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Builders deny they are waiting for profits to rise before taking on new housing in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne
Housebuilding / iStock

Ireland's builders have rejected claims they are on a de facto strike by refusing to construct new homes until the housing crisis pushes profits up tens of thousands of euros.

The claim came during a session this week in the Oireachtas, where the recently established Committee on Housing and Homelessness has been taking oral evidence.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger alleged builders were effectively "on strike" until the government caved in to demands such as tax cuts and a help-to-buy scheme that would push up profits.

She levelled the charge during questions to Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation.

He dismissed the claims, saying house building was "unviable at the moment" because of costs involved.

"Thankfully, builders are finding other work than building houses at the moment, because it is economically unviable to build a house at the moment in most cases," he said.

Parlon insisted that as well as incentives for local authorities and developers, the government needed to invest in major infrastructure projects to allow new housing developments to be built.

"We can't just build without substantial infrastructural investment in the roads, water and new schools," he said.

Image credit | iStock