- €226million for strategic infrastructure
- 23,000 homes by 2021
- 34 projects across 15 Local Authority areas
Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, together with his colleague, Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, today (28 March) announced the approval in principle of 34 public infrastructure projects across 15 Local Authority areas. This represents the culmination of a commitment originally made in the Programme for Government to address significant public infrastructure deficits, where the lack of enabling and accessing infrastructure has been hindering the early development of housing.
The Government has been aware for some time that the housing crisis would need to be addressed in a number of different ways. Pillar 3 of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, focuses on increasing overall housing supply, seeks to address the severe housing shortage in urban areas. One of the main elements of the Pillar is the establishment of a €200 million Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), with €150 million to be provided from Exchequer funding and matching funding of €50 million from Local Authorities.
Local authorities were invited to submit proposals for investment in public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and amenity spaces, with the objective of relieving critical infrastructural blockages, which would in turn enable the accelerated delivery of housing on key development sites and improve the viability of new housing projects in urban areas of high demand for housing.
Speaking at the Government Press Centre in Dublin today (28th March 2017), Minister Coveney stated that:
“Minister Donohoe and I announced last July that we would not only put this fund in place in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, but that we would double the original commitment from €100 million to €200 million, with €150 million of funding from the Exchequer and the other €50 million to come from Local Authorities.
“The response from Local Authorities has been impressive both in terms of dynamic and innovative proposals, and the willingness to put their own resources to work to play their part in solving the housing crisis. Together with other complementary and targeted measures under Rebuilding Ireland, the delivery of this housing in the next four years will have an extremely positive impact on the availability of housing in the short to medium-term. In addition to stimulating supply in an overall sense, it will also encourage a strong mix of private, rental and social housing delivery at appropriate locations and create new and attractive communities to live in at affordable prices and rents.
“I fully expect that the announcement today will lead to the delivery of 23,000 housing units by 2021 and an overall figure of over 69,000 housing units in the next ten to fifteen years in areas where the shortage of supply is critical.
“I know some Local Authorities will be disappointed that their proposals did not get the green light today. I want to say to them that I am seeking additional funding for LIHAF under the Capital Review 2016-2021. In the event that we secure more funds, Local Authorities will be able to re-submit proposals that did not receive funding or more importantly advance other new proposals that would meet the evolving LIHAF objectives and we will keep working towards making these proposals happen.”
Minister Coveney also stated that: “LIHAF is a classic case of ‘joined-up Government’ and has acted as the trigger to draw both public and private partners together to leverage much wider public and private sector investment. For example, the National Transport Agency agreed to part fund the Dodder Bridge that I am announcing today, as well as a Dart Station in Woodbrook/Shanganagh in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. I want to thank those agencies who worked with us on LIHAF and are backing up their support with these extra investments.”
Minister Donohoe said: “Housing is one of the critical challenges facing our country. That is why I agreed to provide an additional €2.2b in funding for social housing under Rebuilding Ireland, which amounts to 40% of the available additional capital investment to 2021. Through the work undertaken, we are now making progress in re-calibrating a sector that has faced enormous challenges in recent years. We are also making progress in delivering housing for those who need it.
“Today’s announcement of the LIAHF projects signals what can be achieved from a collaborative approach involving Local Authorities, public bodies and housing providers working together to maximize the impact on housing development and delivery from the focused use of available public funds. I am convinced that, where we can demonstrate that measures like LIHAF are having the desired effects, the Government will continue to support excellence in planning, investment co-ordination and delivery of the places people want and need to live in.
“Both Minister Coveney and I believe that the proposals that have received funding represent an effective use of targeted funding to achieve real results for ordinary citizens. Through the projects announced today under LIHAF, together with the completion of our review of the Government’s Capital Plan and the development of a new National Planning Framework later this year, we will see further sustainable progress being made to address our housing needs and accelerate our economic and social recovery.”