised, the Council received over 300 applications for the properties. A short distance away in Hayestown, Rush, plans are underway for the construction of 52 affordable homes which are due to be completed in the second half of 2023. This project received €3.9 million in funding under the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). A further 10 units will be constructed on the site as social housing. Elsewhere, there are four major developments Fingal will use to help deliver around 1,800 affordable homes between them, at sites in Mulhuddart, Donabate, Skerries, and Balbriggan.
The Council is working alongside Glenveagh Living to deliver 1,200 homes at Ballymastone in Donabate which will
Over the next four years the Council plans to deliver a significant number of social housing dwellings using all available housing support mechanisms as it looks to meet its Housing for All target of delivering almost 3,500 new build social homes by 2026. To that end, it has some 23 sites across the County which it will utilise to help it reach its ambitious goal. see a mix of 60 per cent private, 20 per cent affordable, and 20 per cent social homes. The mixed tenure provision is happening within the one site, which is a departure from traditional housing delivery. Fingal is also currently exploring what other options exist for it to make family homes available at a discount under the Council’s affordable housing initiative. “Fingal’s approach to housing is very much community-centred, whereby we look to not only build homes but also build communities,” says Burns. “The Council works across its different departments to ensure that the things needed to develop a community, such as libraries, community centres and recreational facilities, are in place as part of our vision to not only put a roof over heads but to also bring people of all ages and backgrounds together.”
The provision of quality housing in appropriate locations underpins some of the reasons that Fingal is considered an attractive place to live and work. The delivery of housing to meet the current and future needs of our citizens continues to be a challenge, which is why it is progressing housing delivery across all tenures and exploring how to
In the case of Mulhuddart, the Church Fields development will see the delivery over 600 affordable homes built on a 37hectare Council owned site. The project will not only deliver homes and supporting infrastructure structure such as community facilities and open spaces but also a walking and cycling network that will link those homes to schools, shops, and other facilities in the area.
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“Fingal is one of the first local authorities in Ireland to commence the construction of affordable homes,” said Robert Burns, the Director of Housing and Community Development. “We want to be at the forefront of these types of initiatives to help ensure we are able to accommodate those who have been squeezed out of the private market and are trapped in the gap between not being eligible for social housing and not being able to afford private housing is growing.”
maximise the use of housing stock. It does not intend to shirk away from what’s needed.
Fingal County Council T: 01 890 50 00 W: www.fingal.ie Twitter: @fingalcoco
Väinölä Housing First Unit from Espoo.
Through international collaboration on Housing First, the eradication of homelessness can happen before the EU’s target of 2030, believe the Y-Foundation’s Juha Kahila and Saija Turunen. The Y-Foundation, which is Finland’s fourth largest landlord, owns 18,000 apartments in 57 cities and municipalities in the country. The foundation is actively involved as a national developer of the Housing First principle, an approach which has aided Finland in decreasing homelessness numbers by over 80 per cent in the past 35 years, and a model which is now being adopted across Europe and across the globe. Housing First is an operating model, based on two cornerstones of housing as a human right and the requirement of the provision of support and services. A third element, which has been a critical success in Finland, is the delivery of housing solutions near to where others are living. Pre-pandemic, Finland boasted progress of reducing homelessness numbers from 20,000 in 1985 to 4,341 in 2020. In 2008, the Housing First principle was included in the national strategy, supported by evidence that savings in emergency healthcare, social services, and the justice system totalled around €15,000 annually for every homeless person in properly supported housing and a 34 per cent decrease in use of health, social, and police services for Housing First unit residents. Kahila explains that a key aspect of the Y-Foundations work is not only working to
Credit: Jouni Törmänen
Housing Ireland magazine
Eradicating homelessness: A Finnish perspective
eradicate homelessness on a national level but also work to reduce it internationally.
important to understand that collaboration is not about cutting and pasting but instead having a fundamental understanding of the difference and ensuring they do not become an obstacle.”
In 2016, the Y-Foundation and the European Federation of National Organisations Working with Homeless People (FEANTSA), along with 15 partners, established the Housing First Europe Hub, which has since grown to include more than 37 organisations from across Europe and beyond. Kahila says the hub, which is independent, with activities including training, research, advocacy and developing work practices, is a prime example of how collaboration can work. On why collaboration is important, he says: “To date, no country has managed to eradicate homelessness in isolation but through collaboration, we believe it is possible before 2030. In the fight against homelessness, no country or organisation has the time or resources to reinvent the wheel and so, through collaboration, we can share learnings and adopt many of the good practices already in operation elsewhere and tailor them to their own context.”
Collaboration Turunen explains that many of the challenges and opportunities in eradication homelessness across different nations often overlap, and while the Y-Foundation hosts hundreds of visitors annually to discuss their implementation of the Housing First principle, information sharing is a twoway street. “We have and are learning a lot,” she says. “We would not be where we are with our homeless numbers without learning from the good practices abroad.” Discussing some of those learnings, she says: “We are very aware that international collaboration has got its challenges, mainly because of a difference of cultures, however, it is
Housing Ireland magazine
One example provided by Turunen is that of trauma-informed care. Through collaboration in the hub, Finland, over the last number of years, has adopted and integrated trauma-informed care, particularly towards women-specific work, through collaboration with the UK. Similarly, multiple countries, including Australia, have been involved in a ‘train the trainer’ programme developed by the hub in recent years, to train the Housing First principle in local countries and areas. Kahila explains that Finland’s strong legacy of youth housing has also been a feature for collaboration within the hub, as youth homelessness across Europe rises. Adapted from the successful Housing First approach, Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is a rights-based intervention for young people (aged 13-24) who are experiencing homelessness, or who are at risk of becoming homeless. The goal of HF4Y is to support young people through their adolescence and facilitate a healthy transition to adulthood, all while having a safe and stable place to call home. Concluding Kahila says that through collaboration, the hub enables stakeholders to assess the large variety of practices aimed at eradicating homelessness and adapt them to their own context. Additionally, he points to “strength in numbers” of much needed advocacy work to build a stringer evidence base for which approaches are most successful. “Who knows what the future holds when we work together. I believe ending homelessness is truly possible, even before 2030,” he states. 49
Housing Ireland magazine
It is all about delivery
Fiona Cormican, Director of New Business, Clúid Housing, discusses how approved housing bodies, the State, and the private sector need to work together to overcome the challenges facing the housing sector. To quote a senior civil servant in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage: “It’s all about delivery.” Luckily, the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector is primed and ready to rise to the challenge, having increased capacity for delivery at scale under Rebuilding Ireland. AHBs delivered approximately 17,000 new social homes over the past three years – over 2,300 by Clúid alone – putting us in a great 50
position to achieve the ambitious target of 40 per cent of all new homes planned under Housing for All. To deliver the 90,000 homes needed by 2030, the sector will, once again, need to increase our output substantially. To do this, we will need to build on our collective skills and experience, and work with the private sector and local and national government to address the challenges facing the sector.
Working in partnership Clúid, like other larger AHBs, has a large pipeline of projects that we are working on in partnership with local authorities, developers, and investors. AHBs have a solid history of such partnerships, which is necessary for continued delivery of social and affordable housing.
Creating sustainable mixed-tenure communities
Maintenance and addressing defects Clúid believes that investing in design and placemaking in all our housing schemes ultimately saves money in the long-term management and maintenance of our homes. We are also investing considerable funds into our planned maintenance programme and have embarked on a significant investment programme of retrofitting our older homes to a minimum B2 BER standard. In addition, we are investing in rectifying defects in apartment buildings that were bought during a time when construction regulation was not as effective as it is now. While money spent in this way is a necessary investment, it inevitably means less cashflow available for new housing projects. AHBs need to be supported financially to undertake this rectification and future-proofing work.
There is no actual investment in terms of capital from the State in AHB social housing or cost rental delivery. The current model (P&A-CALF) is effectively a 100 per cent debt funding model; AHBs borrow a proportion of the funds needed from the State (CALF) on the basis of a simple interest calculation and pay back
Governance The remit of the boards that manage the AHB sector is to steer the organisations towards long-term sustainability, for benefit of our current and future residents. Managing our long-term debt and gearing ratios is critical to the viability of the sector. AHBs are heavily regulated through the new approved housing body regulator and the Residential Tenancy Board. While all of this is welcomed by the sector, it comes with additional cost and responsibility.
Policy changes The inclusion of AHBs on the government balance sheet has resulted in AHBs competing in government budgets with other high profile infrastructure projects, even when the funding is not government sourced. The AHB sector needs to be taken off the government balance sheet and used as a
vehicle to deliver social and affordable housing. Other key policy areas include the removal of the income threshold for social housing and developing a just method of subsiding housing need that supports more people. We need to look at the current differential rent model to ensure that we make the best use of subsidies, by focusing on what is genuinely affordable across a wider cohort of people and aligning any subsidies with actual income and outgoings. Most of all, we need to stop politicising housing and, instead, work together to come up with solutions that provide choice for people, value for money for the State, and maximise state investment in housing to get the greatest return on investment, including leveraging private investment where possible. We as a sector, and Clúid as an organisation, want to deliver more. We have built our capacity to be a major delivery partner for government in achieving Housing for All targets and are excited about working in ever closer collaboration with public and private sector partners. We are very focused on our mission to provide quality housing to people who cannot afford to meet their own needs, and to do so in a sustainable way that provides security of tenure in a great place to live.
Contractual obligations and ensuring our construction projects remain operational mean that AHBs like Clúid have very little unrestricted capital to invest in social housing projects.
160 per cent at the end of the 30-year period, with the balance of funds borrowed at market interest rates. payment and availability (P&A) is essentially a payment by the state to the AHB for making the homes available for social housing and provides the revenue to support the payment of the loan. This model works very well on individual projects, but when combined at scale, such as that needed for Housing for All targets, it presents risk management challenges for the AHB as an independent corporate entity with charitable status, managed by a voluntary board. This risk could be addressed by the provision of capital investment, not in the form of debt.
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing for All calls for a continuous supply of both social and private homes. Our focus as a society should be on developing mixed-tenure schemes to create diverse, vibrant communities and avoid stigmatisation of people on lower incomes. However, there needs to be an economically sound approach to creating policies around mixed tenure that support investment, rather than make projects unviable. Planning and economics need to go hand in hand when making decisions.
T: 01 707 2088 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.cluid.ie 51
Housing priorities in Northern Ireland crisis, O’Donnell reasons that the strategy sets out a policy framework within which difference-making programmes can be developed.
Housing Ireland magazine
“This is what we call the whole-system approach and I am pleased that that approach has been broadly welcomed by all of our stakeholders and partners,” he says. “The whole-system approach emphasises that there is no single challenge to housing supply here; it is a range of challenges and the combination of those that means that we are not able to provide the right volume and type of homes in the right places.” The Deputy Secretary explains that the vision for housing is underpinned by objectives to increase housing supply across all tenures, prevent homelessness, reduce housing stress, and prioritise housing solutions for those most in need, improve the quality of housing, build thriving and inclusive communities, and support a just transition to carbon neutrality.
Mark O’Donnell, Deputy Secretary of Housing, Urban Regeneration and Local Government in the Northern Ireland Executive’s Department for Communities (DfC) discusses housing priorities and the progress made in implementing the transformative housing programme. “The first priority was the Housing Supply Strategy, aimed at giving everybody access to a good quality, affordable and sustainable home suitable to their needs and located within a thriving, inclusive community,” O’Donnell begins. Amid rising levels of housing stress and homelessness, affordability issues for those buying and renting, and the current cost of living
“Clearly, we need more social houses,” O’Donnell says. “The most significant capital investment our department makes to address housing need is through the Social Housing Development Programme it operates with the Housing Executive and housing associations to develop new social homes.” 2,403 housing units were started in the financial year 2020/21, the highest figure achieved in 10 years. “In 2021/2022, we spent £171 million on new-build social housing, which is the highest spend that we have ever achieved in a single year and a total of 1,713 starts were achieved by the end of March 2022,” O’Donnell adds. “This year, more than any year previously, we have demonstrated that it is really difficult to work within an annual budget. It gives you an artificial cut off point. It adds weight to the challenges that the absence of a functioning Executive and a multiyear budget pose.” A significant challenge facing housing in
Northern Ireland is the revitalisation of the Housing Executive, as laid out by former Minister for Communities Carál Ní Chuilín MLA. O’Donnell says that work to date has established the “clear and pressing need for intervention” to prevent the loss of social homes and to enable the significant and growing investment requirement to be met.
Housing Ireland magazine
“This year, more than any year previously, we have demonstrated that it is really difficult to work within an annual budget. It gives you an artificial cut off point. It adds weight to the challenges that the absence of a functioning Executive and a multiyear budget pose.” introduction of the Private Tenancies Act has sought to regulate the sphere, bringing safety requirements, minimum energy efficiency requirements and strengthened security of tenure to renters. This is just the beginning, O’Donnell says: “The next phase of that private sector reform will include regulation of letting agents, the Revitalisation of the Housing Executive will include its allocation of social housing. The Fundamental Review of the Allocation of Social Housing, which was published in 2020, is now at implementation stage, with 18 of the 20 proposals progressed over the next three years subject to funding.
introduction of Grounds for Eviction,
“Social housing is not the only housing we need,” O’Donnell adds. “If we are to meet our housing needs, we have to deliver affordable homes. The Department continues to provide significant funding for co-ownership as our main partner for the delivery of immediate homes here. That has enabled over 30,000 people to buy their homes, many for the first time. We have £158 million of financial transactions capital loan funding approved to deliver over 4,000 affordable homes through co-ownership over a four-year programme. The Department has also increased co-ownership’s property value limited from £165,000 to £175,000 and we hope that will ensure that people can continue to access affordable homes right across Northern Ireland and we will keep co-ownership’s property value limit under review to ensure it remains set at an appropriate level.”
Programme every year since 2015/16
The private rented sector has by now become the biggest part of Northern Ireland’s housing market, and the
green growth energy strategies. All of
consideration of how we can ensure rents area fair and a review of fitness standards across all tenures.” As homelessness rises, O’Donnell points to the £72.8 million of protected funding in the Supporting People from his department as evidence of work being done, but also reinforces the need for long term planning to be supported with a multiyear budget. Concluding, he turns to the climate agenda facing all sectors, but not least housing which faces a radical decarbonisation over the next decade: “The question is: how do we fulfil our housing targets at the same time as fulfilling our obligations to meet net zero targets? How do we support households to decrease transmissions in houses they already have and how do we ensure a just transition for those most vulnerable? Those are the main questions facing us as we find ourselves on the pathway to zero carbon by 2050. We don’t have all the answers to that, but we do address it in our housing supply strategy, and the those provide us with the framework for the changes that we need to make.”
Housing Ireland magazine
Peter McVerry Trust focuses on tackling dereliction and vacant properties
Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homelessness charity, is championing the sustainable delivery of social housing and working to bring vacant properties back into use. The charity, which is active in 28 of 31 local authorities across the State, worked with over 10,000 people and helped 1,200 people secure a home in 2021.
The sustainable development of housing and support services in Peter McVerry Trust is an important element of their work. Pat Doyle, the charity’s CEO, explains that as a housing and homeless charity and an Approved Housing Body, the charity recognises their responsibility to ensure the environmental sustainability of their activities. “As an organisation, we are very conscious of the climate emergency and the role we have to play in tackling the problem. We’re committed to consistently reviewing and progressing actions to reduce our carbon footprint. “As members of the Irish Green Building Council, Irish Council for Social Housing and a supporting organisation of the AllIreland Pollinator Plan, our goal is: to work collaboratively and efficiently to improve the energy efficiency of our building stock; make the best possible 54
use of our outdoor spaces in terms of biodiversity; and to work to decarbonise our energy sources and transport fleet. “As part of our Strategic Plan 20212025, we are committed to ensuring ongoing sustainable organisational development. This includes reviewing and progressing actions to improve the environmental sustainability of our activities in light of the global climate emergency.”
Sustainable housing development Peter McVerry Trust is one of Ireland’s leading advocates for action on empty homes, derelict sites and underused spaces. The reusing and repurposing of old and vacant buildings increases housing supply, tackles dereliction and revives urban centres. It also creates a smaller carbon footprint.
“Shaw Street is a great example of Peter McVerry Trust reusing vacant sites for the purpose of social housing. This project will see a long-term, vacant DCC site developed to deliver 12 high quality housing units comprising of 11 one-bed apartments and one two-bed apartments. The project is a partnership between Dublin City Council, the Department of Housing and Peter McVerry Trust. “This will be our second brownfield apartment scheme in Dublin City Centre and follows quickly on from the completion of our first at New Street South last year. This project is part of a wider strategy of urban regeneration and infill projects,” says Doyle. The charity strongly believes that addressing the issue of vacant properties can play a significant role in reducing and ultimately eliminating homelessness.
“We’re transforming vacant properties across Ireland, from individual houses to disused shops, and we’ve had more empty homes projects than any other Approved Housing Body in Ireland. We’ve recently acquired a number of derelict heritage properties that will be converted into one- and two-bedroom social housing units.
Housing Ireland magazine
“These projects work on many levels. The buildings are an undesirable purchase for many – so we’re not in direct competition with first time buyers. They’re derelict and an eye-sore, so converting them into homes revitalises town centres and reduces anti-social behaviour. Finally, their central location ensures our tenants can easily walk to public amenities. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Vacant Homes Tax The recent Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing’s report recommending a tax on vacant homes is greatly welcomed by the charity. The Government plans to introduce a vacant property tax in Budget 2023 which could impact on an estimated 137,000 properties. “Since 2016, Peter McVerry Trust has been advocating for the introduction of a vacant property tax; this recommendation is an important step forward for the housing sector in this country. We strongly believe an empty homes tax will encourage landlords to renovate or sell their vacant property and will result in an increased number of homes to rent, to buy, and to be used for social housing. “This tax is not about raising revenue, but rather about creating more social housing, improving communities and lessening carbon outputs by re-using existing stock. A tax on vacant homes is the final piece of the jigsaw for unlocking these properties to provide more social housing across Ireland.”
Preparing for the future Within its services, the charity is increasing sustainability and educating young clients. Its learning centres work with young people who cannot access mainstream education due to a number of circumstances. In collaboration with GIY, classes will grow their own vegetables, learn about the care and commitment needed to produce food and the importance of not wasting it. The charity is also currently working alongside Arup, a global leader in engineering, on a general carbon and sustainability assessment of their housing stock. This will inform more environmentally sustainable decisions going forward. A focused investigation into repurposed or retrofitted buildings will also enable Peter McVerry Trust to calculate total carbon savings generated through the reuse of vacant and derelict buildings.
Concluding, Doyle states: “The innovative and sustainable delivery of new homes is central to our mission of creating more pathways for people out of homelessness. There is no doubt that the climate crisis and the escalating cost of construction will continue to prove challenging to the housing sector. There is a lack of available housing for people, but there is no lack of available properties from which to create housing. We see every vacant property as an opportunity; we’ll continue to bring these properties back into use and give more people the key to their own front door.”
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust E: email@example.com W: www.pmvtrust.ie
“Shaw Street is a great example of Peter McVerry Trust reusing vacant sites for the purpose of social housing. This project will see a long-term, vacant DCC site developed to deliver 12 high quality housing units comprising of 11 one-bed apartments and one two-bed apartment.” 55
Ukrainian emergency poses ‘supply chain crisis’ for housing
Credit: Anima Fotografie
Housing Ireland magazine
time, almost 25,000 offers of private accommodation had been made via the Irish Red Cross portal, however only one-quarter of these were deemed appropriate following assessment.
Two strangers embrace during the Stand with Ukraine rally outside the GPO in March 2022.
Amid concerns around increased pressure on Ireland’s housing waiting list, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) aims to fully implement Housing for All, while government seeks to accommodate the needs of Ukrainian refugees. In April 2022, the Minister admitted that the Ukrainian crisis posed a simultaneous challenge of unprecedented demographic change and a supply chain crisis for housing. O’Brien’s comments came just days after Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD had dismissed calls to put a ceiling on the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, given the supply and demand imbalance of Ireland’s housing crisis. The latest CSO statistics show 35,670 arrivals from Ukraine in Ireland by week ending 05 June 2022. In March, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD said that it was possible that Ireland could receive up to 200,000 refugees. In June then, it was reported that the Government had established a refusals protocol as it seeks to accommodate around 1,000 new refugees every week. 56
Under the new rules, refugees will only be able to refuse offered accommodation twice before the Government deems itself to have fulfilled requirements under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive. At present, around 62,000 households are deemed to have an unmet social housing need, however, recent estimates by the Parliamentary Budget Office point to the exclusion of those in receipt of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) from the official waiting list, meaning that the number of households eligible for but not yet in receipt of social housing is closer to 122,000. The context of the challenge posed in relation to Ireland’s housing provision can be seen in early figures released by the European Commission. In April, of the 25,173 Ukrainian refugees, only 16,788 had been provided with accommodation by the State. At the
Each local authority has been asked to establish temporary accommodation; however, this is recognised as unsustainable in the medium- to longterm. Additionally, it is expected that colleges and universities will make available accommodation facilities vacated by students in the summer months. Yet, this has the potential to further constrain rental market capacity later in 2022. O’Brien says that in responding to the Ukrainian situation, any newly delivered accommodation will be in addition to the Housing for All targets for 2022. “Any suitable and additional permanent accommodation returned to general social and affordable housing if and when the Ukrainian crisis is resolved and special accommodation needs end,” he notes. Outlining some of the specific actions in relation to housing provision for refugees, the Minister points to the identification of 500 vacant buildings, 89 of which were deemed capable of almost immediate occupation. The Minister has requested the establishment of an Emergency Vacant Housing Unit to lead refurbishment of buildings. Additionally, the OPW is to lead the delivery of modular/volumetric construction on available and suitable State land. Beyond the Ukrainian response, the Department is expected to remove the local authority acquisition cap and restore emergency powers to local authorities. Additionally, a new Voids programme for 2022 is expected to hasten the turnaround of vacant social housing stock in efforts to meet waiting lists demand. In May, the Minister reaffirmed to the Irish Times that the accelerated programme was not a Ukraine response but was “for those on the social housing list”. The Minister is exploring the potential of introducing restrictions on short-term letting in rent pressures zones (RPZs).
Standards for approved housing bodies Housing Ireland magazine
In order to ensure that approved housing bodies (AHBs) are run effectively, the Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority (AHBRA) was established by the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Act 2019. One of its main requirements was to establish a set of standards for AHBs in relation to governance, financial matters, property and asset management and tenancy management. Governance The board of an AHB should ensure that it is compliant with all legal, regulatory, funding, and statutory obligations. The board must provide effective leadership and its governance arrangements should set out the roles and responsibilities of the board members, subcommittees, and staff. Decisions of the board should be based on reliable accurate and timely information and records maintained providing the reasons for decisions made. Honesty and the integrity of board members are crucial, and the board members must put the AHB’s interest before their own personal or private interests and disclose any third-party interests that may cause a conflict. Board members have equal and collective responsibility for decisions and the board is responsible to tenants, the regulator, and other key stakeholders. Risks should be managed, and appropriate controls put in place.
information on the condition of all properties held by the AHB. They also must have a cost-effective repairs and maintenance programme that meets their tenants needs.
Tenancy management Homes must be allocated in a fair, transparent and efficient manner and aligned with the AHBs funding obligations. Good working relationships should be maintained with local authorities. Effective communication with tenants is key to ensuring that a solid relationship is developed. Fair and transparent rent policies are required and should be communicated and understood by the tenants. A complaints procedure which should be in clear terms and easily assessable is required under the standards. Engagement with tenants on the delivery of services is also critical, as is understanding tenants’ satisfaction through the monitoring and
reporting on the performance of it service delivery.
AHBs must put appropriate financial governance arrangements in place. These include financial management, cashflow and treasury management to ensure that the AHBs can meets their financial obligations and future expectations and that there is a robust financial risk framework in place so that its tenants and assets are not at undue risk. Accurate and regular financial reporting to the board is necessary.
The ABHRA provides guidance on the standards to
Property and asset management
include guidance documents, webinars, and other educational tools.
T: 01 676 4488 E: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
AHBs should deliver an effective asset management programme which should meet its current and future needs and based on reliable and up to date
A growing AHB sector offering wider housing options in local authority action plans Housing Ireland magazine
housing associations in 1982 and now has 270 AHB members, including those that are classified as Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1 AHBs. The mission of the ICSH is to support the further development and promotion of a sector catering for a growing range of housing needs. There are circa 20 Tier 3 AHBs (those managing over 300 homes) of which a number of these AHBs have been successfully providing general needs housing at scale in recent years in a number of key local authority areas. In addition to this has been the introduction of the Government’s new cost rental programme, in which a targeted number of Tier 3s have moved into this new area of, provision and management of high-quality new homes for households on moderate incomes. One specific AHB has focused on delivering affordable housing for sale.
With the first full year of the roll out of Housing for All, approved housing bodies (AHBs), or also commonly known as housing associations, are actively involved in a range of measures to support local authorities in meeting their social and affordable housing targets, as well as contributing to other related commitments in Housing for All.
The expanded AHB sector now comprises 50,000 homes in ownership and management, accomodating over 120,000 people. AHBs now have an active presence in over 600 local communities throughout the country where their work results in a wideranging impact even beyond housing. Therefore, the footprint of the sector has grown significantly from around 2,000 homes provided and manged by the sector in the mid-1980s to its current wider reach into urban and rural communities, including some islands. This expansion has been achieved via support from local authorities, successive housing departments, and
other key delivery stakeholders. This was combined with the amalgam of the sector’s own resources of land, buildings, financial resources, and social capital. The AHB sector is generally contributing up to an additional 10 per cent of new longer term social and affordable housing to the sectors’ overall housing stock each year.
Range of responses: from increased scale to targeted solutions The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), the national representative federation of AHBs, was established by
Complementing this increasing delivery of general needs housing have been other active AHBs, who have continued to focus on key special needs housing. This includes housing and supports to some of the most vulnerable households such as homeless households (including Housing First), older people, people with disabilities, refugees, travellers, and households with mortgage difficulties through mortgage to rent. This is important as some of the housing needs of these vulnerable households are often overlooked and classified as having complex needs that involves many partners to ensure delivery. This is true but should not be a reason that the housing and support needs of these households cannot adequately be met. There are many proactive and repeatable examples in special needs housing such as with homelessness and other areas where working in partnership for the benefit of the tenants has yielded positive outcomes and improved social inclusion for these households. There is also growing collaboration within the ICSH
membership, including the ICSH AHB Collaboration Programme, with assistance from the Department which will help to ensure a sustainable sector to address various needs.
Stronger starting point
Housing Ireland magazine
One positive and important factor for the AHB sector coming into Housing for All is that the sector had a much stronger pipeline of projects that it ever had compared to previous new national housing plans. The sector has also been providing over 40 per cent of new social housing in recent years, and despite the impact of Covid, as well as other related restrictions in 2020 and 2021, the AHB sector will have collectively provided over 3,700 social and affordable homes in 2021, an increase of almost 15 per cent from 2020, of which 75 per cent of these homes will have been new build construction.
“Underlying all delivery is the AHB sector having access to access to sufficient residential sites for social and affordable cost rental housing. This will be particularly important to
Priority areas to support continued AHB delivery As a key partner in the increased delivery of social and affordable housing up to 2026 and beyond, there are a number of enabling factors that would support sector delivery and management homes and services to tenants. Underlying all delivery is the AHB sector having access to access to sufficient residential sites for social and affordable cost rental housing. This will be particularly important to enable the AHB sector to meet the 40 and 50 per cent government targets for delivery of all social housing in Dublin, Cork, and other local authority areas. Translating the inventory of suitable state land, as assigned to the Land Development Agency, should be one of strategic routes for AHBs to have residential land assembled for social and affordable housing projects over the next five years and will support the meeting of targets.
Government targets for delivery of all social housing in Dublin, Cork, and other local authority areas.” emerging and some proposed projects becoming unviable in a changed market and being lost. Some of these interventions required are policy as well as operational to support both project and AHB financial viability. Bringing forward the CALF review to Q3 is a positive response to that. Alongside these enabling factors for housing delivery are other capacity issues including those in Housing for All including an AHB retrofit scheme (bearing in mind the current cost of living issues for tenants) and the need for national programmes for special needs such as older people and those with disabilities which would include strategies to support services to tenant with special needs. While the AHB sector has increased its capacity in recent years with increased specialist staff and boards to respond to various schemes, work on concluding a number of legacy issues would free up more resources and support further AHB organisational capacity. These include resolving unsold affordable homes, apartment, and house defects, out of mortgage, rent structures and classification. In responding to the commitments and programmes within Housing for All, the diverse AHB sector has engaged and
will continue to do so in different ways through both mainstream programmes of new build and acquisitions, and increasingly so in innovative ways of repurposing and financing more commercial buildings and vacant properties so that Housing for All will live up to its objective in really addressing housing needs for all. While the AHB sector and members of the ICSH cannot address all housing needs and solve every housing problem, strong strategic partnerships with local authorities through action plans and other key stakeholders will certainly be central to enable the sector being able to widen housing choice and deliver on improved housing affordability, social inclusion, and neighbourhood regeneration. Collectively, AHBs in the sector can deliver locally but will have a national impact.
Aligned to this, in an increasingly and rapidly changed housing market together with increased construction price inflation and cost of loan finance, is the need to have regular reviews and proofing of the conditions of the capital funding schemes such as CALF, CAS and CREL (cost rental). This is important in allowing AHBs to be able to respond to the changing market conditions including construction costs, changes to rental valuations, cost of loan finance and increased inflation as well up to date unit cost ceilings. Even a temporary fix would prevent a lag
enable the AHB sector to meet the 40 and 50 per cent
For more information contact: Donal McManus CEO, Irish Council for Social Housing E: email@example.com W: www.icsh.ie
Credit: Oleg Shatrov
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing First: The European Platform on Combatting Homelessness Director of Social Affairs in the European Commission’s DirectorateGeneral for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Katarina Ivanković Knežević, discusses the role of the new European Platform on Combatting Homelessness. Knežević points to the launch of the European Platform to Combat Homelessness, through the signing of a declaration in Lisbon in June 2021 as the beginning of concrete work at European level and evidence of the “vision and determination” to support European citizens who find themselves homeless. Signed by all 27 member states, the declaration established the platform, which is seeking to build a common understanding, at European level, of tackling homelessness, with a view to ending homelessness in the EU by 2030. “By signing the declaration, all stakeholders have committed to first of all renew their efforts in fighting homelessness by reinforcing the 60
prevention of homelessness and implementing housing-led approaches which seek to end homelessness and not simply manage it,” Knežević explains. Working under the umbrella of the platform, signatories pledged to deliver actions within their respective competences, under the objectives of: •
no one sleeps rough for lack of accessible, safe and appropriate emergency accommodation;
no one lives in emergency or transitional accommodation longer than is required for successful move-on to a permanent housing solution;
no one is discharged from any institution (e.g., prison, hospital,
care facility) without an offer of appropriate housing; •
evictions should be prevented whenever possible and no one is evicted without assistance for an appropriate housing solution, when needed; and
no one is discriminated against due to their homelessness status.
In February 2022, national ministers, representatives of the EU institutions and bodies, as well as civil society and social partners endorsed the work programme of the platform. Explaining the Commission’s role, Knežević says: “The EU will not only support member states but also local authorities and different stakeholders in combatting homelessness by allocating
funding, developing the policy guidance and by sharing the good practices that have been shown to successfully support people experiencing homelessness.”
Housing Ireland magazine
The Director of Social Affairs says that this will be supported by the collection of national data and statistics on homelessness and what she deems “the most important and impactful” aspect of the platform, support for member states to prepare integrated and holistic national housing strategies.” Stressing a consensus that a Housing First approach is the best way forward in tackling homelessness, Knežević believes that full eradication is possible by the provision of additional services to support those most vulnerable. Describing the “complex” causes of homelessness and efforts to tackle them, the Director of Social Affairs says that many are directly linked to not only European but global rising housing costs and of insufficient supply of social housing stock or of housing assistance. To this end, she says that the platform is carrying out a deep-dive review of the common challenge across all member states. Knežević points to work for the platform and for member states in addressing additional issues such as that of low income and precarious work which has led to around 10 per cent of Europeans currently spending 40 per cent of their monthly income on housing, meaning more people are being pushed towards the poverty threshold. Additional challenges include the impact of discrimination, family breakdown, long-term health problems or, something which Knežević says the EU are particularly focusing on, insufficiently prepared releases from institutional settings. She adds: “Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic placed additional pressure on people at risk of becoming homeless and especially people who were homeless at a time when the pandemic hit. I believe that the good practices that they have seen throughout by member states have shown that this issue is solvable and maybe this was an additional push for us to really start working hard on addressing homelessness.” Work by the platform is based in the European Pillar of Social Rights and its subsequent action plan, principle 19 of
which states: “People in need should be given access to good quality social housing or housing assistance. Vulnerable people have the right to adequate assistance and protection against forced eviction. Homeless people should be provided with adequate accommodation and services in order to promote their social inclusion.” “It is up to us the policymakers to put that into practice and have it reflected in adequate housing in terms of security of tenure, affordability, and habitability, but also accessibility and location when it comes to an individual person. “The pillar also promotes the reintegration of homeless people into society by means of enabling social service and that brings us back to the importance of delivering housing in parallel with those additional services.”
Social housing The Director of Social Affairs says that social housing is one of the key ingredients in any integrated strategy to combat homelessness. Explaining her understanding of social housing as the broader concept of either public, municipal, or subsidised housing of any form, she says that efficient supply of social and affordable housing is a known preventative of homelessness. Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit recently stated that ‘housing cannot be left to the market’ and Knežević says that with this in mind, she believes there is a need for a renewal of public investment
in social and affordable housing throughout the EU from both national and EU budgets. Pointing to existing programmes, such as the European Social Fund (ESF+), with an estimated spend of €100 billion between 2021 to 2027, the EU’s main financing instrument for investment in this area; financing for social and affordable housing projects which may be mobilised within the framework of the European Regional Development programme; and the InvestEU, through its social investment and skills window; as well as within the framework of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans financed through the Next Generation EU Programme, Knežević points to a “favourable context” for investments in decent and affordable housing, including the resources and instruments being mobilised for recovery and energy efficiency within the “renovation wave”. Concluding, she says that ambitions to eradicate homelessness in Europe by 2030 will not be the work or the Commission, Parliament, or Council alone and will require the collaboration of all 27 members states, their social partners and civil society stakeholders. “There are no easy solutions or shortcuts. It took our Finnish colleagues 10 years to really see the benefits of the housing first approach, but it is important that we start with a clear vision because if we try to tackle the issue in isolation, we will find ourselves on different paths.” 61
Housing Ireland magazine
2022: A defining year for housing
Droughill, County Laois.
2022 is destined to be a very busy year, not just for Oaklee Housing but for the housing sector as a whole, says Oaklee Housing CEO, Sharon Cosgrove. Advertorial
As pressure mounts for expedited delivery of new homes, the focus for Oaklee Housing remains firmly set on the key pillars as set out in the 2020-23 business strategy: to invest wisely; deliver exceptional services; and deliver new homes while at the same time working collaboratively with our stakeholders and partners. “These,” according to Cosgrove, “are the goals that will keep us on track to deliver the targets as set out within it.” With the final year of the plan promising to grow our homes in management to about 62
2,400, Cosgrove has also set some additional priorities for the year. Included amongst these is responding to the Government’s Housing for All plan. “We carried out a comprehensive review of the development function, which will result in bringing in more technical and commercial skills to ensure that our own construction activity increases in the years to come.” As Oaklee grows and the external environment changes, continually checking the organisation’s performance and structure to make sure they’re set
At the same time, with an eye on business-as-usual she, along with almost every other leader and manager across the globe, is focused on navigating through the ongoing risk that Covid-19 presents. Motivating the team to make up for the time lost due to the lengthy lockdowns and impeded work processes is an additional priority. “This year will also see us move office,” Cosgrove says, “which, because we now operate a blended home-office work practice, means we also need to reassess our workplace requirements. There is a lot to consider.” Also documented in Cosgrove’s additional list of priorities is securing borrowing to support and enable the Oaklee delivery programme and other necessary activities. This includes the on-going remediation of historical defects across Oaklee Housing’s estate of acquired properties constructed during the Celtic Tiger.
With over 2,000 homes in management, comprising 1,508 Oaklee homes, including 217 purchased as part of its innovative Acorn fund, and 534 homes delivered through Ireland’s first social housing PPP, Oaklee aims to deliver a further 159 homes during the final year of the 20-2023 strategic plan. This along with almost 390 homes in the pipeline for delivery in 2023, 2024 and beyond, will bring its total property portfolio to
Oaklee Housing CEO Sharon Cosgrove.
“Ensuring we maintain a highperforming development team that can respond to the challenges we face is critical. We recently reviewed and restructured our operations team, which was hugely beneficial as we now have an incredibly high performing team with a genuine customer-centric focus under Caroline Casserly-Farrar’s stewardship.” 2,500 by the end of 2024. As costs escalate, not only in the construction sector but across every facet of society, achieving value for money is a concern. With quality and sustainability, alongside actual cost, having increasing relevance in the purchase of goods and services, reviewing resources and contracts with a view to delivering a best practice approach to procurement is an additional priority for Oaklee this year.
“This is a particularly significant challenge and, entirely, unplanned. This is likely to be one of the most significant financial and operational challenges for some AHBs since our inception,” Cosgrove says. “Poor construction methods, sub-standard materials and a disregard for building regulations resulted in an extensive list of defects that are only now coming to light. “We,” she explains, “along with all AHBs, have a duty of care to our tenants and as such rectifying these safety related defects is an absolute necessity.”.
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up for success is a hallmark of Cosgrave’s leadership. “Ensuring we maintain a high-performing development team that can respond to the challenges we face is critical,” she explains. “We recently reviewed and restructured our operations team, which was hugely beneficial as we now have an incredibly high performing team with a genuine customer-centric focus under Caroline Casserly-Farrar’s stewardship.”
“It’s imperative in these challenging times that we deliver high quality, sustainable homes and communities at an affordable price. In doing so we must make sure that we continue to place the tenant at the heart of everything we do,” Cosgrove concludes.
Housing Ireland magazine
Cost rental at scale Delivered by Clúid Housing, the first cost rental houses in the State, at Taylor Hill in Balbriggan, County Dublin, were tenanted in 2021. Credit: Clúid Housing
Described in Housing for All as “the most radical reform of the Irish rental system in the history of the State”, cost rental housing offers an alternative model to rent rates based on profit maximisation. Now, however, the challenge for government is delivering it at scale.
Under the Government’s cost rental scheme, initial rents are set to match the cost of financing, building, managing, and maintaining homes, over a minimum period of 40 years. Increases in these rent rates will also be linked to annual inflation, “providing greater cost certainty and meaning that the initial cost rents may become even more affordable over time”.
Cost rental is targeted at households with incomes which exceed the threshold for social housing (below a net household income of €53,000) and aims to provide tenants with significantly increased security of tenure. Indeed, once a tenant has occupied a cost rental dwelling for six months, termination of their tenancy can only occur under limited conditions. The intention is that the delivery of cost rental at scale will stabilise the wider rental market.
Subsection (4) determines that “cost rental rent” means “the initial maximum rent, plus, an amount, calculated in such manner as the Minister may prescribe, to take account of any change in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices as published by the Central Statistics Office, or such other index as the Minister may prescribe, since the dwelling was designated as a cost rental dwelling”.
Through the provision of “focused funding supports”, government intends to support local authorities, AHBs, and the LDA to provide rental homes “in the order of 25 per cent below market rents”, or, in other words, at least 25 per cent below market rents.
Cost rental in Ireland was first proposed by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) in its Housing in Ireland: Performance and Policy report, published in December 2004. In that report, NESC referenced Jim Kemeny’s distinction between profit renting and cost renting.
Providing a legislative framework for cost rental homes, Part 3 of the Affordable Housing Act 2021, details: “In setting, at any particular time, the rent under a cost rental tenancy, a rent shall not be provided for that is greater than the cost rental rent for that dwelling specified in subsection (4).”
Cost renting, NESC outlined, was “a situation in which rents cover only the actual incurred costs of providing the dwelling”. In such scenarios, a maturation process occurs whereby cost rental begins to compete with profit renting and owner occupation. This materialises in falling real rents and increased waiting lists for cost rental housing.
National housing strategy Unlike Rebuilding Ireland’s ambiguous Affordable Rental Scheme, Housing for All is the first national housing strategy to include cost rental, specifically its roll out at scale as a pathway to supporting homeownership and increasing affordability. During the lifetime of Housing for All, the Government plans to deliver an average of 2,000 cost rental homes per annum with an overall target of 18,000 cost rental homes by 2030. As such, the overall average delivery ratio will be approximately one cost rental home for every two affordable purchase homes. In 2021, several cost rental projects were undertaken in Ireland, including the Enniskerry Road Project; St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8; and Shanganagh, County Dublin. However, despite a government commitment to deliver 350 cost rental homes in 2021, only 65 were delivered in full and tenanted. Of these, 40 were located at Barnhall Meadows in Leixlip, County Kildare, and the remaining 25 at Taylor Hill in Balbriggan, County Dublin. All of these were acquired by Clúid Housing. More recently, in March 2022, a joint venture pilot cost rental project between Respond and Tuath Housing bore fruit when 50 purpose-built cost rental homes at Enniskerry Road in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown were tenanted. At the time of print (June 2022), cost rental homes have now been tenanted at Barnhall Meadows, Leixlip; Taylor Hill, Balbriggan; and Enniskerry Road, Stepaside. Cost Rental projects set to be completed and tenanted in 2022 include: Kilcarbery Grange, Clondalkin; Newcastle, County Dublin; Newbridge, County Kildare; and Parklands,
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Conducive to successful social housing schemes in several European countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Finland, and the Netherlands, most famously, cost rental is utilised by the Vienna Model. Under the Vienna Model, housing associations are permitted to accrue limited profit.
In April 2022, the State’s first purpose-built cost rental homes were delivered by Respond and Tuath, in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council, at the Woodside development on the Enniskerry Road, Dublin. Credit: Respond
Citywest, County Dublin.
maintenance of the development.
Approved housing bodies
Yet, several misconceptions abound around cost rental. For instance, the Nevin Economic Research Institute has highlighted the misconception that every household pays the same rent everywhere for the same type of dwelling; and that cost rental is synonymous with social housing. Similarly, while the Vienna Model is the most renowned, there are a variety of viable cost rental models. Indeed, there are three different delivery models for cost rental in Ireland.
Delivery Over the period up to 2026, Housing for All commits to the delivery of 10,000 cost rental homes in urban centres by local authorities, approved housing bodies (AHBs), and the Land Development Agency (LDA).
Local authorities Local authorities can apply for Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) funding to cover the cost of delivering – either building or buying – cost rental homes themselves, or through a third-party on their behalf. For instance, a “flagship project” for Dublin City Council at Emmet Road (formerly St Michael’s Estate) in Inchicore, Dublin, is awaiting the submission of a planning application with An Bord Pleanála in Q3 2022. The proposed development will exceed 500 units. Of these units, 70 per cent will be cost rental (the other 30 per cent being social housing). As the land being utilised is public land, rent rates will be calculated as per the cost of construction, management, and
Through the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) mechanism, which covers up to 30 per cent of the capital costs of a development, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has approved funding for the development of around 900 cost rental homes, to be delivered in 2022 and 2023 by approved housing bodies. For example, completion of the pilot Woodside scheme at Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, County Dublin, marked the delivery of the first purpose-built cost rental homes in the State and has helped inform the financial model upon which CREL is based. Jointly delivered by Respond and Tuath AHBs, in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the land for the Woodside scheme was provided by The Housing Agency and must be utilised for cost rental homes for a minimum 70 years. In total, the scheme delivered 155 homes, including 50 two-bedroom cost rental homes which rents of approximately 40 per cent below open-market rates.
Land Development Agency As per Housing for All, the LDA is the State’s primary channel for the development of cost rental housing. The objective of the cost rental model employed by the LDA is to cap tenant expenditure on rent to approximately one-third of their net disposable income, as “a generally accepted level of housing cost affordability”. The LDA’s Project Tosaigh – a market
engagement initiative to unlock land with full planning permission that is not being developed by the private sector owners – has a target of delivering 5,000 new homes by 2026 for affordable cost rental or sale.
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Through Project Tosaigh, the LDA will provide cost rental homes ahead of the direct delivery of homes on its own sites later in the decade. For instance, it has collaborated with Dún LaoghaireRathdown County Council at Shanganagh, County Dublin. The project at Shanganagh is the largest cost rental scheme to date, and, of the 597 units planned, 306 (51 per cent) are to be delivered as cost rental dwellings. Construction on the site is due to commence in September 2022.
Budget 2022 As per the Budget 2022: Expenditure Report, with a combination of Exchequer funding, Housing Finance Agency lending, and LDA investment funding, housing capital funding in 2022 totals over €4 billion. Delivery of cost rental homes are intended to be delivered via several funding streams. A total of €75 million is being allocated to the development of 750 cost rental homes in 2022. Of this figure, 700 are to be delivered by AHBs via €70 million provided by the Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) mechanism. Covering up to 30 per cent of capital costs of a housing development, CREL is administered by The Housing Agency, on behalf of DHLGH. Responsibility for the additional 50 homes rests with the local authorities which will directly deliver them with support via €5 million provided by the Affordable Housing Fund (previously known as the Serviced Site Fund). Meanwhile, it is anticipated that LDA investment will underpin the delivery of over 1,000 cost rental and affordable purchases homes.
However, in its Alternative Housing Budget 2022, Sinn Féin proposed the delivery of “4,000 affordable cost rental homes”, double the Housing for All figures, at a cost of €300 million during the year. This equates to €75,000 per unit, with the “remainder covered by loans from [the Housing Finance Agency], [and the European Investment Bank]”. Dependent on household size and income, these homes, Sinn Féin asserted, would be available to rent for between €700 and €900 per month. 66
Clúid Housing’s cost rental homes at Barnhall Meadows, Leixlip, County Kildare were launched in October 2021. Credit: Clúid Housing
Latest discourse Moving a private members’ motion on rising rental costs in May 2022, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin TD asserted: “There has been a failure to deliver cost rental over the last three years with zero in the first year, 65 last year and possibly 700 this year depending on the numbers. It is nowhere close to the thousands that are required. “Crucially, we need at least 4,000 cost rental tenancies annually. For decades, housing policy experts and advisers to Government have been saying we need cost rental on scale. The Minister is not even going to reach that scale at the end of 2026 because he is only targeting 2,000 units by then, which is nowhere close to enough.” In response, Minister O’Brien maintained: “We have delivered cost rental from a slow start. It did not exist and was not here, but we legislated for it, which Sinn Féin supported. There are now tenants in place paying 50 per cent below the market rent in many places. We will deliver hundreds more such units this year. “We have to build capacity in the construction sector to deliver the homes we need… The roll-out of cost rental is
happening and will continue. We have funded more than 900 new tenancies for this year and, if we can do more, we will because resources are not an issue.”
Affordability With cost rental, logic dictates that where construction, management, and maintenance costs are low, rents will also be low. Therefore, the inverse is also true. Where cost rental homes are expensive to construct, manage, and maintain, they will have higher rents. As a result, while some rent rates are considerably cheaper than the market rent, at a minimum they must be 25 per cent below market rent. As such, the Government’s attempts to deliver affordable cost rental are being undermined by inflationary pressures and labour constraints in the construction sector. Consequently, rent rates for the cost rental projects in Clondalkin and City West, Dublin are set at €1,000 per month for one-bed apartments, €1,200 for two-bed apartments, €1,300 for two-bed duplexes. While this may mirror construction cost, it limits the discount that can be afforded to tenants. Ultimately, the result is that cost rental homes remain unaffordable for many middle-income earners.
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Town Centre First: Varying supply The development of ‘own door’ housing solutions in Ireland’s towns centres to address the demands of an ageing population is being planned as part of a multi-billion-euro investment to tackle vacancy and combat dereliction. The percentage of the State’s population aged 65 or over is expected to dramatically increase from 14 per cent in 2019 to 26 per cent in 2051 and there is a recognition that amidst Ireland’s housing supply crisis, the enabling over older people to ‘rightsize’ their dwellings must be part of the solution in addressing demand. In February 2022, the Government launched its first ever Town Centre First policy, within which it details support for development proposals “of varying character, scale and density” to facilitate the provision of a mixed supply of private, affordable, and social housing within towns. Within the wide-ranging policy, which contains some 33 unique actions to give towns the tools and resources to become more viable and attractive places to live, work and visit, the Government acknowledges not only the underutilisation of many parts of the State’s town centres but also the existence of a limited variety of housing types. “There are opportunities for infill development on sites which are underutilised, including large areas to the rear of existing buildings which is generally referred to as ‘back-land’ development,” it states, highlighting that new innovative housing models may enable more compact and adaptable forms of “own-door” housing to cater for a greater range of household types within the town centres. “Developing urban centres that are ‘place’ focused with an appropriate mix of housing types will become increasingly important as the demography of Ireland changes,” it explains.
“There is an opportunity for older people to choose housing that is centrally located within our towns and appropriate to their needs. This can help them to enjoy more active, healthy, and socially connected lives and to age independently and comfortably within their communites.” It adds: “This will help people to choose the most suitable home to meet their needs and enable them to ‘rightsize’ as they move through different stages of their lives.” The Town Centre First policy requires the delver of a tailored Town Centre First plan for each unique town, underpinned by a clear diagnosis of local strengths and challenges, which will be supported by newly appointed town regeneration officers and technical expertise within each local authority. Implementation will be supported by funds such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. As well as being underpinned by the National Planning Framework and Our Rural Future, the vision to develop thriving Irish towns, Housing for All also strongly supports the greater re-use and refurbishment of existing buildings as a policy objective. Housing for All sets out the housing growth requirement each year over the next decade to move from 24,600 in 2022 to over 40,500 by 2030 and sets out specific pathways to address vacancy and efficient use of existing housing stock, reflecting the Town Centre First concept. 67
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Relief in sight for contractors on public sector projects?
In May 2022, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) introduced a new Inflation/Supply Chain Delay Co-operation Framework to provide some relief to contractors experiencing increasing pressure due to sustained high levels of inflation and delays due to a shortage of raw materials, writes Angelyn Rowan, partner at Philip Lee.
The Framework, which must be voluntarily agreed to by both the contractor and the employer, acts as a side agreement to the standard unamended form of contract for public works under the Capital Works Management Framework and can see relief being granted to the contractor involving the employer contributing up to 70 per cent of the increased cost of materials, fuel, and energy, and allowing the contractor to avoid the application of liquidated damages through an ‘ex gratia extension of time’. The level of relief that a contractor can avail of depends on the version of the public works contract that was used for the project and the date of the contract.
The January 2022 contract Throughout 2021, the construction industry saw steady inflation in the price of raw materials as mandatory lockdowns around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic shut down manufacturing plants and factories, reducing the supply of materials such as steel and timber. When Government restrictions were eventually lifted, a backlog of projects that had been delayed due to the pandemic resulted in a rush of demand for construction materials that couldn’t be met by supply. The effects of Brexit compounded these problems as contractors were faced with
price increases, shipping delays, and additional red tape. While contractors can generally expect price increases of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent over a 12-month period (and this is usually priced into their tenders), the rate of inflation for the construction industry was reportedly over 13 per cent in 2021. To combat this, in January 2022 the OGP introduced a new version of the public works contract with updated price-variation clauses that provide for a far greater contribution from the employer where the contractor experiences hyper-inflation during the fixed-price period. Contractors using the January 2022 contract are entitled to
recoup any additional costs for materials, fuel, or energy inflation during the fixed-price period over 15 per cent (previously 50 per cent). In addition, the fixed-price period was reduced from 30 months to 24 months, after which a contractor can reclaim additional costs for inflation over 10 per cent.
Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon, aired these concerns in March 2022, commenting: “There is a necessity for a fair, simple price inflation mechanism to balance the risk for both the State and the contractor.”
The war in Ukraine Soon after the introduction of the January 2022 contract, it became apparent that the materials shortage and resulting inflation would be aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Ukraine is one of Europe’s top producers of uranium, titanium, manganese, iron and mercury ores and Russia, which is now the subject of strict importation/exportation sanctions, controls around 10 per cent of global copper reserves and is a major producer of nickel and platinum. Certain materials were more affected than others with rough timber costing 64 per cent more in March 2022 than it did 12 months previously, plaster costing 33 per cent more, and steel and reinforcing metal costing 27 per cent more, according to RTÉ. For the many contractors operating under older versions of the public works contract, the onerous obligations of the fixed-price model were proving unsustainable. In March 2022, one of Ireland’s largest contractors, Roadbridge Limited, entered receivership. In a survey conducted by the CIF in April 2022, it was found that nine out of 10 construction companies were unwilling to take on fixed price contracts. With 91 per cent also expecting a further increase in the cost Note 1: Only available where PV1 applies in the contract
Form of PWC is dated
7th January 2022 (“Category 1 projects”)
Prior to 7th January 2022 (“Category 2 projects”)
Ex Gratia Measure Supply Chain Delay
Material Price Inflation
Fuel Price Inflation
Energy Price Inflation
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The main issue with this measure was that it did not apply retrospectively; it had no effect on contracts entered into prior to January 2022. Thus, this was of no benefit to projects that were already underway. The January 2022 contract only applied when the contractor’s tender for a project was submitted on or after 18 January 2022.
Ex Gratia Measures Available under Agreement by Project Category
Source: Guidance Note: Inflation/Supply Chain Delay Co-Operation Framework Agreement
of materials, it was clear that government intervention was needed.
The Framework On 20 May 2022, the OGP published the Framework, along with a guidance note explaining how the Framework operates. The Framework envisions the contractor and employer discussing the actual impact of inflation and agreeing a percentage contribution (up to a maximum of 70 per cent) that the employer will make towards inflation costs on an ex gratia basis. For contracts dated on or after 7 January 2022 this will be confined to the recovery of energy/fuel price inflation only. The Framework also allows for the liquidated damages for delay being applied, if the contractor can show that supply chain delays caused by the war in Ukraine or Covid-19 have actually delayed the completion of the project. No ex gratia extension of time will be granted, however, if the delay was the contractor’s fault or could have been reasonably overcome or avoided. To recognise the fact that these issues have been affecting the industry for a prolonged period of time, relief granted under the Framework to address inflation costs or delays experienced can be assessed from 1 January 2022 onwards. Commenting on the publication of The Framework, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath said: “We have developed a comprehensive and agile response to the risk posed by exceptional levels of inflation and supply disruptions that create a challenging and uncertain environment for project delivery… It will facilitate engagement and a speedy determination of the impacts of
exceptional inflation and supply chain disruption.” The Framework was welcomed as a “positive step” by the CIF, but it said that it does not go far enough. Given the extended period of disruption, Tom Parlon expressed his disappointment that the measures only apply from 1 January 2022 onward. He also called for “more collaborative contracts, which manage risk in a more balanced and sustainable way”. It is not clear at this juncture what level of uptake the Framework will receive. Any ex gratia payments made under the Framework must be made out of the contracting authority’s own budget – there is no additional Exchequer funding being made available. As contracting authorities must freely sign up to the Framework, some may have already allocated budgets for the year and be unwilling to revise these allocations. The OGP have taken steps to allow contracting authorities to share the burden of the volatile state of the current market. To what extent contracting authorities will avail of that opportunity remains to be seen. Detailed guidance, template workbooks, video tutorials and a worked example are available at constructionprocurement.gov.ie The author wishes to acknowledge the contribution of Cilian Macnamara to the preparation of this article
Angelyn Rowan E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +353 1 237 3700 W: www.philiplee.ie
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The decarbonisation challenge: A UK perspective The decarbonisation agenda poses an existential challenge to housing associations but also presents a huge collaborative opportunity, argues Gary Orr, the Chief Executive of Abri Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations. Orr, the head of a large housing association operating primarily in the south of England with over 40,000 homes and a £250 million annual turnover, believes that the housing sector is facing an existential threat in its ambitions to decarbonise. Offering some lessons from England to delegates at the 2022 Housing Conference, the Northern Ireland-born Chief Executive points to estimations that housing associations in England face a bill of some £35 billion to
decarbonise their existing stock of some five million homes. Without major collaboration and efficiencies, “material and significant strains” may place significant strains on the long-term viability of some housing associations, a Westminster select committee was recently told by a body representing small and medium housing associations. Orr explains his own organisation’s approach which has not only included bringing subject matter expertise into
the boardroom, but also training and recruiting staff to act as climate champions.
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Analysis of the challenge ahead has not only produced a better understanding of where emissions exist in the organisation (97 per cent located in homes, waste, purchased goods and services and embodied carbon in new development) but also indicated the need to bring an additional £20,000 per home into their business plan between now and 2050 to bring all existing homes to a net zero standard. As Orr explains, Abri have adopted a fabric-first approach: “Our view is that while there are very credible technologies emerging, the market is insufficiently developed and so our focus has been on driving up EPC ratings. Putting sophisticated technology in an uninsulated home is folly.” Orr explains that such an approach also brought with it a fundamental decision which is likely to be faced by all social housing providers. “Stock condition is critical because what we found was that there is a rising level of disposals into the private market, as a result of the retrofit analysis. Some of the architypes were deemed no longer economically viable and the question posed is how does the removal of stock deemed no longer ‘economically viable’ balance against the expense of removing a ‘viable social’ housing asset within that community. These are big decisions social housing providers will face.” Analysis also revealed that alongside emissions of 40 per cent in existing homes, 20 per cent in goods and services and 10 per cent in waste, 30 per cent of Abri’s emissions occurred in their development activity. Recent data suggests that 29 homes can be built through modern methods of construction (MMC) at the same emission rates as one traditionally built house. Orr urges faster movement into the MMC market, highlighting that his own organisation have committed to accelerate beyond current levels of a 25 per cent MMC minimum in their current development programme of around 1,200 homes per year.
However, it is in the area of collaboration where Orr believes housing associations in England and across the devolved regions can have the greatest impact. The Chief Executive highlights that Abri are part of a Great Britain-wide collaboration with four other partner housing associations. Representing around 300,000 homes and a variety of architypes in the UK, the collaboration provides a unified voice in not only lobbying government to prioritise the subject matter of home decarbonisation but also demonstrating the viability of decarbonisation solutions. While the group have had success in shaping and attaining government support towards the decarbonisation of their stock, Orr is very aware that housing associations must proactively look beyond government funding which will be insufficient to fund the estimated £36 billion bill for five million social homes in England. The Chief Executive highlights that this £36 billion cost sits within a wider £350 billion potential cost of the decarbonisation of the wider residential market. “We as an alliance are very interested in
the ability to take greater control and drive a market for which we are expected to be at the forefront of. Our research indicates that government will need to create 250,000 new, highskilled jobs to decarbonise the nation’s housing stock. If housing is to be the catalyst for those jobs, why should we wait for the private sector to take control of that market when we have the opportunity to think creatively and deliver programmes to decarbonise a locality in its entirety? “Why can’t we as housing providers lead the solutions and drive those employment and training opportunities, where we own the narrative, creating resilient organisations that continue to build and maintain homes while investing in our communities?” Orr concludes: “By firstly achieving an internal understanding of the decarbonisation challenge, housing associations can get ahead of their own new build programmes. However, the next step must be that building alliances with peers, firstly allowing you to lobby and work with government but also potentially shaping the market to the best of your ability.”
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Ireland’s housing conundrum Ireland’s commendable humanitarian effort to house upwards of 200,000 Ukrainian refugees has starkly highlighted the very severe imbalances that still exist between supply and demand in the Irish housing market, writes Marie Hunt, Executive Director of CBRE Ireland.
While the current administration last year launched their ambitious 10-year Housing for All plan and are making progress with delivery of the various objectives within this comprehensive plan, the reality is that demand continues to significantly outstrip supply across all types and tenures of housing, a fact that has become even more apparent since discussions about housing refugees has come under the spotlight.
There are severe shortages of both public and private sector housing both for sale and to rent and the situation is particularly acute in major cities. Increasing supply of all types and tenures of housing is really the only answer to improving this situation. Encouragingly there has been a notable increase in building commencements over the last 12-month period but the construction sector will struggle to increase capacity to the sort of levels required to make a meaningful difference in the short term, particularly if the cost of construction continues to prove prohibitive. Under the Housing for All plan, the
Government aims to deliver 34,000 housing units per annum, but we have consistently missed this target in each year of the last decade, stymied in 2020 and 2021 by the Covid-19 pandemic which stalled all but ‘essential’ construction. With build cost inflation now at extremely high levels and many housing schemes stalled in the lengthy
planning process, the likelihood is that some schemes that were due for delivery in 2022, 2023 and 2024 may now be delayed, making it difficult to significantly exceed the delivery of 20,000 units per annum despite the best efforts of the construction industry. Importing additional labour to increase capacity in the construction
Actual Housing Delivery vs Targets 2011 - 2021
Social Housing Delivery 2016 - 2021
While most focus is on the shortfall between the Government’s 34,000 annual target and the total volume of housing actually delivered each year, the starkness of the situation is particularly acute when considered cumulatively over a longer time horizon. In fact, the cumulative shortfall of houses not delivered since 2011 is now over 240,000 housing units, which would go a long way towards meeting the needs of the those looking to secure mortgages and purchase homes or in addressing the exceptionally high social housing lists within every local authority in the country.
In total, more than 148,000 social housing applicants were removed from local authority housing lists in the Irish market between 2016 and 2021, which is commendable. However, more than 63 per cent of this was achieved by moving applicant onto the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme with less than 20 per cent emanating from the development of new housing by local authorities or approved housing bodies. Only 5 per cent were accommodated by way of local authorities or approved housing bodies entering long-term leases with investors despite strong demand from investors to deliver accommodation under this
Developers are currently making genuine efforts to ramp up housing delivery by a variety of means but it is unrealistic to believe that we can reach output of 34,000 units per annum whilst simultaneously addressing the backlog of the last decade, rolling out a national retrofit programme and remedying all of the Mica-affected homes on the west coast without collaboration between both the public and private sector and without the assistance of overseas capital. Increasing HAP payments will do little to alleviate the critical issue which is a lack of supply of housing units. It is clear that a number of other measures in addition to increasing the delivery of new accommodation will be required to increase supply including the timely adaptation of vacant and underutilised properties across the State. Recent analysis undertaken by ULI Ireland on Adaptive Reuse succinctly identified the plethora of issues hindering adaption and utilisation of the thousands of vacant buildings across the State and has set out clear recommendations on how these obstacles might be overcome. The arrival of Ukrainian refugees to Ireland over recent months has refocused minds. We need to use this as an opportunity to look for meaningful solutions that can be implemented quickly and leave no stone unturned to address Ireland’s housing conundrum for once and for all.
Although there are more than 60,000 households on social housing waiting lists, of which approximately 14,000 are in the Dublin region, only 5,142 new build social homes were delivered in the entire country in 2021, which is disappointing considering that the target was 9,500. Although government aspires to a situation where the bulk of new housing is delivered by the public
sector, only approximately 20 per cent of the social homes delivered last year were provided by local authorities or approved housing bodies. This clearly points to the need to come up with a sensible solution to reduce bureaucracy and empower these bodies to increase delivery as well as coming up with a solution to facilitate long-term leasing in some form and capitalise on the strong investor demand to deploy capital into social housing delivery.
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sector isn’t the answer either considering that this migrant labour will also need to be housed.
mechanism. While many dislike this form of delivery on the basis that the asset doesn’t revert to the State at the end of the term of the lease, surely this particular aspect of the current regime could be revisited to devise a mechanism that delivers for both the State and the investor?
E: email@example.com W: www.cbre.com
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The Housing Supply Strategy for Northern Ireland A 15-year plan to deliver over 100,000 homes, including over 33,000 social homes, and address supply-related pressures in Northern Ireland has been further delayed, with no new timeline for publication. Initially disrupted due to Covid-19, the delivery of a longterm framework aimed at delivering transformative change to tackle rising levels of homelessness and those in housing stress in Northern Ireland was initially planned for publication in March 2022, but the Department for Communities has now said that the absence of a functioning Executive or agreed budget means “options are under consideration”. With preparatory work having begun in 2019, a draft Housing Supply Strategy has concluded consultation and a final strategy is awaiting ministerial sign off. However, drafted on the assumption that the Northern Ireland Executive would publish a multi-year budget, questions have been raised over whether the ambitions of the strategy will be properly funded, in the absence of an agreed budget. The draft Housing Supply Strategy sets out a vision that “everybody has access to a good quality, affordable and sustainable home that is appropriate for their needs and is located within a thriving and inclusive community”, acknowledging that the adoption of a whole-system approach can ensure inclusive transformation of supply. While looking out over a 15-year period to 2037, the Department for Communities has said that it plans for a series of enabling action plans over one- to three-year periods. Rising levels of homelessness, coupled with a social housing waiting list in excess of 45,000, the vast majority of which are in housing stress, has been compounded by inflationary pressures on supply, rising rents and an acknowledgement
that current housing stock is not reflective of the changing needs of the population. Long-standing and underpinning themes in the current housing supply challenge include rising demand in response to population change and the growth in the number of households; a decline in home ownership linked to a significant increase in private renting and a widening gap between new housing demand and the annual rate of construction. While Northern Ireland’s housing stock has increased over the past two decades to over 814,000 homes, an annual rate of growth of 6,200 homes is significantly lower than prefinancial crash levels of 11,500. Projections show a growing and ageing population, meaning levels of housing construction not only need to increase but must meet changing demand. The draft Housing Supply Strategy is centred on five key objectives:
1. Creating affordable options While working to better understand existing stock and demand changes, the Department says it will increase in supply across all tenures and establish “new intermediate products” to provide alternative options outside of what is currently available. Long-term interventions include addressing infrastructure constraints, land availability and skills gaps, while also optimising public and private finance. In the short term, the Department says it will ring-fence
Increasing housing stress and numbers accepted as homeless, 2002/03-2019/20 Number of applicants in Housing Stress as at 31 March each year and the number of Homeless acceptances each year 30,000
Housing Ireland magazine
Applicants in housing stress
Source: Department for Communities (DfC): Housing Statistics.
housing association grant funding to enable more social houses to be built, progress Housing Executive revitalisation, undertake an assessment of housing association powers and extend the scope of the current land registry for the public sector.
2. Prevention and intervention On preventing homelessness, the Department acknowledges that delivery of new supply will go some way to addressing the demand of those most in need, however the draft strategy also outlines an ambition to progress a holistic approach to housing provision, recognising the importance of wraparound and support provision. Alongside the ongoing work of the Housing Executive, the Department has indicated the desire to bring forward an interdepartmental Homelessness Action Plan and implement the 18 recommendations of the Review of the Common Selection Scheme, which looked at the current social housing allocations system.
3. Quality Northern Ireland’s existing housing stock, particularly the private rented sector, faces issues in relation to quality and it is acknowledged that the fitness standard in Northern Ireland is now lower than neighbouring jurisdictions. While in itself a significant challenge, the need to decarbonise the housing stock offers an opportunity to ensure buildings are fit for the future. The Department has pledged to undertake a comprehensive review of fitness standards applicable for all tenures and suggests the potential creation of a new Homes Ombudsman with scope to assess improved building regulation standards and new home safety.
4. Better places Local council led community plans and their local development plans, are set to guide the housing design and provision. The Strategy recognises the need not just to build new homes and to protect existing supply but also to build and maintain the inclusive and cohesive places in which homes are located, while also acknowledging “the wider social and economic impacts and consequences of the segregation of housing here… and the benefits of creating more shared housing areas”. Continuation of progress and support of the Shared Housing programme is outlined by the Department, as is further research on new approaches to place-making.
5. Decarbonisation Alongside a range of other measures linked in to crossgovernment, climate focuses strategies, the Department says it plans to work with social and intermediate housing providers to ensure new build homes are net zero carbon by 2026/27. Challengingly, delivery of the strategy’s objectives is based on a number of assumptions that the Executive will act to address significant barriers including the current infrastructure investment gap, planning reform and providing necessary funding for decarbonisation. Whether the strategy, when delivered, will be successful will rely heavily on not only solving the current political impasses but also ensuring that adequate funding is made available to address the range of challenges facing housing supply. The Department says that the Housing Supply Strategy will be delivered through a series of detailed action plans, each of which will align with budget periods.
Housing Ireland magazine
CHI’s priority is to ensure the warmth and wellbeing of members
CHI’s Head of Asset Management and Property Services, David McCourt.
Head of Asset Management and Property Services, David McCourt, discusses how Cooperative Housing Ireland (CHI) has committed to a series of deep retrofit energy upgrades on the homes of its members to improve quality of life, extend the lifespan of housing and contribute to national plans to reduce long-term dependency on fossil fuels. In recent years, it has become apparent that there is a need to drastically decrease our use of fossil fuels. The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 outlines actionable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51 per cent by 2030 with the aim of eventually reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Retrofitting homes and buildings is a key element of the plan and reaching these targets. 76
CHI retrofitted 140 homes in 2021 and will deliver an additional 216 retrofits over the next couple of years in its Improving Warmth and Wellbeing programme. “As an Approved Housing Body, our primary responsibility is to our members, so the biggest benefit we get from retrofitting our houses is ensuring their warmth and wellbeing, which also benefits them in terms of their reducing
their cost of living,” McCourt says. He continues, “The second benefit from an asset management perspective is that we are futureproofing and protecting stock. We are protecting the asset from damp, water ingress, and we are improving the structure.
Upgrading the energy efficiency of CHI homes by insulating walls and attics, installing new windows and doors, and fitting new air-to-water heat pumps alleviates some of the pressure on those at risk of energy poverty by providing reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable ways of keeping their home warm, damp free, and with a constant supply of hot water. In the current environmental, economic, and social climate, retrofitting is not without its challenges, despite increased financial support from bodies such as SEAI and SSE Airtricity, supply chain issues, availability, and prices of raw materials, and demands for labour in the retrofitting sector all pose significant difficulties. McCourt explains further: “To date, most of the emphasis in the construction sector has been in the delivery of new, high efficiency and NZEB (nearly zero energy building) homes and not on retrofit. The capacity of the sector to scale up to meet the demand and these targets will be critical. The National Climate Action Plan has called for 500,000 retrofits to be completed by 2030.
(L-R): Director National Retrofit, SEAI, Ciarán Byrne, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, CHI’s Head of Asset Management and Property Services, David McCourt, and CHI Member and artist Jennifer Loughran. Minister Ryan was presented with a painting by Ms Loughran to celebrate the end of phase one of Co-operative Housing Ireland’s ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing’ programme. Pictured Wednesday 11th May 2022, Conor Healy, Picture It.
CHI manages close to 4,000 homes across the country, so it is imperative that homes most at need of energy upgrades are identified. McCourt discloses the process by which homes are deemed to meet eligible criteria for retrofitting: “The Asset Management Team identify properties to retrofit by looking at the worst performing buildings in terms of energy ratings. To do this we look at the property’s current Building Energy Rating (BER). A BER certificate rates the property’s energy performance on a scale between A and G. “A-rated homes are the most energy efficient while G-rated are the least energy efficient. The Improving Warmth and Wellbeing Project aims to bring properties up to a minimum of BER B2. In South Earl Street several properties had a BER rating of E, which is quite low, and we were looking to bring them up to a minimum B2 and in nearly every instance exceeded this target rating. This results in a massive increase in energy efficiency, reduction in the amount of heat loss that those buildings experience and increased savings in terms of expenditure on heating for our members.” One-stop shops are crucial players in helping approved housing bodies to meet retrofitting goals in a timely and professional manner. McCourt continues: “To deliver these deep energy retrofit upgrades, CHI engaged a project management team, Kingdom
Installations, who have been our partner on previous Deep Retrofit Projects. Kingdom Installations are mandated by SEAI as a one-stop shop for the delivery of retrofit projects. “The first step for Kingdom is to verify the current BER rating of the property. Using software, they then model the improvement in energy rating based on the type of measure that they propose to deliver, like pumping the cavity with insulation, installing a heat pump, installing high output radiators, and insulating the ceiling. The target is always to get the property up to a BER rating of B2. Once the modelling is complete an estimate of the cost of the upgrade can be generated.” With the current grants available from the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) under the National Home Retrofit Scheme, CHI can generally expect to receive up to 50 per cent funding for a project in addition to around 10 per cent from SSE Airtricity. The remainder is paid by the organisation. The work undertaken on these homes greatly reduces the cost of maintenance on the households for the short and long-term.
“At the minute there are not many specialists in the market focusing on retrofits and this lack of capacity makes it difficult to scale up the delivery of these type of projects. The biggest challenge for all approved housing bodies and landlords over the next couple of years, is delivering retrofit targets with limited specialist capacity. When coupled with the volatile construction market, Brexit, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the availability of raw materials, this lack of specialist labour is putting pressure on the sector.”
Housing Ireland magazine
“Since the beginning of 2022, 52 homes have been upgraded in South Earl Street and Seán MacDermott Street, both in Dublin city centre. It is planned that CHI commences phase two of the project in the second half of the year, which aims to upgrade an additional 50 plus homes by December.”
For more information: T: 01 661 2877 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.cooperativehousing.ie Twitter: @coophousingie 77
€2.7 billion mica redress scheme approved The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has had his €2.7 billion mica redress scheme approved by Cabinet, extending the scope of the redress to
Housing Ireland magazine
homes in Clare and Limerick, but campaigners have decried the scheme’s exclusion of further deleterious materials and the foundations of affected houses. The general scheme of the remediation of Dwellings Damaged by Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022, which includes a potential 100 per cent grant to redress damage done by the mica minerals found in building blocks in homes throughout the country, was published in June 2022. The grant will be subject to a €420,000 cap and to a second cap of €145-161 per square foot. The mica mineral has the ability to absorb water, which in turn causes blocks to crumble and has wrought havoc across Ireland, particularly in counties Donegal and Mayo, affecting an estimated total of over 7,000 homes. The scheme does not cover the defective mineral pyrrhotite, an issue that campaigners have raised, along
with complaints that the 2017 recommendations of the expert panel that reported to the Government have not been followed, including a call for further research and testing to determine whether or not other deleterious minerals are present in the blocks. In response, Minister O’Brien said that work is ongoing with Engineers Ireland to investigate an issue with pyrite and that if issues of this nature are identified the scheme will be amended. With the extension of the scheme to counties Clare and Limerick, O’Brien said that the scheme will take “a number of years” to complete: “All 7,000 homes obviously won’t be done in one year. This will take a number of years to get this work done. We'll
manage through The Housing Agency with the use of other properties as well.” Further criticism from campaign groups has arisen from the scheme’s exclusion of the foundations of the affected homes, with felled houses set to be rebuilt on foundations that have not themselves been tested for the presence of mica or other deleterious minerals. Inflationary pressures have also been central to criticisms of the scheme, with Mica Action Group spokesperson Michael Doherty calling for the cap to be increased to €460,000. “We want our homes back but don't see why we should be out tens of thousands [of euro] in order to make that happen. We want to make sure the job is done right,” he said.
Addressing vacancy through compulsory purchase orders
Despite high housing need, many Irish cities, towns, and villages contain vacant buildings, which, if brought back into use, could provide homes and breathe life back into communities. Pathway 4 of Housing for All outlines several schemes and proposals to address vacancy such as the Town Centre First policy and the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) fund.
Local authority-led compulsory purchase order scheme Pathway 4 also provides for the introduction of a new local authority-led programme for the compulsory acquisition of vacant properties. This sets local authorities the objective of acquiring at least 2,500 vacant units by 2026 and presenting them to the market for onward sale.
The role of the Housing Agency To support this compulsory purchase order (CPO) programme, The Housing
Agency has established a central advisory service to provide local authorities with support and step-by-step guidance in compulsorily acquiring vacant properties.
and reform of compulsory purchase order law. Further guidance relating to the resale of compulsorily acquired properties will be developed in due course.
In addition, The Housing Agency has developed a CPO guidance document for local authorities. This contains downloadable CPO process templates, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a summary of the legislation.
As the CPO programme evolves, The Housing Agency will provide support and build confidence and knowledge among vacant homes officers (VHOs) within local authorities.
As well as providing an advisory service, The Housing Agency offers: •
an information gathering service relating to title searches;
assistance with the location of properties;
negotiation on third party charges; and
assistance with the population of documents.
Housing for All proposes that properties compulsorily acquired will be sold on the open market for residential purposes. The Law Reform Commission is continuing to progress the consolidation
Housing Ireland magazine
Addressing vacancy and combating dereliction is essential to ensure the vibrancy and viability of Irish towns and cities and is a key component of the Government’s housing plan, Housing for All, writes Lisa Ledwidge, Senior Staff Officer at The Housing Agency.
The Housing Agency has already set up the Vacant Homes Officers’ Network. At regular meetings attendees hear from legal and property experts and have the opportunity to exchange experiences and showcase examples of good practice. As the CPO programme develops, The Housing Agency looks forward to supporting its continued implementation.
Lisa Ledwidge is a Senior Staff Officer in The Housing Agency where she is responsible for the Property Optimisation Unit (POU) within local authority services which includes advice and support on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s), Repair and Lease and Buy and Renew schemes.
E: email@example.com W: www.housingagency.ie
Housing Ireland magazine
Social housing delivery While 23,000 households had their housing needs met in 2021, that figure was 5,500 fewer than the Government’s target of 28,500 households outlined when Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD set out the €3.1 billion housing 2021 budget for his department in October 2020. Meanwhile, Housing for All commits to the delivery of around 10,000 social homes each year over the period from 2022 to (and including) 2030, including 9,500 new-build social homes, delivered by local authorities and AHBs, on average over the next five years to 2026.
New build social housing completions 2021 Q1
Source: Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Status of schemes Q4 2018
Stage 1 Capital appraisal
Stage 2 Preplanning
Stage 3 Pretender design
Stage 4 Tender report or final turnkey/CA LF approval
Housing Ireland magazine
*Includes schemes being delivered in phases Source: Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
59,247 households qualified for housing support (as of 17 November 2021) Of the national total, Dublin (Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, and South Dublin) accounted for
The number of households living with parents, relatives, and friends increased by
2% to 21,552
2021 when compared with 2020
Social housing delivery A total of 9,183 new social homes were delivered in targeted acquisition, and long-term leasing
2021 through build,
While this represented a 17% increase on 2020 figures, it was 3,567 or 28% fewer than the Government’s commitment to deliver 12,750 social homes in
2021 5,202 were new build homes While this represented a 2.6% increase on 2020 figures, it was 4,298 or 45% fewer than the Government’s target of 9,500 new build social homes 1,270 new social homes were acquisitions, and 2,711 were delivered via Of the new social homes delivered,
leasing programmes Source: Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Housing For All in a boiling pot market Housing Ireland magazine
authority acquisitions amounted to 833 of the total units delivered in 2020.1 These statistics demonstrate how the delivery of new homes is being used as the main weapon to address the housing shortage despite the apparent abundance of vacant units throughout the country, which for one reason or another are being overlooked.
Soaring costs The coronavirus pandemic significantly rocked global supply chains and disturbances are still felt by many industries, with the construction sector being no exception. Rising material prices had already been driving up construction prices throughout 2021. The war in Ukraine and soaring energy costs have only exacerbated matters. Joanna Bannon, Senior Associate and Paddy Smyth, Partner, Real Estate.
Amidst an already strained housing market, a flurry of external punches to global supply chains in the shape of the coronavirus pandemic
followed by the war in Ukraine has seen
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage released figures in 2021 which showed that the average construction cost of a twobedroom apartment is €230,300 when developed directly by local councils. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland puts the cost of the same unit constructed by the private sector at between €219,000 at €262,000. The “soft costs” are not as high for local authorities; land acquisition, development finance and developer’s profit margins often represent the main differential between the cost of the privately and publicly built units. Could, or should, these advantages lead to a re-emergence of council build developments?
construction costs spiral, threatening the viability of housing throughout Ireland, write Joanna
Bannon and Paddy Smyth of Fieldfisher LLP. New homes overview
homes built in comparison to 2020.
At a national level, the focus in the supply of housing is centred on the construction of new homes. Notwithstanding the mounting challenges in recent years, there has been some significant headway throughout 2020 and 2021. According to reports from Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien TD, despite pandemic related construction shutdowns in Q1 and Q2 of 2021, there were approximately 1,300 more new
It remains the case that the majority of newly built social housing stock is provided through self-construction projects managed by the local authorities, approved housing bodies and acquisitions pursuant to the Part V provisions. The figures published by the Housing Agency in relation to supply sources indicate that in 2021 out of 25,000 units delivered for social housing purposes, just 2,230 were local authority completions and 742 were delivered as a result of Part V acquisitions. Local
1. See generally, https://www.housingagency.ie/data-hub/social-housing-supply 82
In addition, the European Central Bank looks likely to increase interest rates to combat inflation which may provide another pressure point for developers of financed developments.
Where to now for Housing for All? Will the ambitious Housing for All plan be threatened by the increasing costs of
While there has been little mention of the current developments between private developers, local authorities, and approved housing bodies, it certainly raises the question as to how the exceptional increase in energy and building material price will impact new projects which have been tendered and/or contracted but now face significant feasibility challenges. Housing Ireland magazine
projects which have been tendered and/or contracted but now face significant feasibility challenges. As far as construction contracts are concerned, employers will seek to ensure that the cost of the projects remains in line with the target costs. In practice, however, the contractors will struggle to fix the price of the materials for the duration of the project given delays between a tender issuing and the commencement of construction.
Conclusion The issue of inflation raises many challenges for local authorities and approved housing bodies who are the main stakeholders in the planned delivery of the affordable homes programme. With the affordable housing and First Home Scheme applications due to commence in July 2022, the local authorities will come under pressure to deliver the projected stock. The Inflation Co-operation Framework will be a welcomed development to address the issue of inflation and one that can keep the Housing for All plan on track. construction and building materials globally?
While there has been little mention of the current developments between private developers, local authorities, and approved housing bodies, it certainly raises the question as to how the exceptional increase in energy and building material price will impact new
Joanna Bannon T: 01 828 0684 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.fieldfisher.com/enie/people/joanna-bannon
On 10 May 2022, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD announced measures to combat inflationary pressures on public works contracts. In the interest of safeguarding public projects already underway, and to mitigate the significant losses being sustained by contractors, Minister McGrath announced the Inflation Co-operation Framework for parties engaged under public works contracts. The framework will facilitate parties to engage with one another within the scope of addressing the impacts of exceptional inflation and supply chain disruptions. The framework
recognises that neither party is responsible for global events and provides parameters within which parties contracted under public works contracts can agree additional costs. It is proposed on an initial basis that additional costs are apportioned between parties and subject to budgetary constraints. The State will bear 70 per cent of additional inflationary related costs.2
Paddy Smyth T: 01 828 0928 E: email@example.com W: www.fieldfisher.com/enie/people/paddy-smyth
2. See generally, gov.ie - Minister McGrath introduces measures to address the impact of Construction Material Price Inflation on Public Works Projects (www.gov.ie) 83
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler
Housing Ireland magazine
Airbnb challenge still live Despite many believing the Covid-19 pandemic would serve to burst Ireland’s Airbnb bubble, recent figures show that Airbnb availability now outstrips longterm rental homes in every county. In March 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions gripped the country, Airbnb hosts quickly felt the financial impact of cancellations and an almost complete cessation in demand.
Airbnb listings outstripping long-term rental home availability in every county in the State. In Dublin, six times more properties were available to rent via Airbnb compared with those featured on Daft.ie.
At the time, Daft.ie recorded a marked increase in the number of adverts for rental properties, as property owners sought out the security of longer-term rentals amid the abrupt halt in demand for short-term rentals.
Data published by The Times came from Inside Airbnb, a platform set up to give transparency and track rentals, but one which Airbnb claims uses flawed methodology and makes misleading claims about the impact of Airbnb on local housing.
Originally conceived as a second revenue stream for people renting out their spare rooms or empty holiday homes on a short-term basis, Airbnb has increasingly encroached on private rental markets and been identified as an obstacle to the undersupply of housing in Ireland. Predictions at the time suggested that one potential silver lining of the pandemic would be the wholesale return of properties that had been utilised for short-term letting to the private rental or sale market. Such predictions have proven unfounded, however. In May 2022, The Times published data which showed 84
In 2019, Ireland adopted new rental regulations designed to crack down on property owners who cash in on more profitable, less regulated, Airbnb listings. However, it is now recognised that these measures have failed to curb pressures.
Short-term Lettings Enforcement Bill 2022 In May 2022, the Government announced plans to publish its own Bill in response to opposition TD Eoin Ó Broin’s Short-term Lettings Enforcement Bill 2022. The Sinn Féin Bill seeks to legally compel estate agents and online platforms to only advertise properties that are compliant with the Planning and
Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 2) Regulations 2019. It would also allow for the issuing of spot fines to Airbnb and other providers. While the Government did not oppose the Bill which completed its second stage on 17 May 2022, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien TD has indicated his intention to bring additional legislation to restrict the short-term letting of houses and apartments before the summer recess. Responding in June 2022, Airbnb said that it wants to work with the Irish Government to make short-term rental rules enforceable and effective. Announcing its Community Tourism and Housing Protection Plan in Dublin, the platform said that one of its five commitments was the enforcement of short-term rental rules, including the introduction of a single host register for Ireland to establish a clear system for hosts to follow and give authorities the information they need to take action against property speculators that are damaging communities. Airbnb says it would support this by ensuring only registered hosts are able to publish listings on the platform.
Housing Ireland magazine
Northern Ireland Private Tenancies Bill Passed before the cessation of the last Northern Ireland Executive’s tenure, the Private Tenancies Bill seeks to protect the rights of private tenants by halting the increasing of rents more than once per year and extending notice to quit periods issued by landlords. The Private Tenancies Bill, which passed through the final stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 15 March 2022, took effect from 5 May and seeks to protect private tenants from sudden homelessness by adjusting minimum notice to quit periods served by landlords. Under the Act, private landlords must provide tenants with: four weeks’ notice if their tenancy has been in existence for less than 12 months; eight weeks’ notice if their tenancy has been in existence for more than 12 months but less than 10 years; and 12 weeks’ notice if the tenancy has been in existence longer than 10 years. Tenants are also required to provide their landlords with written notice of their intention to quit with four weeks’ notice if their tenancy has been in existence less than 10 years and 12 weeks’ notice if it has been in existence for more than 10 years. Deposits for tenancies will be capped at one month’s rent under the Act and rent increases will be capped at once per 12 months, with landlords unable to increase rent within the first 12 months of a lease. The Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA said that the passage of the Bill would ensure “safety, security and standards within the private sector”.
“Protecting tenants is a priority for me,” Hargey said. “I have consistently stated my determination to ensure all rents are fair and tenants are protected in their homes. I will ensure we build further on the rent controls already secured. This bill will deliver important protections with more reform to come.” The Bill will also introduce a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating, which will mean that homes that do not reach an as-yet-undefined rating will not be allowed to be let out. This provision, which mirrors a similar rule in England and Wales, is included with the aim of tackling fuel poverty as it is hoped that higher energy efficiency ratings will mean that renters can better afford to heat these properties. The Bill has been criticised by People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll as a “missed opportunity”. Carroll’s proposed amendment of a 10 per cent rent cut for every private renter in Northern Ireland originally passed an oral vote in the Assembly, before it was overturned. Hargey defended the Bill as the “beginning of private rented sector reform”: “I have laid the foundations and further work is a priority for the department.” 85
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Jim Baneham
Housing Ireland magazine
Jim Baneham is Director of Delivery at The Housing Agency. Jim graduated from DIT Bolton Street in 1989. He graduated as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor. Soon after he began working with the National Building Agency (NBA) specifically, in the area of Delivery of Social Housing and other local authority facilities. From 2007, Jim moved into a corporate role within the NBA before moving to The Housing Agency in 2011. It was there he helped develop the AHB funding model. Since then, he has gone on to be Head of Housing Supply and Head of the Mortgage Support Section.
Pat Barry Pat Barry is Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) which he co-founded in 2010. He is an Architect with many years of experience in Ireland, Europe and South America, a master’s in environmental design of buildings from University of Cardiff and is a qualified Passive House and DGNB consultant. The IGBC is a membership organisation of over 300 corporate members with a mission of transitioning Ireland’s construction sector to sustainability, through advocacy, education and innovation. Pat led the development of the Home Performance Index, a national certification for quality sustainable new homes and EPD Ireland a programme for Irish construction product manufacturers to transparently declare the environmental impact of their products.
Colin Bebbington Colin Bebbington is Director of Energy, Marketing and Data at Bord Gáis Energy. Colin leads Bord Gáis Energy’s consumer and business energy performance, sales and marketing strategies and ensures excellence in the company’s data management practices. Upon joining Bord Gáis Energy in 2012, Colin held the role of Residential Category Controller and subsequently Retail Director where he led the company’s retail and marketing strategies for over six years. Colin has a wealth of experience in the telecommunications and energy sectors, including senior roles at Vodafone and Meteor. Colin holds a master’s in strategic management from University College Dublin and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin.
Neil Bolton Neil Bolton is Head of Housing with Respond. He has over 20 years’ strategic and operational experience in social housing, gained in both the UK and Ireland. He has worked at executive level in both jurisdictions. In Ireland Neil was an Operations Director and Property Director with Clúid Housing; in the UK, he was a Customer Services (Property) Director for a SCHT, a large Bath-based Housing Association. He also worked in a senior housing role for Bristol City Council. Between 2015- 2017, he served as a non-executive Director for the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH). He has also worked as an independent consultant primarily working with social housing organisations. Neil holds a postgraduate diploma in housing studies, a PG diploma in business and executive coaching and is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Hugh Brennan Hugh Brennan is Chief Executive of Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance CLG. He started his career in CIE in the Divisional Engineer’s office, Limerick in 1980 before moving to Arup for three years. Hugh then worked in various contracting roles in Ireland before spending 10 years on humanitarian aid projects in South Africa and Haiti. Returning to Ireland, he and Bill Black incorporated Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance CLG in 2014. Hugh has assumed the lead in developing the Ó Cualann model for affordable housing delivery throughout Ireland. In collaboration with local authorities, other AHB’s and community led housing groups, Ó Cualann plan to deliver over 1,000 homes over the next five years.
Kieron Brennan Kieron Brennan has been CEO of Co-operative Housing Ireland since 2014. He has extensive experience in the community, voluntary and cooperative sector, which saw him lead the Irish League of Credit Unions from 2008 until 2014. Prior to this, he held a leadership position as a Programme Manager with POBAL, which manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU. He was also Irish Manager of Triodos Bank, Executive Director of Clann Credo and Chief Executive of Partas.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Liam Burke
Peter Burke TD Peter Burke TD was appointed Minister of State for Planning and Local Government in July 2020. He
hails from Mullingar and was elected to the Dáil in 2016, having being involved in electoral politics since 2009 when he was first elected to Westmeath County Council. He is a Chartered accountant by profession with 10 years’ private sector experience. Before being appointed to the Department of Housing, Peter sat on the Oireachtas Finance and Public Accounts committees and has been a frequent media commentator on tax and financial issues. He went to school in CBS Mullingar before attending NUIG to study commerce.
Robert Burns Robert Burns joined Fingal County Council as Director for Housing and Community Development in January 2022. Over the next five years, under the Housing for All policy, Fingal aims to deliver about 3,600 new social homes throughout the county. Prior to joining Fingal, Robert was part of the senior management team within Dún LaoghaireRathdown County Council, before which he had worked as a Senior Executive Engineer with Clare County Council in the Housing Department. A civil engineering graduate from Queen’s University Belfast, Robert has a wide interest in the fields of housing, sustainable development, transportation, community development, town and village renewal and climate action.
Niall Byrne was appointed as Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) on 24 January 2022. He joined the RTB from PSI – The Pharmacy Regulator, where he served for over five years as Registrar and Chief Officer and was responsible for the regulation of the profession of pharmacy as well as the registration and safety of retail pharmacies. Niall has an extensive background in regulatory affairs, organisation development and corporate governance and holds third-level qualifications in public administration, governance, and human development. Prior to his role with the PSI, Niall held positions as Head of State Boards and Corporate Services with the Public Appointments Service and, for six years, was Deputy Director of Regulation at the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), where he was responsible for the regulation of residential services for older people and for adults with disabilities.
Housing Ireland magazine
Liam Burke is Senior Executive Officer in the Housing and Community Development Department at Fingal County Council. He has over 40 years of local government experience, working mainly within the housing area, and is widely respected across the sector. He manages the delivery of housing support and homeless services in Fingal and the administration of the Tenancy Services Division and has worked extensively on the delivery of traveller specific accommodation. Liam has led strategic and operational change and is committed to the transformation of systems in the delivery of housing services.
Shane Cahir Shane Cahir is a Director at CBRE Ireland where he specialises in residential investment. CBRE is Ireland’s leading property advisor team with unrivalled expertise in all aspects of the residential investment market, having access to international expertise through its global network. The company’s Residential Capital Markets and Commercial Capital Markets teams operate as a fully integrated single entity within the business. This unquestionably creates the largest property investment advisory team in the country. From structuring forward funding and forward commit transactions in the multifamily space, to advising on design and management of co-living, purpose-built student accommodation, and build-to-rent schemes, to the acquisition and sale of residential investments to navigating the affordable leasing model, CBRE are a one-stop-shop.
Michael Carey Michael Carey is Chairman of The Housing Agency. Carey has extensive experience in overseeing State bodies, having served as Chairman of Bord Bia (2011-2018), and as Chair of the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance in 2016. He is the Executive Chairman of The Company of Food, a specialist food investment business, providing equity to start-up and established high-growth food businesses, and is also Chairman of East Coast Bakehouse, Ireland’s largest biscuit manufacturer. He has been involved in several not-forprofit initiatives: Chair of Soul of Haiti Foundation (2009-2015) and Traidlinks Uganda (2013-2016) Member, Clinton Global Initiative (20092015); and is a current Member of the Emeritus Advisory Board of Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Louisa Carr
Housing Ireland magazine
Louisa Carr is Head of Services with Respond. She has been working in the housing and homeless sector for 18 years, working with Sophia Housing Association and Focus Ireland. Louisa has specialised in providing support to families and single persons with complex support needs in both long-term and emergency accommodation. She has experience in managing a variety of other services including childcare services and tenancy sustainment. Louisa holds an honours degree in social science from UCD and certificate in housing management from the National College of Ireland.
Collete Cassidy Collete Cassidy is an Associate in the Property department at O’Connor LLP and has acted for a number of housing charities in Ireland. Collete is currently advising extensively in relation to the acquisition of land and houses for social and affordable housing on behalf of a number of housing bodies. She has wide experience in the acquisition of development land and the various planning issues, easements and wayleaves, and other property issues that arise in those transactions. Collete has also advised on contractual issues and collateral warranties arising on the building and development of sites.
Padraic Clancy Padraic Clancy is Head of New Business, leading the Co-operative Housing Ireland Development Team. Padraic has over 25 years in property acquisition and development and holding a honours degree in surveying and a national diploma in estate management. Padraic has managed properties on behalf of NAMA, all major banks and receivers and is a specialist in property management, security and maintenance. Padraic was previously Head of VPSitex in Ireland, managing the security and maintenance works on large mixed property portfolios for PWC, Mazars, Grant Thornton, and Duff and Phelps.
John Coleman John Coleman has been Chief Executive of the Land Development Agency since its inception in September 2018. John previously held senior roles at Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), worked extensively on the set up of its Residential Delivery division and was its Chief Financial Officer. John is a graduate of University College Dublin (BComm) and a chartered accountant (FCA). Prior to joining NAMA in 2011 he worked in banking and accountancy. 88
Fiona Cormican Fiona Cormican has over 20 years’ experience in the delivery of social housing projects in a senior management capacity. She is New Business Director with Clúid Housing, one of Ireland’s leading approved housing bodies (AHBs) with a portfolio of assets in excess of €1 billion. Fiona is responsible for leading Clúid’s in-house development team to achieve their goal of delivering 1,001 new homes in 2022. She is also responsible for the strategic direction and management of Clúid as part of the Executive Management team. Prior to joining Clúid, Fiona was founder and Operations Director of Tógáil Developments, a non-profit property development company. Fiona holds a Masters in Project Management from the University of Limerick and a primary degree in education, as well as a diploma in site management and a PMP Certification.
Sharon Cosgrove Sharon Cosgrove joined Oaklee Housing as CEO in 2016, having previously held a number of previous senior roles. Sharon led regeneration and housing programmes in South Dublin and in Bristol City. Sharon is a member of the Choice Housing Ireland Group Management Team. She holds a BSc (environmental health), MA (housing studies) and a Prof Dip (business finance). Since joining Oaklee, Sharon’s focus has been on expanding the development programme, leveraging new sources of finance and service excellence. Having reached financial close on a €50 million facility with German Bank Nord/LB, Acorn Housing an innovative SPV structure was established, which now holds 217 social housing units. Oaklee Housing is a partner in Comhar Housing, the consortium contracted to deliver the first Social Housing PPP bundle of 543 homes in Ireland. Since December 2021 all six sites are tenanted and community development activities are being resourced. Operational performance and the delivery of exceptional services to tenants is a key focus in Oaklee’s current Corporate Plan 2020-2023.
Kath Cottier Kath Cottier is Director of Housing Services and leads Clúid’s front line housing services. She has over 20 years’ experience as a dedicated housing professional, leading teams who deliver sector-leading services, while providing high levels of customer care. She holds an MA in geography and postgraduate diplomas in urban development and property and facility management. She is currently vice chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing Ireland Board, and a founding member of the Construction Defects Alliance, who lobby for redress for homeowners negatively impacted by poor construction standards.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Pat Dennigan
Dáithí Downey Dáithí Downey is Chief Officer for Dublin City Council’s Local and Community Development Committee (LCDC). He also leads the Dublin Housing Observatory as Principal Investigator. This includes development of the Housing Observatory’s online data navigator to deliver geospatial analytics and visualisation for Dublin city’s housing strategy. Dáithí was Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) to the end of 2016, having previously been its Deputy Director and Head of Policy and Service Delivery from 2006. Dáithí is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Royal Irish Academy’s Social Science Committee and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Pat Doyle Pat Doyle was appointed CEO of Peter McVerry Trust in 2005 and has over 30 years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector. In 2019, Pat was awarded Excellence in Leadership in the Charity Institute Ireland Awards in recognition of his work in the homeless sector. Pat is the current President of the Irish Council for Social Housing, the representative association for approved housing bodies in Ireland, of which Peter McVerry Trust is a member. This is Pat’s second term as President of the ICSH and will see him fulfil the role until 2024. Pat is currently a member of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive’s Consultative Forum, the Mid East Regional Homelessness Forum, the Housing Strategic Policy Committees in Dublin and Kildare and the Judicial Conduct Committee of the Judicial Council. In 2021, he was appointed to the new National Homeless Action Committee and the Commission on Housing.
Graham Doyle is Secretary General of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, having been appointed in July 2020 after the formation of the new Government. Previously he was Secretary General of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Graham was an external recruit to the Civil Service in 2013, initially responsible for the public transport and climate change portfolio. His background is in aviation management and business consulting with experience in insolvency, corporate finance and business strategy. He is a chartered accountant by profession, having trained with PwC, and holds a range of business-related qualifications, including an MBA. Beyond his own role, Graham is a member of cross-government groups and boards including, for example, the Civil Service Management Board, the Public Service Leadership Board and he is co-chair of the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board.
Housing Ireland magazine
Pat Dennigan is the Chief Executive Officer of Focus Ireland and its sister approved housing body Focus Housing Association. He joined Focus in 2014 as head of the finance function, adding responsibility for property in 2016. Appointed Chief Executive in March 2018, Pat is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Prior to joining Focus Ireland, Pat held several senior finance and operations roles in companies such as Nortel Networks and Boston Scientific. Pat is a board member of both Charities Institute Ireland and The Sanctuary. He is a past president of Galway Lions Club and is a past member of the Charity SORP committee.
David Duffy David Duffy is Director of Property Industry Ireland (PII), Ibec’s sectoral association for businesses in property and construction. Property Industry Ireland (PII) was established in 2011 in response to the impact of the recession on the property sector. PII’s policy committees address the issues of market supply and demand, property finance, construction innovation and planning and development. As part of its policy focus PII has published on An Equity Loan Scheme for Ireland, Innovation increasing Supply. How offsite construction can help address the housing crisis, Debt Service Ratio – An alternative to Loan to Income and Proposals to reform the Judicial Review Process in Planning Matters. Before joining PII, David was a senior research officer at the ESRI, where his main research area was the housing market. He has published on such housing market issues as measuring house price change, negative equity, affordability, and household formation.
Declan Dunne Declan Dunne joined Respond as Chief Executive Officer in August 2016. Respond, established 40 years ago, is an Approved Housing Body (AHB) with approximately 10,000 tenants and a service provider with a range of services including day-care for older people, early childhood care and education, homeless services for families, family support and refugee resettlement services. Declan was Chair of the Housing Alliance, which is a collaboration of six of Ireland’s largest approved housing bodies, from 2018 until 2020. Declan is an experienced General Manager who built a business over many years and sold to an American multinational and went on to work as General Manager for Ireland. In his previous role, Declan was Chief Executive Officer with Sophia Housing Association. He was also a non-executive director of the Ballymun Regeneration Board for 10 years, chair of the audit committee which oversaw the Ballymun Regeneration Masterplan. 89
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Aoife Flynn Kennedy
Housing Ireland magazine
With over 20 years’ experience in housing services, disability rights and community engagement, Aoife Flynn Kennedy was appointed as Head of Clann in January 2020. Prior to her current role, she worked for seven years in the disability sector, supporting people in their move from congregated settings into their own homes. Before that, she worked for three different local authorities in the areas of housing, access, and equality. Outside of work, Aoife is a community activist and is involved locally in addiction services, establishing Bray as the next autism friendly town, and she chairs a local Approved Housing Body (AHB) as well.
Tom Gilligan Tom Gilligan is Director of Services at Mayo County Council with responsibility for housing, roads, service development and the Ballina Municipal District. An accountant with an MBA in local government, prior to joining Mayo, Tom worked as the Head of Finance in both Limerick and Waterford county councils and was a central figure in the successful reform of local government arrangements in both locations. Founder of the popular crowdsourcing, portal website VacantHomes.ie which Mayo County Council, initiates on behalf of the local government sector, Tom is an award winner and recognised leader in the whole area of housing and bringing vacant homes back into use.
John Hannigan John Hannigan is Chief Executive Officer of Circle Voluntary Housing Association. He took up his current position in September 2017. John Hannigan previously held the position of Managing Director of Sunbeam House Services since 2010. Prior to that, John worked as Finance Director with Respond. John is currently the Chair of The Housing Alliance, an alliance of six of the largest Housing Associations in Ireland. John has 30 years’ experience in the social housing sector in the UK and Ireland. He is also a Trustee of the Governing Board of the Chartered Institute of Housing in the UK and Ireland. John is also a Chartered Director and a Chartered Member of the CIH.
Veronica Harrington Veronica Harrington has over 20 years’ experience in the utilities industry in a range of roles, most recently in connection and developer services for Irish Water. As Connections and Developer Services Commercial Manager she led the development and implementation of the first Irish Water national Connection Policy which brought a single national approach to connections and charges for water services. Veronica has also been working as Business Delivery lead for Irish Water’s programme to support housing delivery, working closing with key stakeholders, including local authority partners, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and the development industry, the Irish Home Builders Association, Approved Housing Body Authorities, and the Land Development Agency. Veronica has been appointed Services Manager for Connections and Develop Services responsible for customer focused strategies such as implementation of two key Housing for All actions, establishing Self Lay Experienced Based Accreditation and First Mover initiative to support housing delivery nationally.
Roger Harrington Roger Harrington is a Principal Officer at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. He has responsibility for managing the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF), the Mortgage to Rent scheme and working with the Housing Agency in the context of the acquisitions fund (HAA). CALF and the HAA are funding mechanisms which assist both the Housing Agency and approved housing bodies to build, acquire and make available housing units for social housing use whilst the MTR scheme is a social housing option for eligible borrowers in severe mortgage arrears.
Yvonne Harris Yvonne Harris has over 38 years’ experience working in utilities and currently holds the position of Housing Programme Director in Irish Water. Her primary responsibilities are customer strategy, customer services and billing services for the water utility. Yvonne also recently took on responsibility for managing the Connection Developer Services function which supports domestic, commercial and developer clients in connecting to the water and wastewater network. With the launch of the Housing for All strategy, Irish Water established a programme of work, led by Yvonne, to ensure the utility continues to support and improve the delivery of connections, including housing, in a timely and efficient way. Direct engagement with key stakeholders, including housing bodies and housing developers, has been a key aspect of Irish Water’s approach. Yvonne holds a Bachelor of Business studies, a masters’ in business practise and a diploma in company direction. Yvonne is an Executive Director in Irish Water and is a member of the Institute of Directors Ireland.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Peter Hesse
Marie Hunt Marie Hunt established the research department at CBRE Ireland 25 years ago. It is now regarded as one of the most authoritative sources of property information in the Irish market. A regular commentator in the Irish media on property matters, Marie produces a range of property market publications and carries out specialist consultancy work on behalf of a broad range of institutional, private and public sector clients of the Irish business. Marie is an Executive Director of CBRE in Ireland, a member of CBRE Ireland’s Executive Committee and a member of CBRE Research Executive Committee in EMEA. Marie is a chartered surveyor and a fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors, Ireland.
Parag Joglekar Parag Joglekar is Head of Development with Respond. He is a registered architect in Ireland and the UK and holds a master’s degree with distinction in human settlements from University of Leuven, Belgium. Parag has worked in both the private and semiprivate sector in Ireland, UK and India and has extensive experience in Urban Design, Housing and Regeneration and Commercial projects. Parag is a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK.
Bob Jordan Bob Jordan was appointed CEO of The Housing Agency in September 2021. He has a strong leadership record in the housing sector. Between 2018 and 2021 he was the National Director of the Government's Housing First programme, which provides permanent homes and wraparound supports to people who have experienced rough sleeping and long-term homelessness. Based in Dublin City Council, he worked closely with local authorities, approved housing bodies, health services and homeless charities to extend the programme nationwide. Prior to his role in Housing First, Bob was Chief Executive of the housing charity Threshold for nearly a decade. He was Special Adviser to the Minister for Housing during 2016-2017.
In 2015 Catherine Keenan took up the role of Director of Housing in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, with an overarching leadership role in all aspects of social and affordable housing delivery. Her role includes making the best use of housing stock including management, maintenance and retrofitting homes and provision of homeless, allocations and welfare services. Prior to this Catherine was the Chief Executive Officer of DLR Leisure Services from 2013 to 2015 which followed her position as Senior Executive Officer over a number of years in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Housing Ireland magazine
Peter Hesse is Principal Officer responsible for projects, procurement and programmes with the Housing Agency. Programmes include the Pyrite Remediation Scheme and the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. He has extensive private sector and international construction management experience and was previously Head of Surveying at the National Building Agency. His education includes BSc (Surveying), MBA, MSc. (planning and development) and postgraduate diploma in construction law and contract administration.
Vincent Keenan Vincent Keenan was appointed Chief Executive of North & East Housing Association in 2014, he has some 30 years’ experience in homelessness, housing management and development. Vincent is Chairperson of The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. Vincent has participated in social partnership agreements and has served on the National Homeless Consultative Committee. He is a chartered member of the CIH and holds qualifications in housing management, community development, counselling and has BSc (Hons) Degree in business Studies from Ulster University and a postgraduate certificate in not for profit leadership. Vincent has completed the Chartered Director Programme with the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Director.
Rachel Kenny Rachel Kenny is Director of Planning Operations for An Bord Pleanála, overseeing appeals nationally, as well as direct applications under Strategic Infrastructure Development and Strategic Housing Development provisions. Rachel has over 20 years’ experience in various planning authorities, having previously worked as a senior planner with both Fingal County Council and Meath County Council, as well as experience in the private sector. Rachel is a member of the Irish Planning Institute, and one of its past presidents, as well as a former member of Comhar, the National Partnership for Sustainable Development. She is currently Chair of the Management Board of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, with impacts from development on climate change and on our natural environment being of such critical importance. In 2019, Rachel became the first female fellow of the Irish Planning Institute.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Dave Kirwan
Housing Ireland magazine
Dave Kirwan is Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy. Dave returned to the role of MD in Summer 2020 having completed a successful term in the UK as Managing Director of the UK Customer Operations and latterly MD of the UK Home business. Dave was responsible for leading the Bord Gáis Energy business through the successful sale to Centrica in 2014 and prior to that had worked in Bord Gáis Éireann for 15 years. Dave holds a BE electronics from UCD and is a fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, he also holds an MBA from UCC and a doctorate in business economics (DBA) from UCC. Dave also serves on the Centrica Group Executive Committee.
Camille Loftus Camille Loftus is the Executive Director of the Housing Alliance. With over 25 years’ experience of working on Irish public policy across the public, private and NGO sectors, she has acquired a deep understanding of the policy system. Camille has a range of experience in relation to meeting housing need, including as Practice to Policy Coordinator with Focus Ireland, and as Head of Policy and Practice in the Housing Agency. As a former Ministerial Advisor in both the Department of Health and the Department of Children, she understands how public policy can more effectively and efficiently achieve positive outcomes, most particularly for people suffering poverty and inequality.
Susanna Lyons Susanna Lyons was appointed CEO following AHBRA’s establishment on 1 February 2021. Susanna is responsible for the day-to-day management of the AHBRA. Susanna has over 30 years of experience in risk, financial management, strategy and governance. She spent five years with the Regulation Office in the Housing Agency, focusing on the provision of voluntary regulation. Prior to that Susanna spent 25 years working for a number of US multinationals with a focus on finance and risk.
John-Mark McCafferty John-Mark McCafferty is Chief Executive Officer with Threshold, the National Housing Charity, whose aim is to prevent homelessness through advice, tenancy protection, and advocacy. John-Mark is currently a member of the Government’s National Homeless Action Committee, the Commission on Tax and Welfare and the rental sub-group of the Housing Commission. Prior to Threshold, John-Mark was Head of Social Justice and Policy with the Society of St Vincent de Paul. He also previously worked for the Combat Poverty Agency in Ireland and also Scottish Homes, the national social housing agency. John-Mark holds a master’s in development studies from UCD, a postgraduate certificate in teaching, and is a geography graduate from Glasgow University. JohnMark also has extensive Board experience having served with Clúid Housing, One Family, and as a former chair of the Vincentian Refugee Centre in Dublin.
Donal McManus Donal McManus is CEO at Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), the national federation of housing associations which has 270 active housing association members throughout the country. He previously worked since 1990 in the public/local authority and housing association sectors in Scotland and Northern Ireland. He specifically worked in areas of housing development, self-build and regeneration, housing management, including homelessness and special needs as well as policy and finance. He had also worked in urban design and land assembly within the private sector. Donal was president of the nonprofit housing section of Housing Europe, chair of the European Housing Forum and FEANTSA. From 2003 until 2005 he was appointed a member of the UN-ECE Task Force on Social Housing. He is currently a board member of the Housing Agency and member of the Audit and Risk Committee and also Chairperson of Housing Europe Working Group on Economics, Finance and EU Internal Market. He also represents the ICSH on a number of national social and affordable housing working groups.
Fidelma McManus Fidelma McManus is a Partner and heads up Beauchamps’ specialised Housing team. She is the go-to expert in complex conveyancing and an acknowledged market leader in the acquisition and management of social and affordable housing. Her practice includes all aspects of conveyancing including the acquisition, structuring, financing, disposal and leasing of all types of property, including multi-unit developments, distressed and partially complete residential developments, shopping centres, retail parks and offices. She also advises on landlord and tenant law. Fidelma works closely with local authorities, state agencies, charities, approved housing bodies (AHBs), lending institutions, pension funds, sporting bodies, receivers and developers including institutional and private investors.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Rebecca Moynihan
Robert Nicholson Robert Nicholson is Principal Officer of the Department of Housing’s Affordable Housing Unit. The Unit is responsible for national cost rental policy and funding to approved housing bodies, the local authority Affordable Purchase Scheme and for the new First Home Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme for private developments.
Eoin Ó Broin TD Eoin Ó Broin TD has been a Sinn Féin activist for 20 years. He is a spokesperson on housing, local government and heritage and his priorities are public and private investment in job creation across Dublin Mid-West, investment in social housing, greater regulation of the private rented market and government support for those in mortgage distress and fair tax reform to help hard pressed working families while generating sufficient revenue to invest in jobs, health, education, childcare and community services. Eoin was elected to Belfast City Council from 2001 to 2004 and was the party’s Director of European Affairs from 2004 to 2007. He was also a Councillor for the Clondalkin/Newcastle/Rathcoole area having been co-opted in 2013 and topping the poll in 2014.
Niall O’Brien Niall O’Brien is a Partner in the Banking and Finance team at Beauchamps. Niall works extensively with major domestic and international financial institutions in the areas of corporate lending including acquisition finance, construction finance, project finance and secured lending. He has extensive experience in advising the main participants in the housing sector including lenders, developers, AHBs, contractors, and Irish and international corporations.
Darragh O’Brien TD was appointed Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage in June 2020. He is an elected TD for the constituency of Dublin-Fingal. Prior to his election to the 30th Dáil in 2007, Minister O’Brien worked mainly in financial services and was elected to Fingal County Council in 2004. He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2011. He has held various positions within the Oireachtas including Vice-Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Member of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Law Reform, Leader of Fianna Fáil in the Seanad and Opposition frontbench spokesperson on Dublin, foreign affairs and housing.
Housing Ireland magazine
Senator Rebecca Moynihan was appointed as the Labour Party spokesperson on housing, local government and heritage in July 2020. Rebecca represented the South West Inner City on Dublin City Council for over 10 years before being elected to the Seanad in 2020. Between 2014 and 2019 she was also a Councillor for Crumlin-Kimmage due to changes to the boundaries of the council wards. Before becoming a Senator, Rebecca worked as a teacher in the further education sector.
Darragh O’Brien TD
Cian O’Callaghan TD Cian O’Callaghan is the Spokesperson on housing for the Social Democrats and a member of the Dáil committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Prior to becoming a TD, O'Callaghan had been a Councillor on Fingal County Council for Baldoyle, Sutton and Howth. Cian graduated with a master’s degree from UCD. He has also studied social policy and healthcare economics. Cian has been very active working with residents in newer housing developments where concerns about pyrite and fire safety defects have emerged.
Seán O’Connor Seán O’Connor is the Chief Executive of Tuath Housing and a Chartered Surveyor with dual SCSI and RICS membership. Seán is also a longstanding member of the Chartered Institute of Housing with a master’s degree in housing from South Bank University, London. He is a chartered surveyor with over 30 years’ experience of working in social housing with local authorities and housing associations in Ireland and the UK.
Ruth O’Connor Ruth O’Connor is a partner in the Property department at O’Connor LLP and has established an impressive portfolio of corporate and commercial clients particularly in the area of commercial property. Ruth has advised clients on the acquisition, sale and leasing of corporate headquarters, retail and office premises along with development lands and advises private clients in relation to residential property matters. She has advised charitable trustees on their duties and responsibilities and deals with all aspects of the management and administration of charitable trusts and charitable organisations. 93
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who Brian O’Gorman
Housing Ireland magazine
Brian O’Gorman is the CEO of Clúid Housing, one of the largest approved housing bodies (AHBs) in Ireland with a portfolio of assets in excess of €1 billion. Clúid owns or manages over 9,000 homes across the country. Brian leads an award-winning team of over 280 highly qualified professionals who are delivering a housing pipeline of new social housing developments. Clúid has an ambitious delivery target of 1,001 new homes before the end of 2022, with 1,000 per year thereafter. Brian is a resolute advocate of the important role of social housing, the quality and design of which makes it indistinguishable from any other housing. His vision mirrors Clúid’s philosophy to prolong the life of buildings and their environment by investing in sustainability and future capacity. The performance and quality of Clúid’s current housing stock is very much evidence of this. In 2021, Brian was appointed to the board of the Housing Commission.
Thomas O’Malley Thomas O’Malley is a Real Estate Partner at Philip Lee specialising in commercial real estate with a focus on social housing and development land. Thomas works closely with colleagues in the Construction Law team at Philip Lee advising on development agreements which provide for design and build of “turnkey” projects to be leased to meet social housing needs. He acts for investors, property developers, housing and government bodies on large-scale, mixed retail, commercial, and residential projects. Additionally, he advises on the property elements of renewable energy projects. Thomas has over 30 years’ experience in advising clients on site assembly and development agreements, highvalue property acquisitions and disposals, complex title structures, joint ventures/collective property investments, and business leases. He is a CEDR (Centre for Effective Resolution Dispute) Mediator, which allows him to advise on a variety of property-related disputes. Legal 500 describes him as ‘tenacious’ and ‘good at getting deals over the line.’
Breen Purcell Breen Purcell is a Partner and Head of the Real Estate Department at Fieldfisher LLP. He has acted in property-based lending transactions over the past 20 years and has considerable experience in the acquisition and disposal of residential and commercial property. He regularly acts for landlords and tenants in the negotiation and drafting of commercial leases and advises on planning and licencing matters. He works with a client base of vendors, and developers, borrowers, and lenders in managing all types of acquisitions, disposals, and property financing.
Teresa Purtill Teresa Purtill is Director of Services and Solutions at Bord Gáis Energy. Teresa is responsible for the growth of Bord Gáis Energy’s services and solutions business, driving the revenue and commercial strategies for the organisation. Having previously held the role of Customer and Field Operations Director within Bord Gáis Energy, Teresa was focused on driving the company’s customer experience strategy, business excellence and strategic programme delivery. Prior to joining Bord Gáis Energy, Teresa was Global VP for Customer Care for the Hertz Corporation leading an organisation of over 2,000 people across 15 sites globally. Teresa’s background is in driving change programs and transformation in operating models, revenue generation and process efficiency through lean six sigma. Teresa holds an MA in European integration from the University of Limerick and is the Bord Gáis Energy Ambassador for Neurodiversity.
Niamh Randall Niamh Randall is Head of Advocacy and Communications and Spokesperson with Respond. She has been working within the field of housing, homelessness, and drug use for 22 years, working with the Simon Communities of Ireland as Head of Policy and Communications and National Spokesperson for more than 10 years and Merchant’s Quay Ireland Homeless and Drugs Services in the areas of policy and communications. She was the Irish Representative on the Administrative Council of FEANTSA (European Umbrella group of organisations working on homelessness) from 2011 until 2013. Niamh holds a master of Science in drug policy; a degree in social policy and sociology; a professional diploma in human rights and equality; and a certificate in housing.
Angelyn Rowan Angelyn Rowan is a Partner in the Construction, Projects and PPP team at Philip Lee. Angelyn has extensive experience advising funders, developers, employers and contractors on all aspects of the procurement and construction of major projects. She has advised public sector bodies on the procurement of several State projects including the National Development Finance Agency on the first healthcare and social housing public private partnerships in Ireland. In addition to her PPP and procurement experience, Angelyn advises on a wide-range of construction law matters, both contentious and non-contentious, including renewables projects, commercial office, social housing, education and healthcare. Angelyn is recognised in both Chambers and Legal 500 for her expertise in projects and construction.
Housing Ireland magazine
Who’s who David Silke
Lorcan Sirr Lorcan Sirr is a Senior Lecturer in Housing at the Technological University Dublin, and Visiting Professor of Housing at the URV, Tarragona, Spain. He has authored, coauthored and edited numerous papers, newspaper articles, research reports, and books including Dublin’s Future: New visions for Ireland's capital city (Liffey Press: 2011), Renting in Ireland: The public, private and voluntary sectors (IPA: 2014) and Housing in Ireland: The A-Z guide (Orpen Press: 2019). His latest book, Housing in Ireland: Beyond the Markets, was published by the Institute of Public Administration in early 2022. Lorcan has an MA from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and an MA and PhD in planning and development from the University of Manchester. He is a board member of the Irish Refugee Council and Fire Station Artists’ Studios, and sits on the Research Committee of the Residential Tenancies Board.
Paddy Smyth Paddy Smyth is a Partner in Fieldfisher LLP’s Real Estate team. He is a recognised expert in commercial property and real estate finance with a particular focus on residential development. Paddy is passionate about the delivery of social and affordable housing in Ireland. He and the team at Fieldfisher regularly act for developers, funders, local authorities and approved housing bodies in transactions at all stages of the housing delivery process from land acquisition, development funding and construction through to delivery to local authorities and AHBs.
Richard Stowe is a projects and construction lawyer, heading up the Beauchamps construction team, with over 25 years’ experience in specialist construction practices in Ireland and Australia both in contentious and noncontentious roles. He is has had extensive experience advising in relation to a large number of high value infrastructure and construction projects in both jurisdictions. Since returning to Ireland, Richard has been engaged primarily in property development work, particularly in the social and affordable housing sphere. His expertise includes drafting and advising on contracts for building and engineering works at all tiers, contracts for design consultancy services, project/construction management services, FM/OM services, collateral warranty documentation and agreements for all facets of PPP project work, property development and infrastructure provision.
Housing Ireland magazine
David Silke is Director of Operations in The Housing Agency, which is a statutory body under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. David previously worked in the Secretariat of the National Economic and Social Forum as a policy analyst, as researcher in the Combat Poverty Agency and a senior researcher in the Analytical Services Division of the Department of Social Security.
William Walsh William Walsh is Chief Executive Officer in SEAI, having previously held the position of both Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer. William joined SEAI in 2013. Prior to joining SEAI he worked for Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) where he held a number of roles including Assistant Chief Executive Officer and Director. Prior to that he held senior management positions in the private sector. William is a chartered accountant, holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Dublin City University and a graduate diploma in strategy, innovation and change from UCD.
Dave Walsh Dave Walsh was appointed Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála in October 2018. He previously served as Assistant Secretary in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, with primary responsibility for planning policy (including development and delivery of the National Planning Framework) and housing market and rental policy, with a key focus on coordinated implementation of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. Prior to this, Dave headed up the Department's Environment and Climate Division.
Colm Ward Colm Ward is currently Director of Housing, Social and Community Development with South Dublin County Council, having responsibility for social and affordable housing delivery and operations. His career in local government has predominantly been spent in the area of housing but has also included roles in enterprise, procurement and environmental services. He holds a master’s degree in local government management from the National University of Ireland/Institute of Public Administration. 95
Housing Ireland magazine
Housing Ireland magazine Directory The following is an A-Z list of organisations and individuals involved in the Irish housing sector including government contacts, housing associations and advisors.
Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Custom House, Dublin, D01 W6X0 Tel: 01 888 2000 Web: www.housing.gov.ie Newtown Road, Wexford, Y35 AP90 Tel: 053 911 7500 Government Offices, Ballina Co Mayo, F26 E8N6 Tel: 096 24200 Minister: Darragh O’Brien TD Tel: 01 888 2403 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Minister of State: Peter Burke TD Tel: 01 888 2405 Email: email@example.com Secretary General: Graham Doyle Assistant Secretary, Housing Delivery: Aine Stapleton Assistant Secretary, Housing Policy, Legislation and Governance: Paul Lemass Acting Assistant Secretary, Housing Affordability, Inclusion and Homelessness: Caroline Timmons Assistant Secretary, Planning: Maria Graham 96
Leinster House Kildare Street Dublin, D02 XR20 Tel: 01 618 3325 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Clerk to the Committee: Anne-Marie Lynch
Committee membership Deputies Francis Noel Duffy - Green Party Joe Flaherty - Fianna Fáil Thomas Gould - Sinn Féin Emer Higgins - Fine Gael Steven Matthews - Chair - Green Party Paul McAuliffe - Fianna Fáil Cian O'Callaghan - Social Democrats Richard O'Donoghue - Independent Eoin Ó Broin - Sinn Féin Senators Victor Boyhan - Independent John Cummins - Fine Gael Mary Fitzpatrick - Fianna Fáil Rebecca Moynihan - Labour Party Mary Seery Kearney - Fine Gael
Government agencies and bodies involved in housing An Bord Pleanála 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 D01 V902 Tel: 01 858 8100 Email: email@example.com Chair: Dave Walsh Director of Planning: Rachel Kenny
Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority 52 Mount Street Upper, Dublin 2 D02 KT73 Tel: 01 224 3900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chair: Edward Lewis Chief Executive: Susanna Lyons
Home Building Finance Ireland Treasury Dock North Wall Quay Dublin 1 D01 A9T8 Tel: 01 238 4600 Email: email@example.com CEO: Dara Deering
Housing Agency 53 Mount Street Upper Dublin, D02 KT73 Tel: 01 656 4100 Web: www.housingagency.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chair: Michael Carey Chief Executive: Bob Jordan Director of Operations: David Silke Director of Delivery: Jim Baneham Principal Officer: Peter Hesse
Housing Finance Agency
Irish Water PO Box 860 South City Delivery Office Cork City Tel: 1800 278 278 Web: www.water.ie Managing Director: Niall Gleeson Housing Programme Director: Yvonne Harris
Land Development Agency 2nd Floor, Ashford House Tara Street, Dublin 2 Dublin D02 VX67 Tel: 01 910 3400 Web: www.lda.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: John Coleman
Office of the Planning Regulator Fourth Floor (West Wing) Park House Grangegorman 191-193A North Circular Road Dublin 7, D07 EWV4 Tel: 01 854 6700 Web: www.opr.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive and Planning Regulator: Niall Cussen
Property Registration Authority Chancery Street, Dublin 7 D07 T652 Tel: 051 303 000 Web: www.prai.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive Officer: Liz Pope
Residential Tenancies Board PO Box 47 Clonakilty Co Cork Tel: 0818 303 037 Web: www.rtb.ie Chair: Tom Dunne Director: Niall Byrne
3 Park Place Hatch Street Upper Dublin 2 Co Dublin D02 FX65 Tel: 01 808 2100 Web: www.seai.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: William Walsh
Local government housing contacts Carlow County Council County Buildings, Athy Road Carlow, R93 E7R7 Tel: 059 917 0300 Web: www.carlow.ie Chief Executive: Kathleen Holohan Director of Services, Community, Housing, Recreation and Amenity: Michael Brennan
Cavan County Council Ground Floor, Johnston Centre Farnham Street Cavan, H12 C9K1 Tel: 049 437 8300 Web: www.cavancoco.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Tommy Ryan Director of Services, Housing, Libraries & Cultural Services, Human Resources and Corporate Services: Eoin Doyle
Clare County Council New Road, Ennis Co Clare, V95 DXP2 Tel: 065 684 6334 Web: www.clarecoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Pat Dowling Director of Social Development: Anne Haugh Housing Department, Senior Executive Officer: Siobhan McNulty
Cork City Council Housing and Community Directorate City Hall, Anglesea Street Cork, T12 T997 Tel: 021 492 4000 Web: www.corkcity.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Ann Doherty Director of Housing: Niall Ó Donnabháin
Cork County Council County Hall Carrigrohane Road Cork, T12 R2NC Tel: 021 427 6891 Web: www.corkcoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Tim Lucey Housing Director: Maurice Manning
Donegal County Council County House, The Diamond Lifford, Co Donegal, F93 Y622 Tel: 074 915 3900 Web: www.donegalcoco.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: John McLaughlin A/Director of Housing, Corporate and Cultural Services: Patsy Lafferty
Dublin City Council Housing and Community Department Block 1, Floor 1 Civic Offices Wood Quay Dublin 8, D08 RF3F Tel: 01 222 2222 Web: www.dublincity.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Ireland magazine
46 St Stephen’s Green Dublin 2 Tel: 01 872 5722 Web: www.hfa.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive Officer: Barry O’Leary
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Chief Executive: Owen P Keegan Deputy Chief Executive, Housing and Community: Brendan Kenny Director of Dublin Regional Homeless Executive: Mary Hayes Director of Housing Delivery: Dave Dinnigan City Architect: Ali Grehan Head of Housing Policy Research and Development: Dáithí Downey
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council County Hall, Marine Road Dún Laoghaire Co Dublin, A96 K6C9 Tel: 01 205 4700 Web: www.dlrcoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Frank Curran Director of Housing: Catherine Keenan
Fingal County Council County Hall, Main Street Swords, K67 X8Y2 Tel: 01 890 5994 Web: www.fingal.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: AnnMarie Farrelly Director Housing and Community Department: Robert Burns Senior Executive Officer, Housing and Community Development: Liam Burke County Architect: Fionnuala May
Galway City Council City Hall, College Road Galway H91 X4K8 Tel: 091 536 400 Web: www.galwaycity.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Brendan McGrath Acting Director of Services: Patricia Philbin
Galway County Council Áras an Chontae Prospect Hill, Galway H91 H6KX Tel: 091 509 300 Web: www.galway.ie Email: email@example.com Interim Chief Executive: Jim Cullen Housing Director: Liam Hanrahan
Limerick City and County Council
Offaly County Council
Merchant’s Quay, Limerick V94 EH90 Tel: 061 407 120 Web: www.limerick.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Pat Daly Director of Housing: Caroline Curley
Housing Section Áras an Chontae Charleville Road Tullamore, Co Offaly R35 F893 Tel: 057 934 6800 Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Anna Marie Delaney Director of Housing: Sharon Kennedy
County Buildings Rathass, Tralee, Kerry V92 H7VT Tel: 066 7183 862 Web: www.kerrycoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Moira Murrell Director of Housing: Martin O’Donoghue
Longford County Council
Roscommon County Council
Town Hall, Market Square Longford, N39 C5F2 Tel: 043 334 3499 Web: www.longfordcoco.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Paddy Mahon Director of Services: John Brannigan
Áras an Chontae Roscommon Co Roscommon, F42 VR98 Tel: 090 663 7100 Web: www.roscommoncoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Eugene Cummins Director of Services: Majella Hunt
Kildare County Council
Louth County Council
Áras Chill Dara Devoy Park, Naas Co Kildare, W91 X77F Tel: 045 980 705 Web: www.kildarecoco.ie Email: email@example.com Interim Chief Executive: Sonya Kavanagh Director of Housing: Annette Aspell
County Hall Millennium Centre Dundalk, A91 KFW6 Tel: 042 933 5457 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Joan Martin Director of Services: Paddy Donnelly
Housing Ireland magazine
Kerry County Council
Mayo County Council Kilkenny County Council Housing Office John’s Green House John’s Green Kilkenny, R95 CX92 Tel: 056 779 4900 Web: www.kilkennycoco.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Colette Byrne Director of Services, Housing: Mary J Mulholland
Laois County Council Áras an Chontae JFL Avenue, Portlaoise Co Laois, R32 EHP9 Tel: 057 866 4000 Web: www.laoiscoco.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: John Mulholland A/Director of Housing: Angela McEvoy
Leitrim County Council Áras an Chontae St George’s Terrace, Townparks Carrick on Shannon Co Leitrim, N41 PF67 Tel: 0 71 965 0426 Web: www.leitrimcoco.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Lar Power Director of Services - Housing, Corporate Services, Community and Cultural Services: Mary Quinn 98
College House Station Road, Swinford Co Mayo, F12 V126 Tel: 094 906 4510 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Kevin Kelly Director of Services: Tom Gilligan Head of Housing: Simo Shevlin
Meath County Council Buvinda House Dublin Road, Navan Co Meath, C15 Y291 Tel: 046 909 7000 Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Jackie Maguire Director of Services: Barry Lynch
Monaghan County Council Housing Department County Offices, The Glen Monaghan, H18 YT50 Tel: 047 30500 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Eamonn O’Sullivan Director of Services: John Murray
Sligo County Council County Hall Riverside Sligo, F91 Y763 Tel: 071 9111 111 Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Martin Lydon Director of Housing and Corporate: Jim Molloy
South Dublin County Council County Hall Tallaght Dublin, D24 YNN5 Tel: 01 414 9000 Web: www.sdcc.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Daniel McLoughlin Director of Housing, Social and Community Development: Colm Ward
Tipperary County Council Civic Offices, Clonmel Co Tipperary Tel: 076 106 5000 Web: www.tipperarycoco.ie Chief Executive: Joe MacGrath Director of Services, Housing: Sinead Carr
Waterford City and County Council Housing Department Bailey's New Street Waterford, X91 XH42 Tel: 0818 10 20 20 Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Michael Walsh Director of Services, Housing, Community and Emergency Services: Ivan Grimes
Clúid Housing Association
Daisyhouse Housing Association
Áras an Chontae Mount Street Mullingar, N91 FH4N Tel: 044 933 2119 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Pat Gallagher Director of Service, Housing: Mark Keaveney
159-161 Sheriff Street Upper Dublin, D01 R8N0 Tel: 01 707 2088 Web: www.cluid.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Brian O’Gorman Services: General needs
6 Emor Street, Portobello Dublin, D08 K3VF Tel: 01 453 6763 Web: www.daisyhouse.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chairman: Alan Tracey Services: Homelessness
Phoenix House 32-34 Castle Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 407 2110/2 Web: www.circlevha.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: John Hannigan Services: General needs
18 Nicholas Street Dublin, D08 VCP7 Tel: 01 453 7111 Web: www.ie.depaulcharity.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive Officer: David Carroll Services: Homelessness
Wexford County Council County Hall, Carricklawn Wexford, Y35 WY93 Tel: 053 919 6000 Web: www.wexfordcoco.ie Chief Executive: Tom Enright Acting Director: Carolyne Godkin
Wicklow County Council County Buildings, Whitegates Wicklow Town, A67 FW96 Tel: 040 420 120 Web: www.wicklow.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Brian Gleeson Director of Services: Joseph Lane
Housing services ALONE Olympic House Pleasants Street Dublin 8 Tel: 01 679 1032 Web: www.alone.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Seán Moynihan Services: Older People
Carbery Housing Association Ltd The Wooden House Rossnagoose Skibbereen Co Cork Tel: 028 21890 Web: www.carberyhousing.eu Email: email@example.com Director/Chair: José Ospina Services: General needs
Cheshire Ireland 1st Floor, Block 4 Bracken Business Park Bracken Road Sandyford Industrial Estate Dublin, D18 V0Y0 Tel: 01 297 4100 Web: www.cheshire.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Acting Chief Executive: Theresa Anderson Services: People with disabilities
Clár I.C.H. Ballyhaunis Road Claremorris Co Mayo Tel: 094 937 1830 Web: www.clarird.com Email: email@example.com Services: General needs
Co-operative Housing Ireland 11-12 Warrington Place Dublin 2 Tel: 01 661 2877 Web: www.cooperativehousing.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Kieron Brennan Services: General needs
Cork Mental Health Foundation and Housing Association Unit 4, Nore House Bessboro Road Blackrock, Cork Tel: 021 451 1100 Email: email@example.com CEO: Brendan McCarthy Services: Mental health
Cope Foundation Bonnington Montenotte Cork, T23 PT93 Tel: 021 464 3100 Web: www.cope-foundation.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Seán Abbott Services: People with disabilities
Crosscare Clonliffe College Drumcondra Dublin 3 Tel: 01 836 0011 Web: www.crosscare.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive Officer: Conor Hickey Services: General needs
Housing Ireland magazine
Westmeath County Council
Focus Ireland 9-12 High Street Christchurch Dublin 8 Tel: 01 881 5900 Web: www.focusireland.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Pat Dennigan Services: General needs, Homelessness
Fold Housing Association Ireland Ltd The Crescent Build Northwood Office Campus Santry, Dublin 9 D09 X8W3 Tel: 01 822 8804 Web: www.foldhousing.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: Denis Buckley Services: General needs
Hearth and Mind Riversdale House Ballyboden Road, Rathfarnham Dublin, D14 W7DO Tel: 01 424 1115 Web: www.hearthandmind.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Services: Mental health
Home Again 1 Tempe Terrace Coliemore Road, Dalkey Co Dublin Tel: 01 235 1486 / 01 285 4494 Web: www.homeagain.ie Email: email@example.com Chair: Stephen O’Leary Services: Youth
Housing Association for Integrated Living (HAIL) Second Floor, Central Hotel Chambers 7-9 Dame Court, Dublin D02 X452 Tel: 01 671 8444 Web: www.hail.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive Officer: Martina Smith Services: General needs
Housing Ireland magazine
Web: www.housingalliance.ie Email: email@example.com Chair: John Hannigan Executive Director: Camille Loftus
Good Shepherd Cork Bruac, Redemption Road Cork Tel: 021 427 4240 Web: www.goodshepherdcork.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chair: Brendan Lenihan Services: Homelessness
The Iveagh Trust Head Office Bull Alley Street Dublin D08 R7DX Tel: 01 454 2312 Web: www.theiveaghtrust.ie Chief Executive: Aidan Culhane Services: General needs
Kerry Mental Health Association Web: www.kerrymentalhealth.com Email: email@example.com General Manager: John Drummey Services: Mental health
Merrick House DAC
Merrick House Eaton Road, Terenure Dublin, D6W HP96 Tel: 01 490 9816 Web: www.merrickhouse.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chairperson: Torunn Dahl Services: Elderly
Block 3, Grove Court Grove Road, Blanchardstown Dublin 15 Tel: 01 823 1000 Web: www.paceorganisation.ie Email: email@example.com Secretary: David Normoyle Services: Homelessness
North and East Housing Association
Peter McVerry Trust
287, Block G Blanchardstown Corporate Park 2 Dublin, D15 P229 Tel: 01 820 0002 Web: www.northandeast.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Vincent Keenan Services: General needs
Novas 87 O’Connell Street Limerick Tel: 061 370 325 Web: www.novas.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Úna Deasy Services: Homelessness
Ó Cualann Cohousing
Alliance CLG 1st Floor Offices, Hertz Building Glenageary Park, Glenageary Dublin, A96 TN9F Tel: 01 286 9237 Web: www.ocualann.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Hugh Brennan Services: General needs
Oakfield Trust Ltd Mental Health Ireland Second Floor, Marina House 11-13 Clarence Street Dún Laoghaire Dublin, A96 E289 Tel: 01 284 1166 Web: www.mentalhealthireland.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Martin Rogan Services: Mental health
Merchants Quay Ireland Head Office Merchants Court 24 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8 Tel: 01 524 0160 Web: www.mqi.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Paula Byrne Services: Homelessness
Unit D, Nangor Road Business Park Nangor Road Dublin, D12 V6V0 Tel: 01 450 8748 Web: www.oakfieldtrust.ie Email: email@example.com Manager: Marie Duffin Services: General needs
Oaklee Housing Limited 132 James’s Street Dublin, D08 PK25 Tel: 01 400 2650 Web: www.oaklee.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Sharon Cosgrove Services: General needs
29 Mountjoy Square Dublin, D01 C2N4 Tel: 01 823 0776 Web: www.pmvtrust.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Pat Doyle Services: Homelessness
Prosper Fingal Housing Association Strand Street, Skerries Co Dublin, K34 TD61 Tel: 01 849 3600 Web: www.prosperfingal.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Services: People with disabilities
Respond Housing Association Head Office Airmount, Dominick Place Waterford, X91 A397 Tel: 051 840 200 Web: www.respond.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Declan Dunne Services: General needs
The Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland Headquarters 101 Newington Causeway London SE1 6BN Tel: +44 (0)20 7367 4500 Web: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/republicof-ireland Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Services: Homelessness
Saoirse Housing Association PO Box 10819 Tallaght Dublin 24 Tel: 01 463 0000 Web: www.saoirsewomensrefuge.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Tanya Ward Services: Domestic violence
Simon Communities of Ireland
St Andrews House 28-30 Exchequer Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 671 1606 Web: www.simon.ie Services: Homelessness
53 Aungier Street Dublin, D02 CH96 Tel: 01 478 2607 Web: www.ymca.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Kathryn O’Mahony Services: Homelessness
Sligo Social Service Council
Sonas 5 Aston Quay Dublin, D02 K504 Tel: 01 671 8092 Web: www.domesticabuse.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Todd Prevcost Services: Domestic violence, homelessness
Sophia Housing Association 25 Cork Street Dublin 8, D08 YD91 Tel: 01 473 8300 Web: www.sophia.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary: Liz Murphy Services: Homelessness
Threshold 21 Stoneybatter Dublin, D07 KV61 Tel: 1800 454 454 Web: www.threshold.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: John-Mark McCafferty Services: Homelessness
Túath Housing 33 Leeson Street Lower Dublin, D02 KD68 Tel: 01 676 1602 Web: www.tuathhousing.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive: Sean O’Connor Services: General needs
WALK Head Office 1 Longmile Road Walkinstown, Dublin 12 Tel: 01 465 0388 Web: www.walk.ie Email: email@example.com Services: People with disabilities
AOS Planning CAAS Ltd 1st Floor, 24–26 Upper Ormond Quay Dublin, D07 DAV9 Tel: 01 872 1530 Web: www.aosplanning.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Director: Conor Skehan
Industry bodies BMA Planning Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland Office Carnmoney House Edgewater Office Park Belfast, BT3 9JQ Tel: 028 9077 8222 Web: www.cih.org Email: email@example.com
Construction Industry Federation Head Office Construction House Canal Road, Dublin 6 Tel: 01 406 6000 Web: www.cif.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Director General: Tom Parlon
Irish Council for Social Housing 50 Merrion Square East Dublin, D02 HP84 Tel: 01 661 8334 Web: www.icsh.ie Email: email@example.com CEO: Donal McManus Director of Policy: Karen Murphy
Irish Planning Institute Ground Floor, Fitzwilliam House 6 Fitzwilliam Street Lower Dublin, D02 TX34 Tel: 01 878 8630 Web: www.ipi.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Conor Norton
Property Industry Ireland 84/86 Lower Baggot Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 605 1500 Web: www.ibec.ie Email: email@example.com Director: David Duffy
Royal Town Planning Institute Ireland 29 Merrion Square North Dublin, D02 RW64 Tel: 089 251 5649 Web: www.rtpi.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Chair: Valerie Brennan Director: Craig McLaren
Taney Hall, Eglinton Terrace Dundrum, Dublin 14 Tel: 01 676 4522 Web: www.bmaplanning.ie Email: email@example.com Managing Director: Ray Ryan
Housing Ireland magazine
Retreat House Charles Street, Sligo Tel: 071 914 5682 Web: www.sligosocialservices.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CEO: Christina McTaggart Services: Homelessness, elderly, general needs
Coakley O’Neill Town Planning NSC Campus Mahon, Cork Tel: 021 230 7000 Web: www.coakleyoneill.ie Email: email@example.com Contact: Aiden O'Neill
Downey Planning 29 Merrion Square Dublin D02 RW64 Tel: 01 253 0220 Web: www.dwny.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Founder and Principal Planner: John Downey
Fenton Associates 13 The Seapoint Building 44-45 Clontarf Road Dublin 3 Tel: 01 479 3140 Web: www.fenton.ie Email: email@example.com Principal: Shay Fenton
Hogan Associates The Lodge Proby's Quay, Cork Tel: 021 431 1206 Web: www.hoganarchitecture.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director: Patrick O’Hanlon
HRA Planning Dublin Office 3rd Floor, 121/122 Capel Street Dublin 1 Tel: 087 644 3389 Web: www.hraplanning.ie Email: email@example.com
John Spain Associates 39 Fitzwilliam Place Dublin, D02 ND61 Tel: 01 662 5803 Web: www.jsaplanning.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director: John Spain
Housing Ireland magazine
38 Dawson Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 679 9094 Web: www.manahanplanners.com Email: email@example.com Director: Tony Manahan
Marston Planning Consultancy 23 Grange Park Foxrock Dublin 18 Tel: 086 383 7100 Web: www.marstonplanning.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Principal: Anthony Marston
1 Stokes Place St Stephen’s Green Dublin, D02 PE03 Tel: 01 410 1000 Contact: Michele Connolly
10 Molesworth Street Dublin 2 D02 W260 Tel: 01 660 0311 Web: www.aib.ie Contact: Donall O’Shea
Bank of Ireland 40 Mespil Road Dublin 4 Tel: 01 661 5933 Web: www.bankofireland.com
Barclays One Molesworth Place Dublin 2 D02 RF29 Tel: 01 618 2600 Web: www.barclays.ie
Dublin Office Kreston House Arran Court, Arran Quay Dublin 7 Tel: 01 804 4477 Web: www.mhplanning.ie Email: email@example.com Founding Director: Brian McCutcheon
McGill Planning Ltd 45 Herbert Lane Dublin, D02 RR92 Tel: 01 284 6464 Web: www.mcgplanning.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director: Colin McGill
WK Nowlan Molyneux House 67/69 Bride Street Dublin 8 D08 C8CN Tel: 01 905 8350 Web: www.wkn.ie Email: email@example.com Contact: John McNally
Dublin office 5th Floor, South Block Rockfield Central Dundrum, Dublin 16 D16 R6V0 Tel: 01 563 6000 Web: www.castlehavenfinance.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Partner: Clark McCann / Will Aylmer Cork Office City Quarter Lapp’s Quay, Cork Tel: 021 206 6660
Ulster Bank Ulster Bank Group Centre 16 George's Quay Dublin, D02 VR98 Tel: 01 608 4000 Web: www.ulsterbank.com
Legal Ten Earlsfort Terrace Dublin, D02 T380 Tel: 01 920 1000 Web: www.arthurcox.com Email: email@example.com Head of Commercial Property: Kenneth Egan
Beauchamps Riverside Two Sir John Rogerson's Quay Dublin, D02 KV60 Tel: 01 418 0600 Web: www.beauchamps.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Partner: Fidelma McManus
EY Ireland EY Building, Harcourt Centre 2 Harcourt Street, Dublin Tel: 01 475 0555 Managing Partner: Frank O'Keeffe
HSBC Bank 1 Grand Canal Square Grand Canal Harbour Dublin, D02 P820 Tel: 01 635 6000 Web: www.hsbc.ie Email: email@example.com
KBC Bank Ireland Sandwith Street Dublin, D02 X489 Tel: 01 664 6100 Web: www.kbc.ie
56-59 St Stephen's Green Dublin 2 Tel: 01 212 4101 Web: www.permanenttsb.ie
Arthur Cox Castlehaven Finance
Fieldfisher The Capel Building Mary’s Abbey Dublin D07 N4C6 Tel: 01 828 0600 Web: www.fieldfisher.com Partner: Breen Purcell
John Paul Construction
70 Sir John Rogerson's Quay Dublin 2 Tel: 01 232 2000 Web: www.matheson.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Partner: Nicola Dunleavy
Dundrum Business Park Dundrum Road Dublin, D14 E1R9 Tel: 01 215 6100 Web: www.johnpaul.ie Email: email@example.com
SIAC Construction Ltd
8 Clare Street, Dublin 2 D02 E021 Tel: 01 676 4488 Web: www.oclegal.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Partner: Ruth O’Connor
Dolcain House Monastery Road Clondalkin Dublin, D22 F8F5 Tel: 01 403 3111 Web: www.siac.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive Officer: Martin Maher
Philip Lee Connaught House One Burlington Road Dublin 4 D04 C5Y6 Tel: 01 237 3700 Web: www.philiplee.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Partner: Angelyn Rowan
Sisk Head Office Wilton Works, Naas Road Clondalkin Dublin 22 Tel: 01 409 1500 Web: www.johnsiskandson.ie CEO: Paul Brown
CLG Developments Ltd Head Office Red Cow Business Park Robinhood Road Clondalkin, Dublin 22 Tel: 01 461 4100 Email: email@example.com
Coen Steel Deerpark Industrial Estate Oranmore, Co Galway, H91 D9P1 Tel: 091 790 044 Web: www.coensteel.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director: David Coen
Coffey Group Moanbaun, Athenry Co Galway, H65 Y078 Tel: 091 844 356 Web: www.coffeygroup.com Email: email@example.com Property Director: Mark Coffey
CBRE Ireland Dublin Office Connaught House, 3rd Floor One Burlington Road Dublin 4 Tel: 01 618 5500 Web: www.cbre.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Director: Shane Cahir Cork Office 3rd Floor, One Albert Quay Cork Tel: 021 491 7255 Managing Director: Brian Edwards
St Stephen’s Green House Earlsfort Terrace Dublin, D02 PH42 Tel: 01 638 2700 Web: www.lisney.com Email: email@example.com Contact: Christopher Belton
Bord Gáis Energy
BAM Ireland Head Office Kill, Co Kildare W91 KH3E Tel: 045 886400 Web: www.bamireland.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: Micheál Keohane
Real estate and property
1 Warrington Place Dublin 2, D02 HH27 Tel: 01 233 5000 Web: www.bordgaisenergy.ie Managing Director: Dave Kirwan
SSE Airtricity Energy Services Red Oak South South County Business Park Leopardstown, Dublin 18 D18 W688 Tel: 0345 603 0026 Web: www.sseairtricity.com General Manager: Stuart Hobbs
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 3 Park Place Hatch Street Upper Dublin 2 Co Dublin D02 FX65 Tel: 01 808 2100 Web: www.seai.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive: William Walsh
Housing Ireland magazine
33 Molesworth Street Dublin 2 D02 CP04 Tel: 01 618 1300 Web: www.savills.ie Chair: Brendan Delaney
Sherry FitzGerald 176 Pembroke Road Ballsbridge Dublin 4, D04 EN80 Tel: 01 269 8888 Web: www.sherryfitz.ie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director: Ivan Gaine
Communications Property District: Strategic communications 3013 Lake Drive Dublin 24 Tel: 01 442 8811 Web: www.propertydistrict.ie Email: email@example.com Chief Executive Officer: Carol Tallon
Our Housing Rights: Tackling the housing crisis disabled people face Housing Ireland magazine
Our Housing Rights: Tackling the Housing Crisis Disabled People Face is a joint campaign between Independent Living Movement Ireland and Inclusion Ireland which was launched in September 2021. James Cawley, Policy Officer, Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI), writes. ILIMI and Inclusion Ireland undertook the development of a report, based on the experiences and concerns of disabled people and their families who took part in six focus groups in July 2021. This report aims to implement vital changes in the new National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 20222027, which both organisations welcome. To put this into context, it is necessary to recall that Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2018 and Article 19 of this convention states that disabled people have the right to live in, be part of, and use services and amenities in their communities. They should be able to choose “where and with whom they live” with appropriate and adequate supports. The report highlights the impossible application process that disabled people face. It can be different in every county and is so complicated that it often confuses people. The system also requires the disabled person to apply separately to both the local authority for housing and to the HSE for a support package. However, there is no clear pathway to apply for supports and very little engagement
between the local authority and the HSE.
inflation). If this cost, incurred as
I was happy to note the inclusion of interagency collaboration and the provision of supports under theme two of the new strategy because quite often this is the obstacle which inhibits many disabled people in securing housing.
income thresholds in local authorities it
In many cases, a disabled person could be offered a social house from a local authority, yet, if for instance, you do not have the support package in place you will not get the house. This is wrong and contrary to our obligations as a state under the UNCRPD.
disabled people, was added to the would allow more disabled people to apply for social housing and not be caught between two stools. Many disabled people feel that they are being left reliant on family members for accommodation and support, with high numbers now ageing in the family home with ageing parents. Consequently, many people simply give up or do not apply, resulting in a hugely underestimated picture of the real level
Theme three of the strategy also mentions “affordability of housing”. However, I believe the affordability should be tied to what the disabled person earns rather than the market value. For example, if you are a working disabled person earning more than a threshold income (in many cases €26,000) you do not qualify for social housing. Therefore, you are forced to privately rent or buy in a private market that is not built with disabled people in mind.
Separate to this, we know from the Department of Social Protection’s Cost of Disability report that disabled people incur an additional cost between €9,000 and €12,000 (not inclusive of
Our Housing Rights: Tackling the Housing Crisis Disabled People Face examines three key areas of accessible housing, affordable housing, and independent living supports. The report is available on both organisations’ websites.
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